Once prime minister Gordon Brown has been praised for his special work in striving to ensure every child across the globe can attend school.
Mr Brown was named as the latest recipient of an award scheme set up by Norwegian novelist Jo Nesbo to identify those who are simply doing good things.
The ex-Labour leader said he would give the £200,000 cash prize from the Harry Hole Prize named after Nesbo’s most famous fictional detective to children’s charity Theirworld.
His wife Sarah Brown is president of the organisation, which works to give young people a greater future across the globe, and Gordon Brown has done such extraordinary work on funding education in the world’s poorest nations.
Mr Brown accepted the award at a ceremony in Oslo in front of Norwegian Prime Minister Arna Solber, and the honour that he received was in support to tear down the boundaries that stop young people from going to school, and brings young people to the front lines of the civil rights struggle of our time, and the right to an education.
This is why Theirworld was picked as a receiver of the award, to help build on the 1,000-strong Global Youth Ambassador group, young people under the age of 30, who are set to campaign until every single child is at school and learning.
They will build the movement of the next generation of leaders and activists for all of those vetoed an education, and it’s so nice to see that Gordon Brown is doing something good, and at least he’s attempting to do something about child poverty in this country that no one else has.
The wealthy Tories could learn a lesson or two from Gordon Brown, at least this man doesn’t prostitute his principles for money, but there are real concerns about the fate of this country, and the fate of the economy.
Gordon Brown didn’t come into politics to become a celebrity or believe that he would always be popular because he clearly wasn’t that, and he didn’t come to London because he wanted to join the establishment, but because he wanted to change it.
People said that he was too serious, but there’s a lot to be serious about, and he was serious about doing a serious job, and what annoyed him and motivated him to fight was when people got treated unjustly.
So, when people shared stories with him about how difficult times were, and what a difficult time they were having with their bills, he wanted to help, solely because he was brought up seeing his parents having to balance their resources like the rest of the country.
And when he talked to parents about schools, he concluded that every child should have a good school because while he did get a break in a great local secondary school, not all his friends got the opportunity to get on.
So, there he was, serving at the time for an incredible country while working as far as possible to give his children an ordinary childhood. But some people were asking at the time why he hadn’t served his children up for spreads in the newspapers, and the response was simple, his children weren’t props, they were ordinary people.
And where he might have made mistakes at least he put his hand up to try to put them right, but then it really hurt that suddenly people felt he wasn’t on the side of the people on middle and modest incomes but on the side of hard-working families was the only place he ever truly wanted to be.
He simply wanted to give the people of this country an unconditional assurance, no ifs, no buts, no small print, and his steadfast focus was taking this country through the challenges of economic circumstances we encountered at the time, and to build a fair society of the future.
And he believed that the British people wouldn’t forgive if he looked inwards towards to the interests of just their party when their party was to the interests of the country and that the people of Britain would never forget if he failed to put them first because at that time it was a time of greater than ever change, so it was a time of higher ambition from Gordon Brown, and because the world of 2008 was so different from the world of 1997, and we continually need to build for these new times – we always need to push forth and not be regressive.
Each generation believes it’s living through changes their parents could never have imagined, and in these unpredictable times, we must be the rock of stability and fairness upon which people stand, but every time there’s a profound change, those with great wealth and privilege have always been able to look after themselves whilst those in poverty suffer.
But it’s the government’s duty, which is what gives them a moral purpose to serve the people who need them most, Britains large majority, people on the middle and modest incomes who need to know that they’re not on their own amidst this change and that the government are on their side.
And where there are new risks and new pressures the government’s job is security for all, and where there are new opportunities, the government’s responsibility is to implement fair opportunities for everyone equalled by fair rules implemented to everyone.
Ensuring people against the new risks and empowering people with new opportunities is the mission of the hour and those who say that governments should walk away when people face these risks and need these opportunities should be judged to be on the wrong side of history.
So, this is the defining moment for us, a test not only of our judgement but of our values, and what counts is not the pursuance of any sectional interest but the elevation of public interest, and the government should at all times put the people first.
The current role of government is not to provide everything, but it must enable everyone, and it’s up to this government to commit to fairness, and all transactions need to be transparent and not hidden.
We know that when it comes to public spending you can’t just wave a magic wand and conjure up money, not even with the help from Harry Potter. So, there are always difficult decisions to make and priorities that have to be chosen, just as families have to make savings to make ends meet, so the government must ensure that we get value for money for every bit of money that is spent.
People feel their communities are changing before their eyes and it’s increasing their anxiety about crime and anti-social behaviour. And so we will be the party of law and order, but it’s not the party of law and order with public services being stretched, with bobbies being taken off the beat every month.
And now we’ve got more British pensioners than British children, more people living longer on fixed incomes and worried about whether they’ll require long-term care, and the government needs to ensure security and dignity for these pensioners.
And there are new pressures on parents worrying about balancing work and family life, but then there’s also advertising aimed at their children and what their children are viewing or downloading from the internet, and so this government should be the party of the family.
Our government can meet all these challenges because it’s about fair prosperity, it must be fair opportunities and fair rules, but the challenges of these new times demand a truly progressive government to help people cope with the new risks and to make the most of new opportunities, that’s why this country needs a Labour government.
To govern is to choose and it’s what a government chooses to do when it’s tested that demonstrates its priorities and exposes its soul.
It is not the mathematics of statistics but the fabric of people’s lives, and when we talk about people being in poverty and people living on the streets, we’re not talking arithmetic, we’re talking about lives that have been changed.
We have to strive for fairness, not because it makes great soundbites, not because it gives great photo opportunities or advertisement and not because it makes for great PR, we should do it because humanity is in our DNA, and Labour is the soul of the party.
When things get tough, we should get tougher. We should stand up and fight hard for justice, and we should never give in.
Fairness is about treating others how we would want to be treated ourselves, so, it’s not about levelling down but allowing people to aspire and reach an even higher level, and to take advantage of all the opportunities of our global economy and to unleash a new wave of increasing social movement across our country.
For far too long we’ve developed only some of the talents of some of the people, but the path to social mobility is developing all the talents of all the people, helping those who are working their way up from very little and boosting those up in the middle who want to get on.
It means supporting what actually matters, hard work, effort and enterprise. Fairness for the future involves significant changes, and we must stand for public services that are universal, accessible to all, and now we must stand for a public service that is personal to everyone.
A better future should begin with putting children first with the biggest investment in children in this country, which involves delivering the best possible start in life with services tailored to the needs of every single precious child.
Child poverty demeans Britain, and our government should be tackling and stopping it. Of course, economic times are hard but our government should be in it for the long haul with the total removal of child poverty.
Fairness demands nothing less than perfection in every school, because every child should leave primary school able to read, write and count, and every child that falls behind should not be left behind and should have a supported right to a personal catch up tuition.
Parents should see their children educated in a school which delivers good results and if that local state school drops below the required criteria, the parents should see that school reconstructed under a completely new management, or close and new school places given.
Our government should be thanking all of the NHS workers, the cooks, the cleaners, the paramedics, the porters, the doctors, the midwives and nurses because they’ve served our country and helped a great deal, and good health care should not be a commodity to be bought by some, it should be a right to be enjoyed by all.
Labour was the party of the NHS, they created it, and they should be allowed to save it, value it and support it, and thanks to the NHS many people’s lives have been saved, and the government should be passionate about the importance of the NHS and should be committed to improving it and keeping it going.
But the moment it’s shameful that we can’t seem to give on the NHS the comprehensive services that private patients can afford to buy because at the moment there’s no vested interest to take on a change for the welfare of the nation’s well-being.
After the end of the war, almost one-third of Britain’s Nobel prizes have been for our genius in medicine, but now we should aim to extend the boundaries of human knowledge and human well-being even more, and we should be Britain’s leaders in conquering diseases which cause so much heartbreak for families.
We should be a nation worthy of leading the way to defeat cancer and other diseases and proud because we have a health service that’s centred on the demands of the 21st century.
The NHS is free to all, and it’s personal to all which means meeting challenges for the future, and in a fair society, the fact that older people are living longer should be a blessing for their families, not a burden.
No one should live in fear of their old age because they worry their social care will impose financial hardships they could never afford to face and that the moment they require care it puts their family home at risk, and the generation that restored Britain from the ashes of the war deserves much better, and the government should be putting policies in place so that the elderly can stay longer in their own homes and give comprehensive protection against the costs of care, and dignity and support for everyone in their later years – That’s the fairness older people deserve!
So, when people say in these difficult times there’s nothing we can do, there’s nothing higher to strive for, no great causes left worth fighting for, they’re wrong because our ideas are the ideas that will achieve the hopes of families for a greater future, and providing free nursery care for more children who need it is a cause worth fighting for.
Providing better social care for older people who need it is a cause worth fighting for, and delivering excellence in every single school is a cause worth fighting for. Universal check-ups and new help to combat cancer, these are all causes worth fighting for because it’s the future we’re fighting for.
And in this world of vast financial and social reform, the aim should be something for something, not nothing for nothing because we should be a nation of fair opportunities for all, and fair rules applied to all.
The Conservative government’s policy is to change their appearance by giving the illusion of change and to hide what they actually think, a little like a salesperson who won’t tell you what their selling because they’re selling something no one should buy.
The Conservatives want us to think that they care about public services but they don’t, and of course, there are problems but this country is not broken, it’s the best country in the world, and in the right hands, we could make the United Kingdom even better.
Our country is full of heroes, and I’m not talking about the chocolate variety either, and we pay special tribute to the courage of our armed forces, and the service and sacrifices they make every day in peacekeeping missions throughout the globe, quite frankly we have the best armed forces in the world.
But we must all work together to meet the great shared challenges vital to our future, and to do it for our poor and vulnerable is an act of kindness, but it’s more than that, it will determine whether our new global society thrives or fails.
We need fairness in our society, justice in the world and a leader that wants to do his or her job well, and we need a leader that will deal with the difficult times and face them and stay true to their convictions, and that will understand that all the attacks, all the polls, all the headlines, all the criticism, it’s all worth it, if in doing their job it will make life better for at least one child, one family, one community.
Because being Prime Minister isn’t about them, it’s about YOU!