27 Mar 2010 00:00:00.000
The Prime Minister used a speech at The University of Nottingham to set out his party’s five key pledges ahead of the imminent General Election.
Visiting the University’s Jubilee Campus on Saturday, March 27th, Gordon Brown pledged to secure the nation’s economic recovery, raise family living standards, build a high-tech knowledge economy, protect frontline services and strengthen fairness in communities.
In a speech to party activists and prospective parliamentary candidates, Mr Brown also acknowledged Labour’s position in the opinion polls as all the main parties gear up for a General Election widely predicted to take place on May 6th.
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He said: “Let the message go out from Nottingham: we may be the underdog, but we are the people’s party – and we never give up. We are fighting for Britain’s future, and we intend to win.”
Gordon Brown gave his speech at the Nottingham Geospatial Building (NGB), a new £9m research centre devoted to global navigation satellite systems and geospatial sciences. The building, which had its official opening on March 25th, is a base for world-leading research and close collaboration with industry. It was funded with a £3.4m grant from the East Midlands Development Agency (emda) together with University investment.
The NGB is the latest addition to the University’s award-winning Jubilee Campus, which has regenerated a large former brownfield site once occupied by Raleigh.
The Prime Minister was welcomed to Jubilee Campus by the Registrar, Dr Paul Greatrix, Pro-Vice-Chancellors Professor Chris Ennew and Professor Chris Rudd, and the head of the School of Politics and International Relations, Professor Paul Heywood.
Professor Heywood said: “There were two things that were very striking about what the Prime Minister said today. The first was that this was effectively the launch of the election campaign, even though it has not formally been called.
“The second is that it is very unusual for a sitting Prime Minister to acknowledge that he is the underdog in a forthcoming election.
“This is a deliberate strategy. There has been a narrowing of the gap in the polls recently, reducing the Conservative lead, and there is a risk in terms of Labour supporters thinking everything is now moving in the right direction. Describing Labour as the underdog is a warning: he’s saying ‘We have a real fight on our hands if we are going to win this’.
“It was also interesting to hear the extent to which the Prime Minister stressed the heritage of the Labour Party, all the way back to the founding of the NHS. He didn’t say ‘look at what we have achieved over the last 13 years’. Instead he’s asking people to look at the broader historical context, at what Labour stands for, to try to show a clear distinction between them and the other parties.”
Gordon Brown’s visit to the University attracted widespread interest from national and regional print, broadcast and online media.
Dr Paul Greatrix, Registrar, said: “It’s only right that universities should be centre stage in the run-up to the General Election. Higher education is crucial to the economic success and future prosperity of the nation, through cutting-edge research, international partnerships, and world-class teaching that is preparing tomorrow’s graduates to play their part in the high-tech knowledge economy.
“The University of Nottingham excels in all three areas, and for Gordon Brown to choose The University of Nottingham’s Jubilee Campus as the location for such an important speech is really positive for the University and for the city.”
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Pictured left to right are: Professor Christine Ennew, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of Nottingham; Dr Paul Greatrix, Registrar; Gordon Brown; Professor Paul Heywood, Head of the School of Politics and International Relations; Professor Chris Rudd, Pro-Vice-Chancellor.
Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.
It provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation – School of Pharmacy), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.
Its students are much in demand from 'blue-chip' employers. Winners of Students in Free Enterprise for four years in succession, and current holder of UK Graduate of the Year, they are accomplished artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and fundraisers. Nottingham graduates consistently excel in business, the media, the arts and sport. Undergraduate and postgraduate degree completion rates are amongst the highest in the United Kingdom.
Nottingham was designated as a Science City in 2005 in recognition of its rich scientific heritage, industrial base and role as a leading research centre. Nottingham has since embarked on a wide range of business, property, knowledge transfer and educational initiatives (www.science-city.co.uk) in order to build on its growing reputation as an international centre of scientific excellence. The University of Nottingham is a partner in Nottingham: the Science City.