Wrapped in the Flag
A "patriotic vision" of Britain's future will be at the heart of the pre-Budget report, Gordon Brown has said.
"The theme of the pre-Budget report will be that the next decade can be a British decade."
Britain's "success and destiny" depended on building on historic strengths of stability, openness to the world, scientific creativity and world class universities, he argued.
He concluded: "So at the heart of the Pre-Budget Report is a patriotic vision of Britain's future as a country of ambition and aspiration.
"How we make Britain the best place to grow up in, the best place to study, the best place to start a business and to work - as we build a Britain that makes us even more proud to be British."
European Commissioner Peter Mandelson has urged Britain not to "gloat" about having a better economy than its European partners, in what was widely interpreted as a swipe at Mr Brown.
All good stuff I suppose - but I am reminded of an earlier entry here:
And so he worked towards his peroration - which, by the way, he used later with overwhelming success at a meeting of electors - while they sat, flushed and uneasy, in sour disgust. After many many words, he reached for the cloth-wrapped stick and thrust one hand in his bosom. This - this was the concrete symbol of their land - worthy of all honour and reverence! Let no boy look on this flag who did not purpose to worthily add to its imperishable lustre. He shook it before them - a large calico Union Jack, staring in all three colours, and waited for the thunder of applause that should crown his effort.
They looked in silence. They had certainly seen the thing before - down at the coastguard station, or through a telescope, half-mast high when a brig went ashore on Braunton sands; above the roof of the Golf Club, and in Keyte's window, where a certain kind of striped sweetmeat bore it in paper on each box. But the College never displayed it; it was no part of the scheme of their lives; the Head had never alluded to it; their fathers had not declared it unto them. It was a matter shut up, sacred and apart. What, in the name of everything caddish, was he driving at, who waved that horror before their eves? Happy thought! Perhaps he was drunk!
From The Flag of their Country - from Stalky & Co. - Rudyard Kipling