Impact is going up in the world; all the way to 10 Downing Street, in fact. Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently met with Impact’s Marco Liam Guariniello at a reception to thank Labour Students for their year-long campaigning efforts. The atmosphere was very cheerful and the PM’s speech revealed a charismatic, influential and witty side sometimes overlooked in the wider media.
Obviously, the topic on everyone’s lips right now is the economic crisis. What are your plans for the British economy?
“These are hard times for the British people. This global financial slowdown is having serious repercussions on our economy. It is a clear demonstration that there are a lot of problems that need to be addressed, because the current free market is not working. Unemployment is rising and so are the concerns of our citizens. These might be statistics and numbers, but we in Labour know that behind every number there is an individual or a family struggling to make ends meet. These are people that need help. It is for this reason that this government is committed to the implementation of a series of measures to help these individuals. We are assisting people who have just lost their jobs, we are helping people to get back into employment, we are doing everything we can to combat child poverty.”
What’s your opinion of the ‘new-look’ Conservative party?
“The Conservatives may have a new façade with David Cameron, but if you scratch the surface it is the same old party it has always been. Unlike us, they view the unemployment statistics just as numbers, and refuse to accept that a lack of public spending in such difficult times would leave human beings without vital help, leaving financially troubled individuals in disarray.”
After years in politics, you’ve reached the most powerful position in the country. What inspired you to achieve this?
“During the Rwanda genocide about a million people lost their lives. Governments around the world, including the British one, had failed in their objective to prevent such a devastating tragedy. Many of the victims were young children.” Mr Brown went on to describe a display in a remembrance museum made up of pictures of the victims; one particular picture caught his attention. “This child loved football, and wanted to become a doctor. The final line showed this child’s last words, “The United Nations are coming”. The UN, however, never did arrive. This is what led me to where I am now; the hope to help prevent such atrocities happening in the future.”
As a Labour student, I recently worked on the Glenrothes by-election campaign, which was a victorious election for Labour. What words of advice would you give to students currently becoming active in politics, particularly Labour students?
“Young people have a central role in Labour, giving the party vital enthusiasm and tremendous energy… Without your efforts this important achievement would have been much more difficult. On behalf of Lindsey Roy (the winning candidate in Fife) and me, I warmly thank you for the valuable time you spent campaigning for the Labour Party.” The Prime Minister hailed the victory as a vote of confidence for a government that is prepared to give “real help” in difficult economic times.
Marco Liam Guariniello (Nottingham University Labour Club General Secretary)