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Tuesday, 1 October, 2002, 11:32 GMT 12:32 UK
Write Blair's conference speech
What would your message be if you were writing Tony Blair's conference speech this week?
The party leader's speech at conference is a key moment in the political year.
Party members will be hanging on every word, while political observers will be looking for policy shifts and assessing the leader's performance.
So what would you suggest if you were one of Tony Blair's speechwriters this week?
You'd need a good soundbite, a decent joke and a chunk of political meat.
Write your version of the speech - in around 100 words - and we'll publish a selection of the best responses.
And there will be a prize for the very best suggestion.
Here are some of the best so far:
"Don't ask me to decide anything - I've brought in a Mr George W. Bush from the private sector to take responsibility for my services."
"The shift to providing excellent public services, as exemplified by the fire service, will be addressed by this government.
This will include fair and just pay levels for all servants of the public, not just MPs and top civil servants, but every civil servant.
They all do a fantastic job and this government is going to prove its commitment on this issue by immediately agreeing to fund the fair pay demands put forward by the Fire Brigades Union on behalf of the professional, dedicated men and women who make up the British fire service.
I was wrong to state that the effect on the economy of this pay claim would be devastating. I repeat, I was WRONG!"
"Aw shucks good buddies...let's not get all heated up...it spoils the beans and makes the coffee taste kinda bitter.
You know in life on the new range you have to make some tough choices. You may have to shoot your horse ..can't do a damn thing about it...and sometimes you gotta side with the less worse guys to get the worstest guys.
Remember that scene when ol' Clint rode into town? Did he have time to ask the UN, draft a damn dossier? Brother, he did NOT! He just cut out the deadwood and started over.
Cherie cried at the end, but shucks, that's just women's stuff. We gotta be strong lil buddies, 'cos our time has come...and them Iraqski's ain't going rain on my parade."
"I'm the best thing since sliced bread. Thank you!"
"George and I are in agreement. We have one thing to say to our opponents: 'Saddam all'.
Whether it is public services, the economy or ensuring world peace, this government is and always has been 'clear in its aims and determined in its delivery.'
We must clearly aim to reduce hospital waiting lists - we are determined to deliver. We must clearly aim to raise standards in school - we are determined to deliver. We must clearly aim to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction - we are determined to deliver. If that means asking the taxpayer for more, then we will ask and they will pay because they know we will deliver."
"Comrades! Investment, reform, stability. That Iain Duncan Smith isn't very good is he? Saddam Hussein wants to kill us all! Golden future of eternal bliss is just over the next sand dune. Thank you."
"Five years into a Britain governed by Labour, people have seen that we are committed to health, education and areas which matter to them, but there is still so much which can be done and can only be done effectively under Labour.
If the Conservative Party and its leader are thinking that they will be effective opponents when it comes to the next general election, they are so wrong.
People still want free health care and a government free from sleaze. Labour is the only party that can deliver what the people of Britain want, the way they want."
"Four score and seven years ago ... no wait, that's been used already. How about: 'We
have nothing to fear but fear itself'? What, that's already been used...OK, I got it, 'Ich Bin Ein Berliner'...."
"I know that many of us have a great deal of respect for the way the Queen has led this country and I know that many of you feel that her family has suffered unduly from our newspapers' interest.
But let me make one thing clear: if Prince Charles cannot tell the difference between decent families like those of Stephen Lawrence, and of Damilola Taylor, and those who believe they have a God-given right to trample the countryside to torture foxes, then, frankly, I think he should abdicate his position as Prince of Wales in favour of his son."
"Conference I come here today to tell you to support me. Look, I'm telling you straight, it is the right thing to do.
I'm pretty nearly always right, y'know. And I'm decent. And, well, look, just do as I say and it will all work out. Trust me. Come on, this is me!
We've known each other a long time, haven't we conference? No, no I'm not going to tell you what I'm planning. If you trust me you don't need to know any more details, do you?
Conference, you just run along and leave it all to me."
"I want to be at the White House."
"As first minister of Her Majesty's government responsible for the management of the affairs of the UK at home and abroad, I have full confidence in myself.
I have successively stood for the interests and comforts of the British people, the Island race. I have manifestly upheld the traditions of our great nation.
I am prepared to lead it into a united Europe but not for it to be diminished and ruled by un-elected foreign representatives.
I have a penchant for holidaying in Europe with my family but I recognise that a greater beauty resides in these islands and I am always telling that to Cherie.
I have lead the way in the race to increase Great Britain as a first rate nation in every action and piece of legislation that my government has enacted.
I represent your views. I do not stand only for political correctness. I want to be your prime minister eternally. Thank you."
"Why am I here? There's no opposition and these pesky speeches are really taking up my valuable time.
I could be ruining the public services right now, giving away British territory, continuing my vendetta against the countryside or even waging war illegally.
Won't you people leave me alone? Don't you realise my time is infinitely more valuable than the future of the country?"
"I resign. Err, sorry. misread that line.
I am resigned to the fact that our friend President Bush is going to go ahead and attack Iraq. As America's allies, we will stand by him, just as America stood by us in . . .
Err, sorry again, that bit was crossed out. We will stand by President Bush and the American people. Our troops will fight alongside their troops. Our planes will fly alongside their planes. Our ships will sail with their ships. That is what friends do.
And one day, maybe America will do the same for us."
"Ladies, Gentlemen, fellow party members and hangers on - I've got clean socks on!
Saddam Hussein is a problem we can not poo-poo. If we poo-pooed him, and then he poo-pooed us, and the Americans added their poo-poo to our poo-poo, there would be poo-poo everywhere. Therefore, we must attack!
What will we make out of it? Well, let's just say we, the government of this lovely, aged, wise, slightly smoggy country, have significant shares in arms companies. We can make a killing on the profits.... quite literally.
We could then use these profits to rebuild our aged, frail and wrinkled public system. We will ask, nay - demand - that the capitalist organisations we have just protected from Iraqi poo-poo, pay us a ransom for continued protection, and I can retire and live happily ever after.
So, to sum up my plans, Ladies, Gentlemen, fellow party members and hangers on, let me do the thinking for you and we'll all be happy together."
"Look ... Hey ... You know ... All I am saying, is give war a chance."
"I believe in freedom - the freedom to take the right decisions and the freedom to take the wrong ones. The freedom to laugh, to cry, to smile, to shout.
I believe in fairness: that everyone should have an equal opportunity to develop as an individual and to achieve self-fulfilment.
I believe in fallibility. Governments make mistakes but when they happen, the only remedy is honesty, transparency and reparation.
"Society is obsessed with dominating the lives of individuals. But if we can build a society based on freedom, fairness and justice, then nothing else matters. And by God, it will be a society worth fighting for."
"Education! Education! Education...is something I've conveniently forgotten about. And you will all too.
You...will...not...remember...anything. Good! Minds clear? Now - I've been chatting to my good friend Mr Bush and he assures me that Saddam Hussein is a far more important issue for my vote-winning. Did I say my vote-winning? I meant our national security, I do apologise.
Consequently I will be consolidating our good unemployment record by taking the remainder of the unemployed and dropping them on Iraq from a great height.
Cherie assures me that this can be justified in the law courts, so I see no reason why I can't convince Fleet Street. Oh dear, Leo's crying again...I'll be right back..."
"Today I woke from a bad dream - more like a nightmare really. I dreamt I was a Tory, backing the USA without questioning their motives, supporting the free market without questioning the reason why, promising the earth without questioning how to provide services from over-stretched staff, arguing with the unions without questioning their beliefs.
But don't worry - like a scene from Dallas after this morning's shower, all was clear....I am a clone of Ronald Reagan, only I am a better actor!"
John Prescott: "Mr Blair sends his apologies for not being able to make it here today, however, he has sent us this video message from Camp David ... 'You may submit questions or give opinions to the brick wall at the back of the auditorium'."
"I would like to apologise to the people of the United Kingdom. I was elected promising change, promising a new, honest form of politics, but I wandered from this path.
I dabbled with big business and show business rather than thinking of the people. I used spin and media management rather than relying on good government.
Well that stops today.
From now on I will listen to you, the people and do what is right for the country, rather than the party. I will be the people's prime minister."
"I would say to the party, as I said to those who have faith in this government, that I have nothing to offer but grief, toil, tears and bereavement.
We have before us an ordeal of the most lamentable kind.....You ask, what is our policy? I will say it is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all the might and with all the strength that Bush can give us, to wage war against an innocent population, never surpassed in purity.
That is our policy. You ask what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is folly, folly at all costs, folly in spite of all terror, folly, however wrong and sinful the road may be; for without folly, there is no New Labour."
"I stand before you as a prime minister who believes that we have a duty to support and encourage the best in our country.
My mission has been a success - I have turned the Labour party from an unelectable rabble into an election winning machine.
And now comes my crowning glory.
In a few minutes I will resign from the post of prime minister in favour of Gordon Brown. But I want to leave him with a policy he can commit to and can take our great party to even higher successes.
So, Gordon, my legacy to you is my final campaign. Let us now, together, take our great country Back to Basics!"
"Like Keegan said as England manager: 'I'm simply not up to the task. I quit. Goodbye'."
"As from tomorrow my government will re-nationalise the railways, without compensation. Such a move will hopefully deter future governments from rash and unwise privatisations.
We are also going to double the salaries of police, fire-fighters, ambulance crews and hospital nurses. This will be paid for by an increase in income tax.
From now my government will tell the truth and abolish spin and stealth, including spin doctors and stealth taxes.
As from tomorrow, we shall submit a resolution to the United Nations demanding the lifting of the economic sanctions against Iraq. We will also request more forceful enforcement of UN resolutions on Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian territories.
I promise you all that from now on the Labour Party will never bomb any country in the world and kill innocent civilians.
Thanks to the savings we are going to make by not bombing Iraq and pursuing the foreign policy which is in the interest of British and not the American people, we should be able to afford more teacher posts and better schools.
We will also begin work on affordable, efficient and integrated public transport which will be so good that it will encourage people to leave their cars at home, rather than try to force them on to smelly, overcrowded and dangerous trains and buses against their will..."[Hear alarm bell ringing and I wake up!]
"The success of my government has been based on turning the electorate away from politics.
It seems now that they are seeking to contribute by other means - demonstrations, striking and calling me to account. This I shall not tolerate.
We must ignore and spin against this new found politicisation of the masses until they realise the futility of their actions. We can then continue doing as we please free from criticism and opposition."
"I'm very sorry. I just got off the phone with George and Dick; they are having trouble faxing my speech here."
"Conference, here I am once again, against my better judgement to supply you with a progress report that I fail to do every Wednesday; that being the only day of the week I am forced to attend the House of Commons, but I'm working on that.
I will be asking at conference for authority from the TUC for John Prescott to take Deputy Prime Minister's Questions from November.
My time is too valuable to waste on the representatives of the electorate.
As you are aware, the last few month's have taken my time with the Iraqi question and I am still trying to understand what my boss, Dubya wants from you all.
Of course as your representative outside of Parliament I will accede to any request he cares to make for it will not be me doing the fighting but your sons and daughters.
What's that? Oh...conference, I must cut short my speech as my master is calling me. Woof! Woof!"
"I was elected by the people, so I am going to listen to them. NOT."
"Our first motion is to call ourselves 'New' New Labour and I've changed my name to Margaret dubya Bush.
We must go to war with Iraq, that's my weapon of mass distraction.
Our manifesto said "schools and hospitals first" - that's first to rot.
We're changing Britain from the "third way" to the "third world" so give us a third term!
We don't want Ken but if we replace him as mayor, we'll keep his congestion charge like we kept all the Tory changes.
Oh and by the way, we're not going to ban fox hunting now, it's a vote loser."
"New Labour, old problems. I tell you this, I will not let the unions bully the people of this country - that is my job - and return us to the scenes reminiscent of the winter of discontent.
New Labour does not want the old problems - we have created enough new problems of our own and I don't have a clue how to get round them.
The public have hung on to every last word, and like fools they have believed everything we say.
We now tax people more than ever before and give benefits and healthcare to all the outsiders coming into our country while our 'own' people suffer."
"For years, we in government have promised you better public services.
For years, the British public have been paying more in taxes so that we can provide these better services.
Our aim is to provide just enough evidence that it's all been worth it, for New Labour to win the next election.
"Brothers, I have to apologise for misleading everyone at the last general election.
But to be honest, I must admit things are not as good as I first thought. I have told Gordon to go back to basics and draw up some plans that we can afford.
I will also be up-front about the true cost. The British economy is still sound and I will not let us be sucked into the euro without it being to our medium and long term advantage. Sorry we sold all the gold!!"
"Comrades, I know that it is a great honour for you to have ME here with you today.
Indeed I could have been doing a thousand other and better things than being here today. But I am here, so why?
Because I care about conference? No!
Because as your leader, I should be? No!
Because this forum enables me to know what the ordinary members of the Labour Party want their - my - party to do? No!
Because I want you to think like me? No!
I am here because the television cameras of the world are here today, and as a key player on the world stage it is important for me to be seen by as many people as possible, as often as possible.
So as I stand here smiling benevolently at you, not so unlike the way that Saddam does at times like this, I want a standing ovation for the time I have shared with you all."
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