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banner Tuesday, 26 September, 2000, 16:35 GMT 17:35 UK
Blair: In his own words
Tony Blair
"We are in a fight and it's a fight I relish"
Key passages from Tony Blair's speech to the Labour Party conference in Brighton:

On listening

"After the events of two weeks ago, it's no wonder the government has taken a knock. It happened on my watch and I take responsibility."

"And yes, there are things we have done that have made people angry and we should be open enough to admit it."

"The Dome. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and if I had my time again, I would have listened to those who said governments shouldn't try to run tourist attractions."

"75p. I tell you now, as Gordon made crystal clear yesterday, we get the message."

"I am listening. I hear. And I will act."

On governing

"It's not an arrogant government that chooses priorities. It's an irresponsible government that fails to choose."

"To be in government is to decide."

"I am listening, but I was also elected to lead."

"I want to be the first prime minister in 40 years to stand up and say: Britain is back in full employment."

On himself

"By nature I am a unifier. I am a builder of consensus. I don't believe in sloppy compromise. But I do believe in bringing people together."

"If you ask me to put tax cuts before education spending, I can't do it. If you ask me to take risks with stability after all we've learned over the last 30, 40, 50 years - I can't do it. If people want me to go out and exploit the asylum issue for reasons of race, then vote for the other man, because I won't do it."

On the Tories

"There's Mr Hague. Standing around waiting for a bandwagon. Then three come along at once."

"It all makes sense after 14 pints. Everything makes sense after 14 pints. John Redwood looks sane. Michael Portillo looks loyal. After 14 pints, even William Hague looks like a prime minister."

"Today the Tories are back with exactly the plan of 10 years ago. You don't need me to predict it. We all experienced it. Don't ever let them con us into boom and bust again."

On education

"Line one of the contract [with the people] in the next manifesto will be a promise to increase the share of our national wealth spent on education in the next parliament."

On health

"The NHS was the single greatest achievement of the post-war Labour government... The Labour Party will never abandon what was one of the greatest civilising acts of emancipation this country has ever seen."

"By 2003 for the first time the government will be matching pound for pound charity funding for cancer research."

On crime

"It is time for zero tolerance of the yob culture."

"You don't beat today's drug gangs by applying the Queensberry rules."

On the future

"We are in a fight and it's a fight I relish. For it is a fight for the future, the heart and soul of our country."

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