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Monday, 31 January, 2000, 12:59 GMT
Labour's 1,000 days: Has the government delivered?
The Labour government has marked 1,000 days in power by setting out its achievements - and acknowledging that it still has work to do.
Since the May 1997 election win the government claims to have achieved more than the first 1,000 days under Baroness Thatcher following her victory in 1979.
But the Conservatives have slammed Labour's "failures, lies, sleaze and hypocrisy" pointing to the recent crisis in the NHS. Tory leader William Hague said: "One of their central promises was on the health service and Britain is still waiting."
What do you think about the government's first 1,000 days in office?
Are you satisfied with Labour's progress? Is this government any better than the last one?
What do you think? Has the government delivered on its promises?
Of course they haven't delivered. They are politicians. This is the worst government ever for confusing form and content. They are only concerned with the look of things, and the shallowest, most transient look at that. I just hope and pray that the British public will recognise them for the shadowy, spineless fools they are, and throw them out on their ear at the first opportunity. And I pray for 630 men like Martin Bell to stand to topple them.
Bob Harvey, UK
Labour has done a fairly good job in their first 1000 days in office. Blair's biggest achievement has been not reversing the Thatcher Revolution of minimum government, low taxes, personal responsibility, traditional values and free enterprise. It is Margaret Thatcher who is the clear winner here. It is her policies that have contributed to the success of Tony Blair's government. However, Blair's government has achieved a lot less in its first 1000 days in office than Margaret Thatcher did in her first 1000 days. In her first 1000 days in office, Margaret Thatcher cut taxes, began the process of privatising industries, building up Britain's defences and curbing the power of the trade unions. Those were monumental achievements. They represented a radical sea-change in British politics and has forever discredited Socialism as a viable political system. Blair cannot claim those kind of monumental achievements. To say that Tony Blair has accomplished more than Margaret Thatcher in a 1000 day period is absolutely ludicrous.
The Labour Party is a triumph of style over content. All the key things that made me vote for them at the last election seem to be vanishing one by one; Robin Cook's U-turn on ethical foreign policy was the last straw. I shall be voting Lib Dem at the next election.
Andy Bannister, UK
Why then is the phrase Tony's cronies now so current? Democracy seems ill-served by New labour. How long will it be that job applicants will have to quote Labour party membership numbers as it used to be in Wales in the 1970s?
Peter, London, England
Tony Blair and his cronies have made a right mess of Britain. He has divided us up into useless little countries and destroyed all National spirit and pride - he is in denial of who we really are. Here in Wales, we have a vegetarian agriculture secetary (supposedly in charge of promoting Welsh beef) and we have a non-Welsh speaker in charge of promoting the Welsh language). He has made a mess of the NHS, the armed forces don't have enough resources to practice, let alone defend the country should anyone attack us. He has dragged us further into the EU. He is now going to encourage people to promote homosexuality.
Matthew French, United Kingdom
A few plus or minus points on the NHS or public transport policy are pretty insignificant when you look at the shameful way this government and the last have handed power over to Brussels. This power was not theirs to give, but give it they did. People will not endure dictatorship for long, and I dread the day when the chips are down and people find they can't kick out the real governors of this country.
Alex Stanway, England
No way has this government delivered. Tax rises have hit many working people and also those who have saved for retirement, yet those same people have not received a share of these increases as improved services. Hospitals are overloaded and crime is on the increase. Gordon Brown inherited a healthy economy from the previous government, and has not built it on his own as seems to be the popular opinion. As for labours much vaunted "fairness for all" policy, it has not been applied to pensioners - the paltry rise in state pension this year will be wiped out and more by council tax increases.
Mike Rose, England
What really annoys me about this government is that they care more about spin and media manipulation than policies. Take Lord Hollick, owner of the Daily Express. Once a Tory supporting paper it is now a Labour supporter. Lord Hollick has been given a peerage and places on many of Labours infamous task forces. I voted New Labour last time but I won't make the same mistake again. Whatever people may think about Hague, he has principles and won't sell our country out to Europe.
Whatever else you can say, Labour has done rather better than certain other Governments I could mention. No Wapping riots. No year-long Miners strike over a (later admitted) conspiracy to kick everyone out of work. Actual signs of progress in Ireland, as opposed to flattened city centres in England. No sudden shifting of boundaries, to keep regional polls looking good. No deliberate bankrupting of regional councils of the "wrong sort". Yes, they've dropped the ball a lot. They completely failed to take the initiative after their landslide victory, for example. But, better stability than falling off a cliff.
I think most level headed people in the country feel let down by the labour government. The more important issues of the day fall by the wayside while personal minor issues are championed. The NHS is a mess, and getting worse. Real unemployment with real sustained jobs is not what was promised. Devolution has created just another talking shop. Northern Ireland betrayed, The RUC betrayed, The Army betrayed. This is just a short collection of the failures. While these areas are failing our government has wasted more time on homosexual issues on fox hunting issues and the latest persecution of Pinochet. It was not so long ago when the Spanish would not help extradite IRA terrorists back to UK to face trial. The Belgians refused us ammunition in the Falklands. The French sold our enemies Exocets and poor old Pinochet actually helped us. The government was elected by a majority of the people to govern for the majority, not to pander to the whim of every minority group with an axe to grind. So get on and Govern.
Ronnie, expat in Kazakstan
This government is guilty of constitutional vandalism on a huge scale, what else could one call the break up of the UK, the removing of one of the historic checks and balances in the bicameral system (a strong and independent House of Lords) before actually telling us what would replace it and giving foreign nationals the right to be British MPs? The only reason they get away with it is because the Tories left them an economy that allows people to feel materially comfortable.
George, United Kingdom (at least it used to be)
1000 days, during which they have not used their majority to inflict any major long term damage. This is a government led not by a leader, nor a committee but by the latest opinion poll.
The latest move to give Irish MP's the right to stand for election to the UK government is another of their curious policies. They said it is to remove an anomaly; it actually creates one in that only one of our EU counterparts politicians can stand for election in the UK. Is that next?
Russ Moore, England
As a Labour Party member, I feel badly let down by this Government. Instead of really helping lower-income families beat the poverty trap, they seem to be more interested in fostering links with big business. True, they are a little better than the Tories but let's be honest, that's not saying much.
We've also been let down by the refusal of the Government to help abolish hunting with dogs. This, and our apparent attempts to 'out-Tory' the Tories, means that I, and hundreds of thousands like me, will not vote Labour at the next election. In fact, I would support putting up anti-fox hunting candidates in marginal constituencies.
Tim Smith, United Arab Emirates
One of Tony Blair's five pledges was not to raise Income Tax. By not raising the Basic Rate he has deluded the public into believing that this has been kept. However, check your new Tax Code! You will find that your Personal Allowances have been eroded for the second year in succession. Like a lot of (New) Labour policies, this does not add up!
Gordon Graham, Scotland
The overall assessment of Labour's first 1000 days is of a qualified success. A lot of people of both left and right have sent comments in and one thing seems clear - the right wing bias in the media in this country is certainly having an affect. This Government is much better than previous Conservative administrations.
It does have problems to address:
1. The NHS and biting the bullet and raising taxes
2. To listen to the public more and not the business lobby.
3. To build no more Domes
4. To get on with electoral reform and let debate and politics run their course.
5. To not squander the fantastic opportunity they have to really make this a country to be proud of in this new century.
No, they haven't delivered. They have managed to convince the vast majority of the population things were better under Labour, but the cracks are starting to appear as policy after policy collapses.
Thatcher had her problems as well but let's face it, the economy she took over was a total mess. The one that Blair inherited was not in that bad a shape, and I think even he would begrudgingly admit this, albeit with a spin on how much better it is under Labour and how much bad it would have been under the Tories.
The guy is a great Salesman, unfortunately his product is seriously flawed.
Roy Chapman, UK / Germany
I'm only 17, but I think this government has given us hope for a better future. Things are so much better than the hopelessness and gloom of John Major's Time, Blair has given us the confidence and even if he may not deliver all the time, but he really tries his best.
John Bullier, UK
I feel that Blair's first 1000 days have been marked with both good and bad events. On the good side he has led the nation into constitutional reform, paving the way for a more democratic Britain. Blair has emerged as a strong leader during recent Kosovo conflict, despite its criticisms and problems. However he has faltered on the euro, a bad move. The strategic defence review has, in my mind, slaughtered the armed forces
Edward Davis, UK
The expectations resulting from the landslide result in the last election were always going to be difficult to deliver on. I am however, disappointed that Labour have not used their majority to introduce the radical changes that the British public both wanted and were prepared for. I sincerely hope that the benefits of Labour's policies will be seen over time, but I fear that it has abandoned its commitment to social justice and is content to let a bullish economy run its course.
Dave Sambrook, UK
I was a labour councillor for 17 years all of which were under a Tory National Government and a Tory controlled Borough Council. I now find that in the main I am still in opposition particularly in regard to Welsh issues. The Gerrymandering of the Welsh Assembly leadership sickened me.
The party in Wales is now paying the price of its arrogance. The leadership is in crisis over match funding for European money and is able to offer no guarantees for future funding. When in opposition they criticised the Tories for a similar lack of commitment. I am seriously thinking of joining Plaid Cymru after 34 years of voting Labour and 20 years part membership (now lapsed).
Tony Cartwright, Wales
During the Summer of 1997 anything seemed possible as the country voted the Tories out of office. All we have seen is a continuation of Tory policies and failures. Attacks on Students, Single parents and the disabled. Selling arms to dictators, less bobbies on the beat, higher overall hospital waiting times and higher class sizes for children over 8 is not something I would be proud of.
Carl Minns, England
New Labour has consistently proved that it cannot deliver on any major political improvement. The government continually side-steps the major issues and is only interested in media friendly superficial pronouncements. It has undermined the stability of the UK through its regional parliaments and its dissolution of the Upper House has been pushed through with no thought as to the consequences of such action.
The fact that the NHS is in crisis, crime is rising and the population feels disenfranchised are only the beginning of Blair's fall from grace. Labour's only salvation is the weakness of the Opposition
Rupert Mackenzie, UK
Labour promised that things would only get better. But things seem to be getting worse. The NHS is in decline, taxes are up and the Government seems so smug and arrogant about their failings.
Robert Halfon, England
Tory hypocrisy knows no bounds. They criticised the Government for putting any money at all into the NHS, and now they have the temerity to criticise them for not putting enough in!
And Hague's carefully considered solution to the Health Service's problems? More people should get private health insurance! Brilliant, but perhaps Mr Hague should have spent a few more years in school. Yes, people! Margaret Thatcher was wonderful. She ruined this country, but she must also be proud to have stood up in support of that dictator Pinochet. Winston Churchill must have turned in his grave.
Tony B, UK
No government is perfect. I think this one is doing a good job. It has invested real money in areas that matter and is doing an amazing job with the economy. It would be quite easy for this government to start the boom bust cycle again but it has refused to bow to pressure from all corners to return to this destructive phase.
Vishal Vashisht, UK
They have failed miserably in every category, from rising crime, an integrated transport policy which was a big lie, 1/2 a billion pounds spent on a circus tent, and on and on. And let's not forget about fox hunting, which they said they would ban - it doesn't take 3 years to do that. Next time, I'll be voting for the Raving Loony Party, at least I know where I'll stand.
Just out of interest, would all those slating the government (which for all its faults is at least stumbling in the right direction) really want to see Hague et al in Number 10? The Tories would turn the country into Fortress Britain, and it's hard to imagine that the Tories would be less sycophantic to the US than Labour, especially if Bush Jr is elected President.
Neil Halliday, England
The real increase in spending has been on the government itself - the immense cost of setting up and running three more bureaucracies in the devolved entities, as well as swelling the ranks of politicised civil servant fat cats. Meanwhile the honest, law-abiding working person that is the motor of our prosperity sees little gain and improvement - just more legislation, more hidden tax increases and a government deft at painting itself as faultless and squeaky-clean. One lives in hope for the next election although no doubt Mr Blair will try and fix that.
Many of the comments so far seem based on emotion or what the newspapers tell people to think. This is dangerous. Lets focus on a big reduction in unemployment, free nursery education for all, a big hospital and school building program and Northern Ireland. These are not just sound bites but reality.
Mark Savill, UK
This government is a good one. What exactly is everyone expecting? The most important job for a government is to provide a stable economic environment for us to use as we will. The most important thing is that they don't mess everything up like previous Labour and in some areas Tory governments. The Thatcher years cured many structural problems This government aims to put an end to boom bust. This will help all aspects of our economy and society.
Matt G, UK
I consider Margaret Thatcher to be the greatest British (peacetime) leader of the last Century, sadly she and the Tory Party finally lost their way. It now seems that we have a centre-left Tory Prime Minister leading the labour Party (and the country). And what a good job he seems to be doing. Government is a difficult job, you can never please everybody all of the time. It is very easy to criticise, the most we can expect is the best of a difficult job - don't believe everything they say but give them a chance to get some of it right for the good of us all!
Simon Cross, England
One of the most memorable nights of my life was watching the Tories fall so ungracefully from power in 1997. The climax being the defeat of Portillo, what a moment, probably never to be repeated again. Since then, I have observed a kind of bewilderment spread through the country because Labour have not yet done enough to help reverse the damage of 18 years of Tory rule.
Rob Palmer, Australia
Labour is all talk and no action, Tony Blair seems more concerned about his personal image that the success of UK PLC. The 'wave' of success he is riding is the result of policies that Mrs Thatcher introduced in the 80's.
I do not like this Government and they would never admit that they have followed Tory economic policy. They are a government, like all previous Labour administrations, for the soft option. Take Northern Ireland for instance.
Peter Pugh, UK
I will NEVER forgive Blair for destroying the only democratic vehicle the working class had to obtain a fair deal and making it into the Tory party mark-2. He is truly the Ramsay Mac Donald of the age and where is our Clem Attlee when we need him most. Broken promises as with Foxhunting, crawling to the rich and powerful, hurting the disadvantaged. I can see the greatest electoral reverse in British history; the only thing to save Blair will be the awfulness of Hague.
Steve Foley, England
The Government has the right ideas on many issues but lacks the strength to carry them through. Tony Blair's insistence on "Managing by Committee" means that many good initiatives get watered down. An example of this is the implementation of the Working Time Directive, which has so many exceptions that it was hardly worth doing and has made no difference to working life in Britain. This Government has a large majority and will never have a better chance to make the radical changes needed in this country. No other country in Europe would tolerate the huge rises in fuel duty, for example, or the failure of the Government to do anything effective about the pensions scandal.
Ian Thomas, UK
I believe that Britain should be ashamed of the Labour Government. They are responsible for destroying British historical integrity. Great Britain through the years has had a more firm link to their past than probably any other nation. The Labour Government has done away with many historical ties for petty gains. The Labour Government failure is that they have failed to recognise the importance of historical tradition to the British peoples; something that every other nation is envious of.
Jeremy DeWaal, United States
Higher taxes, more real unemployment, lower wages, downgrading of our education, military system and hospitals. Mr Blair rally has sold the family silver. The only problem is although I wouldn't vote Labour next time, who else is there to vote for. Where is the charisma in the other candidates. Bring back Major, Bring back Thatcher!
Dr Ian A Mollan, England
Blair and company tricked us all. They turned out to be Tories in disguise, who have now hijacked the Labour party. It's up to real Labour supporters to change this state of affairs, since we are not being properly represented.
Peter Benjamin, England
Illiberal, intellectually substandard, authoritarian, arrogant and inefficient. Better than the last lot, but not that much.
I hope that the next election will be called soon so that we can vote this Government out of existence. If we don't I am afraid we won't have a country left. They are worse than any Labour or Tory Government before them, because there is no substance to any of their promises or ideas. They are all arrogant non-caring, selfish bigots. Tories wake up!
Gretl Coudrille, UK
Blair and New Labour have failed lamentably to honour the promises they made at the last election. They have no underlying principles or beliefs, and are interested merely in re-election via the next lie, sound bite, spin or media manipulation. The fact that they had to bus in Labour Party workers to masquerade as 'ordinary people' the day after the election speaks volumes as to their phoney duplicity. No wonder Blair's ratings are in free-fall. People want solutions not smug grins!
Stewart Jackson, London, U K
It's about aspirations - actual results are often dictated by factors outside of the government's control. Mr Hague and co. harbours a monstrous arrogance in claiming that, for instance, their party handed over an N.H.S. in pristine condition. Tony Blair's government are not without fault - I for one am disappointed they have not scrapped the whole honours system - but they have demonstrated more ideas and ambitions in 1000 days than the previous Conservative Government managed in 18 years. Can you imagine Mrs Thatcher aiming to abolish child poverty ?.
Brian White, Denbighshire
1,000 days gone and the report card so far reads - A vast improvement on the previous administration, but you could do much better if you listened to us more. Last election I voted for you and I wouldn't mind at all if you put taxes up slightly to help the NHS out of its current crisis.
Peter Wilson, UK
The Government has failed to deliver across the board. Hospitals are worse than ever, schools are hardly improving. Although they started well on constitutional reform they are now dragging their heels over proportional representation, House of Lords reform and English regional government. They have been a disaster on the environment and transport and the 'ethical' foreign policy is just a joke. We seem to have government without principles and that I think is the problem.
Barry Tregear, England
In his own way, Blair is changing the UK, his party's image and British position on world stage. One can grade him a B+ for the effort.
This government is more dangerous than the last one. It has unpleasant authoritarian policies, but the natural opponents of such things are silenced by their tendency to support Labour. Would a right wing party get away with suggesting such things as restrictions to trial by jury and weakening the prohibition on double jeopardy? Our country desperately needs the equivalent of the amendments to the US constitution guaranteeing personal liberty.
Even though one might argue about the substance, it is the tone the government sets which is the most refreshing. I realise that is the opposite of those who criticise them as being all style, but the reality is that competent democratic middle of the road parties don't have a huge amount separating them on the policy front. Britain is a "small c" conservative country. Most people feel more secure being sheep. This government challenges peoples prejudices about the past and tries to nudge them towards the future. 1000 days later, not a whole lot has changed: But would we ever have the mood of optimism that we have in the UK today under the Tories?Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
Nick G, UK
Labour's election promises were just hot air. The Blairite mob are now proving to be the biggest "jobs for the boys" party in history. The bureaucracy is so inflated with cronies that the business of credible government has gone out of the window.
John Atkins, UK
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