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Tuesday, 3 October, 2000, 11:58 GMT 12:58 UK
Blair's speech: Did the prime minister deliver?

There was a standing ovation at the Labour Party Conference after UK Prime Minister Tony Blair gave one of the most critical speeches of his career.

After weeks of pension rows, fuel protests and flagging opinion polls, Mr Blair told delegates in Brighton that he had a second-term vision "worth fighting for", and asked for the nation's trust.

"I'm listening, I'm here and I will act" he said. The prime minister went on to defend Labour's progress saying they were delivering on the economy, jobs, schools and hospitals.

He seemed to have no problem winning the hearts in the conference hall, but what do you make of Tony Blair's speech? Has he managed to get the nation on side? Send us your views.

Here's what you had to say:


Although I am a Liberal Democrat voter I feel that Tony Blair has been dealt a raw deal over the last few weeks

Philip S. Hall, UK
Although I am a Liberal Democrat voter I feel that Tony Blair has been dealt a raw deal over the last few weeks. In the face of the fuel crisis he did what any PM would do in the circumstances. He was quite right not to give in. I also endorse the view that the British electorate needs to sort itself out over the issue of taxation. I just hope that they're not stupid enough to return a Conservative Government next time!
Philip S. Hall, UK

I think Tony should listen to the people. If he doesn't Hague will be in power next year and he will only have himself to blame.
Christina Boden, Austria

As a non-supporter of New Labour, I welcome the admission that the next election will be fought on tax and spend policies. Does Blair not remember that a big factor in his election last time was that he persuaded middle England that he was not a tax and spend man? When will people see that pouring more money into failing public services is just the same as pouring it into the Dome? Both are ill conceived, incompetently managed and fail to deliver.
Steve Dooley, England


What short memories the British have

Phil, England
What short memories the British have. Maggie Thatcher and John Major between them tore this country apart. Setting worker against worker and region against region, destroying any semblance of community spirit. Labour has spent the last three years slowing down the decline of the nation and the rebuilding is beginning to take shape. Schools and hospitals are being revitalised with massive injections of new money and we at last have a Government that actually governs and knows where it is going.
Phil, England

As a lifelong Labour supporter I have been disappointed by the Blair administration. There are many areas on which it could do better. However, Blair has done considerably more harm than good and there is no better alternative on the horizon. He has to do more than listen to the very real concerns over fuel prices, he must act.
A. Caversham, England

How can Tony Blair claim to be listening to the people when he cannot even listen to the members of the Labour party at their own conference? Does he not realise that it is the electorate that gave him the job as a voice for them?
Philip Bune, UK

I am a married man (no more tax allowance) with a mortgage (no more MIRAS) who has to drive to work (no public transport) who used to smoke (can't afford to) with no children (no families tax credit for me) who works for a company soon to be closed by new labour. Somehow I don't think Tony Blair is listening to me!
Tony, England

Look at the Government's score card: The lowest Unemployment in Europe. The lowest Inflation in Europe. Strong, consistent economic growth. Strengthened credibility in the world.
Full marks to Labour for piloting Britain to a much healthier position than it was in when they took power, and full marks to the Tories in their desperate vote-grabbing efforts to try and deflect attention from Labour's achievements.
Chris, Switzerland (British)


I say deja moo - I've heard this bull before

Toby Milward, England
Tony Blair delivered all right - a lot of hot air, waffle and vague promises about how if we trust him, he'll do a good job, honest guv, just like we did last time, but sorry we screwed up the Dome by the way, oh yes and the NHS isn't doing too well is it... oh dear. Those who say give Tony a break - I say give me a break! I say deja moo - I've heard this bull before.
Toby Milward, England

Every time I get annoyed with Blair and the Labour party. I simply look at the options available and realise that there is no viable alternative. That is the biggest crime in contemporary politics, not the Dome of Fuel Tax.
Jim Hamilton, UK

Nice performance Tony. I'm surprised Cherie didn't burst into tears to complete the scene, perhaps she's saving that for next year's Brit awards.
Chris, UK


I find it really sad to hear people complaining so much about fuel duty and the Millennium Dome

Gerry O'Brien, Northern Ireland
I feel that Blair's government has done as good a job as could be done under the circumstances. I find it really sad to hear people complaining so much about fuel duty and the Millennium Dome at a time when we have record employment, low inflation and a strong economic outlook!
Gerry O'Brien, Northern Ireland

Mr Blair was honest about his performance, and explained why he should not be re-elected.
Mark, UK

"But what a dismal choice we face at the next election - Blair or Hague. " rubbish. The only party worth voting for is neither New Labour nor Tory. It's the Liberal Democrats.
Rob Carter, UK


The earth did not move for me and nor will my vote move

Chris Klein, UK
The earth did not move for me and nor will my vote move. His union paymasters are now calling in the favours and we will see a return to the bad old days of old Labour. Thumbs down.
Chris Klein, UK

I believe in restoring the link for pensioners, but does anyone seriously think that the Conservatives will this if returned to power? They are the party that broke the link in the first place. The next Conservative government will see the end of the state pension. Voters beware.
Noel Hannon, UK

I am now paying more tax and duty on fuel but I've just been told that I will have to wait 5-6 months for treatment for a heart condition on the NHS. New Labour is taking our money NOW but isn't working NOW and nothing in the speech makes me believe that it will be working in the future!
Phil, UK

Give the Labour Party a chance. They have not had as much time in office as the Tories but have made a good start in trying to rebalance some of the inequalities that have existed for years. Tony Blair has said they are not perfect, but they are genuine in attempting to create a new NHS, schools etc. There has to be a price to pay for improving these facilities and if it has to be petrol rather than direct tax, so be it. Give the Labour Party another term so they can consolidate the improvements already made.
Jak, England

With every speech he makes Blair comes over as more arrogant, more condescending and more out of touch - so perhaps he is bringing honesty back into British politics after all!
Ed, UK

My God, what a cynical lot we have become. I found the PM's speech sincere and moving. I respect him for his commitment not to make an electoral issue out of asylum seekers. Give the guy a break and let's all resolve to be just a little less cynical about the good intentions of others.
Jeff Odell, UK


Does Tony Blair seriously expect us to trust him with the UK economy a second time round

Patrick Seurre, UK
Does Tony Blair seriously expect us to trust him with the UK economy a second time round when he gave the go ahead for the Millennium Dome, even though he knew it would probably fail? He said he was listening. Why then has he been ignoring the elderly by giving them an insultingly small rise in the basic pension and most of all insulting the intelligence of the general public by using indirect taxation excessively - most notably with the fuel tax? These arguments have not appeared over night. People have been talking about these problems for months and yet the Government ignored them.
Patrick Seurre, UK

The fuel tax is among the most regressive. It hits low income groups hard in that it affects the price of everything they buy - the wealthier section of society barely notices. What is needed is a more aggressive income tax scale aimed at the upper income brackets and business, a reduction in fuel tax and an increase in pension funding.
Ian H, Brit in USA

Why do people assume that more public spending equals better services?
Suresh, London

People should stop whinging and whining. The truth of the matter is this; if you want better public services, higher pensions, a better NHS, you have to pay more tax. It's as simple as that. That's the choice! It's not a matter of politics it's a matter of logic. Politics is secondary. I'm not a traditional Labour voter but I know that much is true! We can't have our cake and eat it but many people in the UK want it just that way! We've become a nanny state where we seem to expect to be looked after. People need to do a lot of soul searching before they make decisions about the next election!
Steve Munday, UK

To those people who have been criticising Tony Blair, which bits don't you like? Is it the fact that Britain has the lowest inflation in Europe, unemployment has gone below 1 million for the first time in three decades, wealth has been redistributed from the richest to the poorest sections of society, or is it the simple fact that Labour not only dared to win an election but can govern rather well. Britain was becoming a nasty, selfish society during 18 long years of Conservative rule but I support this Labour government because they believe in hope over fear and reason over bigotry.
Rob Williams, UK

Tony Blair is like Nero playing the lyre whilst Rome burns.
Peter, UK


Democracy is all about delivering promises

Gareth, UK
I believe it is now about time for the British electorate to insist on the elected Government being far more accountable to the nation with far less autonomy. It appears to me that all parties of today and in the past seem to rule our lives, dominate our finances, control our morals and insist on total autocratic power. Democracy is all about delivering promises and taking a particular path as approved by the majority of the electorate.
Gareth, UK

Tony has stuck his fingers up at the motorist. Those of us on middle incomes will continue to pay some of the highest taxes in the world with precious little improvements visible on any public service. I say the Labour party has completely lost the plot with the normal working family, it's going to be a long winter!
Chris, USA

Blair's speech was great. He acknowledged mistakes such as the Dome and pensions, but didn't give in to the fuel protests bullies. We are a pluralist society and all competing interests should use the ballet box to acknowledge dissent. Personally I don't think petrol is high enough. Road users should pay more pollution tax
Val, UK

I have heard the same rhetoric for 40 years from Labour and even the Conservatives. It hasn't worked for forty years and it won't work now. Until we get to grips with the fact that solutions are not in the hands of government but in the hands of individual citizens, nothing will change. The best any government - Labour or Conservative - can do is to reduce their interference in people's lives to an absolute minimum and let adults make their own decisions.
Richard, Brit in USA

I think that the Prime Minister's speech was clear and honest. Regardless of which side of the fence you sit on; right now, New Labour are miles ahead of the opposition. I didn't agree with everything that he said, but he delivered it in a no-nonsense way.
Vic, Newcastle, England

I want lower fuel duty, lower taxes, better public transport, improved hospitals and a world-class education system. Oh and also, can I have the moon on a stick as well please?
Ian, UK

Well of course Tony Blair got a standing ovation, after all it was the Labour Party Conference. This Government got elected on lies last term, so why not try the same tactics this time? He also talked about himself being a unifier. Not much evidence of that in Scottish parliament and Welsh assembly. We now have a chance to get President Blair out of office, so that we may look back in time with the same views of Labour as we have done before. Labour, new Labour lies!
Scott, UK


I doubt whether most normal people in this country can afford to vote for Labour a second time

Paul R, UK
Had Mr Blair been totally honest in his speech, he would have admitted that he has badly let down those who voted for him. At most he has kept the economy going as well as it was before, at worst he has made life worse off for those who can least afford it. I doubt whether most normal people in this country can afford to vote for Labour a second time, and Mr Blair would be doing himself and his party a favour if he recognises that and does something about it.
Paul R, UK

Why has Mr Blair not taken up ballooning? With so much hot air he could become world champion. This man has proved himself to be out of touch, deceitful, inept and an utter joke.
He professes to know what we want but does not deliver. What we really want is honest, effective politics. We don't want clever, misleading words. We want clear, honest policies followed up by actions. Give me a politician who promises less but delivers it and (s)he will get my vote every time.
Gary Dale, England

The message from the speech is clear to me. Vote Labour for higher taxes, but better public services, or vote Tory for lower taxes, but poorer public services. It is up to us to decide!
David, United Kingdom

When I chasten my children for doing something wrong they talk to me in the way that Tony Blair does. I am sorry but I listening now. As soon as your back is turned they go ahead and do the same again. Tony has no intention of listening to his core voters because New Labour is really Old Labour where they ignored the will of the people and maybe he requires 19 more years in the political wilderness to find out that the British electorate are fed up of being treated like idiots.
Mark, Germany (UK citizen)


Whether Mister Hague or Mister Blair is at the helm is not important, the expansion of capital goes on and on. I say its time for a revolution!

Jose Fernandez, Netherlands
Third way, or compassionate conservatism, its all the same when you think about it; neo-liberal mumbo-jumbo. In Britain, as in the rest of Europe, capital has won importance in the decision-making process and labour (non-capital) is losing ground. Companies are making record-profits, share-holder value is the mot du jour and meanwhile 100,000 more pensioners slipped below the breadline, services have been in decline since the 2nd oil-crisis and work has become cheaper and cheaper. Whether Mister Hague or Mister Blair is at the helm is not important, the expansion of capital goes on and on. I say its time for a revolution!
Jose Fernandez, Netherlands

'New Labour'. Ha. It's the same old Labour with a new mac and new cloth cap. They really haven't a clue as to what makes a nation tick.
Roger Sayer, USA

Same old words, same old tactics. Divert the attention from the most pressing of problems, i.e. fuel tax, etc. and they will go away of their own accord. Raise the dust clouds. Think again. Blair doesn't see his future as a political leader, but as an egotistical megalomaniac. He must be in charge, what he says is right and best we don't forget it!
Alan, England

"I'm listening, I'm here and I will act" T BLAIR In other words 'I have no plan or vision for the future to offer, so please let me know what to do, answers on a postcard.' Blair is a true man of the post-political times, devoid of any ideology, conviction and leadership. Instead there's only bumbling crisis management on a weekly basis, a government that is only good at squeaking sound bites and becoming less and less accountable for its actions and in-actions.
D McCarthy, Australia (UK)

New Labour has increased taxes at a phenomenal rate yet nothing is getting better. Crime is at an all time high, the NHS is worse than ever and 100,000 more people have slipped into poverty. Tony Blair is no more than a waffler.
Edward Hyde, USA

As a pensioner I have paid for my State pension since 1948. I don't want charity, TV licence, fuel allowance or any means testing. I just want what I paid for what I thought I had been promised.
Pip Elton, UK

Tony Blair has set out his vision for the next term. He has rightly enforced the view of the Government that Boom and Bust are not options in a proper economy. He has admitted that Labour (New) has to listen and has equated, quite rightly, that knee jerk reactions to instant protest will not help the long term economy of the country.
Perhaps if they decide to blockade the country next time, the real losers in a fuel tax cut - the pensioners, children and NHS staff and patients - will act in opposition and clear them off their petty picket lines!
Phil, UK

Give the man a chance! Our present Prime minister is a man of great sincerity. He admits to mistakes but is prepared to re-affirm his principles and put his future in the hands of the British electorate. Let us hope that the electorate are not foolishness enough to return a dubious Conservative government.
Philip S Hall, UK


William Hague has certainly not reformed them in any meaningful respect .. only taken the party further to the right in the desperate attempt to win votes from nasty and selfish people.

Christine Burns, UK
I was a lifelong Conservative voter and active constituency officer until the run up to the last election, when I could finally take no more of the extremist and arrogant rhetoric coming from its' leadership day after day.
Those who moan should really stop and think back to that timeż a time when none of us could wait for the election to come, and the opportunity to tell the Conservatives what we thought of them. William Hague has certainly not reformed them in any meaningful respect .. only taken the party further to the right in the desperate attempt to win votes from nasty and selfish people.
Christine Burns, UK

Sound economy, strong leader, lowest unemployment for years. Anything wrong with this picture? Oh yes, lots of unhappy cabbies and fox hunters - ahhh didums. Blair is a capable PM with a strong team behind him, he's far and away the best leader we've had for years (from a pretty slim field admittedly - and that includes Maggie). Simply put, do you to see little Billy Hague trying to act tough on the world stage?
Neil Halliday, United Kingdom

I seem to recall Tony Blair making the point that "confidence" and not "cynicism" is what is required. He DOES know best what is required to run this country effectively. Let us not forget just how bad things were under the previous government! So much has improved since three years ago. I agree that Blair wants a second term - of course he does - he has a very positive and encouraging vision for this nation in the 21st century and wants to be able to make it a reality. Personally I have every faith in his abilities.
James Whale, UK


What we need to see is action not more words

T. Scaife, UK
What we need to see is action not more words - a significant pension rise now, lower fuel tax, better roads, a ban on fox hunting and more direct action on poverty.
T. Scaife, UK

There are lots of ways to say this and they all amount to the same thing, talk is cheap and actions speak louder than words. Through my entire life all I've ever seen is the screws turned tighter and tighter while various politicians promise that everything will be different if we just put them in power. Meanwhile they accept well paid jobs with big business and act just like the last lot. So will this piece of rhetoric be different from all the others? I seriously doubt it.
Chris Hann, USA (Brit)

It is unlikely that anybody will listen to Blair because he is speaking the unpopular truth. If you want decent services in this country, you have to pay for them - and it may take years for the money to take effect. Those who whinge about fuel prices in this country should get their priorities straight.
Steve Besford, UK


I think that this speech delivered the necessary combination of humility and vision

Simon, UK
As a former Conservative voter who switched to Labour for the first time in 97, I think that this speech delivered the necessary combination of humility and vision to help keep swing voters on board next time round. The events of the last two weeks apart, the Government has proved very capable of sound economic management, (to my initial surprise!), and is now starting to deliver sustainable spending increases in the key areas of health, education and public transportation, which were so neglected over the previous two decades. Whilst the Conservatives do have some good ideas, they have not yet learned the lessons of the past and William Hague does not have the necessary stature to lead what is now the world's fourth largest economy.
Simon, UK

A standing ovation? Never! Blair's speech was full of the usual warm words. He wants a second term for himself above all else - he'll probably get it too. But what a dismal choice we face at the next election - Blair or Hague.
Matthew, UK

I would sum up the speech as; "I am listening...but I still know best!!"
Alan Newton, Devon

When a politician has a vision for how your life is to be led and requests that you trust him about it, steer well clear. That's my advice.
Judith, England

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