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EDITIONS
Sunday, 3 February, 2002, 16:07 GMT
Blair speech: Key quotes
Tony Blair leaves the stage to applause from party chairman Charles Clarke
Blair favours 'public private partnerships'
A selection of key quotes from Tony Blair's speech at the Labour Party spring conference in Cardiff:


'All available means'
"Forget the nonsense about privatising public services under this government. If we are to win the argument for collective provision, defeat the wreckers and secure the future of our public services, then we must be prepared to use all available means to make the improvements that patients and pupils and passengers demand. And we will."


'Dogma'
"Public sector workers ... do a fantastic job. They are bound to be the main deliverers of our programmes. But are we going to make patients wait in pain for operations because of some dogma about not using private hospitals, even though they may have spare capacity to do NHS operations? Are we going to force local communities to put up with crumbling Victorian buildings for years and years and years just because we have some ideological objection to a private company building their new hospital?"


'Small c conservatives'
"Because we are on the side of the pupil, the patient, the passenger, the victim of crime, we know we don't do that (build up public services) by leaving things as they are, for just as we must take on and defeat the big C - Conservatives who want to undermine public services - so we must defeat in argument the small c - conservatives who believe the old ways will do and who resist reform."


'Challenging orthodoxy'
"We have always had attacks to the right of us and attacks to the far left of us. Those attacks actually meet at a certain point. What is important to realise is the reason that we came to power and made that journey of change is because we were prepared to challenge that political orthodoxy. We were prepared to take on that unholy alliance of right and far left. And the reason why we were correct to do it was not because any of the changes were a betrayal, but on the contrary, because we finally learnt to take our values, realise values are timeless, the means of applying them aren't but will change for every generation."


'More choice'
"We want quality public services, built around four key principles of reform: national standards of inspection and accountability; devolution to the frontline; more flexible terms, conditions and working practices; more choice for the consumer, being prepared to use alternative providers."


'Reformers versus wreckers'
"The Tories have made their choice. They want spending cut to 35% of GDP - that would mean 60bn. And they can only ever begin to make the political case for that if they run the public services down. Do them down. Do them in. Our strategy is to build up the public services. Theirs is to knock them down. Reformers versus wreckers. That is the battle for this Parliament and it is one that we must win."


'Referendum'
"The policy on the single currency is the right policy for Britain. We're in principle in favour; in practice the tests must be met and the British people would have the final say in a referendum. But to pretend the euro can be ignored, to sit on the sidelines just willing it to fail, is the abdication of the true national interest."

See also:

03 Feb 02 | UK Politics
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