BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Politics  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 11 September, 2002, 07:49 GMT 08:49 UK
What they thought of Blair
Tony Blair
A nervous-seeming Mr Blair got a mixed reception
Tony Blair got through his speech to the TUC conference relatively unscathed but what did people in the auditorium think of his performance.

BBC News Online spoke to delegates and guests at the Blackpool conference.

Emily Kelly
Emily Kelly, a delegate of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), said the prime minister had failed to answer any of the big questions concerning the unions.

"I didn't think that he approached any subject fully: he swept aside privatisation and he only touched on the prospect of war with Iraq."

Ms Kelly, from Lancashire, said there was a limit to how many times delegates could be told about the New Deal or the minimum wage.

"I think he's as bad as Thatcher if you want to know," she added.

Mr Blair's speech was received much more favourably by Peter Campbell, who was a visitor to the conference with Amicus.

Peter Campbell
"I thought it was a very good speech - there was a bit in there for everyone," he said.

"I particularly liked the commitment to consult Parliament and the UN ahead of any action."

"I thought it was important that the prime minister used this opportunity to outline the government's many achievements."

Roger King, a member of the National Union of Teachers' (NUT) Birmingham Association, said he was particularly concerned over the prospect of war with Iraq.

Roger King
"There was nothing new in the speech - we know what Labour has achieved," said Mr King.

"On the war I thought his stance was inadequate.

"War isn't the answer and what's more if it's Iraq tomorrow who's going to be next?"

Ben Stevenson, from Birmingham - who describes himself as an unemployed student - rounded on Mr Blair's use of the term "partnership" to describe the relationship between unions and employers.

He said that Mr Blair had been trying to prepare delegates for privatisation of public services.

Ben Stevenson
"There was more propaganda from the White House than anything about the public services," said Mr Stevenson.

"I think his comments on Iraq were quite despicable and contrary to public opinion."

Nurse Yunus Bakhsh, from Newcastle, dismissed Mr Blair's speech as "garbage" and "empty rhetoric"

The UNISON member added: "He's privatising more public services than his hero Thatcher did.

"He can find money for war but not for paying the firefighters properly."

Another UNISON member, Pauline Thorne from Brighton, said: "I think Blair came here realising how strong the feeling was in the trade union movement.

Pauline Thorne
"It was a very thoughtful speech from that point of view.

"Partnership between the unions and Labour is about give and take and we've given quite a lot.

"He's got to learn that we don't make things up - we talk to our members."


Key stories

Analysis

Union voices

Background

FORUM

TALKING POINT
See also:

10 Sep 02 | Politics
06 Sep 02 | Politics
08 Sep 02 | Politics
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


E-mail this story to a friend



© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes