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Thursday, 3 October, 2002, 11:43 GMT 12:43 UK
Happy days for 'mainstream' Benn
Former Labour MP Tony Benn spoke about his week in Blackpool at the annual Tribune rally. Here are some of his thoughts.

"This was a very exciting conference. Everybody seems to be happy.

The trade unions are very popular now.


At my age I suddenly find myself mainstream

Tony Benn
The left is very confident at this conference.

The left has now got majority support - I don't understand what has happened.

Most people in the UK want railways publicly owned. Most people want pensions linked to earnings.

'Mainstream'

Most people want a good education system where students are not left in debt.

And most people don't want Enron to run the NHS.

At my age I suddenly find myself mainstream.


The prime minister is happy as he heads off into the wilderness

Tony Benn
So the unions are happy, the left is happy and the public is happy. We are saying what they want to hear.

And the prime minister is happy as he heads off into the wilderness. I have never heard a happier speech in my life.

If everybody is happy we must be going in the right direction.

Somebody said to me the other day, "what are you waiting for?"

I am waiting for the election of a Labour government The Labour movement is still here. It is alive and well.

People want to be represented, not managed.

Optimism

I leave this conference with a great deal of pleasure.

I have seen the Labour movement swing from left to right so many times.

I agree with the prime minister. Optimism is the fuel of progress, pessimism is the prison in which we confine ourselves.

We meet, we gather, we express our view.

The public is with us and now we have got to go ahead and discharge our obligations."

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