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Tuesday, September 28, 1999 Published at 15:46 GMT 16:46 UK

UK Politics

The key points of Tony Blair's speech

Tony Blair: "We're only flesh and blood in the end"

The key points of Prime Minister Tony Blair's speech to the Labour Party conference.

Labour's unfinished business

"Today at the frontier of the new millennium, I set out for you how, as a nation, we renew British strength and confidence for the 21st century and how, as a party reborn, we make it a century of progressive politics after one dominated by Conservatives.

"One hundred years in existence, 22 in power. We have never ever won a full second term.

"That is our unfinished business. Let us now finish it and with it finish the Tory party's chances of doing as much damage in the next century as they've done in this one."

Blair on the Tories

"The party of foxhunting, Pinochet and hereditary peers - the uneatable, the unspeakable and the unelectable.

"There's only one thing you need to know about today's Tory Party.

"Clarke and Heseltine: outcasts. Hague, Widdecombe, Redwood and Portillo in charge.

"The only party that spent two years in hibernation in search of a new image and came back as the Addams family.

"Under John Major it was weak, weak, weak. Under William Hague it's weird, weird, weird.

"Far right, far out."

Talent and technology

"We know what a 21st century nation needs - a knowledge-based economy, a strong civic society, a confident place in the world.

"Do that and a nation masters the future. Fail and it is the future's victim.

"The challenge is how. The answer is people. The future is people, the liberation of human potential, not just as workers but as citizens.

"Fail to develop the talents of any one person, we fail Britain. Talent is 21st century wealth."

Class war

"Not equal incomes. Not uniform lifestyles or taste or culture. But true equality - equal worth, an equal chance of fulfilment, equal access to knowledge and opportunity.

"Equal rights. Equal responsibilities. The class war is over. But the struggle for true equality has only just begun."

On Europe and the single currency

"The single currency is, of course, a decision that must be dependent on the economic conditions and on the consent of the British people in a referendum.

"If we believe our destiny is with Europe, then let us leave behind the muddling through, the hesitation, the half-heartedness which has characterised British relations with Europe for 40 years and play our part with confidence and pride giving us the chance to defeat the forces of conservatism, economic and political, that hold Europe back too.

"Britain has the potential to be the bridge between Europe and America for the 21st Century: the narrow-minded isolationism of right-wing Tories should not block our path to fulfilling it."

Northern Ireland

"Those who are addicted to violence, those who confuse any progress with selling out - they shouldn't determine Northern Ireland's future.

"Walk through Belfast. No armed soldiers. Drive through it. No road blocks.

"Last year, for the first time in 30 years, not a single member of the security forces was killed. In 1996, 8,000 plastic bullets were fired. This year 99."

The National Health Service

"Look at this Party's greatest achievement. The forces of conservatism, and the force of the Conservative Party, pulled every trick in the book - voting 51 times, yes 51 times, against the creation of the NHS.

"One leading Tory, Mr Henry Willink, said at the time that the NHS "will destroy so much in this country that we value", when we knew human potential can never be realised when whether you are well or ill depends on wealth not need."

The Third Way

"The Third Way is not a new way between progressive and conservative politics.

"It is progressive politics distinguishing itself from conservatism of left or right.

"New Labour must be the new radicals who take on both of them, not just on election day but every day."

The next election

"Slowly the Tory general election strategy is emerging.

"To two million people given a pay rise through the minimum wage. Tory pledge one: we'll cut it.

"To 1.5 million families helped by the working families tax credit. Tory pledge two: we'll scrap it.

"To 250,000 young people getting through the New Deal, Tory pledge three: you'll go back on the dole.

"I say: roll on the next General Election."

The economy and Prudence

"Now after a century of antagonism, economic efficiency and social justice are finally working in partnership together.

"We are demonstrating that it is possible to cut poverty and run the economy well. At last our historic reputation for compassion is being matched with a hard won reputation for economic competence.

"From now on people will vote Labour with their head as well as their heart.

"The political landscape of Britain has changed forever. That's why Prudence's chastity belt stays on, even for the Liberal Democrats."


"Why if education is the key to success do we allow so many children to leave school at 16 when we should be doing all we can to get them to stay on.

"Today we are announcing a smartcard to offer all 16-18 year olds who stay in education cut price deals at shops, in theatres and cinemas and on trains and buses.

"Only now can this happen because there is a Labour Government that cares about educating the many and a Labour Party with the courage to reform the system to do it."


"My grandfather's generation was strong on values. Respect for people. Good manners. Horror of crime. But it was a generation also of deference and of prejudices: racial, sexual, social.

"The modern world is different. There is less prejudice, less deference, but also less respect.

"It is time to move beyond the social indifference of right and left, libertarian nonsense masquerading as freedom.

"This generation wants a society free from prejudice, but not from rules, from order."

National moral purpose

"If we are in politics for one thing - it is to make sure that all children are given the best chance in life. That the moment they are born, their potential and individuality can sparkle.

"That every child can grow up with high hopes, certainty, love, security and the attention of their parents.

"Strong families cherished by a strong community. That is our national moral purpose. So when I pledge to end child poverty in 20 years, I do so not just as a politician, but as a father."

A lonely job

"Can I tell you something? And there are only four other people alive who know this - it's actually a bit odd being prime minister.

"Everyone has views about you, and no hesitation giving them to you.

"You read things about yourself, on a daily basis, that are a complete mystery.

"And you find that a lot of strange new people want to be your friend, and lots of other strange people want to be your enemy.

"We're only flesh and blood in the end. Sometimes can't sleep. Worry about the job. Worry about the kids. Worry about growing old. Worry about interest rates going up. Worry about Newcastle going down."

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