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The BBC's Josh Bassett reports
"Mr Blair will praise activists who've stuck with the party"
 real 28k

Tony Benn MP
"I'm enormously proud"
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Sunday, 27 February, 2000, 04:35 GMT
Blair marks 100 years of Labour
hospital scene
Mr Blair aims to make the NHS the pride of Britain
Prime Minister Tony Blair is preparing to mark Labour's centenary by setting out a list of core ambitions for Britain.

Mr Blair will say that his New Labour government is the progressive force which can fulfil those goals.

Blair's goals for Britain
Full employment
Educational excellence
NHS strengthened
End to child poverty
British pride
He will tell supporters that the party was a significant civilising influence during the 20th century, but can achieve even more in the 21st.

Mr Blair will draw parallels between Clement Attlee's creation of the NHS and New Labour's national minimum wage and the New Deal for the unemployed.

But he will argue that the party must keep its grip on office, which means maintaining a broad appeal rather than focusing on activists' concerns.

Mr Blair and his deputy John Prescott will lead nationwide celebrations marking 100 years of Labour, while other members of the government will also be attending commemorative events.

Mr Blair's five goals for Britain are:

  • Full employment, with the UK embracing the challenges posed by the information technology revolution and knowledge-driven businesses

  • Excellence for all in education

  • Making the National Health Service once again the pride of Britain and an institution to be envied around the world

  • Ending child poverty over a 20-year period

  • To enable Britain to stand "tall and confident" in the world

    Supporters will warmly welcome the extent of Mr Blair's ambitions for the health service, given its recent problems and doubts about the affordability of upgrading the NHS.

    He will say that Labour achieved "more than anyone could have imagined in our first 100 years - but can make the second 100 a century of even greater success".

  • children
    Labour should strive for excellence in education, says Mr Blair
    He will also say Labour's foot soldiers deserve the greatest praise.

    "The people who may not think of themselves as heroes, but in many ways are the biggest heroes of all, are the party members who stuck with us through the hard times as well as the good," Mr Blair will say.

    "It is you, after all, who saw us through the periods of deepest despair, stuck with the party, and helped see it back to power."

    The events are intended to mark the centenary of the meeting on 27 February 27 1900 of left-leaning organisations at the Methodist Memorial Hall in London, which effectively marked the founding of the Labour Party.

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    See also:

    25 Feb 00 |  UK Politics
    Labour leaders deny grassroots drift
    22 Feb 00 |  Labour centenary
    Sacrifices in the scramble for power
    22 Feb 00 |  Labour centenary
    A political correspondent reflects...
    24 Feb 00 |  Labour centenary
    One hundred years of Labour
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