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Saturday, 9 June, 2001, 18:40 GMT 19:40 UK
What should they do first?

Having secured their second term in office the Labour government have at the most another five years to fulfil their election promises.

Labour made the economy and improvements in the public sector the central issue of their campaign.

Mr Blair pledged there would be no rise in the top or basic rate of income tax. Low inflation and mortgage rates were also key aspects of the Labour manifesto.

Labour claimed they would recruit 20,000 more nurses, 10,000 more teachers and 6,000 extra police recruits.

Do you think they will keep their promises? What other issues should top their agenda?

We will be discussing the implications of the UK election this Sunday in a special Talking Point phone-in programme broadcast on BBC World Service Radio and on BBC News Online at 1500 BST (1400 GMT). If you would like to take part, please include a telephone number with your comments where we may contact you.

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Your reaction


Blair needs to re-engage the public

Allan Rankine, Bedforshire
Tony Blair needs to re-engage the public. He could start by thoroughly modernising all of the parliamentary institutions and giving serious consideration to voting reform. The people of this country want a first-rate democracy that sets the standard for all other countries to follow.
Allan Rankine, Bedforshire

The first thing Tony should do is change the structure of our secondary schools so that all pupils are not required to be academic up to the age of 16. Many pupils are simply not suited to sitting in a classroom studying the same as everyone else when it is clear that they will never be able to make use of their academic education, have no intention of going on to further education, and become disruptive and difficult in school because they see it as irrelevant to their needs. Provide a decent, well-funded vocational education for those who would benefit from it, with qualifications that future employers would value.
Mike Draper, Sandbach, UK

I think it's a good opportunity for Mr. Blair to step forward as a leader in globalisation, particularly since our own President seems hell-bent on separating the US from everyone but the US. I think Europe is in a great position to clamp down on Mr. Bush's environmental stance.
Sally, Denver, USA

Tony Blair should make it quite clear to the members of his party, and the civil servants, that their duty is to the British people, and not their own particular whims and fancies and self-interests. No wild promises should be made for the sake of short-term political gain.
Jack Sudworth, Ashton-in-Makerfield, Wigan


Resist the temptation to waste time on vocal minority issues

Barry Jones, Bideford UK
Focus on the big issues and resist the temptation to waste time on vocal minority issues. Drive out the civil servants who soak up funds and delay action.
Barry Jones, Bideford UK

Just as England is a leading member of the Common Market, I suggest the Labour party take immediate action for Britain to assume its proper role as a leader in the Europe by adopting the euro. Yes, it will be hard to convert, but only minimally beneficial things are easily accomplished. As the Americas and Asian countries move more and more toward economic coordination, Europe and Britain need each other's strengths to maintain their deserved competitive place in the world economy.
Mary F. Byrkit, Portland, OR, USA

Introduce Single Transferable Vote in single seat constituencies, meaning that a party must achieve 50 per cent of the vote in their respective constituencies and one vote. In the next election people would know that they can vote for the party that they like, but then transfer on to other parties until one wins. This would mean that every MP at least has the support or second preference support of the majority of their constituents. Not exactly PR, but a fairer method of election in the present system. See then the turnouts might actually rise, especially in 'safe' seats.
Bernard, Dublin, Ireland

They should restore the hereditary peers to the House of Lords, abolish the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly, repeal the Human Rights Act and resign. They've done enough damage.
Louis, USA

This government has already started to reform our public services and that existing work should continue. What is important now is to ensure that we have a successful manufacturing export economy for the future. A healthy manufacturing economy is the only way we can pay for the improvements we want to see and we will still have to be patient.
Roy Edward, Wirral, UK


First desperate priority: renationalise Railtrack

Jon Chapman, Sydney, Australia
First desperate priority: renationalise Railtrack, at an immediate financial cost of less than the sorry debacle would cost to maintain. Second priority: Stop stressing about a "low" turnout - abstention is a right in a true democracy (please note, Australia) but its message of emotional disenfranchisement should be heeded by those looking 5 years hence.
Jon Chapman, Sydney, Australia

The first thing Mr Blair should do is finish what he has started. As for the low turn out, well the Tories where trying to encourage that were they not?
Robert Wood, Blackpool UK

Whatever it is it shouldn't be "War on Drugs". There are more pressing issues and the 'war' was lost years ago.
George, Leamington Spa, UK

Transfer the annual three billion pounds Farmers' Grant to education, health and schools. The only people who would suffer are the makers of Range-Rovers.
Graham Boucher, Bridgend

Keep the promises!!
Faheem M, Germany


Tony Blair must realise, that voters won't forgive him this time if he fails

Karl, Cardiff, UK
Tony Blair must realise, that voters won't forgive him this time if he fails. We need big investment in the film industry, science, biotech and IT industry to keep talent and keep inventions in UK for the benefit of UK.
Karl, Cardiff, UK

Labour need to kick off by setting long-term plans in process on the issues that the public care about. No more chopping and changing, launching "initiatives" left, right and centre, and periodically re-announcing funding increases to improve their poll ratings. Honest, open politics moving forward on the four fronts of education, NHS, transport and policing. Long-term strategies, fully costed, need to be set in place early, instead of PR oriented attempts to appear to be doing something. Failing to deliver in four years could be seen as careless, failing in eight might be unforgivable.
Alison Maynard, Worcester, UK

The government needs to focus on really making a difference somewhere. Despite all the excitement and the huge majorities that they have enjoyed nothing seems to have changed. No wonder people are getting disenchanted with politics. So let's see some movement: take your pick from education, health, transport and international policy. Just stop spinning and make a difference.
Thomas Furlong, Redhill, UK

Public services must have priority over everything else. Taxation on the very rich must surely rise to safeguard spending levels into the last two years of the next parliament. This inevitability should be spelt out clearly and honestly right now. The wealthy have done very well out of New labour and they cannot really complain.
Pamela Armstrong, UK


Rid us of those hated spin doctors

Dominic, Plymouth, UK
How about getting rid of the red tape that is suffocating almost all areas of employment: teachers, police, hospitals etc etc. Rid us of those hated spin doctors. Then reinvest that money into the economy via tax cuts or increased spending.
Dominic, Plymouth, UK

Start telling the truth.
Bill Bell, Stafford

How about delivering the things they said they would do last time? The statistics are all there: violent crime has risen, there are fewer police, people still have to wait months for a hospital consultation and years for treatment, Britain is now swamped by 'asylum seekers' 70 per cent of who were deemed by the Home Office to have no case. At the same time tax has been increased by stealth, where is our money going? Labour has also failed to ban fox hunting, a specific pledge.
Steve, London, UK

I hope that this election provides the watershed for continued victories against the right wing, xenophobic, socially divisive Tory party. Constructive relations with our near European neighbours are the future for the UK. At some stage this will include adopting the Single Currency.
Rob Cooke, Nottingham, UK

Yes there are lots more things to be done, the tasks can never be fully completed, but we have a government that is best able to deliver what is needed.
Kingsley Rees, Bridgend, South Wales.

Firstly, Tony Blair should ask himself why less than one in four of the electorate voted for him. He should then ask himself why the remaining three quarters did not vote for him. I suspect that the reason three quarters of the people did not vote for him was because he has the reputation of 'Nice words. Little delivery. Too much spin. Must try harder.'
Colin, Lincoln, UK


People are fed up with politicians who never listen to their needs

K, Barrie Canada
Blair has to rebuild the infrastructure first, and that means better pensions, better educational opportunities, better train services, health care, tighter immigration laws etc. It doesn't surprise me that there was a low turn out at the polls because the people are fed up with politicians who never listen to their needs. Fidel Castro once said that "there is only one day in the West when there is true democracy and that is on election day". Well in that instance he was right on!
K, Barrie Canada

The first thing Blair should do is apologise for not delivering what he promised four years ago. If he doesn't deliver this time, he'll be out on his ear. He and his simpering sycophants should now, at long last, take responsibility for the state of things instead of using their constant refrain of the last four years, namely "it's all the Tories' fault".
Graham Auty, Leeds, UK


Blair largely kept his promises in the last parliament

Graeme Herrington, Frankfurt, Germany
Blair largely kept his promises in the last parliament, so I don't think there is any danger of him failing to keep up to his rhetoric. The appalling decline in services, largely bequeathed by the Tories has generally been stopped. In many ways, Labour has, in spite of the accusations of spin, generally been unsuccessful at advertising its successes - independence of the Bank of England, constitutional reform, employment. What is preventing the more radical agenda (public service regeneration) is the strongly conservative civil service and associated bureaucracies.
Graeme Herrington, Frankfurt, Germany

The first thing Labour should do is to bring in wide ranging changes to the way in which the farming and food production industry produce food. Instead of allowing farmers and supermarkets to force feed us with chemicals, poisons and diseased meat, fruit and vegetables, the government should enforce organic farming and ensure that intensive livestock farming methods are dismantled.
Graham Walker, Brownhills, England

Firstly, Tony Blair should ask himself why less than 1 in 4 of the electorate voted for his party. He should then try to ascertain why he has failed to impress the remaining three quarters of voters. He must know that he won the election because the Tories did not represent a viable alternative and insufficient people were able to make the mind change to seeing the Liberal Democrats as the new second party in British politics.
Colin, Lincoln, UK


Decriminalise cannabis

Lyndon Pugh, Lewes, UK
They should learn from Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands, and decriminalise cannabis.
Lyndon Pugh, Lewes, UK

Blair should resign now, before he fails to deliver yet again. Been to hospital recently, seen class sizes, seen the state of our roads? The economy was in a strong state because of '18 years of misrule'!
Julian Vickers, Stafford, UK

Overhaul the voting system to give fair representation & make my vote count. I'm fed up living in a Tory constituency with a large majority, where my vote is in effect ignored. Alternatively if an effective process for tactical voting was implemented this would help.
Robert Denton,


Re-introduce a bill to outlaw fox hunting

Dom Giles, Midlands, UK
First Labour should re-introduce a bill to outlaw fox hunting. Then make plans to introduce proportional representation, and on foreign policy let the USA know in no uncertain terms that we will not go along with the Star Wars programme or allow them to opt out of the Kyoto Agreement.
Dom Giles, Midlands, UK

The former Labour Government was a huge disappointment to those of us concerned with environmental issues. Although they have fought the campaign on understandably important matters such as the economy & public services I would like to see some more proactive policies regarding the protection of Britain's natural & archaeological heritage.
Barry Patterson, Coventry, West Midlands

I believe the one thing that has come out of this election is the need for election reform. Firstly voting should be compulsory as we have in Australia at all levels of government. Then some type of preference voting, as this would make parties like the Liberal Democrats a real choice for voters, instead of this so called "first-past-the-post" in which somebody with less then 25 per cent of possible votes can be elected.
Malcolm Freeman, Patterson Lakes Victoria Australia

The first things to do are to crack down on crime, especially teenage crime and truancy, and crack down on benefit fraud. Crack down on all drug related crime, which is making peoples lives a misery.
Jonathan Evans, Newport - Gwent - Wales

The election result has reinforced two messages. the first is that we, as a country, are not prepared to support right-wing policies that attempt to isolate minorities. The second is that the appallingly low turnout is a silent protest to New Labour that they must listen more and start to deliver real change.
Robert Moore, Peterborough, UK

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