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.
A New Britain where the extraordinary talent of the British people is liberated from the forces of conservatism that so long have held them back, to create a model 21st century nation, based not on privilege, class or background, but on the equal worth of all.
And New Labour, confident at having modernised itself, now the new progressive force in British politics which can modernise the nation, sweep away those forces of conservatism to set the people free.
100 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.
Today’s Tory party – the party of fox hunting, Pinochet and hereditary peers: the uneatable, the unspeakable and the unelectable.
By convention, Prime Ministers start with all the good things their Government has done. I want to start where the British people start: with all we have still to do.
- More than 1 million still unemployed.
- Schools and hospitals still needing investment.
- Pensioners still living in hardship.
- People still petrified by crime and drugs.
- 3 million children still in poverty.
A century of decline, 20 years of Conservative Government still not put to rights. Do you think I don’t feel this, in every fibre of my being?
The frustration, the impatience, the urgency, the anger at the waste of lives unfulfilled, hopes never achieved, dreams never realised. And whilst there is one child still in poverty in Britain today, one pensioner in poverty, one person denied their chance in life, there is one Prime Minister and one Party that will have no rest, no
vanity in achievement, no sense of mission completed, until they too are free.
So I do not claim Britain is transformed. I do say the foundations of a New Britain are being laid.
After decades of Tory boom and bust, it is New Labour which is the party of economic competence today and for that we can be proud; and proud of our Chancellor too.
Indeed, I can stand here today, leader of the Labour Party, Prime Minister, and say to the British people: you have never had it so …….. prudent.
This is an edited transcript of Tony Blair's Bournemouth speech.
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