Monitor: Opinions on the Government's record as its conference begins

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The Independent Culture
HE HAS never failed a challenge. Never failed the British people. Never let us down. This is not the time to start. There are huge problems ahead, and they have to be beaten if this country is to go into the next century with hope. Tony Blair cannot do it on his own. But we cannot do it without him.

Sunday Mirror

THE EXPERIENCE of the last five years of Tory rule - tax rises, Black Wednesday, and broken promises - showed how ruthlessly the public punishes economic incompetence. It is too early to convict Mr Blair of this charge. But if he wishes to be acquitted, he must realise that, for a Prime Minister, economic literacy is as important as prodigal charm. Where inflation and taxation are concerned, it is impossible to be all things to all men.

The Sunday Telegraph

THIS WEEK the Prime Minister is expected to tell his party conference that child benefit will be taxed. If this benefit is now to be taxed, where will the burden fall? Not on the very wealthy, to whom child benefit is an irrelevance anyway. Nor on the feckless who pay no tax.Those who will suffer will be people on modest salaries who have been increasingly drawn into the Treasury's net by the falling real value of tax thresholds. And they, as Mr Blair should know only too well, are overwhelmingly the people who voted him into office.

The Mail on Sunday

AS GOVERNMENTS go, it has been a good opening 18 months. Something to be proud of. But factors outside party control pose a grave threat as linked economies crash around the world, and high interest rates put the knife into manufacturing and exporting industries. And they spell out a clear message: the last half of New Labour's first term of office will be the real testing time.

News of the World

THE QUESTION remains: what is New Labour for? We know that Mr Blair performed a brilliant feat when he took over, and transformed his party, making it electable once more. But vacuous rhetoric about communitarianism or the Third Way only heightens suspicions that Blairism is a kinder, gentler form of Thatcherism.

The Independent on Sunday

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