WITHOUT TONY Blair at the helm the ship of state might very well blow off course. He has already proved he knows exactly how to steer Britain towards the uncertain seas of the new Millennium by insisting economic competence goes hand in hand with social justice. And he has kept all the promises he made to Sunday People readers. "Ten more years" was the cry of the faithful at Tory conferences when Margaret Thatcher was Premier. And ten more years should be the cry at the Labour one this week.
MODERNISING BRITAIN requires greater effort and momentum than his government has so far shown. The entrepreneurial spirit, the chief engine of wealth and job creation, continues to be stifled by bureaucracy and Downing Street's over-reliance on big business advisers. Middle England continues to give Mr Blair the benefit of the doubt on almost every issue, but the longer he governs the clearer is his record. To complete the Blairite revolution, the government needs more than a pass mark in prudent book-keeping. Mr Blair's promise of sustained investment in education is welcome, but every prime minister has delivered that. He must face the challenge posed by his own children's school in a more forthright way. Every public service cries out for more funds. Finding the right mix between the public purse and private pockets is the big question on Mr Blair's agenda now.
The Sunday Times
TONY BLAIR'S talk of putting Britain in the grip of New Labour not just for a second term but for the next 100 years, might smack of arrogance. But his vision for the next century to be led by progressives shows the way he is driving change in politics. The conference promises to be a controlled showcase for the Government's achievements and plans. But Mr Blair should remember that the politics of inclusion also means taking notice of the views of the ordinary members of the Labour Party.
THIS CONFERENCE is being advertised as the centenary conference in honour of the TUC's decision in 1899 to call a meeting of its parliamentary committee to examine the question of Labour representation. That meeting declared itself `in favour of working-class opinion being represented in the House of Commons'. It is from this history that the Prime Minister has struggled for five years to extricate his party, even labelling it `New' to signal its disconnection from the past. But no political movement can long keep the tangled weeds of history at bay, and new strains of killer vegetation have quickly curled their roots around New Labour in office. (Matthew d'Ancona)
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