My party is more ideologically united than I've ever known it

There are bound to be setbacks. There are bound to be attacks. We will respond to them, robustly

TODAY, WHEN I speak in the South African parliament building, I will be talking about New Labour and the Third Way. Yet it will not simply be a domestic speech, because I believe the Third Way is part of the new politics of the centre and centre left, which applies internationally - in South Africa, in Europe and elsewhere. In Britain, it means New Labour.

It is as New Labour that we were elected. It is as New Labour that we have governed. And it is as New Labour that we will continue to govern.

Labour as a party is now more ideologically united than at any time I have known it. In party terms, that is the real achievement of New Labour. New Labour now runs deep: deep in the principles of our party, deep in the membership of our party, and deep in the people of our country.

When I sat down in South Africa yesterday with Deputy President Thabo Mbeki, he wanted to talk about the Third Way. The scale of the problems his country faces may be greater than those we face at home, but they are the same problems and we can offer each other ideas and support in putting together the solutions.

I define the Third Way in three areas. Firstly, the economy - rejecting the old left's belief in a trade-off between growth and inflation, and the old right's throwing people at the mercy of change. Instead, we will found growth on fiscal and financial prudence, sort out the public finances, create a new role for government in education, and with small business as an enabler of economic success, and establish a tax regime that stimulates hard work and rewards effort.

Secondly, a modern civic society which embraces opportunity and responsibility, and combines rights with duties. So we've cut youth unemployment by more than 30 per cent and reformed taxes and benefits, and we're bringing in the working families tax credit to help people who are disadvantaged. But we're also reforming welfare, tackling crime and reshaping the youth justice system. People believe in a strong society. But they want strong rules, too.

And thirdly, freedom and liberty. A broader idea of freedom than that of the old right: a freedom to do things, as well as a freedom from things. Freedom to have better housing and to be able to get a job; freedoms enshrined in the rules of law, in a free press, in a modern constitution.

In Britain, this Third Way is now being spelt out in a massive programme of change - change which is about getting the fundamentals right, about getting right the things which were got wrong during 18 years of the Conservatives. Getting long-term interest rates down to close to 4 per cent - the lowest for 30 years. Putting the extra pounds 40bn investment into our schools and hospitals, and seeing the results and improvements we want - and, yes, dealing with problems in education and the health service which arise. But, in all the areas where we are putting in money, coupling it with a demand for reform. Making sure crime keeps on falling. Sorting out the welfare state, with the biggest-ever welfare reform bill coming up in this parliamentary session. Bringing in the working families tax credit to help poorer families. Cutting youth unemployment. Helping small businesses. Improving relations with Europe and the world, so that Britain is no longer lost in isolation.

These are principles and practices which are now going into place around the world. South Africa, for instance, won praise for its tough economic measures, and for sticking to them. They're right. It's the only way. Today, I will be working to ensure the best links between Britain and South Africa, paying tribute to the extraordinary and visionary leadership of Nelson Mandela, and forging new relationships with Thabo Mbeki and others in the new job they will do for South Africa.

For this is a year of challenge. I know that in Britain, many people are facing the future with apprehension, unsure of what it will bring. But I know too that if we work together to meet those challenges, we will defeat them. Nobody said it would be easy to rebuild Britain. Nobody ever went into government thinking that it would be a nice, easy, nine-to-five job. It takes resolve, determination, real grip and a sense of purpose and direction. That is what New Labour offers. That is what I offer. Strong leadership. Real leadership. Leadership the country wants and deserves.

Strong leadership is not an end in itself. It is for the purpose of making every family better off and giving every child a chance. Those are worthwhile goals. But they are tough goals too. There are bound to be setbacks. We will face them, determinedly. There are bound to be attacks. We will respond to them, robustly. That means that we will continue to concentrate not on the politics of scandal and gossip, but on the politics of the fundamentals and of the big picture - getting on with the job we were elected to do. That will be clear in the new proposals we will be bringing forward shortly on the wide range of issues we outlined in our legislative programme. It will be clear in the Budget. It will be clear in the series of speeches which ministers will be giving on what the Government is doing, starting with David Blunkett today when he makes it clear that we will not tolerate local education authorities which fail and let down our children.

After 18 years, none of Britain's problems can be solved in the same number of months. That will take time. But we are seeing results, such as waiting lists coming down - by 150,000 since April in the biggest sustained fall in the history of the NHS. Work has already begun on nine new hospitals, out of the 25 major new hospital developments that we have agreed. Employment is up by more than 450,000 since the election. Unemployment is down by 300,000 over the same period. More than 100,000 children are now benefiting from smaller infant class sizes. More than 6,000 schools have already had money for badly-needed improvements. We have pledged an extra pounds 1.24bn to modernise the police over the next three years. We have seen the first overall drop in crime since current surveys began. We are setting aside pounds 800m to tackle the poorest areas of our country. We are modernising public transport with a pounds 135m boost. We have injected pounds 1.4bn into science.

These are good initiatives, and good results. We want to see more results, and better results. But we are making a difference.

And we will make a difference because we will carry on putting forward a sustained programme of modernisation, and because we will carry on offering Britain the new politics on which we were elected. We will continue to offer confidence, direction, vision and optimism. After years of the Tories giving none. We will continue to be for the many, not the few. We will continue to offer leadership, not drift. We will continue to be for the future, not for the past. We will continue to govern. And we will continue to govern as New Labour.

Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
Arts and Entertainment
Crime watch: Cara Delevingne and Daniel Brühl in ‘The Face of an Angel’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
music Malik left the Asian leg of the band's world tour after being signed off with stress last week
News
Author J.K. Rowling attends photocall ahead of her reading from 'The Casual Vacancy' at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on September 27, 2012 in London, England.
peopleNot the first time the author has defended Dumbledore's sexuality
News
‘The Late Late Show’ presenter James Corden is joined by Mila Kunis and Tom Hanks for his first night as host
news
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall

Mexican government reportedly paying Bond producers for positive portrayal in new filmfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Disney’s flying baby elephant is set to return in live-action format
filmWith sequels, prequels and spin-offs, Disney plays it safe... and makes a pachyderm
Arts and Entertainment
Nazrin with Syf, Camden
photography
News
The QI Elves photographed at the Soho Theatre. They are part of a team of researchers who find facts for the television programme 'QI'.
people
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv0-star review: Sean O'Grady gives it his best shot anyway
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss