Blair attacks 'insecure majority'

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The Independent Online
Tony Blair yesterday launched what is likely to be one of his party's most dominant themes between now and the election - that the Tories have created an "insecure majority" for which he claimed Labour was the new champion.

Mr Blair used his speech to the Welsh Labour conference to condemn the Conservatives in the wake of the Westminster "homes for votes" scandal as a "degenerate party that loves lecturing the people about right and wrong but has long since ceased to know the difference between right and wrong itself."

But his speech was heavily injected with references to what private polling suggests is one of the lasting reasons for the Tories failure - so far - to stage a political recovery: "job insecurity and fear". It came as Paddy Ashdown, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, also combined a scathing attack on the Tories over Westminster council as "the final nail in the coffin of Tory probity" with a prediction that the next general election would be "a battle about trust".

This included "fear, fuelled by government legislation, that if you lose your job you also lose your home. Fear about crime. Fear that the NHS cannot cope and that any one of us, any one of our children or our parents could be the victim. Fear of poverty in old age".

Mr Blair said the electoral battlefield had once been portrayed as "Labour for the poor and disadvantaged against the tories as the party of the secure and comfortable majority."

But, he added: "It has changed. It is Labour that now speaks up for the insecure majority, and puts forward the policies that meet their concerns."

Mr Ashdown, while declaring that the Conservatives had "completely lost the trust of the British people", warned that "the problem for Labour is that they are so frightened of their shadow ... that's why people don't trust Labour because they don't know whether the modern Labour Party is a Trojan horse or an empty vessel."

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