Blair promises to speed `top to bottom' modernisation of Britain
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Tuesday 28 September 1999
In his keynote speech to the party conference in Bournemouth, the Prime Minister will admit that he shares voters' anxiety about education, health and transport. He will say: "We are halfway through the Parliament but nothing like halfway towards meeting our goals."
Last night, Labour officials said the aim of Mr Blair's mid-term progress report was to "reconnect" the Government with the voters. In an attempt to head off a growing public perception that Labour has become arrogant in power, his message will be: "We have done an awful lot in two years but there is an awful lot more to do."
His theme may fail to satisfy his party critics. Writing in The Independent today, Lord Hattersley, Labour's former deputy leader, launches a strong attack on Mr Blair, saying: "No Labour leader has inspired less affection. Tony Blair is the only Labour leader to dislike the party he leads."
Lord Hattersley adds: "He has an undisguised and undisguisable distaste for the whole Labour movement - particularly the trade unions, those immovable objects that stand in the way of the fully flexible labour market of which he dreams."
Mr Blair believes the pace of change in Britain can move up a gear now that Labour has firmly established its economic credentials. "The kind of radicalism that we have always wanted to show will be on ever greater display," one aide said.
The Prime Minister will tell his party that it now has its best opportunity to leave a real mark on Britain. He will commit himself to "equality", rejecting Old Labour demands for "equality of outcome" and defining it as equal opportunities for all in education, employment and as citizens.
He will reiterate his controversial call for a "new moral purpose" for the nation, saying it is needed more than ever. He will confirm new laws to combat drug-related crime and reject criticism from civil liberties groups over plans to force anyone arrested for an indictable offence to have a drugs test.
Mr Blair will stress that there can be no relaxation of the tough grip on spending, saying becoming "the party of economic competence" has put Labour on course for a full second term for the first time. He will remind delegates that Labour has been in power for only 22 years of its 100- year history.
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
- 1 Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
- 2 Scottish independence: What you shouldn't tweet about if you want to avoid jail today
- 3 Scottish independence: Five reasons Salmond is secretly hoping for a 'No' vote
- 4 Isis plan to 'behead random member of the public' in Sydney thwarted by Australian police
- 5 Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Scottish independence referendum live: Markets gamble on Scotland vote with 'final prediction' showing eight-point lead for No
Scottish independence: Final opinion polls show undecided voters could swing result either way
Isis plan to 'behead random member of the public' in Sydney thwarted by Australian police
Scottish independence: Andy Murray backs Yes campaign in eleventh hour decision
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...
£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...
£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...