Blair's covenant: to create an era of achievement

Tony Blair's speech to the Labour Party Conference, Blackpool, 1 October 1996:
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The Independent Online
"When you look back on your past, you try to think of the things that shaped you. One morning I woke to be told that ... [my father] might not live through the day and my whole world fell apart. It taught me something: it taught me the value of the family, because my mother worked for three years to help him talk and walk again ...

"The true radical mission of the Labour Party, new and old, is not to hold people back but to help them get on. Each generation doing better than the last. The heritage of hope from parents to their children ... Our task is to restore that hope, to build a new Age of Achievement in a new and different world ...

"Ask me my three main priorities for government, I tell you, education, education and education ... If all we have is what we own, not what we share, we are all the losers.

"This is my covenant with the British people. Judge me on it ...

"Today I offer you, and we offer the country, a new vision. If we are to build this new Age of Achievement, you and I, and all of us together, must build first the decent society to deliver it. A society in which every individual is valued, every person given a chance to develop their potential, a society in which we contribute and which contributes to us. A society of opportunity. A society not based on outdated prejudices but on the common duty of humanity and our belief that we owe an obligation to each other to improve the lives of all. A society of opportunity. A society of responsibility. History will call it the Decent Society ...

"Let us modernise government itself, so it serves the interests of the people, not bigger government. Better government ... We will introduce a programme to reform government ... Government for the people not government for government.

"If we unleash the potential of our people, Britain comes alive with the new energy, the new ideas and the new leadership and Britain can take on the world and win.

"We will be envied throughout the world, not just because of our castles and palaces ... but because we gave the heritage of hope back to the generations, we turned this country around by the will of the people in unity with the party of the people and we built the Age of Achievement in our lifetime ... "

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