Ashdown warns of public despair
Wednesday 30 December 1992
In a new year message to his party, Mr Ashdown said there was a growing disillusionment with British politics, amid a sense of public anger and hopelessness as the country was driven to despair by the recession.
'We in Britain are governed by people and institutions who have grown complacent with power, out of touch with realities in their country, out of date with the modern world.'
British politics, he said, 'isn't working'. The Government had abandoned many of the policies on which it fought the general election, replacing them with 'drift, error and incoherence', while Labour had failed to accept the need for reform.
The problem lay not just with politicians but with the failed system of politics itself 'and in the antiquated institutions which run our country'. He said the coming year 'must be the year when politicians stop ducking all the awkward questions, and when we face up to the need to reform our ineffective, centralised and secretive system of government'.
Government was providing too little leadership where it was needed and too much interference where it was unnecessary.
Mr Ashdown's message plays on themes that John Smith plans to highlight in the new year, with the Labour leader planning a speech calling for large-scale constitutional reform through devolution and more open government. Mr Ashdown also emphasised the need for welfare reform as Labour is examining that through its Commission on Social Justice.
The task for the Nineties, Mr Ashdown said, was to create opportunities for all. 'To reform social welfare so that it is a route to freedom, not a tramline to dependency. To look again at the role of taxation so that it creates opportunities for achievement, not disincentives to success. To build a system of education and training that is the envy of the world.' The real division in Britain was 'between those who want to modernise our country and those who want to keep it stuck as it is'.
- 2 Tower Bridge glass walkway 'smashed' by night-time visitor dropping bottle of beer
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Tower Bridge glass walkway 'smashed' by night-time visitor dropping bottle of beer
Anti-gay hate preacher accidentally tweets 4,000 followers cartoon clip of him 'confessing' to be a 'homosexual sodomite'
Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Isis propaganda image showing 'abuse of Muslim woman by soldiers' is actually taken from Hungarian porn film
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...
£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...