The top ten: Party conference speeches
John Rentoul is chief political commentator for The Independent on Sunday, and visiting professor at King's College, London, and at Queen Mary University of London. Previously he was chief leader writer for The Independent. He has written a biography of Tony Blair, whom he admired more at the end of his time in office than he did at the beginning.
Sunday 06 October 2013
I have a confession to make: I didn't like any of Tony Blair's annual conference speeches (with the one exception in this list). But I didn't specify leaders' speeches in my request for suggestions, so I have included notable oratory from would-be leaders, a deputy leader and even, in Bill Clinton's case, a visitor.
1. Hugh Gaitskell, 1960 "There are some of us who will fight, and fight, and fight again, to save the party we love."
2. David Cameron, 2005 Blew away leadership rival David Davis with a "walk and talk".
3. Norman Tebbit, 1981 On his unemployed father: "He didn't riot; he got on his bike and looked for work."
4. Tony Blair, 2006 "At least I don't have to worry about her running off with the bloke next door."
5. Neil Kinnock, 1985 "And you end in the grotesque chaos of a Labour council – a Labour council…"
6. Margaret Thatcher, 1984 Eleven hours after the Brighton bomb that morning. Braver than "the Lady's not for turning" in 1981.
7. Bill Clinton, 2002 "Clinton, Bill, Arkansas CLP, New Labour." Suggested by William French.
8. Michael Heseltine, 1976 "A one-legged army: Left! Left! Left!" Nominated by the Church Mouse.
9. John Prescott, 1993 Won one member, one vote for John Smith: "This man, our leader, has put his head on the block." With thanks to Ian Smart.
10. Harold Wilson, 1963 "The Britain that is going to be forged in the white heat of this revolution will be no place for restrictive practices."
Next week: Journalese (romps, tots, boffins).
Coming soon: New clichés that should be banned. "Wrap-around", "zeroise" and "embedded" have been drawn to my attention. Send your suggestions (by Tuesday 15 October), and ideas for any future Top 10s, to firstname.lastname@example.org
- 2 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, GAME, PC World and Argos
Miss Honduras Maria Jose Alvarado's stylist Luis Alfredo Garcia is found stabbed to death
Sean Abbott: Messages of support flood in for bowler following death of batsman Phil Hughes
Dr Lam Hoe Yeoh: Voyeur doctor jailed for eight years after using network of hidden cameras to film patients, colleagues and friends on the toilet
'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
Ed Miliband's 'north London set' must be demolished to save Labour, say critics
Sarah Vine criticises lesbian mother Jack Monroe: 'If she was unsure about her sexuality, she should have taken greater precautions'
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...