Tory pours cold water on Blair's new dawn

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The Independent Online
THE New Dawn met Clear Blue Water yesterday as Tony Blair spelt out his priorities as the new Labour leader in his first party political broadcast while Michael Portillo broadcast his ambition to be the new Conservative leader by publishing a booklet of speeches.

Labour's first party political since Mr Blair, entitled 'New Dawn' and played in and out by Elgar's Nimrod, hit all the key themes the new Labour leader wants to see played. It opened and closed on the economy, touching education, crime and the NHS on the way. It contained the pledge: 'I am not going to promise what I cannot deliver. And I will say what I actually think.'

John Prescott, the deputy leader, reassured traditional Labour voters that Mr Blair 'has a very clear commitment about what he wants to do. He is going to change society'.

Meanwhile, Mr Portillo signalled his leadership ambitions by publishing extracts of his speeches under the title Clear Blue Water - what right-wing Tories believe they need to put between themselves and Labour. Mr Portillo is to use the title at a fringe meeting organised by the Thatcherite Conservative Way Forward group at the party conference next month.

After Black Wednesday when Britain left the ERM, the need to re-evaluate Conservative objectives 'could almost be compared with that of October 1974 onwards, when we had suffered two consecutive election defeats and Margaret Thatcher was elected leader,' Sir George Gardiner, who edited the extracts, says in an introduction.

The speeches contain Mr Portillo's message that the state is too big and that young people must make provision for themselves.

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