7 Tony Blair


Excerpts from his Labour Party conference speech, October 1996


Born into a middle class Conservative voting family. Blair’s political beliefs derived from a morality that echoed his religious faith


“Socialism for me … is a moral purpose to life, a set of values, a belief in society, in co-operation, in achieving together what we cannot achieve alone. … I am worth no more than anyone else, I am my brother’s keeper, I will not walk by on the other side.”

Blair believed Labour could only win the next election by convincing long-time Conservative voters his party was on their side. He argued that Labour did not have to betray its historic values to do so.

“I can vividly recall the exact moment that I knew the last [1992] election was lost. I was canvassing in the Midlands on an ordinary suburban estate. I met a man polishing his Ford Sierra, self-employed electrician, Dad always voted Labour. He used to vote Labour, he said, but he bought his own home, he had set up his own business, he was doing quite nicely, so he said I’ve become a Tory. …his instincts were to get on in life, and he thought our instincts were to stop him. But that was never our history or our purpose. …The true radical mission of the Labour Party, new and old, is this: not to hold people back but to help them get on – all the people.”





“7 Tony Blair,” New Dawn? 1997, accessed May 23, 2024, https://newdawn1997.omeka.net/items/show/21.


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