Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Prime Minister's warning to TUC

The Prime Minister is on his feet right now addressing the TUC - and in his opening remarks he gave delegates a stark reminder of the dangers of going back to Labour's wilderness years.

Bob Crow marched his RMT delegation out of the Conference in protest that the Prime Minister was still in Number 10 fifteen months after winning his historic third General Election. So they didn't hear the Prime Minister say:

"...you may recall, some of you, the first time I made
a keynote speech at the Labour Conference in 1990, when I was Employment
Spokesman. I listed the policy agenda for a Labour Government.

I re-read it the other day. We've done most of it - the big headline items like the
minimum wage but also things like restoring union rights at GCHQ, things
small in themselves, but massively symbolic of a changed Government.

And now we have had three terms of Labour Government for the first time ever in
100 years of trying. And every year I've come to the TUC as Prime
Minister.But remember the 18 years before, when you never had sight nor
sound of a Prime Minister.

For 18 years, you were addressed by the Leader of
the Opposition. The problem with that title is that its true to what it says
on the tin: the leader opposes.The leader doesn't do anything, because he has no
power to do anything.

As we can see today, however difficult it is, however fraught our relations
from time to time, make no mistake: I want the TUC to carry on being
addressed by a Labour Prime Minister, never to go back to being addressed by the Leader of the Opposition.

The key to ensuring this doesn't lie in today's headlines, but in the
answers to tomorrow's challenges."

I wonder if the RMT will be marched back in at the end of the speech when Tony Blair has agreed to an open question session from the floor.

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