Labour Will Make Britain Great Again Vows Blair; Labour in Brighton

Article excerpt

Tony Blair will today hammer home the message: Modernise now and make Britain great again.

The Prime Minister will make an impassioned appeal in his keynote speech to the Labour conference in Brighton.

Blair will warn that tough decisions will have to be made if Britain is to compete with the best in the world.

But he is also calling for a compassionate society where no one is left behind.

Blair will say: "We will never be the biggest, we may never be the mightiest - but we can be the best." And he is expected to tell the party faithful: "I believe the people of Britain are passionate, creative, compassionate and hard-working.

"But we will not make the most of our creativity unless we modernise our economy.

"Our compassion will be worthless unless we modernise our welfare state, and we will not be a force for good abroad unless we modernise our approach to the world.

"Compassion is not a soft option. It is compassion with a hard edge.

"Difficult decisions will have to be made to deliver that more compassionate society and if we do not face them, we will betray the people we claim to be helping."

Blair believes that, just as he modernised Labour, the country must now modernise for the 21st century.

Among the top priorities are the economy, the NHS and education, to match the best in the world.

Blair admits that his way will upset many in the party.

But he says it was his New Labour reforms which the mass of the public voted for - not Old Labour dogma. Blair will also announce more computers for schools, a repairs programme for school buildings and a scheme which will give 20,000 young unemployed people the chance to start their own businesses.

Meanwhile, Labour's plan to charge students tuition fees will be defended, with the claim that it is the only way to ensure as many people as possible go into further education.

Blair will also launch a debate on the environment, saying that industry, the Government and other countries all have to work together in a bid to cut pollution.

And he will tell the party to be on their guard against complacency, warning they must maintain their momentum if Labour are to get a second term.

But it wasn't all plain sailing for the Premier yesterday. …