Let's got for third victory - Blair

By Graham DinesPolitical EditorTHE Prime Minister yesterday urged Labour activists to put aside its differences over Iraq and seize the chance of winning an historic third term in power.

By Graham Dines

Political Editor

THE Prime Minister yesterday urged Labour activists to put aside its differences over Iraq and seize the chance of winning an historic third term in power.

In what is almost certain to be the last Labour conference before the next election, Mr Blair unveiled in Brighton a 10 point manifesto pledge to take his party into the next election, appealing to activists: “Let's get out and do it.”

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The Prime Minister defended his focus on foreign policy, saying: “It's not that I care more about foreign affairs than the state of our economy, NHS, schools or crime.

“It's simply that I believe democracy there (Iraq) means security here and that if I don't care and act on this terrorist threat then the day will come when all our good work on the issues that decide people's lives will be undone because the stability on which our economy, in an era of globalisation, depends will vanish.”

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He told delegates: “Here we are facing the possibility unique in our 100-year history of governing Britain for a third successive term.

In his 55 minute speech, Mr Blair promised to maintain low mortgage rates, give a boost to vocational education, allow parents the choice of a good specialist school, promised patients would be able to choose which NHS hospital they wanted to be treated in, and pledged to introduce fair pay and four weeks holiday plus bank holidays to all workers as a right.

The battle for a third election victory had to centre on the political reality that the relationship between state and citizen had changed. “People have grown up. They want to make their own life choices.

“Their expectations, their ambitions, their hopes, are all different and higher.

“The 20th century traditional welfare state that did so much for so many has to be reshaped as the opportunity society, capable of liberation and advance every bit as substantial as the past but fitting the contours of the future.

“This will be a progressive future as long as we all remember that the reason for our struggle against injustice has always been to liberate the individual.

“The argument is not between those who do and those who do not love freedom.

“It is between the Conservatives who believes freedom requires only that the Government stand back while the fittest and the most privileged prosper, and for every individual, whatever their starting point in life - is best achieved through a just society and strong community.”

The Prime Minister conceded he had changed as a leader, “I have come to realise that caring in politics isn't really about caring, it's about doing what you think is right and sticking to it.”

Mr Blair added: “I want us to win a third term, not so that we can go in the history books but so that we can confine Britain's failings to the history books.

“With the courage of our convictions we can win the third term, deliver the lasting change. It is worth the fight, now let's get out and do it.”

x-refer Mr Blair and the word he would not say Page 10

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