Saturday, April 28, 2007

Neil Kinnock - an under-estimated leader

I always liked Neil Kinnock. (And before you ask - the U-Tube video is NOT about Barbara Castle)

I feel Neil Kinnock was treated very unfairly by the media and never got the credit he deserved. The fact the Labour Party became electable in 1997 under Tony Blair had as much to do with Neil Kinnock as anyone.

If you can stick with the 10 minute U-Tube video I think you will see conviction politics from a passionate man who truly wears his heart on his sleeve. That is so unlike most of today's politicians who come across as being manufactured in business schools and just out of drama school as far as their presentations are concerned.

Give me a Neil Kinnock or a Tony Benn with some passion over a bland David Cameron or boring Gordon Brown.

Mr Kinnock delivered a fantastic and memorable speech at the Labour Party Conference in 1985 at Bournemouth. It was at a time when the left wing was threatening to take control of the Labour Party under extremists like Derek Hatton.

Mr Kinnock took the opportunity in front of millions of watching TV viewers to let everyone know that extremism and ridiculous ideals will not be tolerated in the Party. He ousted left wingers in the ‘Militant’ wing with his memorable and emotional words about how far the left wingers had strayed from the beliefs of the Labour Party.

Here is the most powerful section of his speech and you have to see him deliver the speech to truly appreciate his passion for what he truly believed. It is at about the halfway point of the video.

“I’ll tell you what happens with impossible promises. You start with far-fetched resolutions. They are then pickled into a rigid dogma, a code, and you go through the years sticking to that, out-dated, misplaced, irrelevant to the real needs, and you end in the grotesque chaos of a Labour council - a Labour council - hiring taxis to scuttle round a city handing out redundancy notices to its own workers. I am telling you, no matter how entertaining, how fulfilling to short-term egos - you can’t play politics with people’s jobs and with people’s services or with their homes.”

Neil Kinnock
Labour Part Conference Bournemouth 1985
Expulsion of left wing group ‘Militant’

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