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1995 - Mr Major’s Comments on New Labour

Below is the text of Mr Major’s comments on New Labour, made in an interview on 2nd July 1995.


QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if Tony Blair rather than him could deliver a nation at ease with itself].

PRIME MINISTER:

I don’t believe that is the case. When one thinks of what one needs to have a nation at ease with itself, I think there are several very important ingredients. The most important ingredient of all of course and the one that many people are worried about is security, security in every aspect of the sense and the first thing one needs for security is a secure currency, low inflation. We have set out right from the outset to try and do something absolutely fundamental in terms of the British economy and that is to break the inflationary psychology. I remember ever since I was a boy the relative boom and bust cycles, the economy did well, the economy did badly, did well, did badly. What we are trying to do is to break that. That is a very difficult thing to do. The recession was longer than we thought, harder than we thought, but I think most dispassionate observers believe we are closer to breaking the inflationary psychology today perhaps than we have ever been.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if he was forced into attacking Labour].

PRIME MINISTER:

I think it is rather curious to see what they are doing in fact. What in practice they are doing is dismantling the whole of their past at least in their oratory, at least in their leader’s oratory, and trying to strike out, saying: “All the things we believed in in the past, we no longer believe in!”. Labour’s soul has gone. The things they cared about, the things they fought for, they have apparently gone; they have apparently moved over to the values that people have accepted for the last four elections and I think will accept at the fifth election, essentially Tory values and I think what they have done is realised that the old message that the Labour Party had is no longer a message that people wish to hear.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if that had now made them electable].

PRIME MINISTER:

No. I think the real point at issue is whether what they say is what they can deliver. If you have to choose between a real Conservative Party and a quasi-Conservative Party where the Labour Party says one thing but the Party’s heart and soul is elsewhere, then I believe people will go for the real thing.