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1991 - Mr Major’s Party Political Broadcast

Below is the text of Mr Major’s radio party political broadcast, transmitted on 24th July 1991.


PRESENTER:

On Monday this week, John Major launched the Citizen’s Charter. ‘Citizen’s’ because it is on your side. The idea for it was born many years ago. John Major.

JOHN MAJOR:

Twenty years ago, I was a local councillor. I became convinced then that our public services could be more sensitive to the people who use them, who depend on them and who pay for them.

PRESENTER:

In 1979, the Conservatives took power and started on a programme of reforms, rolling back the power of the state, helping council tenants to the dignity of home ownership and privatising those industries government ran so badly. Much has been done since 1979 but the Citizen’s Charter sets out much more that is still to be done. We all know the annoyances: long hold ups on motorways because one lane has been coned off for miles, even though there’s no sign of any work being done; the train you were depending upon suddenly being cancelled; and the way hospital administrators fail to value the patient’s time. How many people have had hospital experiences like this?

[Sound effects]

WOMAN:

And I’m not exaggerating. There were dozens of us there. And all with an appointment at the same time - ten forty - with the same doctor. Oh, I can’t tell you. It was awful. It’s bad enough being pregnant without this sort of thing happening. Talk about being in the club.

PRESENTER:

Here’s another example that too many council tenants will recognise. The scene is a council estate. And here come two council workmen.

[Sound effects - doorbell - door opening]

WORKMAN:

Afternoon lady. Come about your old rotting window.

WOMAN:

Oh, you’d best come in.

WORKMAN:

Ta. Oh, nasty that. Yeah, it’ll need a glazier. Have to send in a requisition.

PRESENTER:

Well. What’s your bet? Next time?

[Sound effects - doorbell]

PRESENTER:

Someone to fix it? Or?

[Sound effects - door opening]

WORKMAN:

Oh, morning. We’re from the council. Apparently one of your windows is playing up a bit.

WOMAN:

Yes, come in.

WORKMAN:

Oh, that is cracked. That is definitely cracked. It’ll need some glass. Look.

WOMAN:

Well, I know that. I told the council six months ago.

WORKMAN:

All right. All right. I’ll order some glass.

[Sound effects - workman whistling]

PRESENTER:

Another annoyance: having to stay around all day for someone from the public utilities to turn up. But now, thanks to the Citizen’s Charter, waiting for the gas man will no longer be part of the English language.

JOHN MAJOR:

I want to put the pride back in public services. There is no joy in giving bad service; and too little recognition of good service. So we will introduce more choice and competition on the one hand and reward care and commitment on the other.

PRESENTER:

What have the papers had to say?

The Today Newspaper. Britain’s gas men, post men, train drivers and council workers will never again be able to take us for granted.

The Daily Mail. John Major knows about bus queues, crowded tubes and hospital waiting rooms, so he wants to provide you with the information you can really use to practical advantage: how your child is doing in class; how local schools compare; what is the name behind the unhelpful voice at the other end of the phone; how you can complain and to whom.

The Daily Express. John Major’s Citizen’s Charter amounts to the biggest shake-up Britain has seen in its public services.

Almost everybody has greeted the new Citizen’s Charter with enthusiasm. Almost everybody.

JOHN MAJOR:

So who, you might ask, could possibly disagree with the aims of the Charter? Well, I’ll tell you. People who are comfortable about low standards. People who expect you to put up without asking questions. And people who always want to spend more money, more of your money, rather than try and use it better. Then there are the people who know how to work the system for themselves. They’re all right, Jack. But what about everybody else? I don’t want anybody to feel like a second class citizen. I want everyone to have better public services. That’s what the Citizen’s Charter is all about. That’s what it will aim to deliver - for everyone.