Note: the text is based on Dr Michael Pearce's transcripts
of tapes held at the Election Broadcast Archive, University of Leeds.
1st June 1987
When it comes to education this is the government that like to
No you can't come in here you're not good enough.
No you can't come to this school your parents can't afford it.
No we're not exaggerating. This is what Mrs Thatcher plans for
your children's future: privileged schools, selective schools, education
you have to pay for. But it doesn't come as a surprise because the Tories
have been shutting doors on our children's future for eight years.
No there are no nursery schools for you. No you
two, it's not your turn for the book. No, no, no, class cancelled - there's
no teacher for physics this term.
Teachers and parents know from bitter experience how little Mrs
Thatcher cares about their children's education.
parents' fund raising events are having to raise money
for essentials quite often rather than the extras which is what it should
be all about
The Tories are spending twenty percent less on children's books
than when Mrs Thatcher came to power.
you've got people in mobile huts which are meant to
be temporary but stay for a long time you've got classrooms with er bad
decoration erm insufficient equipment
One in five schools is overcrowded, but then that's a problem
that doesn't affect the Conservative education secretary and his colleagues
- they send their children to private schools.
I think it's strange that he can see the benefit of
small classes in the private sector and yet he isn't prepared to acknowledge
that in the state sector
Our schools are short of one thousand physics teachers. Maths
and other sciences also face crippling shortages.
one of my children is being taught by a teacher who has
no qualifications in the subject and my son is now coming up for examinations
in one year's time and I am very concerned that he's not getting the standard
of education which I really should expect for my child
And Mrs Thatcher's response to the crisis in the schools? Not
a penny more for the books and equipment your children need. No, she says
to parents - you'll have to pay.
no I don't think the government cares er at
all about the comprehensive system in fact they'd like to destroy it erm
because they don't believe in in free education for everybody even in equal
education for everybody
Mrs Thatcher has no commitment to the future of ninety three
percent of our children in state schools in Britain. Labour believes in
them. We will open the door to a high quality education for all our children,
whether their parents can afford to pay or not. We will provide nursery
education for all our three and four year olds so that they get the best
start in life. Labour will create real opportunity, providing the books,
the equipment and the teachers that schools need. Labour will open the
door to excellence. It will make classes smaller, boost English, maths
and science teaching and introduce new educational grants to sixteen year
olds. Neil Kinnock knows about state education. His wife is a teacher.
His children go to state schools. Neil Kinnock and the Labour party want
to make sure that being on the threshold of life means just that - not
a dead end but a beginning.
Today's Tories want to reintroduce the past, while we
are determined to help people to equip themselves for the realities of
the future. The basic choice in this election: past or future. That process
of equipment will take time and it will take money and we'll do it because
we know that costly though investment in education is, it is still cheaper
- so much cheaper - than ignorance that's why [inaudible].
8th June 1987
Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there
is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith
and where there is despair, may we bring hope.
Then one of us will be a queen and sit on a golden throne
With a crown instead of a hat on her head and diamonds all her own
With a beautiful robe of gold and green I've always understood
I wonder whether she'll wear a feather I rather think she should
Oh `tis a glorious thing I mean to be a regular royal queen
She'll drive about in a carriage and pair with a king on her left hand side
And a milk white horse as a matter of course whenever she wants to ride
Whenever she condescends to walk be sure she'll sign at that
With a haughty stare and her nose in the air like a well born aristocrat
And noble lords will scrape and bow and double themselves in two
And open their eyes in blank surprise at whatever she likes to do
And everybody will roundly bow she's fair as flowers in May
And say how clever at whatsoever she condescends to say
Oh `tis a glorious thing I mean to be a regular royal queen
Waste, waste has been the most important feature of the last
eight years. The waste of resources which has been huge - all that oil
money all the other revenues that have poured in to the government, all
of the capital they've allowed to pour out of the country - but most important
of all the waste of people, the waste of talent, the failure to discover
abilities because the education service has been kept back, the failure
to nourish abilities, because of that the waste of youngsters who have
no future to look forward to other than cover-up training schemes and the
I was in a home today in Middlesborough with a family
a decent family proud of their kids proud of their home a hard working
family when they'd got a chance to do any work there was the grandmother
and the grandfather there who'd made their contribution what they had to
live on is the old age pension there's a man and wife there a mother and
father in their fifties he's been out of work for seven years and at fifty
seven years of age has decided he's joined the retired they've got fifty
three pounds a week to live on to pay all their bills except the rent and
there's a boy there a young man nineteen years of age who's had six months
of real solid work since he left school at sixteen
Oh I'm ready. I'm ready to lead our country. I'm ready because
I know that I've got a team that's ready. I've got people of immense talent,
immense ability who will make the commitment, work twenty five hours a
day for their country and do it in the most sensitive but the most progressive
and determined way.
Well the first and most important thing we're going to do
is to reduce unemployment by one million in the first two years of a Labour
government. Now we know it can be done and the only question the Tories
are asking is can it be afforded. Of course it can be afforded. We're wasting
twenty billion pounds every year in this country on paying people not to
work. We want to pay a modest amount to get people back to work.
I'm going to ask the people, the top five percent, the
richest people in our community to help the pensioners, to help the families,
to help the unemployed. I think that is the right thing for a decent government
I think that when the history of the last eight years is looked
at the word that covers it most is fear, not freedom, fear. Fear of going
out, fear of being in certain areas, fear of losing a job, fear of speaking
out in many ways, and not dramatising it or overstating it it is the case
now that around this country of ours there are more people more anxious,
more fearful, more inhibited than there were eight years ago. There are
long and complex ways for me to say how I feel about my country but stripped
down I think it's probably as basic as this: my country is my family and
just as I wouldn't allow anybody to lay a finger on my family, so I wouldn't
allow anybody to lay a finger on my country.
Whatever you thought about nuclear weapons twenty years years
ago er there are fifty thousand nuclear weapons - that's a million Hiroshimas
in the world. If they ever go off it's curtains for the human race north
of the equator and everybody agrees about that.
How do we gain security from the prospect of such a terrible
ruin, that irrecoverable ruin? And the answer must be as president Reagan
has said, as Mikail Gorbachev has said, the removal of the weapons. Now
I think they've got a lot of courage, a lot of foresight, a lot of audacity
to offer that agenda and even more to actively pursue it. It really does
take immense strength in order to do that they are [inaudible].
Individual liberty depends upon collective contribution.
The welfare of each of us is the responsibility of all of us. That is what
is so fundamentally wrong about Margaret Thatcher's vision of a Britain
in which personal security depends entirely upon private affluence. That
is what is so narrow and short-sighted about her yearning for a country
in which access to essential services depends upon the ability to pay and
not upon the need for health.
At constituency level, on the streets, in the towns everybody
is marching to the same drum-beat, everybody's heart is beating to the
same pulse, and that gives an immense feeling of confidence and capability.
I think we can do that for the country not just for a party. It's a choice
between having a United Kingdom with all that that means in terms of working
together, and being a divided kingdom that's being pulled apart. And because
people know that they're faced with those choices they want a positive
result, they want the United Kingdom, they want the modern welfare state,
they want Britain to be a making economy that can sell, compete, and they
know that to achieve those things they need a government that is with that
[inaudible] and that's a Labour government.
I think that the real privilege of being strong is the power
that it gives you to help people who are not strong. I think the real privilege
of being fit and bright and young strong is the ability that that gives
you to give others a helping hand when they're not strong, when they're
old or disabled or poor or in need. And it isn't a sentimental attitude,
I think it's a way of proving just what your strength amounts to.
When he became a member of parliament his grandfather -
Mary's father - said, "That's all very well my boy, but don't
forget that MP means a man of principle."
My father was very funny about it, when I called him and told
him I'd been selected for the seat that I have in South Wales in the place
where I was living er in the valley in which I grew up, I said "Westminster
next stop dad" and he said, "Oh you don't know, people are funny."
His father had the physical strength, his mother had the moral
strength. In fact she was quite a religious person.
Very deeply religious - what they call chapel in South Wales
- she absolutely radiated this feeling of warmth and care and respect
My mother had a great deal of influence both because she was
a strong and intelligent and very loving woman, but also of course because
she was a very committed professional. And apart from all the other
lessons that she taught me the one thing that came across very directly
is that compassion by itself is a wonderful thing but it's never enough;
compassion needs to be put into action.
I think of the youngsters I meet - three, four, five
years out of school never had a job and they say to me do you think we'll
ever get a job? These are young men and women living in a free country
but they don't feel free. I think of the fifty-five year old woman I meet
waiting months to go into hospital for an operation her whole existence
clouded by pain, she is a citizen of a free country but she doesn't feel
both of my parents died back in November and December 1971
within a few days of each other. That was a shattering experience
but I had this immense good fortune of having Glenys, and Stephen was then
nearly two years old and Rachel was born a week after my mother died, and
as human beings do you have to pick it up, and get on with it, and I know
that my parents' instinct would have been to say, "Give yourself
to the next generation, think the best things of us but get on with life
`cause life goes on."
I'm married to a woman of high intelligence and great independence and
immense warmth, and I wouldn't want to be married to anybody who didn't
have those qualities. Because I'm fortunate in being married to a
woman of independence and of her own views then people can't understand
that that can work in harness, in partnership, in friendship, in deep affection;
they assume that one partner has got to dominate the other all the time,
which I think is just very immature. I mean I just don't think it
My husband and I were always very fond of him when he
was this lively young back-bencher. He used to say, "Well there's
a a future leader of the Labour party", but quite frankly we thought
perhaps he was a bit young to step into it immediately er and of course
that was a tremendous liability for him to overcome, people saying
he's too young, he's not experienced and so on, he should serve his time
in some kind of ministerial office. And he's risen above that, and he's
risen above it by his absolute determination er not to waver on the policies
and not to allow anybody er to slap him down to down-grade him in any way:
and there's real steel at the heart of that young man.
I'll tell you what happens with impossible promises.
You start with far-fetched resolutions, they're then pickled into a rigid
dogma 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 taxies to scuttle round the city handing
out redundancy notices to its own workers. I'll tell you and you listen
I'm telling you you can't play politics with people's jobs and with people's
Er when he tackled the question of militant head-on it was
one of the most superb political performances I've ever seen. It
was a very gripping occasion and it took real guts er to put the issue
as firmly and as squarely before the party as he did then.
I think he's very like Gorbachev in the Soviet Union:
he's got a nice smile but he's got steel teeth.
They say that he's young and inexperienced. Well, that
was said of William Pitt, you know, when he became prime minister in the
eighteenth century at the age of twenty-five and his reply was "Yes I know
I am young and inexperienced but er it is a fault I am remedying every
I think that because of the way in which people of all ages
and every social class feel they can approach me, have a chat to me, whether
they agree with me or disagree with me they know they're going to get a
straight answer, and that makes it easy for me to be in touch keep in touch.
Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations
to be able to get to university? Why is Glenys the first woman in her family
in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? Was it because
all our predecessors were thick? Did they lack talent, those people who
could sing and play and write and recite poetry? Those people who could
make wonderful beautiful things with their hands? Those people who could
dream dreams, see visions. Why didn't they get it? Was it because they
were weak? Those people who could wake work eight hours under ground and
then come up and play football, weak those women who could survive eleven
child-bearings? Were they weak? Does anybody really think that they didn't
get what we had because they didn't have the talent or the strength or
the endurance or the commitment? Of course not. It was because there was
no platform upon which they could stand.
Confidence. That's the objective. People strong
and free because they know that they'll live in a good environment where
should they fall upon difficult times they're not going to fall upon tragic
times; if they should encounter difficulty they know that it's not
going to lock them out of opportunity for the rest of their lives - that's
what we're after.