tvParty Election Broadcasts

Labour Party Television Election Broadcasts
1997

Transcribed by Michael Pearce

10th April 1997

Synopsis
This broadcast consists of two parts. It opens with a montage of the City of London: tall buildings, unusual camera angles, shots of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. This is accompanied by the voices of Roddick, Conran, Charkham and Robinson making their introductory comments. The second part is a series of 'interviews' (although we never hear the interviewer's voice) with the 4 Labour business people. As they make their points the subjects are pictured in their offices and also 'at work'.
ANITA RODDICK:
Business is more powerful than government, it is quicker, it is more creative.
TERENCE CONRAN:
Business is the lifeblood of the country.
JONATHAN CHARKHAM:
From business come all the benefits society needs: employment, investment, revenue for social programmes.
GERRY ROBINSON:
I think, frankly, there's only one party that can represent Britain best, getting business right, and that's new Labour.
RODDICK:
In 1976 it was just me, twenty-one years later we have over fifteen hundred shops in forty-seven countries. One of the great myths of the last eighteen years is that the Tories are entrepreneurs you know [entrepreneurial] is taking a situation that you have now and changing their lack of strength, their lack of vision is, is palpable. I didn't vote Labour last time, now they seem to be listening to the entrepreneurs and I think it'll be a very exciting time for British business. Whenever I've spoken to Tony Blair what comes through is conviction, a sense of what Labour will give. I like the way he looks exhausted. I like the way he's working, and finally a politician that is not arrogant. Labour is definitely a party that business can do business with.
CHARKHAM:
I've been in business and I've worked as advisor to the government, for the Bank of England. I think that governments get tired, and it shows, and it has shown terribly the last two or three years. Why shouldn't it be perfectly natural for a businessman, having looked at what the parties intend to do, decide to vote Labour? Gordon Brown is going to be an iron chancellor. He will finally put to bed the idea that the Labour party has to be a party of high spending and high taxation. What they want, and what they'll strive mightily to achieve, is steadiness in terms of inflation because only then will there be the confidence that is necessary for long term investment, which this country is crying out for.
CONRAN:
Habitat ...er... started ...er... in London in the early sixties, and I tried to ...erm... bring things that were well designed to the mass market, and it got rave reviews and gradually we ...erm... expanded and it became the catalyst for building something called the Storehouse, which the turnover was about one and a half billion pounds a year. John Major is not strong enough to run a cabinet and keep that cabinet together, and I do think that Tony Blair will be strong enough. I'm impressed by his dynamism. I'm impressed by his understanding the importance of business to the economy of this country, and to the quality of life in this country.
ROBINSON:
I'm the chairman of Granada group ...er... and I've been chairman for the last six months. Prior to that I was chief executive for five years. Well Granada's in a number of businesses. We have Granada TV rental, [inaudible] Granada television, we have ...er... catering and hotel interests, motorway operations, as well as Little Chef Happy Eaters. We employ just under eighty thousand people. I think what I bring to organisation is clarity. I set out very clearly what I hope the organisation can achieve and then lay out plans in order to achieve it. Well those skills are exactly the same skills you need in running anything, whether it's the country, whether it's a business, whether it's the party. People like Tony Blair [inaudible] creating new Labour. It's a phenomenal change, and I have no doubt at all in having set out very clear objectives for Labour in government that Tony Blair will also deliver that, and that's about leadership, that quality of leadership comes through again and again and again, genuinely one of the most refreshing things about this ...er... election I believe is that the Labour party are not saying everything was wrong. I have always voted Conservative I've been a Conservative voter ever since I was allowed to vote. I have changed my mind, and I'm going to vote Labour on this occasion for the very simple reason that I believe it's the right choice for Britain.
CAPTION:
NEW LABOUR BECAUSE BRITAIN DESERVES BETTER

15th April 1997

Synopsis
The major element of this broadcast is a Blair 'talking head', but this is 'framed' within a black and white sequence of a bull-dog (presumably representing Britain) with its master (ambiguously representing the Conservatives). As the bull-dog 'hears' Blair's claims about how Britain could be better the dog gradually becomes more wakeful, finally breaking his chain and running off into the sunset.
VOICE-OVER:
As Britain approaches the end of the century we have been with the same masters now for eighteen years. We still have the talent, the skills, the inventiveness that we've always had - probably more so - but in a rapidly changing world we seem somehow to have lost our sense of purpose.

Now someone has emerged who is determined to give it back to us. He is the most talked about politician of his generation. They've called him everything: from Bambi to union basher; from public opinion courter to autocrat. But one thing is undeniable - in three short years his energy and leadership have transformed his party. What can he do for Britain?

TONY BLAIR:
Look the Tories didn't get everything wrong in the eighties, let's just be honest about that, admit it. But Britain can be better, we can make this country better than it is.

The Tories today are no longer the party of low taxes. The fact is they broke their word on tax, they raised taxes twenty-two times. Ordinary families have had massive tax rises under the Conservatives, the largest in peace-time history. Now I don't want to add to the burden of those families, they're hard-working. I'd like to see them get their tax burden down that's why we said that we're not going to raise the basic or top rate of income tax.

Ask yourself this question: if these Tories get back in for another five years, will we even have a National Health Service in the way that we've known it, and grown up with it? Now we've got to rebuild the National Health Service, and as a start we will spend a hundred million pounds by cutting that bureaucracy, and putting it into cutting waiting lists.

Why should people in this country have to put up with these levels of crime? The fear, the abuse, the hassle elderly people often afraid to go out of their own homes, sometimes afraid to be in their own home. The Labour party will take on this issue in every single aspect of it. Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime.

I'm a British patriot, and I want the best out of Europe for Britain, and we need a government that is going to lead in Europe shape Europe, not just follow along behind the Europe that's been shaped by others, and a divided Conservative party with weak leadership fighting itself cannot fight for Britain.

Education is the future for this country. If we don't give our kids the right education they don't succeed, Britain doesn't succeed. That's why I've said, for a Labour government, its top three priorities: education, education, education. And again we can make a start, for example by reducing class sizes for all five six and seven year olds in our primary schools to thirty or under. That we will do in the five years of a Labour government.

Britain can be better. We can make this country better than it is, and I am not going to promise anything that I can't deliver, but I do tell you that today's Labour party, transformed as it is with the strength of leadership and the strength of unity behind it, can make this country better.

VOICE-OVER:
After eighteen years of weak leadership, incompetence and broken promises Britain deserves better. Give Tony Blair your mandate on May the first and let him give Britain back its sense of purpose.

21st April 1997

Synopsis
There is no speech in this broadcast. The soundtrack consists of 'Land of Hope and Glory'. This is played over images of the 1996 Conservative party conference. These images have been manipulated (by speeding-up, slowing-down and repeating sequences) to present the politicians and delegates extremely unflatteringly. Interspersed with the conference footage there are shots of people sleeping in hospital corridors, miserable looking old people in a nursing home, security camera footage of street-robbery, miserable children in school etc. There is a running commentary in the form of captions.
CAPTIONS:
Just imagine what would happen if the Tories got in again ...
Just imagine what the Tories would do with another five years ...
Under the Tories there are 50,000 fewer nurses ...
If the Tories got in again they'd continue to pull apart the NHS ...
The Tories would sell off homes for the elderly and abolish the state pension ...
Crime has doubled under the Tories...
They promised 1,000 extra police ...
Then they actually cut 500 ...
If the Tories got in again even more young criminals would go unpunished ...
Tory policies mean even more schools are now failing ...
If the Tories get in again it would be even harder ...
Last time, the Tories promised to cut taxes. In fact, they've introduced 22 new taxes since 1992 ...
If they got in again they would put VAT on other essentials like food ...
John Major's weak leadership would further reduce Britain's influence in the world ...
Just imagine what would happen if the Tories got in again ...
If they were given another five years ...
They'd do as they pleased ...
And nothing could stop them ...
If the Tories were given another five years they'd do as they pleased ...
No-one would be safe and nothing could stop them.

24th April 1997

Synopsis
The broadcast interweaves 'interview' footage (although we never see the interviewer, who is the film-maker Molly Dineen) with scenes of Blair signing a poster, playing football with children, talking to children in school, making speeches, playing tennis, listening to a woman complain about the health service, visiting a hospital with his wife, and getting on a plane. The 'interviews' take place in two cars, a train, and Blair's kitchen.
TONY BLAIR:
If you'd said to me at sort of eighteen, nineteen, you're gonna be a politician, I'd've said forget it. Anything else anything but being a politician.
DINEEN:
Why on what grounds?
TONY BLAIR:
Oh 'cos I thought politicians were complete pains in the backside.

And there is a part of you that constantly wonders whether it is worth staying in politics because of all the the the rubbish that you have to do, I mean you just have to do it.

You've just got to keep a grip of yourself, and, and hope that your humanity sees you through, and in the end understand why you want to be in it.

What I keep saying to people is: get behind the image. It's quite difficult to bring people to actually see the type of person you are.

My ambition when I was a child was to play football for Newcastle United. That was my greatest ambition, and I kept trying to talk my dad into using whatever meagre influence he had with the Newcastle United to get me a trial, but he never did.

Because my dad was very active, I mean he was active in Tory politics actually, locally in fact they had him lined up to fight a, to fight a seat, and become a member of parliament, but then he became very ill so everything he gave up, everything. But we, we discussed it, and then when I started really being Labour, there was a slight problem for a time, but he never really objected to it because he's come over to the Labour party now, so it's all fine.

I think my generation is trying to get to a different type of politics, which is rooted in strong values and convictions, but it's not quite left and right in the way that it's been before.

I just think that, for a whole generation of people, they thought that if they arrived, and did well, then you became a Tory. You know it's like people used to say: well if you bought your house, if you owned your own home, then you were a Tory, it's crazy.

I've always understood, because of dad, why some people who've done very well, come up in life, made it on their own, felt the Tory party was the party that was for them, because it was the party of ambition and aspiration, and that the Labour party somehow wasn't, and I think to an extent, I mean, that's what the Labour party became. It became too stuck in the past, too rooted in the [inaudible] that's where you are, that's where you stay, whereas today I think the position has changed round. What I've always wanted for today's Labour party is to be the party of aspiration [inaudible] say you know you can have a society where there's ambition without a lack of compassion and

DINEEN:
Yes I was going to say: so why aren't you a Tory?
BLAIR:
Because I think that in the end you actually fulfil, I think you fulfil your ambitions better in a society where people have some sense of duty towards other people.

Homework - well you're gonna have a lot of that under Labour. You wait you wait till David Blunkett gets hold of you, you'll be doing a lot of homework, ha ha ha.

The kids, they keep you grounded because you're seeing all through them and through their friends. You know what's actually happening all the time, you just go back to understanding why you're there and why you want to be in it.

There's a sense in which I just feel people have got to understand things can change. I mean it's just so daft to think they couldn't be better. I mean it could be better. You could if you decided on a, even if you decided right, the education system, let's say education and welfare were gonna be the only things you're worried about and everything else stayed the same even.

BLAIR SPEECH:
Ask me my three main priorities for government and I tell you education, education, education.
BLAIR:
The job of being a politician is to change the country in the way that you think is right for the country [inaudible] there's no point in being in it unless you want to change things. If all you want to do is do your job, you want to sit in the office behind a desk signing papers, there's not much point in doing it, but it's like anything you know, it's like what we did with the Labour party, we had a clear series of objectives to modernise the Labour party, bring it up to date, and we've got to do the same with the country. And it can be done. So when I say education, education, education what that means is not just all the specifics of policy, it means that I am prepared to put every single bit of drive and energy that I've got into changing the education system of this country.

For me education is almost like trade union reform was for Margaret Thatcher. To me education is the big passion, it's the thing that you know should drive everything that we're doing, which is one of the reasons why it's so crazy that today we spend more on unemployment than we do on education. If a family's got people in the home where no-one's working, how can the kids grow up with any sense of the work ethic, any sense of turning up to work on time earning a wage, then they start living in a different culture in a different society, and when that actually happens then all the other problems come with them all the crime all the drugs benefits bills, and when I talk about getting young people off benefit and into work it's not [inaudible] uncaring, on the contrary the only proper true compassionate way to care is to say we're going to do something about that.

BLAIR SPEECH:
As the first step we will implement a programme to take two hundred and fifty thousand young people off benefit and into work, funded by a one-off windfall levy on the excess profits of the privatised monopoly utilities
BLAIR:
They say that there's a great new Labour Party that's gonna change the world, but you know they're just cynical, people are cynical about politics and politicians because they've had a government for, at least for the past few years, that have kept promising things, never delivered them, that has havered on one thing and another thing, and people have almost got to the point where they say "Well what's the use? You're all the same. You know nothing's ever gonna make any difference". And of course the Tories in a sense delight in that, because then people say "well we may as well [inaudible] just to stick with what we've got". But you don't have to stick with what you've got. It's absurd to say that we cannot be better than this.

There is a battle for resources in the National Health Service because we're spending so much money now on increased administration. But it, it's more than just about the resources in the health service. What's really happening is that the Conservatives don't understand why we created the health service. They don't understand it. The health service to me is a living breathing symbol of what a decent civilised society should mean in practice, helping people on the basis of their need not on the basis of their wealth.

When my father became ill, when I was ...um... ten, eleven, and he ...er... had a stroke, and all our lives changed after that, really. Well for the first twenty four hours we weren't sure whether he was gonna live or not, so then then that was OK, but then when he came back home he really couldn't do anything, which was very tough for him because he was a public speaker, he was a good public speaker, he was a barrister, a good public speaker, so all those things had to stop. He had to give up his political ambitions. Everything changed. Yeah well it was, the amazing thing is, he did actually rebuild his life and my mother of course she nursed him for three years, taught him how to speak again, and I think when my mother died, when I was twenty one, you got a sense of urgency into your life [inaudible] do you know what I mean? You suddenly thought well you've actually quite a short time you've got, so you better get on, you better get things done, you better do things.

BLAIR SPEECH:
We must awaken and ignite in our people the hope that change can bring, because the last weapon the Tories have, you know their final weapon, is despair and cynicism. It's telling people well it doesn't matter who's in power 'cos they're all the same, it'll make no difference, nothing can ever change. Rubbish. Of course things can change. When they say "don't let Labour ruin it" I say to them "Britain can be better than this".
BLAIR:
You see I can't I couldn't imagine myself actually sitting in Downing Street, let's say, doing the job, having those things going on out there and not be just like some sort of great galvanizing force driving through the change to make things better. I just couldn't imagine doing it.

28th April 1997

Synopsis
This broadcast takes the form of a mini-drama. 'Tom' and 'Becky' are father and daughter. They've been at the hospital, where Becky has had to wait for treatment on a broken arm. It's late at night and raining, so they decide to take a taxi home. During the taxi-driver's speech about 'decline' we see images of how another Conservative government would affect Becky's life negatively. When Tom and Becky get out of the taxi, they notice that the taxi driver has a pair of angel's wings and that the clocks have gone back, making it possible for Tom to vote.
TOM:
Can you take us to Elm Road just the other side of the park?
TAXI DRIVER:
Course I can - hop in. You don't want to walk in weather like this. Number twenty six isn't it Becky?
BECKY:
How does he know my name?
TAXI DRIVER:
Terrible weather, terrible times. Did you vote then Tom?
BECKY:
How does he know your name?
TOM:
I meant to, but we've been in casualty all evening.
TAXI DRIVER:
Of course you have. You hurt your arm, didn't you Becky? Hairline fracture. Must hurt though. Still, it'll get better. Shame the health service won't.
TOM:
You're telling me. Six hours we were in casualty.
TAXI DRIVER:
Shortage of equipment or shortage of staff?
TOM:
Both, they said.
TAXI DRIVER:
So much seems to be in decline. I mean you must really worry about the future Tom. Just imagine what your Becky's life will be like if the Tories get back in for another five years. What'll happen the next time she needs to go to the hospital? It doesn't bear thinking about does it? They're pulling the NHS apart bit by bit - barely exist in a few years time. I mean your children are your future Tom, and there's a whole generation who only know about run down schools. That's no good, is it? How's she going to learn in an overcrowded classroom? I tell you it'll be difficult to find a decent school. I mean you've got to be honest with people - all that nonsense about tax - who do the Tories think they're kidding? There's VAT on heating now, although they said they'd never do it. They give with one hand and take with the other. There's twenty-two new taxes - twenty-two! What's next? Food? Kiddies' clothing? Books? If there's something you really need the Tories will Tax it. Ha ha ha eh? Listen to me going on - I sound like a flipping taxi driver. But it's not even safe to walk the streets is it? Violent crime has doubled and things can only get worse you know, because the real trouble makers are getting away with it. And where are all the extra coppers they promised you? No Tom, you've just got to face it - the Tories have let you down. Strange really, `cos that John Major seemed like a nice enough man. Hello, the rain's stopped. It doesn't have to be this way though, does it, eh? I mean the future could be so much brighter. Things can be better. That's why you have to vote.
TOM:
It's too late.
TAXI DRIVER:
Eh, don't worry about that. Have this one on me. Don't you worry either Becky. Take it from me - broken wings soon mend.
TOM:
Where's he gone? Where did you go?
TAXI DRIVER (VOICE OVER):
That's why you have to vote.
TOM:
We're back where we started.
TAXI DRIVER (VOICE OVER):
That's why you have to vote.
TOM:
Never again.
BECKY:
Can we have a pizza?
TOM:
Course we can.
BECKY:
You'll have to cut it up for me.
TOM:
That's what dads are for.
VOICE:
Britain deserves better. Vote Labour this Thursday.

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Last Modified: 22 Oct 12
© Richard Kimber