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Duncan Smith: No Third Chance for the Third Way

Speech at Millbank Tower, London

"I want to thank you for all the hard work you have been doing for the Party over the past year.

My message to you this evening is that your hard work is beginning to pay off.

Last weekend the New Labour party met with its New Labour friends to discuss the renewal of the Third Way.

At the same time, the Old Labour party told the New Labour party that there is no Third Way.

Today, up and down Britain, people don't care what the Third Way is.

They just know that Britain is not going in the right direction and that things are not getting any better.

Six years ago, from this very stage Tony Blair made his contract with the British People.

He said he could change Britain. He said he could find a new beginning.

And he made one - great - promise - to renew our public services.

Well, here today at Millbank we've come to tell Labour - Old and New - that both their ways have failed --

…And to say to the people of Britain -- there should be no third chance for Tony Blair's Third Way.

New Labour was conceived in an Islington restaurant, and born in this building. But, like Old Labour, it's completely incapable of delivering.

The question is -- why?

Why can't this government deliver the better life for Britain that they promised?

The reason is that Mr Blair and Mr Brown have been the Arthur Daley's of British politics - the dodgiest of used-car salesmen, trying to flog a clapped-out, broken-down model for change, by slapping on a new coat of paint.

They tried to con the great middle ground of British politics into believing that their policies were conservative -- and that you could have a Conservative Government without the Conservative Party.

But all they have delivered is classic Labour.

No veneer or rhetoric will change that reality.

But veneer and rhetoric was just what they offered.

Because they saw that Old Labour - the party of clause 4 and appeasement, the party that was soft on crime and in the pocket of the Unions - was unpopular with the voters…

They said they would not undermine the economy.

They said they would decentralise control and free people's potential.

But the truth has been completely different.

They've centralised control and robbed local government of real autonomy.

They've bewildered and overwhelmed the public services with targets.

They've engineered the biggest public sector job creation programme in decades - just at the moment when unemployment in the private sector was rising.

And this classic Labour approach to the public services is now even beginning to undermine the very foundations of our economy.

All this they've done because the politics of Old Labour still rushes through their veins - with the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, at the party's beating heart.

The reality is that New Labour was born out of a response to long years of largely successful Conservative Government and to years of Old Labour's continual failure in opposition.

It could only ever define itself in terms of what it was against, but never succeeded in saying what it was for.

It has no long-term answers to the problems this country faces.

And that's because it has no guiding principle on which to develop a coherent approach to today's problems.

Imagine: six years after they took office that have to meet together for three days to figure out just what they believe in.

And because they don't know, they resort to catchy headlines, spurious initiatives and empty rhetoric.

What was once a spin-doctors dream, has become the whole country's nightmare.

New Labour are arrogant enough to think that the British people will forget what they promised

But it was here in this very room that New Labour promised not to put up tax - and just like Old Labour, they've put up tax 60 times.

It was here that New Labour promised they would not spend one penny more on the Health Service without reform - but like Old Labour they're now going to increase spending on Health without having undertaken any real reform at all.

It was here that New Labour promised they would be tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime - but just as with Old Labour…

- Violent crime is up!

- Street crime is up!

- Gun crime has doubled!

It was in this room that New Labour promised not to undermine Britain's great economic achievements - but under a New Labour Government…

Britain's productivity growth has halved, and we've lost 656,000 manufacturing jobs.

Think about it. 656,000 jobs - that's 2,000 jobs a week!

New Labour's language changed but its instincts did not -- they remain to over-centralise, over-regulate, over-tax, over-spend and under deliver.

And this New Labour Prime Minister lacks the conviction to bring about the real changes we need. He talks endlessly of change as if change were an end in itself - rather than the means to a better life for the people of Britain.

He says delivery is on its way…

But he said the same in '99 - that was to be "New Labour's year of delivery".

He said in 2000 "Step by step we are getting there."

He said the 2001 election was "very clearly, an instruction to deliver".

And he hasn't delivered - so now he's changed his tune.

Only a week or so ago, he said, 'values' were more important than delivery -- and had been so all along!

I've got news for you Mr Blair.

When your mother is stuck on a waiting list…

When your child is trapped in a failing school…

When your family is imprisoned on a crime-ridden estate…

Or your kids are dying of drug addiction.

It's delivery you want and need - not the empty rhetoric about the Third Way or 'Progressive Governance'.

A couple of weeks ago I went to Handsworth in Birmingham and met with a group called Parents United.

This group got together to combat crime in an area where drive-by shootings and deaths from drug abuse are commonplace.

People like them don't want to hear the empty rhetoric of politicians. They simply want to regain their communities.

And we have to help them do it in practical and useful ways - not with summits, schemes and Czars.

People up and down this country today know that this Government is drifting.

They've just spent three days talking to each other, trying to relaunch themselves.

But instead of spending days in smart hotels talking to themselves, why don't they listen people in places like Handsworth, or Moss Side, Easterhouse, Gallowgate, or Hackney whose lives have been ripped apart by rising crime, drug addiction and failing public services?

New Labour has run out of steam.

The Prime Minister is running out of friends,

And the British people are running out of patience.

Now - like a desperate conman - the Government is in complete denial.

They deny there's a crisis in school funding - yet teachers are being sacked because without reform, the Government can't get the money through to the schools.

They deny the crisis in our health service - as hospital waiting lists go back up above a million.

They deny they're putting up taxes - yet their £8 billion increase in National Insurance, their £2 billion increase in council tax and their other taxes are costing a typical family an extra £568 this year.

And they denied that the draft European Constitution was anything more than 'a tidying-up exercise' - when everyone knows it means a fundamental change to the way that Britain would be governed.

But every now and then the truth breaks out.

Only this month the Home Secretary was forced to admit that the criminal justice system's increasing failure to bring criminals to book, is 'a disgrace'.

Only this month the Government's own Transport adviser said Labour's transport policies are 'doomed to fail'.

And, of course, we can always rely on Peter Hain. He let the cat out of the bag and said taxes should go up even more if Labour were given a third term.

For the British People, the reality of this Government has been more Taxes, more Charges, more Redundancies, more Waiting Lists, more failures…

- in fact the only thing new about New Labour are its new excuses for the litany of failures and broken promises.

Yet as these failures become more apparent to the people of this country, the Government has been reduced to ever more desperate measures.

Ripping up a thousand years of our constitutional history in a press release without any idea of what they will do to replace it.

Accusing our intelligence services of plotting against them because New Labour chose to present a 12-year-old thesis off the Internet as vital evidence in their case for war.

Picking a fight with the BBC to divert attention from their mistakes and their attempts to mislead Parliament.

And the desperate attempt to buy off their backbench rebels with perhaps the most cynical manoeuvre of all, a fox-hunting bill that sold out our rural communities, while ignoring the scandal of rising violent crime, rising waiting lists and the decay of our communities.

No wonder Mr Blair's Government is increasingly divided.

No wonder his backbenches are in open rebellion and his ministers are jockeying to replace him.

No wonder the Old Left and the unions are demanding a return to Labour's socialist roots.

After six years of lies and deceit, the Prime Minister's moral and political authority has been irretrievably damaged.

He couldn't even manage his reshuffle without botching it.

A very senior and close Cabinet colleague quit his Government with just a few days notice.

Three of his most senior ministers faced him down over changes he was demanding within their departments.

The Prime Minister so desperate that he had to relaunch his Government twice in two weeks. Not that anybody would have noticed.

As his authority is increasingly undermined…

As his Government unravels…

It will become clear to the British People that the Third Way simply doesn't deserve a third term.

And yet, what an opportunity they had!

A thumping majority.

A buoyant economy.

The hopes and goodwill of the British people.

They could have used it to deliver an NHS fit for the 21st Century - instead they chose to defend a structure created for the 1940s.

They could have set schools free, free to bring out the very best in our young people - instead they chose to crush initiative and tie teachers up in red-tape.

They could have begun upgrading our roads six years ago - instead they declared war on the motorist and did nothing to improve public transport.

The Government's failure to deliver has been so serious,

The disappointment of the British people has been so profound,

That Labour has almost entirely wrecked people's confidence in politics.

The British people are fed up with failure.

They feel neglected and disillusioned.

And they know that this government is stifling their efforts and penalising their success.

They worry about people they see being left behind and wonder who's looking out for them.

They feel held back by this Government's failing policies and its obsessive interference in their lives.

And they're a lot less certain about their future.

Will their pensions be enough to provide a secure retirement?

Will their neighbourhoods ever be safe again?

What sort of country will be left for their children and grandchildren?

Years of spin and squander have fostered the idea that politics can't make a difference and that politicians don't care.

If Mr Blair has any legacy at all, this is his legacy.

From overwhelming optimism to utter disillusionment…in just six years.

And that's what we - the Conservative Party - must undo.

Not only must we fight the battle for ideas and solutions - we must also fight a battle for the idea of politics itself.

We must set out to be a different kind of government altogether.

The British don't expect the earth. They just expect a fair deal.

And they're looking for a party that will tell them the truth and give them that deal.

They're not looking for rash promises that can never be delivered. They are looking for someone to be straightforward about the problems this country faces and about the solutions to them.

A practical party and a practical government that will build on success from home and abroad to deliver the world-class public services we all want to see.

Practical solutions, based on our strong belief in setting people free from red-tape and letting them lead their own lives - so that no one is held back.

And our strong belief in our country and in the value of every member of our society - so that no one is left behind.

Our job between now and the next election, is to show the British people that we are that party - capable of being that government.

It is about persuading Britain that we can make the difficult decisions that are demanded of a competent Government.

And while this government has been unravelling, we've been unveiling a plan for government that will deliver both prosperity and better public services.

On health - we're going to ensure that people in need of treatment can get it when and where they need it, regardless of how much money they've got.

On education - we're going to scrap Labour's university tuition fees and ensure that people get into university on merit alone.

On crime - we're going to put 40,000 extra police officers on the streets, and provide an extra 20,000 rehab places to get our young people off drugs.

These are the right policies for Britain. They are the basis of our fair deal for everyone in this country.

But there's more, much more to come.

And we've had no greater endorsement than the reaction of the Labour Government.

Their attacks on us have become increasingly shrill, distorted and frantic.

Their wild allegations about our plans simply reveal this Government's natural instinct to lie when challenged.

We're obviously getting it right - and the voters know it too.

People are turning to us in ever-greater numbers.

We saw that in May.

And as we go into the summer break, after an extraordinary few months, I see a Party with a renewed sense of unity and purpose.

When the election comes, we will be ready.

The Conservative programme refuses to accept second best for the British people.

Our carefully thought-out policies will begin to deliver the world-class education and healthcare that every person in Britain deserves.

Winning the opportunity to serve the British people in government is a huge privilege.

All that we do over the next two years must demonstrate that we are ready to be this country's next government.

A practical government that focuses on finding real solutions to today's challenges.

A government that builds on proven models of success from home and abroad.

A government that is prepared to stand back so that the people who create wealth and make our public services succeed can step forward.

Different from today's Labour government based on spin and squander.

We have to meet these challenges to deserve the opportunity to govern.

We must win the battle of ideas.

We must continue our search for solutions.

We must win the trial of competence and conviction.

We are witnessing the beginning of the end for New Labour.

Diminished by spin. Damaged by broken promises.

The Third Way does not deserve a Third Chance.

As our chance comes

We must be ready -

United and determined -

We will deliver a fair deal for the people of Britain."

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