History / Politics

The language of Blajorism

Yesterday, former prime ministers John Major and Tony Blair appeared together in support of British membership of the European Union. Which wasn’t that much of a surprise, really. Back in the 1990s, the Conservative and Labour Parties led by the two men had much in common, at least in terms of rhetoric; as John Major pointed out in his memoirs: ‘The language of New Labour may have been first-rate, but it was second-hand’.

MajorBlair‘Our Conservatism is about developing personal independence. It is designed to give people a hand up, not a hand-out.’ – John Major, 1991

‘A hand up and not just a hand-out.’ – Tony Blair, 1994

‘I am closing down the something-for-nothing society.’ – Peter Lilley, 1992

‘This Bill represents a fundamental reform of the Welfare State. It challenges the something-for-nothing culture.’ – Tony Blair, 1998

‘Our policies are based on individual choice, individual opportunity, individual responsibility.’ – John Major, 1994

‘With opportunity must come responsibility’ – Tony Blair, 1994

‘My aims for the Community can be simply stated. I want us to be where we belong. At the very heart of Europe.’ – John Major, 1991

‘I have no doubt at all that the future of my country lies in being at the heart of Europe.’ – Tony Blair, 1995

‘That is what I have always promised: no return to boom and bust.’ – Kenneth Clarke, 1996

No return to boom and bust.’ – Tony Blair, 1997

‘Wealth for the many, not the few.’ – John Major, 1996

‘Power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few.’ – Clause IV of Labour Party manifesto, adopted 1996

‘I have sat in the Cabinet for six years now. It just seems like sixty.’ – John Major, 1993

‘I know it’s only been three years, but sometimes it seems like thirty.’ – Tony Blair, 2000


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