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Tony Blair at Third Way Magazine (an interwiev on 1993)
di Roy Mc Cloughry

(pagina 2)

... we have to do as a society and how Labour must change. A modern notion of citizenship is about rights and responsibilities: the problem for the right has been that they haven't given people the opportunities and the rights, and the problem for the left has traditionally been that it has underestimated the importance of personal responsibility. I have tried to transcend that argument and say: ‘Look, in fact what you want is to combine the two.' You don't have to choose between old-style ideas.

In a curious way, I think the Labour Party message is actually more relevant today in many ways than ever. We have to find ways to re-encapsulate proper community and family values. It's all the more important because they're not being reinforced by circumstances. You can see this very clearly in the old mining villages in my constituency. There used to be very strong community ties, but they aren't there any more. We need to rebuild them – otherwise, you will find there is an element of society that grows up outside the mainstream, which has no stake in it, which sees how the rest of the world lives and is pretty antagonistic towards it.
Aren't you ignoring the fact that community and family values are built on a religious foundation which we have lost? Isn't the root cause of the fragmentation of our society the spread of secularism?
Well, I think it is certainly to do with the absence of strong moral, philosophical and spiritual values. I think there are economic factors as well, but yes, I do think that.There was a tendency at one time to think that people could live in a spiritual and moral vacuum, that you could simply stop teaching these types of values and people would make their own way towards their own accommodation with society. There were elements of Utopia in that. I think we have a more hard-headed understanding now, that these values have to be taught and learnt. You can see, as a father bringing up your children, it is a constant problem. They don't just get to it by themselves.
How can you enlighten people who are governed by self-interest?
I think you must recognise the different society we live in: a much more individuated culture, in experience, lifestyle and all the rest of it. Where you try to advocate and persuade is to say: ‘Look, if you take that very narrow view of self-interest, we don't end up with a better society and you don't end up with greater individual prosperity.'
What do you think are the qualities of leadership that are needed in this country at the moment?
First of all, to tell people how the world really is. Secondly, I think, to be less tribal in our outlook as party politicians. And, as much as anything else, to give people some sense of hope that change is possible, and that it's not something to be frightened of.
Do you have those qualities?
Well, obviously I wouldn't say things if I didn't believe them. You will go through a testing time in politics where it will be found whether you've got those qualities or not.In the end, I can walk away. I'm not obsessed with politics at all, and if I felt I really couldn't make a difference I wouldn't much bother. In fact, I don't particularly enjoy the trappings of politics – indeed, I dislike a lot of them intensely. I'm in politics because political decisions are so important to the things I believe in. The actual business of politics, although I can do it, I don't have a great deal of time for.  

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