I Warn You, Again

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A couple of years ago I posted Neil Kinnock's legendary words, delivered at a speech in Bridgend the night before the 1983 general election which returned Margaret Thatcher in a landslide driven on the patriotic fervour of the Falklands War. 

Over the last couple of days my fear of the shadow of a radical Conservative government returning to the UK has crystallised into out and out terror, and I found myself thinking of Kinnock's words again after reading Johann Hari's article on the Conservatives' "model" council. Times have changed, of course - now they're a rallying cry for voting for the Liberal Democrats, not for Labour (much could apply to a Labour government as well) - but they're still some of the most powerful words spoken in post-war politics. 

I was thinking of rewriting, in my amateurish way, Kinnock's magnificent words to describe an economically troubled Britain under a Conservative majority in 2010. However, once I reread them I found that so many of Kinnock's lines can be used today without change that, well, all I had to do was to add a couple of lines about issues of today which weren't yet mainstream issues in 1983.

The following, therefore, is 99% Neil Kinnock and 1% me (and I apologise to the now Lord Kinnock for mangling his work, especially as this is only a half-hour rush job). All I've done is changed a couple of names, added a few lines, and rewritten the lines about Tebbitism and "you will be quiet". I know I'm not the first person to have done this, but this is my take on why voting Conservative tomorrow just because you don't like what Labour has done is a bad idea. Don't give them the mandate they think they deserve to have. Vote for what you believe in.

If David Cameron is elected as Prime Minister, I warn you.

  • I warn you that you will have pain -
    When healing and relief depend on payment.

  • I warn you that you will have ignorance -
    When talents are untended and wits are wasted, when learning is a privilege and not a right.

  • I warn you that you will have poverty -
    When pensions slip and benefits are whittled away by a Government that won't pay in an economy that can't pay.

  • I warn you that you will be isolated -
    When the country shuns its neighbours and the doors are slammed shut to even the most desperate, we will be shunned in turn.

  • I warn you that you will be cold - 
    When fuel charges are used as a tax system that the rich don't notice and the poor can't afford.

  • I warn you that you will be ashamed -
    When the poor and vulnerable plead desperately for help, but the services they need have been eliminated to keep taxes low for the rich.

  • I warn you that you will be a second-class citizen -
    When the religion and the prejudices of the minority are used to alienate and discriminate against the different.

  • I warn you that you will be quiet -
    When constant surveillance, ever-increasing police powers, and the lurid threat of terrorism are used to muzzle you into silent obedience.

  • I warn you that you must not expect work - 
    When many cannot spend, more will not be able to earn. When they don't earn, they don't spend. When they don't spend, work dies.

  • I warn you that you will be powerless -
    When the corrupt two-party system is perpetuated forever through boundary manipulation and manufactured fear of change.

  • I warn you not to go into the streets alone after dark or into the streets in large crowds of protest in the light.

  • I warn you that you will have defence of a sort -
    With a risk and at a price that passes all understanding.

  • I warn you that you will be home-bound -
    When fares and transport bills kill leisure and lock you up.

  • I warn you that you will borrow less - 
    When credit, loans, mortgages and easy payments are refused to people on your melting income.

If David Cameron wins, he will be more a Leader than a Prime Minister. That power produces arrogance and when it is toughened by tabloidism and flattered and fawned upon by spineless sycophants and the Murdoch media, that arrogance corrupts absolutely.

If David Cameron wins -

  • I warn you not to be ordinary.
  • I warn you not to be young.
  • I warn you not to be different.
  • I warn you not to fall ill.
  • I warn you not to get old.

- based on a speech by Neil Kinnock, Bridgend, 7 June 1983

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