Great Political Speeches #2: Neil Kinnock’s Warning

by George_East on April 5, 2013

Having been inspired by Charlie East-West’s post of the great Jimmy Reid’s speech from 1972,   Neil Kinnock’s famous words in the days before Margaret Thatcher’s landslide victory in the 1983 General Election came to mind.  It is hard to think of any other end to a speech that proved to be so prescient and which has such relevance to the economic destruction and  Class War declared by the current Coaliton government.

If Margaret Thatcher wins on Thursday,

I warn you not to be ordinary;

I warn you not to be young;

I warn you not to fall ill;

And I warn you not to grow old’

It brings a tear to my eye, every time I hear it.  We have truly learned nothing.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Charlie_East_West April 5, 2013 at 11:54 am

The sad thing about all of this is that Neil Kinnock would have made a bloody great PM – yet, he was smashed to pieces by the right wing media, and made into a figure of ridicule.

Thatcher set the wheels in motion for an ideology that is still relevant today. I would argue though, that the current government makes the Thatcher regime look tame by comparison.


George_East April 5, 2013 at 11:56 am

Agreed. There is a passion and anger in the speech which is obviously completely genuine. It is something you so rarely see (or hear) any more.


Charlie_East_West April 5, 2013 at 12:02 pm

I loved Kinnock, not just because of his ideology – but because he was completely normal, and not in any way self-concious.

The man was a politician with a great big beating heart…and what an orator.

Everything he did was for the right reasons. Compare and contrast with the likes of George Osborne…


Rob February 10, 2015 at 12:35 pm

It is sad that after having the world’s greatest PM of the second part of the XX Century in Lady Thatcher, people still don’t value all that she did for each and every Briton. Maybe take a look at Spanish and Greek youth, elders and the poverty they are living and thank the sky for having good old Maggie saving the ‘old man of europe’ that Britain was back then.

I guess there is always people that can’t see the big picture and will say “what a pity, Miliband would have been a great PM”. Hopefully they’ll never get to elect a PM.


George_East February 10, 2015 at 3:04 pm

Oh dear no. Destroyed pretty much everything that was good and decent about the UK and presided over a huge redistribution of wealth to the very richest in the land. The 1979/1980 trans-Atlantic shift to faith based ‘supply side economics’ remains a policy category error from which we still haven’t recovered.
And the problem with Spain (admittedly to a lesser extent Greece) is the determination of Germany to impose absurd and ultimately counter-productive deflationary terms on the rest of the Eurozone, creating an economic trap that it is all but impossible to escape. The primary architect of keeping us out of the Euro was Gordon Brown.


Bill September 14, 2015 at 10:21 am

Kin nock was the ultimate champagne socialist. He scarpered to get his snout in the euro trough for 20 years. What was he doing for his beloved people of the valleys when he and Glynis were lining their pockets in Europe or swanning off to his villa in the south of France? Ironically he once made a speech mocking the loadsamoney geezers of Thatchers era who wanted to make £10 million. He can’t be far off that mark now himself.


Nicola Kirton September 14, 2017 at 11:34 am

This is by many a country mile my favourite speech by Neil Kinnock. Every time I think of a Tory government I hear that speech in my head. However, I do think it is tragic that those words came out of a Labour Leader who betrayed the miners and the working class by standing by while the miners were starved back to work, and blaming Arthur Scargill for the plight of the miners. He routed Militant, a left wing group, out of the Labour Party. These were the representatives of decent ordinary working people, who were doing what Neil Kinnock was not prepared to do. He has now thrown his entire lot in with the establishment, which is proven by his absolute opposition to Jeremy Corbyn. Shame really and very tragic, not just for him, but, more importantly, for the country. Imagine missing an open goal, which Thatcher presented him with before that landslide win in 1983. Remember Thatcher’s government were in deep deep trouble, when, conveniently, the Argentinians invaded the Falklands, Thatcher went to war over the Falklands and that war saved her premiership. So, at that time, we had a situation where going to war won you an election – and boy have the world leaders used that fact and run riot with it. You reap what you sow, I guess.


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