Neil Kinnock has repeated his age-old warnings about life under Conservative rule in an interview with the Mirror.
The former Labour man addressed a crowd in Bridgend on the penultimate day of the 1983 general election campaign, penning a speech that would go down in history in the back of a family Ford Sierra, a clipboard balanced on his knees.
“If Margaret Thatcher wins on Thursday,” he wrote.
“I warn you not to be ordinary. I warn you not to be young. I warn you not to fall ill. I warn you not to get old.”
This year is the 40th anniversary of that famous speech, and it comes just as the country reaches the exact moment it foretold.
“I warned you,” Baron Kinnock of Bedwellty, as he is now known, told the Mirror, looking over the text as he re-read it.
“It’s all there. The appalling thing about the speech is that it’s become so close to reality.
“There’s even a section about them taking away the right to protest. That has come true.”
Baron Kinnock, now 80, adds: “The warnings about the NHS, pensioner poverty, the cold, fuel charges, transport, the crime rate – all of it.
“We’ve got a government now that’s waging economic warfare against its own people.
“And the only other government doing that is Putin’s government.”
Kinnock accused David Cameron and George Osborne of using the banking crisis to get away with the underfunding of public services, including the NHS and local government.
“Taken cumulatively, that was ruinous. Neglect is hugely costly. What’s happening now has been accumulating for 13 years”, he said.
Labour’s election slogan for the 1964 general election was ‘13 wasted years’ under successive Conservative administrations.
“By next year”, Kinnock said, “we will have had 14 fruitless years under the Tories. Worse than that, the areas of biggest need have seen the biggest cuts.”
The 1983 speech is undoubtedly prophetic.
At one point he warned that we will be plunged into poverty “when pensions slip and benefits are whittled away”, and at another he says: “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.”
Perhaps most ominous is the line: “I warn you that you will be quiet.” It comes as the right to strike is being attacked in the Commons and rights to protest have already been restricted.
“The only thing I didn’t talk about was inequality,” Baron Kinnock says.
Watch the speech in full below:
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