Paul Linford: My Top 10 Political Speeches

Re the principles vs power issue… I haven’t read or seen Kinnock’s speech, but I’m guessing he was quoting or referencing Aneurin Bevan’s speech of 29 November 1959, after Labour’s election defeat, in which he said:

“What is the lesson for us? It is that we must enlarge and expand those personalities, so that they can become again conscious of limitation and constriction. The problem is one of education, not of surrender! This so-called affluent society is an ugly society still. It is a vulgar society. It is a meretricious society. It is a society in which priorities have gone all wrong. I once said — and I do not want to quote myself too frequently — that the language of priorities was the religion of Socialism, and there is nothing wrong with that statement either, but you can only get your priorities right if you have the power to put them right, and the argument, comrades, is about power in society. If we managed to get a majority in Great Britain by the clever exploitation of contemporary psychology, and we did not get the commanding heights of the economy in our power, then we did not get the priorities right. The argument is about power and only about power, because only by the possession of power can you get the priorities correct…”

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