Today was one of those big days. Or to be precise, yesterday. Blair gave his speech - the last one - for his party´s conference. I have never hidden my admiration for his rhetorics and talent as a performer and he did not fail me yesterday. For those who do not want to go through all the 13 pages of the speech, here are my favourite quotes:
"I know I look older. That´s what being leader of the Labour party does to you. Actually, looking round some of you look a lot older."
"But above all else, I want to thank the British people. Not just for the honour of being prime minister but for the journey of progress we have travelled together. Leaders lead but in the end it´s the people who deliver."
"We proved that economic efficiency and social justice are not opposites but partners in progress. We defied conventional political wisdom and so changed it. Around that we built a new political coalition."
"We won not because we surrendered our values but because we finally had the courage to be true to them. Our courage in changing gave the British people the courage to change. That´s how we won."
"It´s not a clash of civilisations. It´s about civilisation, about the ideas that shape it."
"The danger for us today is not reversion to the politics of the 1980s. It is retreat to the sidelines. To the comfort zone. It is unconsciously to lose the psychology of a governing party. As I said in 1994, courage is our friend. Caution, our enemy."
"The British people will, sometimes, forgive a wrong decision. They won´t forgive not deciding. They know the choices are hard. They know there isn´t some fantasy government where nothing difficult ever happens. They´ve got the LibDems for that."
"They say I hate the party, and its traditions. I don't. I love this party. There's only one tradition I hated: losing."
Tony, Tony, Tony. You still have it. The subtle balance between ´I´ and ´we´. The mastery of repetition. The call for action without pointing at anyone. The playful harshness. The courage to speak in clear and short sentences and not trying to hide yourself in bureaucratic phrases. The ability to be a world leader and a family man at the same time. The skill of being home on your island and remembering Africa.
I must say. Although all the others have left your boat by now, I am still here printing those speeches. Politics will be so dull without you.