The version on the Labour website is slightly different to that emailed out to the “Labour supporters network”, the latter seeming to be a transcript of what was actually said, rather than merely the notes.
Still, a couple of interesting admissions that reveal a lot: First, Blair only reached “political maturity” in his mid-30s (a tad late, one might think), and secondly (only in the email version) he admits that “none of it [pre-1990s British politics] made sense to me”. Quoting the full paragraph (as it’s not on the website) will show amply just how little he understood:
“I looked at my own country. A great country with a great history and magnificent traditions, proud of its past. But strangely uncertain of its future. Uncertain about the future, almost old fashioned.
“And all that was curiously symbolised you know in the politics of the time. You, you had choices, you stood for individual aspiration and getting on in life, or a social compassion of helping others. You were liberal in your values, or conservative. You believed in the power of the state or the efforts of the individual. Spending more money on the public realm was the answer, or it was the problem. And none of it made sense to me.”
Not only does he seem to have confused pre-Blair British politics with late-20th century American politics (liberal vs. conservative rather than socialist vs. capitalist, etc.), but also please note how none of the words “unions”, “workers”, “democracy”, “the poor” or “socialism” appear even once in the entire speech… (“Iraq” appears once, “education” once, “the NHS” not at all…)
Update: The Times has the full version