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The Right Honourable
 The Lord Kinnock 

In office
2 October 1983 – 18 July 1992
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
John Major
Preceded by Michael Foot
Succeeded by John Smith

In office
16 September 1999 – 21 November 2004
Preceded by Leon Brittan
Succeeded by Günter Verheugen

In office
16 September 1999 – 21 November 2004
Preceded by Erkki Liikanen
Succeeded by Siim Kallas

In office
Preceded by Karel Van Miert
Succeeded by Loyola de Palacio

In office
4 May 1979 – 2 October 1983
Leader Michael Foot
Preceded by Mark Carlisle
Succeeded by John Smith

Member of Parliament
for Islwyn
In office
9 June 1983 – 16 February 1995
Preceded by Constituency Established
Succeeded by Don Touhig

Member of Parliament
for Bedwellty
In office
18 June 1970 – 9 June 1983
Preceded by Harold Finch
Succeeded by Constituency Abolished

Born 28 March 1942 (1942-03-28) (age 67)
Tredegar, Wales, UK
Nationality Welsh
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Glenys Kinnock
Religion Agnostic

Neil Gordon Kinnock, Baron Kinnock (born 28 March 1942) is a Welsh Labour politician, who was a Member of Parliament from 1970 to 1995, and was the Leader of the Opposition from 1983 to 1992, when he resigned after being defeated in the 1992 general election. Kinnock began a process of modernisation of "old Labour" that was continued by his successors John Smith and Tony Blair in the move to a more moderate ideological direction. He served as a UK Commissioner of the European Commission from 1995 until 2004, and was until the summer of 2009 the Chairman of the British Council.[1] Kinnock served as President of Cardiff University from 1998 until 2009.


Early life

Kinnock, an only child, was born in Tredegar, Wales. His father Gordon Herbert Kinnock was a coal miner who suffered from dermatitis and had to find work as a labourer; and his mother Mary Kinnock was a district nurse. Gordon died of a heart attack in November 1971 aged 64, and Mary died the following month aged 61.

In 1953, Kinnock went to Lewis School, Pengam from where he won a place to University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire, obtaining a degree (his second attempt) in industrial relations and history in 1965. A year later, Kinnock obtained a postgraduate diploma in education. Between August 1966 and May 1970, he worked as a tutor for a Workers' Educational Association (WEA).

He married Glenys Parry in 1967 and they have two children - a son Stephen who was born in January 1970, and a daughter Rachel who was born in 1971. They now have four grandchildren.

Member of Parliament

In June 1969 he won the Labour Party nomination for the constituency of Bedwellty in Wales (later Islwyn). He was elected on 18 June 1970 and became a member of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party in October 1978. On becoming an MP for the first time, his father said "Remember Neil, MP stands not just for Member of Parliament, but also for Man of Principle". Labour government policy at the time was in favour of devolution for Wales, but the wider party was split. Calling himself a 'unionist', Kinnock was one of six south Wales Labour MPs to campaign against devolution on centralist, essentially British-nationalist grounds. He dismissed the idea of a Welsh identity, saying that "between the mid-sixteenth century and the mid-eighteenth century Wales had practically no history at all, and even before that it was the history of rural brigands who have been ennobled by being called princes".[2] In the Wales referendum, 1979, the proposal for devolution was rejected.

Following Labour's defeat in the 1979 General Election, James Callaghan appointed Neil Kinnock to the Shadow Cabinet as Education spokesman. His ambition was noted by other MPs, and David Owen's opposition to the changes to the electoral college was thought to be motivated by the realisation that they would favour Kinnock's succession. He was known as a left-winger, and gained notoriety for his attacks on Margaret Thatcher's handling of the Falklands War.

Leadership of the Labour Party

First period (1983-1987)

His first period as party leader - between the 1983 and 1987 elections - was dominated by his struggle with the hard left. Although Kinnock had come from the "Tribune" left of the party, he parted company with many of his previous allies after his appointment to the shadow cabinet. In 1981, Kinnock was alleged to have effectively scuppered Tony Benn's attempt to replace Denis Healey as Labour's deputy leader by first supporting the candidacy of the more traditionalist Tribunite John Silkin and then urging Silkin supporters to abstain on the second, run-off, ballot.

All this meant that Kinnock had made plenty of enemies on the left by the time he was elected as leader, though a substantial number of former Bennites gave him strong backing. He was almost immediately in serious difficulty as a result of Arthur Scargill's decision to lead his union, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) into a national strike (in opposition to pit closures) without a members' ballot. The NUM was widely regarded as the Labour movement's praetorian guard and the strike convulsed the Labour movement. Kinnock supported the aim of the strike - which he famously dubbed the "case for coal" - but, as an MP from a mining area, was bitterly critical of the tactics employed. In 1985 he made his criticisms public in a speech to Labour's conference :

The strike wore on. The violence built up because the single tactic chosen was that of mass picketing, and so we saw policing on a scale and with a system that has never been seen in Britain before. The court actions came, and by the attitude to the court actions, the NUM leadership ensured that they would face crippling damages as a consequence. To the question: "How did this position arise?", the man from the lodge in my constituency said: "It arose because nobody really thought it out."

The strike's defeat and the rise of the Militant tendency were the immediate background for 1985's Labour conference in Bournemouth. Earlier in the year left-wing councils had protested at Government restriction of their budgets by refusing to set budgets, resulting in a budget crisis in Militant-dominated Liverpool City Council. Kinnock attacked Militant and their conduct in Liverpool in one of the most famous passages of any post-war British political speeches:

I'll tell you what happens with impossible promises. You start with far-fetched resolutions. They are then pickled into a rigid dogma, a code, and you go through the years sticking to that, out-dated, misplaced, irrelevant to the real needs, and you end in the grotesque chaos of a Labour council - a Labour council! - hiring taxis to scuttle round a city handing out redundancy notices to its own workers.

In 1986, the party's position appeared to strengthen further with excellent election results and a thorough rebranding of the party under the direction of Kinnock's director of communications Peter Mandelson. Labour, now sporting a continental social democratic style emblem of a rose, appeared to be able to run the governing Conservatives close, but Margaret Thatcher did not let Labour's makeover go unchallenged.

The Conservatives' 1986 conference was well-managed, and effectively relaunched the Conservatives as a party of radical free-market liberalism. Labour suffered from a persistent image of extremism, especially as Kinnock's campaign to root out the Militants dragged on as figures on the hard left of the party tried to stop its progress. Opinion polls showed that voters favoured retaining Britain's nuclear weapons and believed that the Conservatives would be better than Labour at defending the country.[3]

1987 general election

In early 1987, Labour lost a by-election in Greenwich to the Social Democratic Party's Rosie Barnes. As a result, Labour faced the 1987 election in some danger of coming third in the popular vote. In secret, Labour's aim became to secure second place with a good 35% of the vote - effectively cutting into the Tory majority but not yet in government.[citation needed]

Labour fought a professional campaign that at one point scared the Tories into thinking they might lose. Mandelson and his team had revolutionised Labour's communications - a transformation symbolised by a party election broadcast popularly known as "Kinnock: The Movie". This was directed by Hugh Hudson and featured Kinnock's 1985 conference speech, and shots of him and Glenys walking on the Great Orme in Llandudno (so emphasising his appeal as a family man and associating him with images of Wales away from the coalmining communities where he grew up), and a speech to that year's Welsh Labour Party conference asking why he was the "first Kinnock in a thousand generations" to go to university.

Then-Delaware Senator, presidential candidate and future Vice President of the United States Joe Biden was so impressed with Kinnock's speech that he borrowed lines from it in his own campaign speeches in the summer of 1987. Biden sometimes attributed his words to Kinnock, but notably did not in a speech at a Democratic debate in Iowa in August 1987, a mistake that led to Biden's withdrawal from the race a month later.

On polling day, Labour easily took second place, but with only 31 per cent to the SDP-Liberal Alliance's 22 per cent. Labour was still more than ten percentage points behind the Conservatives, who retained a three-figure majority in the House of Commons. However, the Conservative government's majority had come down from 144 in 1983 to 102. Labour won extra seats in Scotland, Wales and Northern England, but lost ground particularly in Southern England and London. Nevertheless, the party still made a net gain in seats.

Second period (1987-1992)

The second period of Kinnock's leadership was dominated by his drive to reform the party's policies and so win power. This began with an exercise dubbed the policy review, the most high-profile aspect of which was a series of consultations with the public known as "Labour Listens" in autumn 1987.

In organisational terms, the party leadership continued to battle with the Militant Tendency, though by now Militant was in retreat in the party and was simultaneously attracted by the opportunities to grow outside Labour's ranks - opportunities largely created by Margaret Thatcher's hugely unpopular poll tax.

After Labour Listens, the party went on, in 1988, to produce a new statement of aims and values - meant to supplement and supplant the formulation of Clause IV of the party's constitution (though, crucially, this was not actually replaced until 1995 under the leadership of Tony Blair) and was closely modelled on Anthony Crosland's social-democratic thinking - emphasising equality rather than public ownership. At the same time the commitment to unilateral nuclear disarmament was dropped, and reforms of Party Conference and the National Executive meant that local parties lost much of their ability to influence policy.

In 1988, Kinnock was challenged by Tony Benn for the party leadership. Later many identified this as a particularly low period in Kinnock's leadership - as he appeared mired in internal battles after five years of leadership and the Conservatives still dominating the scene. In the end, though, Kinnock won a decisive victory over Benn.

The policy review - reporting in 1989 - coincided with Labour's move ahead in the polls as the poll tax row was destroying Conservative support, and Labour won big victories in local by-elections. Kinnock was also perceived as scoring in debates over Margaret Thatcher in the Commons - previously an area in which he was seen as weak - and finally Conservative MPs challenged Thatcher's leadership and she resigned on 22 November 1990 to be succeeded by John Major.

Public reaction to Major's elevation was highly positive. A new Prime Minister and the fact that Kinnock became the longest-serving current leader of a major party reduced the impact of calls for "Time for a Change". Neil Kinnock's showing in the opinion polls dipped; before Mrs Thatcher's resignation, Labour had been up to 10 points ahead of the Tories in the opinion polls, but many opinion polls were actually showing the Tories with more support than Labour, in spite of the deepening recession.

1992 general election, backbenches and retirement

Famous Sun headline

In the 1992 election, Labour made considerable progress - reducing the Conservative majority to just 21 seats. It came as a shock to many when the Conservatives remained in power, but the perceived triumphalism of a Labour party rally in Sheffield (together with Kinnock's performance on the podium) may have helped put voters off. (Although most of those directly involved in the campaign believe that the rally really came to widespread attention only after the election itself).

On the day of the general election, The Sun ran a famous front page featuring Kinnock (headline: "If Kinnock wins today will the last person to leave Britain please turn out the lights") that he blamed in his resignation speech for losing Labour the election.

In the three years leading up to the 1992 election, Labour had constantly topped the opinion polls, with 1991 seeing the Tories (rejuvenated by the arrival of a new leader in John Major the previous November) snatch the lead off Labour more than once before Labour regained it. Kinnock had spent all of 1991 putting pressure on Major to hold the election that year, but Major had held out and insisted that there would be no general election in 1991.

Kinnock himself later claimed to have half-expected the loss and proceeded to turn himself into a media personality, even hosting a chat show on BBC Wales and twice appearing - with considerable success - on the topical panel show Have I Got News For You within a year of the defeat. Many years later, he returned to appear as a guest host of the programme.

He remains on the Advisory Council of the Institute for Public Policy Research, which he helped set up in the 1980s.

European Union Commissioner

Kinnock was appointed one of Britain's two members of the European Commission, which he served first as Transport Commissioner under President Jacques Santer. He was obliged to resign as part of the forced, collective resignation of the Commission in 1999, but there was never any suggestion that he himself had done anything corrupt. He was re-appointed to the Commission under new President Romano Prodi. He now became one of the Vice-Presidents of the European Commission. His term of office as a Commissioner was due to expire on 30 October 2004, but was delayed owing to the withdrawal of the new Commissioners. During this second term of office on the Commission, he was responsible for introducing new staff regulations for EU officials, a significant feature of which was substantial salary cuts for everyone employed after 1 May 2004, reduced pension prospects for many others, and gradually worsening employment conditions. This made him disliked by many EU staff members, although the pressure on budgets that largely drove these changes had actually been imposed on the Commission from above by the Member States in Council.

In February 2004 it was announced that with effect from 1 November 2004 Kinnock would become head of the British Council. At the same time his son Stephen Kinnock was to become head of the British Council branch in St. Petersburg, Russia. At the end of October, it was announced that he would become a member of the House of Lords (intending to be a working peer), when he was able to leave his EU responsibilities. In 1977, he had remained in the House of Commons, with Dennis Skinner, while other MPs walked to the Lords to hear the Queen's speech opening the new parliament. He had dismissed going to the Lords in recent interviews. Kinnock explained his change of attitude, despite the continuing presence of 90 hereditary peers and appointment by patronage, by asserting that the Lords was a good base for campaigning.

Life peerage

He was introduced to the House of Lords on 31 January 2005, after being created Baron Kinnock, of Bedwellty in the County of Gwent.[4][5] On assuming his seat he stated, "I accepted the kind invitation to enter the House of Lords as a working peer for practical political reasons." When his peerage was first announced, he said, "It will give me the opportunity... to contribute to the national debate on issues like higher education, research, Europe and foreign policy." His peerage meant that the Labour and Conservative parties were equal in numbers in the upper house of Parliament (since then, the number of Labour members has overtaken the number of Conservative members). Kinnock was a long-time critic of the House of Lords, and his acceptance of a peerage led him to be accused of hypocrisy, by Will Self[6], among others.[7]

Biden incident

Kinnock gained attention in the United States in 1987 when it was discovered that then-Senator Joe Biden of Delaware quoted one of Kinnock's speeches but forgot to credit him during his 1988 presidential campaign.[8] This led to Biden's withdrawing from the race.[9]

Biden was elected Vice President of the United States in 2008; on 18 January 2009 Glenys Kinnock revealed on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that she and Neil Kinnock had received a personal invitation from Biden to attend the inauguration of Barack Obama and Biden on 20 January 2009 at the United States Capitol in Washington.

Personal life

He is married to Glenys Kinnock, currently Minister for Africa and The United Nations, and formerly Minister for Europe, Labour Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Wales from 1999 to 2009, and MEP for South Wales East from 1994 to 1999. When she was made a life peer in 2009, they became one of the few couples to both hold titles in their own right. The two met while studying at University College, Cardiff, where they were known as "the power and the glory" (Glenys the power), and they married on 25 March 1967.[10] Previously living together in Peterston-Super-Ely, a village near the western outskirts of Cardiff, in 2008 they moved to Tufnell Park, London, to be closer to their daughter and grandchildren[11]

They have two children, Stephen and Rachel.[12] Stephen is married to Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who is the leader of the Danish Social Democrats political party. He is assistant director of the British Council, which is chaired by his father, in Sierra Leone. Rachel works in the Political Office at 10 Downing Street under Gordon Brown.

In 1984, Neil Kinnock appeared in the video for the Tracey Ullman song "My Guy" (his daughter was a fan) as a someone with a clipboard canvassing on a council estate. The record reached #23 in the charts.

Before university, Kinnock attended Lewis School, Pengam, which he later criticised for its record on corporal punishment (caning).

On 26 April 2006, Neil Kinnock was given a six-month driving ban after being found guilty of two speeding offences along the M4 motorway, west of London.

Kinnock is an agnostic.[13]


Nicknamed "the Welsh Windbag" by Private Eye magazine, an image repeated on Spitting Image, and "Kinocchio" by the Conservatives, he had the task of leading the Labour Party during a protracted period out of government. Private Eye also ran a comic strip "Dan Dire: Pilot of the future?". This was based on the comic character Dan Dare, and one in which the hapless space pilot's adventures were based on the political misfortunes of Kinnock.

The character Paris Geller in popular 2000's US TV programme The Gilmore Girls referred to Neil's voice as something she swooned over in her younger days; this may have been a tongue-in-cheek remark. The professor she was going out with the series was Michael York with a very English accent, which Neil clearly does not.

Styles and Titles

  • Neil Kinnock, Esq. (1942–1970)
  • Neil Kinnock, Esq., MP (1970–1983)
  • The Rt. Hon. Neil Kinnock MP (1983–1995)
  • The Rt. Hon. Neil Kinnock (1995–2005)
  • The Rt. Hon. The Lord Kinnock PC (2005–)

Further reading

  • Martin Westlake and Ian St. John, Kinnock, Little Brown Book Group Limited, 2001. ISBN 0-316-84871-9.
  • Peter Kellner, essay on Neil Kinnock in G. Rosen (ed.), Dictionary of Labour Biography, Politicos Publishing, 2001. ISBN 1902301188
  • Michael Leapman, Kinnock, Unwin Hyman, 1987.
  • George Drower, Neil Kinnock: The Path to Leadership, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1984.
  • Greg Rosen, Old Labour to New, Politicos Publishing, 2005 (an account of the Labour Party before, during and after the Kinnock years). ISBN 1842750453
  • Patrick Wintour and Colin Hughes, Labour Rebuilt, Fourth Estate, 1990 (an account of Kinnock's modernisation of the Labour Party).


External links

Offices held

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Harold Finch
Member of Parliament for Bedwellty
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Islwyn
Succeeded by
Don Touhig
Party political offices
Preceded by
Michael Foot
Leader of the Labour Party
1983 – 1992
Succeeded by
John Smith
Preceded by
Syd Tierney
Chair of the Labour Party
1987 – 1988
Succeeded by
Dennis Skinner
Political offices
Preceded by
Michael Foot
Leader of the Opposition
1983 – 1992
Succeeded by
John Smith
Preceded by
Leon Brittan and
Bruce Millan
European Commissioner from the United Kingdom
1995 – 2004
with Leon Brittan (1995 – 1999)
Chris Patten (1999 – 2004)
Succeeded by
Peter Mandelson
Preceded by
Karel Van Miert
European Commissioner for Transport
1995 – 1999
Succeeded by
Loyola de Palacio
Preceded by
Erkki Liikanen
European Commissioner for Administrative Reform
1999 – 2004
Succeeded by
Siim Kallas
Preceded by
Leon Brittan
Vice-President of the European Commission
1999 – 2004
Succeeded by
Günter Verheugen


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Neil Gordon Kinnock, Baron Kinnock, PC (born March 28, 1942) is a British politician. He was a Member of Parliament (MP) from 1970 to 1995, and was Leader of the Opposition and Labour Party leader from 1983 to 1992, when he resigned after the 1992 general election defeat. He subsequently served as a UK Commissioner of the European Commission from 1995 until 2004.


  • The army of brokers, jobbers and other quaintly named parasites.
    • Labour Monthly, December 1974.
    • On the City of London.
  • Devolutionary reform will not provide a factory, a machine or jobs, build a school, train a doctor or put a pound on pensions.
    • South Wales Echo, 1 November, 1975.
  • The House of Lords must go—not be reformed, not be replaced, not be reborn in some nominated life-after-death patronage paradise, just closed down, abolished, finished.
    • Tribune, 19 November, 1976.
  • We must not look for some kind of Messiah.
    • Robert Harris, "The Making of Neil Kinnock" (Faber and Faber, 1984), pages 157-8.
    • Explaining to the Bedwellty Constituency Labour Party why he would not vote for Tony Benn as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, 19 June, 1981.
  • By emphatically pressing the view that it is only possible to support radical Labour policies by supporting Tony Benn, Tony's associates have turned the contest into a gamble with policies, [yet any] disagreement with those claims has been slandered as 'opportunism', 'careerism' and evidence of every kind of departure from socialist conviction and purpose. That is the truly dangerous product of these months of contest.
    • "Personality, Policies and Democratic Socialism", Tribune, 18 September 1981.
  • Heckler: At least Mrs Thatcher has got guts.
    Neil Kinnock: It's a pity that other people had to leave theirs on the ground at Goose Green to prove it.
    • Daily Telegraph 7 June, 1983.
    • On TVS television's programme "The South decides" during the 1983 general election campaign. Kinnock was forced to write letters to the families of the war dead to apologise.
  • If Margaret Thatcher is re-elected as prime minister on Thursday, I warn you. I warn you that you will have pain – when healing and relief depend upon payment. I warn you that you will have ignorance – when talents are untended and wits are wasted, when learning is a privilege and not a right. I warn you that you will have poverty – when pensions slip and benefits are whittled away by a government that won’t pay in an economy that can't pay. 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.

    I warn you that you must not expect work – when many cannot spend, more will not be able to earn. When they don't earn, they don't spend. When they don't spend, work dies. I warn you not to go into the streets alone after dark or into the streets in large crowds of protest in the light. I warn you that you will be quiet – when the curfew of fear and the gibbet of unemployment make you obedient. I warn you that you will have defence of a sort – with a risk and at a price that passes all understanding. I warn you that you will be home-bound – when fares and transport bills kill leisure and lock you up. I warn you that you will borrow less – when credit, loans, mortgages and easy payments are refused to people on your melting income.

    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. I warn you not to get old.

    • Robert Harris, "The Making of Neil Kinnock" (Faber and Faber, 1984), page 208.
    • Speech in Bridgend, Glamorgan, on Tuesday 7 June 1983. Thursday 9 June 1983 was polling day in the general election.
  • The roots of defeat which were put down by some of the elements of our party in the two or three years after 1980 made victory difficult to achieve.
    • The Times, 10 June, 1983, p. 1.
    • On the Labour Party's defeat in the 1983 general election.
  • I don't believe that the policies on which we fought the [1983] election ought to be ejected like some sort of spent cartridge.
    • Tribune, 15 June, 1983.
  • [Marx's theories] gave me a political and intellectual justification for what I believed in a way that nothing else did.
    • Marxism Today, June 1983.
  • Someone up there likes me.
    • Robert Harris, "The Making of Neil Kinnock" (Faber and Faber, 1984), page 223.
    • Remarks to reporters on surviving a high-speed car crash, 13 July 1983.
  • If anyone wants to know why we must conduct ourselves [with commonsense and realism], just remember at all times, with all temptations, how you, each and every one of you sitting in this hall, each and every Labour worker watching this conference, each and every Labour voter, yes, and some others as well, remember how you felt on that dreadful morning of the tenth of June. Just remember how you felt then, and think to yourselves: 'June the ninth, 1983, never ever again will we experience that.'
    • Labour Party Annual Conference Report 1983, p. 30.
    • Speech to the Labour Party Conference on being elected Leader, 2 October 1983.
  • We support the efforts to keep the pits open until exhausted.
    • The Scotsman, 12 March, 1984.
  • I'll tell you what happens with impossible promises. You start with far fetched resolutions. They are then pickled into a rigid dogma, a code, and you go through the years sticking to that, out-dated, misplaced, irrelevant to the real needs, and you end in the grotesque chaos of a Labour council—a Labour council—hiring taxis to scuttle round a city handing out redundancy notices to its own workers. I'm telling you - and you'll listen - you can't play politics with people's jobs and with people's services. The people will not abide posturing.
    • Speech to the Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth, 1 October, 1985.
  • We believe there should be reforms in the EEC which would benefit all the members. If these were not achieved, our policy is to preserve the ultimate option of withdrawing Britain. That option would not, this time, need a referendum, as it did before.
    • On Labour policy regarding the EEC, 8 January, 1986.
  • Those who have the immense dishonesty to fight with a ballot box in one hand and a rifle in the other have no place in democratic politics.
    • Hansard, House of Commons, 6th series, vol. 102, col. 1287.
    • Speech in the House of Commons, 23 October, 1986. On the Provisional IRA.
  • That sort of fundamentalism which treats possession of private property not as a desirable economic and personal asset but as a condition of liberty is a form of primitive religion.
    • Speech to National Housing and Town Planning Conference, Bournemouth, 28 October, 1986.
  • Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? Why is Glenys the first woman in her family in a thousand generations to be able to get to university?

    Was it because our predecessors were thick? Does anybody really think that they didn't get what we had because they didn't have the talent or the strength or the endurance or the commitment? Of course not. It was because there was no platform upon which they could stand.

    • Speech at the Welsh Labour Party conference, Llandudno, 15 May 1987.
      • This speech was extensively quoted in a Labour Party election broadcast during the 1987 general election. It was also famously used without attribution by U.S. Senator Joe Biden, although Biden had used and properly attributed the speech many times before.
  • David Frost: If you haven't got nuclear weapons, the choice in that situation would be to subject your forces to an unfair battle.
    Neil Kinnock: Yes, what you're suggesting is that the alternatives are between the gesture, the threat, or the use of nuclear weapons, and surrender. In these circumstances the choice is posed, and this is a classical choice, between exterminating everything you stand for and the flower of your youth, or using all the resources you have to make any occupation totally untenable.
    • David Butler and Dennis Kavanagh, "The British General Election of 1987" (Macmillan, 1987), p. 103.
    • Television interview with David Frost on TV-AM, 24 May 1987.
  • What has happened is that there are people who, for reasons best known to themselves, have voted for maintaining division in our country.
    • David Butler and Dennis Kavanagh, "The British General Election of 1987" (Macmillan, 1987), p. 103.
    • Remarks following the Labour defeat at the 1987 general election, 12 June 1987.


  • Wankers and whingers.
    • Attributed to Kinnock by Stuart Weir, "We stopped Boadicea's chariot", New Statesman 27 November 1998, p. 33.
    • Kinnock's private description of Charter 88 at the time of their launch. Note that Kinnock subsequently signed the Charter.

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

The Right Honourable
 The Lord Kinnock 

In office
2 October 1983 – 18 July 1992
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
John Major
Preceded by Michael Foot
Succeeded by John Smith

Shadow Education Secretary
In office
4 May 1979 – 2 October 1983

Born 28 March 1942 (1942-03-28) (age 68)
Tredegar, Wales, UK
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Spouse Glenys Kinnock (m. 1967-present)
Children Stephen, Rachel
Religion Agnostic

Neil Gordon Kinnock, Baron Kinnock, PC, (born 28 March 1942) is a Welsh politician. He was a Member of Parliament from 1970 to 1995. From 1983 to 1992 he was the leased of the Leader of the Opposition and Labour Party. In the general election in 1992 he was beaten. After this he gave up his post of leading the Labour Party (and sitting in Parliament). He was a British politician in the European Commission from 1995 until 2004, and is now Chairman of the British Council and President of Cardiff University.

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