David Blunkett

(David Blunkett, Baron Blunkett)

David Blunkett
David Blunkett
  • Born: June 6, 1947
  • Nationality: British
  • Profession: Politician

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David Blunkett, Baron Blunkett, PC is a former British politician, having represented the Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough constituency for 28 years through to 7 May 2015 when he stepped down at the general election. Blind since birth, and coming from a poor family in one of Sheffield's most deprived districts, he rose to become Education and Employment Secretary, Home Secretary and Work and Pensions Secretary in Tony Blair's Cabinet following Labour's victory in the 1997 general election.

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And we think that our citizens and yours would be very angry if they thought that we hadn't taken every possible step for prevention and then for joint action in the likelihood of those who threaten our lives and our well- being, taking action at the same time. Time
As a former home secretary, I have access to and knowledge of the workings of the system in a way that individuals unfamiliar with the courts can never hope to have. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Hope
As education and employment secretary in 1997, I inherited hundreds of schools where the roofs leaked, the windows rattled, and they relied entirely on outside toilets. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
As home secretary, I gained a reputation for being 'tough'; less concerned with liberty than with public protection.
At school, I was brought up on revolting food - sausages, sausages and Spam - but at home, I had the most wonderful sponge puddings, which I don't indulge in very often now. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
At this very moment in time there will be people making, breaking relationships, regretting deeply what they've done, and causing hurt, but that is a fact of life, and if we weren't full of emotion, we'd be automatons, and I don't think people want us to be that. Life ;Time
Back in 2003, when I was home secretary, I introduced the victim surcharge on offenders to substantially expand the support available and, I hoped, the protection of witnesses who were brave enough to come forward.
Balancing the common good with the freedom and liberty to exercise that individuality has been and remains a challenge for those committed to democracy while understanding that the polis ensures our participation and therefore our citizenship. Freedom & Liberty
Being a Labour home secretary in the 21st century means fighting a constant battle against both extreme Right and Left.
Being an MP is not a desperately hard life, like going down the pit or working in the steelworks - with which I am all too familiar, having been brought up in the city of Sheffield; and it certainly isn't badly paid compared with any of my constituents. Life
Being home secretary involves having to face some of the worst of human behaviour and challenges of modern society. Society
Bishops and judges are some of the best politicians in the world. They know how to manipulate the political process.
Businesses that fail to develop their staff are twice as likely to collapse. Firms seeking to reposition themselves for the economic upturn need to invest in their staff's flexibility, responsiveness and skills.
But any perception of this application being speeded up requires me to take responsibility.
By confirming the importance of politics and politicians in Britain, we can build from the bottom up and begin to reverse the worrying anti-politics trend, which will empower the elite technocrats and leave defenceless the man or woman in the street with a mere vote to cast. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Changes to parliamentary procedure won't transform the lives of the people whom I represent. Decentralising, devolving decision-making and renewing civil society will. Society
Children whose parents return to study do much better at school. Offenders who persist with studies are much less likely to reoffend. The national mental health strategy recognises the important role adult learning can play for people recovering from mental illness. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Health, Healthcare & Medicine
Crucially, I'd like to thank Labour party members up and down the country for sticking with us. For their active citizenship, their willingness to engage in our democracy, and for being there at the cutting edge of making our democracy work. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Despite being in public life, I value my own privacy immensely and would be as concerned as anyone else if I thought my mobile phone records could be easily available to officials across government. Life ;Government
Faith in technocrats over politicians is not a trend from which Britain is exempt. Religion & God
For six and a half years, I had responsibility for leading the Labour party policy on education and delivering on our promise of improved opportunities for all our children. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling, in hosting the G20 summit and in the budget, must display the same boldness in tackling the instability at home that they do in promoting a worldwide answer to the global meltdown.
History teaches us that, whatever we say, racists will always distort the words of mainstream politicians to make themselves sound more respectable. History
How to strike the right balance between our privacy and our expectation that the state will protect us and facilitate our freedom is one of the most difficult challenges facing us all. Freedom & Liberty
Human nature is you get carried away, so we have to protect ourselves from ourselves. Nature
I am not a parliamentarian. I am a politician. Some MPs leave and are itching to get back. I don't feel that. This is just a work environment. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I am nothing if not a loyalist. After 46 years in the Labour party, I've grown weary of the cry: 'If only we had a new, shining, revamped leader, all would be well.'
I am totally in favour of reform - but it must be reform that changes the nature of British politics, not simply the makeup or operation of parliament. Nature ;Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
I believe Britishness is defined not on ethnic and exclusive grounds but through shared values; our history of tolerance, openness and internationalism; and our commitment to democracy and liberty, to civic duty and the public space. History
I did not in late November start the plethora of linking my private life with public events again. Life
I didn't come into politics to have to deal with the issue of clandestine entry, illegal working, or an asylum system that allows a free run for right-wing bigots. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
I don't like prolonged, highly expensive commissions, especially if they are chaired by judges. We seem to have overwhelming faith in judges. Religion & God
I don't think anyone can say I have said one thing in public and done another in private.
I grew up in one of the most deprived parts of Britain. I know the problems which inner-city children face.
I have always been honest about my recollection of events.
I have built my reputation on honesty, I have sometimes been too honest.
I have made mistakes in the past, but when I have, I have always said so.
I have never tried to fiddle my role as leader of the city of Sheffield, as an MP or as a minister.
I love the walk although my security team weren't too sure to begin with but I was anxious to be able to lead a near normal life. Whilst walking I do get the chance to meet people and keep in touch. Life ;Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I prefer a positive view of freedom, drawing on another tradition of political thinking that goes all the way back to the ancient Greek polis. Freedom & Liberty
I said it's impossible to have an amnesty without ID cards and a clean database, because you firstly don't have any incentives for people to actually come up front and register, and make themselves available, and secondly you have no means of tracking them.
I should have been a Trappist monk.
I was affected by the harshness of government, the reality of 16-hour days, and the pressures of modern communications. Government
If I pleaded guilty to a mistake while I was home secretary, it wasn't that I didn't get tough - my God, I put immigration and security officials on French soil for the first time. Time ;Religion & God
If surveillance infiltrates our homes and personal relationships, that is a gross breach of our human and civil rights.
If you don't create a sense of order and stability, if people do not feel secure, then progressive politics is dead. That is a fact of history. The right has always emerged supreme when destabilisation and insecurity prevail. History ;Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
If you have a sense of irony or humour, you're usually cut down, as you're usually distorted or misinterpreted. So it does lead to us being slightly more dour and staid and predictable than would otherwise be the case, which I personally find quite frustrating - because if you don't laugh occasionally in my job, you cry most of the time. Time
If, in the name of liberty, we allow individuals to act in a way that damages the wellbeing of the whole, it will inevitably mean the breakdown of mutuality, thereby changing the very nature of our society. Society ;Nature
I'm a great aficionado of history. I was deeply affected by seeing the disintegration of any chance of democracy coping with fascism in the Weimar republic, where woolly-minded, well-meaning liberalism actually allowed the forces of darkness to use democracy, to exploit democracy, to overturn democracy. History
I'm as keen as the next person to preserve the right to free speech.
I'm convinced that quite a lot of young people, when they get in trouble with the law, it's a cry for help there. Because it's not that they go out to offend. It's that their behaviour is self-parading, it's the big 'I'. And sometimes that means they're really lacking in confidence.
I'm in favour of a sensible development of response units and their deployment in any circumstance where there may be a risk to the officers themselves or the neighbourhood they're in. I'm not in favour of a blanket arming of the police.
In an ageing society, it makes sense to support older adults to develop new skills, prolonging their working lives. Society
In government, you are pressed by the security agencies. They come to you with very good information, and they say, 'You need to do something.' So you do need the breath of scepticism, not cynicism, breathing on them. Government
In primary schools, I set two main objectives - to cut infant class sizes and improve literacy and numeracy.
In Sheffield, we need support from the community and for the community. We need integration with no loss of heritage, and a clear appreciation of what is and is not acceptable.
In the U.K., we have always been an open, trading nation, enriched by our global links. Contemporary patterns of migration extend this tradition.
In today's world, learning has become the key to economic prosperity, social cohesion and personal fulfillment. We can no longer afford to educate the few to think, and the many to do. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
It is a mistake to separate learning for work and for community and personal development. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
It is certainly true that as we grow older, our need for healthcare also grows. It is also true that those who have lived their lives in the most difficult circumstances and experienced the most exhausting and challenging work places need healthcare the most. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
It is feasible for someone who comes from a privileged background to understand the privilege they have had and to use the formal political arena in a way that would disperse power and engage with people in their own lives. Power
It would be dangerous territory if I wasn't practising what I preach which is to always accept responsibility, always accept the consequences of your actions.
It's not just parliament that requires radical modernisation. It's our democratic processes.
I've been fortunate when in government to have a car at my disposal, which takes away the nightmare of getting a taxi. Government
I've had a guide dog since 1969. Not the same one, of course: I've had five.
Judy, we think that since the 11th of September, 2001, we've faced a similar heightened threat level. And we've been enhancing both the exchange of intelligence and security information and the assessment of that information, because that's the crucial element.
Let's not allow the voice of the people to be overwhelmed by the siren song of those who opposed regulation, who demanded that government should stand aside and let finance and business run the show. Government ;Business, Commerce & Finance
Much extremist activity falls short of directly inciting people to violence or other crimes and so is not caught by laws on incitement. Neither does the Public Order Act, used to protect groups of people from harassment, deal with the problem.
My integrity had been called into question; I was being called a liar, and I am not a liar. And I just think it is time that we stop viewing public figures as fair game. Time
My job as Labour Home Secretary is to ensure people are prepared to listen to us when we take on our opponents across the political spectrum.
Nothing is more important for young people than enhancing their life chances, liberating their potential and encouraging their contribution to a globally competitive and modern economy. Life
Parents don't believe that lifting life-chances in one school means reducing them in another.
People from all over the world were killed in the attacks on the World Trade Centre. They came from many different cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds. Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Hindu believers were killed together as they worked in the towers.
Politics is about the participation and engagement of the wider citizenry - to miss that point would doom us to irrelevance. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Politics is only worthwhile if you are doing what you believe, regardless of the slings and arrows. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Privacy is a right, but as in any democratic society, it is not an absolute right. Society
Reciprocity helps us balance the need for self-determination and creative individuality with mutual hope and, therefore, what might be described as 'solidarity.' Hope
Simple numbers of people of a particular age tell us nothing about the condition of their health, the environment in which they live, and the support systems they can afford to pay for. Health, Healthcare & Medicine
Solidarity and interdependence, a sense of worth, a pride and hope in the future: these are positive gains for those who believe in progressive politics and the beneficial role of government, rather than a detriment. Future ;Hope
Speaking for the nation as a whole entails understanding and feeling the pain, as well as understanding the aspiration of the different cultural, social and political make-up of the nation.
Strengthening our identity is one way of reinforcing people's confidence and sense of citizenship and well-being.
That is why with enormous regret I have tendered my resignation to the prime minister today.
The clash between capital and labour, between those seeking to maximise profit and those with only their toil to sell, was the driving force for the creation of the trade unions in the 19th century.
The democratic state can sometimes abuse its power as much as those who seek to destroy it abuse fundamental rights and democratic practices. Power
The government must give men and women without power a real say over what happens to them, and the means of engaging in a participative, invigorated and living democracy. Women ;Power ;Government
The government wants to be able to attack extremism and hatred wherever it occurs. Government
The Home Office culture was one of being just above the problem, of hovering just out of reach of knowing what was going on on the ground, whether it was crime or immigration.
There are some really good experiments with the youth offending service, joining up youth offending teams with the youth justice board, and good local authority and primary care trusts working together.
Throughout my political life, I've not been a stranger to controversy. Life
To make sense of a world in which rapid change and globalisation create genuine insecurity, we need benchmarks by which we can judge our actions and their long-term impact.
To punish MPs because of the distance they live from London - those with fast train journeys quite close to London as well as those at some distance from both the capital or an appropriate airport - is perverse, but also dangerous to democracy.
We have a media that presents every politician as being as bad as the next. There is no distinguishing between one good idea or another; no explanation of why constitutional change should be uppermost in the minds of the people I represent.
We must draw on our early roots and remind people why the Labour party was created and who it sought to represent. We have never been a sectional party promoting self-interest, but instead a force for engaging self-reliance and self-determination.
We must look to an open, tolerant, inclusive England, which embraces the values of a Britain that still leads the world in terms of an open democracy, as well as an understanding of the needs for responsibilities and obligations to run alongside the affirmation of individual rights.
We need a government which, yes, guarantees basic standards in public services, but which also steps in to protect people's wellbeing as they take part in our consumer democracy - particularly online. Government
We need dynamic and thriving businesses and a skilled and adaptable labour force to produce competitiveness and prosperity.
We need to build on what we know works - local oversight of schools to keep a check on performance, timely interventions in schools to support those at risk of failing, and partnerships between schools to help each one to improve.
We need to reaffirm that politics is not merely compatible with economic progress and development in the 21st century, but essential to it. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
We need to use all the resources at our disposal in order to prosper. We need more employment, and we need employment to be spread more fairly across society. Society
We've got to get back to old-fashioned politics that's in touch with the people we seek to represent and to avoid self-inflicted wounds. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
What is it that unites, on the left of British politics, George Orwell, Billy Bragg, Gordon Brown and myself? An understanding that identity and a sense of belonging need to be linked to our commitment to nationhood and a modern form of patriotism. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising ;Citizenship & Patriotism
When I first came into parliament, there was, on average, a by-election every three months - due not to MPs bailing out, but because of the death rate. Death
When I'm in London I do have the convenience of being close to St James Park which is also good for me because it gives me an excuse to get out and get some much needed exercise! Travel
When it comes to those who are accused and their right to defend themselves, it is perfectly reasonable to expect relevant evidence to be made public, and I am in favour of open justice.
Where asylum is used as a route to economic migration, it can cause deep resentment in the host community.
With the commissioning of new schools undertaken by a local director of school standards, decisions will be fair and transparent, rooted in the needs of the local community. The admissions code and the role of the adjudicator will also be strengthened to provide fairness for all children.
Without the political parties and the volunteering work of their members day in, day out, we would have a very different sort of politics and society. Society ;Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Yes, it will go through the disciplines that all puppies go through including house training and puppy walking, then at twelve month old it the training becomes a lot more rigorous which has to be done carefully otherwise you are in danger of stressing the dog.