Neil Kinnock

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Neil Gordon Kinnock (born 1942) was leader of the British Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition from 1983 to 1992; he led the party to defeat in two general elections, those of 1987 and 1992. Subsequently he served on the European Commission as Transport Commissioner.

Kinnock's major achievement lies in moving the Labour Party from the far Left of the political spectrum to a position that, in European terms, was more moderate (although it should be noted that most of his policy positions in the 80s and early 90s would be regarded as extremely left wing by US standards). A symbolically important part of this process was eliminating Trotskyist infiltration of the party by expelling Militant Tendency and other groups. Key policy shifts during his period in office were the abandonment of the commitment to leave the European Community (as it then was), a retreat from whole-sale nationalisation, and (following the 1987 election defeat) the abandonment of unilateral nuclear disarmament. Many see Kinnock's leadership as having paved the way for the rise of Tony Blair and the subsequent re-election of a Labour government in 1997.

Joe Biden has plagiarized a speech of Kinnock in his 1988 presidential campaign.

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