ON THIS DAY: 1992: 25 years on from Labour's infamous "We're all right!" rally at Sheffield Arena

Neil Kinnock made his "we're all right!" speech 25 years ago today.
Neil Kinnock made his "we're all right!" speech 25 years ago today.

"We're all right! WE'RE ALL RIGHT!"

Words that would come back to haunt then Labour leader Neil Kinnock when he delivered then exactly 25 years ago today at Sheffield Arena.

The date was April 1, 1992 and campaigning in that year's General Election was drawing to a close with Labour tipped to defeat John Major's Conservatives.

Labour's Sheffield Rally was held a week ahead of the 1992 election on 9 April and saw the party's big hitters trooping into Sheffield Arena in front of more than 10,000 Labour supporters.

An event in preparation for eighteen months, the rally was attended by the entire shadow cabinet, and is reported to have cost some £100,000 to stage.

It was the idea of strategist Philip Gould who was involved in the subsequent successful election campaign of Bill Clinton later that year.

The rally was held at Sheffield Arena.

The rally was held at Sheffield Arena.

Party leader Kinnock, was flown into the city by helicopter and the rally was modelled partly on American presidential campaign conventions, with sound and light performances on the stage and celebrity endorsements played on a large video screen.

At one point in the proceedings, Kinnock and the shadow cabinet paraded to the stage from the back of the venue, passing through an increasingly enthusiastic audience, with the shadow cabinet being introduced with titles such as "The next Home Secretary" and "The next Prime Minister".

This culminated in an emotional and animated Kinnock taking the podium and repeatedly shouting "We're all right!", which has often been re-broadcast since as an example of overconfident campaigning. Kinnock followed this by proclaiming "We'd better get some talking done here, serious talking."

Although Labour's internal polls at the time suggested the event had little effect on the level of support for the party, media commentators, and some prominent Labour politicians, thought the rally came over as "triumphalist" to television viewers of subsequent news programmes.

The election eight days later was a victory for the Conservatives, who finished 8% ahead of Labour in voting, but with a much smaller parliamentary majority than in 1987. It is widely regarded as one of the most surprising election results of the 20th century, as pollsters had predicted a narrow Labour majority or a hung parliament.

Some accounts suggest the event only received widespread attention after the election, an opinion Kinnock shared in April 2010: "It wasn't until about ten days after the election that people started writing about the 'hubristic Sheffield rally' and all the rest of it."

In a 1995 interview for the BBC Two documentary series The Wilderness Years, Kinnock was convinced of the negative effect of the rally, which he considered to have destroyed at a stroke the image created for him during his period as leader.

He said: "...all of the years in which I'd attempted to build a fairly reserved, starchy persona – in a few seconds, they slipped away."

However, by the 2010 New Statesman interview, Kinnock's opinion had changed. He said: "Given my time again, I wouldn't repeat it – but the great legend is complete, bloody rubbish."