TUC 2012Outgoing TUC leader Brendan Barber shot from the blocks and gave a swan song Olympic-style speech which got hundreds of Congress delegates cheering from the sidelines.
They clapped when he said: "Britain is at a historically important crossroads. The choice we face is clear. One direction is decline, depression and despair. The other is recovery, regeneration and renewal."
After his 15-minute speech the 500 delegates gave him a standing ovation and Congress president and GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said: "That ovation was straight from the heart."
Mr Barber said he'd worked for the TUC for 37 years - "but no task we've faced in that time is more important than the one we face now. So at this defining moment, let it be our movement that shows the way.
"Let it be us who give working people a sense of hope about their prospects."
He had invoked the Olympic spirit earlier and said: "We should not forget the practical work done by the staff of the community and trade union learning centre in Stratford.
"Nor the immense contribution of the Games volunteers, among them many trade unionists. Many of them were teachers. Day in, day out, it's the teachers who inspire each generation and it's high time we celebrated their success."
He said trade union activists continue to fight for decent working standards for workers supplying sportswear and Olympic merchandise.
Mr Barber added: "London 2012 showed what we can achieve when we have the courage to do things differently. Rejecting those who say we have to do things on the cheap and instead doing things right."
Foreign Minister Alistair Burt's admission that the Cameron government has "supported" a survey of attitudes to US drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas amounts to a tacit admission of British involvement.