Roy Jenkins – 1978 Speech to the Basle Society

Below is the text of a speech made by Roy Jenkins, then the President of the Commission of the European Communities, to the Basle Society of Statistics and Political Economy on Monday 13th November 1978.

This is the right place to talk about money, and in particular the monies of Europe. I intend to take full advantage of the opportunity you have given me today.

Next year it will be the 10th anniversary of the decision taken by the Heads of State and Government of the Community to work towards an economic and monetary union. The progress which has been made since then has been disappointing, but the objective remains intact. We are now making our second major effort to move towards it through the establishment of a zone of monetary stability in Europe to be achieved through the creation of the European Monetary System. If we succeed we shall give our Community the most creative impulse since the first achievements after the signature of the Treaty of Rome; if we fail we shall risk not just a minor seatback but the frustration of one of our fundamental purposes with all the political and economic consequences which that would entail.

Before looking at the choices which now face the Member States of the Community, I want to say a word or two about how and why we arrived where we are. Just over a year ago I tried to set out in a speech at Florence the reasons for re-examining the case for economic and monetary union. I wanted thus to take the issue out of the realm of academic debate and bring it back into that of live politics.

I do not need to rehearse the main arguments I then advanced but I will briefly mention them. I drew attention to the need for a more efficient and rationalized development of industry and commerce in Europe. I spoke of the so far unexercised ability of the Europeans to create a currency of their own, based on a spread of wealth and power comparable with those of the United States: in doing so I said that although I thought floating exchange rates were here to stay, they should be between continents rather than between the countries of Western Europe, all of which are intermingled in thickly populated half continent, and nine of which are united in a common market and pledged to political and economic integration. I said that control of a single European currency by a single European monetary authority could achieve a measure of anti-inflationary discipline beyond the reach of most individual Member States. I argued that policies which would favour stability and expansion, strengthen the demand on a broad geographical basis, and avoid exchange rate crises, would give a much needed new impulse on an historic scale to the European economy with the effect of reducing unemployment and creating new wealth throughout the system. I referred to the need for redistribution and transfer of resources within the system so that public finance could be channelled to poorer areas and the imbalances which continue to disfigure Community Europe could be counteracted. I called for decentralization in some fields to balance the centralization which would be necessary in a limited number of others. Finally I spoke of economic and monetary union as a means towards political integration and the ultimate European union to which the Members States of the Community are committed.

Since then things have moved further and faster than I – or I think anyone else – thought possible. Perhaps I should single out two main reasons for this change of climate. The first is that people became better aware that the differential movement of European currencies against each other was making nonsense of the notion of a common market, and still more that of a Community, and indeed affecting the ability of national governments to run their own economies alone or with other members of the Community. Those countries in surplus, most strongly export oriented, found that decline in demand from countries in deficit held back their ability to stimulate their economies; while those in deficit were frustrated in their efforts to achieve higher growth by a succession of exchange rate crises.

Hence in part the relatively poor productivity of Europe, the relatively poor rate of growth and the relatively high rate of unemployment, all of which stood in market contrast with what had been achieved in Europe in earlier decades of relative monetary stability. The United States and Japan, subject to intercontinental but not internal monetary upheavals, performed better.

The second major factor was the continuing weakness of the US dollar and the increasing precariousness of the international monetary system of which the dollar remains in practice, although not in theory (as under the Bretton Woods arrangement), the essential pivot. To keep some sort of system going and discharge their responsibilities in the common interest, the Europeans took in more dollars than they could conceivably want or need. This in turn had drastic effects on the ability of European governments to control their own money supply. In circumstances in which the world system was manifestly failing the Europeans not unnaturally felt that they should try to achieve some stability among themselves both for its own sake and in order to make a contribution to a new and better balanced international system in the future. I shall have a word or two more to say about this point later on.

Now we have been talking about the creation of a European Monetary System, and I hope – as is appropriate – that the birth is about to take place. Since the Copenhagen meeting of the European Council in April much work has been done, thanks in large measure to the impulse given by Chancellor Schmidt and President Giscard d’Estaing. The measure of agreement reached at the European Council at Bremen astonished the world and laid the basis for the detailed and technical work which is under way. As you know, we then envisaged that the European Council at Brussels next month should approve the creation of a European Monetary System to come into being on 1 January next year.

The creation of such a system would not of course be the same as European economic and monetary union, but it would be a major stride towards it. Success, while far from certain, is still well within our grasp. I want in the rest of my talk to consider some of the problems which have arisen and what might be done about them. First let me say as clearly and firmly as I can that there must be no back-sliding from what was envisaged at Bremen. There is a particular responsibility on those who then took the lead. The detailed and technical work to which I have just referred and which is of course essential if we are to achieve anything worthwhile, must not nevertheless be allowed to obscure or diminish the fundamental perspectives of Bremen. Let me recall what these were. First the European Council agreed that the creation of a zone of monetary stability in Europe was a highly desirable objective: the European Monetary System whose purpose was to bring it about must be durable and effective. Secondly the European Council agreed to work on the basis of a specific scheme for the creation of a European Monetary System although it naturally left this scheme open to amendment if necessary. Thirdly the European Council agreed that there should be concurrent studies of the action needed to be taken to strengthen the economies of the less prosperous member countries in the context of a European Monetary System, and stated that such measures would be essential if the zone of monetary stability was to succeed.

The essentials of the scheme on which all agreed to work can be stated as the creation of an ECU (or European Currency Unit) at the centre of the system and as a means of settlement between Community monetary authorities; the depositing of reserves for use among Community central banks (an illustrative but impact-making figure of 20 per cent of the gold and dollar reserves of Member States and 20 per cent of their national currencies was cited); the co-ordination of exchange rate policies with regard to third countries; and the eventual creation of a European Monetary Fund. I recall these points because they are in some danger of being buried beneath the leaves of an autumn of detailed discussion. But the decisions at Bremen and the essentials of the scheme on which all agreed to work are the indispensable basis of what we intend to set in place next year.

Some of the arguments which have taken place in and out of the Community institutions and between governments necessarily have a highly technical character. At the same time most cover points of underlying importance. First there has been the discussion about the choice of a numeraire for the new system. Should exchange rates be defined in terms of a parity grid, as in the present snake? Or should they be defined in terms of a basket of currencies, the basket in this case being the European Currency Unit whose composition would be the same as that of the present European unit of account? There are strong technical arguments for using the grid as the method of intervention but there has also been an underlying division between those countries at present in the snake who fear that the introduction of a basket system would impose unwanted responsibilities on them and promote inflation; and those at present outside who fear that the introduction of the parity grid would tilt the system in favour of creditor countries and impose an unwanted degree of deflation. I will not enter into the details of the argument, which I have no doubt are well known to you, but will simply draw attention to the so-called Belgian compromise which would define intervention obligations in terms of a parity grid, but use the basket as an indicator of divergence, that is to say would show whether creditor or debtor countries were getting out of line, and thus impose a certain symmetry of obligation. This argument is not resolved; but I have no doubt that it can and should be in the near future.

Second there has been discussion about the width of margins to each side of the numeraire, and the possibility of adjustment. Here again there is some conflict of interest between those who are happy to retain the present margins of the snake and those (one at any rate) who would prefer wider margins. This is an argument over percentages into which I shall not enter. The question of adjustment is more important. Any participant in the system must be able to change its central rate if its costs and prices move out of line with those of its competitors or if it has undergone a structural change in its balance of payments. This is already true of the existing snake arrangements. It would obviously be contrary to the spirit of the whole enterprise if certain countries, in particular those with relatively high rates of inflation, availed themselves too often and too easily of the possibility of change and made no sustained effort to bring their inflation rates down to the level of their partners. Nevertheless some flexibility must be built into the system, and some of the fears which have been expressed about its absence seem to me ill-founded.

Next there has been substantial discussion about the extent to the reserves on which members of the system can draw, and the conditions on which they could do so. The Commission’s position is clear: we support the arrangements set out in the scheme discussed at Bremen. This will take a good deal of time to work out.

There are a number of legal and even – in some countries – constitutional obstacles to be overcome but in order to ensure that when the new system comes into operation there will be sufficient financing to back it up we must at least agree substantially to strengthen the existing network of credit facilities. Here I think two improvements could be introduced: first the duration of the very short-term financing – the unlimited bilateral support that central banks can draw upon to finance their intervention operations – could be extended; and secondly the present network of short and medium-term credits should be increased in amount, from around 10 billion European units of account at the moment to around 25 billion.

Obviously the larger the credit facilities, the less they are likely to called upon. The more you have the less you need. There is no economy more self-defeating and short sighted than to fail to provide adequate reserves. The issues underlying the so-called technical points are obviously a great importance. But they must be seen in the wider context of our continuing and now more determined and successful efforts to bring about greater convergence in the economic policies of the Member States of the Community. Any arrangement for the future which was exclusively monetary would be bound to fail. The economies of the Community are now moving along more parallel paths than was the case a few years ago. Their trade with each other is immense. But the differences between them are still substantial. Inflation rates vary considerably. Resources are not evenly distributed. Growth rates are different. Budgetary and fiscal policies are different as well, with each government naturally doing what it finds best for its country’s particular circumstances and with only some regard for the interests of the Community as a whole. Clearly if the new European Monetary System is to be, in the words of Bremen, durable and effective, it must take account of the economic as well as monetary circumstances of each Member State, and be matched by a still greater effort of co-ordination on the part of member governments than any have been willing to attempt in the past. The Commission has made a series of proposals for such co-ordination, and has emphasised – as I do again today – the need for such co-ordination to be seen in the framework of an eventual economic and monetary union.

This general point was fully emphasised at Bremen. The specific argument which has since arisen is over the phrase then accepted which said that there would be “concurrent studies of the action needed to strengthen the economies of the less prosperous member countries”, all put clearly in the context of the European Monetary System. This is obviously of crucial importance to those countries which are less prosperous, and I betray no secret if I place in this category Ireland, Italy and the United Kingdom. What action should be taken to strengthen the economies of these countries is still under lively discussion. Some have talked of the need to produce a more rational transfer of resources inside the Community than arises out of such existing Community mechanisms as the Community budget and the Common Agricultural Policy. Others have spoken of the need for extension and reinforcement of such Community instruments as the Regional Fund and the Social Fund. Yet others have spoken of special loans at favourable rates of interest arranged through the European Investment Bank or other mechanisms. None of these questions is settled. The debate about them has opened up some pretty fundamental questions about the functioning of the Community and the equity of its present mechanisms. This is all to the good. But I think we all recognise that the problems of this magnitude cannot be fully settled very quickly with a speed sufficient to meet the stringest timetable – desirably stringent – for the setting up of a European Monetary System. But settled they must be if we are to have a Community which genuinely represents the common interests of Member States.

Before concluding I want to underline one fundamental point. The interests of our Member States are not in all cases the same. There is, for example, an obvious temptation for the existing members of the snake to conceive of a European Monetary System which would in many of its essentials be no more than the present snake writ large. There is another temptation to which my own country of Britain is subject: to see the system as yet another continental entanglement conceived in the interests of countries whose economic performance and problems are different from their own. My answer to those who would like the system simply to be a super snake is that it would simply be unworkable if it included, as it should, all or nearly all members of the Community. My answer to those who see it as a new entanglement in the interest of others is that first they should be less defensively suspicious (such suspicion has not served them well in the past); and second that if it should prove an entanglement it would mean that the system did not properly reflect the common interest and was for whatever reason badly designed. I appeal to all members of the Community to play a full and responsible part in the creation of a new institution in the interest of all.

I now give a warning. If it turns out that all members of the Community do not feel able to join, at least at the beginning, and we are obliged to work out ways of squaring some very uncomfortable circles, then I foresee the real danger of the evolution of a two-speed Europe, or perhaps even of a three-speed Europe when the Community is enlarged. In such circumstances the very sense of a Community would be imperilled. A European Monetary System must be to the benefit of all and take account of the circumstances of all. Responsibility for failure would not necessarily rest only with those who felt unable to join. It would rest also with those who insisted over-much on setting things in a mould which fitted some well, some not so well, and others not at all.

I conclude with a word on the international system of which the European Monetary System would be no more than a part. I repeat now what has been said many times before: that the European Monetary System is in no way directed against the international system nor against the US dollar. The health of the dollar is essential to the health of the international system, and we greatly welcome the measures recently taken by President Carter to strengthen the dollar. At the same time we must face the fact that the Bretton Woods system as we knew it after the war has broken down, and that we must gradually seek some new arrangements to take its place. No-one has suggested that the European Currency Unit should take the place of the dollar for which a leading role in the international monetary system remains necessary and unquestioned. But it is possible to envisage a system in which responsibility is more widely shared and in which both the European Currency Unit and of course the Japanese yen would play a more important part. This is to look further ahead than is perhaps now easy to do. Today I want simply to emphasise that we live in one interdependent world and that what we plan for Europe must from the beginning be seen as something which does not conflict with but assists the interests of the world as a whole.

Tessa Jowell – 2012 Speech to Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Tessa Jowell, the Shadow Minister for London, to the Labour Party conference on 2nd October 2012.

Conference, it was an incredible summer of sport and culture – one whose shared memories will bind us for years to come.

In this session we are going to answer the question and introduce to you some of the people it takes to make an Olympic champion.

And so many thanks are due.

But let me begin by saying thank you Manchester. Had it not been for your inspirational Commonwealth Games in 2002, we would not have had the courage to bid for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

During those long years of preparation, when the doubters said it would cost too much, that the buildings would not be ready, that the public would not come, we always knew it would work.

So to all those 40,000 construction workers, apprentices and contractors from all over the country who built the Olympic Park on budget and on time, thank you.

The trades unions whose partnership with the contractors and the Olympic Delivery Authority delivered the biggest construction project in Europe with not even one reportable accident, let alone a death, of a worker in the Olympic Park. That is unprecedented and you did that. Thank you.

Seb, Paul and Jonathan, and the outstanding organising committee which always stood aside from party politics even after the election. It proved Harry Truman was right when he observed that it is remarkable what a small group of people can achieve together when they don’t care who gets the credit. We all did that together and thank you.

To the games makers, 70,000 representatives of the best of the British people, and thank you to the millions – 13 million who welcomed the torch to their communities across the UK, and the millions who cheered our Olympic and Paralympic athletes to such extraordinary success – thank you.

To all our athletes who after years of support from scores of people did it on the day and who showed what talent, unremitting hard work and raw courage can achieve – we thank you and we salute you.

Conference, in 1996 in Atlanta we won one gold medal, in London we won 29. It was the sustained and well-directed investment of public money in coaching and facilities which made that leap from the playground to the podium possible.

When you were watching the Olympic and Paralympic summer was anyone out there thinking that Britain was broken? I don’t think so.

This summer we showed ourselves as we are at our best: a country of progressive values, with an inclusive and joyous patriotism which celebrated our open, diverse and tolerant society.

It was a terrible summer for prejudice, intolerance and cynisism.

Our modern Britishness so perfectly embodied.

Mo Farah, a man from Somalia, wrapped in the Union flag, as proud to be one of us as we are proud of him.

And Nicola Adams who not only showed that there are no no-go areas in sport, but that there is not men’s sport and women’s sport, but just sport.

And our Paralympians who showed us that disability is not a bar to athletic greatness. On the contrary: the limiting factor for any athlete in any sport in any circumstance is what his or her body can be pushed to do, which is why so many of our Paralympians proved themselves to be among the greatest athletes in either games.

When we won the right to host the Games we made a promise. That the 2012 Games would inspire a generation. Until the election this was happening in schools across our country.

The dismantling of this world class organisation for sport in our schools is beyond belief.

So in order that we keep our promise, I have invited the Government to work beyond party to develop the facilities, coaching and curriculum space so that we keep our Olympic promise to young people across our country.

Building the next generation of Olympic champions starts with that – a plan for sport at every level. Showing the young people of our country that when we said we would inspire a generation, we meant it.

Because a moment like the summer of 2012 comes along just once in a lifetime.

When we all come together it shows what we can do.

Thank you.

Tessa Jowell – 2011 Speech to Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Tessa Jowell to Labour Party conference on 25th September 2011.

Conference, I think I speak for all of us when I say how proud we are to be here in Liverpool, the 2008 City of Culture, to celebrate London as an Olympic city in 2012.

But of course it’s not just a celebration for London – but a celebration for the whole of the UK.

Because the Olympics will be held in the largest new urban park in Europe.

Built in East London by businesses all around the UK.

More than 1,000 contracts nationwide.

40,000 jobs just in the Olympic Park, apprenticeships across the country.

And just look at the Olympic Stadium.

The concrete from Essex.

The steel from Bolton.

The seats from Luton.

And the turf from Scunthorpe.

Conference, these Games will change the geography of London.

A new cultural, commercial and sporting quarter in East London.

Fulfilling the promise that we made when we bid to host the Games, when we were in Government.

60 years of regeneration in just six.

It’s an achievement of which we can all be proud.

Completed on time and under budget.

So 2012 will see the Olympics and the Paralympics, and it will also see the celebrations of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

But before that…

We have big elections for the GLA and the Mayor of London.

A big Labour-Tory battle.

Londoners face the double whammy of a Tory Mayor and a Tory-led Government.

The people of London live with what this means

– That it’s the Tories that put up their tube fares.

– That it’s the Tories that break their promises on the police.

– And that it’s the Tories that place the economy at risk – by playing politics with jobs and growth

London’s first line of defence is our Labour members of the GLA, and we’re so proud of you all:

The Leader of the Group, Len Duvall:

Jennette Arnold

John Biggs

Joanne McCartney

Navin Shah

Nicky Gavron

Murad Qureshi

And of course the person we hope will be the next deputy Mayor, Val Shawcross.

Standing up for what Labour did – and what London Labour has to do.

Just remember what Ken oversaw as Mayor.

The biggest investment in public transport since the Second World War.

Neighbourhood police teams in every ward.

And, with Tony Blair and me – an Olympic moment and Olympic legacy that will change London forever.

Ken, as we remember your achievements and the challenges ahead, we must make sure that the contest next May will not be just a contest of celebrity.

It must be a campaign about who will be the most effective leader, the most effective Mayor of London during these most difficult of times.

A campaign about who understands the lives of real Londoners.

The millions of people who never see their face in the diary pages of the Evening Standard or Hello Magazine – but day in day out, work hard, play by the rules and just want to get on.

This is Ken’s city and those people are Ken’s Londoners.

These are the people who are counting on the Mayor to get things done for them – so that they can do more for themselves.

Because it’s competence not celebrity that gets young people back to work.

Competence not celebrity that will build them new homes.

Competence not celebrity that will keep their tube fares down.

They don’t need a TV personality – but they do need a mayor that realises this is the largest job in public service outside No 10 Downing Street.

With the talent, ambition and drive to build a better future for London.

London is a Labour City.

And Ken, we are with you.

Every activist will be working tirelessly to return a Labour GLA and elect you as mayor.

But we all know that beating Boris Johnson will be a whole lot tougher.

We shouldn’t underestimate how the Olympics will give him the advantage of incumbency.

Turning this around will be a real challenge.

Ken knows that. He’s up for that fight.

Our activists, who chose him so overwhelmingly, know that too.

And that’s why, Conference, we are today united in our determination and our passion to win this campaign.

So this week, each and every one of you, make a pledge to help Ken win.

Our campaign will be led from the grassroots, spread through word of mouth.

So get on and pledge how you can get involved.

Lead the campaign in your ward or take responsibility for your street.

And you can see how it’s done here.

So Conference, so that Londoners, across our city, can finish the sentence – ‘I’m voting for Ken because’.

I’m proud to introduce.

Our candidate.

The future Mayor of London.

Ken Livingstone.

Tessa Jowell – 2010 Speech to Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Tessa Jowell, the then Shadow Minister for the Olympics, to the 2010 Labour Party conference.

Conference, in three weeks time – the Coalition will announce their spending review – a defining moment.

Because then the Coalition will announce a programme of cuts cloaked in the language of the ‘Big Society’.

They’ll say ‘we’re all in this together’, but what they mean is that ‘it’s your problem not ours’.

And, of course, the question is – what does the Coalition mean by the ‘Big Society’?

If they really believe that people should have more control over their lives – then we agree.

If they mean that communities can and should be more powerful – we know.

And we know because we did it while we were in Government.

David Cameron says that he wants the voluntary sector to grow.

And conference it has grown. It has doubled in size.

Under Labour.

He wants more people to participate in civic life.

And they are.

And it happened under Labour.

He wants a civil society to have more power.

And look what civil society achieved.

Remember ‘Make Poverty History’? Campaigns against smoking in public places, and those campaigns for gay rights? Community movements that captured the imagination of the public and found their champion in our government.

They changed the law and they changed our country for the better.

And it’s all happened under Labour.

Conference, we should be proud of what we achieved and be confident that we can win this argument.

Because their ‘big idea’ is to steal our language of fairness, solidarity and responsibility – and to reduce our movement’s founding values to a marketing slogan.

Not so long ago the Tories believed that there is ‘no such thing as society, only families and individuals’.

Now they say that society alone, through the actions of individuals, should become the sole providers of the very structure and essence of our community life.

They think you can have the state or civic action but you can’t have both, indeed – you shouldn’t have both.

And we know that they are wrong.

Because the fact is that community life is created through our shared investment in our local lives – local schools, hospitals, Sure Start centres, libraries, parks and open spaces.

And it is here that the partnership formed between the enabling Government and the community makes our charities, our mutuals and our society stronger than ever.

So Conference our challenge to the Coalition is this:

You can use our language and mimic our values – but when the next election comes the people of this country will judge you in these ways:

They will judge you on whether civil society becomes ‘bigger’ and, indeed, more sustainable;

Whether local people are equipped, willing and able to shoulder the burden of their new responsibilities;

And on whether Britain is a fairer place than when you came to power.

And I don’t know about you conference, but I think that for a Government that says that it wants to build up our communities – it has an odd way of going about it.

£742 million cut from the ‘Big Society’ in its first 100 days.

And that is before the real cuts follow in 3 weeks time.

A survey published today by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations says that confidence among charity leaders is lower than ever before – and that the little platoons required to build the Coalition’s big vision are afraid they’re being led off a cliff.

But to be a credible Government in waiting we need to spell out our own vision of what the ‘good society’ means.

Because while the policy that underpins the ‘Big Society is so flawed, its rhetoric does echo the popular mood.

That in a post-crash post-parliamentary expenses Britain, people want to feel a sense of ownership, control and accountability; something which neither free market fundamentalism nor remote and centralised statism can provide.

Our people are not seeking empty slogans, but a different kind of society where they feel and are more powerful.

Confident that businesses are run as much in the interests of people that depend on them as they are in the pursuit of profits.

Where public services are developed on the experience of users and the wisdom of their staff.

Where power does not just reside in a political class but is part of people’s lives and their experiences – they know it and they believe it.

So where do we start on building our vision for the ‘good society’?

Financial services that command the confidence of the public through long-term security not short term risk. And that means, Conference, that we should look for a mutual future for Northern Rock and a People’s Bank at the Post Office.

Public services that are indeed responsive and, we know, popular – building on co-operative schools and foundation hospitals to give users real power over social care, housing and Sure Start centers.

And our Labour Councillors, so many with a new Labour mandate, forging a new relationship with their communities based on the co-operative values of fairness, accountability and responsibility.

New trusted institutions across our economy, the state and society – that are of the people, by the people and for the people.

Conference, our Party is renewing and you, our activists, must lead the way.

In our communities, our branches, our councils and our CLPs.

So Conference, seize this moment – be brave, be responsible and radical, remembering our traditions of self-help and colle ctive action.

So that when we return to Government – and we will – we are a renewed political movement that can bring the change to this country – the change that this country will by then so badly crave.

Tessa Jowell – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Tessa Jowell, the then Minister for the Olympics, to the 2009 Labour Party conference on 28th September 2009.

Conference, five years ago, I came to tell you about the progress of our bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games.

I told you then that we were going all out to win, that big prizes are never won by timidity and playing safe.

Britain went all out to win, and we won the big prize. To host the Olympics in London 2012.

In just over 1,000 days, the next big prize is up for grabs.

The eyes of four billion people will turn to the Olympic Stadium in East London for the opening ceremony:

A chance to show that Britain delivers.

A chance to show the extent of our ambition.

A chance to showcase Britain to the world.

Let no-one be under any illusion, hosting the Olympics is a huge challenge:

The largest peacetime logistical operation in our history,

26 world championships in 60 days.

We’re a little bit ahead of time and on budget.

With just under 3 years to go and over 40% of the build complete, there is no longer any doubt that we will deliver the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games we promised.

But hosting the Games was always about much more than 60 days of world class sport.

When we decided to back the bid in 2003, we had two major ambitions:

To accelerate the regeneration of East London by 30 years in 5 years

And transform a generation of young people through sport, including through International Inspiration, in developing countries around the world.

We are making huge strides forward:

With Europe’s biggest regeneration project, and in partnership with outstanding local leadership, we’re transforming 4 of the 10 most deprived boroughs in the country.

We are creating a major international centre for the industries that will drive our economic recovery: sport, digital, tourism, retail and sustainable living.

We’re fulfilling our ambitions for young people, too.

Our groundbreaking school sports programme has allowed us to get 90% of children doing 2 hours a week of sport in school.

And now we are going further.

By 2012, we will achieve 5 hours each week for the under-16s, while the free swimming programme launched in April has already delivered 4.5 million more swimming sessions.

In tough economic times, we stretched our ambitions so that London 2012 delivers a shot in the arm to the UK economy, creating jobs and work for businesses right across the country.

By 2012, 30,000 people will have worked on the Olympic Park.

But these are not just London’s Games, they belong to the whole of Britain.

And all of Britain is playing its part:

Steel for the Olympic Stadium from Bolton;

The Basketball Arena, the largest temporary structure ever built, constructed by a firm from Glasgow;

And the steel for the Aquatics centre, the iconic building that will be the symbol of London 2012, supplied from Neath.

1,000 companies around the country – two-thirds of them small and medium-sized businesses – have won direct contracts to help build the Olympic Park and Village, with hundreds more further down the supply chain.

So when in three years time, the curtain goes up on opening ceremony for the Olympic Games, the greatest show on earth, the world will witness a Britain that succeeded in its ambitions:

– That delivered the Games we promised

– That brought regeneration to East London

– That transformed a generation of young people through sport.

For the athletes arriving from around the world, and the fans who come to cheer them on, the opportunity to discover a Britain that is open to the world, a Britain of creativity and talent, a Britain of diversity and tolerance.

For all of us at home, the opportunity to witness our Olympic heroes and heroines in action, clocking up the medals. Our goals: 4th in the Olympics medal table, and second in the Paralympics’.

I, though, have the privilege to see Olympic heroism all the time as I travel round the country.

I saw it when, along with the Prime Minister, I met young apprentices helping to construct the Olympic Park, working hard for companies which have the foresight to invest today in the workforce of tomorrow;

I saw it when I went to the ceremony for young people graduating from the Personal Best programme, who have succeeded in learning new skills so they can join the 70,000 volunteers we’ll need to host the Games;

And I saw it when I met young people at the Fight for Peace Academy in Newham and its sister organisation in Rio, a pioneering project which helps combat crime and gang violence through sport.

All of them, striving to succeed because they’re ambitious for their future. They can’t realise their ambitions alone: inspiration has to be provided, horizons lifted, and doors opened.

Their names may not hit the headlines in the summer of 2012.

They may not mount the podium to receive a medal, the adulation of a nation ring in their ears.

They may remain, in President Obama’s words, ‘obscure in their labour’.

But, as they realise their ambitions, so we realise ours.

An Olympics like no other: success measured not simply in bronze, silver and gold, but in the transformation of young lives.

Tessa Jowell – 2003 Speech to Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by the then Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell, at the 2003 Labour Conference in Bournemouth on 29th September 2003.

When I ask my South London constituents what would improve the quality of their lives their list is long and varied.

They talk to me about jobs and pensions, freedom from fear, safer streets, more for young people to do.

But perhaps most touching of all is the young mum I know who is just starting a college access course so that her young daughter could have greater ambitions than she had ever had for herself.

So that her dreams can be within her reach, as they have never been for her mother.

Perhaps the greatest gift we can give to those who dream is the confidence and the means to have a go.

Achieving your best is intensely personal, but you cannot achieve it on your own.

Each of us, according to our own tastes, enriches our own life, with music, drama, art, books and sport.

And we do that with our families, teachers, coaches, friends, the community around us, to help us learn and understand.

So, when we talk about the importance of culture, we must also accept the responsibility to give everyone the opportunities that the few take for granted.

And when we talk of achievement, when we think of dreams coming true, nothing beats the Olympic Games.

Earlier this year we decided to bid for the Olympics and Para-Olympics to come to London in 2012, so let’s just pause to look at a few of the reasons why……

And one of those stars Steve Cram, is with us today and will address Conference in a few minutes.

We are bidding for the Olympics because they will showcase Britain as a can-do nation.

They will galvanise the regeneration of London’s East End.

They will give sport in Britain its biggest ever boost.

That’s why our Labour Government – with the support of the other political parties – has joined with the Mayor of London and the British Olympic Association to make this Bid.

Barbara Cassani, the Chair of the Bid, now has her team assembled and things are really moving.

This will be a bid to rival the best.  And we are backing it 100%.

Young people starting in secondary school now can aspire to be champions in 2012.

But we want everyone to feel that sport can be a vital part of their lives, regardless of their talent.

To enjoy sport for its own sake.

To compete and to excel.

And because a good sport policy is also a good education policy, a good health policy and good anti-crime policy.

This is not just talk.

We are putting in place the foundations in schools and communities, and building the ladder of opportunity to take the talented, whatever their background, as high as they can go:

– Reviving school sport, with 400 specialist sport colleges, and 3,000 sport co-ordinators, bringing competitive sport back into our schools.

– Boosting grassroots sport, first with £750 million of Lottery money for school and community facilities announced by Tony Blair three years ago, then with a further £100m for community sport halls announced this summer, and just three weeks ago the decision to give community amateur sports clubs mandatory rate relief.

– Bringing the best artists and creative talents into some of the most deprived schools in the country in our Creative Partnerships.

– Developing summer play schemes, with sport, music, dance and theatre helping our young people feel the pride that comes from learning new skills.

I’m proud that we brought back free entry to our museums, that the National Theatre and the Royal Opera House have brought in new audiences by cutting their ticket prices.

The Baltic Gallery in Gateshead packs in local people and tourists alike, free to all.

But as we know, equality of opportunity is a fine phrase for those who already have the will to succeed.

But for many, success in any field remains just a dream.

Our mission is to enable those who today can only dream, to have the chance to achieve their very best tomorrow.

To feel they were given a chance and the means to grab it.

Of course our Party exists to deliver prosperity, education, and good health for the many and not just the few, but we also exist to feed the imagination of the many as well.

It’s only fair that everyone gets the chance to enjoy the finest of music, of theatre, of dance, of film.

It’s only fair that everyone gets the opportunity to enjoy the sports of their choice.

Throughout Britain our towns and cities are increasingly recognising just what the arts and sport can do for their people, for their environments and for their economies.

Great cities, like Newcastle, Glasgow, Gateshead, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Cardiff, Leeds.

Wonderful cities, finding the vigour of their 19th Century boom years in the 21st Century’s creative industries.

Liverpool will buzz with excitement and its economy will get a terrific lift as European Capital of Culture.

Because cities that embrace the arts, sports, fine buildings, libraries and galleries, and yes, bars and clubs and sports venues, are cities worth living in.

And worth businesses moving to.

And in every part of Britain the Lottery is the cultural and sporting venture capital of our communities.

– The Eden Centre, transforming the Cornish economy.

– The Commonwealth Games legacy transforming East Manchester.

– The Laban Centre in Deptford.

– The Ikon Gallery in Birmingham.

Every constituency has received at least 50 Lottery awards.

From Village Halls to the Deep in Hull.

From play for children to plays at the National Theatre, the Lottery touches every community, every age group, every culture in the country.

This work goes on.

Take just one example, I’ve asked the New Opportunities Fund to talk to War Veterans groups about how their members might want to mark the 60th Anniversary of the most remarkable 12 months in our history, from D-Day to the Fall of Berlin.

I want to ask them how they would like their history remembered.

Projects that make their memories available to today’s young people.

That help us understand how today’s world was created by the sacrifices of a generation now in their 80s.

This is the Lottery people love.  They know that Lottery money is the people’s money, not politicians’ money.

That investment is building communities, changing lives, respecting differences, opening new doors.

There are many dividing lines between this Labour Government and the Tory alternative.

Under the Tories the Lottery neglected the most deprived areas and the most desperate communities.  We changed that.

The Tories cut investment in sport and the arts.  We changed that.

The Tories forced the sale of school playing fields.  We changed that too.

Because markets fulfil the demand of those who can pay, not the needs of those who can only dream.

Because equality of opportunity without a place for those who have never dared to aspire, is just a highway for the privileged.

Opening that highway to all is the task before us: it’s not only in health, education, transport and welfare that we must rise to the challenge of change, but in bringing real opportunity to those with talent wherever they may be.

And finally there is another message from the Olympic debate.

When we asked people whether they wanted us to bid, they made one thing very clear, they wanted us to give it a go.

They would forgive us for trying even if we didn’t win.

They understand the challenge.

But people want the best for Britain, and the best for their families.

They expect us to set the toughest targets and do our damndest to reach them.

But they won’t forgive us if we won’t even try.

Peter Hain – 2011 Speech to Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Peter Hain to the Labour Party conference on 25th September 2011.

Conference, we’ve heard today from Margaret Hodge about the magnificent campaign in Barking where she kicked out Nick Griffin and the BNP.

A great victory for us, and a great victory for democracy.

We’ve also heard today about the fantastic wins in Birmingham Edgbaston and Oxford East. Seats the pundits had written off, seats we should have lost.

Suppose we had replicated their success right across all of our 100 most marginal seats.

What would have happened?

We could still have been in power.

Maybe not with a majority.

But at least as the biggest party.

Able to protect the country from the dogma inflicted by this right wing Tory-led Government.

Because, although on paper each of those constituencies should have been lost, they defied the massive national swing against Labour.

They won against the tide because – through years of patient work in the community – they mobilised hundreds of supporters, and not just members, to campaign for Labour.

They were at the heart of their communities and so people who would never have joined the Party delivered leaflets, persuaded neighbours, friends and relatives.

They were Labour’s invisible army in these constituencies.

They went under the radar of ferocious attacks on our Party, and Labour won.

This is what Refounding Labour is about, and this is why it’s so important.

It’s not just about creating a party fit for the digital era, and rooted in community organising, linked like an umbilical cord to voters.

It is also about winning.

Those and another dozen constituencies demonstrated what can be achieved by being in tune with the new politics.

They denied David Cameron his majority.

If – and only if – voters trust local Labour parties, trust our MPs, trust our candidates, and trust our councillors, they don’t necessarily go with national trends in the way they used to.

In an age of 24-hour news and the internet, politics may have become more global and national.

But it has also become more local.

And that is where our opportunity lies.

To build a vibrant movement capable of winning the next General Election, Labour also needs to transform our policy making, because that is essential to rebuilding trust and support from members, trade unionists and voters. We want to open up our process of making policy, both to give party members a greater say and to enable supporters and voters to feed in their ideas, so that the party leadership keeps in much closer touch with them.

Revitalising our policy-making in this way will help ensure that lessons learned on the doorstep, in meetings with community groups and through discussion with our supporters, can genuinely and easily make their way from local party activists to the National Policy Forum and Annual Conference – and from there into manifestos which reflect the needs of the squeezed middle who are finding life tougher and tougher right across Britain.

As the NEC Statement says, in the next few months we will consult on the detail.

On how exactly we make a reformed policy making system more accessible and responsive to members, on how exactly we make a freshly empowered Annual Conference more democratic.

We will also make it easier for members to be involved in the party.

We will introduce clear lines of accountability to the membership and the wider public for all Labour candidates and elected representatives – from local councillors to Shadow Cabinet members.

We will insist that every Labour candidate and elected representative signs a contract committing to probity, active service to the public and leadership in party campaigning.

This is what we mean by Refounding Labour.

And we will reach out to potentially hundreds of thousands of Labour supporters – people who wouldn’t join, but who could be registered as supporters.

That’s what Barack Obama did to win in 2008 – created a peoples’ movement amongst those who never saw themselves as party animals but were with him and were vital to his victory.

That’s what Ken is doing in London.

This is what we mean by Refounding Labour.

Registering thousands of new supporters is a huge opportunity, not a threat.  Members, not supporters, will still choose our MPs and councillors, still choose delegates to Conference, still make policy. Members and trade unionists will still have a much, much bigger say than supporters in leadership elections.

But we want to open up our Party to those who won’t join but will support.

We have to build a peoples’ movement for Labour; in our neighbourhoods, in our workplaces.

This is what we mean by Refounding Labour.

And let me say this to Nick Clegg who last week attacked our Party’s link with 3 million trade unionists just as his Tory master David Cameron will do next week.

Ten days ago who was there at the very start for the trapped Welsh miners?

The South Wales National Union of Mineworkers.

Who is now looking after their traumatised families?

The NUM.

Trade unionism is vital in any society and we are proud of our union link.

Whatever attacks come from Tories, Liberals, or next month the independent Standards Committee, we say from this conference: we will not weaken, but strengthen our links with individual trade unionists.

But agreement on these reforms is only the beginning.

We have to implement them so that we genuinely do ‘Refound Labour’.

And this cannot be achieved from above, even with an Annual Conference mandate.

It can only be delivered from below, at the grassroots of our movement, in every constituency party.

That is the challenge for each and every one of us: to build a quite different type of party in tune with the new politics rather than remaining with the old. If we achieve this – and last year’s General Election successes in constituencies like Barking, Edgbaston and Oxford East demonstrate that we can – then we will have leapfrogged the other major parties, and left them stuck behind.

Now let’s go out and together get on with the job of Refounding Labour to win.

Peter Hain – 2010 Speech to Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Peter Hain, the Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, to Labour Party conference in 2010.

Remember last year; the media and the Tories had all written us off, and the fight back started at this conference.

Across Britain, we deprived the Tories of an outright victory when they thought they had it in the bag.

In Wales we stopped them winning the ‘rugby 15′ seats they were boasting about – they only managed four. We stopped the Liberal Democrats in Wales taking any of the three Labour seats they had targeted relentlessly. Plaid Cymru had a truly dreadful election, they came fourth in two of their target seats, and lost their deposit in a quarter of Welsh seats.

And we won back the old Labour stronghold of Nye Bevan and Michael Foot in style with a thumping majority. Nick Smith MP and the local Labour team did a fantastic job. And next year Alun Davies is going to take Blaenau Gwent back for Labour in the Welsh Assembly.

You showed our opponents they can never, ever right off the Labour Party. Our ideas, our vision, our values will never be defeated. Yes – we lost the election and there’s no pretending that wasn’t a terrible result.

But we stopped the Tories winning. And we have immediately bounced back, with council by-election victories right across the land, tens of thousands of new party members flooding in and more support in the opinion polls.

This is not a beaten party. This is a party ready to fight and to win again.

To fight the cruel and callous cuts being rammed through by the Tory Liberal Government.

To stand shoulder to shoulder with our local communities, with trade unionists, with faith groups, with charities, with voluntary organisations, to lead a great peoples movement for change against this right wing government .

We will support pensioners under attack.

We will support disabled people being targeted.

We will support workers faced with the sack.

We will support citizens losing vital public services.

Because the Government’s policies are not only harsh and unjust. They are plain wrong. Of course the deficit has to be cut. But not like this, not so fast or so deep. The Tory Lib Dem government is not cutting like this because it needs to. It is cutting like this because it wants to. Instead of using the power of government to protect our citizens, Cameron and Clegg are deliberately off loading government and leaving citizens to fend for themselves.

And, after a Budget that was unfair to the poor, unfair to pensioners and most unfair to the poorest parts of Britain – Wales and the North East of England – now the Government are also destroying the fairness at the heart of our parliamentary democracy.

Their new legislation changes every constituency in the land in a way that is fair only to the Conservative party. Its grossly unfair to Labour, and especially, and blatantly unfair to Wales. It is also grotesquely unfair to local communities, abolishing independent pubic inquiries: Whitehall just imposing new constituencies from the centre and depriving communities of their traditional rights.

Over the generations, boundary commissions have worked impartially, taking proper account of local views, of community identity, of rurality and sparsity.

The Government have abandoned this fair, practical and sensible system for a new one that is unfair, impractical and arrogant.

Wales will lose three times the proportion of MPs as the average for the rest of the United Kingdom – a reduction in Wales’ voice in Parliament of fully a quarter from 40 to 30.

In the vast rural areas of mid and west Wales, four constituencies – none Labour-he ld, incidentally – covering hundreds of square miles will become two monster ones, each thousands of square miles in size. It could take MPs most of a day to travel from one end to the other – they’ll be needing second homes IN their constituencies at this rate!

It’s obvious the Tories want to fix the boundaries to benefit them at the next election.

But most outrageous, totally unforgivable and totally unjustifiable, is that the new boundaries will be drawn up on a register excluding more than 3.5 million eligible voters, predominantly the young, poor and black and minority ethnic social groups.

And at the same time Nick Clegg says he wants to give prisoners the vote. So some of the most vulnerable, law abiding people in society will be deprived of a vote at the same time as the Deputy Prime Minister wants convicted murderers, rapists and paedophiles to get one.

Today let this conference say loud and clear to the Government: stop trying to rig democr acy and stop riding roughshod over local community views

And now, with Ed Miliband, our new leader, we will rebuild the Labour Party for a new era. To rebuild trust and to rebuild our appeal to voters.

In Wales next spring we will be fighting for outright victory to run the Welsh Assembly Government.

And we will do so not for ourselves, not for our Party, not even just for our new leader! But for the people of Wales and Britain as a whole. Because their values are Labour’s values: the values of caring, community, solidarity, social justice, equality, fairness, liberty, democracy.

These are the values that have always inspired this great Party of ours and these are the values that will inspire Wales to deliver a great Labour victory next year, as we begin the long march back to power in Westminster.

And now the leader of the only Labour Government in Britain today – the man who will be leading Welsh Labour to victory in the Assembly elections next May – the leader to beat the Welsh Tories, the leader to beat the Welsh Liberal Democrats, the leader to beat Plaid Cymru.

Give a rousing welcome to the First Minister of Wales… Carwyn Jones.

Peter Hain – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Peter Hain, the then Welsh Secretary, to the 2009 Labour Party conference in October 2009.

In the past four weeks I have travelled the length and breadth of Wales joining with local party members at a series of fight back meetings. I have been asking everyone a simple, solitary question and I repeat it here:  do we want to win?

Not – ‘Yes, of course we do. Or OK, why not?

No I mean do we really, really want to win? Do we really, really want our Labour Government back in power?

I ask because unless we do, unless you do, then we all might as well wrap conference up now, go home, put our feet up and wait for David Cameron to give that smarmy smile of his from the steps of Number 10 next year.

We must not behave as if a Tory win is inevitable.

Seemingly ready to throw away thirteen years of Labour investment in schools and hospitals, to hand over everything we have achieved – minimum wage, tax credits, massive public spending increases, trebling our overseas aid budget doubling the Welsh budget, devolution for Wales, the Northern Ireland settlement – hundreds and hundreds of concrete Labour achievements – absolutely everything, to those callous, right wing Tories.

The opinion polls have killed us already. The media have written us off, some licking their lips at their Tory mates being back in power again. Plaid Cymru and Liberal Democrat leaders are preparing to work with the Tories.

But, they have all forgotten something. Not a single vote has been cast yet.  Nobody knows what will happen on election day.

They have forgotten something else:  this labour and trade union movement never gives up: we never have, we never will. Because the Tories have not been winning with the kind of huge leads Labour achieved before 1997.  On June 4th they won Wales – shockingly – with just six out of a hundred people registered to vote. Labour voters have simply stayed at home – by the millions.

So, if we get under the radar – underneath the ferocious media attack on us and speak to voters directly – we can still beat them.  And nobody else can do that except us – each and every one of us.  Because in this general election campaign, more than any election I can remember, direct contact with voters on the doorstep or the telephone will be vital – absolutely critical.

I think it will be decided at the very last moment. If we do our job as a Labour leadership, if you do your jobs at the grass roots, whatever the polls say, when people get into the privacy of the polling booth, then I think the next election will be more like in 1992 when everyone expected the Government to lose but in the end voters considered the Opposition too much of a risk. I think voters might set aside their dissatisfaction with our Government and ask themselves a much more fundamental question: do they really, really trust the Tories?  Trust the Tories with their jobs, their mortgages, their families, their pensions.

Everyone is worried about debt, but do they trust the Tories to manage the crisis when their policies of savage cuts would make debt worse?

Everyone is worried about rising unemployment, but they know savage Tory cuts mean millions more could lose their jobs in future.

Everyone would prefer that the recession hadn’t driven up government borrowing, but everyone also knows if we were not investing now the economy would be much, much worse.

What I find really offensive is how David Cameron and George Osborne so transparently relish chance to make cuts, to exploit this global crisis to do what even Thatcher could not do. Slash and burn local government.  Introduce regional benefit levels, meaning lower pensions, disability and unemployment payments for low income areas like Wales. Also in Wales ending free prescriptions, abolishing free bus travel for pensioners, and abolishing European funding programmes.

And now, we have the extraordinary spectacle of the Liberals trying to out-do the Tories in savagery on cuts!

Over recent months the soft Cameron mask has slipped and the real Tories have emerged blinking into the sunlight.  Tory pin-up, their European MP Daniel Hannan, revealed their true colours: “You would be better off being ill in America than in Britain.” Why on earth does he think President Obama is fighting to reform a health system that leaves nearly 50 million Americans without any health protection whatsoever?

On Europe David Cameron has now joined up with the far right leaders:- one says homosexuality is a disease another called for global ‘chemotherapy’ against muslims.

– one described climate change as a global myth’ another insisted the Holocaust was a myth

– yet another celebrated his city’s local connection to Hitler’s notorious SS

Lets remind ourselves why we want to beat the Tories. Because we all share the same Labour values, and the really encouraging thing is that the vast majority of the British people share these values too. The same values of caring, community, solidarity, social justice, equality, fairness, liberty, democracy.

The same values that brought me into politics through the anti-apartheid struggle – opposed by the Tories.

The same values which motivated the great Nelson Mandela – denounced as a ‘terrorist’ by the Tories.

The same values of the trade unionists who banded together to protect working people – opposed by the Tories.

The same values of the Chartists who struggled for working people to get the vote – opposed by the Tories.

The same values of the Suffragettes who fought for women to get the vote – opposed by the Tories.

And – yes – the same values of mutual care and mutual support that inspired that great Welsh Labour leader Nye Bevan to create the NHS – also opposed by the Tories.

Labour values that today stand for fair taxation. Not greedy Tory values that will reward 3,000 of the very richest people in Britain with inheritance tax cuts of £200,000 each. £200,000 each. Whilst they plan to give nurses, doctors, teachers and police officers the sack.

That’s the threat we face, that’s what we must all stand up and fight against.

I’m proud of what we have achieved as a Labour Government. Yes – we have made mistakes; everyone makes mistakes.

But nobody can take away the fact that, even after the global financial crisis, after all the problems people face, there are still 2.4 million more jobs in Britain under your Labour Government than under the Tories.

Nobody can dispute that under Labour there are still over 800,000 more public sector workers, especially doctors, nurses, teachers, police officers to ensure waiting times for hospital operations are now down from years to weeks,  that school standards are up, and crime is down.

All of these and many, many more concrete and tangible Labour achievements.

We should be much more confident about our policies. This should be our era. After the terrible failures of financial capitalism, this is an era for active not passive government, an era for hands-on not hands-off government, for getting stuck in and helping people, not leaving them on their own prey to the banking blizzards. An era for Labour not Tory Government.

So let’s be proud of our Party, proud of our Labour traditions, proud of our socialist heritage.

And let’s do everything – absolutely everything – in our power to stop the Tories destroying all our achievements and wrecking Britain again.

Peter Hain – 2001 Speech at the Africa Educational Trust

Below is the text of the speech made by Peter Hain, the then Foreign Office Minister, to the Africa Educational Trust on 23rd January 2001 in London.

It is a great honour for me to be delivering this speech this evening in memory of the Reverend Michael Scott. He was a great inspiration to me and many others who campaigned against the evils of apartheid. He left an indelible mark in southern Africa, particularly in Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Education is vital to the British Government, here and in Africa: education for all not just an elite few. And I am therefore a great admirer of the Africa Educational Trust, which for 40 years has helped educate young Africans who have escaped from oppression and conflict. A galaxy of stars have returned home to play major roles in the transformation to majority rule in southern Africa. Many of the southern African politicians, officials, teachers and businessmen I meet have benefited in some way from your work.

I was born in Nairobi. I am a son of Africa. As an African born British Minister for Africa, I have a personal commitment to the African continent. I want to help build a genuine partnership between the continent of my birth and my adopted homeland. The future of the United Kingdom is inexorably linked to the future of Africa. We have much in common. Britain cannot afford to ignore the plight of our African brothers and sisters.

Our policy is straightforward. We back success in Africa. We are work in partnership with Africans to overcome past failures: African and western. We support Africans who stand up for democracy. We help those who want economic reform. And we encourage and support those who strive for peace.


On the eve of the new millennium, there was an air of optimism. Much was made about the 21st century being Africa’s century. The future looked bright. Africa had finally broken free from the shackles of colonialism. From the divisive politics of the Cold War. It was ready to decide its own future. Talk was of an ‘African Renaissance’.

But, if we are to believe national and international media, the year 2000 was a disaster for Africa. Afro?pessimism ruled supreme. Commentators called Africa ‘the hopeless continent’, riven by conflict, bad leadership and economic failure. Journalists queued up in their attempts to put Africa down. And in doing so, one could almost sense an air of relief. Why? Because African failure lets the international community off the hook. If Africa is ‘hopeless’, then there is no point in even trying to help. With a shrug of the shoulders, attention can turn away.

Can we blame the Afro-pessimists? At times, last year tested even my faith in Africa’s future. Pictures of Ethiopian and Eritrean armies slaughtering each other across barren and inconsequential land in scenes reminiscent of 1914 Europe. Brutal conflict in Sierra Leone, caused by rebels backed by a neighbouring state and destabilising the region. Seemingly never-ending conflicts in the DRC and Angola fuelled and sustained by the illegal trade in diamonds. Civil war in Burundi. Successive coups and counter coups in Cote d’Ivoire. And government-motivated political intimidation and violence in Zimbabwe.

And even where Governments were trying to make positive changes, disaster struck. Devastating floods in Mozambique. Drought in Kenya. Forest fires in South Africa all set back development efforts. The collapse in cocoa and gold prices and the rise of oil prices undermined Ghanaian economic success. The terrifying plague of AIDS continued to engulf and ravage the continent. And malaria kept killing thousands of Africans.

So, it is easy to see why Afro?pessimism dominated the headlines. In the words of President Mbeki, what happens in one part of Africa affects the continent’s image as a whole. Unfair, but it is a fact.

And yet, as so often, the headlines betrayed the superficiality of journalism. I travelled extensively in Africa throughout last year. During my travels and my many discussions with Africans and Africa watchers, I picked up a common theme. Yes, Africa does face enormous challenges in this new era of globalisation. But a new shared vision of Africa’s future is emerging. There is a growing consensus among African leaders that they must implement urgent economic, political and governance reforms. Leaders are defining more clearly the resource needs, and development priorities required to meet these challenges. A new generation of African leaders is coming to power. Democracy and political participation are growing. A new generation of African entrepreneurs is emerging.

The UN Millennium Assembly in September 2000 was a watershed for Africa. A succession of African leaders came to the podium and spoke about what they, not the rest of the world, but they needed to do to set Africa on the road to recovery and growth. And in response, Tony Blair led the way for the developed world. Let me remind you of a little of what he said. ‘…we need a new partnership for Africa, in which Africans lead but the rest of the world is committed; where all the problems are dealt with not separately but together in a coherent and unified plan. Britain stands ready to play our part with the rest of the world and the leaders of Africa in formulating such a plan.’ This is the cornerstone of our policy. We want to see a step change in the way that Africa and developed countries engage with each other. The future involves a modern, forward looking relationship, based on equality, respect, shared convictions, mutual interest and mutual obligations.

The OAU itself has recognised that the time is right for Africa to develop its own development strategy: entitled the ‘Millennium Africa Programme’. The Presidents of South Africa, Nigeria and Algeria have been mandated to develop it. We are working hard with these countries, across Whitehall and with the private and NGO sectors to ensure that we are ready to respond promptly, positively and productively to this African led strategy.

I have been saying since I began this job that democracy in Africa is growing rapidly. Last year we saw further evidence of this in Senegal, Tanzania, Mauritius, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia. Yes there well publicised problems in Zimbabwe. But elections were held. And the world quickly learned of the terrible events surrounding them. Further proof that that African governments are becoming increasingly accountable. And Zimbabwe now has a functioning opposition party represented in Parliament. Earlier this month we saw the first peaceful, democratic change of government and President in Ghana. Throughout Africa, civil society has developed a voice. And that voice is increasingly being heard, loud and clear. In 1973, only three African Heads of State were democratically elected. Last year the figure was 32 – 10 times greater.

The decision by the OAU Summit in Lome in July to exclude the Presidents of Cote d’Ivoire and the Comoros sent a clear message of rejection of coup d’etats and military juntas. Africa’s leaders made clear that only leaders who come to power through accountable and transparent means would be welcome at their table. I believe this brave decision and other efforts by African leaders played some part in the removal of the military dictator General Guei by the people of Cote d’Ivoire.

The refrain of African solutions to African problems has been ringing for some years now. Too often, it has been used as an excuse for the rest of the world to abdicate responsibility for helping to resolve Africa’s disputes. We demonstrated through our efforts in Sierra Leone last year that we take seriously our responsibility as members of the UN Security Council and wider UN family. But we also saw renewed African efforts at conflict resolution. President Bouteflika of Algeria worked tirelessly to bring the warring parties in Ethiopia and Eritrea together. He personally, and the OAU as an organisation deserve great credit for the fact that Ethiopia and Eritrea have signed a peace deal and UN peacekeepers have been deployed. Nelson Mandela, even in retirement continues to work for peace. His efforts in Burundi following on from the work of the late Julius Nyerere – who gave this lecture in 1997 – appear to be bearing fruit. Largely through the efforts of President Guelleh of Djibouti, we are now seeing early positive signs that the largely forgotten tragedy of Somalia could be coming to an end. After more than 10 years of civil war and a failed state, reconciliation will not prove easy. But there is now hope.

So, I would describe the year 2000 as the year of African peacemaking. Africa’s leaders demonstrated that when given appropriate international support, they can resolve African disputes. Of course, problems remain. Africa’s ‘First World War’ in the Democratic Republic of the Congo drags on with unmitigated humanitarian suffering. Of course, I deplore the use of violence and I regret the assassination of President Kabila. But I hope that creation of a new government in Kinshasa will deliver fresh impetus for peace. But importantly, no new African conflicts erupted in 2000. This is a new trend on which we must build.


But despite these positive signals, Africa still faces enormous challenges. Africa is poorer now than 30 years ago. Over 250 million, that is 40 per cent of the population of sub Saharan Africa live on less than one dollar a day. Average output per head in Africa is now lower than it was 30 years ago. GDP per head in the EU is more than 45 times greater than in sub-Saharan Africa. Africa’s share of world trade has fallen sharply, and investment has declined. Average real economic growth is currently two per cent a year. But as population growth is also around two per cent a year, GDP per head is stagnant. If Africa is to meet the international target of halving poverty by 2015, GDP will need to grow by an average of seven per cent a year. If the terms of trade continue to deteriorate, conflict proliferates or if international development assistance continues to decline, this growth requirement will be even higher.

At the dawn of the 21st century more than 250 million people in Africa do not have access to safe water. More than 200 million do not have access to health services. 533 million do not have access to electricity. Only 10 African countries have achieved Universal Primary Education. In most countries literacy rates have stagnated over the past twenty years.

So, while I recognise the early signs of positive change, I still have profound fears for Africa’s future. The list seems endless: HIV/AIDS, poor governance, conflict affecting half the countries in sub-Saharan Africa, economic marginalisation, deteriorating infrastructure, low levels of saving, capital flight and human migration, the continuing debt burden, deterioration of the terms of trade, declining incomes and worsening education. These all point to a continuing decline in economic and human development in Africa.

The statistics I have seen on the impact of HIV/AIDS in sub Saharan Africa are horrific. Ten times as many people in Africa died of AIDS in 1999 as died in conflict. In some countries, a quarter of the adult population will die in the next six years. Skills will be lost. The time and energy of the healthy will be diverted from economic and agricultural production to caring for the victims of AIDS. But in despair, there is hope. The Governments of Senegal and Uganda have made great strides towards bringing the AIDS pandemic under control. There are also early signs of success in Tanzania and Zambia.

But Malaria also offers a huge threat to Africa’s future. If it were possible to control malaria, this could translate into an additional 20 per cent growth in Africa over a 15 year period.

New drugs are urgently needed to combat the increasing problem of drug resistance, as well as new vaccines to prevent HIV, TB and Malaria. But there is inadequate research for most of these rampant diseases and it is regarded as unprofitable for drugs companies to develop drugs and vaccines to prevent or treat them.

The challenge is enormous, but we have examples of what can be done if there is a determination to make a difference. Polio was once a huge threat to Africa. But now Africa is well on the way towards eradicating it, even in the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola. There are efforts underway to tackle the threat of communicable diseases. Across Whitehall we are working hard to assess what more we can do.

If we are to halt Africa’s economic marginalisation and decline in the global economy, international investment and flight capital must return. But international business sentiment is increasingly negative about Africa’s prospects. As Africa missed the industrial revolution, it now risks missing the knowledge revolution. Investment rating services list Africa as the highest risk region in the world. But Africa has huge economic potential. It has great strength in natural resources, and potential for processing and manufacturing. There is a new generation of entrepreneurs emerging in a number of countries. In Uganda, following debt relief, there are early signs that flight capital is starting to return. We must build on this and help our businessmen and women to discover and invest in those areas of potential. We must educate potential investors to look beyond the negative headlines.

For example, I mentioned earlier that only nine per cent of Africans outside South Africa have access to any form of electricity. That means over half a billion people are effectively cut off from the benefits of modern technology. And these numbers are growing as electrification fails to keep pace with population growth – and grid extension stalls due to high costs.

For Africa to catch up with the rest of the world, it may need to focus upon free-standing technology rather than fixed networks which require massive and prohibitively costly investment across huge geographical areas. A combination of mobile telecommunications and solar and renewable power could enable Africa to make the necessary leap forward.

Modern renewable energy – including solar, wind and micro hydro – could drastically improve communities’ livelihoods and quality of life: powering equipment, pumping clean water, cooling essential vaccines and providing light for remote schools. New public/private partnerships are beginning to take forward viable and profit making schemes.


I would like to end by answering a question I occasionally hear expressed: why does Africa matter to us? There are many reasons why Africa matters. Firstly we have a strong humanitarian imperative to end the misery of poverty. But there are also economic incentives. Africa is an essential provider of raw materials, from platinum to timber. There is huge potential for shared economic benefits from increased trade with over 700 million people in countries with valuable natural and human resources, and with whom we have many historical, cultural, family and business ties.

If we do not work to stop it, conflict and violence within and between African countries could grow to epidemic proportions. It could spread beyond Africa, as people become refugees and economic migrants.

Increasing levels of crime in Africa, particularly in the trafficking of drugs, damage lives and societies here and in other developed countries as well as in Africa. The continuing spread of disease, including but not only HIV/AIDS, increases the risks to the health of people throughout the world. Three quarters of all new British heterosexual HIV/AIDS victims last year were infected whilst travelling in Africa. The global environment is threatened by continuing environmental degradation, including deforestation, global warming, erosion of bio-diversity, and air and water pollution from environmentally unfriendly industrial and other production processes.

For all these reasons, the world shares a keen interest in halting the decline of social and economic conditions in Africa. Moreover, as the demonstrations in Seattle, Prague and Nice have shown, there will be increasing political tension if poor countries are left behind as the rest of the world moves ahead with globalisation. These are powerful self-interest reasons for action. But they merely supplement the most important motive: the human cost in Africa of lives lost and unfulfilled potential stands as an indictment against our common humanity. We have an opportunity to build a better future for Africa’s children; we must not miss it.