Gordon Brown – 2008 Speech on Poverty


Speech given by Gordon Brown on the 24th July 2008 at the Lambeth Conference.

Let me say first of all that I am privileged and I am humbled to be at a conference of so many men and women for whom I have got the utmost respect, the greatest admiration and the highest affection. And let me immediately thank the Archbishop of Canterbury, let me thank Cardinal O’Connor, let me thank Dr Sacks, Dr Singh, Dr Sacranie, Helen, who have all been on the platform, and all those members of the different denominations who are here today. Let me thank you on behalf of the whole of this country for the work that you do for justice and humanity. And let me thank all men and women, Bishops, Archbishops, families from the 130 countries who are represented here today.

Let me tell you there are millions of people whom you may never meet who owe you a debt of gratitude for the work that you do in upholding the cause of the poor, and I want to thank every person from every country for what you do to remind the world of its responsibilities.

This has been one of the greatest public demonstrations of faith that this great city has ever seen, and you have sent a simple and very clear message, with rising force, that poverty can be eradicated, that poverty must be eradicated, and if we can all work together for change poverty will be eradicated.

You know it was said in ancient Rome of Cicero, that when he came to speak at the forum and crowds came to hear him, they turned to each other after he had spoken, and said: great speech. But it was said of Demosthenes in ancient Athens that when he came to speak and the crowd heard him, they turned to each other and they said: let’s march.

And you have marched today under the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury, you have marched to stand up for the 10 million children in this world who because of our failure to act collectively will die unnecessary of avoidable deaths from tuberculosis, from polio, from diphtheria, from malaria – all diseases we know we have it in our power to eradicate. You have marched today to speak up for the 77 million children who tomorrow, and every day until we change things, will not be able to go to school because there is no school to go to. And you have marched also, just as 50 years ago many of us marched for the Freedom From Hunger Campaign, for the 100 million people who shamefully and disgracefully today face a summer of starvation and an autumn of famine, all because we cannot yet organise and grow the food we need to meet the needs of the hungry people of this world.

And you have marched, because as Rabbi Sacks once said: “You cannot feast while others starve, you cannot be happy while others are sad, you cannot be fully at ease while millions suffer, and as long as millions of people are in poverty, our whole society is impoverished.”

And I believe you have marched because whenever you see suffering you want to heal it, whenever you see injustice you want to rectify, whenever you see poverty you want to bring it to an end. And has that not been the message of the churches and faith groups throughout the ages?

200 years ago was it not men and women of faith and religious convictions who saw an evil and said for the first time that slavery must be brought to an end? Was it not true 100 years ago that men and women of faith and conscience came together with their religious beliefs and said democracy must replace tyranny and every single person should have the vote – a message that we send to Zimbabwe and to other countries where democracy should be flourishing today?

And 50 years ago was it not men and women of conscience and religious faith that when they saw discrimination and prejudice and racism said that you cannot live in a world unless every single citizen, whatever their colour, their race, their background and their birth enjoys equal rights? And was it not the religious movement for change that made it possible for us to talk about a world of equal rights? And was it not you as individuals in these last 10 years, was it not you in the work you did in Make Poverty History that realised the vision of Isaiah, to undo the burden of debt and let the oppressed go free, and that instead of debts being paid to bankers in rich countries, debt relief was used, so that there are hospitals and schools now open in the poorest countries of the world, thanks to your activities over these last 10 years?

And I want to thank you also because it is because of your efforts in Make Poverty History that there are two million people who are receiving treatment for Aids today, where otherwise they would not be alive. In the greatest vaccination and immunisation campaign the world has ever seen, as a result of your efforts, 500 million children have been vaccinated. Three million children who would otherwise have died for lack of vaccinations are now living today. And 40 million children are now at school because you have built the schools and you have made it possible for us to employ the teachers in every continent of the world.

But we know that that is not enough, and we know we have only just begun. The Millennium Development Goals that the Archbishop has just mentioned said that by 2015 we would cut infant mortality by two-thirds, and maternal mortality by three-quarters. But on present rates of progress, let us be honest we will not achieve that change in life, not in 2015, not even in 2020 or 2030 – we would not under present rates of progress achieve it until 2050 and lives are being unnecessarily lost as a result of our failure to act.

Take the Millennium Development Goal on children, our promise that every child would be in school by 2015, and on present rates of progress we will not meet that goal in 2015, or in 2050, or even 2100, not before 2115. And take all our Millennium Development Goals to provide water and sanitation and equality and to cut poverty by half, as the slogan said today, and we will not meet that Millennium Development Goal on current rates of progress in this century or in the next.

And I say to you that the poor of the world have been patient, but 100 years is too long for people to wait for justice and that is why we must act now.

We used to be able to say if only we had the technology, if only we had the medicines, if only we had the science, if only we had the engineering skills then we could meet the Millennium Goals. But we know that with the technology we have, the medicine we have, the science we have, it is the will to act that now must be found.

And each of us has our own personal stories of what we have seen. In Kibera in Kenya I came out of a camp and I saw a young child who was the only person caring for a mother with Aids and with tuberculosis, and that child was only five. And then I met in Mozambique young children of 11 and 12 who were begging me to have the chance of education. I met a young man with Aids in a village hut in Africa who was suffering not just from Aids, but from the stigma of Aids, and he said to me are we not all brothers? I saw the sight of a woman leaving a hospital with a dead newborn baby in a sack. And perhaps the story that I witnessed that influenced me most was a young girl of 12 called Miriam, and I met her in a field in Tanzania, her mother had died from Aids, her father had died from Aids, and she was an Aids orphan being pushed from family to family and she herself had HIV and tuberculosis. And her clothes were in a mess, she was wearing rags, she had no footwear, she was barefoot, her hair was dishevelled. But what struck me most of all was when you meet a young girl of 12 there is hope in their eyes, there is the feeling that their life is ahead of them, a family ahead, work and all the opportunities of youth.

But for that young girl there was an unreachable sadness, hope all but gone. And I decided there and then that if every child is precious – as I believe they are – if, as from my own experience I know, every child is unique, and every child is special, and every child deserves the best chance in life then we must act as a community to change things.

So we need a march not just on Lambeth, we need a march also to New York, to September 25th when the United Nations will meet in emergency session. It is a poverty emergency that needs an emergency session. And I ask you to go back to your countries and I ask you to ask your governments, and I ask you to ask all of civil society to tell people that on September 25th we have got to make good the promises that have been made, redeem the pledges that have been promised, make good the Millennium Development Goals that are not being met.

And I ask you to ask governments to pledge three things, which I pledge on behalf of our government.

The first is instead of 100 years of children not getting education, that

by 2010, 40 million more children are in schools, on the road to every child being in schooling by 2015.

And the second pledge I ask you all to ask of your governments to make is instead of 10 million children dying unnecessarily a year, we invest in training four million nurses, and doctors, and midwives and health workers, and provide the equipment so we can do what medicine allows us to do and eradicate polio, tuberculosis, malaria and diphtheria, and then go on to eradicate HIV Aids in our generation.

And I also ask you to go back to your countries and ask your governments to pledge that in a world where 100 million are suffering today from famine, that we set aside $20 billion for food aid, and not only for food aid but to give people the means, free of the old agricultural protectionism for which we should be ashamed, free of that protectionism to grow food themselves with help from our countries to develop a green revolution in Africa. And it is only by doing that [INAUDIBLE]

And if people say to me that these are unrealisable goals, that we are just dreamers, that we are just idealists with illusions, let us remember that 20 years ago they said it was an impossible dream that apartheid would end, they said it was an impossible dream that Nelson Mandela would be free, they said it was an impossible dream that the Cold War would be over, they said it was an impossible dream that the Berlin Wall would come down. But because men and women of faith and religious belief fought hard for these changes, these changes happened.

And so I would say to you to have confidence today, have confidence today that just as Mandela went free and apartheid came to an end, that while the arc of the moral universe is long, it does bend towards justice. And I would say to you, have confidence that just as you managed to achieve debt relief, and just as we have managed to deal with many injustices in the past, that hope even, when trampled to the ground, will rise again and people of goodwill will continue to fight for what is right.

And I ask you finally to have confidence, have confidence that all people round the world of goodwill, people of faith, conviction and religious beliefs, will ensure, in the words of Amos, that justice will flow like water and righteousness like a mighty stream, and there is nothing that we cannot do for justice. If what we do for justice is doing it in unison and together, let’s work together for the transformation we know together we can achieve.

Thank you very much.

Gordon Brown – 2008 Speech on Eliasch Review

Below is the text of the speech made by the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Tuesday 14th October 2008


Let me start by saying how pleased I am to join all of you this morning for the launch of this path-breaking report – Johan Eliasch’s review of financing the sustainable management of forests round the world. And I am pleased to be here alongside representatives from governments across the world, from the private sector, from non-governmental organisations, all of us with a common commitment to help secure the future of the world’s forests. And I am very pleased that Ed Miliband, Douglas Alexander and Hilary Benn are all here in support of the action that we plan to take as a result of this important report.

I know that some people may be saying that the difficult financial circumstances that the world now faces mean that climate change should move to the back-burner of international concern. I believe that the opposite is the case. We will not solve the energy and environmental problems of the world unless we address the climate change problem, and indeed the issues of energy security, affordability of energy and climate change have all come together to make it urgent that we take action on climate change.

The commitments we have made to reduce global emissions are the very investments in sustainable energy infrastructure and energy efficiency which can help create jobs and drive economic growth in this period of time and therefore offer also a route out of the current global economic downturn. They will enhance both economic productivity and energy security and I am determined that both in the UK and globally we will carry them through, working with other partners and persuading them to act as well.

Our efforts to preserve forests must be just as forceful and determined as our efforts to develop greener technology. Indeed for the poorest nations this will be an essential part of sustainable development. We understand better now than ever before the role of the world’s forests in stabilising our global climate and the terrible consequences that result when those forests are logged, burnt or cleared, releasing vast amounts of carbon into our environment.

And we also understand now the immense value of the biodiversity contained in those forests, the vital role they play in preserving water, soil and climatic systems, and the economic resources they provide for the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of the world’s people. And yet each year, as so many of you here today know very well, the world continues to lose forests equivalent to the size of England, and deforestation is responsible for nearly a fifth of global man-made emissions, more than the world’s entire transport sector, and if we do not act now, by 2040 two-thirds will have been destroyed.

Now the causes of deforestation, as people here know, are varied and complex, but the core solution can be stated very simply. If rainforest nations are to be enabled to slow and eventually stop the rate of deforestation, we must find a way of making forests more valuable standing than cut down.

That is why a year ago I asked Johan Eliasch to undertake a review for the British government on how this can be done. Johan’s expertise, combined with his longstanding personal commitment to forest conservation have made him an ideal choice for this role and I am extremely grateful to him and to this excellent team that he assembled for the work that they have done.

Already rainforest nations are leading the way in developing policies to protect and manage the future of their forests. The forests belong to them and I pay tribute to their initiative in putting this on to the international agenda. And these countries, and the forest communities within them, cannot make the economic changes required overnight and we know they cannot make them alone. We shall all benefit however from the changes and we now have an obligation to support them and to provide an international framework that incentivises action.

I hope that Johan’s report will help to stimulate the global debate about how we do this and will give momentum to the international effort to bring the right financing framework into being. This will require, as I saw when I was involved in the rainforest project in Africa with Wangari Maathai the combined efforts of governments, business leaders, NGOs and civic society both within the regions and across the world.

It will require a truly international coalition that will preserve the world’s forests at the same time as sustaining the livelihoods of those men and women who depend upon them. And I know that many of you here today are already working hard to achieve these objectives.

So let me reaffirm today, in praising the report that is now before us, our government’s commitment to that task, and thank Johan once again for the work his team have done. We are all eagerly looking forward now to the presentation of findings upon which we as a government, and we hope other governments, will quickly act.

Thank you very much.

Gordon Brown – 2008 Speech on Malari


Below is the text of a speech given by Gordon Brown in New York on Friday 26 September 2008.

This is an historic meeting and an historic moment, and I think people are beginning to realise – everybody here – that it is not just a $1 billion moment, it is going to be a $3.5 billion moment. And I want to thank Ray and Peter for everything they have done.

This campaign, and the campaigns … for partnership have achieved more in a year than most campaigns have achieved in a hundred years, and thank you very much …

This is just extraordinary for the people here today, people from business who have been contributing through what they have done, people from Trusts and Charities, people from faith groups, governments like the government of Australia, Kevin Rudd, that has given us new money since he came into power, great campaigns like the American … campaign, the … campaign in Britain, and this has been the most extraordinary coming together of people to make possible one of the greatest campaigns that you have already seen has the power to change lives. And I believe that if we have saved only one life, it will have been important. But to be able to say, I think with conviction for the first time, that not only will Tanzania be able to see an end to malaria deaths by 2015, but more countries will be able to see an end to malaria deaths by 2015.

It has been a quite historic moment of great significance and now with these announcements we can believe that what has been impossible a few years ago is now possible, and being together to make it happen.

No injustice can last forever. People who suffer can go forward with hope, that if we can succeed here we can succeed in other areas as well. And I am very pleased to be able to say first of all that through the pressure of all of you, governments have round the world started to listen. And you came to me, and I said that we would, as a result of your pressure, we would provide 20 million bed nets, then you said well can you and us go to the European Union, and so the European Union promised 75 million bed nets, and then you said well that is not enough, go to the G8, and we could say to the G8 – thanks to your efforts – to make sure … On that day it was not in the communiqué, it was not primed to be there, it was put into the communiqué at the last minute because of the pressure that people were putting on, and it was not only a commitment to a number – 100 million bed nets – it was to a date by 2010, and that is thanks to the pressure of everybody here and I want to thank you all for what you have done.

I was thinking that this is the most extraordinary collection of people, probably only rivalled by the people who attend Bono’s concerts. I also want to say today that this is a comprehensive plan. We will not only support bed nets, we will support research, we will support cutting the costs of drugs, and we will support building the capacity of healthcare systems.

So first of all we will support new research, we will put more money supporting Bill Gates’s research – which I had the pleasure to see when I have been in Mozambique, an extraordinary project now yielding great and very positive results. We need to reduce the cost of drugs and treatments, so we will put an additional £40 million today into making that possible. And we want to build the capacity of healthcare systems to be able to deliver, and so today we are announcing 450 million for 8 different countries so that we can build their capacity to deliver a healthcare system on the ground. And we want that to be part of a new project where we can raise public and private money, like the vaccination initiative that we have undertaken, so that every healthcare system in developing countries can be built up over the next few years.

So today it is indeed historic, money that has never been promised before, now promised, a plan to deliver results by 2015, a commitment that is not just a pledge but one that we can now see is possible, that we will end avoidable deaths by 2015. And I want to thank all of you, this marvellous group of people who is unforgettable in a way that we have never seen before, to build not only hope that we can avoid deaths from malaria, but there is no problem in the world that we cannot solve if we work together.

Gordon Brown – 2008 Speech on Security and Liberty


Speech made on 17th June 2008 in London.

It’s a great pleasure to be here today with Jacqui Smith and members of the IPPR Security Commission – a non-partisan and highly-experienced body whose work I commend – to discuss the new challenges we all face, indeed one of the greatest challenges of the modern world: how in the face of global terrorism and organised crime we can best ensure the security, safety and liberties of the British people.

The modern security challenge is defined by new and unprecedented threats: terrorism; global organised crime; organised drug trafficking and people trafficking. This is the new world in which government must work out how it best discharges its duty to protect people.

New technology is giving us modern means by which we can discharge these duties. But, as I will also suggest today, just as we need to employ these modern means to protect people from new threats, we must at the same time do more to guarantee our liberties. And, facing these modern challenges, it is our duty to write a new chapter in our country’s story – one in which we protect and promote both our security and our liberty – two equally proud traditions.

The IPPR review starts where I start: that we must understand the changing world we live in – and the unprecedented changes in scope and scale of the security threat. Indeed when people look back at the history of the first decade of the twenty first century, they will see it as a period of new and fast changing threats.

First September 11th, then Bali, then Madrid, and then the London bombings in July three years ago when I remember how – in the face of the worst terrorist attacks in our history, with British-born suicide bombers killing and maiming their fellow citizens – the British people, our police and security and emergency services, facing this new challenge, stood as one.

We also remember how, in the face of simultaneous terrorist attacks in London and Glasgow a year ago, we again saluted the bravery of the police, security services and the public.

And it should not be forgotten that even today, the security service estimate there are at least 2000 known terrorist suspects, 200 organised networks and 30 current plots.

These are not remote or hypothetical threats. They are, sadly, part of today’s reality.

And whilst terrorism is the most dramatic new threat, there are other, new security issues that also help define the modern world.

Organised crime has changed beyond recognition from the days of the Krays: no longer confined to a neighbourhood or even a city, but involving networks spanning the world – threatening lives and feeding conflict and instability.

Drug trafficking too is an ever more sophisticated international business – stretching from the Helmand Valley – where British forces are serving with great courage and distinction to bring order and a chance of progress to this once lawless region – through international networks, to the streets of our own cities.

And so too is organised illegal immigration – a problem faced by the entire developed world – which we see at its worst in the callous contempt for life of people traffickers who smuggle women and children across the globe for sexual exploitation.

Today, while in many ways we are more secure as a country than at most times in our history, people are understandably fearful that they may become victims of terrorist attack. While overall crime is a third lower than ten years ago, people are understandably fearful of guns or knives on our streets. And while our border controls are stronger than ever, with more countries subject to visa requirements and 100 per cent of those visas based on fingerprints, with instant checks against watch lists – still people are understandably fearful about people traffickers or illegal workers. These are new threats, they are real concerns. People feel less safe and less secure as a result, and I understand that.

All these new challenges reflect the modern world – a world more interconnected and interdependent, with travel faster and cheaper than ever before, and the flow of goods and ideas around the world almost instantaneous. These are, of course, great positive changes, empowering individuals and creating new opportunities. But they also create new challenges for our security. The internet, a revolutionary force for change and opportunity, is also used to hateful ends by terrorists and criminals.

And in this new world of crime and threats to our security, it is not just the power of the state that has to be checked and about which we have to be vigilant: it is also the power of individuals and organisations to cause terrible damage that requires us to act and be vigilant too.

I believe that the tools we have to deal with organised crime must be proportionate to the damage done. But these new risks to our security – no respecters of traditional laws or borders, and more complex and global than ever before – cannot solely be managed by the old, tried methods and approaches.

It could be said that for too long we have used nineteenth century means to solve twenty first century problems. Instead we must have twenty first century methods to deal with twenty first century challenges.

So I want to focus today on the use of modern technology in fighting crime and protecting our borders – and focus on the argument that new laws or new technologies threaten the rights of the individual.

Put it this way: while the old world was one where we could use only fingerprints, now we have the technology of DNA.

While the old world relied on the eyes of a policeman out on patrol, today we also have the back-up of CCTV.

While the old world used only photographs to identify people, now we have biometrics.

Of course all these new technologies raise new problems and I will discuss them today. But the answer is not to reject the new 21st century means of detecting and preventing crime – but to simultaneously adopt the new technologies where they can help – and to strengthen the protection of the individual:

· never subjecting the citizen to arbitrary treatment,

· always respecting basic rights and freedoms,

· and, wherever new action is needed, matching it with stronger safeguards and more transparency and scrutiny.

So the question is how – at one and the same time – we can ensure we give no quarter to terrorism and organised crime, while still advancing the liberties our society is founded upon.

And there is, in my view, a British way of meeting this challenge. The British way cannot be a head-in-the-sand approach that ignores the fact that the world has changed with the advent of terrorism which aims for civilian casualties on a massive scale and which respects not only no law, but also no recognisable moral framework.

Instead, it must be an approach that is prepared to make the difficult decisions to protect our security – not by ignoring the demands of liberty but always at the same time doing everything we can to protect the individual from unfair or arbitrary treatment. This is the driving force behind the proposals the Government is bringing forward – including the counter-terrorism provisions we asked Parliament to approve last week. And we don’t suggest these changes to be tough or populist – but because we believe they are necessary.

Let us turn first to the issue of terrorism legislation, and in particular detention before charge. There are two key respects in which the terrorist threat has changed:

· the threat of suicide attacks without warning and mass casualties, requiring the police and security services to intervene earlier to avert tragedy, but without necessarily having the evidence to charge,

· the increasing complexity of plots – with many thousands of exhibits having to be examined, far in excess of IRA investigations in the past – and networks spanning the globe, requiring days and weeks to pursue and unravel.

These are the arguments which led us to propose a procedure under which in only the rarest circumstances – a grave and exceptional terrorist threat – detention before charge could be extended from 28 to 42 days.

And I believe that people do appreciate the complexity of the issue – and recognise that the way in which we balance the need to maintain our security with the need to safeguard our basic freedoms must be renewed in a changing world.

For just as it is difficult to argue that the terrorist threat has not changed, it is also difficult to claim that this change is not serious enough to justify change in our laws. The challenge – as I said when I backed the case for longer pre charge detention in 2006 – is how to match a change in our laws with stronger safeguards, so we protect both the civil liberties of the individual and the security needs of all individuals. But I stress the central point: the safeguards cannot lie in measures that make it impossible for the police to complete an investigation into terrorist activities – something which would in the end harm all our civil liberties – but must lie instead in ensuring that the civil liberties of a person detained are protected by clear rules and by proper accountability.

I argued then, and I believe now, that by preserving the primacy of the courts, backed up by proper oversight and, in the end, Parliamentary scrutiny, we can achieve a settlement that ensures both our tradition of liberty and our need for security. These protections include oversight by the judiciary, Parliamentary scrutiny, an independent review process, and independent legal advice for Parliament.

The debate rightly focused on the role of Parliament – the requirement for Parliament within seven days to approve the declaration of exceptional circumstances – just as Parliament must also approve each year the extension of the existing 28 day limit, a decision it will face this week. But this important debate should not lead us to overlook the continuing role of the judiciary. It remains true under our proposals that no person could be held in pre charge detention without the agreement every seven days of a senior judge – completely independent of the executive. And I will never – neither here nor in any other area – seek to question the right of judges to make decisions in individual cases, or undermine the role of the independent judiciary which has done so much over the centuries to safeguard British values.

The reform of our laws is only one part of our response to the new terrorist threat – which is backed also by increased resources, from £1 billion in 2001 to £3.5 billion in 2011, and includes improvements to our counter-terrorist policing and security services, new protections at our borders and for our national infrastructure, and a new approach to the long term challenge of isolating and confronting extremism – the long term struggle to win the battle of ideas.

We must recognise that winning the battle of ideas means championing liberty. To say we should ignore the longstanding claims of liberty when faced with the urgent needs of security is tempting to some, but never to me – it would be to embark down an illiberal path that is as unacceptable to the British people as it is to me.

Let us be clear – the new, more open, global society creates both new freedoms for all of us but also new opportunities for terrorists and criminals to use against us the very freedom and mobility and openness we rightly take pride in. And we must advance this open society with our eyes open – for we cannot now ever forget the ease with which, unless we act, terrorist crime can flourish in our midst.

Just as when we change our laws to respond to the new terrorist threat, we must match new laws with new protections for liberty – so we must also harness new technology which can improve our security – but again we must do so with new and proper safeguards.

Take the issue of identity – the second issue I want to discuss today. People’s identity is precious and needs to be secure. But is a simple fact that the scale of identity fraud is increasing – that more people are facing distressing and disruptive attempts to steal their identity, and technology has made it far easier for people to perpetuate that fraud. But new technology offers us an opportunity to redress the balance. So one of the best examples of how we can confront the modern criminal while respecting liberties is the use of biometrics, already planned to be introduced into passports across the world, but also offering us the opportunity to protect individuals’ identities in their everyday lives.

We know that as many as one in four criminals use false identities – and with terrorist suspects it is almost universal. One September 11th hijacker used 30 false identities to obtain credit cards and a quarter of a million dollars of debt. Many terrorist suspects arrested since 2001 have had large numbers of false identities. No one is suggesting that an identity card scheme will stop terrorist attacks overnight. But if it can make it harder for people not just to travel across borders with multiple identities, but also to raise money or rent safe houses or buy sensitive material – all anonymously – it can potentially disrupt the operations of terrorists and other criminals – something we must surely be making every effort to do.

But as well as the contribution which I believe a biometric identity scheme can make to these national challenges, I believe it can also make a powerful contribution on an individual level to our personal security. Opponents of the identity card scheme like to suggest that its sole motivation is to enhance the power of the state – but in fact it starts from a recognition of the importance of something which is fundamental to the rights of the individual: the right to have your identity protected and secure. This is why, despite years of exaggeration about its costs and its implications for liberty, public support for it remains so strong.

People understand the value of secure identity. In banking, to protect their money, people were happy to move from signatures to PIN numbers. Increasingly they are moving to biometrics – for example, many people now have laptops activated by finger-scans.

But as with our proposals on terrorist legislation, we must match our efforts to improve our security with stronger safeguards on liberty. We have no plans for it to become compulsory for people to carry an ID card. We have made this clear in the legislation: that the identity card scheme will not be used to place new requirements on people, but, on those occasions in everyday life where people already have to carry ID – if they want to prove their age, or open a bank account, or apply for a job, or register with a GP – it will provide a better, more convenient and more secure way of doing it, not just relying on a couple of utility bills, and one which meets a national standard.

The new generation of passports will require travellers to register their biometrics to protect against passport fraud— digital photographs, finger-scans and in some cases iris scans – and this is happening across the world. The question is whether in the interests of wider security we should go beyond this to a national identity scheme – not just for passports, but also to help inside our borders in the fight against crime, illegal working, benefit fraud and terrorism.

I welcome the report of the all-party Home Affairs Select Committee on 5 June, which – based not on knee-jerk reactions but a year of thorough and impartial research – firmly rejected the characterisation of Britain as a “Surveillance Society” – but warned at the same time against complacency, and called for both practical measures and principled commitments from the Government to ensure the balance of liberty and security is maintained.

I believe that the new plan for the ID card scheme announced by the Home Secretary in March included important steps in the direction of the “principle of data minimization” which the Committee recommends.

We have redesigned the scheme so that people’s names and addresses will be kept separately, on a separate database, from their photographs and biometrics. We are working with the Information Commissioner to ensure that he has full oversight of how this information is stored and protected and used. And we also welcome the opportunity to discuss with the Committee any constructive suggestions to go further in this direction including, for example, clearer and stronger protocols on access to data.

That same all-party report looked also at the next issue I want to discuss, the importance on tackling crime of the modern technology of CCTV.

From the IRA terrorist campaign in the 1990s and the Brixton nail bomber in 1999, to the terrorist incidents in London in July 2005, CCTV either used by the police or released to the public helped in the identification of suspects, and played an important role in the subsequent prosecutions. In central Newcastle, after CCTV was installed, burglaries fell by 56 per cent, criminal damage by 34 per cent, and theft by 11 per cent.

It is the clear benefits of CCTV in fighting crime – from terrorism down to anti-social behaviour – which have led to its increased use by the police and transport and local authorities – and also by shops and businesses. The role of Government however is not just to identify the opportunities for improving our security but, again, to match them with strong safeguards on our liberty and privacy. We absolutely accept the challenge set down by the Home Affairs Committee: that we must demonstrate that “any extension of the use of camera surveillance is justified by evidence of its effectiveness”. And I can tell you today that in addition to the safeguards set out in our CCTV strategy in November we are happy to accept the Committee’s recommendation that the Information Commissioner should produce an annual report on the state of surveillance in the UK for Parliamentary debate.

So let us not pretend that CCTV is intrinsically the enemy of liberty. Used correctly, with the right and proper safeguards, CCTV cuts crime, and makes people feel safer – in some cases, it actually helps give them back their liberty, the liberty to go about their everyday lives with reassurance.

Let us turn now to look at a fourth issue, the use of another modern technology, DNA, in policing: another example, where I believe that instead of rejecting the technologies of the modern world we should adopt them while ensuring that the individual is properly protected against any possibility of arbitrary treatment.

Through a series of careful changes we have made DNA one of the most effective tools in fighting crime. And we have worked with the police and also the Home Affairs Select Committee and others to ensure that proper safeguards are in place.

As a result, the National DNA Database has revolutionised the way the police protect the public. In the last full year for which figures have been made public, the DNA database matched suspects with over 40,000 crimes. That’s over a hundred crimes a day which would be harder to solve, sometimes impossible, without the use of DNA – including 450 homicides, almost 650 rapes, over 200 other sex offences, almost 2,000 violent offences and over 8,500 burglaries.

I say to those who questioned the changes in the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001, which allowed DNA to be retained from all charged suspects even if not found guilty: if we had not made this change, 8,000 suspects who have been matched with crime scenes since 2001 would in all probability have got away, their DNA having been deleted from the database. This includes 114 murders, 55 attempted murders, 116 rapes, 68 other sexual offences, 119 aggravated burglaries, and 127 drugs offences.

And I say to those who opposed the proposals in the Criminal Justice Act 2003, to allow the police to take DNA samples not just from those charged, but from all those arrested for serious, recordable offences: again, if we had not made this change, there would be serious and dangerous criminals escaping justice and continuing to pose a threat to the public. It is simply not responsible government to let such opportunities to use new technologies to protect the public pass us by.

But again, we have matched these careful extensions in the use of DNA with the right safeguards: DNA can only be recorded for people arrested for a recordable offence; the use of that DNA has clear limits set down in legislation, by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act; and there are stringent limits on those who are able to access the information.

So whether in seizing the opportunity of new technologies, or meeting new security threats, the challenge for each generation is to confront change, to respond to it decisively, and to conduct an open debate on how best to do so without ever losing sight of the value of our liberties – and the equal responsibility of renewing the safeguards on our liberties to meet the challenges of the modern world.

And it is a measure of the emphasis that we place on at all times advancing the liberties of the individual that we have in the past year done more to extend freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press and freedom of information. To summarise, we have given people new rights to protest outside Parliament, made it easier for people free of charge to exercise their right to Freedom of Information – and we are now considering a freedom of expression audit for all legislation. We have removed barriers to investigative journalism; introduced new freedoms that guarantee the independence of non-governmental organisations; while at the same time surrendering many powers from the executive to Parliament, and thus to greater public accountability and scrutiny.

And wherever and whenever there are question marks over the ability to express dissent, I believe that the presumption should be with defending and extending the liberty of individuals to express their views within the law. Our belief in the freedom of speech and expression and conscience and dissent is what helped create the open society; our belief that it is right to subject the state to greater scrutiny and accountability sustains such openness; and this openness and civic freedom and responsibility gives our country the underlying strength it needs to succeed.

These issues I have been discussing – how we maintain our security and advance our freedoms – are some of the biggest questions governments have to face.

It is a debate that has been gathering force in recent times, and it is right and the mark of a healthy democracy that these issues should be vigorously debated.

Unlike the modern history of many other countries, we are a people whom neither invaders from abroad nor despots at home could ever subjugate.

And I agree with those who argue that the very freedoms we have built up over generations are the freedoms terrorists most want to destroy. And we must not – we will not – allow them to do so. But equally, to say we should ignore the new demands of security – to assume that the laws and practices which have applied in the past are enough to face the future, to be unwilling to face up to difficult choices and ultimately to neglect the fundamental duty to protect our security – this is the politics of complacency.

Last year when I took on this job I said it was my earnest hope that agreeing the answers to these questions could be above party politics. And the Home Secretary, Justice Secretary and I have sought and appealed for a consensus on these issues – not just on the terrorism legislation currently before Parliament, but on constitutional reform and on the broad range of issues covered in our first ever National Security Strategy published in March, and on specific questions such as the use of intercept evidence. Why? Because I believe that, while we may be Labour or Conservative or Liberal Democrat or some other party or none, we are first of all citizens of one country, with a shared story and a common destiny.

But much as consensus is important, we cannot ignore another fundamental responsibility – to take the actions that are necessary. Our proud history was not built out of a refusal to confront new challenges, but forged from a willingness to engage with fundamental questions – and to do so with principle and pragmatism. New challenges require new means of addressing them. But at all times the enduring responsibility remains the same – both protecting the security of all and safeguarding the individual’s right to be free.

Gordon Brown – 2008 Northern Ireland Assembly Speech


Transcript of speech given by the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Mr Speaker, Members of the Assembly.

It is an honour and a privilege to be in Stormont to address the elected members of this fully-representative, power-sharing administration and Assembly. And to be the first Prime Minister to do so.

It is also a humbling experience, because for all the cynicism about politics today, you are living proof that politics can win through – and that public service can make a great difference.

So let me say at the outset that the reason the Northern Ireland of today commands respect from all round the world is because politicians – and that means all the elected representatives in this Assembly – have shown that the political path to peaceful change, while it can be difficult, is the only way from conflict to a stable and secure future.

That however great the divisions, dialogue can move us on from ancient battlegrounds to new common ground.

Because the measure of the strength of our new politics is that in difficult times, we renew our efforts, go back to the table and find a way through.

That is what you and this Assembly are showing to the world.

After decades of conflict you are on an entirely different path.

No longer the ever present threat of violence; the uncertainties of what might happen at the supermarket, at the petrol station or in the city centre.

Together you have transformed this society. And that is a momentous achievement.

And I acknowledge the historic contributions of Tony Blair, Bertie Ahern and Bill Clinton, the First and Deputy First Ministers, the Former First Minister here and so many others who have worked to make real the ideal of a new Northern Ireland. It’s invidious to select any one of you here. All of you have worked for your community. Our government and the governments of the Republic led by Brian Cowen and the United States led by George Bush continue to be pledged to this. For what you have done here – and what you are still doing and have still to do – is an inspiration for the whole world. Showing that the light can come to the darkest places when people are empowered to take control of their destiny and decide to change it for ever.

But for Northern Ireland – once more and now more than ever – the outcome is in your hands. But what the politics of Northern Ireland has proved is that hope can triumph over fear.

Northern Ireland. No longer the byword for endless, corrosive despair but a beacon of promise for the future.

Northern Ireland – increasingly at peace with itself

A Northern Ireland of rising prosperity and cohesion.

So what you have done here – and what you are still doing and have still to do – is an inspiration for the whole world. Showing that the light can come to the darkest places when people are empowered to take control of their destiny and decide to change it for ever.

All around there is a new sense of confidence and achievement.

Over the past decade Northern Ireland has delivered one of the highest rates of growth of any UK region outside London and the South East. We have seen businesses attracted by competitive operating costs, excellent transport links and world-class skills.

Now as we have seen in recent days, the instability in global financial markets is affecting every major economy in the world. Financial turbulence that started in the US sub-prime mortgage market has now spread to some of the biggest institutions in Wall Street. This is the first crisis of a truly globalised economy. And these twin shocks of the credit crunch and inflationary pressures that are hitting every country in the world will require new international as well as domestic solutions.

Of course, given the importance of financial services to the UK economy, neither the UK, nor any part of the UK can be insulated from these global financial shockwaves. And as we have seen again this morning, like all the major economies we are also being hit by the inflationary impact over the last couple of years of higher global commodity prices which have a direct effect on family budgets.

But because of the five fundamental strengths of our economy:

· low inflation and therefore low interest rates, · flexible labour markets · the financial strength of our industrial companies · public debt repayments over the last decade meaning we can prudently increase government borrowing at the right time · and the long-term decisions we are taking on planning, energy and our national infrastructure

we are better placed than we have been in the past to weather this global downturn.

At home we have taken action to help households through this difficult period including:

· tough decisions on public sector pay to keep inflation and interest rates down; · support through the New Deal and Job Centre Plus to help those affected by job losses; · £120 family tax cut for 22 million basic rate taxpayers this year;¼br /> · and targeted support for the housing market, including a stamp duty holiday, to help those affected.

And we will continue to use our credibility and experience to lead international work on those issues that can only be tackled at the global level. This summer we worked with Saudi Arabia to focus urgent global attention on the problems in the world oil market. Since their peak, oil prices are down more than a third though we continue to work with our international partners to improve the functioning of the market.

Global problems require global action. And in New York next week I will meet with world leaders and press for the reforms the UK has been proposing to the global financial architecture:

· more transparency of financial institutions to reduce the uncertainty in financial markets; · a better early warning system for global investors, including a stronger role for the IMF; · and better coordination between financial regulators, building on the reforms we made to create the Financial Stability Forum in response to the increasing global integration of financial markets.

To build more momentum for these reforms, the Government is sending senior representatives to visit all G7 countries in advance of the IMF meetings.

So will continue to do whatever is necessary to keep our economy moving forward and to maintain the integrity of our financial institutions.

And as the fundamentals of Northern Ireland’s economy remain strong – so I believe Northern Ireland has powerful reasons for optimism.

Last year you had one of lowest rates of unemployment of any UK region.

And today you have more people in work than ever before.

And because you have ensured that the politics of peace has prevailed over violence, you have also made possible a new era of international investment in Northern Ireland.

In the past, because of the violence, because of the conflict, investment here was too often seen as risky.

When investment did happen – it was despite the troubles.

But today you are able to reap real benefits from international investment.

The world’s service, financial and manufacturing companies see Northern Ireland as equal to – or even the best of places – to invest.

In May this year I spoke to the Investment Conference the Executive organized here in Belfast.

More than a hundred CEOs, Chairmen and Senior Executives from the United States were drawn here by the opportunity of Northern Ireland.

We saw companies like Bloomberg vote with their dollars and make their investments.

And we’re seeing existing investments grow rapidly from Marriot; the New York stock exchange; and most recently – Bombardier.

We know the immediate impact of that conference alone: over £80 million of new investment in Northern Ireland.

And Invest Northern Ireland has received over 40 expressions of interest from overseas which they are currently following up.

I remember meeting with the CEO of Bombardier at Hillsborough and talking through with him the work being done to attract huge resources for work on a new passenger jet here in Belfast.

And I watched with pride the deal being announced in July at Farnborough – in this, Shorts’ centenary year – with over 800 jobs secured – and the first orders being placed by Lufthansa.

Earlier this afternoon I visited Bombardier and met some of those whose skills will lead Northern Ireland into the future. Young and adult apprentices and those who had qualified through the Engineering Skills for Industry Programme, which has helped 130 people into sustainable employment in Belfast. And I met pupils from local schools being introduced to aerospace through Bombardier’s educational outreach programme.

Progress like this is possible only because of the skills and enterprise of the people of Northern Ireland. And the investment of business here in Northern Ireland.

So you are superbly placed to compete and lead in the new global economy – set to double in size over the next two decades.

You have a wealth of talent — and the capacity to build a strong knowledge-based private sector around your universities. You have a strong business climate and the will to win in the global economy.

The peace dividend in Northern Ireland grows day by day, year after year – every year of peace.

So now is not the time for Northern Ireland to rest on its laurels or retreat – but rather to redouble its efforts, to invest in what matters most for the future – world class education and skills.

That is a challenge that I know you will meet because I know what you have done already. And I am confident that with the strength of leadership we have all witnessed over the past year, the prosperity of Northern Ireland will endure and expand in the years ahead.

But of course the economic strength of Northern Ireland depends crucially on its political stability.

The IMC report two weeks ago made it crystal clear that the IRA is not the danger. That the army council is redundant. That the military structures have been disbanded and consciously allowed to fall into disuse. That PIRA as an organization does not pose a terrorist threat.

As all Northern Ireland knows, the end to violence marked the beginning of prosperity. And the continued success in preventing violence is the precondition of continued growth.

We have seen in the last nine months a series of attacks on police officers.

And there are criminal elements who must be confronted with the utmost determination. And that is exactly what will happen.

So let me say to all those brave men and women, the officers from both communities who form the police family – you have our gratitude for the sacrifices you make, for your strength in the face of danger and your determination to protect the people of Northern Ireland.

The criminals who have targeted you have done so, because they have much to fear from democracy backed by effective policing.

So let us send an unequivocal message to those who would defy the will of the people: the politics of peaceful change is winning in Northern Ireland. And will overcome whatever obstacles are put in its way.

And the clearest sign that democracy will triumph is this Assembly and Executive working together, meeting together, fulfilling all its functions, carrying out all its duties on behalf of the people who elected it and completing the process of devolution.

What you have achieved to date is historic. Not least in the unique joint and equal leadership of the First and Deputy First Ministers.

Some thought that power sharing between the parties would never happen. That the burden of shared government would be too heavy.

No-one assumed it would be easy.

The cynics – with their doubts and misgivings – have at every turn been proved wrong.

You have made history – but you have more history to make.

We can see in the research from the past week the extent of the support to complete the transfer of policing and justice powers.

Across the community the majority of people want to see this accomplished.

And fewer than one in ten say never.

I can only hope that even this small minority will eventually come to see that completing devolution is not only the right thing to do, but the only thing to do.

I believe it would be wrong to allow this minority to exercise a veto on further progress now.

Yes, let’s understand their concerns, but let us also agree that they can not and will not call a halt to progress.

So I urge you to continue your crucial work in this Executive and Assembly, to finish the job – and complete a journey not just of a generation, but of centuries.

I believe we have gone beyond our crossroads in history. And this is no time to turn back, or to stall or delay.

Because the completion of devolution is much more than the final step in a process: it is the creation of a whole new permanent future for Northern Ireland.

To falter now – to lose the will that has defined your progress – would be worse than a setback; it would put at risk everything that has been achieved by the work and sacrifice of the past decade and more.

So my message to you today is to have confidence. To stay the course, to continue your work and reach that final settlement. To show the world the peace and prosperity you have achieved is here to stay.

And if you make this commitment, then we in the British government will match your resolve and do everything within our power to support you in it.

Because we have not only prepared the ground for the transfer, but we stand ready to help you through a smooth transition.

We pledged in the St Andrew’s Agreement that we would be ready to transfer powers one year after the assembly was elected. And we have kept that promise.

So now leaders here in Northern Ireland must reach agreement between themselves and set the date for the transfer of policing and justice from the Secretary of State to a Justice Minister, in and of Northern Ireland.

None of us should doubt the importance of this.

Because in the agreement you reach here among yourselves, in the transfer of these powers back from Westminster, the world will see you affirm that stability is here to stay.

Your affirmation that peace is here to stay.

Your affirmation that prosperity is here to stay.

When President Bush came to Northern Ireland earlier this year, he did so not only because he is a true friend to the people of this country, but because he wanted to see the huge inward investments from America continue to flow.

And when I spoke to him a few days ago and told him I was coming here again he talked movingly about his visit.

About his commitment to you. And all the people of Northern Ireland.

His message to everyone on every side was clear.

It’s time to complete devolution.

Not just for yourselves but because that’s the signal investors need to see.

Because it’s the best safeguard for the investment which has been made and will be made in the future from America.

This is a commitment shared by Senator McCain and Senator Obama.

So whoever becomes the next President of the United States is resolved to help.

And they are right to do so. But not just because of the economic impact.

And not just because of the political consequences – as important as they are for the future of your people.

For there is something more vital at stake for your entire society – that only the completion of devolution can deliver.

How can you, as an Assembly, address common criminality, low-level crime and youth disorder

· when you are responsible for only some of the levers for change · when you have responsibility for education and health and social development but have to rely on Westminster for policing and justice?

The people of Northern Ireland look to you to deal with these matters because to them they are important. Full devolution is the way to deliver better services, tailored to the needs of all communities, regardless of the politics. It is the best way for you to serve them.

And my mission – the British government’s mission – is to help you deliver for them and for future generations in Northern Ireland.

My job is to be there for you; to refuse to give in or give up; to reach with you your shared destiny and our shared hope.

And as we stand at this point – and as you take those decisions that will shape the future of your nation – I am reminded of the poem by Robert Frost, who wrote:

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference”

Today I say to you:

Have faith that if you take the road less travelled, it will make all the difference.

Have faith that your hopes will be rewarded; that while the arc of the moral universe may be long – and it has been so long here in Northern Ireland – it bends eternally towards peace and justice.

And have faith that the people of Northern Ireland – and indeed the people of the world – are with you, and always will be.

Let us show the people of Northern Ireland – and the people of all the world – that the astonishing transformation of Northern Ireland can be completed – that the future of Northern Ireland is in the right hands because it is in your hands.

Thank you.

Gordon Brown – 2008 Speech in Israel


Below is the text of the speech made by Gordon Brown, the then Prime Minister, to the Knesset in Jerusalem, Israel, on 21st July 2008.

To be able to come here at the invitation of your Speaker and of your Prime Minister Olmert – and to applaud you and the citizens of Israel for the courage you have shown in the face of adversity, resolution in the face of conflict, resilience in the face of challenge – is, for me, a singular honour indeed.

Everyday you meet in this Knesset you live out the hopes – the promises – of centuries.

And I am especially pleased – as the first British Prime Minister to address the Knesset – to congratulate you at this sixtieth anniversary on the achievement of 1948: the centuries of exile ended, the age-long dream realised, the ancient promise redeemed – the promise that even amidst suffering, you will find your way home to the fields and shorelines where your ancestors walked.

And your sixty-year journey from independence is evidence for all to see that good can come out of the worst of times; and that the human spirit is indeed indomitable.

And let me tell the people of Israel today: Britain is your true friend. A friend in difficult times as well as in good times; a friend who will stand beside you whenever your peace, your stability and your existence are under threat; a friend who shares an unbreakable partnership based on shared values of liberty, democracy and justice. And to those who mistakenly and outrageously call for the end of Israel let the message be: Britain will always stand firmly by Israel’s side.

My hometown – where I grew up not long after your independence in 1948 – is the small industrial town of Kirkcaldy on the eastern coast of Scotland. Kirkcaldy is two thousand miles from Jerusalem — but for me they are closely linked. Not in their landscapes and certainly not their weather, but in the profound impact of your early statehood years on my childhood.

My father was a Minister of the Church who learned Hebrew and had a deep and life long affection for Israel. For three decades he was a member of – and again and again Chairman of – the Church of Scotland’s Israel Committee. And he travelled back and forth to Israel twice every year, often more.

After each trip, he would roll out the old film projector, plug it in and load the film. More often than not, the projector would break down – but he would always get it back up and running. And I will never forget those early images of your home in my home and the stories my father would tell.

So as I learned to listen and to read, I followed the fortunes of an age-old people in your new country. And there was never a time as I was growing up that I did not hear about, read about or was not surrounded by stories of the struggles, sacrifices, tribulation and triumphs as the Israeli people built their new state. And I am proud to say that for the whole of my life, I have counted myself a friend of Israel.

My sons are still young children – they are just two and four. They have not yet made that journey to Jerusalem made by their grandfather and then his sons. But one day soon I look forward to bringing them here to see what their grandfather first came to see in the early years of statehood.

I will walk with them here and tell them the story that for two thousand years, until 1948, the persistent call of the Jewish people was ‘Next year in Jerusalem.’ Yet for two thousand years there was not one piece of land anywhere in all the world that you could call your own. For two thousand years, not one piece of land of your own to follow your faith without fear.

For two thousand years, you had history – but not a home. For two thousand years, you lifted the artistic and cultural life and the scientific and political development of every continent – but had no home. For two thousand years, you endured pogroms – and then the horror of the Holocaust – because you had no home.

Yet for two thousand years, nothing – no prison cell, no forced migration, no violence, no massacres, not even the horror of the Holocaust – could ever break the spirit of a people yearning to be free. And you proved that while repression can subjugate it can never silence; while hearts can be broken hope is unbreakable; while lives can be lost the dream could never die; that – in the words of the prophet Amos – ‘justice would roll down like a river and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream’.

Never free of trouble, always facing adversity, yet what remarkable success Israel has achieved during these last few years.

You have created modern Hebrew as the language of your daily life;

Eight of your citizens have been awarded Nobel prizes — and alongside Silicon Valley, you now have ‘Silicon Wadi’;

You have world famous hospitals, like Hadassah; and leading centres of learning and research, like the Weizmann Institute for Science;

With eight per cent of your national income spent on education, you have one of the highest skilled populations on earth;

From draining the swamps in the 20th Century to pioneering electric cars in the 21st, your history of ingenuity is a lesson in the boundless capacity of mind and spirit.

No nation has achieved so much in so short a period of time. And to have accomplished all this in the face of the war, the terror, the violence, the threats, the intimidation, and the insecurity is truly monumental.

To paraphrase what one poet once said:

You were born against the odds;

You survived against the odds;

You grew against the odds;

You have prevailed and flourished against all odds;

You have proved that men and women of idealism, bravery and perseverance can succeed whatever the odds.

And I am proud that the British Jewish community – and the British people – have had a distinguished place and a part in your great endeavour.

And today our partnership is strong and getting stronger.

From pharmaceuticals to telecommunications to electrical equipment, we are agreeing new cooperative ventures.

The best minds in our two countries are working together in academia and the arts, in sport and music, in science and technology — and Prime Minister Olmert and I were able to announce yesterday path-breaking academic and cultural partnerships. And I want to make clear that the British Government we will stand full-square against any boycotts of Israel or Israeli academics and their institutions.

Yesterday my wife Sarah and I visited Yad Vashem.

And even though I was familiar with the harsh and horrific facts – even though I have studied, indeed written, about the fight against the Holocaust and Jewish persecution by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, described the rescue of Jews by men like Raul Wallenberg, spoken about help given to Jews facing the death march by a young Scots prisoner of war Tommy Noble, given lectures on women who came to the aid of Jewish girls like Jane Haining, and visited the old Yad Vashem and indeed the memorials in Washington and Berlin – I can tell you that nothing fully prepared me for what I saw at Yad Vashem —- the full truth of the murders that no one prevented; the indignities that should have never happened; the truth which everyone who loves humanity needs to know.

The last of those who outlasted the Holocaust are now growing old. And this year Israel lost a distinguished member of this Knesset: Tommy Lapid. No-one who heard Tommy talk about his Bar Mitzvah in a Budapest cellar at the end of 1944 as the fascists hunted and murdered the Jewish population will ever forget his passion for history’s truth. As he said, ‘my whole life is a response to the Holocaust’.

And as the survivors leave us, let me tell you how vital it is that in every continent the next generation learn their story.

That is why in Britain – through funding the Holocaust Education Trust – each year and every year two teenagers from every secondary school travel to Auschwitz. And when they return home and share their experiences – raw and direct and powerful – I have seen the profound effect their message has on their classmates: that discrimination, persecution, anti-Semitism and racism should be banished forever.

And I can tell you that when young children in my home town of Kirkcaldy returned from Auschwitz they organised a memorial week in honour of those who had died in the Holocaust and raised funds to erect a lasting memorial in our town’s gardens. Two thousand miles away in distance – but a link between my home and your home, so close that it will never be broken.

And why? Because in the words of a Rabbi who having done a great deal for Holocaust education was asked why, when he himself wasn’t a survivor, he said: ‘but I am a survivor – we all are, not just all Jews, but all of humanity’.

You are the children of the sacrifices of your parents and grandparents.

And today and in the future, the people of Britain and Israel will continue to stand together in believing that history sides with those who fight for liberty —- and if the great conflict of ideas of the 21st century is between those who believe in closed societies who would turn back the clock of progress and those who believe in open societies, then we are together on the side of openness – moving the world forward to what Winston Churchill called the ‘sunlit uplands’ of prosperity, justice and democracy.

The British people see the threat your people encounter every day when they climb aboard a bus, have a cup of coffee at the café, or buy a sandwich. In our homeland – two thousand miles from your streets – we too have learned the grief when lives are lost through terror on a bus or at the airport or on a crowded underground train on the way to work.

So to those who question Israel’s very right to exist, and threaten the lives of its citizens through terror we say: the people of Israel have a right to live here, to live freely and to live in security.

To those who are enemies of progress we say: we condemn anti-Semitism and persecution in all its forms.

And to those who believe that threatening statements fall upon indifferent ears we say in one voice: that it is totally abhorrent for the President of Iran to call for Israel to be wiped from the map of the world.

And I promise that just as we have led the work on three mandatory sanctions resolutions of the UN, the UK will continue to lead – with the US and our EU partners – in our determination to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapons programme. The EU has gone beyond each of these resolutions. Last month we took action against an Iranian bank involved in proliferation. We stand ready to lead in taking firmer sanctions and ask the whole international community to join us. Iran has a clear choice to make: suspend its nuclear programme and accept our offer of negotiations or face growing isolation and the collective response not of one nation but of many nations.

And we will do more than oppose what is wrong. We will show those who would give licence to terror the way home to what is right too – showing them that the path to a better future runs not through violence, not by murder, and never with the killing of civilians but by liberty’s torch, through justice’s mighty stream, and across tolerance’s foundation of equality.

And to build that peace, stability and prosperity – and to work as one world to eradicate the worst evils of poverty, environmental degradation, disease and instability – I believe that we should work together to summon up the best instincts and efforts of humanity in a cooperative endeavour to build new international rules and institutions for the new global era:

– A renewed United Nations that can deliver stability, peacekeeping and reconstruction;

– A new IAEA-led international system to help non-nuclear states who renounce nuclear weapons acquire through an enrichment bond or bank the new sources of energy their peoples need;

– A new World Bank that is a bank for environment as well as development;

To bring global financial stability, a new International Monetary Fund that is an early warning system for the world economy.

And I hope that together we can write a new chapter in history that will – for this new global age – honour our truest ideals.

But today there is one historic challenge you still have to resolve so that your sixty-year journey into the future is complete: peace with your neighbours and throughout the region.

Over sixty years I believe that you have shown the greatest of ingenuity in solving the greatest of problems:

I think of David Ben Gurion – who from humble beginnings in Poland built up the Jewish National Institutions — and in 1948 said it was not enough for the Jewish state simply to be Jewish, it had to be fully democratic offering equal citizenship to all residents: a democracy not just of one people but of all your peoples…

I think of Menachem Begin – who reached out to Anwar Sadat, an old adversary, and who stood by him in this Parliament when in 1977 he made his historic speech offering himself as a partner for peace…

I think of Yitzak Rabin – who having served Israel on the battlefield from the war of independence made peace with Jordan and who was cruelly struck down in his prime as he committed himself to the path of peace with the Palestinians…

Peace with Egypt in 1979. Peace with Jordan in 1994. Today talks with Syria underway. And now is the time to construct the last building block of peace – peace with the Palestinians.

My father taught me that loyalty is the test of a real friendship. Easy to maintain when things are going well, but only really tested in hard times. And as a constant friend of Israel, I want to offer the comfort of my support and the support of the British government — and also my honest analysis.

I believe that a historic hard-won and lasting peace that can bring security on the ground is within your grasp; that the Palestinian Authority under the courageous leadership of President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad offers Israel the best partner of a generation; that these men share with you a vision of peace and reconciliation – and that they understand that they can never achieve their goals for the Palestinian people at the expense of Israel’s security.

And I believe that a historic, hard won but lasting peace is within your grasp by seizing the opportunity opened up by Annapolis — now taken forward by Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas and built on fundamentals:

– a two-state solution based on 1967 borders;

– a democratic state of Israel, secure from attack, recognised by – and at peace with – all its neighbours;

– alongside a peaceful, democratic and territorially viable state of Palestine that accepts you as its friend and partner;

– with Jerusalem the capital for both, and a just and agreed settlement for refugees.

So because I believe that historic hard won and lasting peace is within your reach, I urge you to take it by the hand.

And to deliver this historic hard won and lasting peace, it is vital also that both sides now create the conditions for a final agreement:

– the Palestinians acting with persistence and perseverance against the terrorists who attack your country;

– Israel freezing, and withdrawing from, settlements —— and like many of your friends, I urge you to make these decisions.

And let me tell you today that to ensure this historic, hard won peace is lasting, Britain is also ready to lead the way in supporting an economic road map for peace. Not money for guns but money for jobs, for businesses, for small firms, for housing and for prosperity to underpin the political road map for peace and give all people in the region an economic stake in the future. As we did in Northern Ireland: to make the cost of returning to violence too high and too unacceptable a price to pay. And without compromising your needs for security, we need your help in easing the obstacles to Palestinian economic growth – including the reopening of the Chamber of Commerce in East Jerusalem. You – Israel – drawing upon your deep wells of hope and aspiration to give hope and aspiration to others.

No one people in history has more global reach and global connections for good than the Jewish people.

You are truly global citizens — often the first to offer help or medical aid or engineering assistance when there is a disaster.

106 years ago, Theodor Herzl – under whose portrait I am proud to stand as I speak today – set out his vision of the future in his book ‘Old-new land’. He said that he saw Jerusalem as the centre of a global educational, medical and scientific endeavour, with – at its heart – ‘a unique centre for all kinds of charitable and social ventures where work is done not only for Jewish land and Jewish people, but for other lands and other peoples too.’

And he went on to say: ‘Wherever in the world a catastrophe occurs – earthquakes, flood, famine, drought, epidemic – the stricken country telegraphs to this centre for help’

And if the 19th century was the century of industrialisation and the 20th century the century of war, the Holocaust and a world divided, then we should make the 21st century the century of the global community:

– a century where out of competing interests we find common interests;

– a time when – by moving from conflict to harmony – we make a reality of the vision of a global society in which we create global civic institutions that turn words of friendship into bonds of human solidarity stronger than any divisions between us.

And how do we champion this dream when so much seems to defy it? How do we ensure that the march of progress and justice is always toward those ‘sunlit uplands’? We engage those who will lead after us. We reach out to the generations to come.

Already around a thousand young people come from Britain to Israel on volunteering programmes ever year. I want hundreds more young people who do voluntary service in Britain to link up with the thousands who do voluntary service here in Israel — bringing young people together, increasing understanding and realising the potential for the greater good.

And what I want to propose today is in that spirit: a global citizenship corps — men and women from all nations coming together in a peaceful civilian force to offer help in conflict-ridden or disaster-ridden or disease-ridden homelands that need reconstruction, development and stability.

Britain will contribute one thousand experts and professionals to this global corps. And in this way we will be able to ensure that where homelands suffer from strife, conflict or natural disasters, there will be people ready to serve a neighbour or a even stranger in need of help and hope.

So some day in the not too distant future another boy will watch his father prepare to show pictures of his travels. This time they will be on a digital camera, not an old projector. But I hope the pictures of a distant land and of people working to build something worthy and proud will inspire another young person to feel a deep and abiding friendship with Israel – this most promised of lands.

And when – in these next sixty years – my sons follow in the steps that their grandfather and their father have taken, I also hope they will be able to see neighbours once enemies now friends. Then ‘Next year in Jerusalem’ will mean not only home at last but free from war at last; the greatest victory of all achieved – the victory of peace. And not only peace secured but prosperity achieved, so that in the words of the prophet Isaiah we turn swords into ploughshares so that there is never a need for swords again. The ancient dream given new life in a new age.

And the story of Israel’s beginning and perseverance will speak not just to Jews but to all who believe in the victory of hope over despair, home over wandering in the desert, peace over war and the everlasting promise and power of the human spirit.

If we work hard enough together we can achieve this. Or – in the words of Theodor Herzl – if you will it, it is no dream.

Thank you.

Gordon Brown – 2008 Speech with Angela Merkel


Transcript of press conference with German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, 30th October 2008.

Prime Minister:

Thank you all very much. I am delighted to welcome to London Chancellor Merkel. She is a very good friend of our country, she has just met Her Majesty The Queen as well and we are delighted to have her with us and we have had talks on a number of issues today.

We meet today at a time of global financial crisis in each of the major economies facing the prospect of recession. We discussed the steps that must be taken to reform and stabilise the international financial system, prevent the spread of financial crisis, especially in eastern Europe, and the action we must take to support business and families in both our countries throughout this difficult period.

Our discussion of the reforms in the international financial system, which will be a subject at the November 15th meeting of international leaders, include reform of the International Monetary Fund, globally accepted standards of supervision and transparency where Chancellor Merkel has taken the lead, and cross-border cooperation at times of crisis. We discussed how we must prevent contagion over the next few days to middle income countries, including in eastern Europe. It is vital that the International Monetary Fund plays a central role in supporting these economies. We have both agreed to support a new facility for the International Monetary Fund which would draw on additional resources of countries with substantial reserves.

We also discussed how we can work together to support families and businesses at this difficult time in each of our countries. We must continue to encourage banks to lend. Having recapitalised the banks we must ensure that the money is used to sustain credit lines on normal terms to solvent businesses.

When we met in Paris on October 4th we discussed how the European Investment Bank should bring forward support for small businesses. I am delighted that today the President of the European Investment Bank has been in London to make available four billion over the next four years for small businesses in Britain. And today the Chancellor and I have discussed how we can do more to provide innovative means of finance for small businesses and medium sized businesses in our countries. I urge banks not to change the terms and charges for existing lending to small and medium sized enterprises.

The international approach that we are supporting is the only we can ensure that globalisation works, not just for some but for all our citizens. Hard pressed families and businesses in our communities depend on us working together. This is a global problem that requires a global solution. No country, no matter how big, can solve these problems on their own. People in both countries want to know that every possible course of action is being pursued to guide families and businesses through this difficult time. We are determined to continue the cooperation that we have had between our two countries in the preparation for the November 15 meeting of world leaders.

I will be going to the Gulf on Saturday, there will be further meetings with international leaders in the run-up to the 15th, and of course there is a special European Council in a few days time. We will continue to do whatever is necessary to prove that global action is necessary for a global solution to our problem.

Chancellor Merkel, welcome to London.


Chancellor Merkel:

I am delighted to be in London as your guest. Again thank you for the very gracious hospitality that has been extended to me. We continued our very intensive dialogue on financial market issues and we also found that we are in agreement. What we have to do now is to learn from this crisis and in parallel to also see that we cope with the immediate aftermath and the consequences of this crisis.

I think it was very good that we found a common toolbox to deal with this at the European level to cope with this crisis. We had an exchange of views of a number of issues that we feel ought still to be settled. We can only encourage our banks to really make use of what is on offer to them. Interbank lending is not as yet at a stage, at a level as we wish it to be and I can only underline what the Prime Minister: said. What we want to do after all is to see to it that the impact on the real economy is as small as possible and it is going to be necessary for us to have further exchanges on this, and on the 14th and 15th November.

In the period leading up to that we have to make very careful preparations for this financial summit meeting so that we can send a very clear message from this summit, a message that shows on the one hand we have learned from the experience of the past, more transparency, more international cooperation is needed, a strengthening of the IMF’s role is necessary also.

We also have to show that we show more responsibility on our behalf, but also on the side of the emerging economies. We need a stronger facility also that will lend support to countries that are in dire straits. If we want to strengthen the IMF as a whole and also as a supervising authority, we also need a future more global division of labour if you like. And the European Union shall prepare this summit meeting on 7th November, the summit of the 15th, but we are agreed that success is not only due to us, to us the Europeans, but it will also very much depend on the quality of our cooperation with the United States.

I welcome very much the Prime Minister: going to the Gulf states, I know that they are preparing very intensively, very consistently for this summit meeting. Last week I was in China, I had an opportunity to talk to the Indian Prime Minister: and it is going to be essential right now, and we are agreed on this, is that we see to it that there is a consistent approach, including all the players so that we may send as strong a signal, as strong a message as possible. International cooperation is necessary, the European Union needs to find a common set of measures, the [INDISTINCT] summit for example yesterday in Brussels showed that one does have certain possibilities at one’s disposal, together with the Investment and Development Bank, and that we need to clear the path again for free trade and for possible infrastructure programmes of the World Bank and that this is indeed a common global [INDISTINCT] by all of us.

Just like the Prime Minister: said previously, I completely agree with him by saying that this is a global problem and we can only solve this multilaterally. Together the United Kingdom and Germany are more than ready to do that.

Prime Minister: [INDISTINCT]


today but obviously there are some measures you can take and are taking here in this country. Having suspended your golden rules on borrowing, is there not now a case for suspending Bank of England independence so that the government can ensure that interest rates can be cut so you can get the economy back on track? And if I may, you said earlier this week that the action of Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand was inappropriate and unacceptable, you called for appropriate action by the BBC. How satisfied are you that the BBC’s response has been appropriate?

Prime Minister:

Well it is for the BBC to take its own disciplinary action and it is not for me to comment on that, that is a matter for them. I simply wanted to express the views of the general public that this was inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour on the part of leading personalities to whom many people have looked to as role models, and I leave it at that.

As far as the economy is concerned, I think what both Chancellor Merkel: and I are saying is that you will need comprehensive action, not just nationally but internationally, to deal with our problems. Interest rate decisions are a matter for the Bank of England and in Angela’s case a matter for the European Central Bank and it is for them to make the decisions. But the comprehensive action that we are talking about includes action that can be taken by governments on their own to deal with the issues that they see about jobs, and housing, and about energy prices, and then international action where we come together to build confidence in the financial system. The central problem has started from irresponsible and sometimes undisclosed lending by institutions who have to take responsibility for their actions.

We have now to show that the financial system is being cleaned up in such a way that people can have confidence in it. So the action that we are talking about is comprehensive and it is global as well as it is local and national. We will continue to pursue this path of persuading other countries to join the coordinated action that we want to see over the next few days. That is why I am going to the Gulf, that is why there is a European Union meeting, that is why Angela is talking to other leaders, as she has done in the last few days, so that we can have a coordinated global response to what is clearly a global problem, while at the same time we do what we can to help individuals and families and businesses facing difficulty.


Today the relatively positive labour market figures were actually published. How long do you think it will take for this crisis to impact on the job market, and can you briefly tell us how it was with The Queen?

Chancellor Merkel:

Well I think that the labour market figures today were actually quite positive, as you say. They are a result of the reforms we embarked on many years ago and to which many contributed, they show that we are able to strengthen the economy to benefit the people and this is a good piece of news in these times that we are living these days where we are somewhat afraid of the possible impact on the real economy in this crisis and this is where the Federal government is going to work, just as other countries are doing, and to embark on the sort of national measures that are very targeted ones, courageous and bold ones, and then try to build on this success because that is the main thrust of our policies to try to create jobs and to bring about a boost to growth.

As to the visit to Her Majesty The Queen, I was delighted to be invited by her, it is a great honour and privilege to be invited by her, but it is I think absolutely clear that I will not give you any sort of longer statement about this. I was, as I said, very pleased and I said to her that the Federal Republic of Germany has every interest in seeing the United Kingdom as a close partner and friend at its side, and I said time and again also that we are so delighted that the United Kingdom is part and parcel of the European Union.


Interest rates are very low, those in the Eurozone are lower than they are here, why are our interest rates so relatively high as we apparently enter a recession? And does the Bank of England independence look like such a great idea right at this minute?

Prime Minister:

It is absolutely the right idea, it is stability and an anchor for our financial and economic system. The Bank of England has brought down interest rates twice recently, they continue to look at what they can do for the future. I think we have got to understand that the way to deal with this global problem that is impacting on households and families, making people insecure and making people worried about their future, is by a comprehensive set of measures that have included interest rate cuts. But also include what we have done in tax cuts for 22 million people, freezing petrol duty, more help for home owners, more help for small businesses. I think you will see in the next few days us in a position to do more to help people face what is a global problem that has started in America and is impacting on households here.


What sort of consequences do you think the measures will have that you have resorted to boost the economy, what sort of results do you hope for and when do you think they will actually become tangible?

Chancellor Merkel:

Well I just said that we have a very positive development on the labour market in Germany so right now we do not as yet thankfully see a sort of impact of this dark cloud looming on the horizon. So we now have to act quickly to ward off any further danger. I actually totally agree with Gordon Brown, we have to resort to national measures, European but also global measures. Germany for example has about 60 – 70% of its exports in the car industry in the wider sense of the word, and also in machine and mechanical engineering and machine tools. So we simply, without a well oiled machinery in the global economy will not be able to continue having this economic success.

So I think if we react quickly there can be very good and positive messages sent very quickly to our business community and I am very pleased that we are in agreement with the United Kingdom on this. And we should not forget other issues that are also important – the reduction of CO2, climate change – because these are all issues that are global in nature. For example a free non-protectionist trade, the Doha Round, WTO, a stable international financial system, it will be so important that these measures that we resort to, for example as regards people buying cars or not buying cars, that we do not lose sight of these kind of issues and only concentrate on what is on the [INDISTINCT]

Prime Minister:[INDISTINCT] all our economies is a remarkable achievement of Germany to have brought unemployment down from over 5 million to below 3 million and I think that is something that as a Finance Minister, now in the present position I am in, I have seen Germany progressively do by their labour market reforms and their determination to act. And today to be able to announce that unemployment is below three million is a great achievement.


Prime Minister: can you tell us have you yourself bought the X-Factor single, ‘Help for Heroes ‘ which is now on sale in the shops and your Chancellor announced is going to be VAT-free? And can you tell us what you think about that in the context of the BBC row, does it show that some celebrities are at least prepared to do the right thing for the country?

Prime Minister:

Well I think some of our best known British celebrities have been under attack this week for their behaviour within the BBC, but I think we have got to remember also that some of our celebrities are doing great work for charity and giving of their time to help other people. I thought it was really impressive that the first thing that these stars from the X-Factor have done with their fame is to make this record to help our injured soldiers and their families. That is the reason why we have taken action this week to remove VAT so that every penny that people are paying will be money that will go to help war heroes. I am really grateful to all those associated with the X-Factor for what they have done, I congratulate them and I hope that their disc sells well, and I think I might be buying a copy for my wife’s birthday tomorrow.


Mrs Merkel, you spoke about the next few weeks leading up to the financial summit meeting on the 14th and 15th and that there is a lot to be learned by way of lessons from the past. The future of regulation obviously is on the top of the agenda and you spoke a lot about transparency, it is something that you put at the top of the agenda so you have already taken it close to your heart at the time, the British government at the time was a bit more reluctant to follow you because London is as regards the financial community a much more prominent place probably than Frankfurt. Do you now think that the British government is now in the same boat with you, that the Germans and the British will march into the future in a more cohesive way?

Chancellor Merkel:

Well we don’t have to actually in this way say something derogative about Germany. We all know that the British are proud of the City of London, but we are also proud as Frankfurt. But I do know that we need one common position and a common approach here and I think the cooperation of the past few weeks and months has shown that we are aware of this, of the need of going step in step. And I think the voice of the United Kingdom is a very important voice in the concert of European Union members and is going to be a very important one when we talk about the future of international financial markets.

We need those financial markets, that too is a very important statement to make at this point in time, but we need to make the risks a bit more predictable and we need to link them closer in those financial markets that is to the real economy. And I think if for example you look at the rules that are in place already now for sensible business activities and implement them perhaps more to that very dynamically developing part of the business community that is the financial markets, that certain bonuses for example can only be paid out when the result of your activities are already there, when already the success is proven.

If the sort of sensible management that we have had in the real economy is translated to that part of the economy as well then we don’t need a new set of rules, we just need better management of chances and risks, and in global economies we need global institutions as well that go trans-border in their supervision. And I think that here we are on the right track together. So today was a very important and very helpful meeting in this respect and many others will follow.

Prime Minister:

More needs to be done when we get to Washington on November 15th. We need to have a transparency that has not existed in every area of the banking system. There has been a shadow banking system that requires the transparency and openness that is necessary for the public to be assured and for all investors to be assured that they have got confidence in the system. I think you will find when we go to the meeting on November 15th, not only will we be able to agree that there are necessary reforms to be made in global supervision and in cross-border cooperation to do so, but you will also find that we want to reopen the discussions on trade. We want the international institutions to be at the service of countries that are in distress, especially some of the poorest countries facing difficulties at the moment, and these will be major items, including what we do on regulation and monetary and fiscal policy that will be discussed on November 15th.

Gordon Brown – 2008 Speech on the Global Economy at Reuters


Below is the text of the speech made by Gordon Brown, the then Prime Minister, on the global economy on 14th October 2008. The speech was made at the Reuters Building in London.

Good Morning, and I am very grateful to Niall Fitzgerald and Reuters for inviting me to speak to you this morning, and I did notice, when he had the choice, Niall chose to read his own speech rather than refer to mine.

You know at this difficult time for the world economy I wanted to come here today, to the heart of our financial services industry, to discuss with you the steps that we are taking here in Britain and what I believe the international community must now do immediately together to secure the future of our financial system.

Britain, as you know, has two great financial traditions:  from the coffee houses of London and the establishment of the Royal Exchange we were the pioneers of a modern day banking system built on trust.  It was always said of the City, my word is my bond, and that is the trust that must underpin everything that we do in the future.  Our second tradition, represented by this company and many others, is our openness to the world.  We are internationalists, we have more global reach as a country than any other.  While some would use the world financial crisis to recommend policies that are protectionist, we know that the only way forward is to maintain, indeed extend, our tradition of openness, an open trading economy where as I will suggest accompanied to that is proper global coordination and supervision.

So we want strong banks succeeding in an open global economy.  We do that with national action to restore confidence and trust in the banking system, founded on our core values of fair reward for hard work, effort and enterprise, not unfair incentives for irresponsibility or excessive risk-taking for which the rest of us have to pay.  And we want, secondly, international action to build a global solution to global problems, by working with our international partners to reshape the global financial system to make it fit for purpose for the future so that we can avoid the problems of today recurring again.

Britain has many strong banks and many strong international banks in this country and they are essential for every family and every business in the country.  I don’t need to tell anyone here about the centrality of our banking system to everything that we do as a nation, you know better than anyone that banks aren’t just economic entities, they are woven into the fabric of all our lives, vital to savers, to mortgage holders, to businesses and to ordinary families everywhere.

And this isn’t abstract, this is about the conversations mothers and fathers will be having on their sofas tonight once they have put their children to bed.  For when problems in America can lead to people in Britain wondering if they can get a mortgage at all, then we know that we are in extraordinary times. And when in these times normal markets have ceased to work, we cannot just leave people defenceless and on their own. To leave everything to chance would be an abdication of responsibility at precisely the moment people are looking for governments to provide a lead.

And as I said a few days ago, we will not shirk from our responsibilities and are prepared to go beyond the conventional thinking by taking the decisive action that is necessary to support British families and business through difficult times.

So today Alistair Darling is implementing the restructuring plan that we announced last Wednesday, action that we are taking to deal with the impact and root causes of the current financial instability, taking what I believe is unprecedented action, but unprecedented action that is necessary for these unprecedented times.

So in addition to the extra liquidity the Bank of England is continuing to provide, British banks have been strengthened through the injection of nearly £50 billion of new capital, including a series of commercial investments amounting to £37 billion of public money in a number of UK banks.

Taking shares is a temporary measure, it is a common sense response to the difficulties we are facing.  We are investing to secure the future of our banking system and to stabilise the economy, money to let banks resume their proper functions on which our businesses and families so depend.

But let me repeat, we have no interest in running British banks, we do have an interest in strengthening their position.

And we have today also announced the terms of our guarantee for new lending across the banking system.  Each bank will be offered a guarantee at an individually determined risk-related price to allow the medium term funding markets to reopen, enabling banks to lend to each other and to support the banking system more generally while protecting the taxpayer.

Taken together these steps will  make British banks stronger.  And it is precisely because we, the government and City working together, are prepared to take this tough action now that I believe the City of London will be a stronger financial centre for the future.

As you would expect, the government will protect the taxpayers’ interest at all times.  So as part of this plan we are laying down clear conditions to ensure that the  taxpayer gets a fair deal:  no rewards in future for failure;  no cash bonuses this year for the boards of banks receiving public money;  no dividends paid until the government’s preference shares have been redeemed;  and future remuneration will be based on performance and long term value creation.

But this crisis has proved beyond doubt the virtues of the sound business practice of rewarding responsible risk taking, not irresponsibility.  We know, and I know all of you recognise, that businesses built on a solid long term foundation with the values of rewarding hard work and enterprise and merit and responsible risk-taking at their heart have the greatest long term success.  So all our emphasis must be on sound business practice and these are the real principles that lie behind successful wealth creation and are the best ways of creating value.

Most importantly as a result of today’s announcement there is an undertaking to restore immediately and maintain to at least last year’s levels the availability of loans for home buyers and small businesses at competitive business rates.  That I know is the job the banking system wants to expand, and let me assure you that this government will always work hard to advance London’s central role in the financial system and at all times seek to enhance its competitiveness.  And we will not make the mistake of taking reflex and ill-considered action that has often happened in other countries when facing crises, our actions will be careful and will benefit from the widest possible consultation.

And as we reform our financial system in the weeks and months ahead, we know that the decisions we take now will have an impact for years and decades to come.  As a government, as you would expect, we will continue to protect the most vulnerable in the tough times ahead.  We have a responsibility to do so.  And I know that we as a nation will all pull together to help each other, neighbours, families, businesses, for the character of our communities is also being tested.

And this has always been the way for Britain. The British people have always risen to the challenge of a crisis and we must do so again, and to pull together as a community and to show that spirit, resilience and determination which has defined Britain to the world as a nation for generations.  And by maintaining that British spirit, working in partnership with our friends across the globe, I believe we can come through these tough times together as a global community as well as a Britain that is stronger, not weaker.

For what the markets are telling us is that however comprehensive a national plan may be, no one country alone can resolve what is truly a global problem that requires a truly global solution. At one time this was seen not only as a problem that started in America, but as a problem that was almost primarily focused on America, and that is far from the case now.

Market estimates suggest that in recent years some 2 trillions of US loans were bought by European Union banks, and in this globalised 24/7 world when billions of pounds can be switched at the click of a mouse there is no future in countries going their own, or pursuing a beggar my neighbour approach.  Such actions may give one country temporary breathing space, but will not halt but rather accelerate the later decline.

So I welcome the fact that under the leadership of Presidents Sarkozy, Barroso and Jean Claude Trichet the Euro area countries have last night agreed to take action also on liquidity, capital and funding guarantees.

And it is important that Europe and America work more closely together, so I spoke to President Bush last night after returning from Paris and we agreed the common ground for action across our two continents.

But this financial crisis now affects the whole world and because we recognise the importance of Asia, so I am in touch with the Asian authorities too.

Later this week we will go further when we meet as a European Council in Brussels and we are proposing a world leaders meeting in which we must agree the principles and policies for restructuring the financial system across the globe.

For we cannot just stop at immediate measures to stabilise the system, we will also need measures to reshape that global financial system to make it fit for purpose for the future, and this work is important for building confidence and this work must start today.  We must start by recognising the reality that we are in a global financial system and that while we have already global flows of capital we have supervision only at a national level, and just as we need new global coordination to deal with the waves of change that are defining this new global age, from energy supply to climate change, so we need enhanced global cooperation to monitor and on occasion then supervise financial flows that know no borders.

The global financial system, let’s be honest, is too clouded with opacity, conflicts of interest, irresponsible risk-taking, and when problems occur countries have tended to look inwards and deal with them in isolation when it is clear that the only way forward is to look outwards and join in international cooperation.

A focus on short term rewards created risks for us all as money was lent that had almost no chance of being repaid and then was repackaged and sold on. Depositors and shareholders wrongly thought that banks would be protected by complicated but insufficiently understood financial engineering that would spread the risks across the deeper global capital markets.  In the end financial engineering will not work if people cannot see or do not understand the nature of the assets and the risks they are taking on.

And this was exacerbated by deep conflicts of interest:  credit rating agencies were paid by those they rated;  bonuses and remuneration rewarded excess risk-taking;  those who created complicated financial instruments often did so for the transaction fees that they could charge rather than the value created for those they were supposed to benefit – ordinary borrowers and savers.

So we must now put in place new structures and new rules for the future and so this cannot simply be a short term rescue that papers over the cracks, only a surgical approach that gets to the root of the problem will now work to ensure the problems do not return.

And we have to recognise that the action we need is not just national, but global.  Almost exactly 10 years ago in a speech at Harvard University I made detailed proposals to reshape the international financial system for the new world, but then found it hard to persuade other countries that this was the time to adopt these changes.  I said then that the institutions and initiatives of the post-war era had been shaped only to the conditions of their time, a world economy of protected national markets, limited capital flows and fixed exchange rates.  I said that as the world changed, we had to change and that our aim should be an international financial system for the 21st century that recognises all the new realities, that we are open, not sheltered economies, that we have international, not national capital markets, that we have global, not local competition, and we need an international financial system that captures the full benefit of global markets and capital flows, minimises the risk of disruption and maximises opportunities for all, lifting up the most vulnerable in different parts of the world.

The founders of Bretton Woods had devised in the 1940s rules for a world of limited capital flows and we must now devise rules for a world of global capital flows.

It is true that at a difficult time during the Second World War far-sighted leaders like Roosevelt and Churchill were already thinking about the framework that would be needed for the future, whilst in the heat of battle they were taking steps to forge the reconstruction and peace that was to come.  GATT, the UN, the World Bank, the IMF, they were all devised by men and women of great vision, institutions profoundly of their time but designed to help people make the most of the times to come.

It is with the same courage and foresight of these founders that we must now reform and renew the international financial system and we should do it around the agreed principles that are shared by every country of transparency, integrity, responsibility, good housekeeping and cooperation across borders.

First, we need transparency.  We must now insist on openness and disclosure with an immediate adoption of the internationally agreed accounting standards, and for example the standards being brought forward for the valuation of assets. And transparency I think we all know now must extend to markets, including the trillion dollar credit insurance markets which now play a central role in shifting risk around the system.

Secondly, integrity.  We must tackle once and for all these conflicts of interest which have distorted behaviour and undermine trust and now lie at the heart of public concern.  This includes not just the work of credit agencies but the system of remuneration which should be founded on long term excess, not short term excessive risk-taking. And we must ensure that those who run our financial institutions have the right incentives for long term success.

And then third, responsibility.  We must ensure that all board members have the competence and expertise to manage the risks and understand the risks and so effectively supervise their own institutions and do not walk away from their obligations.

And then fourth, sound banking practice.  We must have supervision that looks at both solvency and liquidity and ensures adequate protection through the economic cycle to prevent speculative bubbles when markets are rising and to cushion the impact of shocks when markets are falling.

But fifth, around us we must build a new Bretton Woods, a new financial architecture for the years ahead.  Sometimes it does take a crisis for people to agree that what is obvious and should have been done years ago can no longer be postponed, but we must now create the right new international financial architecture for the global age.

This crisis demonstrates beyond doubt that a global capital market requires much stronger global cooperation and supervision and we need to ensure that we have an effective global early warning system to alert us across continents to economic and financial risks, we need globally accepted standards of supervision that apply equally in all countries, we need stronger arrangements for a cross-border supervision of global firms, and if we have learned anything, much stronger institutions for cooperation and concerted action in a crisis.

So the IMF and Financial Stability Forum should act as an early warning system, focused on crisis prevention rather than crisis resolution.  We need what global companies themselves have asked for – coordinated supervision to end the mis-match between global capital flows and only national supervision, and that is why by the end of the year I believe we should implement the proposals agreed by the companies themselves for colleges of supervisors to oversee cross-border financial institutions.

And action for financial stability should be accompanied by wider international cooperation on oil and energy policy and on macro-economic policy such as that which began last week with a coordinated European and American action on interest rates that should extend to Asia and to the rest of the world where it is necessary.

I think these are the principles that will bring alive our commitment to an open, flexible, free trading global economy that is inclusive and sustainable.

The coming days will in my view be a crucial time for the future of the international financial community and the world economy, and that in turn of course makes it a crucial time also for British families and businesses.  I think the stakes are higher than ever before.  It is a time for the right decisions, not just for good discussions. And the resolve of leaders and nations across the world will be put to the test over the coming days.

But if we can coordinate at a global level, national actions around the principles that I have set out today, then I believe that we can come through these difficult times and become stronger for the changes we make, both as individual nations and as a global community, securing the future of our banking system so that for generations to come London and Britain remains home to global finance.

Thank you very much.

Sajid Javid – 2014 Speech on Help to Buy

CBI Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Sajid Javid, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, to the Euromoney Annual Islamic Financial Summit on 11th February 2014.

Thanks Mushtak.

I’m very glad to be here this morning…

And to be able to speak about an issue that is – in fact – very personal to me.

53 years ago, my father – a young man called Abdul-Ghani…

Left the Punjab – Pakistan – to find work here in the UK…

First as a cotton mill worker…

Then as a bus driver…

Before – eventually – setting up his own business.

And what my father’s career taught me…

Was that the UK is a country where foreign workers or businessmen or businesses can come…

And if they work hard…

And if they invest their time and their energy…

And – if they have it – their money…

They can both contribute to – and benefit from – a strong economy.

But before I became an MP…

I did something different to my father…

Which was to spend twenty years…

First for Chase Manhattan…

Then for Deutsche Bank…

Travelling out of the UK…

And working in emerging markets.

And what my career taught me…

Was that in a global business environment…

If the UK wants to remain the centre of the financial world…

It needs to keep exploring – and engaging with – fast growing economies.

And that’s what I want to talk to you about today.

First, I want to talk about why the UK – and this city in particular….

Is the centre of the financial world.

Second, I want to talk about why we view Islamic finance as such a key market in this City’s future…

And finally, I want to talk about the steps the UK Government is taking to ensure that this country can become a hub for your sector.

Success of UK as a financial centre

So why – or how? – has the UK established itself as such a good location for Islamic finance?

This isn’t something you can decide to do overnight.

London has always been – for a number of reasons…

Some of them historic…

Some of them geographic…

A global city.

And as modern Islamic finance started to develop and grow…

Our city has grown with it.

By leveraging our existing assets;

Like our common law legal framework…

Our advantageous time zone…

Our deep pool of structured finance expertise…

We’ve turned this country into a place very well equipped to deal with what you do.

We’ve created one of the most advanced regulatory and tax environments in the world to provide a level playing field for Islamic finance.

All the major banks in the UK provide Islamic finance products and services in one form or another…

We have 6 fully Islamic banks.

And we’ve also got all the support networks in place that any major market player needs…

Like legal or accounting or consulting firms.

And the expertise they provide…

Coupled with the benefits of our common law framework…

Mean that the majority of cross-border Islamic financial contracts reference the law of England and Wales.

In fact, almost every international Islamic contract will touch London – or a London-based firm – in some way.

So we’ve already established ourselves as a location where the Islamic finance sector knows there are networks that understand its needs…

Understand its customs…

And understand the laws that govern it.

Growing Market

But simply because we have that network in place now…

Doesn’t mean we can be complacent…

And believe we’ll remain the best place for your sector.

Because – as you’ll all no doubt be hearing over the course of the conference – Islamic finance is undergoing huge and exciting changes…

The Islamic finance sector is growing faster than traditional banking.

Islamic investments are set to grow to £1.3 trillion over this year.

And 10 of the top 25 growth markets in the world have large Muslim populations, with rapidly expanding Islamic financial sectors.

Of course, if you want proof of the importance and the relevance of Islamic wealth…

You only have to look at the skyline of this city.

In the east, where the cranes of DP World are building one of Europe’s biggest ports.

In the south, where the Shard – Europe’s tallest building – was funded by Qatari investment.

In the West, where Battersea Power Station is being refurbished – thanks to £400m of Investment from Malaysia.

And – of course – in the North, where Arsenal – one of the top teams in the world’s most watched football league – play their home games in the Emirates Stadium.

And all that investment in all those projects unlocks jobs, and it creates growth in the city.

Those projects and those buildings also serve as a clear, physical reminder that Islamic finance is becoming an even more important part of global finance.

And here in the UK we want to make sure we can keep engaging with it.

And keep working with it.

So we’re taking constant action to keep up with it.

Action taken so far

Many of you will be aware of the action we’ve taken already.

Many of you – in fact – will have been at the World Islamic Economic Forum here in London last year….

And I’m sure those of you that were, will agree it was a real success.

It was the first time the Forum had been held outside the Islamic world.

And it saw attendance by nearly 3 000 delegates from over 120 countries.

There were 46 Ministers…

And 16 Heads of State or Government, including the UK Prime Minister.

It was at that Forum, that David Cameron made a number of announcements, including:

Our intention to issue a sovereign sukuk…

And our commitment to opening up new forms of student loans for Islamic students…

And new forms of start-up loans for Islamic entrepreneurs

The conference also saw the announcement by the London Stock Exchange of a new Islamic index…

Which uses some of the most advanced techniques on the planet to screen financial ratios, and enable investors to identify opportunities with lower volatility.

In short: it means that this city will be the best place to identify Islamic finance opportunities…

And the best place to give investors the tools they need – in accordance with Islamic principles – to take advantage of them.

Last year also saw the formation of a UK Islamic Task Force…

The launch of London’s first Shariah-compliant Underwriting Agency…

And the launch of a UK Government insurance action plan…

Which commits us to developing London’s expertise – and to grow London’s market – in commercial Islamic insurance.

Things we are going to do

Of course, all of those actions represent a strong start…

But launching new policies or new taskforces or new services is one thing.

The real proof our commitment will come in making sure that those policies and those taskforces and those services help London to reach its full potential as the world centre of Islamic finance…

And – in turn – for global Islamic markets to reach their full potential.

So I’d like to spend my last couple of minutes updating you on where we’ve got to with some of that work.

First, our announcement on the sovereign sukuk.

The market has long made the case for a sukuk issued by the UK Government.

And many of you will know that this is something the UK Government has looked at the possibility of doing before.

Now, due to a hurdle or two, it has never quite happened…

But through pragmatism – and through political will – I’m very pleased to say that we’re now in a much better place to overcome those issues…

And I expect issuance to take place in the forthcoming financial year.

Following an open competition, at the end of last month…

We appointed HSBC and Linklaters as external advisors to assist us in this work.

I have to say, the strength of the competition for those roles was remarkable…

And serves as testament to just how far the industry has developed and just how much expertise now exists both here in London and abroad.

We anticipate that issuance will take place by way of syndicated offering…

And that closer to the time of the transaction we’ll be seeking to include additional syndicate members to help us bring it to market.

I’m confident that this Sukuk issuance will deliver significant benefits both for the UK and for the Islamic finance industry:

First – it should prove that the concept works, and demonstrate that the UK has established both a legal and regulatory framework that puts Islamic finance on a level playing field with conventional finance.

Second – having a top credit issuer like the UK issue Sukuk should move Islamic finance into the mainstream, and encourage its acceptance as an asset class by those who may not have considered it previously.

And third – It will demonstrate – quite clearly – that the UK is a country that is open for business, and whose Government welcomes trade with all parts of the globe.

This is – I think – the most exciting development in this area for a long time, and I’m really looking forward to working hard and seeing it through.

Another exciting development has been the work we’ve taken forward– on Islamic student and start-up loans.

Last year’s announcement on this was – for me – incredibly important.

Fellow British Muslims shouldn’t feel unable to go to university because they can’t get a Student loan – simply because of their religion…

Nor should they feel unable to start a business because they can’t get a start-up loan – simply because of their religious practices

Of course, I also believe – and this Government agrees – that a Muslim in Britain shouldn’t feel unable to buy a home because they can’t get a mortgage…

So I’m glad to be able to announce that – from today – the rules for the Government’s Help to Buy scheme have been amended…

So that providers of Home Purchase Plans – which are a Sharia compliant alternative to a mortgage – can benefit from the scheme too.

That action – on student loans, on business loans, on home loans – shows that we are embedding Islamic friendly processes into our everyday financial systems.

The final area I’d like to update you on is the work of our Global Islamic Finance and Investment Group.

This group was – again – announced at the WIEF last year.

It’s chaired by my colleague and friend Baroness Warsi…

Its members include Ministers, Central Bank Governors and Islamic bank CEOs.

And its purpose is to increase our engagement in this area internationally

Work is already well underway by Baroness Warsi to identify some of the greatest global experts and practitioners in this field – both from industry and from Government…

And her vision is for a group that bring together key public and private sector expertise…

Who can consolidate existing work…

And develop a set of high level recommendations for the future.

These might be about building things…

Building trade links…

Investing in the building of new infrastructure…

Or they might be about knocking barriers down…

Barriers like lack of skills…

Or shortages of long-term investment products.

So let me tell you this.

We are in this for the long-haul.

And I hope the announcements we made last year…

And the progress we’re making on those announcements…

Show very clearly, just how important this is to the UK Government.

We’re under no illusion that there are many challenges – both domestic and international – still to be tackled.

We have to increase awareness…

We have to build up depth.

We have to build up liquidity and tenor in capital markets.

But we want to be at the centre of the work which helps Islamic finance reach its international potential…

And we’re the perfect place to do that.

First, Islamic finance is a faith based form of finance, originating in countries with majority Muslim populations…

But the UK is showing how it can develop in a country with a Muslim minority, and within a secular legal framework.

Second, London is the world’s financial centre, providing the core hub for the intermediation of capital across borders.

Every other major and minor financial centre is linked to the UK like no other…

So – working with our global partners, in Dubai, in Bahrain, in Malaysia, and beyond – we can integrate Islamic finance into global capital markets and create an Islamic finance market that never sleeps.

As I said at the outset, I know…

From my working experiences…

That the UK has to keep looking at emerging markets, and future global trends…

If we want to maintain our place in the world.

And I know from my father’s working experiences…

That this is a country which welcomes and rewards those people…

That want to contribute to – and benefit from – its economic growth.

We want you to play a part in our growth.

Just as we want to play a part in your growth.

And I’m sure that by working together, we can achieve both those aims.

Thanks for listening.

Sajid Javid – 2014 Speech on Home Ownership

CBI Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Sajid Javid, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, to the Council of Mortgage Lenders lunch on 4th April 2014.

I’m really pleased to have the chance to speak to you all today.

Now, you’ll know better than most that the dream of home-ownership is of real personal importance to millions of Britons.

I think it’s always been part of our nation’s psyche.

And I think our job, as a government that wants to support hard-working people, is to make home-ownership possible for as many people as possible.

So today I want to talk about:

– some of the issues we as government – and you as lenders – have faced over the last few years

– some of the action we’ve both chosen to take over the last year or so

– and some of the challenges I think we’ll face in the years to come

I’d like to say first though that it is encouraging to talk to you at a time when the market is showing signs of improved health.

The number of transactions this January was 30% higher than twelve months previously.

Mortgage rates – particularly at low LTVs – remain low.

And we’ve begun to see falls at higher LTVs too.

And I think the availability of mortgages at higher LTVs is of real importance.

I appreciate though, that some observers have been concerned by the pace of the change in the market, particularly on house price rises in certain areas.

And these are concerns that the government both recognises, and understands.

But I think it’s important that we put these recent changes in the context of the last few years.

Six years ago, this country went through the world’s largest banking bailout.

And that bailout – of course – had a knock on impact on the mortgage market and instigated a period where first time buyer sales were at half their long-term level, deposit requirements grew, and mortgage rates remained high despite bank rates being at record lows.

And this lack of mortgage finance was feeding through to construction too, with builders consistently citing it as a key factor in the low levels of house building.

Of course, nobody felt the impact of this more than aspiring home-owners, and I would have – particularly young – people coming to my constituency surgery worried that while the dream of their parents’ generation was to pay off a mortgage, the dream of their generation was to get a mortgage.

And it was in that context that government and builders and lenders had to work together to intervene in the market.

First through the NewBuy Ssheme in Spring 2012, which helped make high LTV mortgages available for new build properties.

And then in June 2012, when – with the Bank of England – we launched the joint Funding for Lending Scheme to make loans both cheaper and more available.

But while that scheme was effective at bringing about more price competition at lower LTVs there remained a persistent problem around higher LTV lending.

And Help to Buy – in particular the mortgage guarantee part of the scheme – was designed to tackle that.

I always think it’s worth reminding people that 95% mortgages have been a feature of the UK market for decades.

I know they were the way that I and many of my friends, some of my Ministerial colleagues too, took their first step on the housing ladder.

But after the great recession they more or less disappeared.

At the start of 2008 there were over 750 mortgage products available at 95% LTV.

But a year later – at the start of 2009 – there were 3.

And this was locking thousands of people out of home ownership.

People with steady jobs – who could afford the repayments on a mortgage – but who struggled to save up for the large deposits required.

The Help to Buy mortgage guarantee has bought these products back into the mainstream. And it has been a success.

Last week we published figures showing that over 17,000 people have already bought a home through the equity loan and mortgage guarantee schemes.

And that data – very pleasingly – showed that the vast majority of those people are first-time buyers, buying outside of London and the South East.

It was also good to see that the scheme has been supporting responsible lending, and that the average cost of a house bought under the Mortgage Guarantee – which is £148,000 – and the average cost of a house bought under the Equity Loan scheme – which is £203,000 – are both below the UK average house price.

Again and again, with Help to Buy and with the other schemes, we’ve relied on support from and the cooperation with the mortgage lending industry, the people sitting in this room today.

You’ve carried out a huge amount of work.

You’ve demonstrated a great degree of flexibility.

And we wouldn’t be where we are today without your help.

So I wanted to take this opportunity – on behalf of government – to say a big thank you for everything you’ve done.   But I also wanted to take this opportunity to make something else absolutely clear.

The government doesn’t see these mortgage interventions as part of a new ‘business as usual’.

We’ve taken exceptional steps to address an exceptional situation.

And we understand the arguments made by some, that as the mortgage market normalises many of these measures will no longer be appropriate.

That’s why – for example – we’ve shifted the focus of the Funding for Lending Scheme onto business lending.

And that’s why we will keep monitoring the trends in the market so we can make sure that our policies continue to have the right impact.

It’s especially important that we keep monitoring the impacts of our policies because as you’ll all know the world of mortgages doesn’t stand still.

We’ve got the Mortgage Market Review rules coming into full effect later this month, which I know have been a huge area of focus and work for industry, and I’m sure the last movement of the MMR Jab will go smoothly!

Beyond that, the next year will no doubt throw up more new challenges and decisions.

And there are two obvious ones on the horizon that I’d like to discuss quickly.

The first is the implementation of the Mortgages Directive.

Now, I’ve been clear about my views of the merits of this directive.

I’m not convinced of the benefits of these regulations to UK consumers or to UK businesses.

And that’s why our approach to implementing these will be to – wherever possible – minimise the disruption they cause, which will be very much in line with our wider priority of reducing regulations on business.

The second, is that we’ll have to consider the best way of managing the exit from the mortgage guarantee.

As you’ll know, we’ve always been absolutely clear that this is a three year scheme, but I am aware that some in the industry, including the CML, are concerned about the end of the scheme creating something of a ‘cliff edge’.

We do understand these concerns.

But there are mechanisms to adjust the scheme parameters, which we’re confident will help to smooth the transition, and we’ll make a judgement about how best to use those flexibilities according to the market conditions at that time.

So that is something of a whistle-stop tour through the issues we’ve faced, the changes we’ve made, and two of the challenges yet to come.

I know that everyone will be eager to eat but I’d like to leave you with this.

I’m incredibly grateful that myself – and my colleagues at the Treasury have been able to work so closely with you, through what have been some difficult years.

And I think that between us we’ve been able to take steps and introduce measures that will continue to make the dream of home ownership a reality for thousands more people.

You’ve played an incredibly important role in our long-term economic plan to produce sustained growth for the people of our country.

And I’m certain that if we continue to work closely together and if we continue to be honest and frank with one another, then we’ll be able to deal with any further challenges that come our way.

Thank you.