David Cameron – 2008 Speech at Chatham House


Below is the text of the speech made by David Cameron, the then Leader of the Opposition, at Chatham House on 1st April 2008.

Tomorrow, NATO Heads of Government will meet in Bucharest for the NATO Summit. When I first entered politics in 1988, this would have been almost unthinkable. Then, Bucharest lay behind the Iron Curtain. President Ceausescu was preparing to host what would turn out to be the Warsaw Pact’s final summit. NATO’s armies faced East to deter invasion. In Afghanistan, the Soviet Army was fighting the Mujahadeen, nearly a decade after their invasion. Months later, everything changed, as freedom rolled East across Europe, the threat of invasion disappeared and a brave new world was born that the experts predicted would be safer and more ordered than the old.

I learned some powerful lessons from those heady days about our national security: how rapidly the global scene can change; never to take the conventional wisdom for granted; and to dare to hope that apparently immoveable structures and forces can change.

As NATO’s leaders begin their summit tomorrow, they will have plenty on their agenda: the vital missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo, NATO’s enlargement, Its relations with Russia and with key institutions like the European Union, and the pressing need to fill gaps in Allies’ military capability.

But underlying those important items lies a much bigger question: what is NATO for in the modern world? Next year, NATO will be sixty years old. This is a key opportunity.

The opportunity, working with the United States, and a more Atlanticist President in France, for our generation – which grew up in freedom under NATO’s shield – to renew our Alliance for the twenty-first century. The opportunity to modernise it to protect us as effectively now as it did in the past. The opportunity to come together as Allies, to renew our commitment to defending, together, our values and way of life, and to championing that task with our peoples.

That is the challenge and the responsibility that falls to Western leaders tomorrow at Bucharest – to set out the big vision for the Atlantic Alliance in today’s world.

The case for NATO

Let me make my position clear right at the outset. What I stand for, and what I believe. I am a liberal Conservative: liberal – because I believe civil rights, democracy, pluralism and the rule of law are the source of progress and a key component of lasting security. But Conservative too: because I recognize the complexities of human nature, am sceptical of grand utopian schemes to remake the world, and understand that you have to be hard-headed and practical in the pursuit of your values. And a crucial part of that liberal Conservative tradition is recognizing the importance of NATO.

I believe that NATO remains as essential to Britain’s security, and to Western security, in the age of global terrorism as it was in the era of Soviet expansionism. The Conservative Party has always been a staunch supporter of NATO. We remain a NATO-first party. We believe in the primacy of NATO.

Not for reasons of nostalgia or sentimentality. But because defending our nation’s security must come before everything else, and NATO remains the best guarantor of our safety, even though the circumstances which led to its formation have altered dramatically. Atlanticism is in my DNA and in the DNA of the Conservative Party.We have always believed in the cardinal importance of the relationship between Britain and the United States, a relationship which, in the security context, is anchored in NATO.

The next Conservative Government will be a Government that makes the case strongly for NATO. A NATO that binds together the US, Canada and Europe. A NATO that is a key institutional bridge between the two sides of the Atlantic and provides a framework of stability in the historically troubled Balkans and in central and eastern Europe. A NATO that helps guard the liberal values of our societies. And a NATO whose continuing relevance can be seen in the queue of countries wishing to join. But we will also be the champion of a NATO that is fit for purpose today.

A changed world

The world has changed almost beyond recognition since NATO came into being. It now includes most members of the former Warsaw Pact, and finds itself engaged in the biggest combat operation in its history in, who could have imagined it, Afghanistan.

We are living in a different age, in which – as the US Ambassador to NATO put it – ‘every school-kid on each side of the Atlantic can tell you what Al Qaeda is but few remember the Soviet Union. And one where we are once again asking ourselves whether the structures we built to take us through the Cold War – our NATO Alliance, the EU, the World Bank, the UN – are up to the 21st century challenges we face today.’

NATO’s evolving role

During the Cold War, NATO’s basic purpose was straightforward: to contain and counter the threat posed by the Soviet Union and its allies and to deter Soviet aggression against Western Europe. As the House of Commons Defence Select Committee put it in their recent report, this common threat ‘served as a glue, binding the Alliance together.’

But when the Soviet Union collapsed, that single overarching purpose disappeared with it. In 1962, the former American Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, famously described Britain as a country that had lost an Empire but had yet to find a role.

Some argue that NATO, with the welcome demise of the Soviet Empire, is in a similar predicament today. I think that’s unfair. I think that NATO does have a role today – a vital one. But I don’t think it’s been sufficiently clear about what that role is.

This lack of clarity has brought two unwelcome consequences. First, a weakening in the solidity of the Alliance. And second, a decline in its popular support. The challenge for NATO leaders today is to articulate clearly the Alliance’s twenty-first century role, thereby both strengthening NATO and building support for its operations.

The post 9/11 world – new threats, old principles

So what is that new role for NATO?

In recent years, the Alliance has transformed itself from a reactive defence alliance into one which, with the EU, has exported stability across central and eastern Europe. It has proved ready to use its military power to enforce peace in Bosnia and halt ethnic cleansing of European muslims in Kosovo.

But it is true that September 11th 2001, although long in gestation, awoke the world to a new kind of threat. Just as the shot fired by Gavrilo Princip ushered in a new and dreadful era at the start of the last century, so this one was marked by its own brutal equivalent of Sarajevo 1914.

Having emerged unscathed from the era of Mutually Assured Destruction, now we were entering a new age in which a fanatic in a cave in Afghanistan – far beyond the North Atlantic area – could orchestrate destruction and mass casualties on the streets of Western cities. NATO responded by invoking its mutual defence clause – Article 5, in which an attack on one is regarded as an attack on all – in a powerful symbolic gesture of solidarity with the United States.

But it was not immediately obvious what practical contribution NATO could make in responding to this new kind of threat, and many predicted that NATO’s days as a valuable defence alliance were over.

And yet with the passage of time, it has become clearer on both sides of the Atlantic that although the threats may be new, the principles we need to apply in responding to them are not.

I would argue that there are four in particular: First, just as transatlantic unity was vital in defeating Nazism and then Soviet Communism, so we must stand together today in protecting our societies and the values we hold dear. Second, just as Europe needed a strong America engaged in the world then, so we need strong American involvement today. Third, just as we needed to make our European voice heard in Washington in those days, so we must help shape American policy today. And fourth, just as the US was entitled to look to its Allies to make a meaningful contribution then, so it is entitled to expect them to carry their fair share of the burden today, especially if they want to be listened to.


All of these issues are evident in microcosm in NATO’s operation today in Afghanistan. Many criticisms are made of NATO’s efforts in Afghanistan. I have expressed for many months my serious concern about how that mission is progressing. But we should acknowledge up front how far NATO has had to come. In the Cold War, it never had to fight a war or operate out of its area. Now it is doing both.

NATO is having to learn fast.

The campaign in Afghanistan is teaching some hard lessons about what it takes to wage a 21st century counter-insurgency – a combined civil military effort in which soldiers operate alongside development workers, diplomats and police trainers.

As the US Ambassador to NATO put it: ‘Whether flying helicopters across the desert, embedding trainers with the Afghans, conducting tribal shuras with village elders or running joint civil military Provincial Reconstruction Teams, most of our Allies are reinventing the way they do business.’

It is often said that if NATO fails in Afghanistan, that is the end of NATO.

To my mind, the danger is not that NATO would collapse. It is that the US would no longer regard it as having any utility. To echo General Macarthur – the Alliance would not die; it would gradually fade away. The threats and the dangers would remain: but we would have lost our framework for managing them.

The blunt truth is that the NATO mission in Afghanistan has thrown up some fundamental problems which NATO leaders simply must face up to in Bucharest.

These range from:

– uncertainty about the Alliance’s objectives there and how these relate to its raison d’etre;

– a dangerously unequal sharing of the burden in the dangerous south of the country;

– the corrosive effect of national caveats on fighting ability and unity within the Alliance;

– a chronic lack of key pieces of equipment such as helicopters, despite the hundreds that NATO has available on paper;

– competing and un-coordinated chains of command, which Senator McCain and I spoke about when he was here;

– and difficulty in working with other organisations such as the UN and EU, essential to delivering a comprehensive approach, a point I have discussed with Chancellor Merkel.

NATO needs to tackle these problems not just to succeed in Afghanistan, but if it is to be an effective military Alliance in the years to come. Afghanistan is not the only state in danger of failing – not the only state which could provide a haven from which terrorists could plot and strike.

We must hope that in such cases we shall be able to avert by other means the need for military action. But the reality is that future NATO operations are more likely to involve defending ourselves, as in Afghanistan, against extremist violence, than checking an onrush of tanks across the plains of Europe.

When President Truman inaugurated the Alliance in 59 years ago tomorrow, he declared:

‘What we are about to do here is a neighbourly act. We are like a group of householders, living in the same locality, who decide to express their community of interests by entering into a formal association for their mutual self-protection’.

That is as true today as it was then. NATO membership remains an insurance policy in an uncertain world, a world that is constantly changing and where, as we have seen, new dangers can emerge as suddenly as old ones can pass.

So we must stay vigilant; and we must be ready to adapt to tackle these new threats.

Let me set out some practical steps we might take.

Modernising NATO

If NATO is to be effective in the digital age we need to bring its bureaucratic machinery up to date. It needs to be able to take decisions more quickly. This is far from easy in an Alliance of 26 members where political decisions are rightly taken by unanimity, and whose cumbersome political structure is ill-suited to swift political military requirements of today. It is time for change.

For example, we should look at devolving operational command to the NATO Commander on the ground. A number of former Defence Chiefs – including our own former Chief of the Defence Staff Lord Inge, General Shalikashvili, the ex-Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs and NATO Supreme Allied Commander, and General Naumann, the former head of NATO’s Military Committee – have suggested this. This would allow more decisions about military requirements to be made in the field.

It could also be combined with a streamlining of the NATO chain of command. The aim should be to make it easier for the NATO Commander in the theatre of operations, like in Afghanistan, to deal directly with the Supreme Allied Commander without having to go through an intermediate headquarters.

National Caveats

Another issue requiring urgent attention is the abundance of national caveats, under which national governments impose restrictions on how their forces can be used on operations. National caveats are causing immense damage in Afghanistan – complicating the task of theatre commanders and breeding resentment amongst those Allies that are bearing the brunt of the fighting.

As General McNeill, the US Commander of ISAF has said, national caveats ‘are frustrating in how they impinge on my ability to properly plan, resource and prosecute effective military operations’.

The problem is not with a national caveat per se. The decision to deploy troops in combat is the most important decision a sovereign government can take, and it is inevitable that they should wish – and are sometimes constitutionally obliged – to be able to retain an ultimate say in how their troops are deployed.

The problem is with the proliferation of national caveats that started in NATO’s Balkan operations and has got completely out of hand in Afghanistan. Last month the Times reported that examples of national caveats currently range from a ban on deploying out of area, to no night flying, to no flying in poor weather, no involvement in riot control and no venturing from bases without the maximum force protection or too far from the nearest hospital.

This is no way to fight a war. Decisions in NATO are unanimous. No enterprise can be undertaken unless every member agrees. But once a government has agreed to send troops on an agreed enterprise, there has got to be a basic doctrine, that if you’re in, you’re in.

The more flexible a country can be in the tasks its troops may perform, the greater their value to the operational commander – or, as the Polish Foreign Minister, Radek Sikorski, has said: ‘He who gives without caveats, gives twice’.

A common operational fund

But we have to be frank: the problems are not only about structure and process. We have to improve NATO’s military capability. The fact that of the 2.4 millions soldiers Europe has under arms, only 3-4% are deployable in expeditionary operations. The dramatic disparity on defence spending not just between the US and Europe, but within Europe itself. 80 % of defence research spending is by Britain and France.

As President Sarkozy has said: ‘European security cannot rest on the shoulders of 3-4 countries’.Some of our NATO allies certainly need to spend more. The benefits of common defence imply that every ally carries a fair share of the burden. How could this be done better, beyond the familiar appeals and exhortation? I have two proposals.

Under current arrangements, those who do the fighting also do the funding – bearing both the risks of casualties and the financial strain. This is neither fair nor sustainable in the long term. We have seen how it has led to large disparities in the funding of the current mission in Afghanistan.

When Article 5 was invoked in the wake of 9/11, all NATO members agreed that international terrorism did not just threaten some of us, but all of us. And we all agreed to stand together in confronting that threat. Can it be right in an alliance which is underpinned by the principle of collective defence – all for one and one for all – that there can be such wide differences in how the costs for the funding of that protection fall?

Or that those nations that make the biggest investment in modernising their capabilities and as a result deploy most frequently should end up carrying the greatest financial load? We need to look, as Lord Inge and others have argued, to abandon the current arrangement – known as ‘costs lie where they fall’ – and replace it with a common cost sharing formula for operations, to which all Allies contribute.

Surely the time has come to set up a Common Operational Fund for expeditionary operations.

Not only would this help offset the costs of those who are making a substantial military contribution to operations. It would also provide a way in which allies who wanted to participate but currently lack the funding to do so would be able to take part in missions. It would give everyone a chance to make a contribution.

But money is only part of the answer. We also need to find ways of making more of NATO’s stock of equipment available for our common defence. For example, as Robert Kaplan has suggested, one area NATO could do more is at sea. Navies make port visits, police sea lanes and provide humanitarian access. The Norwegians, the Germans, the Spanish and others have been investing heavily in new ships, especially frigates. Kaplan argues that, with the US Navy concentrating increasingly on the Pacific, NATO could become the primary naval force to patrol the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean.

That is the sort of imaginative proposal we should be looking at, as is the potential for NATO to become a ‘global enabler’ offering its command and control arrangements for future multilateral operations alongside friendly countries like Australia, Japan or Singapore.


Which brings me to two related issues: the relationship between the EU, and specifically European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP), and NATO; and the question of how much further NATO should be ready to include new members.

I warmly welcome both President Sarkozy’s intention to send a further 1000 French troops to Afghanistan, as I told him last week. I welcome too as his readiness for France to re-enter NATO’s integrated military structure.

France is one of the Allies that can put real military capability on the table, and the more France is in a position to contribute to our joint endeavours the better. In the case of Afghanistan, I very much hope that Paris will remove outstanding French caveats and place the forces under NATO command.

As far as the development of ESDP is concerned, I think we need to look very hard at what has actually occurred in the last 10 years since St Malo, and apply the lessons as we go forward from here.

A Conservative Government would have three key principles that would govern our approach.

First, what matters is that European nations that are members of NATO should make a greater military contribution to European and global security. That requires greater military capability, not new pillars or elaborate wiring diagrams in Brussels.

Second, we must at all costs avoid the development of separate chains of command. But there is a real danger of that happening.

Third, what we need in Brussels and in theatre is good and close working relations between the EU and NATO, and indeed between NATO and other players like the UN.

ESDP to date has not produced a close and harmonious relationship between the two organisations. It has not delivered greater military capability.

Part of the reason for that is a pre-occupation with process over substance, which has contributed to a feeling that the EU is more interested in bureaucratic empire building and less in making the hard choices – like spending more money – that would actually deliver greater military clout.

At the same time, the friction it has engendered has made it more difficult for the EU and NATO to work together in those areas where the EU can deliver crucial contributions to operations on the ground, through the provision of development aid, police trainers, and so on.

A Conservative Government would focus relentlessly on the practical things that need to change.

NATO should be honing its fighting capabilities for future conflicts which are inevitable though unpredictable, and more likely to be outside Europe than in.

The EU for its part should be concentrating on how to deliver more effectively on the ground the police trainers, the development workers, the customs officers and so on that are such a vital to the success of these modern missions.

And the two institutions must work out how they can work seamlessly together in common cause, both in Brussels and in the field. If that is to happen, we need to resolve the dispute between Turkey and Greece and the Republic of Cyprus which is paralysing relations between NATO and the EU. That is something on which a Conservative Government would take a lead, just as we would argue powerfully for Turkey’s eventual membership of the EU.

My basic position is clear: defence is too important to waste resources on politically inspired duplication of effort – doubling up on institutions while doubling down on capabilities.

Enlargement, and the relationship with Russia

The other subject that will occupy leaders’ attention at Bucharest is the question of NATO enlargement.

As I indicated, the enlargement of NATO has helped to entrench European stability.

It was far from certain that the collapse of the Soviet Union would result in great swathes of Europe making the transition from oppression to democracy with – on the whole – relative ease.

The gradual incorporation of the new democracies into NATO underpinned that process, and paved the way for their later membership of the European Union. And, as with the EU, the process of qualifying to join NATO acted as a motor for reform.

The forthcoming entry into the Alliance of Croatia, Albania and Macedonia is further evidence of that, and will help anchor the Western Balkans to modern Europe.

I hope that other countries, such as Sweden, which could bring a lot to the Alliance and which already works closely with it will in due course feel able to join it as a member. Further afield, Georgia and Ukraine have expressed a wish to join NATO. Their mere aspiration has provoked outrage in Moscow, and threats that nuclear missiles will be re-targeted in their direction. I hope that the arrival of President Medvedev will make it possible to move on from this sort of bellicosity, and towards a more productive relationship between Russia and NATO, and Russia and the West more generally.

Russia wants to be treated with respect. But bullying does not earn respect. If Ukraine and Georgia decide that they wish to join NATO, as democratic, sovereign governments, and if they meet NATO’s standards, then we should support them.

Russia cannot have a veto over their decisions, any more than it can over NATO’s. Equally, Russia should understand – and be re-assured – that NATO and the West pose no threat to Russia. We understand Russia’s historic concern about its security.

We must persuade Russia of our shared interests – in a stable Europe to which Russia can export her energy, in a stable world in which we confront shared threats – such as the threat of a nuclear armed Iran – together.

Russia may be big. But she needs allies too. So we should be clear with Russia that if she wishes, the offer of a co-operative relationship is there, as President Bush has made clear on missile defence.

That choice is Russia’s, not ours, to make.

In the meantime, it is inevitable that the more strongly the chill wind of autocracy blows across the Russian steppe, the more those in its path will seek shelter in the Alliance’s protective embrace.


When President Truman inaugurated the Alliance in 1949, little could anyone have imagined the world that it would inhabit six decades later.

A world of unparalleled opportunity, in which people are being lifted out of poverty faster than at any time in human history.

A world in which the global balance is shifting Eastwards, and we must work together to persuade China that the higher her star rises, the greater her stake in global stability.

A world in which the threats we face today range from terrorism to weapons of mass destruction, from climate change to our dependence on fossil fuels, from cyber-attack to nuclear proliferation.

A world in which our protection no longer depends on static barracks in Hanover, but often on our ability to deploy the right mix of forces – military and political – to tackle extremism on the Hindu Kush.

But Truman would surely recognise that the fundamental tenet on which the Alliance was founded – the belief that we are much stronger together than alone – is as valid today as it has ever been.

So what are the tests for this summit at Bucharest?

It must deliver what is needed in Afghanistan, including a clear expression of our strategy there that the public can understand.

It must start to resolve the relationship between NATO and the EU.

But as the Alliance approaches its 60th birthday, its nations are looking for more than that: they are looking for leadership.

Leadership to fashion a modern mission statement for the Alliance for the 21st century, rooted in the mutual defence pact with which it began.

Leadership to modernise the way the Alliance operates.

Leadership to make the case for the Alliance to the new generation on both sides of the Atlantic.

David Cameron – 2008 Speech on Health Reform


Below is the text of a speech made by David Cameron on June 24th 2008 at the Royal College of Surgeons.

“A few weeks ago, I said the aim of a Conservative Government is to be as radical in social reform as Margaret Thatcher was in economic reform. That’s why, in office, our reform plans will focus on three particular things.

“The first is radical school reform – so our kids get the best education and learn the skills that will help them compete in the globalised economy. The second is welfare reform, so people move from long-term poverty to long-term employment. And the third is to strengthen families and make Britain the most family-friendly place in the world.

“But I also said, in that same speech, that the NHS must come first. There’s a simple reason for this. It’s because health – be it that of your own or your loved ones – is everyone’s priority and so it should be for politics too. And as we celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the NHS this summer, let me make it one hundred percent clear:

“The fact we have a health service that takes care of everyone- whatever their needs, backgrounds and circumstances – is one of the greatest gifts we enjoy as British citizens and the Conservative Party will never – ever – take that for granted. We back the NHS. We will build it. And we will improve it for everyone.


“And that’s what this Green Paper we’re launching today is all about. It sets out our ambition for the NHS – to improve our health outcomes, like cancer survival rates, so they are among the best in Europe. And it sets out how we will do that – by scrapping Labour’s bureaucratic, top-down process targets and replacing them with outcome measures , so that the professions can focus on the result itself, not how it is achieved. The ambition – the means. Let me briefly take each in turn.


“First, the ambition – to improve health outcomes so they are among the best in Europe. Now this may seem obvious – but it actually signals a major shift in the focus of the NHS. To understand that, we need to go back eight years.

“Back then, Tony Blair sat on Sir David Frost’s sofa and committed the Labour government to matching European levels of health spending. Today, that pledge has been delivered. But despite all this extra money – all that extra spending – we still have some of the worst health outcomes in the whole of Europe. Right now, England’s near the bottom of the table when it comes to five-year cancer survival rates – far below countries like Sweden and Germany, and on a par with Slovenia and Poland. We have one of the worst records of diabetic control – especially among children. And it’s awful that you’re more likely to die from a stroke in England than you are in any other country in Western Europe.

“So we’ve got a situation where we pump the same money into our health system as other countries, but on the thing that actually matters – a patient’s health and the results of their actual treatment – we’re doing worse. Seriously, if the NHS isn’t about improving the health of people – making them live longer, happier and more fulfilling lives – then what is it about?

“This is so typical of Labour. So obsessed with the process that they’ve lost sight of the bigger, and more important, picture – making people better. We’ve made clear our commitment to increase spending on the NHS, year on year, so it gets the investment it needs.

“But what this Green Paper sets out is how we’ll make sure that money delivers – by making our health outcomes among the best in Europe. And be in no doubt about what this will mean. If we improve the NHS so it meets the international average, we could save an extra 38,000 lives a year. If we improve the NHS so our results are comparable to the best countries in the world, we could save over 100,000 lives a year. That’s thousands of more people surviving cancer, surviving strokes and surviving lung disease. There really is no greater ambition for the NHS as it approaches its sixtieth birthday.


“I know what you’re thinking – great ambition, but how are you going to deliver it? One thing I’m sure of: we won’t get there through yet another massive structural reorganisation. The past decade has witnessed a series of restless changes which, to the NHS itself, have felt like a series of frontal assaults – the latest of which is a national network of polyclinics imposed on local communities – and GPs – that don’t want them. Instead, we’ll offer steady, purposeful change with a clear direction.

“So we will build on and improve the NHS we inherit. Foundation hospitals won’t go, they’ll stay – and we’ll improve them. Commissioning by GPs is right – and we’ll make it really mean something. Not Labour’s phoney – and imaginary – budget-holding, but actually giving GPs real control over their budgets so they can re-invest savings and negotiate contracts with service providers to get best deal for their patients.

“Patient choice is essential – and we’ll make it actually work. Referral management centres were brought in to manage referrals between primary and secondary care. But too often they’ve overturned a patient’s choice of hospital and ordered them to get treatment elsewhere. Patient choice must really mean just that – so we’ll let patients choose any provider that meets NHS standards at delivers at NHS costs. Progressively, patiently, carefully, we will usher in a new era of quality and care.


“But what this Green Paper is all about is how we can improve our health outcomes by ushering in a new era of patient-doctor accountability through an information revolution. If the last ten years has taught us anything, it’s that Labour has tested to destruction the idea that the NHS can be improved by more bureaucracy, more central control and more initiatives from the Department of Health.

“This approach is embodied no better than in the endless top-down process targets they impose on doctors and hospitals. Superficially, some of these targets may look sensible. After all, no one wants to wait a long time to be seen in A&E. But because they push healthcare professionals to make decisions purely to ‘tick boxes’ rather than because they’re beneficial to the health of their patient, too often the result is worse patient care and a worse health outcome. So we get the perverse situation where patients are kept in ambulances or in trolley waiting areas just so hospitals can say they’ve meet the centrally-directed four-hour A&E waiting time limit.

“This is crazy. Labour’s targets are all about chasing good headlines – and nothing to do with the clinical needs and the health of patients. So yes, to make sure our health outcomes are among the best in Europe, a Conservative Government will scrap all centrally-imposed process targets. But don’t for one minute believe the Labour lie that we’re giving up on quality – that we’re going to leave a vacuum of accountability.

“We’ve got a new approach. In fact, it’s an approach so obvious – and so simple – you’ll be astonished it doesn’t already happen. In place of Labour’s self-defeating top-down targets, we will harness the power of information and publish the details of healthcare outcomes. So we’ll measure cancer survival rates, instead of recording the number of radiotherapy courses delivered per month in a particular oncology unit. We’ll measure how well patients are after treatment, instead of timing how long someone’s in an A&E bed. And we’ll measure how many people lead active lives whilst suffering from chronic lung disease, instead of recording how many records GPs have updated into information systems.

“This is about concentrating not the ‘how’, but the ‘what’ about concentrating not on what politicians care about, but on those things that people really care about. How long will my Dad survive if he gets cancer? What are my chances of a good life if I have a stroke? What are my chances of surviving from heart disease? This is the kind of information people want and need. And this is the kind of information that will replace Labour’s bureaucratic, top-down and centralised idea of accountability – between minister and doctor with a post-bureaucratic, bottom-up and de-centralised one – between patient and doctor.

“Just think about the change this will bring. No more five-minute chats in your GP’s surgery picking a hospital based on its waiting times and availability. But the power – the ability – to really compare and contrast different care providers on the things that really matter to you and are easily understandable – survival rates, after care service, patient satisfaction.

“And with that patient choice and patient accountability, the rest will follow. For a start, we’ll start to get real value for money in the NHS. That’s because those who commission care – like primary care trusts and GPs – will be better able to decide how to get the best for their patients from the money available. And instead of sinking money into meeting top-down, politically motivated targets, care providers can actually focus on innovative approaches to getting the right outcomes for their patients and giving real value for money to the taxpayer. But more importantly than anything else, the quality of service will go up and we will achieve the sort of health outcomes enjoyed in the rest of Europe.

“It goes without saying that by making outcome information readily available, we will introduce an element of healthy competition between different care providers. They’ll be able to see what works and what doesn’t – what different practices are doing to achieve result and how they can learn from them. This isn’t about creating a cut-throat business environment. It’s about understanding that everyone who works in the NHS is rightly proud of where they work and will do everything and anything to provide the best possible care.


“I’m now going to hand over to Andrew Lansley who will explain in greater detail the changes we are proposing. But let me end by saying this.

“Few things matter more to our country than the NHS. I know the fear that all families feel when they think they won’t get the care they need. And I know the relief they feel when a kind, competent nurse or doctor is there for them. And in this, the NHS’s sixtieth year, I’m proud that people now look at the Conservative Party as the party of the NHS.

“But I don’t just want us to be the party of the NHS – I want us to be the party of a better NHS. And that means being clear about our ambition – to save thousands of more lives a year. And it means being clear about how we’ll get there. No more pointless re-organisations – just building and improving. No more top-down process targets – but an information revolution to measure outcomes. No more talking about patient power – but actually giving it to them, through greater accountability. That’s the way we can create a health service that is truly the envy of the world.”

Vince Cable – 2008 Speech to Liberal Democrat Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by Vince Cable at the 2008 Liberal Democrat Party Conference in Liverpool.

I don’t want to overdo my Stalin joke.

But I did, I think, capture the pathos of Gordon Brown’s sad decline: from ruthless to rudderless: bully to bumbler; from Brezhnev to Black Adder.

He genuinely saddens me.

After Blair was obsessed by image and positioning.

We hoped Brown would be a serious man with serious ideas and a serous commitment to social justice.

No chance.

Within weeks he was dressing up in a Penguin suit to grovel to a Saudi king who presides over the execution of women for immorality and corruption which makes the late President Mobutu look like a small time pick pocket.

The nuclear power lobby, the airport expansion lobby, the arms dealers all know they have a true friend in Downing Street. And, as for social justice, he stands ready to copy whatever regressive, badly thought out wheeze the Tories dream up on a boozy night out at the Bullingdon Club.

But the real issue is competence. Gordon Brown’s list of disasters is becoming as long as the list of Don Giovanni’s lovers:

Northern Rock; lost data on 15 million families;

mismanaged reforms to CGT and non-dom taxation;

Metronet and the disastrous London Underground PPP;

tax credit overpayments;

the QinetiQ sale;


IT mismanagement in HMRC;

the collapse of occupational pensions;

Equitable Life;

Individual Learning Accounts;

Film Tax Credit:

U-turns on SIPPs and Company Incorporation


Operating and Financial Reviews.

That’s just for starters.

In fact, the Conservative’s should be benefiting more than they are from the government’s serial incompetence.

They have a problem.

Their own history. Black Monday.

15% interest rates.

3 million unemployed.

Record repossessions.

All that.

Cameron and Osborne have an Alzheimer’s strategy: a fervent hope that the country will lose its collective memory of Conservative government.

These days the Tories simply don’t seem to know what they stand for.

They don’t even seem to believe in tax cutting any more.

Or perhaps I am being a little unfair.

They do have a programme of targeted tax cuts.

Top priority target is a further inheritance tax cuts designed to favour dead millionaires.

Dead millionaires are clearly at the heart of the Tory core vote strategy.

We, on the other hand, have been consistent and right in our analysis of the UK economy.

I warned Gordon Brown almost 5 years ago that there was a growing problem of personal debt, much of it secured against a dangerous bubble in the housing market.

Since then, inflation and house prices have reached levels, in relation to income, unsurpassed in our history and the highest in the western World.

The truth is that just as binge drinking has become one of Britain’s main recreational activities, binge lending has now become the mainstay of the economy.

Banks have become the financial equivalents of a Wetherspoons pub – but with even less of a sense of responsibility.

They make their money by getting people to borrow more than they can handle.

The mess afterwards is someone else’s problem.

The binge in lending has fuelled the house price boom.

Housing has become unaffordable for millions of young first time buyers.

Borrowers are struggling to maintain their debts.

Too much unsustainably cheap credit created an unsustainable ratcheting up of house prices.

People have been duped into believing that acquiring property is better than saving and a more reliable store of value than a bank account, shares or a pension.

Yet this is a market that is, and always has been, dangerously volatile.

After the binge, there is inevitably a hangover.

It is just starting.

House prices are now falling month by month across the country.

Debt arrears are mounting.

Repossession orders and repossessions are rising rapidly back towards levels last seen in the mid 1990’s.

Negative equity is back.

Serious economic analysts worry that our home grown problem of asset deflation will interact lethally with the global credit crunch.

And also global inflation in energy and food prices could combine to create a perfect economic storm.

If there is an economic storm the public will want to know that the ship is being steered by people who know what they are doing.

During the Northern Rock crisis the boat was drifting listlessly.

Captain Brown was hiding in his cabin.

And Midshipman Osborne was jumping excitedly in and out of a lifeboat.

We knew what had to be done.

But the Government only finally listened after months of indecision.

The delay caused untold damage to Britain’s reputation and cost a fortune in legal and accountancy fees.

Now the Government has seen the benefits of listening to the Liberal Democrats perhaps they can make it a habit – to tackle the dangers of our slowing economy.

The Bank of England has to be freed up to use interest rates more aggressively by making sure that its inflation target reflects the fluctuations in house prices.

We cannot and should not try to stop lenders adjusting to higher standards of risk management.

But the binge lenders have to accept some of the pain they happily inflict on their borrowers.

There will have to be a check on repossessions so that we do not have a massive fire sale of homes and a pandemic of homelessness.

No one should face repossession until there has been an opportunity for independent financial advice.

The bank must be required to offer a range of alternative properly regulated options, including shared ownership.

The vultures who are exploiting the situation must be brought within mortgage regulation.

These are, necessarily, palliatives.

We also need to think ahead to a different model of growth.

It should not depend on a debt financed, unsustainable, short term splurge in consumer spending.

It should instead draw on long term investment in this country’s human resources of skill and science, respecting environmental limits and repairing a fractured sense of social solidarity.

But the truth is that in the immediate future there are hard times ahead.

There will be financial casualties.

Neither I nor anyone else can offer a pain free solution as the excesses of the last few years are purged from the system.

What we must insist on however is that everyone contributes according to their means.

We cannot tolerate a two nation society divided between the tax payers and the tax dodgers.

The extent of tax avoidance amongst many rich people has become a national scandal.

The super rich are complaining because our spineless government decided to tinker with capital gains tax.

But they will still pay far less than their cleaners – 18% versus 20% plus 10% NICs.

They will still pay less than half the tax rate they paid under Mrs Thatcher and Nigel Lawson.

But all we hear is a whine of self pity.

Let me be clear.

I have no problem with people making serious money through hard work building businesses and creating jobs.

There have to be realistic incentives in a market economy.

But the idea that the super rich should be elevated above taxation is immoral and deeply insulting to those on modest incomes who pay their full whack of tax.

Then we have the so called non-doms. These are people who, on the strength of having no more overseas connection that a foreign father, can choose not to pay any tax on their overseas income and capital.

And they can avail themselves of a battery of off-shore tax loopholes which enable them to avoid tax on UK income and capital. Probably 5 million people – many in this room – are eligible.

Growing numbers are taking advantage.

After ten years of dithering Gordon Brown has decided to act.

As a veteran of the struggle against Mrs Thatcher’s poll tax, he has decided – you’ve guessed already – to introduce a poll tax.

Billionaire Lakshmi Mittal is to pay the same tax as a non-dom shopkeeper.

Not surprisingly, the Tories agree that this is fair, indeed, they claim to have thought of it first.

Yet there has been an almost hysterical reaction from the City.

How dare British politicians query the tax privileges of the rich?

If we are not careful, they say, Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs living in £80 million houses will no longer feel welcome.

They might go somewhere else.

That’s tough.

Let them go.

We say that foreign expatriates are welcome to live and work in Britain.

But when they have been here seven years, they pay British tax like the rest of us.

Pay up or pack up.

And it isn’t just rich individuals who dodge tax.

Companies are at it as well.

There are only two reasons for British companies to operate from Caribbean tax havens: secrecy and tax.

I salute the journalists who are running the gauntlet of libel lawyers by exposing the tax affairs of leading British companies who use Caribbean bolt holes to avoid tax.

Tesco admitted last week that it had organised itself to avoid £250 million in stamp duty this way, £10 for every UK taxpayer.

While the super rich and corporate Britain uses every dodge in the book to avoid paying tax, those on low pay face higher taxes.

The one certainty about next week’s Budget – because a commitment was made last year – is that 23 million workers and pensioners will pay 20% on their first slab of taxable income, instead of 10%.

5.3 million people will pay more tax.

The Lib Dems don’t want higher overall levels of tax.

We want to see fairer taxes making sure that the tax dodgers are brought to book.

It means that the very well off pay a bit more in capital gains and income tax so that low and middle income families get a tax cut – 4p in the pound of national income tax.

We also believe that tax can be used, albeit carefully, to change behaviour.

That is why we argue for green taxes, particularly on polluting aircraft, raising revenue for our package of tax cuts elsewhere.

The evidence, from the Government’s Climate Change Levy, is that environmental taxes do change behaviour.

And they raise revenue – which we would use to cut taxes in a progressive way.

We should also be using taxes to discourage binge drinking.

There is massive evidence of the damaging effects of alcohol on health and crime.

Yet the Government has cut taxes in real terms on highly alcoholic beverages.

Many will wonder why a government which has raised income taxes on the low paid and Council Tax on pensioners is helping to promote cut price Bacardi Breezers and vodka shots.

Tax should be raised on drinks with high alcohol content – raising £225 million.

We would use the money to cut VAT on healthy, 100% fruit juice from 17.5% to 5%.

This will complete the transformation of the Lib Dems from being the party of beards and sandals to the party of Smoothies.

If I were to be self critical, I would say that we haven’t been radical enough.

I would like to see a much stronger commitment to cutting the taxes of low and middle income families.

And I would like to see a much tougher approach to the windfalls on property and land values enjoyed by the super rich.

Liberal Democrats represent the millions of families ignored by this Government.

Yes we believe in enterprise.

Yes we believe in an open economy.

But we don’t have to go down on our knees to the rich and powerful.

We will stand up for fair taxes.

We will stand up for green taxes.

And we will fight for a more equal Britain.

David Burrowes – 2008 Speech on Youth Justice

Below is the text of the speech made by David Burrowes, then then Shadow Justice Minister, at the NACRO crime conference on 4th April 2008.

I want to begin by applauding the work of NACRO and the many different organisations represented here today. It is a privilege to address so many individuals who are working tirelessly in our youth justice system.

As an MP with a professional background as a criminal defence solicitor, I know only too well the challenges you face. In fact I still do occasional stints on duty to keep my own first hand experience up to date.

As a Shadow Justice Minister I am pleased to be able to apply the knowledge I gained outside of Parliament to the development of the Conservative Party’s justice policy.

The knowledge and experience which you, the professionals and practitioners hold, is something we would be glad to tap into. Do feel free to feed into our work and submit your opinions and ideas about the system…you can do so as anonymously as you like! We would be very pleased to hear from you. We want to formulate policy by listening to those at the coal face, not by ourselves in the Westminster world.

Well, where do we start when tackling the issue of diversity? Ethnicity statistics is one place. As I am sure you know, in the latest figures, 85.7% of offences committed by young people aged 10 and 17 were categorised as committed by White youths. This compares to five point eight per cent (5.8%) by Black youths, 3.1% by Asians and 2.8% by those with mixed ethnicity.

However, when compared to the proportion of young people in each ethnic group, figures take on a different perspective.

As the Home Affairs Select Committee, in which I know Marian (Fitzgerald) played a key role, found in their 2007 report on Young Black People and the Criminal Justice System, young black young people are:

– More likely to be stopped and searched

– Less likely to be granted unconditional bail

– More likely to be remanded in custody

– More likely to receive a punitive sentence

It is of course worth pointing out that not only are black and minority ethnic people are more likely to be the victims of violent crime than their white counterparts, over 90% have no dealings with the system what so ever. However, over-representation of black and minority ethnic young people in particular cannot be denied and must be addressed.

As Trevor Phillips, Chair of the then Commission for Racial Equality, said in 2005, there are twice as many black boys in prison as there are in university.

Black and minority ethnic young people are overrepresented in the youth justice system.


Between 1997 and 2003, the numbers of young male prisoners rose by 9%. Over the same period, the number of young, black, male prisoners rose by 21.5%. Why is this?

We must not become fixated on targets or statistics which treat young people as figures and often mask discrimination. Rather, we need to recognise the importance of relationships upon the lives of individual young people.

Social exclusion is a key, underlying cause of young offending. Early intervention is seen as crucial in tackling social deprivation and exclusion. Black young people are two and a half times more likely to live in the most socially deprived areas of the country. I agree with the Home Affairs Select Committee who said that, “in addition to addressing the underlying causes of over-representation, any response to over-representation needs to tackle those causes which are specific to the Black community”. The vicious circle must be broken to give vulnerable young people a chance at life outside the youth justice system.

Increasing numbers of young people are getting caught up in crime from an early age, becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol. Educational underachievement, inadequate housing, often to the point of homelessness, the absence of a father, all fuel the cycle of social disadvantage. Britain has one of the highest rates of family breakdown in Europe. Seventy percent of young offenders come from lone parent families. We must acknowledge the impact the relational aspects of life play.

Like it or not, relationships have a vital role to play in tackling issues of youth offending and specifically, the over-representation of minority groups.

The criminal justice system does not have all the answers and I must say I’m relieved. Equally we must not expect the system to have all the answers. We should be looking to society as a whole to impact the culture which so easily leads certain groups of young people into offending. Justice is the domain of the system; care, help and love are the responsibility of society and the local community.

Where social depravation and exclusion are rife, we need to be encouraging the role of local and non-governmental organisations which recognise the importance of relationships. I am sure there are representatives from organisations who do just this here today. But we do need to more. As a society we need to take responsibility for our young people. Families play a crucial role in this. But the lack of a secure family unit is often the norm amongst those at risk of offending. Not only this, but there is a direct link between unstable families and fatherlessness and a young person getting involved in crime. We will promote strong families.

Research has shown that stability and continuity is vital to vulnerable young people. Proximity in relationships is also crucial. It has been said that one problem with the secure youth estate is the distance between the young offender in custody and their family. Those relationships which do exist are so much harder to maintain, yet they are so important to the well being of young offenders and have an impact on the likelihood of re-offending. This is something we will be exploring as a party.

So much youth violence stems from the need for young people to protect themselves and gain the respect of their peers as well as those they look up to. Organisations working with young people involved in the gang culture say that the desire for relationship with people often drives gang membership. Where good family relationships are lacking, young people achieve a sense of belonging within a gang. This in turn triggers involvement in crime.

Relationships are key. Where good relationships exist, well-being exists. Where well-being exists, by definition disengagement is minimised. By promoting families and relationships we encourage the stability that is needed by the vulnerable. We plug the gap that might otherwise be filled with diversions which lead to the slippery slope of crime.

By tackling these things, we implicitly address issues of diversity.


In February this year, David Cameron announced the Conservative prison policy. Our green paper, Prisons with a Purpose. We believe we need a revolution in sentencing and rehabilitation to break the cycle of crime.

Having reviewed the adult criminal justice system, we have now set up a working group to tackle the youth justice system. The policy proposals in Prisons with a Purpose will guide the direction of the working group’s investigations. In fact, this Conference itself could not be timelier. It has served to raise a great many questions in which will shape the direction of the review.

Issues of discrimination, equality and diversity in the youth justice system need to be addressed. We need to effectively engage with different communities. We must reach credible conclusions which offer realistic opportunity for change. As the man tasked with leading the working group, I intend to do just that.

An in-depth consideration of how we tackle discrimination, respect diversity and reverse the over-representation of young black people, as well as Asians and those of mixed-ethnicity in the Youth Justice System is needed. All this should take place within a framework of reducing the overall numbers of young offenders full stop. Over 75% of young offenders are re-convicted after leaving YOIs. It is national disgrace that closer to 100% re-offend. We want to see young offenders leaving the criminal justice system. Not becoming lifelong members.

Our prisons policy does not focus upon diversity as a goal in itself but focus upon fairness which is a key component of justice and impacts upon the issue of diversity. We want to have a criminal justice system which punishes those that need to be punished but goes further than that and sees reparations being made to victims, rehabilitates offenders and promotes work and reintegration into society.

We want a justice system where all offenders are treated fairly irrespective of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or disability. We recognise that measures to promote equality and diversity do exist and with your help we will assess their effectiveness, maintain those that are making a difference and replace those which are not working as they should.

Equal treatment action plans are already required of Youth Offending Teams and secure facilities. This expectation plays an important role in promoting diversity and equality. The funding of projects specifically to target this is commendable.

However, a diverse youth justice system where discrimination and the and the over-representation of minorities is tackled needs more than just target setting.

Race Equality Teams have their place. But when many of those already in the system are not even aware of their existence, it is clear that still more needs to be done.

We will be investigating what this might look like. Our aim is to bring forward policies which will make a real and significant difference and ensure real diversity and fairness exists within the youth justice system.

I believe that when we achieve prisons with a purpose and seriously tackle re-offending, an effect will be a reduction in the over-representation of certain groups in the criminal justice system, and that the same would be true for the youth justice system.

We want to restore confidence in the criminal justice system.


Victim awareness is crucial to all criminal justice. Black and minority ethnic groups, particularly young black males are tragically overrepresented as victims. I know this only too well from the recent victims of violent crime in my local Borough of Enfield. Since January, 5 young men have been killed in Edmonton, Henry Bolombi, Louis Boduka, Ofiyke Nmezu and Michael Jones. The fifth young man was killed on Monday.

We believe that reparation and restoration are key to the criminal justice system. We believe the same is true for the youth system. Too often we place the offender at the centre of the process. Offender reparation and restorative justice aims to reflect the impact of offending on the victim.

By placing the victim at the heart of the youth justice process, we make young offenders more accountable for their actions. The referral panels provide an opportunity to provide restorative justice but all too often the victim is not involved in the process. We will consider how we can apply our proposals for mandatory payments to a new, Victims Fund to the youth justice system. All offenders should be compelled to compensate their victims.

The Government’s current method for doing this is not working. At present, compensation is often, at best a token and at worst meaningless to both the victim and the offender.

Reparation and the restoration of victims applies to all offenders and victims regardless of race, religion, gender, sexuality or disability. Victims are as diverse as offenders and acknowledging this is crucial.


85% of young offenders use cannabis, alcohol and tobacco. Just under 20% use crack cocaine and heroin. Youth custody should be drug-free. Rehabilitation in prison is essential. Its availability will be significantly increased under our Prisons with Purpose proposals.

How we apply our rehabilitation proposals to the youth justice system will be considered under our review. Research has shown that black adult males have different substance dependency patterns to white adult males. We must recognise the differing treatment needs of young men from different ethnic backgrounds.

As we consider policy ideas for the treatment of substance misuse and dependency in the youth justice system, we will ensure that we acknowledge the diversity of needs that exist.


We want to unlock the role of the private and charitable sectors. It will be policies along these lines which I believe have the potential for the greatest impact on the over-representation of black and other minority groups of young people.

Organisations such as the Eastside Young Leaders Academy do fantastic work with young people and those from communities where they would be statistically more at risk of offending. They provide stability to vulnerable young people. They offer positive role models to those who are likely to lack the input of appropriate adults. All this is provided from within the community in which the young people live. It is the work of organisations such as these which has the potential to seriously impact the social exclusion which is at the root of so much youth offending.

We will enable voluntary and faith based organisations to play a much greater and freer role in the criminal justice system. We recognise the way in which they can deliver services to both the adult and youth system in a way that statutory bodies are often unable to do. So much of their work is carried out on the fringes as they quietly get on with the task at hand. By encouraging and empowering these organisations to play a bigger part in the youth justice system, I believe we can unlock valuable ways to reduce the over-representation of black and other minority ethnic groups.

The role that Black and Asian groups play within their own communities is particularly important. Acknowledging their unique position and supporting their endeavours we will see them better able to help with the resettlement of young offenders in their community.

We will decentralise much of the work of the criminal justice system. By doing so it allows the third sector and local community groups to work much more freely. The input of the voluntary sector will be more straightforward.

Governors will have full responsibility for the incarceration of prisoners, their point of release and their rehabilitation. The ultimate aim to change the culture of the criminal justice system applies across the board. Seeking to reduce re-offending counts for young people as well as adults. Our youth justice review will consider how this will specifically apply to the secure youth estate. However, if the Governors of the secure youth estate are responsible for the re-offending of the young people they are charged with and rewarded accordingly, the incentives to deal with young people as individuals and not statistics increases. By encouraging Governors to achieve the best possible outcomes for young offenders, I believe we will affect the over-representation of young black and other minority offenders in the youth justice system.

Finally, we are aware of the impact Government proposals for legal aid reform will have on black and other minority ethnic groups. There is a significant threat to diversity in the justice system. Small legal firms working in black and minority ethnic communities in urban areas like London are being squeezed out of the legal aid market.

I welcome the opportunity to speak and consider the issue of diversity today. It is not just a matter of the youth justice system but for us all throughout society. We in this room may have different approaches to tackling the over-representation of black and minority ethnic groups, but I hope we can all agree that there needs to be change on a number of different levels. We cannot be satisfied simply by seeking to change the system of youth justice as if a national strategy is the solution. We need local solutions. We need policies that promote responsibility and emphasis the centrality of good relationships so that we can drive out discrimination and deliver fairness and diversity for all young people.

Des Browne – 2008 Labour Party Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by the then Secretary of State for Defence, Des Browne, at the 2008 Labour Party conference.

Conference, on Saturday afternoon while you were all here I was at Twickenham, one of over 50,000 people supporting the Help for Heroes Charity.

They were there in such numbers, and that charity has raised almost £12 million in one year to support our wounded service men and women, because of the love and admiration the people of this country have for our Armed Forces.

That love and admiration is rightly placed.

All that is best about being British is concentrated in our Armed Forces.

When we ask them to do the impossible, they respond positively and often they do it.

More importantly, when we ask them to risk their life and limb to protect our security or our national interest or to see our values of fairness spread across the world, they do not hesitate.

As Gordon Brown reminds them every time he meets them, those individual service men and wo men are THE most important instrument for the delivery of the progressive values at the heart of our modern defence policy.

Conference, we owe them a debt we can never fully repay.  But, we must try to repay it.  We must do the best we can for them.  And, the best we can for those they leave behind when they make the ultimate sacrifice.

This year, was the first time any Government has put their commitment to our service people in writing when we published a cross government Command Paper on support for forces and their families.

For the last two and a half years I, and my excellent Ministerial team, have been meeting our Armed Forces and their families, asking them what support they most want from us.

Let me tell you, those conversations are humbling.

For all their bravery.

For all that they risk for us.

What they want from us is modest.  They want their own lives and the lives of their families not to be disadvantaged by the fact of their service.

They tell me that they are worried that when they have to move around the country that they will have difficulty finding good school places for their kids.

And they worry about losing their place on an NHS waiting list.  They should not have to worry about such things.

Well, with the help of Alan Johnson, Hazel Blears, Ed Balls,…

Look, frankly, because of the leadership that Gordon Brown showed on this issue, with the help of the whole Government and the devolved administrations, we will live up to the guarantee that being in the armed forces will never again mean getting worse public services than others.

That is the least that our people can expect.

But, we should go further.

There are times when we should give special treatment to the armed forces and their families.

Special service deserves special treatment.

That is why we are going to radical ly improve the compensation scheme for injured personnel.

Nothing can ever compensate fully for the most severe injuries – but our people deserve the best that we can give them.

For the most seriously injured, we are going to double the lump-sum payment.

Together with the extra pension for their injury, guaranteed for life, that change will deliver up to one and a half million pounds.

Many of those who do so much for us in the armed forces left school at 16 or 17. They didn’t take up the chance of further or higher education.

In the future, together with John Denham, I want to offer a second chance to service leavers.

Those who have served for six years or more, when they leave will be entitled to free education – up to degree level.

My priority as the Secretary of State for Defence is to invest in our people and in the equipment they need to carry out the difficult tasks that they are undertaking today.

The promise of our Command Paper builds on the billions of pounds of investment we have made in equipment:

* armoured vehicles

* helicopters

* body armour

That job is not yet complete.  But, it allows our Commanders to describe the Brigade in Afghanistan as the best equipped ever to be sent into operations.

The promise of our Command White Paper builds upon all of this and our investment in health, expanding mental health services, and improving accommodation.

It builds upon all of this and the increases we have made in pay. For the last two years our service personnel received the highest pay increases in the public sector.

All of this has allowed the Royal British Legion to say that the Military Covenant is back in balance.

But, there is one more thing that they want.

They want you to understand what they have achieved, and are achieving.

The 15,000 troops that we have working across the world, 12,000 of them between Iraq and Afghanistan, are making a positive difference.

They deserve your recognition and thanks.

Conference, we have reached a turning point in our involvement in Iraq.

The Iraqi armed forces, supported by British and US Forces, have taken on – and defeated – the militia in Basrah.

In Basrah, there has been a transformation in the quality of life for ordinary Iraqis.

Free from thuggery and intimidation, normal life is returning.

Cafes and restaurants are re-opening.

Shops and markets are bustling.

Women are able to walk the streets unveiled.

As important, improved security means that economic reconstruction can start.

Investors are prepared to modernise the oil and gas and steel industries.

Security has improved right across Iraq and similar opportunities are opening up.

There are many reasons for this.

British troops have made a substantial contribution to the fact that next year there can be a “fundamental change of mission” in Iraq.

By any standard, thi s is a hugely important milestone.

At conference this week we have Iraqi politicians, government officials and trade unionists showing the growing confidence of politics and civil society.

A democratically elected Iraqi government with the ability to control its own security, the support of its own people and the resources to grow its own economy.

That is the legacy of our Armed Forces in Iraq.

Conference, in Afghanistan, although we face a longer haul, and the task of reconstruction is so much greater, our brave troops are making a positive difference too.

Afghanistan is a country, for 30 years torn apart by war.

Oppressed by the Taliban.

Two generations were lost to education.

Al-Qaeda trained for and launched terrorist attacks across the world from its ungoverned territory.

Only 1 in 10 Afghans had access to health care.

Girls were banned from school.

Thanks to our British troops – along with allies from 40 countries – the Taliban have been beaten back.

Where once they boasted they would drive us from the country, they now know they cannot and rely on cowardly terrorist attacks, mostly on their own people.

Improved security in the major towns has allowed the rebuilding of physical infrastructure to begin.

4000 km of roads.

2000 schools repaired or reconstructed.

Just three weeks ago, British soldiers transported a new turbine to the Kajaki dam.

When up and running this hydro-electric scheme will provide electricity to 1.8m people.

Over 8 in 10 Afghans have access to health care now.

And six million children attend school – two million of them girls. For each of these children this is potentially a life-changing event, a huge liberation.

I have always been clear that while progress has been made we still have long uphill task. It is difficult and dangerous and it will take us years to achieve.

The challenge of nation building in Afghanistan is a long-term commitment and the terrorists will continue to try and prevent progress.

But we have a duty to recognise not just the difficulties but what has actually been achieved and to celebrate it.

Conference, no Defence Secretary takes lightly the responsibility of sending our people into conflict.

However, sometimes, it is simply not possible to avoid military intervention.  Sometimes, the defence of our national interest or the defence of the helpless demands it.

We should not sign up to the responsibility to protect without signing up to the means to deliver that protection.

A 21st century progressive foreign policy requires us to have armed forces who can intervene if necessary far from home.

There is no-one in this conference hall who does not believe that, though many of us do so with great reluctance, knowing the reality of conflict.

But none of us can avoid the implications for our armed forces of our ambitions.

Those fine words and ambitions bring with them an obligation to those people whom we ask to do this difficult and dangerous work.

We must never forget that.

Gordon Brown – 2008 Speech to Troops in Afghanistan


Below is the text of a speech made by the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, to the troops in Afghanistan on Thursday 21st August 2008.

I wanted to come here this morning to thank all of you for everything that you are achieving. I want to say to you, in front of the Governor of the Province, that we are incredibly proud of everything that you have done. And I want to say also, on behalf of the whole of the British people, we owe you a huge debt of gratitude for everything that you have achieved in very difficult circumstances in this province and in this country.

I want to thank you first of all for your professionalism. The professionalism of the British armed forces is recognised in every part of the world, and I believe that your reputation as professionals has been enhanced by everything that you have done here. And I want to thank all your leaders and all of you for achieving that.

I want to thank you also for your dedication to duty. And today I want to remember Corporal Barry Dempsey, the 2nd Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland, the Royal Highland Fusiliers, and remember the service that he gave. And remember also the service that so many people who have either been injured, who have lost their lives, have given in what is the cause of freedom and justice.

And you know that you are on the front line of the fight against the Taliban, and you know that what you are doing here prevents terrorism coming to the streets of Britain, and you know that by taking on the Taliban and forcing them back you have made possible a democracy in Afghanistan. And you know also that every time a young girl goes to school, every time a mother-to-be is getting healthcare, every time jobs are being created in this region, every time a market is opening, it is because of the efforts that you have put in, for which we are very grateful and makes me very proud indeed of what you are doing.

And I want to say also that what you are achieving by training up the Afghan army for its future responsibilities shows that we are not only making huge progress here in reconstruction, in giving people a stake in the future, in building an army and police force for the future, but what you are doing is creating a highly professional Afghan army that will gradually take over more responsibility for this area and for the country. And by training 4,000 of the Afghan national army here, and I thank you for the mentoring job that you are doing, at the same time we are building an Afghan army that is 60,000, will rise to 80,000 and then 120,000. And then we have to build the police force and build the reconstruction teams that will make it possible for people to have a stake economically and socially in the future.

So you can see that what you are doing is part of an incredibly important process of creating not only a terrorist-free Afghanistan, but an Afghanistan where there will be democracy and people will have a stake in the future for the long term.

This week we are celebrating, and I know that many of you have been watching, the Olympics where we have had great successes, people who have won medals in areas where we have been breaking new ground for the first time. But this week also, I believe that our Olympic athletes and everybody else in our country will remember that all the year round you show exactly the same courage, professionalism and dedication and you make our country proud every day of the week and every week of the year for what you are doing . And you are truly heroes of our country whom I wish to say how proud I am of you today.

Some of you may have heard of Field Marshal Montgomery and at the battle of El Alamein, just before it, in the Second World War he spoke to his troops. And General Montgomery wasn’t a modest man. When he was asked who were the three greatest Generals in history he said the other two were Napoleon and Alexander the Great. And Field Marshal Montgomery was addressing his troops and he asked them what is the most important thing you have? And perhaps if we went round you would get the same answers. And they said the most important things are tanks, our guns, our equipment. And Field Marshal Montgomery said no, he said the most important thing we have is you. And that is absolutely where we are, the most important thing, the greatest quality we can bring to Afghanistan, the greatest quality we can bring to the world is what you can do and are doing, making us proud every day of your achievements.

I want you to know that the people of the United Kingdom, your families and your friends, support the sacrifices that have been made, the changes you have brought about, the achievements that you have made possible. Thank you all for everything that you do, you are in our thoughts all the time.

Thank you very much.

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.