Jim Murphy – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by Jim Murphy, the Secretary of State for Scotland, at the 2009 Labour Party conference.

Wherever I go in Scotland I am in awe not just of the beauty of our country but the brilliance of our people.

Our cities that have helped shape the world can still have their best decades ahead of them.

Visiting our islands and seeing the wind and wave power technology of the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland and in Aberdeen which we want to be the renewable energy capital of Europe

On the River Clyde hundreds of apprentices I met making Britain safer by building Royal Navy ships

Parents I listen to balancing all the pressures of modern life and putting their children first.

Scotland’s pensioners who worked hard and saved hard to make Scotland all that it is –  probably the most powerful small nation on earth.

And we are stronger, fairer and more self-confident. But after repairing decades of Tory damage we still have a lot to do to build on our success.

Of course we have so much in common across the UK but there are also many differences – that’s the nature of devolution.

But the one big choice over the next year is the same – Labour government or Tory government; Gordon Brown or David Cameron; Gordon’s experience or the most superficial Tory leader in modern history.

And David Cameron wants to make the Tories a one nation party again – but that nation isn’t Scotland.

In Scotland David Cameron is even less popular today than Mrs Thatcher was in the 1980s – but he is no less a threat to Scotland’s families and our economy.

And the Scottish Tory candidates are probably the most hard-line in living memory.

They think the only problem with the 1980s was that their party didn’t go far enough in cutting back the welfare state and they can’t wait to finish the job.

Back then they allowed generations of Scots to get stuck on the dole and would have done the same in this recession because they opposed Labour’s £500 million investment to prevent the newly unemployed from becoming the long term unemployed.

Of course Labour will cut costs, but we’ll protect frontline services. However, the Tories would make savage cuts immediately, they would risk the recovery.

Because they believe in small government; in the politics of sink or swim and in the politics of your on your own. Today’s Scottish Tory candidates are Mrs Thatcher’s grandchildren.

And Scotland’s distrust of the Tories isn’t just because of what they did in government in the last recession but because of what they have said in opposition throughout this one.

They are probably the only opposition party anywhere in the world demanding that their government does less to help those on modest and middle incomes during this global recession.

In Scotland they are hated by many for their past and distrusted by most because of their present.

The Tories still don’t get Scotland. But Scotland gets them. And doesn’t want them back.

It will take an enormous effort from us but we have the team to do it. I am delighted to introduce Labour’s Leader in the Scottish Parliament and Scotland’s next First Minister Iain Gray.

Rhodri Morgan – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Rhodri Morgan, the then First Minister of Wales, to the 2009 Labour Party conference on 27th September 2009.

Conference, I’ve had the privilege as Labour Leader in Wales, of addressing you since 2000, and today I’m doing so for the last time.

Over that decade of devolution, I’ve seen Wales grow enormously in confidence.

Learning the art of government.

Getting used to making our own decisions.

Moving away from the old culture of blaming others for anything that goes wrong.

We would not, and could not, go back to the old days of going on bended knee for help from the likes of William Hague and John Redwood – those figures from what now seems like the prehistoric past.

That era is over for ever and ever.


Dead as a Norwegian blue dodo.

Dead as the Thatcher/Reagan era of ultra free-market economics which ended with the 2008 credit crunch.

What’s needed now is active, interventionist, strong government, helping people through the recession and re-equipping the country for the coming up-turn.

You don’t get that from the free marketeers.

Their only answer is – cue John Maples Tory Deputy Chairman  – ‘this recession must be allowed to run its course’.

What Labour is doing is to intervene for breakfast, for lunch, for tea and for supper, to shorten the recession and reduce the bad effects on ordinary peoples’ lives.

In Wales, that has meant a social partnership, getting trade union and business leaders, local government and the third sector, round a table to get a full understanding of where the shoe is pinching. Deciding what to do about it, so that Wales can be ready for the upturn.

From those summit meetings came the ProAct programme, paying employers to keep workers on their books, instead of making them redundant when orders are low.

But we pay our £4,000 per head in return for up-grading the skills of those employees on the scheme.

ProAct is saving thousands of jobs now and, even more important, it will prove its worth in saving thousands of future jobs because of those improved skills.

That’s creative government intervention for you.

Wales now has our own state-owned bank, Finance Wales, with a £150 million investment fund for small and medium enterprises.

I announced the first tranche of investments totalling £6 million in 37 companies last week.

Also last week, we launched a £105 million fund for our housing associations, mostly from the European Investment Bank, to take the place of the money they can’t get from the market because of the credit crunch.

Where the market fails, Labour steps in, creating thousands of desperately needed construction jobs and meeting our urgent need for new homes.

But active government doesn’t end with beating the recession.

Since I last addressed conference, we have rolled out to every nursery and infant school in Wales our new Scandinavian-style learn-through-play curriculum.

I have never known enthusiasm like it among all our early years teachers and learning assistants.

It’s the biggest investment of new money in education in Wales in decades and we will see the benefit in decades to come, shortening the long tail of educational under-achievement from which Wales has always suffered.

Ten years ago we wouldn’t have had the powers to break with a century of educational tradition in the UK and in any case, we wouldn’t have had the confidence to do it, even if we had.

Now this new curriculum for the 3 – 7 year olds is a fantastic example of inventive government using devolution to the full.

We don’t now teach the bended-knee, or the tug of the forelock, any longer in our posture and comportment classes!

So Conference, a word about the future. Wales’ worst kept secret – I’m not going to be with you next year as Welsh Labour Leader and I’ll be announcing, before too long, the exact details of how and when the election of my successor it going to take place.

Still, it’s the little things which say the time is coming to move on. Two weeks ago today, Julie and I were having a swim on Barry Island beach, taking advantage of our Indian summer.

There was a surf life-saving competition going on and as I’m swimming along, quite powerfully so I think – OK, I’m not Michael Phelps, but I was quite impressed with my powerful stroke – next thing I know there’s an inflatable boat alongside me, and there is Miss Baywatch Barry Island 2009 leaning over and saying, ‘I’m just checking that you’re alright sir’!

At least she said Sir, not Grandad!

It’s things like that which tell you, to get ready to hand the baton over to the next generation.

It just remains for me to thank the Labour Party for doing all the heavy lifting – to get devolution up and running 10 years ago, to strengthen our powers in 2006 and to give me the chance to have been First Minister of Wales.

The Devolution Decade has been the most important thing to happen to Wales since the industrial revolution.

All because of you.

All because of Labour.

And now we need to make sure the British people make the right choice next year.

This is not the time for a free-market obsessed party to take over.

It’s not time to make government smaller when there’s such a big job to do.

It’s a time for a Party that believes in the power of government to develop our public services and to generate the new technologies and the new jobs.

You only get that from one party – Labour.

So, two final messages for this conference.

First, to the whole of the Labour party in this hall and outside.

I know that we are in difficulty now. We have temporarily mislaid that magic recipe for blending the mushy peas of old Labour with the guacamole of new Labour.

Those difficulties will be temporary. We will find that recipe again soon.

Because when the country is in difficulties, the Government takes a hit – it always happens, but when the country is in difficulties, that is precisely when you need the intervention of a government that actually believes in intervention.

That means Labour.

Last, to all my Welsh Labour compatriots here:

Diolch yn fawr am eich ffydd a’ch cefnogaeth di-dor dros y ddegaid ddiwethaf.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming with me on this incredible journey over the past decade.

Your loyalty and support has enabled me to do what I’ve been able to do to lead Wales and establish Wales as a ‘Yes We Can’ country.

I know you will give the same support and loyalty to whoever takes the helm of leadership on after me.

While my Labour leadership in Wales may not have long to run, Labour’s role of leadership in Wales and in Britain certainly isn’t coming to an end.

When times are tough, when the future needs to be shaped for everybody’s benefit, Labour is the one party you can count on.

Ed Miliband – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference (II)


Below is the text of the speech made by Ed Miliband, the then Energy Secretary, to Labour Party conference on 28th September 2009.

Yesterday, I set out why our manifesto needs to be bold. Today I want to talk about what that means for energy and climate change.

Sometimes we think about climate change as a theoretical prospect for the future. It isn’t, it is a reality today.

Earlier this month with Douglas Alexander I visited some of the 2 million people in Bangladesh that live on sandbanks or chars. Their homes were swept away by floods in 2007.

In the village I visited all but four of them were destroyed.

They are at the frontline of the disaster of climate change and that is why it is essential we get a global deal in Copenhagen.

It’s not just in Bangladesh. In 2007, in my constituency, in Toll Bar , there were people canoeing up and down the high street rescuing their neighbours from first floor windows as the waters rose.

I can’t tell you definitively that this was caused by climate change but what I do know is that the floods will be more frequent, the droughts more severe, the heatwaves more deadly unless we have the boldness to act.

So this Labour government has acted.

That’s why we’re one of the few countries to exceed our Kyoto targets.

And we have stepped up the pace.

The first country to have a legally binding plan to do what the science tells us we need: an 80% reduction in carbon emissions.

Now the world leader in offshore wind generation.

A plan for a house by house, street by street refurbishment of British homes.

A commitment to cut our emissions by a third by 2020,

And a transition plan for Britain for how all this can happen.

It’s true at national level and locally too.

I want to pay tribute to Labour councils leading the way on climate change.

Councils like Manchester which have signed up to the 10:10 campaign, along with businesses and individuals, cutting their emissions by 10% next year.

And working with Jeremy Beecham of the LGA, we will work to ensure all Labour councils and Labour groups will follow their lead.

And it’s to support great councils like Manchester that we are announcing a £10m green neighbourhoods programme today so that twenty areas round Britain can be pioneers for green technology.

And I’ve learnt something over the last year.

It came home to me when I was talking about the threat of climate change to a Labour party member.

He was listening to me talking about the dangers of climate change and said.

‘Ed, Martin Luther King didn’t say ‘ I have a nightmare’ .

He said ‘I have a dream’

That’s not just an argument about how you persuade people

That Labour party member was saying that in tackling climate change, let’s not simply set out to avoid calamity;

Let’s make the transition to low carbon part of our vision of a different kind of country: more prosperous, more secure and fair.

And fundamentally, we are the people to deliver on this vision because of the society we believe in because we understand the role of government and markets.

Markets on their own don’t put a price on carbon

Markets on their own won’t ensure low carbon jobs come to Britain

Markets on their own won’t ensure fairness

That’s why we’ve put an end to a markets-only energy policy.

Take jobs and employment.

We know the world is going to move to low carbon. We know there will be jobs.

The question is where they will be?

Take coal. There is no solution to climate change without a solution for coal.

There is a way forward: carbon capture and storage, which traps 90% of CO2 emissions.

It will be a multi-billion pound industry of the future and could create 30,000-60,000 jobs in this country.

But the idea has been around for ages.

The market won’t deliver on its own.

So government needs to act. And this Labour government is acting.

That’s why in the coming session of parliament, we are proposing to raise billions of pounds to invest in clean coal technology.

And so companies can’t just stick with dirty coal, alongside this investment we are proposing tough environmental conditions for new coal.

It’s our approach which says coal can be a fuel of the future, not just a fuel of the past.

Jobs in coal, jobs in nuclear too.

I didn’t grow up in a pro-nuclear family and I understand the strong feelings  about nuclear power in some parts of our party.

But in my view the challenge of climate change is too big to reject nuclear.

That’s why this government ended the moratorium on nuclear, that’s why we’re right to reform planning laws including for nuclear power and press ahead with plans for new nuclear power.

The trinity of clean power is clean coal, nuclear and renewables.

At the core of renewable energy is wind power.

Last week I announced additional funding for offshore wind and now Clipper Wind power are developing the largest offshore wind blades in the world, larger than a jumbo jet, in the North east of England.

And today I am announcing a further £20m to support research and development in low carbon industries, including in renewables, marine, tidal and wind.

But we need to tell the country, all the funding in the world won’t make us a centre for wind manufacturing if Tory local councils around the country stop wind farms being built.

Sixty percent of wind turbine applications are turned down by Tory Councils.

And doesn’t this highlight a broader truth and reflect the difference between ourselves and our opponents.

If you think we need wind power, the Tories wouldn’t build it.

If you think we need nuclear power, the Liberals wouldn’t build it.

If you think we need clean coal, the Greens, if they have ever had any power,  wouldn’t build it.

The truth is we need all the low carbon energy sources.

All of the other parties would put our green energy security at risk, because they would all say no.

So we’re right for the climate, for jobs and for energy security too.

Because what we know also is that when around two thirds of the world’s gas reserves are in Russia and the Middle East, home-grown energy is the way we stop ourselves being ever more dependent on imports.

Our UK transition plan will mean 40% low carbon energy by 2020, saving us a supertanker of imported gas every four days.

Low carbon energy is also home-grown energy.

Jobs and energy security are the benefits of the low carbon transition.

But we know also, that there are costs too.

Our values mean we are determined to ensure British people, and in particular the poor and the elderly, are protected from the costs that we all know will come as we deal with climate change.

That’s why last year government programmes helped insulate one and a half million families.

It’s why a home gets insulated under warmfront every six minutes.

My view is simple: as we face higher energy bills, we need tougher regulation to protect vulnerable consumers.

That’s why we are legislating to be absolutely clear: the regulator cannot rely on markets alone either to protect consumers or to protect the environment.

It was just wrong that people off the gas grid were charged unfairly for electricity. It was wrong and it has been stopped.

It is wrong if people on pre-payment meters were ripped off. So from this month, the licence conditions for energy companies have changed to stop it happening.

And it’s just wrong that the energy companies can bamboozle the most vulnerable customers and don’t provide clear explanations of what the best tariff is. It’s wrong. It will end. And under this Labour government it will.

And it’s also wrong that social tariffs, reduced rates for the poorest in society, are voluntary and that’s why we are introducing a new compulsory system where the energy companies must provide guaranteed support.

So for us being green is about being bold on jobs and fairness and the environment.

And what about the Tories?

David Cameron is good at green stunts.

The huskies.

The bike – with the car and driver following behind.

The wind turbine on the roof.

But I tell you this.

It’s not green to put a wind turbine on your roof when time after time, wind farm applications are turned down by Tory councils, and then refuse to reform the planning laws.

It’s not green to ride your bike to the House of Commons to vote against investment in green industries this year and next which will create the jobs of the future.

It’s not green to visit the Arctic circle, but when you’re in Europe, pal around on the with climate change deniers as  part of your fringe grouping in European Parliament.

For David Cameron, green politics was a way to try and decontaminate his brand.

Other parties will give you green stunts, empty green promises, we’ll give you real, grown-up, green politics.

Labour are the real greens in British politics today.

We know that the stakes are high. It needs substance not stunts.

And nowhere does it need substance more than internationally.

We heard from the Prime Ministers of Spain and Norway what they are doing alongside the UK to get a deal at Copenhagen.

And I can tell you today that the UK will host the next stage of climate talks in London next month. The Major Economies Forum meeting will be a chance for us to push for more progress, where the 17 countries with the highest greenhouse gas emissions can work towards getting a deal in Copenhagen.

There are 70 days left to the Copenhagen summit.

The point of Copenhagen is to do what has never been done before: get all countries to play their part in tackling global warming.

Why is it so important that we succeed now? Because the science becomes ever-more urgent, and if the world fails now, when will we get the chance to act again?

But in truth, Copenhagen is in peril.

Pressures all around the world are making it increasingly hard to succeed.

The world needs leadership and that is why it is so important that the Prime Minister has said he will go to Copenhagen.

But we also need you.

So be part of the campaigns around Copenhagen, be part of our Labour party campaign.

This is the lesson of history.

Look at the great advances of the past:

– Rights for people at work

– Equal rights for women

– Equality for gays and lesbians

All of them took progressive government, but none could happen without progressive forces in society.

What makes change happen is popular pressure.

We know that change doesn’t just happen because politicians will it to happen

It happens because people demand it happens

People who believe that change can happen.

People who know that defeatism never won a single progressive advance.

The people who make change happen are people who are optimists and idealists

People who believe that we can safeguard the world for future generations:

– We are those people

– We are the idealists

– We are the optimists

We are the people who can make the world a greener, a fairer place.

Let’s go and do it.

Ed Miliband – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by Ed Miliband, the then Energy Secretary, to the 2009 Labour Party conference.

Conference, let’s be honest.

It’s been a hard year to be a Labour party member,

A hard year for our party,

A hard year too for anyone associated with politics,

And it’s been a hard year most of all in our communities as some people have lost their jobs.

The test for us is as it has always been – whether we can triumph over adversity.

A year ago when we met, we faced an unprecedented economic crisis. Many said we were in for another Great Depression, a repeat of the 1930s.

Why didn’t that happen?

Because one person, more than any other, understood the need to be bold:

– he didn’t stand by,

– he didn’t stick with business as usual,

– he stood up to save the jobs, the homes and the hard-earned savings of the hardworking men and women of Britain.

That man is our Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown and we are proud of what he has done at home and around the world.

Conference, we know we are in for tough times on public spending in the years ahead. We know that we will have to be even more rigorous on priorities, efficiency and value for money.

But we know also that Gordon and Alistair were right a year ago to take action, and they are right now to keep spending until recovery is established.

And the Tories were wrong a year ago, they are wrong now, and they will be wrong at the coming General Election to say that before the recovery is established, now is the time to cut public spending.

Make no mistake, and let’s go out and tell the country, recovery, and the Tory risk to recovery will be on the ballot at the next general election.

But our argument at the coming election will be about so much more than that.

Today I want to set out the argument that will inform our manifesto.

And in the coming days my colleagues will set out policy announcements, and on Thursday we will publish our conference document which will feed into the National Policy Forum process.

My central argument is that the events that have made politics so difficult over the last year will not go away: they will shape the next five years.

The implications of the economic crisis, the political crisis caused by expenses and indeed the climate crisis.

Against, this backdrop, business as usual just won’t do.

If we are to create the more prosperous, fairer, greener more democratic Britain we believe in we need to be bold in our manifesto and we will be.

The economy of the future must be different from the past.

What do I say to the kid in my constituency, whose parents are struggling to make ends meet, and he sees people walk off with millions of pounds in bonuses, not for creating wealth in this country but destroying it?

I can’t tell him that’s an economy based on people getting their just deserts.

Being bold means facing up to the fact that irresponsible bonuses don’t just distort our economy, they corrode our society too.

We will reform bonuses, raise the living standards of people like his parents and reform our financial institutions so they properly serve the interests of middle and lower income families.

What do I tell him when he looks around him and asks, “What job am I going to do in the future?”

Being bold means understanding that for him, and for young people in this country, we can’t build prosperity on financial services alone.

That’s why even in tough times, we need to, as we are doing, invest in the industries of the future – like green manufacturing.

And what do we say to his parents, and millions of other people in this country who are worried about their job but also worry about many other things in life too: family time, safety on our streets, caring – all things that make life worth living.

Being bold means doing more in the next Parliament to give parents more time with their kids and our parents’ more dignity in old age.

Anyone who’s been through the anxiety of care for an elderly relative knows our system has to change. That’s why Andy Burnham set out a range of choices of individual and government contributions to reform our system.

Conference, by the time of the manifesto we must complete this process so that we can move, once and for all, from an unfair postcode lottery to a new national service for care in this country.

So we will be bold through the recession and after and we will be bold on politics too.

Conference, one of the most depressing things going out on the doorstep is when people of 30,40, 50 years old tell you that they’ve never voted before. One woman said to me recently, “voting, I don’t do that.”

In those circumstances, business as usual won’t do.

Bold reform starts with MPs’ expenses but it doesn’t end there

We need to make MPs more accountable

It means changing the way Parliament works so we have a system that reflects the 21st century not the 19th  – and that must mean a clear manifesto mandate on democratic House of Lords reform.

And we must debate all the other big issues in relation to our democracy, and we must be the reformers in British politics today.

Boldness in economics and politics and on climate change too.

The single most important lesson that I have learned is that climate change is no longer just an environmental issue.

It’s about how we get our energy, what job your kids are going to do and how we travel around.

And business as usual won’t do here either.

Business as usual says we wait for others to act before we do anything. It’s because we’re bold that we are the first country in the world with a sector by sector Transition Plan to show how we meet our commitments to 2020.

Business as usual gives a veto to the minority who say no nuclear, no wind power, and no clean coal either.

But being bold means reforming the planning system as we are the only party committed to do, and the Tories have refused to do, and standing up in the face of the minority who would say “no” to every form of low-carbon energy.

Business as usual says climate or fairness but not both.

Being bold means being open about the fact that there are costs to the transition to low-carbon, but making sure that the most vulnerable are not ripped off by the energy companies – including those on pre-payment meters.

Boldness in climate, politics and the economy. But to do it we need to reform the state and government too.

It’s the people like us who believe in the role of government who must be its most determined reformers.

Markets need our values, but the state needs them as well.

In the 21st century, public services must be more accountable to the people who use them.

Because of the improvements in our public services, we can offer to people in our manifesto guarantees that were impossible in 1997.

For example, a guarantee that all schools will be a good school.

Sometimes this requires things to change.

For three years I went into a local school and I knew the kids were being failed by the system.

Now because of the changes made by Ed Balls, it’s under new management by another school, and it is starting to be transformed by a change in leadership.

And if it happens to that school why not others: so our manifesto will be one which enables the most talented in the public sector to do more, not less.

That’s what our manifesto is going to be about.

And here’s the difference with our opponents: we want to reform public services because we believe in them and we want maximum quality and value for money.

The Tories’ only vision for the good society is to cut public services.

They would make the wrong choices with scarce resources because they believe in protecting the interests of a different set of people.

And they say they want to spend billions on inheritance tax cuts of £200,000 a throw for the richest estates in Britain

And yet at the same time they say they because of the deficit, they have to cut tax credits for ordinary working people.

What kind of choice of priorities is that?

And they have a completely different view of public services as well.

A Tory council has even given it a name: the Ryanair model of public services:

– lots and lots of queuing and waiting,

– a bare minimum service for the many while the few get to pay their way.

That’s the choice we’ve got to lay before people:

The Ryanair model may be an okay way to run an airline but it is no way to run a hospital, a care home, or any of our public services.

– The 18-week waiting list guarantee – gone under a Tory government;

– The 2-week cancer referral guarantee – gone under a Tory government.

– The guarantee that you can see a GP at the evening or weekends– gone under a Tory government;

So let’s be clear: the Tories would sell Middle Britain down the river, on health, on education, just like they did the last time they had power.

I grew up in the 1980s: an NHS where people died waiting more than a year for an operation, children even in affluent areas taught in Portakabins, our great towns and cities forgotten, a country divided between north and south and rich and poor.

Everyone in this hall knows we can’t go back.

Millions in the country know: we cannot go back.

Everyone in this hall knows and millions in the country know: that was broken Britain.

So don’t let anyone tell you there aren’t big choices at this election.

It’s not a choice between who’s going to be a better manager of the system, it’s about two fundamentally different visions of Britain.

It’s not change versus the status quo, it’s what kind of change you want.

David Cameron used to say ‘let sunshine win the day’. Now what he offers is austerity Britain, pessimistic about Britain today and pessimistic about what can be achieved.

We are the optimists in British politics today.

We are the people who say, despite tough times, we can create a more prosperous, fairer, greener and more democratic Britain.

We won’t  do it with a manifesto for business as usual.

We won’t do it with a manifesto for safety first.

The way we will win is with boldness.

David Miliband – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by David Miliband, the then Foreign Secretary, to the 2009 Labour Party conference.


Let’s start with one simple, undeniable fact. The earth does revolve around the sun… but not the one printed in Wapping.

And the sun that we rely on is the one that has been shining on this conference every day here in Brighton.

Led by Gordon’s speech, this week we have not just shown the idealism to dream of a better future; we have shown the ideas and the courage to make that future possible.

Nowhere is courage more needed than in the defence of our country.

So let me start with the war in Afghanistan.

With the men and women of our armed forces fighting a vicious and unrelenting enemy.

And with questions that are being asked by millions of families across Britain.

They are asking why are we there? Can we succeed? Is it worth it?

It is right to ask those questions. And right for us to answer them.

Because I know that for every British soldier killed, there is a bereaved family, a grieving wife or husband, children who will grow up without their father or mother, parents who will never be grandparents.

Words cannot heal the daily anguish of the families of the fallen, or the pain of the maimed.

But we would not be risking the lives of our soldiers if we were not convinced that the work they are doing is essential to our security at home.

Our armed forces in Afghanistan are not just doing a vital job. They are showing themselves to be the best, the very best in the world and a credit to our country.

We know what would happen if the coalition abandoned its work in Afghanistan.

The clock would be turned back to the 1990s, when Afghanistan was a place for al qaeda to seduce, groom, train and plan for deadly terrorist missions.

With the best of intentions we would be risking the next 9/11 or 7/7.

The British people don’t want that. They do want to know that we have a plan that can work. And we do.

The way to defeat this enemy is to divide it.

Separate the hard core from the rest.

Does that mean the Afghan government talking to the Taleban?

Yes, with a simple message:

…live within the Constitution, and you can come home to your communities and have a share of power, but stay outside, in hiding, linked to Al Qaeda, plotting mayhem for Afghanistan, and you will face unremitting military force.

The biggest problem in Afghanistan is that ordinary people don’t know who is going to win, and so don’t dare give us all the backing we need.

The way for us to win their confidence is to make them feel safe, above all with more Afghan troops.

Three years ago the Afghan Army had 60 000 troops. Today 90 000.

November next year 134 000, properly trained by us today so they can defend their own country tomorrow.

We know that Taliban fighters get orders from leaders living in Pakistan.

So to our friends in Pakistan, fighting for their own future as a country we say this: we support you in defeating the threat to your country, and we need you to support us in defeating the threat to ours.

We also know that a successful plan depends on a government in Kabul acting in the interests of the country, not in lining the pockets of the people close to power.

So, we will wait to get a credible election result, and we will not be rushed into a whitewash.

So we back our troops, our diplomats our aid workers in support of a clear plan.

But there is one other thing.  We expect every other government in the coalition to do the same, not by turning around but by re-committing to the mission.

We came into this together.  We see it through – together.

Strong values and sound judgment for the things we believe in.

There are few places where strong values and sound judgment are more needed than in the Middle East.

On Friday we revealed what we have known for some time: that Iran was constructing a clandestine nuclear facility.

On Monday we saw their missile tests.

Today in Geneva, at talks finally convened after 16 months of prevarication, they need to get serious.

Over the next few months, the stakes could not be higher. The Arab world on tenterhooks.  Israel on alert.

Our message to Iran is simple: do not mistake respect for weakness.

You do have rights to civilian nuclear power, and we are happy for you to exercise them, but not if the price is plunging the Middle East into a nuclear arms race that is a danger to the whole world.

I also remind Conference of this.

We have hoped for many years for a US President to devote himself and his administration from day 1 to the creation of a Palestinian state living alongside Israel; if the international community cannot now define, develop and deliver the deal on peace then we will be paying the price in death and destruction for many years to come.

There is a unique international consensus on the terms of what has to be negotiated.

Borders based on the line of 1967, resolving the issue of illegal Israeli settlements.

Both states designating Jerusalem as their capital city.  Security guarantees for Israel. Fair compensation for Palestinian refugees. The Arab world not just recognising but normalising relations with Israel.

Conference, there would be no more historic achievement a re-elected Labour government to be the first country to open two Embassies in a shared Jerusalem, democratic Palestine and democratic Jewish Israel, living side by side in peace.

The starting point of our politics is that all men and women are created equal.  So I am proud that we have helped Pakistan and Bangladesh elect civilian governments, return to democracy, one person one vote, and I pledge that we will not rest until we have done the same for Zimbabwe… and Burma as well.

And in those democracies, like Sri Lanka, where civil war claimed lives and liberty, we say governments have a duty to uphold the civil, social and political rights of all their citizens, whatever their ethnicity or religion.

We also know that for too many people in our world, equality is a dream.

We remember with shame that in 1997, there was no Department for International Development.  The aid budget was falling.

So we are proud that in the field of international development the UK is not a leader but the leader.

Last month like millions of parents in rich countries, I enjoyed that special moment of pride and fear when I held my son’s hand as he went for his first day at school.

Take pride today that because of a Labour government, across Africa, in countries like Ghana and Tanzania and Botswana, 100s of 1000s of boys and girls are going to school for the first time, with universal education not a dream but a reality, thanks to a Labour government.

And if you and your neighbours and your friends are supporters of Save the Children, supporters of Christian Aid and Oxfam, great British charities doing amazing work with the government around the world, and you want funding for development to continue for the next five years, tell them to trust the people who raised the funding, not the Tories who opposed it every step of the way.

Conference, what makes me angry is that the Tories have failed every big policy test they’ve faced. The Cameron plan to deal with the financial crisis was simple: do nothing, sit on your hands, hope it sorts itself out.

To be fair George Osborne did come out fighting. But fighting for the billionaires who got us into the mess instead of fighting for jobs for hard working families.

Friends first, country second.

So let’s make sure they don’t run away from what they said. Let’s hang it round their necks today, tomorrow, every day until polling day.

But it’s not just the economy they would have destroyed.

If we had followed their advice on Europe we would have been irrelevant, on the margins, resented, and completely unable to fight for British interests.

William Hague recently made a speech about his approach to foreign policy.

He set out five priorities.

He couldn’t bring himself to mention Europe.  Except to say he wanted alliances outside Europe.

Wrong values.  Wrong judgment.  Wrong decision.

In the last two years, we have negotiated the release of diplomatic staff arrested in Iran, launched a naval force against piracy off Somalia, sent police and judges to keep the peace in Kosovo, brought in sanctions against Mugabe and his cronies when the UN failed, and led a step change in the fight against climate change.

Mr Hague, you say you support us on all those things; but all of them, every single one, depended on Britain playing a leading role in a strong, powerful European Union that you oppose.

When you say foreign policy has nothing to do with Europe, you show you have learnt nothing, know nothing, offer nothing, and every single government in Europe knows it.

In the European Parliament the Tories sit with a collection of outcasts.

Last week on the BBC, and you should go through the transcript, Eric Pickles, the Chairman of the Conservative Party, explained without a hint of shame that we should not condemn one of their new allies, the ‘For Fatherland and Freedom’ party, who every year celebrate the Latvian Waffen SS with a march past of SS veterans, because they were only following orders.

It makes me sick.

And you know what makes me sicker?

No one in the Tory party batted an eyelid.

What do they say? All you need for evil to triumph is for good men to remain silent.

I tell you conference, we will never remain silent.

When Edward MacMillan Scott, one of their own MEPs, a former leader of the Tory Group in Europe, took these people on, and won the Vice Presidency of the European Parliament, defeating a man denounced by the Chief Rabbi of Poland for an anti semitic, neo Nazi past, what did the Tories do to MacMillan Scottt? They chucked him out of the Tory Party.

It’s tempting to laugh at the Tory policy on Europe.

But I don’t want people laughing at my country because a bunch of schoolboys have taken over the government.

The Tories are not a government in waiting.  They are a national embarrassment.

David Cameron has shown not leadership but pandering.  Not judgment but dogma.  Not patriotic defence of national interest but the white flag of surrender to euro-extremists in his own party.

We’ve seen this movie before.  The last Tory government ended with a Beef War with Europe.  And what happened?  They couldn’t even win it.

The way to stand up for our country in the modern world is through our alliances not outside them.

Those are my judgments as Foreign Secretary in a Labour government.

Proud of the changes that we have helped promote around the world.  Passionate about the work still to be done.

But as a Labour Party member for 26 years I say this:

In every part of Britain, when you think of the extra teachers, doctors and police; when you see the new schools and hospitals rather than outside toilets and people waiting on trolleys; when you remember the legislation for equality and against handguns; when you speak to people getting dignity from the minimum wage or the £1000 Child Benefit or the Winter Fuel Allowance; when you feel that buzz of the Olympics coming to London rather than the world turning its back on Britain.

Tell yourself. Tell your neighbours. Tell your friends. That for all the challenges that still remain Britain is better because the British people elected a Labour government.

And when members of the party, even Members of Parliament, say that nothing much has changed, that we could use a spell in Opposition…tell them don’t do the Tories’ dirty work for them.  If we do not defend the record no one will.

Of course, we are not satisfied.  Our work is not finished.  That is what makes us the agents of change in British politics.

Because what do the Tories really believe?

Scrap inheritance tax.

The NHS condemned as a 60 year mistake.

Trash anything European.

Their great cause for the future, their burning ambition: bring back fox hunting.

If you look at the opinion polls, they are back. But that’s our fault.

The word that matters most in modern politics is ‘future’.

The work that matters most is making that future possible.

Because either you shape the future or you are condemned to the past.

This week we showed which side we are on.

This is not a country crying out for the Tories. It wants to know what we are made of.

So let’s tell them.

Which party has new ideas on the jobs of the future? We do.

Which party is leading the world on climate change? We are.

Which party is the only party with a plan for social care for the elderly? Us.

Which party is standing up for reform of the welfare state? We are.

Which party will build British influence in Europe and beyond? We will.

Which party has the right values to guide tough decisions? The Labour Party.

Don’t believe that we have run out of steam. We haven’t.

So let’s show the country that we’ve still got the energy, the ideas, the hunger, the commitment.

This is a fight for the future of our country.

It is a fight we must win.

Peter Mandelson – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Peter Mandelson, the then Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, to the 2009 Labour Party Conference.

Conference, let me say after these years away – it’s good to be back home.

When the Prime Minister asked me to return to the Cabinet last October I felt a lot of things.

Shock. I think I was as shocked as most of you were.

Surprise. My network of informants had let me down on this one.

Apprehension.  Returning to the goldfish bowl of British politics – and all my fans in the media. It made me pause.

I had been in this movie before – and its sequel – and neither time did I like the ending.

But I did not hesitate for too long.

The pull was too great.

The pull of coming back to serve my country when it was in the midst of the global whirlwind that had hit us.

The pull of coming back to serve this Prime Minister, our leader, Gordon Brown – who was gripping this financial crisis, leading the fightback against it when so many others seemed caught in the headlights.

But there was something else. It was the pull of coming back to serve our party.

I did not choose this party.  I was born into it.

It is in my blood and in my bones.

I love working for this party and those who work so hard for it – even if, at times, perhaps not everyone in it has loved me.

I understand that.  I made enemies, sometimes needlessly.  I was sometimes too careless with the feelings and views of others.

But please accept this. It was for one reason only. I was in a hurry to return this party to where it should be – in government to help the hard-working people of our country.

I know that Tony said our project would only be complete when the Labour Party learned to love Peter Mandelson.

I think perhaps he set the bar a little too high.

Though I am trying my best.

But the fact is our project is far from complete.

A Labour Government has never been more needed.

Needed to fight back against the recession.

Needed to build and secure our future economic strength.

And needed to ensure we pay down debt in a way that is fair and protects jobs, homes and our frontline public services.

And yet, we must face facts.

Electorally, we are in the fight of our lives.

And, yes, we start that fight as underdogs.

But conference let me say this.

If I can come back…, we can come back.

I came into politics to help remake the Labour Party as a party of Government.

My relationship with Gordon was forged when people said we’d never form a government again.

It made us not just modernisers, but fighters… and certainly not quitters.

That spirit still burns as brightly within us now as it did then.

Gordon, I am proud to serve in your Government as you lead the fightback against the global recession.

The policies conceived and executed over the last year have now begun to pull our economy back onto the long road of recovery.

When it mattered, Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling have made, and are making, all the right calls.

Of course, they could have made different choices.  They could have taken David Cameron and George Osborne’s advice to let the recession take its course.

Can you imagine if we had?

I hope these two can find the humility to acknowledge that at every point Tory policy would not just have put the recovery at risk but have made this recession deeper, longer and far far worse.

As we get closer to the election, I want to see them and Tory candidates across the country explaining why they wouldn’t provide the money to help small businesses and families in this recession when they needed it most.

No extra money to boost family incomes.

No money for the tax deferment for business and no VAT cut.

No additional money to help those who have tragically lost their jobs.

No funding for the car scrappage scheme.

They got it plain wrong at every step along the way and I say to every Labour member and campaigner across the country.

Do not let them off the hook.

I certainly will not.

Conference, the foundation of all that we want to achieve is a strong economy.

So what does that mean?

It means continuing to limit the recession’s damage to our economy because when private demand plummets governments must step in.

It means, once we are through the recession – and only when this is clearly the case –  we will tackle the deficit without eating into the fabric of people’s lives.

And it means investing in future growth.

On all three counts, the Tories are on the wrong side of the argument.

I tell you.  Withdrawing our help for the economy now as Mr Osborne demands would choke off recovery before it has even properly begun.

Not for the first time, Boy George is sailing close to the wind.

There are encouraging signs that the economy is picking up.  But recovery remains fragile and uncertain, especially in manufacturing and one of its cornerstones, the car industry.

Our car scrappage scheme has been so successful the money is running out.  The industry has asked that the scheme be topped up.  Conference, we cannot do everything but that does not mean doing nothing.  So today I am extending our popular car scrappage scheme with extra money for an additional 100,000 cars and vans.

In support of our car industry too, this government will stand behind Vauxhall workers in Ellesmere Port and Luton where the workforce themselves have been the main driver of change.

And the same goes for Jaguar Land Rover too.

But all of this only makes sense if we continue to invest in our country’s future growth.  It is growth that will see off recession. It is growth that is key to paying down debt.

More than ten years ago I spoke to this conference as Trade and Industry Secretary about how we needed to renew the British economy and build it around knowledge, science, innovation and enterprise.

But this isn’t 1998. This is a different world.

China and India are undergoing the greatest revolution in the economic history of the world.

The greatest financial crisis of modern times also requires us to rethink our growth model for Britain.

Of course, we should be proud of our record.

Production is up by a third.  More businesses. More research. More people than ever at university.   More people learning new skills although still not yet enough technicians being recruited for our new industries at the heart of our growth strategy.

Some people think that Britain is a post-industrial country that doesn’t make anything anymore.

Well, someone needs to tell them that we are still the world’s sixth biggest manufacturer.

And we will remain a modern manufacturing nation as long as I and the Government remain in our jobs.

But we do need to accept that, during this time, we have not got everything right.

The truth is growth was so strong we started to take it for granted. We nurtured finance – not wrongly, but we should have done more to nurture our other strengths as well.

The potential is there in Britain – we know that. In the services sector, the creative sector, the biosciences sector and in hi-tech advanced manufacturing.

But to release this potential we need a clear plan for growth and this is my mission.

First, with Labour in office, there will be no cap on talent in this country.   People with university degrees and skills earn more, climb higher and create more value.

The Tories think that more means worse. We don’t agree.  Britain gains when every person who is capable can get the chance to go to university, get an apprenticeship or a new skill.

But to make this possible in a tough public spending environment we all need to contribute – government, individuals and employers.

Second. I want to see an innovation nation. Science is one of the jewels in the crown of Labour’s years in office. And we want closer links between businesses and universities so that good ideas don’t stop at the research lab or the library door.

We’re one of the world’s biggest investors in Research & Development. But we still do the R better than the D and that must change.

Third. We’re going to do more to put finance at the service of industry by building up new public channels to deliver private funds to innovative and fast growing companies.

Less financial engineering and a lot more real engineering.

Fourth – no more saying: the market on its own will always sort it out, like some kind of dogma.

Instead, in my department, over the last eight months, we’ve said: “this is viable, and it’s important, but the market alone won’t get it off the ground. And we can help make it happen”.

We’ve committed three quarters of a billion pounds to new manufacturing innovation in Britain.

Investing in low carbon cars and aircraft. New digital platforms. Plastic electronics. Life sciences. Industrial biotechnology. Wind turbine development and wave power.

This isn’t us picking winners as happened too often in the 1970s, when more often the losers were picking us.

This is us giving public support to new technologies without which they may never get off the drawing board.

Finally, we’re committed to making sure that the benefits of investment in growth are felt in every part of this country.

The Tories say abolish the Regional Development Agencies.   We say “go for growth, let’s see what you can do.”

This is the industrial activism we need more of in this country and I am determined to provide it.

Where are the Tories on all this?  When did you last hear David Cameron or George Osborne last say anything about Britain’s industrial future?

I would ask Ken Clarke but his mobile phone and blackberry always seem to be turned off.   Or given that he keeps privately agreeing with me, perhaps David Cameron has cut it off.

The truth is these Tories have nothing to say about an active government economic role because their dogma prevents them.

They just don’t get it.

This failure, I believe, speaks to a wider truth about our opponents.

David Cameron has been pursuing a strategy not of real change, but of concealment.

Yes, they have made changes to their presentation.  The image-making department has done its work and done it well.  Who am I to criticise?

But the Tories seem not to realise that change has to be more than a slogan.  The first rule of any marketing strategy is that it must reflect the product it is selling.

And what is becoming more evident by the day is that, in their case, it doesn’t.  The two faces of the Conservative Party are increasingly on show. The one they want to present to the public of a revamped Tory party. And the other that betrays the reality of traditional right-wing Conservatism.

You know, the Tories seek to give the impression that somehow they have learnt the lessons from New Labour and our party’s march back to the centre ground.

Well, the Tories may have skimmed the headline summary of the New Labour manual.  But they never bothered to read the book.

If they had they would know what real change involves.  They would know what a painful process it is.

We in this hall know what it took to make the change. Show me what has really changed in the Conservative Party.

The truth is that the old Tory right that was rejected in 1997 are quietly feeling at home again with David Cameron.

At home with his tax plans.

At home with the barely disguised glee a new generation of Conservatives is showing at the prospect of deep and savage cuts to public services.

And at home with a position on Europe that sees them aligned with extremists and sidelined in Britain’s biggest market.

That is not change.  Its the same old Tory policies.

So lets take on the arguments about change.

This will be a “change” election.  Either we offer it, or the British public will turn to others who say that they do.

Of course, we must celebrate our record and be proud of defending it.  We did fix the roof while the sun was shining.

We can look at the way we have turned around our public services, our record on tackling poverty at home and abroad, our role as a force for progressive social change.  The minimum wage and the new rights for working mothers and fathers.  And we can feel proud.

But let us remember that you win elections on the future, not the past.

Do not make the mistake of sitting back and expecting people to be grateful.

We must not translate the pride we feel in what we have achieved into a defence of the status quo.

Just as we fight against a Conservative Party that is still steeped in the old Tory attitudes of the 1980s, we must not allow ourselves to fall into old Labour thinking.

The British people have their eyes on the future and so must we.

We are the true progressives.

We must be restless for change, impatient to do more for the hard-working people we serve, unafraid to embrace new reform, new policies and new thinking where it is needed.

We need to think like insurgents, not incumbents.

To challenge. To argue for change. To campaign.

To be the real change-makers in British politics.

This is our task.

We need to fight back.  Of course we do.

But to do so successfully it is up to us to explain – with confidence, clarity and conviction – what the choice is.

The choice between a Conservative party whose judgements on the credit crunch were wrong, or a party providing leadership in the toughest of times.

A choice between a party that lurches to the right the second it sees a chance of doing so, or our party that is resolutely in the progressive centre.

A choice between a party that does not understand the new world we live in or even what has happened in the last year, or a Labour Party that knows the world has changed and we have to change with it.

Experience and change with Gordon’s leadership.

Or the shallowness of David Cameron.

In one way or another I have been part of the last five election campaigns this Party has fought.

Let me tell you a secret.  Deep down in my guts I always knew who was going to win. Even, sadly, in 1992.

This time, it is not cut and dried.

This election is up for grabs.

So conference, we may be the underdogs.

But if we show the British people that we have not lost the fighting spirit and appetite for change which has defined this party throughout its history then we can and will win.

Win for our Party.

Win for our country.

Win for the British people.

Jack Straw – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by the then Secretary of State for Justice and the Lord Chancellor, Jack Straw, to the 2009 Labour Party conference.


I’m hard wired into our party. My mum joined Labour when Clem Attlee was leader.

I delivered my first leaflet in Loughton, Essex in 1955, the month that Winston Churchill resigned.

I’ve been a Labour student. A Labour councillor. A Labour MP for 30 years. 12 years in the Cabinet.

I’m still delivering leaflets – and I’ve even started blogging.

The other day Gordon brought along to Cabinet the man who invented the internet – a Brit – Sir Tim Berners-Lee. With that great gravitas in my voice which befits an alleged elder statesman, I told the Cabinet that being introduced to Sir Tim was like meeting the inventor of the wheel.

Quick as a flash, young Ed Miliband pipes up:

“And what was that like Jack?!”


And Ed’s right. I’ve been around a bit.  And there’s one thing my experience tells me: You never write off Labour.

We’ve faced tougher times before and come through.

We don’t shirk the challenge. And we deliver.

Go back to 1997. If I’d told people in Blackburn then that if they got a Labour government they’d see a £120m hospital, hundreds of old homes replaced by new and affordable housing, and more than twice as many youngsters getting good GCSEs, they’d have thought I’d lost the plot.

But we’ve delivered that and much more.

The first government since the war to oversee a fall in crime. The Conservatives doubled it. Never forget that.

A government which has delivered what has been called a “quiet” constitutional revolution – the Human Rights Act, FoI, devolution, independent national statistics. More open government, more power where it belongs: with the people.

Take Lords reform as well. We removed most hereditary peers in 1999.

Now we’ve got a bill before Parliament to end the hereditary principle once and for all.

Soon we’ll be publishing detailed legislative proposals on a new second chamber to replace the Lords. A chamber elected by the people for the people.

Then there’s the laws to protect the rights of the weak, the powerless, of minorities. We’ve now got the best legislation in Europe on race, religion and women, and it will be better still with Harriet Harman’s Equality Bill.

And it’s only Labour who’s ever acted in this way. Nothing from the Tories – except for just one piece of legislation. On discrimination against gay people. You know what the Tories did? They passed a law to make that discrimination worse – it was called Section 28 and it was disgusting. We repealed it.

Our work is not done but huge progress has been made.

Just look at what we’ve achieved this last year in my department

Stronger protections against forced marriage.

Tougher enforcement of employment tribunal awards.

Opening up family courts.

Measures to prevent house repossessions.

Giving local communities much more say in the criminal justice system.

For example, last December I brought in high visibility jackets for offenders on unpaid work – Community Payback.

Since then more than two million hours have been worked on almost 7000 such schemes and increasingly it’s the local community deciding what the offenders will do.

Conference, we have dramatically improved services available for victims.

We have trebled the money for that great voluntary organisation Victim Support. We’ve provided victims and witnesses with much better services in court.

We’ve appointed an independent Victims Champion, in Sara Payne. Soon there’ll be the first Victims Commissioner.

Now we want to go further, better to bring services for victims together.

So I can announce today that later this year we’ll be unveiling detailed proposals to create the first ever National Victims Service. In a parallel to the way in which the Probation Service is there for the end-to-end management of offenders, the new Victims Service will be there to provide one-to-one care and support for victims of crime.

This service will take some years before it is fully operational but we are going to make a start now. I’ve had to make lots of economies in my department but I have found the money to get this going. £2m for this year, £8.5m for next.

Working with Victim Support, we will start with those bereaved victims whose lives have been torn apart by the murder or manslaughter of a loved one.

Over time the service will be available to everyone who has been a victim of crime – if they want more support we will be there for them.

This is a pioneering idea. It’s what Labour is about. Supporting those who need and most deserve our help.

I didn’t come into politics to cut services. But for sure the taxpayer should get value for money. And sometimes that means making difficult decisions.

We are not going to shirk from them. But we’ll act with care. Treasure the things which matter the most.

Like our key public services. In contrast, for the Tories, public service is almost a term of abuse.

So I say this to anyone thinking of voting Tory:

Be careful of what you wish for. Don’t take the risk.

We’ll make savings when we have to. The Conservatives will cut because they want to.

Entrusting the Conservative Party to reduce the public sector deficit is like asking Sweeney Todd for a quick trim.

George Osborne is already displaying a ghoulish enthusiasm for wielding the knife.

He can’t wait. He can’t resist. It’s in the Tories’ DNA.

It’s why they’ve made the wrong calls on all the big decisions throughout the recession.

And conference, believe me people are starting to wake up to the Tory danger.

My mum, I’m pleased to say, is still going strong, aged 88. She can’t knock on doors these days, but she’s still making the case for Labour.

The other day a friend of hers – a lifelong Conservative – called her to say that at the age of 79 she’s made a big decision. She’s not taking the risk of voting Conservative next time.

She’s voting for Gordon Brown because she says she believes in him.

And if we show self belief we will win next year year.

We all believe in this party.

What it stands for, what it’s done, what only it can do. We have the values, the record, the policies for the future. Now we’ve got to go out and fight for them in a mother and father of a battle – and win.

John Healey – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by John Healey, the then Minister of State for Housing, to the 2009 Labour Party conference.

So Conference, we’ve heard from the people on the panel.

Powerful words about the ways that we – your Labour government – are acting to offer real help through tough times in recession.

Help for firms to stay in business.

Help for people to stay in work.

Help for families to stay – where they should be – in their own homes.

And today Conference, I can announce that we are tightening the rules to help protect those struggling with their mortgage.

From this week lenders will have to tell local councils, as they file for repossession action in the courts. Councils can the offer advice, or help with our special rescue schemes.

If the Tories had their way, there would be no special help on mortgages, no extra jobs and apprenticeships, no boost for building affordable homes.

If they’d had their way, the recession would be deeper and longer.

But we’re Labour.

We’re different.

We believe we have a duty to help when people are struggling.

We believe in using the power of government to protect the poorest and discipline the market.

We believe in the progressive power of public investment.

You know when Gordon Brown asked me to do this job in June,  the first thing he said was:

“John – we must do more”

He backed me as I put together the deal for an extra £1.5 billion in our Housing Pledge – a centrepiece of our Building Britain’s Future plans.

So this year and next we’re backing developers to kickstart housebuilding sites which have stalled in recession.

We’re backing housing associations to build more affordable homes.

And we’re backing councils to build new council homes again – more new council homes starting this year than in any year for nearly two decades.

But Conference we can do more.

So today, I am launching a second round of funding for councils that are ready to help build the new affordable homes we need in this country.

I’m inviting bids by the end of next month.

And before Christmas I aim to give the go ahead to at least 1200 extra council homes.

At this time of all times, with pressure on the public finances, I want to make sure we use the power of public investment to the full.

So I’ve told all private developers and all housing associations that we will now require apprenticeships and local jobs as a condition of public funding.

And I will require the same of councils.

A total of 3000 extra apprenticeships over the next two years.

This is what it means to get the most for every taxpayers’ pound, as we – your Labour government – invest now to help the country through recession; invest now in the homes and jobs and skills the country needs for the future.

And what of the Tories?

They don’t believe in building affordable homes.

Their council leaders describe them as “barracks for the poor”.

Their shadow minister tells Tory councils to block planning for new homes.

This is what they say now, in public before the election. What they plan in secret is even more serious.

Forced by FoI, we now have the record and names from these discussions.

I quote:

“The priorities identified were:

Equalise rents between sectors

Create one form of rented tenure using the assured shorthold tenancy

The private rented sector needs to be cultivated.”

Conference, these are the conclusions of:

4 Tory council leaders

2 Deputies to the London Mayor

and The Shadow Housing Minister.

Secret plans that would double or triple rents for 8 million people in council or housing association homes, and put their homes on the line with two months notice.

If I am wrong, David Cameron can say so.

But he won’t.

I challenged him two months ago, and two weeks ago.

I’m now publishing my letters, and I challenge him again today to come clean.

He owes council or housing association tenants the truth about the Tories plans.

There are two faces of the Tory Party.

The spin, the smiles, the soft words of the Leader, frontman for a fresh Conservative brand.

The harsh ideas and harsh ideology of those behind him; uncompromising, uncaring, unchanging.

Conference, nothing is more important to all of us than our home.

It’s where we are warm.

It’s where we’re safe.

It’s where we eat, laugh and cry with our family and our friends.

It’s where our children sleep at night.

This is why decent, secure and affordable homes for all has always been at Labour’s heart.

It’s what Ben Tillett stood for 100 years ago. It’s what we stand for now.

Proud of our action. Proud of our values. Proud to be Labour.

Harriet Harman – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by Harriet Harman, the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, to the 2009 Labour Party conference.

Since last Conference, we have had twelve months of determined progress towards equality. It’s been a year of promises made and promises kept.

Twelve months ago, I pledged to you that we would press forward on our progressive agenda to help make Britain a fairer and more equal place and conference that is exactly what we have done.

For us, for Labour, equality is not just a slogan – it’s what we are about. It’s a way of life. It’s about our values and how we do our politics.

Equality matters to us because its about people’s lives.

It’s about the right of a disabled person to work on equal terms.

It’s about the right of a woman who works part-time not to be excluded from the pension scheme.

It’s about the right not being written off as too old.

Equality matters to us because it’s a fundamental human right to be treated fairly.

And equality matters to us because it’s the only way you can have a united and peaceful society in which everyone feels included.

And because it’s also the basis of a strong economy which draws on the talents of all. The economies that will flourish in the future are not those which are blinkered by prejudice or stultified by the old boys network – but those which draw on the talents and abilities of all.

Equality and fairness are the very hallmarks of a modern and confident society looking to the future in which everyone is able to play their part.

And conference this Labour Government has made clear that our quest for fairness and equality is not just for the good times. Even through the massive economic challenge of the last twelve months we have not put equality on the back burner. Because, as Labour, we know that it’s precisely when times are hard, that it’s even more important that everyone is treated fairly and that everyone pulls together.

And so the whole labour team fights for equality – under Gordon’s leadership.

And Gordon Brown, as Prime Minister, has indeed taken a proud lead. Last year, for the first time ever, a British prime minister hosted a reception in 10 Downing Street to mark LGBT history month. We celebrate past progress like civil partnerships – happy anniversary Angela Eagle and Maria Exell – but we resolve to step up action to tackle the problems that still persist – like  homophobic bullying in schools.

But advancing progressive causes is a struggle for change. The truth is that it doesn’t happen because of any one individual. Progress is advanced, barriers are broken, changes are made because we are a movement of people who share the same values and because we refuse to give up the fight for what is right.

And we won’t take no for an answer. Labour’s team is an army of equality champions – working with my committed team of equality ministers – Vera Baird, Maria Eagle and Mike Foster – demanding change

Last year’s conference demanded a strong Equality Bill. And through the National Policy Forum we’ve done just that. We’ve shaped a Bill which strengthens the law to tackle race discrimination toughens the duties of all public authorities to ensure that disabled people can live independently and work in just the same way as people without disabilities and which bans the last legally permitted- discrimination – age discrimination – and about time too.

BAME Labour insisted that we do more to increase the number of our outstanding black and Asian MPs – so we have. In the Equality Bill we will change the law so that parties can do more to increase the selection of black and Asian candidates.

Trade unionists have demanded action on pay discrimination against women. Women at work are paid 22% less than men. A 22% pay gap in the 21st Century. That is just not acceptable in this day and age.   But women who work in financial services are paid 44% less than their male colleagues.  So we will make every big employer publish how much on average they pay their women per hour and how much they pay their men. I know this is controversial – especially in the private sector.  But, you can’t tackle pay discrimination if it’s hidden. Good employers have nothing to fear – but bad employers must have nowhere to hide.

Labour Women MPs and Labour women throughout the party have demanded more help for families. So, we doubled maternity pay and extended it from 6 to 9 months. And the Prime Minister, earlier this month, announced that now we will give families more choice by letting the mother choose to either take the pay and leave herself or, when the baby is 6 months old, let the father take the remaining pay and leave. And we remain committed to our goal of achieving a year’s paid leave by the end of this parliament. And, this year, as well, we’ve given more parents rights to flexible work.  Now its not just parents with children under 6 who can request flexible work but all parents with children up to 16.

But we are committed to doing more taking up new battles, recognising the big changes that lie ahead– in our economy, in our family life and for the next generation.

Families are not just parents and children. More and more families simply could not cope without grandparents helping out with the kids.

And more and more family life is not just about looking after children and going out to work but caring for elderly relatives too. In the next 20 years the number of people over 85 is set to double – so just as we’ve backed up families with children, we will back up families caring for older relatives too.

The lives of women today – and their hopes and ambitions are different from our mothers’. And that is the case whether you are a girl school leaver in Scotland or a young mother in Wales, whether you are one of the thousands of wives of our armed forces.

The wives of our servicemen have always held things together at home. And their task has become even more demanding with the men away fighting the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Just like every other woman, service wives want to, and need to, get training, get work, find childcare. But that’s hard if your family has to move regularly and if you are on a base miles away from your parents and in-laws. That’s why Bob Ainsworth, the Secretary of State for Defence, and I are working with ministers across government to make sure that as well as doing all we can to support our armed forces, We are helping our armed forces wives’ so they don’t lose out on new opportunities to get on in their work. Our navy, airforce and soldiers make a great sacrifice for our country and we back them up.  Their wives, too, make an enormous personal sacrifice for this country and we will back them up too.

And we are stepping up our action to protect women from violence and sexual exploitation.

At long last we’ve ditched the antiquated law which allows a man to get away with murdering his wife by claiming that it was her fault because she provoked him.

On rape, though 50% more men are convicted of rape than they were in 1997 – because we’ve toughened the law, got a special squad of rape prosecutors and use the DNA data base – despite that progress we know that there are still major problems in how the justice system deals with rape.

We have got to work out where the cracks in the system are and take further action. Rapists must be caught after their first attack – if they aren’t they just carry on and more women suffer.  And that’s why we’ve set up a review under Vivien Stern. We’ve made progress. But not enough. We’re determined to make more.

And on prostitution. We know that prostitution is not work – it’s exploitation of women by men –  often women who have mental health problems or drug or alcohol addiction. So we’re introducing a new criminal offence of having sex with a prostitute who’s being controlled by a pimp.

We’re stepping up our action to tackle human trafficking. We’re determined to ensure that, especially in the run up to the Olympics, international criminal gangs don’t trick and abduct women from abroad and sell them for sex in London.

And there is a very sinister development which we are determined to stop. You know Trip Advisor – a website where guests put their comments on line for others to see. There is now a website, like that, where pimps put women on sale for sex and then men who’ve had sex with them put their comments on line. It is ‘Punternet’ and fuels the demand for prostitutes. It is truly degrading and puts women at risk.

Punternet has pages and pages of women for sale in London. But Punternet is based in California so I’ve raised it with the US Ambassador to London and I’ve called on California’s governor Arnie Schwarzenegger to close it down. Surely it can’t be too difficult for the Terminator to terminate Punternet and that’s what I am demanding that he does.

A further challenge that we have to tackle in the months ahead is, that seeping in to many communities, is the racism and division of the BNP.

The BNP pretend they’ve changed, pretend they’re respectable. They are no such thing.

They’re still the same party that wanted the Nazis to win the war.

They’re still the same party whose constitution excludes from membership anyone who is not “indigenous Caucasian.” It’s right that the new Equality Bill will ban that clause. There can be no place in our democracy for an apartheid party.

Our active and campaigning parties have proved that the way to tackle the BNP is to be on the doorstep.

Showing that we are taking action for those who fear for their jobs or their homes.

And showing that we are on their side.

Our government is – under Secretary of State, John Denham taking forward co-ordinated government action to address disadvantage and alienation.

Our active and campaigning parties are working with black and Asian communities to challenge the BNP. Tackling the hate of the BNP and showing that we are on their side.

We are fighting back against the BNP.

Conference the poison of the BNP has no place in our communities – not now; not ever.

We all know that unfairness, prejudice and discrimination is not just because you are a woman, or because of your race, or disability or sexuality.

Overhanging all these different strands of inequality is the inequality rooted in the family you were born into and the place you were born. Your class, your region.

Every one of us knows that although we’ve made progress tackling the massive divide that the Tories drove into society, there is still injustice and unfairness.

So clause one of our new Equality Bill will bring in a  legal duty on all public bodies to narrow the gap between rich and poor.  It will be a law that binds all government ministers, and all government departments as well as local government.

By the age of six, the bright child from a poor home is overtaken in school by the less- able child from an affluent home.

In this day and age – who really feels that is acceptable? We certainly don’t. But I’ll tell you who does – the Tories.

The Tories were pretending to be progressive – to pretend they care about inequality. But they’ve ditched that. They are back to their true nature.

They opposed LGBT rights.

They opposed tax credits and plan to cut childcare.

They oppose the new Equality Bill.

We want change – they would turn the clock back.

We’ve built up support for families – don’t let the Tories wreck it.

The progress we have made towards equality – don’t let the Tories wreck it.

Every gain has to be fought for, defended and built on.

This is our fightback conference.

The whole Labour team is the fightback team.

We know what we must do.

We will fight for fairness, fight for equality and – most importantly – we will fight to win.

Iain Gray – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Iain Gray, the then Leader of the Labour Party in the Scottish Parliament, to Labour Party conference on 28th September 2009.

The Tories have not changed.

David Cameron has come a long way.  He isn’t hugging hoodies and huskies any more. He is embracing Europe’s extremists.

In Scotland we are not surprised at the company Tories keep.  We have watched them nuzzling up to the nationalist government from day one.

In Scotland, we do not have to imagine a leader who will say anything, promise everything and be whatever you want to get into office.  We already have Alex Salmond.

A year ago he didn’t mind Thatcher’s economics. But now he’s a Keynsian in the crisis.

A climate change warrior by day, a gas guzzler by night; sending his car round the corner for a curry.

He really did turn up for the opening of a new shortbread tin. And he really did stand up the chief executive of Diageo with 900 jobs at stake. He had an important raffle to draw on TV that day.

While Scots are doing everything they can to get through the recession, what is Alex Salmond doing?

He’s in his Bute house Brigadoon. Picking furniture for imaginary embassies round the world. And choosing curtains for his office in the united nations. Planning tv schedules for SBC – that’s the Salmond Broadcasting Corporation.

No mandate.  No majority.  And no shame.

The SNP are not a government.  They are a campaign. The day may well come when the people of Scotland want a referendum to settle their constitutional future once and for all. But not now, in the midst of a recession. And not on a question rigged by the SNP.

In 2007, in a tight election the SNP won votes by cynically making promises they had no intention of keeping.

Parents trusted them to cut class sizes.  They haven’t.

Students trusted them to pay off their student loans. They didn’t.

First time buyers trusted them to help with their deposit. They let them down.


With twice the resources Donald Dewar ever had, the SNP have built fewer houses, fewer schools, and fewer hospitals than Labour ever did.


Labour in power had a vision of a modern, prosperous, fair Scotland.  We started building the infrastructure to connect Scotland to the world.  We began to heal the Tory legacy in places like Ravenscraig.  We expanded apprenticeships and student places in our universities.  Funded the pipeline from research to jobs, in photonics and bioscience and renewable energy.  Trained more teachers than ever before and guaranteed them jobs.


In just two years the SNP have cancelled the rail links to Edinburgh and Glasgow airports.  They have slashed the enterprise budgets which supported innovation and regeneration.  Halted the expansion of higher education, and thrown 1000 teachers on the scrapheap.

Alex Salmond is not taking my country forward he is dragging it back.

That’s what happens when Labour loses power.

My Scotland would not be a country where two year-old Brandon Muir dies at the hands of his mother’s boyfriend and the First Minister says “everyone did all they could.”  My Scotland would be a country where we would not give up on the 20,000 children living as Brandon Muir lived.

My Scotland would not be a place where the father of a young man stabbed to death comes to his Parliament to be told by the First Minister that he’s going to abolish jail sentences for hundreds of knife criminals. My Scotland would be a country where if you carried a knife, you would go to jail.

Alex Salmond is not lifting my country up, he is dragging it down.

That’s what happens when Labour loses power.

The next election is a choice, between a Labour government or a Tory government. Alex salmond wants a Tory government. His senior civil servants are already planning for it.

The SNP believe that the unemployment, the social division, the fractured lives that the Tories would bring are all a price worth paying for their campaign for separation.

Alex Salmond refused to debate with Jim Murphy – because, he said, he debates with me, every Thursday.

What’s so special about Thursdays Alex?  How about St Andrews day? Clear your diary. Debate my vision of Scotland against yours. Tell us which side you are on.  I dare you.

In the Scottish Parliament from Opposition, we delivered 8000 apprenticeships, stopped the unfair, unworkable Local Income Tax, and forced the strongest climate change legislation in the world on the SNP.

But in Opposition there is so much more we cannot do.

That is what happens when Labour loses power.

We must fight, fight and fight again for the future we want to see.

Last year conference, I said that Labour MSPs would stand shoulder to shoulder with MP colleagues, and with our Prime Minister in the Glenrothes by election and we would elect Lindsay Roy the new Labour MP.

We did.

And together we can do the same in Glasgow North East and make Willie Bain a Labour MP. And then we will make Gordon Brown Prime Minister again.

Together we will defeat those whose sole creed is self interest, whose sole purpose is division whose sole principle is expediency. Whether they are Tories, or nationalists.