Tessa Jowell – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference

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

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

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

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

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

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

A chance to show that Britain delivers.

A chance to show the extent of our ambition.

A chance to showcase Britain to the world.

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

The largest peacetime logistical operation in our history,

26 world championships in 60 days.

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

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

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

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

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

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

We are making huge strides forward:

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

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

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

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

And now we are going further.

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

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

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

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

And all of Britain is playing its part:

Steel for the Olympic Stadium from Bolton;

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

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

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

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

– That delivered the Games we promised

– That brought regeneration to East London

– That transformed a generation of young people through sport.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peter Hain – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John Denham – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by John Denham, the then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, to the 2009 Labour Party conference.

You can’t say you weren’t warned.

When David Cameron said Tory Councils show what a Tory Government would look like he meant it.

They are hard to get rid of’ the Tory Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham moans about his council tenants

Put up charges until people can’t afford to pay, says the Leader of Wandsworth.

Oppose ‘free swimming, free buses’, says the Leader of Southampton

Make people pay taxes – and then make them pay again just to get a decent service, says Barnet Council.

Privatise for dogma. Block new homes, block new jobs and block green power.

Look at Cameron’s Councils to see what a Cameron government would be like.

People like that would never have created SureStart, free swimming, pensioner bus passes, decent homes, apprenticeships, better schools.

These people are different to us. They have different values, different priorities, a different view of what makes the world tick.

Of course, every Labour Council leapt at the chance of free swimming for kids and pensioners. And of course over 60 Tory councils did not.

I’m proud of Labour’s record – your record – serving local people. You fought for decent public services under a Conservative Government; you’ve delivered them under a Labour Government.

More than this when times are tight, it’s Labour in Government – national and local – that makes every taxpayers pound work as hard as it can.

George Osborne says Tory councils save money.

They do.

Just not as much as Labour councils.

Last year all councils made value for money savings of a staggering £1.7bn. And Labour Councils saved twice as much as Tory Councils, putting the money back into frontline services and £100 off the Band D Council Tax.

Councils like Labour Hackney who haven’t increased Council Tax for the last four years but have improved the services they provide.

We couldn’t improve services and save money if local public servants weren’t prepared to work hard, to accept change and be realistic about pay. So thank you.

It’s not always easy.

And I know you do this because you care about the people you serve

And you deserve a fair deal.

The average pay of local government workers has gone up by £6,000 in seven years. The average pay of the chief execs has gone up by £40,000.

And nine chief execs get paid an average of £212,00 a year.

Don’t get me wrong. These are not bad people. Most have given their own lifetime of public service.

But we all know.

It’s just all got out of hand.

And it’s just got to stop.

I don’t want to see the pay or the pensions of local public servants dragged down by public anger at the excess of a few.

I’m not joining the clamour of Clegg and Cameron to slash your pensions. The average local government pension is less than £4,500 a year.

But, I do want to limit the pension entitlements of the very highest earners.

With every council publishing details of high paid posts, their pay, pensions, bonuses and allowances.

I will tackle the boomerang bosses who walk away with huge payouts, straight into their next job.

At the same time I’m giving the go ahead today for another £500m of equal pay awards.

And asking pension providers how we can keep more low paid members in the scheme.

And I can do all this while capping the burden of new costs falling on Council Taxpayers.

And do this because, if I didn’t, it wouldn’t be fair.

Common sense fairness is in the DNA of the British people.

And in hard times fairness matters more than ever.

Let’s acknowledge.

There are people,

People who have voted for us in the past.

Who are asking whether Britain’s fair today…

They’ve seen a lot a change.

Communities have changed.

The world of work has changed.

In the last year everything – life, work, homes, incomes – have changed.

And become more difficult.

For all we have done – to build up the health service, improve schools, raise incomes with tax credits, invest in building and construction – they want to know that we are still on their side.

And for a fair deal.

And if this party does not speak for them – in every street, in every community – then we have no purpose.

That’s why they wanted to hear Alistair’s promise on bankers bonuses.

Why I will make sure Yvette Cooper’s Future Jobs Fund makes a difference every  community.

Why I’ll work with Alan Johnson make sure the public can question how the police tackle anti-social behaviour.

It’s why John Healey is insisting that every single new public housing development employs apprenticeships.

And why I’m investing more money, from the levy on migration, to stop unscrupulous employers of foreign workers undercutting the minimum wage; or putting lives at risk at work.

If people know we are dealing with these issues, they’ll know we are speaking up for them.

And I want to make sure, in every community, in every corner of this country, people know we are on their side. No favours. No privileges. No special interest groups. Just fairness.

And together, we will reject the extremists, the separatists, the people – wherever they come from – who would pull this country apart; not build it up.

Conference, there will be challenges in the coming years.

Money will be tight. But people still have a right to decent services they rely on.

How do we do it? The answer is local leadership, strong leadership, Labour leadership.

I’ve proposed the biggest shift in power to local people and local communities in 30 years.

Labour believes people have the right to a personal service. The right to shape where you live. The right to elect a councillor who can come back to you on every public service in your area.

Councils being able to challenge how every pound is spent whether by the council the health service or the police.

Driving out any waste and duplication. Making every taxpayers pound work as hard as it can.

Not like Cameron’s Councils. Which won’t check standards because there will be no standards.

Where you live, not what you need, matters most. With their prejudice, their dogma, the unfairness, their opposition to jobs and homes and their rush to cut services and make people pay twice.

And I’ll tell you something.

This Labour government funds communities in every part of the country. Whatever the shade of the local council. Of course we do.

But I’m getting sick and tired of Cameron’s Councils who take Labour investment, claim the credit, for the new home, the new schools and the new play areas and have the cheeck to say it isn’t enough – and all the time they are working for a Tory Government that will take it all away.

It’s about time they were honest with the people about their real plans.

But that may be too much to ask so we’ll do it for them.

We’ll tell the truth about Cameron’s councils on every doorstep, in every street and in every community.

They’ve said one thing and done another for too long.

Ray Collins – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Ray Collins, the then Labour Party General Secretary, to the 2009 Labour Party conference in Brighton.

Thank you Chair, and thank you Conference.

I am delighted to be here in Brighton for my second Annual Conference, as the Party’s General Secretary – although it is my 36th as a Labour Party member.

Harold Wilson once said that ‘a week was a long time in politics’

Having been in the job for a year, I now know exactly what he meant.

But it has been a productive year, working together with the NEC to win for Labour, and I want to especially thank Cath Speight,

She has chaired the NEC brilliantly this past year, and who has been a constant source of strength and support.

When I spoke at Conference twelve months ago, I outlined my three priorities for our Party:

– putting the Party on a solid, long-term organisational and financial footing.

– promoting equality within our Party, by making it the personal responsibility of the General Secretary.

– and investing in Young Labour and Labour Students, ensuring our young members are the shapers of policy and campaigns today, as well as the leaders of tomorrow.

Last year I was very frank with you about the financial problems we faced, and despite solid progress, our position remains difficult.

Nevertheless, I remain optimistic for the future.

I am optimistic because your National Executive has adopted a strategy that over the long term will: reduce our debt burden, by utilizing our commercial income and reduce structural costs, so we live within our means

This enables us to guarantee that every penny received in donations from individuals and organisations will go directly into campaigning.

This Give-to-Win strategy is helping us to meet our objective to secure the funds to fight the next General Election,

And on Wednesday, Jack Dromey, the Party’s treasurer, will be announcing an important new initiative to build upon our fundraising activities.

I want to thank Jack and all the fundraising team for all the work that they have been doing. The Party is in a better place financially because of their efforts.

But whilst we have not been able to do all that we wanted – we have achieved much:

Douglas has already taken you through our campaigning strategy, but let me stress again:

675 thousand marginal seat voters contacted – more than twice as many as in the run-up to the last election

4.5 million pieces of personalised direct mail sent to key voters using Print Creator

5 million pieces of print sold through the campaign shop – a real testament to how much work you are doing on the ground.

And our online Virtual Phone Bank – used by thousands of members from all over the country to make over 25,000 phone calls to target voters so far.

There is much much more, that I could talk about for another hour at least, but as I am a humane General Secretary, I will suggest that instead you go along to the Labour Party stand and collect a General Election handbook.

You will also find there a free street-stall pack for every local party, containing postcards and newspapers to be used in your local high street during next week’s Tory Party Conference.

And it is not just the Party who have been innovative – – our affiliates too, both the trade unions and the socialist societies, have been looking at new ways of reaching voters:

Unison, UNITE and the GMB’s development of member-to-member contact through online surveys, emails and phone calls.

The Christian Socialist Movement is reaching out to faith communities, communicating the Party’s record on combating poverty.

Community’s election magazine special, and their campaign drive against the BNP.

BAME Labour have been engaging our ethnic minority communities, ensuring their voice is heard at the very highest levels of the Party

USDAW’s fantastic campaign materials, that celebrate our government’s achievements.

I said last year, and I will say it again, that though we have invested in new technologies – there is no substitute to local activists knocking on doors and speaking to one another in factories and on shop-floors.

We may be outspent by the Tories, but we will never be outgunned.

You, the Party members, and the union activists who give us a direct link into thousands of communities and workplaces, are the true strength of our Party,

I want to thank you for all you did in the local and European elections, and all that you are doing now.

I want too to thank the Party’s staff, who do everything that is asked of them and more. When money is tight, it is the staff who feel it most, but they are undaunted, travelling all over the country to deliver for the Party, and for you, the members – No General Secretary could ask for more.

And whilst I will do all in my power to secure the funds to fight the next General Election, I also pledge to you that the Party’s long-term financial stability will be sustained.

Because we must end the twenty-first century as we began it – as a Party of government creating a better Britain for all.

But if we are to be a Party of the future, then we must not look like a Party of the past. We must reflect those we seek to represent, not just because it is right but because it is crucial to our electoral success across all our communities.

And here I want to say a few words about our policy of All-Women shortlists.

As a party, we adopted this process for one reason alone: the shameful under-representation of women within our Parliamentary Party.

It was not an easy road down which to travel, but the Labour Party has never been about what is easy, it is about what is right, which is giving women their proper voice in Parliament.

Labour Party leads the way on this, and we cannot afford to slip back.

So as your General Secretary I will make the case for your policy at every opportunity, and to those who argue that it is undemocratic, I say this: what could be more undemocratic than a 21st century Parliament in which less than a fifth of its members are women – eighty years after they won the right to vote?

We hope too, that automatic short-listing for ethnic minority candidates will begin to further their representation at a national level.

Because we are a nation of vibrance and diversity. It is our strength, both as a country and as a party, and we must always stand strong against the voices of hatred, who seek only to divide and to persecute.

We have been here before, at a time of economic difficulty, when a fascist party sought to exploit people’s poverty and turn them against their neighbours.

Only then they were not called the BNP, and they were led not by Nick Griffin, but by Oswald Mosley.

We stood against them then, as we stand against them now, and no one more so than my friend and comrade from the T&G, Jack Jones, who sadly died earlier this year.

From the battlefields of Spain, to the streets of the East End, Jack was adamant that fascists would not pass.

I can think of no better tribute to the man, than that we continue his struggle; driving the BNP from Brussels and local government, and ensuring that they never gain a foothold in Westminster.

To this end, we have established an anti-BNP taskforce, led by Harriet Harman, and we want you to join with us, giving your time and whatever you can afford, to fighting the racists and the fascists, wherever they raise their ugly heads.

I think Jack would have been proud of our young members, who have campaigned not just against the BNP, but for the Labour Party;

– spreading the message of our achievements across the country.

They were there in the local and European elections, and, like many of you, they were there in Glenrothes, when we defied the predictions of the media, by returning Lindsay Roy to parliament.

I know too that they will be there in Glasgow North-East, and I hope to see you all there with them, when we elect Willie Bain to Westminster.

And this is what gives me every cause for optimism going into the next election. The media might have written us off, but let me tell you something: the media doesn’t have the first idea about the commitment and the passion of Labour Party members.

The elections in June were tough for our Party, and I want to thank all our council and MEP candidates, especially those who lost their seats to a climate of anti-politics that was no fault of their own.

But wherever I go in the country, I do not see a party on its knees. I see a Party ready to fight,

To fight for the future of a country that faces a very stark choice.

So let us focus for a minute upon Cameron’s victorious councils, the ones he claims “demonstrate Conservative government”, and represent his ‘modern breed’ of Tory.

Bromley and Lincolnshire where the Conservative council have taken steps to use tax-payers’ money to subsidise private school fees.

Essex, where Cameron’s shadow business minister has advocated wholesale privatisation of all public services.

And Barnet, where the Tories want to see a “Ryanair” approach to council services.

“Cheap and cheerful,” says council leader, Mike Freer.

Cheap if you’re a high-band tax-payer, perhaps -, but very far from cheerful if you’re poor or sick or disabled.

The Tories have opposed every action we have taken to tackle the recession.

They would have let the banks go to the wall, blocked support for families and jobs, and would cut public services for the many, at the same time as giving away millions of pounds to the 3,000 wealthiest estate owners in Britain.

Contrast that with Gordon Brown’s help for hard-working families, hit hard by the recession:

300,000 people helped to stay in their homes

200,000 businesses kept open using the tax deferral scheme

500,000 jobs saved

And over 300,000 additional jobs, training, college and school places created, so that the recession has not claimed another lost generation of the young, as it did in the 80s and 90s under the Tories.

Cameron would jeopardise all this, and when we tell the voters this, they listen, wherever they are in the country. This was demonstrated in June, in Hastings and in Oxford – where we made council gains in Cameron’s own backyard.

When I meet members, I know you haven’t given up, you are fired up, because the dividing lines have never been as clear as they are now.

You are fighting back in your constituencies, and you are fighting back in the marginal seats.

And to those of you who think you could do more, I urge you to go to the Party stand, and volunteer today.

Let us prove the media wrong, and the country right.

Let us keep Britain Labour. I know we’re up to the task.

Alistair Darling – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by Alistair Darling, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, to the 2009 Labour Party conference.

Within months, the country faces a big choice.

A choice not just about who’s in Government, but about the values that will shape our country and the opportunities for our people.

A choice that will affect every area of our lives, every aspect of our future.

If we didn’t know a year ago the difference governments can make, we certainly know it now.

When I spoke at last year’s conference, I talked about the scale of the global economic crisis and warned that we may not yet have seen the worst.

Within weeks, the international financial system was in meltdown, the world economy on the edge of the abyss.

There was a real prospect of a repeat of scenes not witnessed since 1929.

Banks unable to give savers their cash. Firms unable to pay their staff.

In the face of such unprecedented global turmoil, no one government could hold back this economic tidal wave.

But I also said last year that the choices made by governments could reduce the severity and the length of the crisis – and help people through it.

That was the challenge.

And when the history of this period is written, this country and this party will be proud.

Proud that the people who led the way in stopping recession turning into global depression were our Government and our Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

We intervened to stop the banks failing.

Not for the sake of the banks themselves.

But because the alternative would have been an economy in paralysis and employment in freefall.

Let me assure the country – and warn the banks – that there will no return to business as usual for them.

So in the next few weeks we will introduce legislation to end the reckless culture that puts short-term profits over long-term success.

It will mean an end to automatic bank bonuses year after year.

It will mean an end to immediate pay-outs for top management.

Any bonuses will have to be paid over years, so they can be clawed-back if not warranted by long-term performance.

We won’t allow greed and recklessness to ever again endanger the whole global economy and the lives of millions of people.

Over the last 12 months, we’ve also acted to help businesses keep afloat and people stay in jobs and in their homes.

By cutting VAT, we put an additional £1billion each month into the pockets of shoppers and retailers.

Through the car scrappage scheme, we will continue to support jobs in the car and wider manufacturing industries.

Through targeted tax cuts for business and more time to pay, we have helped them weather the storm.

We knew that to have cut investment would have worsened the recession.

So instead of cutting, we brought forward planned capital projects, modernising schools, homes and hospitals.

Countries across the world have followed the same course and co-ordinated action through the G20 in a way which has never been seen before.

I can tell you, having been at every one of these meetings, that ministers around the world recognise this would not have happened without Gordon Brown’s leadership.

The results of this global intervention, led by the UK, is now beginning to come through.

Germany, France and Japan are showing signs of growth.

Many independent forecasters now believe the UK too is coming out of recession.

I think it is too early to say so with total confidence.

But I stick with my Budget prediction that, as long as we continue to support the economy, recovery will be underway in the UK by the turn of the year.

I also expressed my confidence in the underlying strength of the British economy and the skills and energy of its people.

And I believe that confidence will prove to be correct.

For if we continue to make the right choices as a country and the right investment for the future, we are ideally placed to make the most of the opportunities the global recovery will bring.

Investing in the new industries of the future, helping Britain lead the way in the move to a low-carbon economy, supporting the research and innovation at which this country shines.

But had we made different choices – Tory choices – the UK and global economy would be in a very different place.

So too would our prospects for the future.

For as well as being a test of leadership for the Government, this crisis was a test of judgement for the Conservatives.

It was a test they failed at every turn.

Every step to limit the severity of this recession and the damage to families, they opposed.

When the crisis began in the global mortgage markets, they thought the answer was less regulation, not more.

When we stepped in to save Northern Rock – protecting the savings of millions – they wanted to leave it all to the markets.

When we acted to prevent the widespread collapse of the banks, they protested we were wasting money.

As the financial crisis turned into the deepest global recession since the 1930s, they alone said we should do nothing to support the economy.

At every stage, the Tories have misunderstood the causes of the crisis. Underestimated its severity. And opposed the measures to limit its impact.

And why did they get it wrong? Because the natural response of the Tories is always to step back, not step in.

In this party, we believe it is our responsibility to make a difference, to help people help themselves.

People sometimes talk about the invisible hand of the market, but the last year has underlined how it must go alongside the enabling hand of government.

The Tories in their hearts believe the answer is always for the government to do less, leaving people to fend for themselves.

So just as the support we have put in place is getting the economy back on its feet, they want to withdraw this helping hand.

Having just come back from the G20 summit in Pittsburgh, I can tell you that no other government is following their lead.

Whether right or left, in Beijing or Berlin, they know that withdrawing support before recovery is secured risks plunging us back into recession.

We can’t sit back and relax.

Many businesses and families are still struggling to keep their heads above water.

If we followed the Tory route now recovery would be put at risk, prospects for growth damaged, borrowing would, in the long-run, be greater.

We cannot – must not – let that happen.

And we cannot – must not – repeat their mistakes of the 80s and 90s when short-term job-loss became long-term unemployment for a whole generation.

The result was the scandalous loss of potential and talent – and a huge welfare bill for the country.

And why? Again a deliberate choice by a Tory party to step aside and let people sink or swim.

It is why a key priority for us has been, and remains, to help people off welfare and into work.

And, of course, to make sure they were paid fairly, for the first time, through the minimum wage.

Introduced by this Government, and again opposed by the Tories.

The success of our approach was seen in record employment over the last decade.

And it continues to show its worth even as the global recession hits our economy.

Unemployment is rising here and across the world. Every job lost is a serious blow to that family.

But thanks to the support already in place, more than half of those who lose their jobs come off Job-Seekers Allowance within three months, and almost three-quarters within six months.

Since November, we have helped over two and half million people leave the claimant count.

It explains why unemployment here, although too high, is lower than in the euro area and in America.

But even when we begin to see growth in the economy again, unemployment is likely to keep rising for some time.

It is not within the power of any Government to protect every job.

But we believe it is our responsibility to support people in every way possible to find new employment.

To stop help now – as the Tories want – would be callous and counter-productive.

So rather than stepping back, we have stepped up our efforts.

Investing £5bn to provide high quality assistance and advice to those who have lost their jobs.

A guarantee for 18 to 24 year-olds of work or training – already 47,000 jobs have been agreed for take-up when needed.

A guarantee, too, for every school leaver of a college place or apprenticeship.

The difficult decisions we have taken – the choices we have made – have been driven by our belief in what Government can do, and our values of opportunity and social justice.

Yes, debt has risen.

Not just here, but across the world, as tax revenues have fallen as the global recession takes hold.

But had we not borrowed, we would have made a very difficult situation far worse.

The recession would have turned into depression, and debt would have been more, not less.

And this increased debt would be spent not in supporting jobs and families now but on long-term welfare bills.

It would have been irresponsible to walk away when the economic shock waves hit our country.

It will be equally irresponsible, once recovery is secured, not to take tough action so we can live within our means.

I welcome the chance of a mature debate on how we achieve this goal – even if it is hard to see the Shadow Chancellor playing much part.

There has, after all, been little that is grown-up about his performance so far.

And again, this country and this Government have set the lead – the first to set out firm plans to put our finances on a sustainable footing.

In the Budget, I laid out how we will halve the deficit over four years.

We are raising revenue by removing unfair pensions relief for higher earners.

And raising the top rate of tax for the very highest incomes.

Because it is right that those who earn the most should shoulder the biggest burden.

And to make sure people can’t avoid paying their fair share, we and other countries are cracking down on offshore tax havens.

We’ve already demanded details of over 100,000 offshore accounts.

And this will mean billions of extra unpaid tax returning to our country, with an expected £1bn from our agreement with Lichtenstein alone.

In contrast, what are the Tories doing? What’s their priority? Their priority is to cut inheritance tax for some of the richest families in the nation.

This cannot be the priority at a time like this.

But the steps we’ve taken to raise revenue are not enough.

In order to get borrowing down, spending will have to be tighter in the years ahead, against a background where public investment has tripled over the past decade.

I believe the public understand that difficult decisions will be needed.

The public know that adjusting to this new reality won’t be quick, it won’t be easy

They are right. But this makes it even more important that these difficult decisions are taken for the right reasons.

For just as there was a choice over tackling the recession and helping the recovery, so there is on public spending.

A choice between a Labour Government which believes passionately that front-line public services are vital to support everyone to meet their ambitions.

And a Tory party which has reverted to type and is relishing the chance to swing the axe at the public services millions rely on.

Cuts driven by ideology – not by what’s right for families and for the country.

We have already seen the damage such an approach inflicts on the fabric of our nation.

After 18 years of Tory neglect of our public services, the question was not whether every classroom had a computer, but whether every school had a proper roof.

In healthcare, the question for far too many was not whether you could get your operation in weeks, but whether you could get it at all.

A legacy of disdain and underinvestment, of shaming poverty among the young and old, a lack of hope among millions of families.

The result of a Tory party which deep down sees public services as essential only for those who have failed to do well enough to go private for their health care or education.

It was a legacy we have worked hard to put right.

Half a million children lifted out of poverty thanks to increased child benefit and tax credits.

Practical support for families through Sure Start Children’s Centres – like the one I visited today.

The best ever exam results for our children.

Average time on an NHS waiting list down from 13 to just four weeks.

Helping families through support for childcare and dramatically improved maternity leave and pay.

We won’t put these improvements at risk. We intend to build on them.

Tighter spending doesn’t mean a return to the Tory dark ages.

It does mean a determination to cut waste, cut costs – and cut lower-priority budgets.

This will require difficult decisions.

I haven’t shirked them in the past, I won’t shirk them now.

We must keep the public finances on a sustainable path.

The long-term health of our economy depends on it.

That is why we will introduce a new Fiscal Responsibility Act to require that the Government reduces the budget deficit year on year, ensuring that the national debt remains sustainable in the medium term.

But we need to do that rationally, in a way that is right for the economy, not driven by dogma.

The Tories’ approach is wrong, is naïve, and down right dangerous.

It will damage our economy now and in the future.

In the next few weeks, I will set out in the Pre-Budget Report how we will protect front-line public services, bring the deficit down, and invest in the country’s future.

We will invest to make our economy grow.

Growth is the best way of reducing debt, creating jobs, and raising living standards.

The low-carbon economy will create tens of thousands of new jobs.

But this won’t happen on its own – government must work with business.

High-speed rail links will help us tackle climate change and boost our economy.

Again, they won’t happen without government support.

We need thousands of new homes for families – we will work with the industry to ensure they are built.

We are world leaders in innovation and technology – we will continue to invest, to harness this ingenuity and create new industries and new jobs.

Extending opportunities to all, removing the barriers which stop people playing their full role in our economy and society.

Fairness, opportunity and responsibility will underpin everything we do.

The last 12 months, more than any time in recent history, has demonstrated the difference Government can make.

The Tories have been wrong on tackling the recession. They are wrong on how to ensure recovery. And they will make the wrong decisions on our public services.

They are wrong because on every question, the Tory answer is to step back, to walk away, to leave people on their own.

So that will be the choice in the next few months.

Maturity and experience against the politics of the playground.

Investment in the future against a return to the past.

I am proud of the difference we’ve made to this country over the past 12 years.

Proud of our judgement and determination over the last 12 months.

And we should be confident we can win the support of the country to keep taking Britain forward.

We have a good story to tell.

It’s time for all of us to go out and tell it.

Yvette Cooper – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by Yvette Cooper, the then Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, to the 2009 Labour Party conference.


12 months ago we gathered in Manchester with the world economy on the brink of disaster

Think back for just a moment

Banks bigger than nations teetering on the edge of collapse.

Fearful families moving their savings from bank to bank.

The madness of markets in crisis.

The terrifying realisation that things people had taken for granted might all come crashing down

And yet in the midst of that crisis we learnt something else:

The strength of peoples, governments and nations standing together, arms stretched from country to country;

First to calm the wildness of the storm

And then to stop recession turning into slump;

And we learnt too how much we owe to the strong leadership of our Chancellor and our Prime Minister. And we should start our debate by thanking them now: Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown.

Never forget how close we came to catastrophe last year.

And never forget how easy it would have been for governments to stand back, to turn their backs, to retrench.

That was what governments across the world did in the thirties. And for years working people paid the price.

That was what the Tory government did here in the 80s. And for generations entire communities paid the price.

And that is what David Cameron and George Osborne wanted us to do again.

Conference we know unemployment is never a price worth paying. We will never leave people to stand alone.

Our Labour government will never turn its back on those hit by recession or global crisis.

We know unemployment hurts. Unemployment scars.

That’s why we are putting an extra £5bn into jobs and training.

And conference that support and our welfare reforms have made a difference. In just three months this summer more half a million people who were out of work found jobs.

But it’s still hard. Now is the time to increase – not cut back – on the programmes that help people get jobs.

Programmes like the Local Employment Partnerships between Job Centre plus and businesses that are getting people off benefit and into jobs in every one of our constituencies.

Helping people like Anthony in Castleford, who got a job after 14 months on the dole and told me its transformed his life — he’s got his own place, started management training, and been on his first ever holiday abroad.

I spoke to Rebecca Robertson, at Job Centre Plus in Castleford who helped Anthony get work about how she does it. She said; “I like to get under the employers skin – know what they really need. Then I can make sure I get people ready for the job.” She gets people training, boosts their confidence, and even goes to the interview with them if they need it – and she takes a spare tie and a spare pair of tights along just in case.

Conference, its people like Rebecca, going the extra mile to help people not just get a job but build a future. That’s public service.

But we need still to be much more ambitious. There are thousands more people like Anthony.

So we will do more. I can announce today that we will expand those successful local partnerships to help far more people. Already they’ve helped over 250,000 people into jobs. Now we will treble our original plans to help a total of over 750,000 people into jobs by the end of next year.

Because no one should be denied the dignity of work.

Across the country, major employers have been signing up to the Backing Young Britain campaign.

From Bradford to Brighton, Coatbridge to Cardiff, councils, housing associations, football clubs and countless community organisations are signing up to our £1bn fund to deliver over 100,000 youth jobs, as we guarantee no young person is stuck on the dole more than 12 months.

Even Tory Councils are signing up. Praising the programme and claiming the credit in their local papers.

But hang on. Where do they think the money is coming from for those jobs? I’ll tell you where. Its coming from £5bn extra this government has provided to boost the economy.

£5bn that George Osborne believes should never be spent.

£5bn the Tory party is determined to cut.

Conference we need to challenge every Tory MP, every Tory councillor and candidate to tell young people why their party wants to destroy their jobs.

Conference the Tory party want to turn their backs on young people again. And we must not let them get away with it.

So what would David Cameron put in place of training places and support he would cut?

Just one policy. As he told Tory party members in July: “50 of our candidates, MPs and councillors are setting up job clubs.” Instead of 100,000 youth jobs, 50 Tory job clubs.

Imagine it. Job clubs run by Tory MPs.

David Cameron might have some useful advice on interview techniques.

William Hague would certainly be able to help on getting second jobs or making extra cash on the side.

But what about the rest?

John Redwood on how to look interviewers in the eye.

Ken Clarke on how to dress for success.

You know what Norman Tebbit’s advice would be: take a cycling proficiency course.

Conference, may be there’s a reason why David Cameron doesn’t get the importance of training and employment support.

For his first job he got a royal equerry to ring up on his behalf. For his second job he got his mother in law Lady Astor to put in a good word.

Conference, that’s not how people like Anthony in Castleford get jobs.

Back in the real world thousands of people rely on the help from training colleges and Job Centres the Tories want to cut.

Conference, the Tories say we can’t afford to invest in the unemployed. I say  we can’t afford not to.

Look at the facts. For every 100,000 people we get off unemployment we save £700m.

There is no better way to cut the deficit once the economy is growing than to get people off benefit and back into work.

That is why we will make sure no one is written off.

Keeping up the employment support and the welfare reform that is getting people back off long term benefits and into jobs.

Helping disabled people overcome discrimination to work.

Helping parents get the child care they need.

More support and also making sure everyone does their bit.

Working with businesses, the voluntary sector in the Flexible New Deal.

Not a passive welfare state, but active support for work.

David Cameron doesn’t believe in active government to help the unemployed because he doesn’t believe in active government.

Their campaigns for Broken Britain, for an age of Austerity, all designed to break people’s faith in a brighter future.

He wants us to despair of purpose of politics or the role of government so they can roll back the bounds of government – a counsel of despair that would have run Britain into ground if we had followed it last year.

We know things are tougher in recession. But we know if we stand together we can come through it stronger.

And we know there will be tough choices on the public finances. But we will make those tough choices guided by our vision of a fairer Britain, for our parents, children, neighbours.

That is why we will increase the top rate of tax and we won’t cut inheritance tax for millionaires.

It is why we will keep helping families.

Backing Sure Start and child benefit.

Making sure mums and dads can balance work and family life.

Helping carers.

Putting into law our commitment to end child poverty for ever.

That is why we will keep doing more to help pensioners.

Tackling decades of unfairness so millions of women can get full basic state pensions that should be their right.

Requiring employers to make pension contributions for the first time for millions of low paid workers.

And conference, because fuel bills are still high, as well as paying the Winter Fuel Allowance at the higher rate again, I can announce we will also pay Cold Weather Payments at the higher rate again cold

But conference you can’t do any of those things if you don’t believe in the role of government.

You can’t do any of those things if you don’t believe in standing together to help build a fairer country.

You can’t do any of those things if you have a Tory government

In the thirties one of the first ever women Labour MPs, Ellen Wilkinson, marched with our fore fathers from Jarrow to fight for jobs.

In the eighties I marched with my father and with many of you under the Union Banners to fight for Jobs.

But Conference. We marched then in vain. Because we didn’t win the arguments. We didn’t win power. And there was nothing more we could do.

That’s why we have to fight now. That is why there is so much at stake. That’s why the Labour Party today has more to fight for than ever.

We owe it to the young people today, but also to the Jarrow marchers we couldn’t help, to the 80s unemployed we couldn’t support.

We owe it to them to fight for every vote, to fight together to win the next election and to build a fairer Britain.

Andy Burnham – 2009 Speech to the Labour Party conference


Below is the text of the speech made by the then Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, at the 2009 Labour Party conference.


Let me start by getting one thing straight – for people at home, I give you the original and only Party of the NHS.

We made it.

We saved it.

Our greatest success.

And make no mistake – the coming election is a fight for its future.

To be a Labour Health Secretary is a huge privilege, and I know I have a responsibility to you all to celebrate Labour’s NHS every day until polling day.

But I had an interesting start to the job with a flu pandemic declared in my first week.

Say what you like about that Alan Johnson but you have to admit his political timing is immaculate!

Alan did a great job in leading the NHS to the strongest position in its history, building on the work of Patricia, John, Alan and Frank.

But, the real debt of thanks we all owe is to NHS staff.

We saw their remarkable resilience as they helped the country cope with the first wave of swine flu, and I know we can count on them again to pull us through a challenging winter.

Conference, please join me in showing our appreciation of them.

Recently, I had my own personal reminder of the value of our NHS.

Two weeks ago, my Dad had a heart bypass at Broad Green Hospital in Liverpool.

It was stressful for all my family, but his care quite simply could not have been better.

So good in fact, we’ll have him looking after the grandkids again in just a few days.

The NHS is helping thousands of people like my Dad get more out of life.

Today, people wait weeks for a heart bypass operation.

Under the Tories, it could be over a year.

Just pause on that for one moment, and think what it means.

How many poor sods never made it off those shameful Tory waiting lists?

How many went so far downhill that life was never the same again?

That’s the difference that Labour has made.

On our watch, 33 000 fewer deaths from heart disease each year – not statistics, but people living longer thanks to the NHS and every single one of them someone’s mum, dad, gran or granddad.

Conference, these are the things that matter.

Human and social progress on a grand scale.

When times are tough, and you wonder whether politics is worth all the hassle, you should think about these changes and stand proud.

Because we collectively made health our priority, lives have been saved.

Labour’s great success – an NHS no longer second-class but Britain’s best-loved institution.

Newspapers haven’t fixed the NHS; it’s Labour wot won it.

In 1997, it had sunk so low that some doubted its survival. Amazingly, some still do.

When I first heard talk of a ’60 year mistake’, I thought – that’s good, at least someone from the Tories is owning up to how bad waiting times used to be.

But no: a slip of the mask; right-wingers so addicted to running down our NHS that they’ll get on a plane to America to do it.

Conference, let’s send a message back to the likes of Mr Hannan:

There is only one 60-year mistake, Daniel, and it’s your party’s abject failure since 1948 to give the NHS the money or backing it deserves.

Tories don’t change their spots.

What they change is their tune when they want to get elected.

You all remember what happened the last time a Tory leader said the NHS was safe in their hands  She left it in intensive care.

And now, without a hint of irony or apology, the Party of the NHS.

When I look out here today, I know every Labour soul I see has spent a lifetime sticking up for the NHS.

Next week, when Mr Cameron looks out on his own conference, how many of the faces staring back will shift in their seats if he repeats his claim.

Picture the scene – the gathered ranks of the so-called ‘Party of the NHS’.

More private health care insurance under one roof that at the British Banking Association’s AGM.

Your sales-speak doesn’t ring true to me, David.

I remember in July 2002, when you and I were new MPs.

You walked through the ‘No’ lobby in the commons to vote against more money for the NHS: funding the Wanless review had said was vital.

Answer me this: where would the NHS be today if you had won that vote?

It is strong today because Labour backed up its words with actions.

When we say the NHS is safe in our hands, we mean it.

But, Conference, our job is not yet done.

I have to admit, we still get patient complaints.

For instance here’s a story from the Burton Mail earlier this year…

Waiting times at Burton’s Queens Hospital have fallen so much that patients are complaining that their treatment is too fast.

The NHS is a good service today, yet our ambitions for it go higher.

In the next decade, our mission must be to take it from good to great, more preventative and people-centred, keeping people well and out of hospital, empowering them to choose what they know is best for them and where they want to be treated.

So, starting with cancer services, let’s show what a great NHS could look like with a new phase of radical reform, not imposed but built around patients and led by staff.

We bank our progress by making our 2-week urgent referral target a permanent right.

But then we go further.

Too many cancers are found too late.

So the next push in our battle against cancer will be to switch money into early diagnosis.

By giving GPs direct access to ultrasound and MRI scans, and working towards a one-week right to get the results, up to 10,000 lives can be saved every year.

It’s a question of priorities – but money spent up front means less spent in hospitals on prolonged and invasive treatment for advanced cancers.

David Cameron says he will scrap our cancer guarantees.

Conference, we have a job to do.

The Tories hate to talk of the detail of their NHS policies.

That’s why, in every conversation, on every doorstep, we must expose the real choice for patients.

A great NHS will take this principle of earlier intervention into other areas such as mental health, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and dementia, and Gillian Merron and I will bring forward a prevention strategy later this year.

Labour compassion with hard-headed realism about the new financial climate.

Let’s be clear – the era of large catch-up funding growth is over.

Taxpayers have well funded the NHS and now rightly expect more for their money.

That’s why we need an unprecedented productivity and efficiency drive – saving £15 to £20 billion over the next four years, the money we need for new NHS priorities.

A big ask, but what a prize.

If it’s to be done with care, we need to give the service time to plan. And, as Mike O’Brien has said, we prioritise front-line services at all times.

But we also need a cleverer way of driving reform.

We don’t want to impose top-down solutions on staff.  They will have the chance to rise to the challenge.

Ann Keen and I will work with the health trade unions, through our social partnership forum, to empower staff – because they are always the best agents of change.

But a great NHS will see things always through the eyes of its patients and that’s why our reform journey must accelerate.

I cannot see why families shouldn’t register with the GP practice that suits them best.

So, I’ve said we’ll abolish GP practice boundaries within a year.

Too often, hospitals can tick all the boxes that Whitehall demands but miss what matters most to the public – how they are spoken to, how clean the hospital is and yes, how much it costs to park the car.

So, from now on, I intend to link the way hospitals are paid to quality and patient satisfaction rates to get real focus on what matters to people.

Success is not just about getting the big things right,  it’s about getting the little things right too.

When people are coming in to hospital, the last thing they want to worry about is keeping the car parking ticket up-to-date. But, for families of the sickest patients, the costs can really rack up.

It’s not right if some people don’t get visitors every day because families can’t afford the parking fees. And yet we all know that having friends and family around helps patients get better more quickly.

I am clear we will make year-on-year savings from back-office costs and I want to see some of those benefits coming back directly to patients and their families.

Conference, we can’t do it overnight. But, over the next three years, as we can afford it, I want to phase out car parking charges for in-patients, giving each a permit for the length of their stay which family and friends can use.

A move symbolic of an NHS at all times on the side of ordinary people.

And the NHS will only fulfil its potential when it has a stronger partner in social care.

Phil Hope has done great work, with personal budgets and more help for carers.

But the care system is a cruel lottery, where those whose needs are greatest face the biggest costs – the same unfairness that the NHS set out to end.

Families face the pain of seeing loved-ones decline, whilst fighting a daily battle with the system to get help and seeing everything they have worked for whittled away.

It’s the biggest social unfairness of these modern times.

Politicians have ducked reform because the options are tough. But to leave alone, letting people fend for themselves, means we fail another generation of older people – the post-war generation soon to reach 70, who unlike their parents, own their homes outright.

I don’t want that for my parents, nor anyone else’s.

Nor am I proud of a system where the majority of care workers – who do some of society’s most crucial jobs – earn only around the national minimum wage.

Conference, we can do better than this.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister placed social care centre stage for the coming election and Labour’s big idea – the National Care Service.

A fairer and better quality care system, where everyone gets some help, where staff are properly rewarded, giving peace of mind in retirement.

A great NHS working alongside a new National Care Service – that’s a vision worth fighting for.

Just as President Obama shows courage by trying to create a fair healthcare system, so we must take this moment to create a fair social care system.

The country looks to Labour – no-one else will do it.

There’s only one Party of the NHS.

And that’s us.

Gordon Brown – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by the then Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, to the 2009 Labour Party Conference.

You know friends, it is the fighters and believers who change the  world. We’ve changed the world before, and we’re going to change the world again.

And you know, our country faces the biggest choice  for a generation. So we need to fight; not bow out, not walk away, not give in, not give up, but fight. Fight to win for Britain.

Because if anyone says that to fight doesn’t get you anywhere, that politics can’t make a difference, that all parties are the same, then look what we’ve achieved together since 1997: the winter fuel allowance, the shortest waiting times in history, crime down by a third, the creation of Surestart, the Cancer Guarantee, record results in schools, more students than ever, the Disability Discrimination Act, devolution, civil partnerships, peace in Northern Ireland, the social chapter, half a million children out of poverty, maternity pay, paternity leave, child benefit at record levels, the minimum wage, the ban on cluster bombs, the cancelling of debt, the trebling of aid, the first ever Climate Change Act; that’s the Britain we’ve been building together, that’s the change we choose.

And so today, in the midst of events that are transforming our world, we meet united and determined to fight for the future.

Our country confronts the biggest choice for a generation.  It’s a choice between two parties, yes.  But more importantly a choice between two directions for our country.

In the last eighteen months we have had to confront the biggest economic choices the world has faced since the 1930s.

It was only a year ago that the world was looking over a precipice and Britain was in danger. I knew that unless I acted decisively and immediately, the recession could descend into a great depression with millions of people’s jobs and homes and savings at risk.

And times of great challenge mean choices of great consequence, so let me share with you a little about the choices we are making.

The first choice was this: whether markets left to themselves could sort out the crisis; or whether governments had to act. Our choice was clear; we nationalised Northern Rock and took shares in British banks, and as a result not one British saver has lost a single penny. That was the change we chose. The change that benefits the hard working majority, not the privileged few.

And we faced a second big choice – between letting the recession run its course, or stimulating the economy back to growth. And we made our choice; help for small businesses, targeted tax cuts for millions and advancing our investment in roads, rail and education. That was the change we chose – change that benefits the hard working majority and not just a privileged few.

And then we had a third choice, between accepting unemployment as a price worth paying, or saving jobs.  And we in Britain made our choice, it’s meant half a million jobs saved. And so Conference even in today’s recession there are 29 million people in work.  2 million more men and women providing for their families than in 1997.

And then we faced the mortgage choice –to do nothing as repossessions rose or save the family homes people have worked so hard to buy. 200,000 homeowners given direct government support to stay in their home. That was the change we chose – change that benefits the mainstream majority and not just a few.

And then we faced another choice; between going our own way, or acting with other countries. And everybody knows the choice we made – we picked internationalism over isolationism, leading the G20 to a global deal that will save 15 million jobs.

Every government across Europe made the choice to act.  Every government across the G20 chose to act. Almost every major political party across the world chose to act.

Only one party thought it was best to do nothing.

Only one party with pretensions to government made the wrong choice; the Conservative Party of Britain.

They made the wrong choice on Northern Rock.

The wrong choice on jobs and spending.

The wrong choice on mortgage support.

The wrong choice on working with Europe.

The only thing about their policy that is consistent is that they are consistently wrong.

The opposition might think the test of a party is the quality of its marketing but I say the test for a government is the quality of its judgement.

The Conservative Party were faced with the economic call of the century and they called it wrong.

And I say a party that makes the wrong choices on the most critical decisions it would have faced in government should not be given the chance to be in government.

And what of the big choices that this country has to make now – to help young people into work or to see, like the 80s, a wasted generation. And I’ll tell you the choice we’re making. To reject every piece of Conservative advice and instead we will ensure school leavers training, guarantee the young unemployed work experience, expand university places and to increase, not cut the apprenticeships we need. I’m sorry to say that by opposing these measures conservative policy would callously and coldly return us to the lost generation and cardboard cities of the 1980s – we say never again. That’s the change we choose, the change that benefits the many, not the few.

Every day we are facing the business choice – to support our companies from car manufacturers to the self-employed or simply let great British businesses go to the wall. And we are making our choice. Labour believes in the businesses and enterprise of Britain. More than 200,000 agreements signed to give direct support to small businesses.

That was the change we chose; change that benefits the enterprising backbone of Britain. In opening up planning in improving transport, in opting for nuclear energy it is Labour that is the party of British business and British enterprise and the Conservative Party’s whose policy has been to walk away.

And the Conservatives were wrong on all these choices, because they were wrong about something more fundamental still.

Because what let the world down last autumn was not just bankrupt institutions but a bankrupt ideology. What failed was the Conservative idea that markets always self-correct but never self-destruct. What failed was the right wing fundamentalism that says you just leave everything to the market and says that free markets should not just be free but values free.

One day last October the executive of a major bank told us that his bank needed only overnight finance but no long term support from the government.

The next day I found that this bank was going under with debts that were among the biggest of any bank, anywhere, at any time in history. Bankers had lost sight of basic British values, acting responsibly and acting fairly.  The values that we, the hard working majority, live by every day.

Like the small businessman who came to see me when his credit dried up at the bank. He was crying with the shame of missing some payments, but so responsible was he, that he was determined that every penny he owed would be paid. Or like the woman who wrote to me and said that when we announced our decision to rescue Icesave and her family’s savings it was the first night’s sleep she’d had since the crisis started.

When markets falter and banks fail it’s the jobs and the homes and the security of the squeezed middle that are hit the hardest. It’s the hard pressed, hard working majority – the person with a trade, the small business owner, the self-employed. It’s the class room assistant, the worker in the shop, the builder on the site.

It’s the millions of people who do their best and do their bit and in return simply want their families to get on not just get by.

It’s the Britain that works best not by reckless risk-taking but by effort, by merit and by hard work.

It’s the Britain that works not just by self-interest but by self-discipline, self-improvement and self-reliance.

It’s the Britain where we don’t just care for ourselves, we also care for each other.

And these are the values of fairness and responsibility that we teach our children, celebrate in our families, observe in our faiths, and honour in our communities.

Call them middle class values, call them traditional working class values, call them family values, call them all of these; these are the values of the mainstream majority; the anchor of Britain’s families, the best instincts of the British people, the soul of our party and the mission of our government.

And I say this too; these are my values – the values I grew up with in an ordinary family in an ordinary town.

Like most families on middle and modest incomes we believed in making the most of our talents.

But we knew that no matter how hard we worked free education was our only pathway to being the best we could be.  Because like most parents, my parents could not easily afford to put me and my brothers through fee paying schools.

And I come from a family which, independent and self reliant as it was, could not have kept going without the compassion and caring of the NHS, because my parents could not easily have afforded to pay for operations on my eyes.

So I come from a family for whom the NHS was quite simply the best insurance policy in the world.

For us the NHS has not been a sixty year mistake but a sixty year liberation.

And it has been those experiences, and that background, that has taught me that yes, too much government can make people powerless. But too much government indifference can leave people powerless too.

Government should never try to do what it cannot do but it should never fail to do what it needs to do. And in a crisis what the British people want to know is that their government will not pass by on the other side but will be on their side.

So we will not allow those on middle and modest incomes to be buffeted about in a storm not of their making.

And so this is our choice – to toughen the rules on those who break the rules.

Markets need what they cannot generate themselves; they need what the British people alone can bring to them, I say to you today; markets need morals.

So we will pass a new law to intervene on bankers’ bonuses whenever they put the economy at risk. And any director of any of our banks who is negligent will be disqualified from holding any such post.

Some people believe that the public will end up subsidising the bankers’ mistakes.

And so I tell you this about our aims for the rescue of the banks: the British people will not pay for the banks.  No, the banks will pay back the British people.

That’s what we need to do to rectify the problems of the past. Now it’s time to make changes that are even more fundamental for a world that is being utterly transformed.

In the uncharted waters we sail, the challenge of change demands nothing less than a new model for our economy, a new model for a more responsible society and a new model for a more accountable politics.

Staying with the status quo is not an option.

The issue is not whether to change, but how.

And always a party of restless and relentless reformers, the new mission for new Labour is to realise our passion for fairness and responsibility in these new global times. And as we rise to the challenge of change so this coming election will not be a contest for a fourth term Labour government, but for the first Labour government of this new global age.

Our new economic model for a strong economy is founded on three guiding principles.

That in future finance must always be the servant of people and industry and not their master

That our future economy must be a green economy

And that we must realise all of Britain’s talent if we are to lead and succeed

The best way finance can serve our country now is to help ensure that the inventions and innovations pioneered in Britain are developed and manufactured in Britain.  So we will create a new national investment corporation to provide finance for growing manufacturing and other businesses; our £1 billion innovation fund will the back the creativity and inventions that are essential to the economy.

And I want the Post Office – to play a much bigger role, bringing banking services back to the heart of people’s communities.

And our economic future must be green.

We are already global leaders in wind power, green cars, clean coal and carbon capture. And now we will lead again, with new designated low carbon zones around the regions of this country. And I say to you today – we will create over a quarter of a million new green British jobs.

And every day we stall on a climate change deal, the people of the world are denied the chance to protect their world. And so I say –  I will go to Copenhagen and I will go with our British plan to secure a climate change deal this year.

And the new model for education in the 21st century –the biggest step we can take into the future – is to unlock the talents of all young people.

Let the new economy be one where social mobility is not held back and in this new economy there must be no cap on aspiration no ceiling on opportunity and no limit on where your talents can take you.

And so I can tell you that in the next five years we cannot and will not cut support to our schools. We will not invest less, but more.

And our guarantee to parents is a ruthless determination to raise standards in every school.

We will aggressively turn round underperforming schools so that your child will have a good local school no matter where you live.

Our guarantee to all young people is that with millions of new opportunities from apprenticeships to internships to a new class of modern technicians, we will discover, coach, develop and showcase the wealth of aspiration and talent that exists in Britain.

And to add to the 100 thousand new young people’s jobs we are already creating, we can today offer in partnership with the Federation of Small Businesses, ten thousand skilled internships so that, even in the midst of tough economic times, we are encouraging a whole new generation of young Britons to embrace ambition and British enterprise.

And I can also announce that we will work with the Eden project and Mayday Network to create the biggest group of green work placements we have ever done- up to 10,000 green job placements so that our young people can make the most of the opportunities the low carbon economy will open up to them.

And friends let me talk bluntly; to pay for our schools, hospitals, police, and the change we want to make we have to make choices about taxation and public spending.

Let no one be in any doubt: as a result of Labour’s economic management, Britain started the downturn with the second lowest debt of any G7 economy.

And just as we have always taken the hard and tough decisions on stability in the past, we will continue to apply the same rigour to our decisions in the future.

Our deficit reduction plan to cut the deficit in half over four years, will be made law in a new fiscal responsibility act. And I can say today that every change we make, every single pledge we make, comes with a price tag attached, and a clear plan for how that cost will be met.

For there are only two options on tax and spending – and only one of them benefits Britain’s hard-working majority.

One is reducing the deficit by cutting front line public services – the conservative approach.

The other is getting the deficit down while maintaining and indeed improving front line public services – the Labour approach.

So we will raise tax at the very top, cut costs, have realistic public sector pay settlements,  make savings we know we can and in 2011 raise National Insurance by half a percent and that will ensure that each and every year we protect and improve Britain’s frontline services.

Our opponents would take a different approach.

They want to cut spending now, so that means less money now for frontline services.

They want to cut inheritance tax for the 3,000 wealthiest estates, so that means even less money for frontline services.

And they are against the measures we took to raise taxes and so that means even less money for frontline services.

These are not cuts they would make because they have to – these are spending cuts they are making because they want to.

It is not inevitable – it is the change they choose.

And when people say faced with the constraints of the recession can you make progress towards a fairer and more responsible Britain let us tell them we did, we can, and we will.

In 1997 we held back spending and people said there could be no progress – but we introduced the new deal, sure start the minimum wage and paved the way for tax credits and new hospitals and schools

In the last 12 years we’ve already given teenagers educational maintenance allowances to help them stay on until 18.  And in the next five years not just some but all young people will be staying in education or training until 18.

We’ve already ensured that three quarters of our GP practices are open out of hours – and in the next five years we will ensure every patient has the right to see a GP in the evening or at the weekend.

We’ve already lifted 900 thousand pensioners out of poverty – and in the next five years will restore the earnings link for the basic state pension.

And in the last twelve years we created the first legal national minimum wage.

And in every year of the next five years we will increase it.

The minimum wage was the dream of Neil Kinnock – and he’s with us today.

It was the dream of John Smith – whom we remember today.

And it was one of the achievements of Tony Blair, and we thank him today.

And when the minimum wage rises this month it will be 60% higher than when it started.

And I can say today that not just the minimum wage, but child benefit and child tax credits for families will continue to rise every year.

And for all those mums and dads who struggle to juggle work and home, I am proud to announce today that by reforming tax relief we will by the end of the next Parliament be able to give the parents of a quarter of a million two year olds free childcare for the first time.

And I do think it’s time to address a problem that for too long has gone unspoken, the number of children having children. For it cannot be right, for a girl of sixteen, to get pregnant, be given the keys to a council flat and be left on her own.

From now on all 16 and 17 year old parents who get support from the taxpayer will be placed in a network of supervised homes. These shared homes will offer not just a roof over their heads, but a new start in life where they learn responsibility and how to raise their children properly. That’s better for them, better for their babies and better for us all in the long run.

We won’t ever shy away from taking difficult decisions on tough social questions.

Because we have to be honest – its not just bankers and politicians that have lost the people’s trust. Even though there is so much that is amazing about Britain, if you ask your neighbours or your workmates how they feel right now in this fast changing world, they will probably talk about their sense of unease.

The decent hard working majority feel the odds are stacked in favour of a minority, who will talk about their rights, but never accept their responsibilities.

In a faster changing more mobile world of communities where family breakdown is more common, where children are at risk on the internet, where elderly people are too often isolated in their communities, the new society must be explicit about the boundaries between right and wrong- and about the new responsibilities we demand of people in return for the rights they have. And I stand with the people who are sick and tired of others playing by different rules or no rules at all.

Most mums and dads do a great job – but there are those who let their kids run riot and I’m not prepared to accept it as simply part of life.

Because there is also a way of intervening earlier to stop anti-social behaviour, slash welfare dependency and cut crime. Family intervention projects are a tough love, no nonsense approach with help for those who want to change and proper penalties for those who don’t or won’t.

I first saw this tough approach at work in Dundee where a young single mother who got into trouble with drugs was at risk of her kids being taken into care. But within months she was going to college to get a decent job to look after the children she loved.

Family intervention projects work. They change lives, they make our communities safer and they crack down on those who’re going off the rails.

Starting now and right across the next Parliament every one of the 50,000 most chaotic families will be part of a family intervention project – with clear rules, and clear punishments if they don’t stick to them.

And we have said that every time a young person breaches an ASBO, there will be an order, not just on them but on their parents, and if that is broken they will pay the price.

Because whenever and wherever there is antisocial behaviour, we will be there to fight it.

We will never allow teenage tearaways or anybody else to turn our town centres into no go areas at night times. No one has yet cracked the whole problem of a youth drinking culture. We thought that extended hours would make our city centres easier to police and in many areas it has. But it’s not working in some places and so we will give local authorities the power to ban 24 hour drinking throughout a community in the interests of local people.

And let me say this bluntly; when someone is found guilty of a serious crime caused by drinking, the drink banning order which is available to the courts should be imposed. And where there is persistent trouble from binge drinking, we will give local people the right to make pubs and clubs pay for cleaning up their neighbourhood and making it safe.

Neighbourhood policing is now a reality in every council ward in our country.

Recent cases have shown it is time for a better service for the citizen. So if it’s an emergency you must get action in minutes, where it’s a neighbourhood priority within the hour, and where it’s a general but not urgent enquiry no one will have to wait more than 48 hours for a reply or a visit. That’s what I mean by public services personal to people’s needs.

And I can tell the British people that between now and Christmas, neighbourhood policing will focus in a more direct and intensive way on anti-social behaviour.  Action squads will crackdown in problem estates, protect the public spaces you want safe and hold monthly beat meetings to consult you directly on your priorities for action.

This is a new and more mobile world and so we have to step up the protection of our borders against terrorism and illegal immigration. And it means we must take a tough approach to who gets to come to our country and who gets to stay.

Tightening our points-based immigration system ensures that those who have the skills that can help Britain will be welcomed, and those who do not, will be refused.

And the ID cards for foreign nationals are working.

But in the last two years we have looked again at how we can give the best security to our British citizens whilst never undermining their liberties.

We will reduce the information British citizens have to give for the new biometric passport to no more than that required for today’s passport.

And so conference, I can say to you today, in the next Parliament there will be no compulsory ID cards for British citizens.

So I have been candid about the challenges we face. But we are also proud of our achievements and what makes this country we love so special.

Britain – the four home nations – each is unique, each with its own great contribution and we will never allow separatists or narrow nationalists in Scotland or in Wales to sever the common bonds that bring our country together as one.

And let me say to the people of Northern Ireland we will give you every support to complete the last and yet unfinished stage of the peace process which Tony Blair to his great credit started and which I want to see complete – the devolution of policing and justice to the people of Northern Ireland, which we want to see happen in the next few months.

I want a Britain that is even more open to new ideas, even more creative, even more dynamic and leading the world and let me talk today about how we will do more to support the great British institutions that best define this country.

The first is the one I spoke about in detail on Sunday when I talked about the mission of our brave men and women in Afghanistan.

The heroism of our fighting men and women is unsurpassed and we owe them a debt we can never fully repay. And let us on behalf of the British people pay tribute to them and their courage today.

The British armed forces truly are the finest in the world. And let us say to them – all British forces will always have all the equipment they need and the best support we can give.

And conference let me say, Britain will work with President Obama and 40 other countries for peace and stability for the people of Afghanistan, and to make sure that terrorism doesn’t come to the streets of Britain.

And we will work for peace and stability for the peoples of Israel and Palestine.

We will work to end nuclear proliferation and as I said last week when I talked of the contribution Britain can make; we will work as partners to end the world’s nuclear arms race.

And I say to Iran as they face a crucial date this week; join the international community now or face isolation.

And let me say what was once an aspiration – 0.7% of national income spent on international development aid, has become with Labour a promise, and will in future become a law. We will pass legislation that the British government is obliged to raise spending on aid to the poorest countries to 0.7% of our national income. Others may break their promises to the poorest, with Labour Britain never will.

And there is huge debate around the world today about how countries can manage health care. Countries from every continent look to our NHS for inspiration. And this summer didn’t we show them – we love our NHS.

We can sometimes talk about the NHS purely in statistics – purely about the record numbers of doctors and nurses and operations and treatments under Labour. But it isn’t about the figures – it’s about the individuals who get help.

I got a letter from Diane, a mother from Rugby who wrote to me saying her life had been saved because the NHS used its extra investment to reduce the age for breast cancer screening.

Before she would have had to wait until 50 – and her surgeon told her that if she had, she’d probably be dead. But thanks to the changes we made, Diane was diagnosed early, treated early, and was back at work within three weeks.

When she wrote to me about us lowering the screening age she said “this may seem small in comparison to all the other issues you deal with, a small thing to do but it probably saved my life.”

And so I say to you today; Labour fought for the NHS, you fought to save and invest in the NHS, and because you did, you are saving lives every day.

You should be very, very proud.

Because if you’ve changed one life you’ve changed the world.

And because we know that our investment in breast cancer screening works and early intervention saves lives, I am proud to announce that we will go much further.

We will finance a new right for cancer patients to have diagnostic tests carried out, completed and with results – often same day results – within one week of seeing your GP. That is our early diagnosis guarantee, building on our current guarantee of only two weeks wait to see a specialist.

And so with three major steps forward – early diagnosis, early treatment and our historic investment in research for cancer cures, we in Britain can transform cancer care; and our ambition is no less than to beat cancer in this generation.

That is the change we have chosen; change that benefits not just the few who can pay but the mainstream majority.

For a few days this summer Sarah and I worked  helping in a local hospice near our home and I say now that the care and compassion shown by volunteers and staff must by matched by greater support for this work of mercy.

And in our times there is a new challenge that no generation has ever had to face before.  We have an ageing society and new rightful demands for dignity and for support in old age. And so we need social care for our elderly which is not subject to a post code lottery, but available to all – to the hard working majority, and not just the few who can pay.

And so we will say in Labour’s manifesto that social care for all is not a distant dream, that to provide security for pensioners for generations to come – we will bring together the National Health Service and local care provision into a new National Care Service. That is the change we chose.

And we can start straight away.

Today more and more people see their parents and grandparents suffering from conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia, and they see their dignity diminish.

And for too many families the challenge of coping with the heartbreak is made worse by the costs of getting support.

The people who face the greatest burden are too often those on middle incomes, who have savings which will last a year or two, but then they will see their savings slip away. And the best starting point for our National Care Service is to help the elderly get the amenities to do what they most want: to receive care and to stay in their homes as long as possible.

And so for those with the highest needs we will now offer in their own homes free personal care.

It’s a change that makes saving worthwhile, makes every family in this country more secure and is a much needed reassurance for the elderly and their children.

This is the change we choose; change that will benefit not just the few who can afford to pay, but the mainstream majority.

But a fair and responsible Britain must be an accountable Britain – a nation not of powerful institutions but powerful people.

And just as I have said that the market needs morals I also say that politics needs morals too.

Let me say that the vast overwhelming majority of our Labour Members of Parliament are in Parliament not out of self interest but to serve the public interest. And our new generation of Parliamentary candidates want to join them not to make a personal gain but to make a difference.

But there are some who let our country down. And never again should any Member of Parliament be more interested in the value of their allowances than the values of their constituents.

Never again should it be said of any Member of Parliament that they are in it for what they can get; all of us should be in Parliament for what we can give.

And so where there is proven financial corruption by an MP and in cases where wrong-doing has been demonstrated but Parliament fails to act we will give constituents the right to recall their Member of Parliament.

And if we want a politics that is more open, more plural, more local, more democratic, then we will need to make big changes because the only way to ensure politics serves the people’s values is to make all those who wield political power genuinely accountable to the people.

There is now a stronger case than ever that MPs should be elected with the support of more than half their voters – as they would be under the Alternative Voting system. And so I can announce today that in Labour’s next manifesto there will be a commitment for a referendum to be held early in the next Parliament it will be for the people to decide whether they want to move to the Alternative Vote.

In this next year we will remove the hereditary principle in the House of Lords once and for all. And then unlike the last election we will ask for a clear mandate to make the House of Lords an accountable and democratic second chamber for the very first time.

I’ve been honest with you about where we’ve got it right. And where we’ve fallen short and have to do more. And I am determined to fight for change to benefit the mainstream majority.

All that we have talked about today would simply not happen if the Conservatives were in power.

The Conservative Party want people to believe that the ballot paper has an option marked change without consequence – that’s it’s only a change of the team at the top.

They’ve deliberately held their cards close to their chest.

They’ve done their best to conceal their policies and their instincts. But the financial crisis forced them to show their hand and they showed they had no hearts.

And so I say to the British people the election to come will not be about my future – it’s about your future.  Your job.  Your home.  Your children’s school.  Your hospital.  Your community.  Your country.

And so when our opponents talk of change, ask yourself.  Is that change that will benefit my family, or only a privileged few?

Listen to what they say – but more importantly demand to know what they would do.

If you’re a family that’s feeling the pinch – don’t take it from me – just ask them the question. If you care about me, why is your first priority to give a 200 thousand pound tax giveaway to each of the 3,000 wealthiest estates?

And if you’re one of the millions of Britons who loves our NHS– don’t take it from me – just ask them the question. If you care about us, why would you scrap the right to see a cancer specialist within two weeks?

And if you’re worried about crime – don’t take it from me – just ask them the question. Why would you cut the Home Office budget by the equivalent of 3,500 police officers this year alone and then make it harder for them to catch the most violent criminals using DNA evidence?

And if you care about a proud Britain – don’t take it from me – just ask them the question.  Why would you put this country’s prosperity and power at risk by placing Britain at the fringe of Europe rather than at its heart?

Ask them; how can you deliver change when you so clearly haven’t even changed your own party?

Because there is a difference between the parties. It’s the difference between Conservatives who embrace pessimism and austerity and progressives like Labour who embrace prosperity and hope.

And this is a timeless difference in our approach. It’s between those like them whose vision is limited to how things are and those like us who reach for the world that can be.

And isn’t this the story of Britain at its best and the Labour Party at its best, that we are people who strive for and achieve great changes even when others say it is impossible?

They said a free National Health Service was impossible, then argued it was unworkable, then said it was unaffordable, but in the last 12 years we have rebuilt it and it is now quite simply, for the British people, irreplaceable.

They told me debt relief for the poorest was impossible – but we refused to give in and now thanks to debt relief and aid 40 million more children across the world are going to school.

And even when they told us last year that a great depression was inevitable and the world could not come together, we did, even when others said it was beyond our grasp.

Maybe you think it’s because I’m the guy who doesn’t take no for an answer, and you’re right; I don’t.

But it’s really because I grew up in a family, a party and a country that believes no obstacle is so great that it can stop the onwards march of fairness and of justice.

And so I urge you, as the poet said, dream not small dreams because they cannot change the world. Dream big dreams and then watch our country soar.

We can build a new economy which tames the old excesses.  We can meet and master the challenge of an ageing society with a National Care Service, we can in this generation be the first to beat cancer.

We can transform our politics.

We can do all these things and more if we think big and then fight hard.

Since 1997 Labour has given this country back its future. And we are not done yet.

We love this country. And we have shown over the years that if you aim high you can lift not just yourself but your country – that there is nothing in life which is inevitable – it’s about the change you choose.

And I say to you now –

Never stop believing in the good sense of the British people.

Never stop believing we can move forward to a fairer, more responsible, more prosperous Britain.

Never stop believing we can make a Britain equal to its best ideals.

Never, never stop believing. And because the task is difficult the triumph will be even greater.

Now is not the time to give in but to reach inside ourselves for the strength of our convictions.

Because we are the Labour Party and our abiding duty is to stand. And fight. And win. And serve.

Ben Bradshaw – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by Ben Bradshaw, the then Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, to the 2009 Labour Party conference on 29th September 2009.

Friends, that film was about our hopes to secure the football world cup in 2018.

If our bid is successful it would cap what is already one of the most remarkable periods in British sporting history.

The 20/20 cricket world cup earlier this year.

The Ryder cups in golf – next year in Wales, and then in Scotland.

The rugby league world Cup in 2013

The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.

The rugby Union world cup in 2015,

And, of course we are approaching the thousand day countdown to the start of the first British Olympics and Paralympics for over 60 years.

A golden decade of sport built on a golden decade of Labour investment in sport at every level.

A sporting record to be proud of.

Labour values driving change.

Labour delivering on its promises.

Remember what the Tories did to to Britain’s sports, culture and the arts.

They considered them luxuries to be paid for by those who can afford them. For us, they are a common good for all. Central to our sense of community and health and well being as a nation.

Ten years ago only one child in four did two hours of sport a week in school. Today, 90 per cent of children do. But we will go further and ensure, by the time of the Olympics, that every child can do five hours of high quality sport a week.

In just three months after we launched free swimming this spring people over 60 and youngsters 16 and under had enjoyed four and a half million extra swimming sessions. Rubbished  – like everything we do – by the Tories.

They believe something can only have value if you make people pay for it.

Free swimming has been championed by Labour councils and is already one of our great successes.

Just as Labour has delivered Britain a sporting renaissance, we’ve delivered a cultural and artistic renaissance too.

More than twice as many people have enjoyed our great museums and galleries since Labour made them free.

Since April this year young people under 26 have been able to get free tickets in many of our theatres. Tens of thousands of young people who would never have thought it possible to see the best of what British theatre has to offer, have taken up the chance. And as well as ensuring young people can enjoy 5 hours of quality sport every week,we will guarantee the same for cultural, music and artistic activity too.

British theatre, film, music and other creative industries are the best in the world. They are a major and growing part of our economy. And Labour is supporting them to grow even more in the future.

Anyone who has watched the news in America or continental Europe can only be extremely grateful for the BBC. Labour will always be committed to the BBC and the values of public service broadcasting. No, Mr Murdoch, we do not believe that profit is the only guarantee of independence. We will never sacrifice the BBC on the altar of free market dogma. But like all successful organisations the BBC must change to survive. It must be more sensitive to the views of the public who pay for it and to the impact its power and size on the rest of the media.

Good quality local news is vital for the health of our democracy. We face losing it completely from ITV unless something is done and many of our local newspapers are also struggling to survive.

Labour is the only party that will guarantee high quality news on ITV in the English regions, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and say how it’ll be paid for. Our solution and other measures we are taking will help local newspapers too.

Let Britain be in no doubt what the Tories would do to our culture, media and sport. Boris Johnson let one cat out of the bag last week when he advocated charging for museums.

And George Osborne says he wants to copy Tory councils.

Like Barnet in North London perhaps? They want to provide a quality service for those who can afford to pay but what they call a “ryanair” service for everyone else. This is also a council that has slashed support for the arts, culture and sport boasting:

“We don’t do culture in Barnet.”

Well, I guess that figures, from the local Conservative Party that selected Margaret  Thatcher.

Friends, we need to wake up and wake the British people up to what the Tories would do to our country if they won in a few months time.

Sport and culture decimated. The BBC fighting for its life.

The death of local and regional news.

Millions of people, particularly young people, whose lives are being transformed by culture and sport under Labour losing that chance.

One of my predecessors in this job, the great Jenny Lee – said our mission, Labour’s mission is to ensure the best for all.

That’s what Labour’s done.

That’s what we’re doing and that’s what we’ll continue to do.

The Tories never have; they never would.

We must ensure they never will.

Thank you.

Hilary Benn – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by Hilary Benn, the then Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to the 2009 Labour Party conference on 28th September 2009.

I would like to thank Michael Cashman and the policy commission for everything you do, and also our great ministerial team at Defra – Jim, Huw, Dan and Bryan. Thanks very much.

Many of us who came down to Brighton by train would have caught a wonderful glimpse of the South Downs.

Formed over millions of years by nature’s hand, the glorious western weald and the chalk hills are one reason why Clem Attlee’s Labour government did something unique in our history.

From the ashes of World War Two, they founded the National Health Service, created the Welfare State, and built new homes and towns amid the rubble of the old. But they also had the vision to legislate to preserve beauty.

Drawing inspiration from William Blake, the Kinder Trespassers and many others, they passed the National Parks Act into law 60 years ago this year.

And as we commemorate what that Labour government did two generations ago, so this spring were many able to celebrate – after a long, hard campaign – our decision that the South Downs will now become our fifteenth and newest National Park.

We made a political choice to preserve and protect this landscape for future generations.

For everyone. For ever.

And why?  Because we know that the quality of our lives, our health, our happiness are shaped not just by our families and the work we do, but also by the places in which we live and by how we treat each other.

It was this Labour Government that has opened up the countryside for everyone to enjoy with the right to roam.  We’ve passed the first all-embracing animal welfare act for a century, and in just over two years’ time battery cages for chickens will be no more.

And we will now preserve and protect our seas and coastlines with the Marine and Coastal Access Bill. The first stretch of the new Coastal Path around England will open at Weymouth Bay  – site of the 2012 sailing competition – in time for the lighting of the Olympic flame.

But now that we’ve fulfilled the original dream of the National Parks’ creators, our next task is to enrich and link together more wonderful places where wildlife, bees, flowers and trees can flourish, and we can enjoy them as they do.

So I will now ask a group of people passionate about our countryside to come up with a plan to do just that so that we can realise another long-held dream of all those who care about our wild places.

We also need our countryside to produce more food.

Our farmers and farmers around the world will have another 2 to 3 billion mouths to feed in two generation’s time.

That’s why I want British agriculture to produce as much food as possible today as we protect the soil and water on which our ability to grow more food tomorrow depends.

We’re working together to protect the environment, beat animal diseases, and tackle climate change.

Our farmers – at the heart of our rural communities – are ready for the challenge. And we should support them in the great job they do.

But conference, in our hearts, we know that we are living in a time of change that will affect all our lives.

How best can we deal with it ?

Well, Charles Darwin – that genius of science who transformed the way we think about ourselves and our place in the world – gave us this advice.

He said:

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. Rather, it is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

And that’s why we must adapt to the changes we can see all around us.

We need banks that value the next generation rather than the next bonus. An economy that creates the low carbon jobs of the future.

We need to make sure our air is clean, including in London which needs to get on with improving air quality.

We need to value and use everything around us.

We’re now recycling more than four times as much household waste than we did a decade ago. But we can do more. It doesn’t make sense to dump thousands of tonnes of aluminium in landfill every year when someone will buy it and recycle it into new cans, using 90% less energy.

It doesn’t make sense that we throw way a third of the food we buy – costing us money and most of it ending up rotting in a tip, producing greenhouse gases – when instead we can turn it into clean renewable electricity to power our homes.

So we need to stop thinking of these things as rubbish, stop sending them to landfill, and start making the most of everything.

Our changing climate is already affecting those least able to cope from the deltas of Bangladesh to the parched lands of Kenya, and the remotest places on earth like Antarctica. Our natural world  – as well as giving us inspiration beyond price – also helps give us clean air and water, soil, plants, food, and medicines on which human existence depends.

We have a moral responsibility to look after both.

We need especially to value water, and protect ourselves from too much of it by investing in flood defences.

Now, some churches, sports clubs and youth groups have been hit by huge increases in their water bills for surface drainage. It isn’t right. So I can tell you today that we will legislate to allow water companies to run concessionary schemes for these organisations so they can get on with the great job they are doing instead of worrying about unaffordable bills.

When you look at things this way, you can see the choice we have. Whether to leave people and landscapes to fend for themselves or to act together to seize this moment in human history and build the green society in which the low carbon will inherit.

Life is about the choices we make, and that’s why the choice at the general election will matter so much.

The Tory choice is a return to fox hunting, cutting inheritance tax while cutting Sure Start which has done so much for my constituents in Leeds.

The Labour choice is to build more homes, help people into work, make sure we come out of the recession stronger, get that deal in Copenhagen that Gordon and Ed and all of us are working so hard to achieve and together create a more sustainable way of life.

But we have to be honest. In this generation, some wonder whether we can do all these things. Whether the future will be as good as the past. Whether our children be able to afford a home, get a job and a decent pension. What kind of climate will we bequeath to them by the middle of the century.

And they ask – will our damaged politics be capable of dealing with all this?

We have to show that it can.

By sorting out what’s gone wrong.

By standing up against the cynics who decry politics, because every time they do so they undermine our ability to change things for the better.

By standing by our beliefs – fairness, justice, equality, opportunity, the helping hand, the window on the world that education gives us,  a sustainable environment – beliefs that have changed our lives for the better.

And by having confidence.

In ourselves. In what we’ve done. And what we have still to do.

That’s why Roosevelt – a great leader who charted a way through the depths of the Great Depression – looked people in the eye and said: “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself”

He was right.

So let’s take the fight to the Tories. Let’s stand up for what we believe in.

And let’s remember that the greatest thing we can do is to give people hope.

Because – as our history has taught us – it is with hope that we can – and we will – change the world for the better.