Michael Martin – 2009 Statement on MP Expenses

Below is the text of the statement made by Michael Martin, the then Speaker of the House of Commons, in the House of Commons on 19 May 2009.

I should like to make a statement, for the second time today.

This afternoon I convened a meeting of party leaders—both major and minor parties—and members of the House of Commons Commission to make decisions on the operation of parliamentary allowances pending the recommendations of Sir Christopher Kelly’s Committee on Standards in Public Life. The Chairman of the Committee on Members’ Allowances was also present to advise us.

The Committee on Standards in Public Life will come forward with long-term reforms to the current allowances system. All parties are now committed to implementing its recommendations as a whole, subject to the formal agreement of this House, provided that these reforms meet the tests of increased transparency and accountability and reduced cost for the taxpayer. We have today agreed a robust set of interim measures which will take effect at once and do not pre-empt any more substantial changes to be put forward by the Kelly committee.

Second homes: there will be no more claims for such items as furniture, household goods, capital improvements, gardening, cleaning and stamp duty. The following only should be claimable: rent, including ground rent; hotel accommodation; overnight subsistence; mortgage interest; council tax; service charges; utility bills, including gas, water, electricity, oil, telephone calls and line rental; and insurance—buildings and contents.

Designation of second homes: no changes to be made to designation of second homes in the years 2009-10, with a transparent appeal procedure for exceptional cases.

Capital gains tax: Members selling any property must be completely open with the tax authorities about whether they have claimed additional costs allowance on that property as a second home and are liable for capital gains tax. Members should make a declaration in respect of any property on which they claim for expenditure that it is not—and will never be—their main residence for capital gains tax purposes. Whether such a declaration has been made will be made public.

Couples: Members who are married or living together as partners must nominate the same main home, and will be limited to claiming a maximum of one person’s accommodation allowance between them.

Mortgages: all those Members claiming reimbursement must confirm that the mortgage continues, that the payments are for interest only, and the amount claimed is accurate. Mortgage interest claims will be capped at £1,250 per month. In the view of the meeting—and subject to the recommendations of the Kelly committee—this maximum figure should be reduced in the longer term. The same cap will apply to rent and hotel accommodation. Some of these measures I am announcing will require a resolution by the House in the near future; others will be put into effect by administrative action.

Staffing: we confirmed the enforcement of deposit of staff contracts and the registration of any relatives employed.

While the Kelly committee recommendations are awaited, there will be no specific changes to other allowances. The Department of Resources is instructed to tighten the administration of all claims and apply a clear test of “reasonableness”. If there is any doubt about the eligibility of a claim, it will be refused and there will be no appeal. In future, all authorised payments will be published online at transaction level on a quarterly basis by the Department of Resources.

All past claims under the former additional costs allowance over the past four years will be examined. This will be carried out by a team with external management; the external manager will be appointed after consultation with the Comptroller and Auditor General. All necessary resources will be made available. The team will look at claims in relation to the rules which existed at that time, and will take account of any issues which arise from that examination which cause them to question the original judgment.

The meeting also received a paper from the Prime Minister, which was endorsed by the other party leaders, calling for a fundamental reform of allowances—moving from self-regulation to regulation by an independent body. The Government will consult widely on this proposal. Further to this, the Leader of the House will be making a statement tomorrow, which will allow the House a full opportunity to ask questions, and Members to air their views on the decisions we have made and the proposals for the future.

Jim Murphy – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rhodri Morgan – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference

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

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

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

Learning the art of government.

Getting used to making our own decisions.

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

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

That era is over for ever and ever.

Finito.

Dead as a Norwegian blue dodo.

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

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

You don’t get that from the free marketeers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s creative government intervention for you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At least she said Sir, not Grandad!

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

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

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

All because of you.

All because of Labour.

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

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

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

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

You only get that from one party – Labour.

So, two final messages for this conference.

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

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

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

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

That means Labour.

Last, to all my Welsh Labour compatriots here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ed Miliband – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference

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

Conference, let’s be honest.

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

A hard year for our party,

A hard year too for anyone associated with politics,

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

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

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

Why didn’t that happen?

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

– he didn’t stand by,

– he didn’t stick with business as usual,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We need to make MPs more accountable

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

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

Boldness in economics and politics and on climate change too.

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

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

And business as usual won’t do here either.

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

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

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

Business as usual says climate or fairness but not both.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sometimes this requires things to change.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What kind of choice of priorities is that?

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

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

– lots and lots of queuing and waiting,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Millions in the country know: we cannot go back.

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

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

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

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

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

We are the optimists in British politics today.

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

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

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

The way we will win is with boldness.

Ed Miliband – 2009 Speech to Students at Peking University

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Below is the text of the speech which was made by Ed Miliband at Peking University in China on 4th May 2009.

Thank you for inviting me to the beautiful campus of Peking University.

I have come to China to talk to members of the government and others about climate change because this year is a particularly important year, the year that the world has pledged to come together and reach a global agreement at Copenhagen, Denmark in December.

But I wanted to talk to young people too because on this issue more than any other, you will see its effects, and you need to be powerful advocates for it to be addressed.

And I feel very lucky to be talking to you, students in China, on National Youth Day, and the 90th anniversary of the May Fourth Movement – when students from this university wanted to modernise China and make it strong, and changed the course of this country.

I’ve been learning about Cai Yuanpei, the seminal educator and Chancellor of the university 90 years ago, who was such a leading figure in the New Cultural Movement and modernisation. I can’t claim to be an expert, but I know he

– Opened the doors of this University to women, at a time when it was radical to do so – Transformed the faculty to promote diverse views, even those he didn’t agree with – talking of “broad-minded tolerance” and “freedom of thought” – Encouraged students to be more active, managing their own affairs and forming extra-curricular societies.

And just as I was thinking how much I approve, I learned he also founded Beijing University Society for the Promotion of Morality – which is fine – but to get a higher rank within the society members had to swear not to become a government official or a Parliamentarian – which I have to confess I have failed on.

On this trip, I have seen firsthand some of the efforts that in just twenty years lifted more people out of poverty than the whole population of Europe – 400 million.

It must be one of the most rapid and widespread alleviations of human suffering in human history – and I know that completing the journey, maintaining high growth, remains a top priority.

I have spoken to policy-makers about how they are investing in reducing energy intensity.

And yesterday I saw the results of Chinese engineers working with partners abroad to find new solutions to climate change, at a power station that captures carbon dioxide at source instead of pumping it into the sky.

As the manager said to me, “it has succeeded here, it could succeed in every power station”. And if it does, it could make more difference to the generations that follow us than any other technology currently in development.

And this experience illustrates the points I would like to talk about today:

The growth of China – and the impact climate change could have on that growth

The roles and responsibilities of both developed and developing countries to act on climate change

And how we can work together – on technology, finance, and a global deal.

Growth: a resurgent China

First of all, let me say a few words about Chinese growth.

What will be remembered, and seen as one of the most significant events of my lifetime and yours, is the rise of China.

I welcome it.

My country’s government and businesses support it. We are the leading destination for Chinese investment into Europe, and in return we invest more in China than any other European country.

For all countries, the recent financial crisis has sent shockwaves through our economies and none of us have been immune.

We now know how important it is to rebuild our financial system on a sounder footing.

But what we know also is that just as the financial crisis was a hidden vulnerability which unaddressed has significant consequences, so we face the same situation with the climate crisis.

I’ve seen in my own area in Britain what extreme weather can do. Two years ago we had very bad flooding. I arrived in one of the villages, near Doncaster, to see instead of the normal streets I am used to, people in boats and canoes rescuing people from their houses – people who had lost everything they own.

I am going tomorrow to see the Shiyang River Basin, one of the great river systems of north western China. Here, climate change doesn’t mean floods, but droughts.

Climate change makes more profound existing issues, like the growing need for food and water.

That’s now. What happens if climate change continues beyond the most dangerous thresholds? We’re working with the Chinese government to find out.

If we don’t act, scientists tell us that the world will get 5 degrees centigrade hotter by 2100, hotter than it has been for 30-50 million years and human beings have only been on the earth for 100,000 years. And all the evidence is that China’s temperatures will rise more than the global average.

Even if the scientists are wrong and the world temperature rises by three degrees instead of five, this could mean drought in the Ganges and the Indus, water shortages affecting an extra one to two billion people worldwide.

Right here in China, it could mean the Himalayan glaciers melting, the rivers beneath them flooding then running dry, and the Mekong River, for example, losing a quarter of its water by the end of the century.

It could also mean cereal crops declining, the risk of hunger being faced by up to 600 million more people worldwide – and right here in China a fall in rice yields of up to ten per cent. It is equivalent to losing the rice of the whole production of Hunan province, the most productive in China.

Right here in the lowlands and mega deltas of East China, science suggests the sea will rise by 90 centimetres and the number of people at direct risk from coastal flooding will rise by 7 million – plus all the knock-on effects such as migration.

That’s why the world is so focussed on preventing climate change beyond 2 degrees.

Up to this level will see very great challenges for our countries, beyond will see far worse, uncontrollable effects.

Leadership: a responsible China not just acting but inspiring

But we should not succumb to defeatism.

Together we can tackle the problem, on the basis of common but differentiated responsibilities: everyone acting, but on the basis of their responsibility and their capacity to do so.

I believe that rich countries have the moral responsibility and a historic obligation to take the lead.

It was because we believe in rich-country leadership that in Britain, for example, we have written our transformation into a low-carbon economy into law.

Ten years ago I worked in the Treasury in Britain and like all Treasuries they are the people who often say no.

Then, environmentalists were asking us to measure our carbon emissions from particular policies.

Today the world has been transformed.

There is lots of ceremony and tradition in Britain around the announcement of the Budget each year – the chancellor stands in Downing Street, he always holds up a traditional Red Briefcase for photos, Parliamentary debates take a set form.

Well this year we had a new tradition: we became the first country in the world to introduce national carbon budgets alongside national financial budgets.

They commit us to cut at least a third of our emissions by 2020, more if there is a global deal, on the way to cutting at least 80 per cent by 2050.

I believe rich countries should act at home and they should also spur each other on, and that is why we have pressed for ambitious action in the European Union, and now Europe has committed as a continent to cut emissions by 20 per cent by 2020, or 30 per cent if there is a global deal.

In the US too, we are now seeing new environmental leadership.

President Bush envisaged US emissions continuing to rise until 2025. President Obama has said they will cut emissions well before then, falling back to 1990 levels by 2020.

We hope he will go further still, but he has transformed the debate on climate change. I saw it in Washington last week, when I was there with a number of countries including China.

As an emergent great power, China, too, has the ability not just to act but to lead; to be great not just in size but in influence; to energise others around the world.

And what does leadership consist in? What will determine whether China’s actions are followed by others?

Partly it is by spreading the word on China’s successes so far:

How energy intensity of the economy reduced through the 1980 and 1990s from three times what it is today How forest cover doubled over the same time. And it is through the actions you are taking now:

The targets in the five-year plan to reduce energy intensity still further The commitment to 15% renewable power by 2020. But above all, what will elevate Chinese leadership is if this December, when the world comes together in Copenhagen, its ambition is crystallised into a public commitment in a global deal.

And I believe China will commit to ambition.

China’s commitment to this cause will propel others to commit to it too.

So there is great potential for us to act together, on the basis of our responsibilities.

But the clear message I want to say, is that there is huge scope for China, through its commitments, to encourage others to go further and to increase global action.

China has an ability to lead.

Partnership: technology and finance

And I’d also like talk about how we can work together to achieve our ambitions, with partnership and shared goals between countries at different levels of development.

All of us recognise that the world is moving towards low carbon. There are huge industrial opportunities for Britain, China and other countries in this: these are the jobs of the future.

China is investing part of its stimulus plan in low carbon; Britain is preparing too for the low carbon economy of the future.

Co-operation can benefit both of our countries. Today, we are announcing a joint venture between the Carbon Trust and the China Energy Conservation Investment Corporation, with £10 million to help British and Chinese companies work together and learn form each other.

We think there is £100 million of investment that will come from this co-operation, benefitting many British firms and opening new markets.

These firms will benefit from investment by Chinese enterprises, developing low carbon technologies in China.

This is the sort of co-operation we need: joint ventures to further our mutual interests.

And we need to look at this kind of co-operation in other areas, protecting intellectual property –as both of our countries would wish—but at the same time, working together where possible to drive the demonstration and development of new technologies forward.

When I visited the power station yesterday, and saw how they had worked with other countries to demonstrate carbon capture, it showed me very clearly how we both have an interest in driving this technology.

And it was clearly not just a case of one country having the technology, and another being given it. Both sides added knowledge and expertise – and that’s true across the board, for example with the major European partnership for Near-Zero Emissions Coal. The question is, “can we turn coal from the dirty fuel of the past to the clean fuel of the future?”

So that’s why I will be working with China to make sure that driving technology demonstration and development is an important part of any global climate change agreement.

Of course for some countries, particularly less developed countries, technology access is not enough and we also need to find ways of providing finance, including through the carbon market.

And I was only hearing yesterday about how support from the carbon market was bringing international investment into wind farm projects viable in China, diffusing new technology for mutual benefit.

I am clear we also need stable and predictable forms of finance to help make the transition to low carbon – and this too must be part of our agreement in Copenhagen.

Conclusion

Let me end with this thought:

On the dangers of climate change,

On the potential of China to inspire others through international commitments,

And the importance of countries working together,

It is only right that on national Youth Day we think about the role of you, the young people of China.

A seminal figure in the May Fourth Movement, who you will all be more familiar with than me, was Chen Duxiu.

His article that inspired the movement, Call to Youth, said the role of youth in society “is like… a newly-sharpened blade” shaping the new era.

It reminds me of a line by the American Senator, Robert Kennedy, who when touring South Africa in 1968 said that to “lead in the introduction of a new order of things”, “the world demands the qualities of youth; not a time of life but a state of mind”.

There are more people under the age of 24 in China than there are people in North America, Australia and Russia combined.

There is more potential for you, the young people of the youngest great power, to reshape the order of things than for most generations that have ever lived.

In British Universities at the moment, there are not only more students from China than from any other country, there is a movement to tackle climate change reaching out to you from there to here.

Some people say that China’s moment is coming. The truth is, China’s moment is now, and nowhere is that more true than on climate change: none of us can say in the future that we weren’t warned about the scale of the problem or that we didn’t have the opportunity to tackle it.

We know what the science is telling us. We know the urgency of the problem. We have many of the technologies we need.

The test for us is whether we have the political and popular will to make it happen and protect the world from dangerous climate change.

In the years ahead, we will look around and see either our success or failure at this task.

Young people will enjoy the benefits of that success the most or will live longest with its failure.

I hope we can work together – Britain and China, young people in Britain in China – to show something important: that we have secured our legacy as the first generations to understand and prevent climate change – not the last that didn’t.

I hope we choose to work together and together, we can choose to protect the planet for future generations.

David Miliband – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference

davidmiliband

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

Conference,

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

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

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

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

So let me start with the war in Afghanistan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The way to defeat this enemy is to divide it.

Separate the hard core from the rest.

Does that mean the Afghan government talking to the Taleban?

Yes, with a simple message:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On Monday we saw their missile tests.

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

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

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

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

I also remind Conference of this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friends first, country second.

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

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

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

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

He set out five priorities.

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

Wrong values.  Wrong judgment.  Wrong decision.

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

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

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

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

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

It makes me sick.

And you know what makes me sicker?

No one in the Tory party batted an eyelid.

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

I tell you conference, we will never remain silent.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Because what do the Tories really believe?

Scrap inheritance tax.

The NHS condemned as a 60 year mistake.

Trash anything European.

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

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

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

The work that matters most is making that future possible.

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

This week we showed which side we are on.

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

So let’s tell them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is a fight for the future of our country.

It is a fight we must win.

Michael Martin – 2009 Resignation as Speaker

Below is the text of the resignation statement made by the then Speaker of the House of Commons, Michael Martin, on Tuesday 19th May 2009.

Since I came to this House 30 years ago, I have always felt that the House is at its best when it is united. In order that unity can be maintained, I have decided that I will relinquish the office of Speaker on Sunday 21 June. This will allow the House to proceed to elect a new Speaker on Monday 22 June. That is all I have to say on this matter.

John McDonnell – Speech to the 2009 PCS Conference Speech

Below is the text of the speech made by John McDonnell to the Public and Commercial Services Union in 2009.

Look, thanks, look I’ve got to be brief today, sorry about this, I can’t hang about, I’ve got to get back home, there’s a bloke coming round to do the moat, put up the pergola and tarmac the tennis courts.

I couldn’t get here the other day for Mark’s rally because I was dealing with the bill on prostitution in parliament, and I’ve learnt a lot, so when I heard that someone had claimed for floating their duck, I thought it was rhyming slang for some bizarre sexual practice.

You just can’t make this up can you? I was here two-years ago, can you remember? It was the day that I hadn’t got nominated to stand as leader of the Labour party.

I couldn’t get the nominations, one of the MPs told me that ‘I’d seen your manifesto and I’ve seen your proposal for public expenditure and I can’t nominate you, ‘cos we can’t trust you with the public finances’. You can’t trust this lot with the bloody tea money, let alone the public finances. Unbelievable isn’t it.

There is a deep sense of irony that when all this scandal on the expenses was beginning to break, parliament, MPs were voting through the welfare reform bill.

A welfare reform bill where people lose benefits, not for fiddling their benefits, not for fiddling at all but just because they simply don’t turn up for an interview.

A welfare reform bill, where we are forcing the long term unemployed to work, under workfair proposals where they will work for one pound seventy three an hour, contrast that with the £400 a month that some of the MPs have been spending, two-thousand pounds on plasma television screens, tens of thousands of pounds on mortgages which didn’t even exist.

Obscene? Of course it is. And no wonder people are pissed off quite honestly, no wonder. I’m angry as well ‘cos they bring us all down, they bring us all down.

You know the solution isn’t just about sacking the speaker, or a few corrupt, bent politicians, it’s just as the solution to the economic crisis isn’t just about getting rid of a few bankers.

The solution for this political crisis isn’t just about getting rid of a few MP’s, this is a systemic crisis, it’s a systemic failure.

And the political and economic crisis are not isolated, they’re two sides of the same corrupt, incompetent, unfair, and un-democratic system in which we live. An economic system which has created grotesque inequalities of wealth.

A society where 3 million children still live in poverty, whilst the rich pay less in proportion of their taxes than their own cleaners.

But also it’s a political system which has created vast inequalities of power, why, and we know, we see it everyday, a government permeated by big business.

Number 10 populated by advisors who have come from big business, lucrative jobs, or are going to lucrative jobs in big business.

Where we witness the farce of welfare reform, designed for this government by a venture capitalist, someone clearly expert in poverty and it’s experience.

Where former ministers who have awarded contracts to companies within months of standing down as ministers are employed as consultants by those companies and raking in anything in some instances from 50 and in some instances a 100 thousand pound a year.

And to be frank with you, where MPs will vote for what ever is put in front of them. What for? Just to be offered the chance of being a bag carrier to a bag carrier.

And this week, the reason I was in parliament yesterday is a classic example, we had before us a change in the standing orders of parliament, not as enlightening as the last debate I have to say, it was bringing forward a change in standing orders which would allow parliament to debate the new planning policies that the government is bringing forward on, nuclear power, on expansion of airports, on the major infrastructure projects that will design the future of our environment for generations.

And the government gave us the opportunity to allow us to debate those proposals. So I moved a simple amendment, that when we’ve debated them, can we have a vote. Labour MPs voted against even having a vote. We are voting ourselves virtually into irrelevancy, out of existence.

And yes, there are issues of morality, but I don’t think we should loose sight of the real morality that’s at stake in government and politics today.

Yes, be angry at the thousands of pounds that are spent on moats and mortgages and expensive meals. But I tell you, be angrier at the expenditure on immoral wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, and elsewhere, where thousands have died.

And yes, be angry at the expenditure of tax payers money on their extravagant lifestyles, but be even angrier at the extravagance of spending seventy-three billion pounds on trident when there are 3 million children, and 2 million pensioners still living in poverty.

And yes, be shocked at how much they consume, the food, the allowances, the TV’s and all the rest, but be more shocked that despite all we know now about climate change, despite all that we know, they are still promoting policies like airport expansion that will consume our planet.

And yes, be angry, at what they are spending on their second homes, but I tell you, be bloody angrier that after twelve years of a Labour government that hasn’t spent the money to house the 80,000 homeless families that we have in our country.

Be angry at that. And you know, when they wanted to keep their allowances private, I was angry at the privatisation of the jobs that we’ve seen over the last twelve years. The cuts in a 100,000 workers of this union.

But I say to you now, let’s not waste that anger, lets not waste it. Don’t waste that demand to change, otherwise this anger would be futile.

And if it’s diverted solely into stringing up a few MPs, enjoyable as that may be, if it is just diverted into that and the Tories are allowed to use it opportunistically to get them into power, or worse still if the revulsion of political practices of Labour and other MPs delivers people into the hands of the BNP, or even UKIP, that anger and that revulsion will be wasted.

I think our task, and the task of this union now is to link up with all those others who are angry as well.

Link up with all those others who want change, to channel the anger that people feel, to channel this exasperation into a demand for change, but real change this time.

We don’t want just a new parliament. That’s not what we are about. We want a new society. A society that’s based on rights. The rights at work, the right to a decent wage, the right to decent working conditions. The right to be safe at work, and yes to have a say and to be represented and yes, in many instances, to have that say through public and common ownership of our services.

A society that’s based upon rights at home. A right to a decent home. A right to a decent and clean environment, treatment when our children or members of our family are sick. Free education at all levels. A right to be free from poverty and a society which is fifth richest country in the world.

And yes, rights in our communities. Community institutions which have the power and resources at local level to tackle the problems that we experience. The need for homes, the need for safe areas, the need for a clean and green environment.

And yes, a local democracy that isn’t just about marking a ballot paper once every four years, but where we can all have a say and continual basis to change our society.

But it is also about the rights to control the destiny of our country. To own and democratically control our financial institutions so we can plan the future of our economy so that we no longer suffer the risk, the scourge of approaching 3 million unemployed.

To own and control our public services which are the foundations of any civilised society.

Ending the rip-offs and the privatisations. And yes, the right to a parliament elected that is truly representative of our country of all classes.

A government not appointed by patronage through the prime minister but elected by MPs and ministers elected directly by MPs.

And I say yes, as a Labour party member, a party which is not a degenerate bureaucracy, but a party where members take back the power to select their candidates to determine their policies and their programs and elect the party’s officers. And yes maybe just occasionally to elect the leader of the party in a democratic ballot.

This is just the start of this debate. The crisis can be exploited and will be exploited by the Tories and the fascists or we can harness the powerful surge of anger and revulsion amongst the people to determine that new society that we want. How do we go forward?

Well there’s various discussions and proposals. Some like Compass and the Guardian and others are calling for an immediate debate.

But that debate they want to contain within the political elite.

The political class, the very people who have corrupted our system so far. They are looking for some form of self-interested rotation within that elite. That sort of discussion, I think, is absolutely meaningless and ineffectual.

These are the very people who gave us Blair, supported Brown and now deifying Alan Johnson. All of them voted for the same wars, the same privatisations, the same attacks on our civil liberties and yes are now voting for policies that will cut our jobs, our services and yes even attack the poor on benefits.

And its interesting isn’t it. That there’s a consensus almost across all of them, all the political parties now. It’s a consensus that the economic crisis will be paid for by us, not them. Paid for by cuts in services, cuts in jobs, more unemployment, cuts in wages, and yes, and then they come for your pension.

We need now new voices. We need new political formations which reflect the breadth of the challenge to the status quo and to these vested interests. The government is talked about, and the prime minister is talked about convening conventions about parliamentary reform.

My view is that this change will only come about, not through parliament, not through MP’s, not through prime ministers but through us, through the people themselves, and I think PCS has a fundamental role working with others. We set up the trade union co-ordinating group to work with other unions.

Why don’t we invite other unions with us, to convene our own conventions? Invite other trade unionists from all unions, but also organisations that are campaigning in every policy field for the same changes we demand.

Why don’t we link up with all those others who are demanding fundamental change, the campaigners on climate change, the groups demanding decent incomes, decent pensions, the families who have got no homes, the asylum seekers, the most oppressed within our society, the cleaners on poverty wages that we mentioned earlier today in the debate.

The teachers, the public sector workers, the ones who are facing the cuts in privatisation, the people at the sharp end. They are the ones who should determine the new society that we want to create.

And it will mean new structures, new alliances, new formations, new methods for mobilising the demand for change. That’s what we need.

And you know it isn’t just about electoral politics. I tell you wherever necessary, wherever it is needed, it may mean direct action if parliament fails to give us a choice we have to relocate democracy from parliament onto the picket line and onto the streets.

If it comes to it, we have to seize the power again that the MPs themselves have so distorted. We can’t be spectators as party leaders and media commentators try to prop up this system which is so degenerate.

It’s time for us to seize the moment. Its time for us to seize the moment for change, and it takes courage, it takes courage to stand against the stream.

But if we don’t unite, if we don’t call upon others, if we don’t unite with all of those who are angry like us, all those who are coming under attack, all those who are entering into struggle already, if we don’t do that, they’ll simply reform the system, tidy up the expenses, give themselves all a wage rise, stuff their pockets yet again and carry on as before.

That’s not acceptable to our members, it shouldn’t be acceptable to us, so the demand we want now is change led by the people.

It’s about restoring democracy to the people themselves, it’s about getting rid of this degenerate bureaucratic system that we have, and restoring the rights that people demand.

Real rights to a decent home, a decent environment, a decent job, a decent education, a decent health service and security in the long term.

We as a union have always demonstrated that we are capable of leading that demand for change. From this conference, let’s put out that call to all those other unions and all those other organisations that want change like us to unite with us for this creation, not of a new parliament, but of new politics and a new society. That’s the challenge, let’s seize it. Solidarity.

Peter Mandelson – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But I did not hesitate for too long.

The pull was too great.

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

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

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

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

It is in my blood and in my bones.

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

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

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

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

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

Though I am trying my best.

But the fact is our project is far from complete.

A Labour Government has never been more needed.

Needed to fight back against the recession.

Needed to build and secure our future economic strength.

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

And yet, we must face facts.

Electorally, we are in the fight of our lives.

And, yes, we start that fight as underdogs.

But conference let me say this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can you imagine if we had?

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

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

No extra money to boost family incomes.

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

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

No funding for the car scrappage scheme.

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

Do not let them off the hook.

I certainly will not.

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

So what does that mean?

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

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

And it means investing in future growth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the same goes for Jaguar Land Rover too.

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

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

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

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

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

Of course, we should be proud of our record.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Less financial engineering and a lot more real engineering.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They just don’t get it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At home with his tax plans.

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

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

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

So lets take on the arguments about change.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We are the true progressives.

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

We need to think like insurgents, not incumbents.

To challenge. To argue for change. To campaign.

To be the real change-makers in British politics.

This is our task.

We need to fight back.  Of course we do.

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

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

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

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

Experience and change with Gordon’s leadership.

Or the shallowness of David Cameron.

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

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

This time, it is not cut and dried.

This election is up for grabs.

So conference, we may be the underdogs.

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

Win for our Party.

Win for our country.

Win for the British people.

Jack Straw – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference

jackstraw

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

Conference.

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

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

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

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

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

Quick as a flash, young Ed Miliband pipes up:

“And what was that like Jack?!”

Brilliant.

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

We’ve faced tougher times before and come through.

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

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

But we’ve delivered that and much more.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stronger protections against forced marriage.

Tougher enforcement of employment tribunal awards.

Opening up family courts.

Measures to prevent house repossessions.

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

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

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

Conference, we have dramatically improved services available for victims.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So I say this to anyone thinking of voting Tory:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We all believe in this party.

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