Lord Adonis – 2010 Speech on the Academies Bill

Below is the text of the speech made by Lord Adonis in the House of Lords on 21 June 2010.

I begin by paying tribute to the Church of England for the outstanding work that it does in promoting academies. As the right reverend Prelate said, the Church of England is the largest single sponsor of academies. The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Liverpool and I worked closely on the ​development of academies in Liverpool and the area around, and they are making marvellous progress, extending opportunity in an area that has not had it in the past.

This is my first opportunity in the House to congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Hill, on his appointment, which I do very warmly indeed. I should also say how glad I am that my noble friends Lady Royall and Lady Morgan are leading on this Bill for the Opposition. They bring a wealth of talent and experience to the task.

My noble friend Lady Morgan raised a number of policy issues about the extension of academies, which I shall leave the Minister to respond to. However, on the specific issue about the legal name that should be given to a certain category of school, I find myself in surprising agreement with the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley. She and I are survivors from the interminable debates on the Education Act 2005, on which our views did not coincide all the time, particularly on the issue of academies. But she is right that, in terms of legal category, the schools to which the Bill proposes to accord that status have all the essential characteristics of existing academies.

I know that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet but, for two reasons, I do not support this amendment on the name that it gives to a legal category of schools. First, the schools which we are talking about in this Bill are academies in all their essential legal characteristics. They are managed independently of the local authority, on a contract with the Secretary of State that regulates a whole host of their policies and funding and which will be similar to that of existing academies. My noble friend says that academies are schools largely in deprived or challenging circumstances, and she is correct, although I need to point out to the House that that is not the exclusive preserve of academies. A number of entirely new schools have been set up as academies in very mixed social areas and a number of successful schools, including successful independent schools, have come into the state system by using the legal category of academies.

The legal status is clearly set out in Section 65 of the Education Act 2002, which is cast in similar terms to Clause 1. I emphasise the fact that the 2002 Act, which was passed by the last Government, does not specify that academies, in legal terms, can only be schools that pass a threshold either of deprivation or of low achievement. On the contrary, I invite Members of the Committee to look at Section 65, which says:

“The Secretary of State may enter into an agreement with any person under which … that person undertakes to establish and maintain, and to carry on or provide for the carrying on of, an independent school in England with the characteristics mentioned in subsection (2)”.

Those characteristics are that the school,

“has a curriculum satisfying the requirements of section 78 of the Education Act 2002”,

and that it,

“provides education for pupils of different abilities who are wholly or mainly drawn from the area in which the school is situated”.

Those provisions are almost identical to those in the Bill.​ If there is no legal distinction between the schools that we are talking about in this Bill and those referred to under the Education Act 2002, is there another public policy reason for us to give a different label to certain schools within a similar legal category? I urge your Lordships not to do so. We already have an alphabet soup of different names for schools within the state system: community schools, foundation schools with a foundation, foundation schools without a foundation, voluntary aided schools, voluntary controlled schools, trust schools, city technology colleges, grammar schools, maintained special schools and non-maintained special schools. If the schools that we are talking about are academies, as they are in their essential legal characteristics, the right thing to do is to call them academies and not to add to the alphabet soup.

Amber Rudd – 2010 Maiden Speech in the House of Commons

Below is the text of the maiden speech made by Amber Rudd, the Conservative MP for Hastings and Rye, in the House of Commons on 17 June 2010.

I am grateful for the opportunity to deliver my maiden speech. I congratulate all new Members who have spoken so ​elegantly and eloquently, particularly my hon. Friend the Member for Rossendale and Darwen (Jake Berry), whose maiden speech was well conceived and comfortably delivered.

I represent the constituency of Hastings and Rye. Of course, it is only us who call our areas constituencies. To my constituents, the constituency is home, where they live and where they bring up their families, and I will never forget that. Some six weeks since the general election, I still get a little lost going from one room to the next, and between staircases and lifts, but I remain impressed, humbled and not a little relieved to be in these historic corridors and as part of this historic coalition.

Part of my responsibility is to live up to the example of the previous Member of Parliament for Hastings and Rye, Michael Foster. He was the epitome of a good constituency MP. He was immensely popular, not just because of the individual acts that he did for local residents, but because of his high visibility locally and his successful lobbying of the then Government for additional funds for the town. Unfortunately for him, his popularity grew in inverse proportion to that of his Government, but I recognise that, through his service, he set a very high bar—one that I shall try to reach and, hopefully, at some stage exceed.

The fruits of Michael Foster’s success are evident in Hastings. We have a new train station, further education college, and university centre, and two new state-of-the-art office developments. However, physical regeneration has not yet translated into economic regeneration. Our offices are still largely empty, the train services are still poor, and on the index of multiple deprivation, Hastings remains 29th from the bottom. We have some of the lowest wages and highest unemployment in the whole country, let alone the south-east. Cynics might be forgiven for thinking that Labour’s regeneration has been a triumph of style over substance so far. The make-up is in place, but I am afraid that the wrinkles are still very much there.

But deprivation is only one part of Hastings, and Hastings is only one part of an area of contrasts and variations. My constituency feels very much like a microcosm of the country, with urban and rural areas, with farmland adjacent to idyllic estates, and with idyllic villages next to deprived wards. We are the custodians of England’s most famous date—perhaps more famous than 6 May 2010.

Let me introduce colleagues to the wonderful aspects of my constituency. Hastings, Rye and the village of Winchelsea were all parts of the Cinque ports, which were put together in the 11th century to keep out seafaring invaders, and for the mutual benefit of trade and fishing. Each place has its own unique character. I urge Members to spend their summer holidays with us. They can enjoy local produce, the source of modern English history, top-quality entertainment, fresh air and exercise—and for the more sedentary among us, there are fish and chips and slot machines. They can even walk in genuine dinosaur footprints, which may appeal to some Labour Members.

Tourism is an essential ingredient of what we have to offer. Hotels and boarding houses boast that they have been popular with visitors since 1066—visitors, of course, have not always been so popular with them. We have fantastic beaches, wonderful countryside and arguably ​the world’s most remarkable heritage. We have flourishing language schools, visited by students from all over the world, and a community that welcomes them with open arms, not to mention open tills, because we need the business.

Like many towns, we suffer from the coastal problem of being at the end of the line. Looking at previous maiden speeches over the past 40 to 50 years, I see that there has been a recurring theme: transport. The A21 to Hastings needs renewing and improvement. Our survival and prosperity depend on access. There is no point having wonderful facilities if people cannot access them. It unquestionably puts off employers and tourists, both of whom we need, that it is so difficult to get to our part of the world. I am talking of a constituency where 43% of the work force are in the public sector. We are like an island. We know which way the tide is going; we need to attract the private sector to try to take up some of the unemployment. I fear that much of the money that has already been spent in my constituency will fail to improve the economy if we do not do something about that. For too long, we have been the underprivileged cousin of the south-east. Many of my constituents have suffered terribly from an economy that has simply left them behind.

I have two important considerations for my constituency of Hastings and Rye. The first is transport. I recognise the particular financial situation in which we find ourselves—there must be cuts; we have inherited a difficult legacy. However, I urge Government Front Benchers not to make them to vital infrastructure projects, on which everything else depends. In my constituency, they are a link road to open up the area to more jobs and more employers, improvements to the A21, and better rail transport. We must be accessible to prosper. Conservatives understand above all the importance of enterprise and encouraging private sector growth so that families and communities can grow on their own.

We have discussed the high-skilled economy, and I agree that we all need that for our country to advance. However, I would like to draw hon. Members’ attention to a very old trade. In Hastings, we have the largest beach-launched fishing fleet in Europe. In Rye, we have an important port and fishing fleet. They have been treated shamefully in the past 15 years. In the 1990s, there were 44 fishing vessels leaving Hastings; now there are 20, and the fishermen eke out a precarious living. Those men earn their living in a traditional, honest and environmentally friendly way, battling with the sea and the dangers of the deep. However, the common fisheries policy, as enforced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has made their lives impossible. In 2005, there were prosecutions of those fishermen. The role of Government must be to help people, not put them out of business. Their way of life needs bailing out. Our Fisheries Minister understands the issue and the urgency and has visited Hastings twice, but we cannot wait for a full renegotiation of the common fisheries policy. We need change now, with the cod season approaching and difficulties ahead of us. We need a Government who protect our fisheries and our fishermen. I urge particular consideration of coastal towns.

The Government recognise the importance of promoting private sector growth. I hope that we can demonstrate ​that in Hastings and Rye by supporting better transport links and securing a fairer deal for fishermen. All we ask is a fair wind and an even keel.

Sajid Javid – 2010 Maiden Speech in the House of Commons

Below is the text of the maiden speech made by Sajid Javid in the House of Commons on 8 June 2010.

Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to make my maiden speech. I speak with a particular sense of humility after so many hon. Members have given such admirable maiden speeches, including that just made by the hon. Member for Stretford and Urmston (Kate Green).

I have some worthy predecessors. My immediate predecessor was Miss Julie Kirkbride. She was first elected in 1997, and she was a fine constituency MP. I will never forget the spontaneous tributes that people paid to her, when I knocked on their doors during the campaign, for all the work that she had done on their behalf. I should also like to express my gratitude to her two most recent predecessors, Mr Roy Thomason and Sir Hal Miller, who both helped me in my campaign with great advice.

Bromsgrove is a beautiful, traditional beacon of middle England. I know that many hon. Members have described their constituencies as beautiful, but Bromsgrove truly has breathtaking countryside. It is an old market town which was originally a bit of an industrial hub for the west midlands industrial complex. It still has a very active, traditional court-leet, with lovely traditions. In the east of the constituency we have many beautiful picture-postcard villages, including the glamorously named suburb of Hollywood.

Over the centuries, we have had many heroes from Bromsgrove. I should like to pay tribute on this occasion to two of the most recent-both teenagers, both soldiers in the 2nd Battalion, the Mercian Regiment. The first, Private Robert Laws, was aged 18 when he lost his life fighting for our country in Helmand province last year. He had passed his training only six months previously. The second, Private Alex Kennedy, also aged 18, earlier this year became the youngest soldier since the second world war to receive the military cross. He fought hard to save the life of his commanding officer during a fierce battle with the Taliban. We must never forget the sacrifices that our soldiers-those who have served and those who are currently serving for us-make on our behalf.

A notable person from Bromsgrove is A. E. Housman, whose stirring prose reflected the rural beauty of the heart of England. In Bromsgrove we have a wonderful heritage in the English countryside, and that is why I want to make sure that it is the people who are most affected by planning decisions who make those decisions. That is why I welcome the recent announcements of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on that issue. They have been most welcomed by my constituents.

Perhaps at this point I should say something about my own background, as hon. Members may be able to tell from my appearance and my name that I can hardly be of traditional Worcestershire stock. My parents were both born in British India. Although my father was just six years old in 1947, he remembers full well the tragedy that occurred upon the partition of India-12 million people were displaced and almost a million lost their lives. If we need an example of how political failure can lead to great human tragedy, surely that is one of the most heart-wrenching, and an example of how politics can really make a difference. That is what I say to people who ask me why I gave up a lucrative career in finance to enter this House.

To the dismay of the right hon. Member for Holborn and St Pancras (Frank Dobson), I have to tell him that for 19 years I have been an investment banker. In my case, this is one brain that was sucked up by the City and has now come to serve the people in this Parliament. I worked in London, Singapore and New York. I readily admit that being seen as an investment banker was not the most useful thing on the campaign trail, but it helped prepare me for a profession not well liked by the general public. Let us hope that all of us, on both sides of the House, can work together over the coming years to help restore the nation’s respect for our great Parliament.

In view of my background in finance, I am particularly pleased to give my maiden speech during this debate on economic affairs. There are many global economic uncertainties at the moment, and they have potentially grave consequences for our economy. First, the euro is only just beginning to have problems. It was always a political contrivance that had virtually nothing to do with economics. Secondly, the world’s largest emerging market economies, which have buttressed global demand since the onset of the credit crisis, are about to go through a period of monetary tightening, and we can no longer rely on them for global growth.

Thirdly, industrialised nations, including our own, that have issued vast amounts of sovereign debt over the past three years in particular can no longer go on that way. We have to make sure that when we look at these issues, we never forget the traditional disciplines that have stood Britain in good stead-sound public finances, low and simple taxation, and light and flexible regulation. It is when we forget these disciplines that we put our future prosperity at risk.

Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity, and thank you to the people of Bromsgrove for allowing me to serve them in this Chamber.

Charles Kennedy – 2000 Speech on the EU and the Euro

charleskennedy

Below is the text of the speech made by Charles Kennedy, the then Leader of the Liberal Democrats, in Brussels on 5 December 2000.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am delighted to be able to be here today to talk about Britain’s role in the EU and the case for the Single Currency.

So much of the discourse about Europe or the Euro in Britain is characterised by scare stories and misinformation that it is scarcely possible to have a serious debate on the issues any more. Any positive news stories about the benefits of EU membership or the virtues of the Single Currency tend to be subverted by the sceptical British press in favour of scare stories about straight bananas or the fact that the European Union flag will fly alongside the Union Jack over Downing Street for one day this year to mark our membership of the EU.

You would think from the hysterical reaction in one particular Sunday newspaper a couple of days ago to that story that we weren’t actually members of the European Union at all. It is becoming more and more necessary in Britain for those of us who support Britain’s membership of the European Union and think that a successful Single Currency will yield benefits for British businesses, and British workers, and British consumers to go out and make the case for them both time and time again.

The Liberal Democrats are strong advocates of the European Union. Let us not forget the dream of the original members of what is now the EU. It was that a degree of economic and political integration would bring co-operation and, more importantly, peace and stability to Western Europe, which had been notably absent for centuries.

Having, most of us, grown up in the last fifty years it is perhaps easy to underestimate the degree to which the European Union has been the cause and the guarantor of that peace. The longest continual period of peace in Western Europe since Roman times. Membership of the European Union also gives Britain more power and influence than if we were a nation alone.

Look at the example of British beef and the BSE crisis. The United States has banned the import of British beef for a number of years. and we have absolutely no power to stop them. Yet France also maintains an unwarranted ban on our beef. The difference is that in this case, we are able to complain to the European Union who are now taking legal steps to force the French to lift this unnecessary and unacceptable ban.

Indeed, given the current fears over the safety beef produced in other EU countries, notably France, I find it hard to understand any justification for the French action. Measures must be taken speedily to reassure public opinion as to the safety of beef in the EU, so as not to undermine confidence in beef produced in this country. I want to see nothing less than a total EU-wide ban on all cattle over 30-months old entering the food-chain. The European Union must provide 100 per cent compensation to farmers for destroying cattle of that age.

The EU must not shy away from taking the strong action necessary to ensure public safety and reassure public opinion. Membership of the European Union gives us the leverage to fight for this to happen. If we were not members our calls would mean nothing.

In a wider sense, Britain’s place in the world order has changed dramatically, in the years since we joined what was then the Common Market. Britain is now a stronger trading nation than at any time since World War Two.

In the years since 1973, our trade has increased by 138%. More than half of British trade now is actually with other EU countries. In 1999, the value of Britain’s trade with the EU approached £350 billion. Almost a tenth of that was with Belgium. As businessmen and women, you will know how easily levels of trade are affected by tariffs, barriers to entry, and exchange rate fluctuations.

So long as we are members of the European Union we will enjoy the benefits of a common market. But if we remain outside of the Single Currency we remain open to the damage that an unstable and high exchange rate can do to our exporters and to inward investment in Britain. The high pound has already been doing serious damage to our manufacturing industry and exporters in recent years. If this were to be perpetuated in the future it could have a seriously adverse impact on Britain as a trading nation.

The Liberal Democrats have not been alone in arguing this case. But we have perhaps been the most consistent. The Prime Minister, for example, probably shares this view. Although some of his ministers, including the Chancellor, may not. But he is timid when it comes to discussing the benefits of joining a successful Single Currency, preferring to hide behind a series of utterly subjective economic tests laid down by Gordon Brown. They are a fig leaf to hide the Government’s indecision.

Yet, I believe people need the British Government to take a lead, more than ever, on the issue of the Single Currency. To give them the certainty they need to plan their businesses or to give them the certainty that their job is secure.

It is important also to take heed of the views of those in business and industry when looking at the case for or against the Euro. Over the course of the last year, numerous big hitters in business have spoken out in favour of Britain joining a successful Single Currency. Richard Branson, for example, has let it be known that he is increasingly concerned about our non-membership. Earlier this year he wrote: “Outside the Euro we will be much poorer both as a nation and as individuals.” A month later, the President of the Japanese electronics giant Matsushita spoke out of his concerns that Britain had still not made a commitment to join the Euro. “The immediate question is when the pound will be included in the Euro” he said. “If Britain does nothing to solve the problem, foreign companies, regardless of whether they are Japanese American, or whatever nationality, may exit the country.”

These words should be heard by all politicians when deciding whether we should join the Single Currency. But I readily accept that this issue cannot, and should not, just be decided on economic grounds. There are constitutional implications to consider also. That is why the Liberal Democrats were the first major political party to call for a referendum on this issue. To call for the British people to have the final say on whether to adopt the Euro.

All I ask is that the public are given all the information on the pros and cons of membership in order to make an informed decision when the times comes, rather than being fed a diet of half-truths, exaggeration and plain hysteria as is the case all too often at present. The British people deserve nothing less than the whole truth.

Andrea Leadsom – 2010 Maiden Speech to the House of Commons

Andrea Leadsom
Andrea Leadsom

Below is the text of the maiden speech made by Andrea Leadsom, the Conservative MP for South Northamptonshire, on 22 June 2010.

According to the Bank for International Settlements, the amount of global derivatives outstanding is now $1.14 quadrillion; that is more than $1,000 trillion and more than 10 times the GDP of the entire world. It is a vast risk, and not only that; it is largely unregulated and traded between the banks themselves.

I am grateful for this opportunity to give my maiden speech during today’s crucial Budget debate. There is no doubt that the actions we take now to cut our deficit and make our banking system safer will determine how quickly our economy recovers.

In speaking today, I am following in the big footsteps of my predecessor, Tim Boswell. He made his maiden speech during a debate on the Finance Bill in 1987, and I hope I am not tempting fate, because within a few months of his speech the stock market spectacularly crashed.

It is a great pleasure to pay tribute to Tim’s 23 years of service in this House. He is one of a small number of politicians to have been called a saint by The Daily Telegraph and he has certainly been an honourable Member of this House. As well as his many virtues, however, he also has a wicked sense of humour. He recently e-mailed me to tell me he was never going to vote for me again-ever. It was only after a few minutes of sheer panic that I realised that that was his way of giving me the great news of his elevation to the other
place. Tim has many friends on both sides of the House and I am sure many Members will want to join me in congratulating him on his well-deserved new role.

South Northamptonshire is a new constituency, with two thirds of it from Tim Boswell’s Daventry and a third from Northampton South. My family members have worked and farmed there for generations. It is a wonderful place in the heart of England: we have a mixture of ancient villages, with the market towns of Brackley and Towcester; we have thriving new communities on the outskirts of Northampton; and, of course, we have the world-famous Silverstone circuit. Engineering and technology businesses are a great strength, and we also have some big local employers, such as Barclaycard and Carlsberg.

We do have our own challenges, however. Under the last Government Northamptonshire was a huge target for housing growth, with little regard for the needs and desires of existing long-standing communities, and I am very glad that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has announced plans to scrap the regional spatial strategies, thereby giving power back to local people.

We have been beset with applications for wind turbines on the edge of villages, where local residents have felt unable to defend their own environment.

More recently, we have whole communities under threat from Labour’s preferred route for high-speed rail. It would literally cut through farms and villages in my constituency, in some places on a 6 metre-high embankment. We all know that we cannot build new infrastructure painlessly, but there is a huge price to pay by people whose homes and businesses would be destroyed by the track. I urge our Government to make sure that the consultation on high-speed rail gives to everyone whose life and business will be affected the opportunity to have their voice heard. South Northamptonshire is a gem of a place to live, to work and to visit and I am hugely honoured to be its first Member of Parliament.

Let me return to the subject of the debate. To me, it is absolutely key to restore the health of our financial services sector as a critical part of restoring our broken economy. There are two ways of doing that. First, I am glad that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has already decided to give back extra responsibility to the Bank of England.

In 1995, Barings bank collapsed due to rogue trading in the far east. Nick Leeson had found a way to put on massive uncovered derivatives exposure without the knowledge of Barings’ treasury in London, in a different time zone if not on a different planet. At the time, I was managing the investment banks team at Barclays, and we were the principal banker to Barings. The collapse came on a Friday evening and the markets were threatening chaos, but Eddie George, the then Governor of the Bank of England, called together a small group of bankers, including myself, and we worked over the weekend to calm the fears of banks that were exposed to Barings. The direct result was that there was no run on the banks on the Monday morning, Barings was allowed to fail and there was no systemic contagion.

The difference between that experience and the more recent experience with Northern Rock is the difference between accountability and the tripartite system. In 1995, Eddie George knew that it was down to him to prevent a run on the banks, whereas in the case of Northern Rock, we had the Financial Services Agency looking to the Bank of England, which was looking to the Treasury for action. The result was the first run on a bank in 150 years and a taste of the financial meltdown to come.

From my experience, I am positive that a key to restoring the health of our financial sector is giving back powers and accountability to the Bank of England, and I am delighted that my right hon. Friend plans to do just that.

There is a second key action that we need to take as well. The financial crisis was not just a failure of regulation; it was also a failure of competition. The great Adam Smith always said in his wealth-creation ideas that for markets to be free and for us to create new wealth we have to have free entry and free exit of market players.

But in the world of finance those principles have not been true for years: cost and complexity have created huge barriers to new entry; we have already seen that Governments cannot possibly allow a single bank to fail when there are issues of systemic contagion; and we see every day the distortion of free competition in the power of investment banks to charge huge margins for derivatives trading and underwriting.

So, I and many of my ex-City colleagues argue that a key way of making our banking system safer is through measures to change the culture of our financial sector. The banks that are supposedly too big to fail must be broken up. The barriers to entry must be removed. The ability to charge monopoly prices must be taken away.

In South Northamptonshire, businesses are struggling because of the lack of available working capital, but with our high-tech and engineering expertise we should be really well placed to build new jobs in the low-carbon economy that our Government want to create.

The Government are right to want to promote a broader mix of business in our economy. That mix must contain a successful financial services sector with healthy competition and the free availability of working capital.

It is a mix that will be at the core of our economic recovery.

David Cameron + Nick Clegg – 2010 Joint Press Conference

davidcameronold

Below is the text of the joint press conference held with David Cameron and Nick Clegg on 12 May 2010.

Prime Minister:

Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome. On the steps of Downing Street yesterday evening, I said that Nick and I wanted to put aside party differences and work together in the national interest. Since I set out that aim, both our parties have given their full backing to our coalition agreement, a Liberal Democrat-Conservative Government that we have negotiated.

This is the first coalition Government in Britain for 65 years. It will be an administration united behind three key principles: freedom, fairness and responsibility. It will be an administration united behind one key purpose. That is to give our country the strong, stable and determined leadership that we need for the long term.

In the days and weeks ahead, we will together be setting out in greater detail the aims and the values of our partnership and the full policy programme of our coalition Government. Today, we want to say just a few words about how we plan to work together and the significance of what we have achieved in coming to this agreement.

This morning, as part of the process of establishing the new Government, I have been working to appoint the Cabinet. Later today, I will be chairing the first meeting of our National Security Council and Nick Clegg will be at my side. There are five Liberal Democrat Secretaries of State in Cabinet working hand in hand with Conservative colleagues to address the big challenges that Britain faces. Starting with Nick Clegg as Deputy Prime Minister, Liberal Democrats will be represented at every level of government. I think this is a sign of the strength and depth of this coalition and our sincere determination to work together constructively to make this coalition work in our national interest.

We have a shared agenda and a shared resolve to tackle the challenges our country faces, to safeguard our national security and support our troops abroad, to tackle the debt crisis, to repair our broken political system and to build a stronger society. We understand that we are not going to beat these problems overnight. In particular, no Government in modern times has ever been left with such a terrible economic inheritance. Today’s unemployment figures are another sign of the human cost of the economic mistakes of the past decade. So we know there will be difficult decisions ahead but, working together, I know we can take the country through those difficult times to the better times that I believe lie ahead.

But today, we are not just announcing a new Government and new ministers; we are announcing a new politics. A new politics where the national interest is more important than the party interest, where cooperation wins out over confrontation, where compromise, where give and take, where reasonable, civilised, grown-up behaviour is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. One of the major problems of the last few years has been a chronic short-termism in government. With this coalition Government and this coalition agreement that we have for five years, we can act for the long term and make the major decisions for our country’s future. That is the true significance of this coalition. It can be an historic and seismic shift in our political landscape. It can demonstrate in government a new progressive partnership, believing in enterprise, markets and fiscal responsibility, committed to civil liberties and curbing the power of the state, passionate about building a green economy, determined to build the Big Society where families and communities are supported and strengthened and eager to make sure that the Big Society is matched by big citizens, where power is taken from the politicians and put in the hands of people as we embark on a recasting of our political system.

Our Liberal-Conservative Government will take Britain in an historic new direction, a direction of hope and unity, conviction and common purpose. I am delighted to be standing here with the new Deputy Prime Minister. The two of us together leading this historic, Liberal Democrat-Conservative administration. I would like, now, to invite him to speak to us on what I think is a remarkable and very welcome day. Nick.

Deputy Prime Minister:

Thank you, David. We have just been through an election campaign and now we have a coalition. Until today, we were rivals; now, we are colleagues. That says a lot about the scale of the new politics that is now beginning to unfold. This is a new Government and it is a new kind of government, a radical reforming Government where it needs to be and a source of reassurance and stability at a time of great uncertainty in our country too.

David has spoken about many of the challenges we all face: the economy, still struggling to get to its feet; the public finances, in a mess; our troops, engaged in a difficult and lasting conflict that requires resolution; our society, still scarred by too much unfairness and inequality; our politics, not yet recovered from the hammer blows of recent months. At a time of such enormous difficulties, our country needed a strong and stable government. It needed an ambitious Government determined to work relentlessly for a better future. That is what we have come together in this coalition to provide.

This is a Government that will last, not because of a list of policies, important though they are, not because it will be easy. There will be bumps and scrapes along the way. We are different parties and we have different ideas. This is a Government that will last despite those differences, because we are united by a common purpose for the job we want to do together in the next five years. Our ambition is simple and yet profound. Our ambition is to put real power and opportunity into the hands of people, families and communities to change their lives and our country for the better.

For me, that is what liberalism is all about: ensuring that everybody has the chance, no matter who they are or where they are from, to be the person they want to be and live the life they want to live. You can call it ‘fairness’. You can call it ‘responsibility’. You can call it ‘liberalism’. Whatever words you use, the change it will make to your life is the same. You will have the opportunities you crave: fairer taxes; better schools; a fair, green economy with growth that lasts; clean, open, plural politics that I hope, once again, you can put your faith in to deliver the help and the change you need.

I want this to be a bold, reforming Government that puts fairness back into Britain, a Government that restores our faith in what a healthy, strong society can achieve, a Government that takes power away from politicians, as David said, and gives it back to you, a government that hands back your liberties and your privacy, building a nation where parents, pupils and patients can shape our schools and hospitals, where fine words on the environment are finally translated into real action, where social mobility becomes a reality for all where the great British traditions of tolerance and fairness are restored. I came into politics to change politics and to change Britain for good. Together, that job starts today. Thank you.

David Cameron – 2010 Speech at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills

davidcameron

Below is the text of the speech made by David Cameron, the Prime Minister, on 13 May 2010.

Thank you very much. It’s great to be here. The very first Department of State I ever walked into as a junior researcher over 20 years ago was actually the DTI – I think I walked through that door over there. The ministerial team in those days included talents as diverse as Alan Clark and Eric Forth, so if that coalition can work together, this one certainly can!

I wanted to come here first for some very good reasons. First of all, we face huge economic challenges, and I think it’s so important, as Vince has just said, that we really demonstrate that this country is open for business; that we want to promote trade overseas; we want to get our economy moving; and we want to get our banks lending. I see this as a big economic department with a huge task in front of it, and I want all of you to work together to help deliver that.

In doing so, you’ve got an incredibly talented team of ministers. Vince Cable is an absolute star in terms of economic policy and economic thinking; he’s demonstrated that over the last few years in parliament. To bring him together with David Willetts, who is also known as ‘two brains’ – you’ve got two ministers so far, and there are more to come this afternoon I promise you. But you already have some of the top talent that is available in parliament, to make a great success of this.

The more I think about the endeavour, on which we have embarked, the more excited I become. Because this coalition government, if we can make it work – and I believe we can – is a five-year government; and one of the things that everyone says about our economy is that we need to make more long-term decisions. I think we have an incredible opportunity to make long-term decisions for the good of our economy, for the good of our country. In doing so, I will try, as Prime Minister, to do something else that hasn’t always happened in the past, and that is to appoint good ministers and keep them in post for a decent period of time. The average length of ministerial life, I think, is around one year and three months; we have got to do better than that when we have these big challenges in front of us.

Two last things. Yes, this is a coalition government, but in many ways, all governments are a coalition – a coalition between politicians and civil servants. I want us to do better than has been done before, in making sure that coalition really works. Part of that is about respecting the work that civil servants do. Having worked as a special advisor 20 years ago, having watched government over the last 20 years, I know that the British Civil Service is an incredible machine. It requires, of course, the right coordination, the right leadership, the right combination with politicians. But it is a great machine. Where else in the world can you see a transition to government be so smooth and so effective, even when you’re putting together a political coalition?

I am expecting great things of you in this department. The economic challenge we face is the biggest we have faced over the last 40 years. We have two big economic departments, the Treasury and BIS; we have great political leadership, I believe, in both. I want you all to get down to work, to make sure we send out a big signal: this country is open for business. We want to get the economy growing, get the banks lending, and make sure that we build a strong and, as Vince said, a more balanced economy for the future.

So today is a day to receive your new ministers; there will be three more talented ministers turning up very shortly. Tomorrow is the day to roll up your sleeves and get down to work, to help us build a strong economy here in the UK. Thank you very much indeed.

William Hague – 2010 Speech with Hillary Clinton

williamhague

Below is the text of the press conference with William Hague and Hillary Clinton, held in Washington, United States on 14 May 2010.

Hillary Clinton: Some months ago so this is not the first time that we’ve had the opportunity for a substantive discussion about a, a very broad range of important matters. The election of a new Government in the United Kingdom and the smooth transfer of power this week were two powerful symbols of the enduring democratic traditions that our two nations share. And we’re very intrigued by and will follow closely the latest incarnation of this long democratic tradition. We’re reminded again that our common values are the foundation of an historic alliance that really undergirds our common aspirations and our common concerns.

The Obama Administration looks forward to working with the new British Government, we will continue to build on the deep and abiding trust that has existed between the British and American people for a very long time. The Foreign Secretary and I had a lot to talk about today. We discussed our shared mission in Afghanistan and he reaffirmed his Government’s commitment to working with the international community and the Afghans to achieve long term stability there.

The United States is deeply appreciative of the British contributions in Afghanistan and we honour the sacrifices of the British service members who serve their country with such distinction overseas.

The United States and the United Kingdom are also firmly committed to the NATO mission in Afghanistan and we support the efforts by the Afghan Government to fight corruption and build a stable and secure Government and country. We will continue our very close consultations on these matters going forward.

We also remain united in our insistence that Iran fulfil its international obligations and prove that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes only. Contrary to recent suggestions Iran has not indicated any interest in or accepted the standing offer of the P5 plus 1 to discuss international concerns over its nuclear programme. Rather Iran’s senior officials continue to say they will not talk about their nuclear programme with us. So we are working closely with our UK and other partners on a new Security Council resolution affirming that there are serious consequences should Iran continue to flout its international obligations and fail to comply with both IAEA decisions and UN Security Council resolutions.

The Foreign Secretary and I also discussed the importance of finding a way forward in the Middle East peace process. Our countries will continue working together to encourage all parties to resume direct negotiations. We seek a two state solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict with an overall goal of securing a comprehensive peace in the Middle East that requires everyone at the table.

And, of course, there are so many other issues that we touched on. We share a mutual interest in restoring confidence in the financial sector in Europe and in the Eurozone as well as the global economy. We will continue working together to restore economic stability. So I look forward to a very strong working relationship with the Foreign Secretary and it is a great pleasure for me to have this opportunity to begin what will be a long, close and at times intense consultations over the months and years ahead.

William Hague: Thank you. Well it’s an immense pleasure for me to be here today. I was here not so many months ago as a Shadow Foreign Secretary and we had a very good meeting then but it was always one of my hopes that we would have the opportunity to work together in Government and now we do have the opportunity to do so.

It’s been an extraordinary week really in British politics, it’s only a week since the election results were coming in. Now we have a new Government created in a new way in Britain and one of the things that has struck the Prime Minister and I is the, the sheer warmth of the welcome we’ve had from the United States. The first person to call David Cameron when he entered 10 Downing Street was the President of the United States and the first person to call me when I entered the Foreign Office was Secretary Clinton and Vice President Biden has had an excellent chat on the telephone with our new Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. And one of the reasons I wanted to come here so quickly and have our meeting is, is to show that we reciprocate that warmth and we are looking forward to exactly the relationship which the Secretary of State has been describing.

This new British Government has some real ambition and energy and determination to rebuild our economic strength at home which is, of course, the foundation of any successful foreign policy, but also to deliver a distinctive British foreign policy abroad. And I’m aware coming in to this job that the, the challenges of foreign policy are uniquely tricky and that is why I’ve always had such huge admiration for Secretary Clinton. The leadership she has provided to the international community as Secretary of State, the energy, the ideas, her advocacy of women’s rights, education, development and effective diplomacy are in, an inspiring example to other Foreign Ministers and would be Foreign Ministers around the world and I pay tribute to her for that.

And today we’ve had very productive talks that reflect this very wide agenda of issues on which the United Kingdom and the United States work in partnership on. We talked, indeed, about our joint effort in Afghanistan which the Prime Minister has made our top priority in, in foreign affairs where we will give the strategy, the NATO strategy and the agreements made at the London Conference, the time and support to succeed. We discussed the closely related situation in Pakistan where we and the United States share common goals and, indeed, have been, have already started discussing ways to enhance and strengthen our cooperation in the support that we give to Pakistan.

We discussed Iran where we, of course, agreed on the need to send a strong and united signal about Iran’s nuclear programme to secure the passage of a UN Security Council resolution. And the United Kingdom will thereafter, of course, play a key role in ensuring that there is determined action by the European Union to follow up such a resolution.

We spoke about the Middle East peace process where I expressed my firm and full support for the President’s efforts to re-launch negotiations and what we as a leading member of the EU can do to buttress these efforts. We’ll work together on the crucial issue of nuclear proliferation and the progress we hope will be made in New York and we discussed developments in Europe and I, I reiterated my determination that the European Union should be a strong partner with the United States in meeting our shared challenges and the determination of the new British Government to play a highly active and activist role in the European Union from the very beginning.

And, finally, I just want to say a few words about what the President has called the extraordinary special relationship between Britain and the United States and we’re very happy to accept that description and to agree with that description. The United States is without doubt the most important ally of the United Kingdom, fundamentally it is a relationship rooted in strong alignment of our national interests and the scope of our cooperation is unparalleled; our, our military, our diplomats, our intelligence and security agencies work hand in glove together. It’s not a backward looking or nostalgic relationship it is one looking to the future from combating violent extremism to addressing poverty and conflict around the world. So I believe the UK and the US share common priorities to an extraordinary degree and we will continue to pursue these priorities in what I think we can confidently say is an unbreakable alliance. And it’s on that basis that I’ve so much enjoyed our talks today.

Nick Gibb – 2010 Speech on Teaching Latin

nickgibb

Below is the text of the speech made by Nick Gibb, the Minister of State for Schools, at the Politeia Conference in London on 30 November 2010.

Introduction

I am delighted to be here today. Sheila Lawlor and Politeia have been and remain hugely influential in steering public policy debate gently in a right of centre direction, particularly in social policy areas such as education.

I studied Latin at secondary school in the state sector, to O level – the grade you don’t need to know. But I thoroughly enjoyed it. It equipped me for life. And it is for this reason, that the decimation of the teaching of Latin in the state sector over the last few decades is so alarming.

So I thank you for putting on today’s conference – about how schools can take advantage of the new freedoms that the Government is giving to teachers, to bring Latin to more state schools and to primary schools in particular.

And I thank Professor Pelling and Dr Morgan for their pamphlet and for the passion of their arguments and the growing groundswell of support for Latin all of you are leading.

Latin’s importance

Latin is important.

Ed Hirsch talks about the importance of cultural literacy and the importance of knowledge in building upon knowledge. Latin is so prevalent in our culture, in our political and legal systems; in our religious and spiritual institutions and thinking; in medicine, botany and horticulture; and in our art and architecture. The Roman Empire is around us every day – from the way our towns are laid out to the literature we read. Virgil and Ovid should be seen as the start of a great tradition of Western literature leading to Chaucer, Shakespeare, Keats and Eliot. Latin gives us a direct link to our own past – and dare I say it, an insight into how politics and power have always worked.

And Latin shows us how the mechanics of language works. The English we speak today descends in part from the Vulgar Latin spoken by workers, merchants and legionaries. English is so riddled with exceptions to the rule that we need Latin to bring sense, order and structure to grammar. Latin gives us the skills to learn not just Romance languages like Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and French – but the aptitude and confidence to learn new tongues beyond Western Europe.

So when people urge schools to teach a modern language rather than Latin, there need not be an either/or. Learning an ancient language equips you to learn a modern language and vice versa. And learning any language, new or old, helps give young people the academic hunger, thirst and confidence to keep on exploring the world around them.

That’s what makes the decline in the studying of languages at GCSE-level such a tragedy.

The numbers studying Latin at GCSE in state schools, remain pitifully small – just 2,868 this year. Overall there were just 9,360 GCSE entries for Latin – 70% of them taken in the independent sector, where just seven per cent of pupils are educated.

And the proportion studying a modern language overall has fallen from 79% in 2000 to just 44% in 2009 – and when you take out the independent sector that 44% falls to 39%.

This is all at the precise moment when globalization is demanding that we need to keep up with the rest of the world. Business continues to complain about the paucity of foreign language skills amongst school leavers and graduates. Ignorance of languages breeds insularity and it means an integral part of the brain’s intellectual function remains undeveloped.

Reform – creating opportunities for Latin

That’s something we’re determined to put right.

Our white paper has a clear vision at its heart – that high quality teaching is the single biggest determinant of a pupil’s achievement.

All the evidence from different education systems around the world shows that the most important factor in determining how well children do is the quality of teachers and teaching.

And the latest McKinsey report just published, entitled ‘Capturing the Leadership Premium’ – about how the world’s top school systems are building leadership capacity – cites a number of studies from North America, including one saying that:

… nearly 60% of a school’s impact on student achievement is attributable to principal and teacher effectiveness. These are the most important in-school factors driving school success, with principals accounting for 25% and teachers 33% of a school’s total impact on achievement.

This is why, when you read the White Paper, you will see that its constant theme is the importance of the profession and helping to liberate that profession from over-centralised initiatives, from over-prescription and from too much bureaucracy and red tape.

And in that liberty lies opportunity for those who believe in promoting Latin.

You will already have noted our determination to increase the autonomy of schools through expanding the academies programme and giving teachers and headteachers more control over their own destiny. The OECD cites autonomy combined with rigorous and objective external accountability as the two key factors that high performing jurisdictions have in common. Again, in that autonomy lies opportunity – as the proposed West London Free School is doing. It intends to make Latin compulsory for all at age 11-14 – exactly the sort of freedoms which these reforms have opened up.

But also in the six months since the new coalition government was formed, we’ve already begun to take forward a series of reforms to bear down on unnecessary burdens and bureaucracy – granting schools greater freedoms; extending teachers’ powers to enforce discipline; more classroom autonomy; rigorous qualifications, valued by universities and employers; and the right targets and measures, which don’t create perverse incentives to shy away from academic subjects.

These are the freedoms that should assist professionals who wish to reintroduce Latin into the curriculum.

We will slim down the national curriculum. At present the national curriculum has in it too much that is not essential or which is unclear and there is too much prescription about how to teach.

We need a new approach to the National Curriculum so it specifies a tighter, more rigorous model of the knowledge which every child should be expected to master in core subjects at every key stage.

It is our view that in a school system that moves towards a greater degree of autonomy, the National Curriculum will increasingly become a benchmark against which schools can be judged rather than a prescriptive straitjacket into which education is squeezed – a straitjacket which has been squeezing Latin out.

We will be launching the Curriculum Review very shortly – but it will, of course, be looking at languages in primary schools as well as secondary schools. We made it very clear when we announced that we would not be implementing the recommendations in the Rose Review that those primary schools that had made preparations for the introduction of languages at Key Stage 2, or were already teaching languages, should continue to do so. Languages are hugely important and under this government will become more so, not less.

We are also introducing the new English Baccalaureate, to recognise pupils who achieve good GCSEs in English; maths; science; a humanity, such as history or geography; and a foreign language – modern or ancient.

Reintroducing the importance of a broad range of academic subjects as a measure of standards in our schools will provide an incentive for schools to refocus on encouraging more young people to study a language. And since we include ancient languages in that measure, this is a real opportunity for the Latin lobby to promote the teaching of Latin in schools.

Conclusion

One of the overriding objectives of the Government is to close the attainment gap between those from wealthier and poorer backgrounds.

The fact that the opportunity to learn Latin is so rare in the state sector is one of a range of factors that has led to the width of that gap. Spreading these opportunities is part and parcel of closing that attainment gap and helping to create a more equal society.

So when people say that Latin is an elitist subject that shouldn’t be taught in the state sector they are contributing to the widening of that gap and to the very elitism they rail against.

Jim Murphy – 2010 Speech to Labour Party Conference

jimmurphy

Below is the text of the speech made by Jim Murphy to Labour Party conference on 27th September 2010.

Conference, in May we face a big election in Scotland – but we face it with confidence.

Although the general election was painful for us and the millions we stand for, our results in Scotland were stunning. Every seat held. An increase in the share of the vote. All by-election losses regained. Over a million votes for Labour.

We’re not just the Scottish Labour Party – we’re Scotland’s Labour Party. We should be so proud of Scotland’s achievement.

Peculiarly, it was also a good election for the Tories too.

Remember they boasted they would win 12 Scottish seats – and they did. One Tory. 11 Lib Dems.

But not a single person in Scotland voted Li b Dem in order to put the Tories into power.

That’s why people are so angry about what they see.

Let’s be under no illusions. This is a Tory Government and would be cutting hard and fast even if there was no deficit. For them, the deficit is a handy excuse to let them do what they’ve always done.

The Lib Dems haven’t put the breaks on the Tories – they have bolstered them.

Just look at the decisions they’ve made – Tory decisions, most of them, and all supported by a Lib Dem Party that has lost its heart.

Taking away help from pensioners, carers, disabled people.

I believe that we didn’t lose our economic credibility in Government and we all know that we won’t lose it in Opposition.

But the Tory budget will cast 125,000 Scots out of work – remember how much the closure of the Ravenscraig hurt Scotland, it is emblematic of the Tories affection for Scotland. But this current Tory budget is the equivalent of a Ravens craig every two weeks. Under this Government, someone in Scotland loses their job every six minutes. You will be pleased to know that I am going to make a short speech but by the time I sit down, another mum or dad will be without an income.

And the most immoral cut of all – axing the Future Jobs Fund. A simple idea: at the height of recession, instead of paying people benefits – support them to do a job. Not a made up job. A real job in a real firm.

And what a success. 11,000 young Scots. A Future Jobs Fund job created every hour.

The Tories claim it’s not sustainable. No evidence, no research – just assertion.

So I went and asked those in Scotland who took part – how was it for you?

I have never seen more compelling responses. Daily, there were testimonials from people who came to praise the scheme. I saw it for myself. A young man in Buchan said he didn’t think he’d fit in to his company but after 6 months wrote to say “it is wit hout a doubt in my mind, the best thing to happen. It’s not just about paid work – it’s about life experiences.”

That is the policy immorality of this Government laid bare: a gang of Cabinet millionaires whose lives are unaffected by their decisions taking jobs in the Western Isles, in the Central Belt and in the East End of Glasgow.

The Lib Dems are part of a Tory Government that’s going where even Thatcher feared to tread.

It took Thatcher six years to cut support for the unemployed. This government did it in six weeks.

Nick Clegg has sold his soul and lost his way.

Scotland knows that’s hard enough to cope with one Tory party – now we’re being asked to stomach two. Because make no mistake. This is a Tory Government with Tory values.

So conference, Scotland has a message for the Lib Dems. If you vote like a Tory, if you speak like a Tory, if you act like a Tory – Scotland will treat you like a Tory.

The SNP paid for years for heralding Thatcher’s arrival and became the Tartan Tories and the Lib Dems will be known as the Tories Little Helpers for years to come – you’ve sold out and come the next election Scotland is coming to get you.

When Nick Clegg stood on a stage just 30 miles from here in a city that knows unemployment all too well, he spoke eloquently, right into the camera lens, but turned away from the unemployed.

But for all the thousands of words he spoke, he didn’t mention unemployment once. It was almost as if he had his job now and was disinterested in those who will lose theirs in the future.

This coalition is composed of one party that doesn’t seem to care about unemployment and another that doesn’t understand it.

His only message to Scotland is that this won’t be like the 1980s. Too right, Nick.

It wont be like the 1980s because back then a decent Liberal Party stood up to Tory cuts and you’re on the other side this time.

It won’t be like the 1980s because the Labour Party is determined not to spend every day of a decade in well intentioned but futile Opposition.

It won’t be like the 1980s because we wont let the Liberals do to our shipyards what the Tories did to our steelworks.

Because the ideology behind this government is an ideology that says the state is bad.

I don’t have an ideological commitment to the state. I have an ideological commitment to making poor people better off, and know the state can help do that.

Our journey back starts here in Manchester, but the road runs through Scotland and Wales. These are our next big tests as a party and I know our new leader Ed Miliband will offer any and every support to Scotland in May.

Many Scottish families battered by the recession caught in the middle of a perfect political storm: a Tory Government at Westminster that is causing unemployment and an SNP Government at Edinburgh that isn’t doing enough to stop it.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

So I am delighted to welcome here today my friend and colleague, the next First Minister of Scotland, Iain Gray.