David Cameron – 2011 Speech at London Conference on Libya


Below is the text of the speech made by David Cameron, the Prime Minister, at the London Conference on Libya on 29 March 2011.

Let me welcome you all to London.

Foreign Ministers from more than 40 countries – from America to Asia – from Europe to Africa – from the United Nations to the Arab world. All here to unite with one purpose: to help the Libyan people in their hour of need.

Today is about a new beginning for Libya – a future in which the people of Libya can determine their own destiny, free from violence and oppression.

But the Libyan people cannot reach that future on their own.

They require three things of us.

First, we must reaffirm our commitment to UN Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973 and the broad alliance determined to implement it.

Second, we must ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid where it is needed, including to newly liberated towns.

And third, we must help the Libyan people plan for their future after the conflict is over.

These are the three goals of this London Conference.Let me take each in turn.

Reaffirming our commitment to the UNSCRs

First, UN Security Council Resolution 1973.

Just twelve days ago, following an appeal by the Arab League, the United Nations passed an historic resolution to protect the people of Libya from the murderous brutality of Qadhafi’s regime.

At the meeting Nicholas Sarkozy hosted in Paris, we made the right choice: to draw a line in the desert sand, and to halt his murderous advance by force.

Be in no doubt.

Our action saved the city of Benghazi.

It averted a massacre.

And it has given freedom a chance in Libya.

But be in no doubt about something else.

As I speak the people of Misurata are continuing to suffer murderous attacks from the regime.

I have had reports this morning that the city is under attack from both land and sea.

Qadhafi is using snipers to shoot them down and let them bleed to death in the street.

He has cut off food, water and electricity to starve them into submission.

And he is harassing humanitarian ships trying to get into the port to do what they can to relieve their suffering.

He continues to be in flagrant breach of the UN Security Council Resolution.

That is why there has been such widespread support amongst the Libyan people – and in the wider Arab world – for the military action we are taking.

It has saved lives, and it is saving lives.

As one Misurata resident put it: “These strikes give us hope”.

Today we must be clear and unequivocal: we will not take that hope away.

We will continue to implement United Nations Resolutions for as long as is necessary to protect the Libyan people from danger.

Humanitarian Aid

Second, humanitarian aid.

Just as it is essential that the international community works together to stop the slaughter, it’s vital that we get aid in to save lives. This has to happen now.

And it is happening.

Already we are seeing how the actions we have taken are helping to pave the way for humanitarian organisations to return to liberated cities.

Even in Misurata, humanitarian agencies have managed to get some supplies in.

In Benghazi, the ICRC, Islamic Relief and International Medical Corps are back in and are working hard.

In Ajdabiya, thousands of people have fled, but the hospital is reported to be functioning – though it urgently needs more nursing staff and supplies.

So supplies are getting in, but we need to redouble our efforts.

The whole international community needs to work together.

The UN’s has an absolutely critical role in ensuring that humanitarian aid gets through to those who need it, especially in the newly liberated towns.

Building a stable peace

When the fighting is over, we will need to put right the damage that Qadhafi has inflicted.

Repairing the hospitals ruined by shells…

…rebuilding the homes demolished by Qadhafi’s tank rounds…

…and restoring the mosques and minarets smashed by his barbarity.

It’s never too early to start planning co-ordinated action to support peace in Libya over the long term.

It is surely the UN, working with regional organisations and the rest of the international community, who should lead this work.

Repairing physical infrastructure…

…ensuring basic services…

…and helping Libyans restore functioning government at every level.

Planning for the future

Third, we must help the people of Libya plan now for the political future they want to build.

Our military actions can protect the people from attack; and our humanitarian actions can help the people recover. But neither are sufficient to provide the path to greater freedom.

Ultimately, the solution must be a political one – and it must be for the Libyan people themselves to determine their own destiny.

That means reinforcing the UN sanctions to exert the greatest possible pressure on the Qadhafi regime.

And it requires bringing together the widest possible coalition of political leaders…

…including civil society, local leaders and most importantly the Interim Transitional National Council…

…so that the Libyan people can speak with one voice.

Our task in the international community is to support Libya as it looks forward to a better future.

This will not be achieved in a matter of days or weeks.

The coalition of countries and organisations gathered here today must commit to seeing this task through.

I propose that today’s Conference should agree to set up a Contact Group, which will put political effort on a sustained basis into supporting the Libyan people.

We should be clear about the scale of the challenge. It will mean looking afresh at our entire engagement with Libya and the wider region – from our development programmes, to our cultural exchanges and trade arrangements.

All our efforts must support the building blocks of a democratic society.

Freedom of expression

The right to free and fair elections

The right to peaceful protest.

Respect for human rights and the rule of law.

These aren’t values that belong to any one nation.

They are universal.

They are embedded in the Vision of a Democratic Libya set out by the Interim Transitional National Council today.

And we should warmly welcome this commitment.


As this broad range of countries gathers here today in London, there are people suffering terribly under Qadhafi’s rule.

Our message to them is this: there are better days ahead for Libya.

Just as we continue to act to help protect the Libyan people from the brutality of Qadhafi’s regime so we will support and stand by them as they seek to take control of their own destiny.

Their courage and determination will be rewarded.

A new beginning for Libya is within their grasp and we will help them seize it.

Nick Gibb – 2011 Speech to the 100 Group


Below is the text of the speech made by Nick Gibb, the Minister of State for Schools, at the Guildhall in London on 10 February 2011.

Thank you Richard. It’s a pleasure to join you all in the Guildhall.

I just wanted to begin, if I may, by thanking the 100 Group for inviting me to take part in today’s debate…

… and can I especially thank those of you, including Richard and his team at Brighton College, who’ve taken time out of very busy schedules to show me round your schools in the last year.

We’re very fortunate, of course, to have many excellent headteachers in this country – and I know that both myself, and the Secretary of State, have found their advice and support very useful over the past nine months as we’ve been working on the Education White Paper and the curriculum review.

Indeed, the Government’s vision for building a truly world-class education sector that attracts the very best teachers, allows school leaders greater autonomy and reduces the attainment gap between the richest and poorest students, owes a huge amount to the example of great schools like Mossbourne, Kingsford Community School and indeed Brighton College.

For the purposes of today’s debate however, I’m going to concentrate, if I may, rather more on the international influences that have shaped that vision than on the domestic ones…

… Because right from the very start of our reform programme, we’ve always been clear that if you’re serious about constructing an education system that’s capable of meeting the demands of the global economy in 2011, it has to draw on international best practice.

In doing that work though, what’s become increasingly clear is that our children’s education has been suffering in relation to their peers over the last decade.

The PISA rankings, for example, which I’m sure have already been debated today, show us falling from fourth to sixteenth in science, from seventh to 25th in literacy, and from eighth to 28th in maths.

Even accounting for the fact that the number of countries in those rankings has changed, this shows a really worrying trend – particularly when taken in the context of the more general evidence, which shows:

– in maths’ tests, Chinese 15-year-olds are now some two years ahead of students in this country

– the reading level of our pupils is now nearly a year behind that of children in countries like Korea and Finland

– and that just 1.8 per cent of 15-year-olds in this country ‘can creatively use information based on their own investigations and modelling of complex problem situations’. This is compared to some 25 per cent of pupils in Shanghai.

Indeed, we’d argue that the malaise actually goes rather deeper than this. It’s not simply a case that our average results are falling behind other countries; it’s also the case that the gap between the opportunities open to wealthier students and poorer students has grown wider over the last ten years.

Opportunity has, if anything, become less equal in comparison to the rest of the world.

Children in wealthier areas, for example, are now twice as likely to get three As at A Level as children in poorer areas. And the number of our very poorest children – those eligible for free school meals – who’ve made it to Oxbridge, has actually fallen in recent times. In the penultimate year for which we have figures it was 45. And in the last year, 40 out of 80,000 pupils.

In fact, very quickly we’ve got to the point where we now have one of the most unequal systems in the developed world – a truly worrying situation I’m afraid, and one that suggests we are, indeed, falling behind the competition. Or, as the OECD has said, that we’ve ‘remained stagnant at best’ while the rest of the world has surged past.

The question we’ve had to answer is why this has been allowed to happen. Has it simply been because of a lack of investment by government? Or is it, perhaps, about a lack of political will?

The international spending comparisons – which place us as the eighth highest per-pupil spender in the OECD – and the amount of energy that’s been invested into narrowing the attainment gaps between the richest and poorest students over the years, suggests it’s probably neither of these things actually.

Instead, it seems to be about a more fundamental lack of national ambition. Too often in the past we’ve been too quick to level down our education system, rather than attempting the trickier task of levelling up – despite the fact that time and time again, when you look at the results of our best schools, they’ve shown that if you set your horizons high, children will perform consistently well regardless of background or parental income.

And that, in turn, is forcing us away from what Joel Klein, New York’s former chancellor of education, described in America last year as the ‘culture of excuse’ – where variations in academic performance can be automatically blamed on a pupil’s individual background, rather than on their God-given ability.

And that’s why, as I said at the start, we’re now placing so much emphasis on promoting that ambitious agenda of reform, based on the importance of teachers, on giving schools greater autonomy, and on ensuring the National Curriculum is a match for the very best performers like Singapore, Finland and South Korea.

On the importance of teaching – in particular we have, as many of you will know, already introduced our Education White Paper into Parliament, which is geared towards bringing more talented people into our classrooms, towards reforming teacher training, devoting resources into getting top graduates in maths and science into the classroom, and towards expanding programmes like Teach First, Teaching Leaders and Future Leaders, which attract the best and the brightest into teaching.

It’s an ambitious approach to teaching that will help us build on the wealth of talent that already exists in our schools and help us restore the very best traditions of teaching as one of the most respected of all the professions.

On the second point, around greater autonomy for schools, we know there is a pressing need to increase the level of operational independence in our schools if we want to match what’s happening in the best education systems across the world. Particularly over issues like pay, staffing, timetabling and spending.

And we’re delighted that well over 400 good and outstanding schools have already applied to take up our offer of academy status – with more than 200 parent, teacher and charity groups also applying to set up Free Schools.

However, none of this reform can work independently of the systems that support it. And this is why the third of those areas – the review of the National Curriculum – is now so vitally important to our plans for an ambitious, and equal, system of education.

Of all the areas, it is perhaps the easiest to compare and contrast with the international competition. And for that same reason, it’s also perhaps the most difficult to ignore.

In the modern world, there is nowhere to hide for school leavers. Jobs can be transported across international borders in the blink of an eye, and having a curriculum that’s thin on content and overly prescriptive on teaching method is not doing our children any favours.

This is why, as many of you will know, we owe Cambridge University’s Tim Oates a very substantial debt of gratitude for his invaluable analysis of international curricula and the lessons we can learn from them.

Already we’ve announced that we’re introducing a new measure of accountability – the English Baccalaureate – which will show how many students in each school secured five good passes in the core academic subjects of English, maths, science, languages and one of the humanities.

But as Tim has explained before, the best-performing education nations also deliberately set out to compare themselves against international benchmarks – learning from each other and constantly asking what is required to help all children do better.

Hong Kong and Singapore, for example, have sought to maintain their pre-eminence by reviewing their national curricula, while Australia and US states are also looking to see how they can strengthen their curriculum offers.

But while other countries have developed coherent national curricula that allow for the steady accumulation of knowledge and conceptual understanding, ours has, sadly, lost much of its initial focus.

Originally envisaged as a guide to study in key subjects, which would give parents and teachers confidence that students were acquiring the knowledge necessary at every level of study to make appropriate progress, it has since developed to cover even more subjects, to prescribe more approaches to teaching, and to take up more school time than originally intended – more often in response to pressure groups than for sound pedagogical reasons.

Now, the net impact of that has been the promotion of generic dispositions, the distortion of the core function of the National Curriculum, and the dilution of the importance of subject knowledge.

For example, at the moment the art and design curriculum at Key Stage 3 patronises teachers horribly by telling them that they need to ‘develop ideas and intentions by working from first-hand observation, experience, inspiration, imagination and other sources’.

Meanwhile, for Key Stage 3 history, it says that ‘the study of history should be taught through a combination of overview, thematic and depth studies’.

Now, as far as I can see it, this isn’t much different from advising a surgeon to consider using a knife during surgery. Not only is it staggeringly obvious, it’s also an insult to professional intelligence.

What is really needed, as Tim Oates says, is to identify the essential knowledge that pupils need, including the crucial concepts and ideas that each year group should learn.

So, in undertaking this review, our primary objective is to make the curriculum more focused than it currently is, and to hand control back to teachers.

Research carried out by the Prince’s Teaching Institute, for example, shows that good subject knowledge, and the ability to communicate it, are the most important attributes of successful teachers.

But unless the curriculum affords them the space and flexibility that they want and need, teachers simply cannot do that – and teaching can become far too rigid, far too prescribed and far too formulaic.

This is why we want to return the National Curriculum to its fundamental purpose of setting out the essential knowledge that all children should acquire, organised around subject disciplines.

And it’s why we want it to be slimmed down, so that it properly reflects the body of essential knowledge in core subjects and does not absorb the overwhelming majority of teaching time in schools.

In short, individual schools should, we think, have much greater freedom to construct their own programmes of study in subjects outside the National Curriculum, and to develop approaches to teaching and study that complement the academic core.

However, as we look to do all this, it remains absolutely critical that we learn from best practice overseas and this review will, for the first time, require explicit benchmarking against the most successful school systems in the world – so that standards and expectations for pupil attainment measure up to those of the highest performing jurisdictions.

An ambitious, challenging and rigorous curriculum like this works for the very widest range of pupils, ensuring that all children – not just those who can afford it – can access the best possible education.

The new National Curriculum will, in essence, represent a standard against which the curricula offered by all schools can be tested. It will be a national benchmark, to provide parents with an understanding of what progress they should expect, to inform the content of core qualifications, and to ensure that schools have a core curriculum to draw on which is clear, robust, and internationally respected.

And what we want, is for this review unambiguously to show that we are on the side of teachers and headteachers. And I’m delighted that our advisory committee consists predominantly of outstanding heads and former heads – people like Sir Michael, John McIntosh and Dame Yasmin Bevan – as well as the voices of universities and business.

And I’m equally delighted that Tim Oates has also agreed to lead an expert panel that will help us draw up the content of the new curriculum.

To end, can I just thank the 100 Group again for inviting me along today and for giving me the chance to answer questions.

In one sense at least, this debate around our international standing has been needed for some time now, but perhaps the most important thing, regardless of the country’s starting point, is simply to make sure that the end goal is the same – and that we’re all working towards a truly world-class education system.

Thanks in no small part to the expertise and ambition of the 100 Group, as well as the many other excellent school leaders we have in this country, we think we’re now on the right trajectory towards achieving that ambition.

Thank you.

Nick Gibb – 2015 Speech to Stonewall


Below is the text of the speech made by Nick Gibb, the Minister of State for Schools, on 1 July 2011.

Thank you very much, Ben, and thank you everyone at Stonewall for your kind invitation. It is always a pleasure to work with Stonewall, and I am delighted to be here today.

I’m also very happy to be here with Gok, who is doing excellent work on body image in schools. Although, talking of body image, I have to admit that sharing the stage with a style expert has made me feel slightly self-conscious – I’ve never spent longer picking out a shirt and tie…and yet I still chose this one.

Today’s conference is addressing a hugely important topic. Tackling poor behaviour and bullying are top priorities for this Government, and we are supporting schools to take action against all forms of bullying, particularly prejudice-based bullying and homophobic bullying.

Pupils have the right to come to school and focus on their studies, free from disruption and the fear of bullying. Schools should be happy and safe places for children to learn, and parents expect nothing less from our state education system.

But the 2009/10 Tellus survey found that 28% of children had been bullied in the preceding school year, 21% had been bullied outside school, and 17% had been victims of cyber-bullying.

Overall, just under half (46%) of pupils have experienced bullying at school at some point in their lives – and Stonewall’s research has found that two thirds of lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils have been victims of bullying, one of the highest figures for any particular group of children.

We need to send the message that homophobic bullying, of any kind and of any child, is unacceptable. No child should have to suffer disruption, victimisation or fear as a result of bullying, whether on or off school premises.

But I believe bullying can be tackled. Successful schools have clear policies, developed with pupils and parents, so that pupils understand what is expected of them.

The best schools have gone beyond that to create an ethos of good behaviour where bullying is less likely to occur in the first place…

…Where pupils treat each other, and staff, with respect; where teachers proactively talk to pupils about social and cultural differences, and what behaviour is acceptable; where pupils understand the impact that their actions can have on others.

That culture extends beyond the classroom into the corridors, the canteen, the playground, and beyond the school gates.

The schools and local authorities taking part in Stonewall’s Education Equality Index are making real strides towards this kind of culture, and Stonewall is, I believe, playing an important part in encouraging and promoting best practice.

One issue which I find particularly concerning is the casual use of homophobic language – for example, using the word “gay” in a pejorative sense.

We shouldn’t underestimate the impact of language in our society, and already, Stonewall has found that 98% of young gay pupils hear the word “gay” used as a form of abuse at school.

Even when this language is used pejoratively without thinking and without intended homophobic prejudice, it is still offensive and still unacceptable. We have to show that this use of language is as unacceptable as racist slurs in our schools and in our society.

Teachers have a huge role to play in changing how language is used within a school. There’s a school in the East of England, where behaviour was generally good and homophobia and transphobia weren’t a problem, which identified that the unthinking and derogatory use of words like “gay” was widespread.

They sought specialist support from an outside organisation, Gendered Intelligence, to work with groups of secondary boys on issues of identity and gender. As a result of this work, the school removed the stigma from gender-related terms so that pupils could use language without embarrassment or negative association.

I know that there may be some here may be thinking, “this is all very well, but how is the Government going to make a difference and what is it actually going to do?”.

Well, we know that we can’t just set a target, order an inspection or pass a law and expect all homophobic bullying to disappear. There are some things that can’t be prescribed from the centre. If we could, we or the previous Government would already have done it. Unfortunately, there are no short cuts or silver bullets.

But we will use all the tools at our disposal to send a clear and unequivocal message that homophobic bullying is unacceptable. That means hammering home our message at every opportunity.

Whether in speeches like this to specialist organisations and people working in the front line, in detailed discussions with Parliamentary committees, in wide-ranging speeches to teaching unions or political Party conference set pieces; week in, week out, year in, year out, education ministers in this administration will keep saying that homophobic bullying is not acceptable in our schools.

We are working with schools in a new way, by putting more trust in teaching professionals to find the best solutions for their schools, rather than dictating from the centre what they should do.

That also means a change to the way in which schools work with organisations like Stonewall, EACH and the Anti-Bullying Alliance. This is a real opportunity for specialists in this area to work with schools and give teachers the benefit of their experience.

When it comes to homophobic bullying, for example, the Government is not the expert. Stonewall is, and so are other LGBT organisations working directly with school staff and young people every day.

Our role in Government is to help schools to find and use these expert organisations – not just Stonewall, but also groups like Schools Out, EACH and Gendered Intelligence.

The role of schools is to concentrate on their core business – educating children to become knowledgeable, responsible adults who make a positive contribution to society.

The role of organisations like Stonewall is to help schools, and help us, to create one of the most inclusive education systems in the world.

Schools have a specific legal duty to tackle bullying and we know that schools need clear anti-bullying policies and procedures. Teachers need to feel confident about using the powers available to them to tackle bullying both on and off school premises.

But I think Government does need to be careful in prescribing to schools and local authorities exactly what to include in their anti-bullying policies. Different schools across the country will need different approaches, and teachers should feel empowered to find the right solution for their pupils and their school.

We believe that anti-bullying strategies need to be led and initiated by staff, rather than relying on the courage of individual children to make the terrifying admission that they’re being picked on. By its very nature, bullying often happens in secret, so teachers need to gather intelligence about what is going on in their schools, how and where.

It’s also vital that pupils feel they can report bullying, and the most successful schools are developing creative ways for children to do this.

Bradley Stoke Community School in South Gloucestershire is what we call a lead behaviour school – rated outstanding by Ofsted. Realising that children can be reluctant to report bullying in person (and even a “bullying box” for pupils to drop notes into is too conspicuous), they have developed a new online reporting system. Anonymous messages like “there’s going to be a fight at the shops after school tonight”, or “I’ve seen someone being bullied on the playing fields”, will mean that bullying can be addressed without identifying which child is being victimised and which child has made the report.

While individual schools are developing their own strategies to tackle bullying, there are important changes that we need to make in Government. The last thing we want is for teachers, for example, to waste their valuable time wading through pages of overlapping and repetitive government guidance.

We have already issued new and clearer guidance to help teachers to tackle poor pupil behaviour, cutting more than 600 pages of guidance down to 50. Anti-bullying guidance has been reduced from 481 pages to less than 20, including shorter, sharper advice on schools’ legal obligations and powers to tackle bullying, the principles underpinning the most effective anti-bullying strategies, and further resources for school staff to access specialist information on different types of bullying. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Stonewall for their valuable input and advice during the development of this document.

Our Education Bill, which is currently making its way through Parliament, will give heads and teachers a range of powers to put them back in control in tackling bad behaviour and bullying.

These powers are not mandatory, and we do not want to create a punitive culture in schools – but we want teachers to be able to use their judgement, and to have wider powers available when they need them.

To measure the impact of all these changes, we are creating a sharper focus in Ofsted inspections on behaviour and bullying. Ofsted will now look at behaviour as one of only four important core areas, rather than as one of 27 different and equal headings in the inspection framework at the moment.

So we are working more closely with experts, empowering teachers and school staff to take the lead in anti-bullying strategies, and stripping back the cumbersome bureaucracy.

But Ben, if there is any message that leaves this conference today, I hope that it is this.

That while Michael Gove and I are Education Ministers at the Department for Education, the education world should be clear that it is our express intent that the use of the word “gay” as a pejorative adjective is as unacceptable in our schools as any racial slur. And we expect teachers and head teachers to react to it as they would to the use of any of the worst racial slurs.

Thank you very much.

Jim Murphy – 2011 Speech to Labour Party Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by Jim Murphy, the then Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, to the Labour Party conference on 26th September 2011.


Good morning. Right now it is the afternoon in Afghanistan and there are 10,000 of our Forces there, many of them Reservists. And there are two thousand engaged in Libya and deployed in other countries across the world. They bear the burden of their bravery, they demonstrate their patriotism and they carry our pride.

Afghanistan must remain the biggest defence priority for our nation, and now that a timetable has been set for withdrawal it is essential that the military effort is matched by a new political effort. It is in our national interest and our withdrawal cannot precipitate a collapse but rather a continuation of progress. The UK has fought in Afghanistan four times and we have no intention of doing so for a fifth time.

Tragically, since we last gathered 50 of our people have lost their lives in taking on the Taleban. And it’s important that there remains an all-party consensus over our responsibility to remember them and always care for and support their families.

Today I want to reflect on how we support our Forces, talk about our policy and some of our reforms.

Recent events have again shown that we live in a more interconnected world than ever before – global recession, global terrorism, global warming. New threats are emerging and new technologies are required. Defence is becoming more expensive, more intricate and more unpredictable. The contest for clean water supply and population growth demand our attention alongside terrorism and cyber attack. In recent years we have seen states fail and in recent months we have seen governments fall. We are confronted by violent groups and malevolent individuals determined to do us harm. The pace of change is quickening. Wars amongst the people rather than across borders will be increasingly common. There are 27 States of Concern, from Chad to Uzbekistan. Today there is no opt-out. David Cameron is learning that on the job.

But at this very moment our resilience is also tested: funding is constrained and public opinion is wary. And it’s because our values or interests don’t stop at our shores that we believe in a country with the power to persuade and the ability to act.

We will never wrap ourselves in the cloak of jingoism but the Labour Party will always be strong on defence.

But I want to tell you what can often be the most effective defence policy – and it’s not always a new piece of military hardware. It is a world-class international development policy. Investment in education, democratic reform and viable economies can hinder the spread of conflict. The careful prevention of development policy can be so much better than the painful cure of military action.

And I know that when development and diplomacy don’t succeed the decisions about deployment will always be controversial.

This Government was right to act to prevent the slaughter of thousands in Libya, just as a previous UK government was unforgivably wrong to sit idly by and watch the murder of 800,000 people in Rwanda.

I know that post-Iraq these decisions are even more difficult. We will debate, we may not agree, and so it should be – the decision to place our people in harm’s way will never be taken lightly.

I don’t want the anger that many people felt about the action that was taken in Iraq to defeat the shame we all felt about the failure to act in Rwanda.

I was delighted when Ed Miliband offered me this role as Shadow Defence Secretary. Firstly, because I want to do what’s right for our Forces and their families. Secondly, working with a brilliant Shadow Defence Team, I wanted to challenge the ill-informed orthodoxy of the past which says that Labour is the party of the NHS and the Tories are the party of the Forces. At a time when the Tories are proving that they are neither, a Labour opposition needs to be both if we are to be a Labour government.

Just think what the Tories have done since they came to power:

The Army cut 7,000.

An island nation with aircraft carriers but without aircraft. You don’t need to be a military strategist to know what aircraft carriers are meant to carry – the clue is in the name.

Soldiers serving in Afghanistan opening their inboxes for news of loved ones only to read that they have been sacked by email.

Generations of our troops are losing increased pension payments. This change is permanent while we all know that the deficit is temporary. We should be clear it is quite simply wrong that a man in his late 80s who jumped out of a landing craft at Normandy back in 1944 is having his pension payments permanently cut to pay for George Osborne’s economic policy.

Compare it to Labour’s record:

Doubled compensation payments.

Improved housing and healthcare.

A budget up 10% in real terms.

I’m proud of our record. You should be too and we should never let the Tories tarnish it because we don’t win the next time unless we stand up for what we did last time.

But despite everything the truth is that no party has a monopoly of wisdom or experience on defence.

We often talk about the heroes of our Movement: Hardie, Attlee, Bevan or Gaitskill. Brilliant and bold politicians none of whom sought the description as heroes.

But there is another sort of heroism. That is the heroism of service in the Forces. It exists in all parties and has always been strong in ours. And the wisdom that comes from Service is precious. Jim Callaghan was in the Royal Navy before he was Prime Minister and Dennis Healey served in the Army before he served as Chancellor.

There are many others – and that’s the case today. Let me introduce you to:

Dan Jarvis, the first person to resign their Commission to stand for Parliament since the Second World War.

Jon Wheale, who saw service with the Gunners in Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Afghanistan.

Sophy Gardner, RAF Wing Commander, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, a real ground breaker she was the first woman in every job she had.

Frankie Caldwell, Captain in the Royal Tank Regiment, who served in Iraq and was awarded the MBE for his service.

Each of them believed in a better world so they joined our Forces. Each of them believes in a fairer country so they joined our Party.

We should be clear: we are proud of them and want more just like them.

And that’s why today I’m delighted to announce that that is exactly what we are going to do. If you have served and if you want to be part of our Movement we know that we are stronger with you.

Now, from today, if you are a Veteran you can for the first time ever join the Labour Party for just £1. We are the first and only party to change our rules in this way.

So I want to introduce one more person to you. Stephen Burke, Corporal Tank Commander Stephen Burke, who served in Cyprus, Kuwait and Iraq and the first person to join through ‘£1 for the Forces’ campaign.

Conference, even in opposition we are making things better with plans for procurement reform and success on the Military Covenant. The Covenant is the bond between nation and the Services which proclaims that no one should be disadvantaged in the provision of public services if they have served in our Forces – it is a reflection of our solidarity. When the Government reneged on its commitment to enshrine the Military Covenant in law we supported the work of the Royal British Legion in forcing a u-turn and next month the principles of the Covenant will be written into law. The Covenant is not binding on businesses, charities or political parties, but I want our Party in the future to change the way we do our politics so that we are the first to voluntarily sign up to its principles.

But I want us to go further. Today we are setting up a new organisation – Labour Friends of the Forces. Its patrons include our very own Dan Jarvis MP and former General Secretary of NATO George Robertson. This will be a campaigning body within our Movement to expand our engagement with the service community.

Because of all of these changes and the work that many of you are doing Labour can now be the most welcoming of any political party to our Forces community. That is the challenge to me, the team and to all of us together – changing our Party. So when we talk about refounding our party we are rebuilding a political home – and creating a political Home fit for our Heroes.

David Mundell – 2011 Speech on the Big Society in Scotland

Below is the text of the speech made by David Mundell on 28th October 2011.

Thank you very much for inviting me to speak this morning.

This conference is dedicated to examining the Big Society and assessing whether it can work in Scotland.

I believe it can and it will.

It’s an opportunity, not a threat, to charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises.

This morning I want to share my thoughts with you on the Big Society in greater detail; before updating the conference on welfare reform and the Scotland Bill – 2 issues I know you are interested in.

The Big Society: the big picture

Representing Scotland on the UK Ministerial Group advancing the Big Society agenda, I am determined that our voice and interests are heard.

However, I am not wedded to titles such as the Big Society. Indeed, some have suggested that in Scotland it would be the ‘Wee Society’.

But for the purposes of this discussion, I’ll use Big Society as this has partially led so many people to show a significant interest here today.

There are 3 pillars to this agenda:

– community empowerment

– reforming and opening up our public services and

– encouraging greater social action

These 3 pillars are vital.

But most important is what is happening on the ground and acknowledging those who are doing it.

The Big Society is not another government programme.

In fact, the Big Society is quite the opposite.

It’s about giving power back to individuals, families, communities and groups.

It’s about turning government upside down – so that society, not the state, is in the driving seat.

Community empowerment

Some of our critics have said that government cannot create a Big Society on our own. They’re right.

But there is no need for such a magic wand solution.

Because we are not starting from scratch.

Scotland already does the Big Society or whatever we call it. I want us to do more of it.

We are building on the long-standing tradition of community engagement and social action in Scotland.

The grass roots are there. Many of you are the manifestation of movements already out there – helping Scots nationwide.

The UK government’s role is to play an enabling role in the Big Society and it will focus on ensuring that all parts of society are able to play their part and thrive.

The Scottish government will also have a part to play and I hope they will engage, whether they formally acknowledge the Big Society concept or not or not.

Sometimes it will mean that the state, in all its forms, pulling back when it has overreached and acknowledging that it doesn’t have all the answers to local issues.

I want our vision to interact with the work that so many Scots are already doing.

I believe that this is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the excellent work done by local groups across the country.

The UK government has opened up a dialogue on taking forward the Big Society in Scotland.

It is already proving a rewarding conversation.

Stakeholders across the country have given me a flavour of what they are doing and the good practice they are encouraging.

It’s an ongoing process.

There are more Scotland Office events in the pipeline, culminating with a Scotland-wide forum.

Empowerment stands at the forefront of our vision of a Big Society.

It is about freeing people and communities to make the decisions which affect them.

It marks a radical and welcome break from the tired old view that civil servants in London and Edinburgh, or dare I say local authorities, always know what is best for you and your community.

Reforming and opening up public services

Some of our critics claim that the Big Society is geared to providing public services on the cheap. I don’t agree.

I view the Big Society as more about working with, and improving, existing services rather than replacing them.

However, not all answers and services need to be provided by officials, councils or government.

Tough times also demand innovative thinking.

There is no escaping the need to tackle the deficit – the challenge we face in terms of public finances cannot be ignored.

So our detractors also characterise the Big Society as a shorthand for cuts.

That’s both wrong and unfair.

The Big Society is a positive, proactive agenda developed before the recession to achieve a better quality of outcomes with limited resources.

Our priority must be to seek the best value provider of public services.

That’s the right answer for service users and taxpayers.

Greater social action

And I want to see people and communities across Scotland feeling both free and powerful enough to help themselves and transform their neighbourhoods.

So in many ways the Big Society is a challenge to achieve even greater social action:

– to think and act differently

– to consider the personal and social consequences of your actions

– to take ownership of an area and find ways of to transform it for the better

And it poses the question to the state, ‘why can this not be done by individuals themselves, by voluntary, community or social enterprises?’

We’ve seen the success of the National Citizens Service pilot south of the border.

It’s designed to build a more cohesive, responsible and engaged society by bringing together 16 year olds from different backgrounds for a programme of activity and service during the summer.

It gives these young people an introduction to community action.

It shows them the positive differences they can make in their localities and beyond.

We are planning to expand the service to offer 90,000 places by 2014.

I hope that over time, the Scottish government will look at what we’re doing and want to take part.

This renewed commitment to a stronger sense of society, where taking a more active role will be both expected and recognised, can only benefit us all.

But I recognise that we need to make it simpler for individuals and organisations who offer their time and knowledge to benefit their communities.

Good intentions must not be deterred by the burdens of bureaucracy.

That’s why we are examining ways of reducing regulation and red tape faced by charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises.

It’s not for government to tell Scots how they can best support their communities.

But government can provide support when society is restricted – such as by removing the red tape which can hinder community groups from forming.

Local people and local bodies know their communities better than anyone. Charities, churches and co-operatives have the unique grassroots knowledge to drive social action at local level.

We want to make it easier for you to do what you do best.

It’s self-evident that most of the specific policy areas within the Big Society are devolved to the Scottish government and not all the major Westminster Big Society projects have exact equivalents in Scotland.

That’s why it’s imperative that Scotland’s 2 governments work together and co-operation is central to our approach.

I’m keen to engage on the issue and have had useful discussions with both John Swinney and Alex Neil; and my Cabinet Office colleague Nick Hurd will be in Scotland soon to share experiences from elsewhere in the UK.

Big Society Bank

I know you will also be interested to hear about the Big Society Bank.

We have delivered on our commitment to set it up, although it is no longer being called a bank.

It has been renamed the Big Society Capital Group, in case people are confused into thinking there is a new high street bank on the scene.

Most importantly, it’s open for business in Scotland.

Big Society Capital will invest in social investment intermediary organisations across the UK, such as Charity Bank and the Key Project.

And these intermediaries will bring together bodies that need capital and bodies that have capital and want to invest it.

Big Society Capital will not make grants to individual organisations or charities.

Your organisations should be able to gain access to capital at a more competitive rate than you would be able to secure from a high street lender.

Big Society Capital will act independently of government to support social enterprise through intermediaries.

I want organisations in Scotland to benefit from the very favourable terms it will offer.

Encouraging charitable giving

The UK government is also committed to helping charities in these challenging economic times.

We understand that charity law and charity reform straddles reserved and devolved policy areas.

A key focus in the UK government’s Giving White Paper is on encouraging charitable giving.

Innovative schemes can make it easier to give – at the cash point, at the till, by text or by phone app.

Government is committed to incentivising giving.

We want to grow and raise the profile of payroll giving and are sponsoring the National Payroll Giving Awards to encourage this activity.

Similarly, inheritance tax will be cut for those who leave 10% or more of their estate to charity.

Finally, in the 2011 Budget we announced a number of significant tax incentives and the removal of red tape for gift aid donations up to £5,000.

These are sensible, practical measures geared to making it easier for charities to raise more money.

The Big Society also has responsibility at its heart.

It offers the opportunity for individuals, businesses and organisations to step forward to help address the social issues in their communities and help shape the future direction.

People like you are already giving significant amounts of your time for the benefit of your communities.

Businesses are seeing the benefits of supporting volunteering and encouraging their staff to do the same.

Individuals and groups are improving communities across Scotland.

On recent visits I have seen how volunteers at Peterhead Projects are raising funds in their town by recycling furniture, running a gift shop and holding car boot sales.

Or how Cambuslang and Rutherglen Community Health Initiative is promoting better health locally.

Our aim is that volunteering becomes a social norm and is considered by all the responsible thing to do.

There are 2 more issues I want to touch on – 2 significant issues for this sector – welfare reform and the Scotland Bill.

Welfare reform

Fairness is a pivotal part of the Coalition’s approach.

We are committed to helping the vulnerable.

We will take over 90,000 Scots out of tax altogether by April 2012.

We have helped one million older Scots by re-establishing the link between pensions and earnings after a gap of 30 years.

We have maintained Winter Fuel Allowance payments for Scottish pensioners.

While last year’s Spending Review turned the temporary increase in Cold Weather Payments into a permanent increase.

They are geared to reforming the benefit system to make it fairer, more affordable and better able to tackle poverty, worklessness and welfare dependency.

The introduction of Universal Credit in 2013 will radically simplify the system – and make work pay.

We are determined to remove the barriers to work and to ensure that work pays more than benefits.

Our back-to-work initiatives will pay a crucial part in supporting employment in Scotland.

As part of our reforms, the Work Programme went live in June.

We know that one size cannot fit all.

That’s why the Work Programme is built around the needs of individuals – providing the personalised support people need, when they need it – so they have the right support to move into employment.

The UK government’s ‘Get Britain Working’ measures like work experience are geared to this end.

In the Youth Unemployment Seminars, hosted by the Scotland Office across the country, we are hearing about the benefits of work experience with local employers.

Some Scottish employers see young people, particularly inexperienced young people, as high risk.

So giving young Scots greater work experience enhances their readiness for work by developing the skills which are essential for the workplace.

We need to work side by side on this – to collaborate more effectively to support our young people into work.

As with the Big Society, Scotland’s 2 governments must work together, alongside our key partners to address the labour market challenges we face.

Scotland Bill

One of the Coalition’s key commitments is to improve the devolution settlement and strengthen the accountability of the Scottish Parliament.

The Scotland Bill delivers this pledge.

This Bill has real economic teeth.

It signifies the largest transfer of financial powers out of London since the creation of the UK.

It will give the Scottish Parliament new levers over the Scottish economy and strengthens its accountability and responsibility to the people of Scotland.

The First Minister has told us about other areas he thinks should be devolved to Scotland in the Scotland Bill.

We have made clear that we will consider all proposals for amendments to the Bill on their merits.

Any amendments must meet the three tests set out by the Secretary of State for Scotland. They must:

– be based on detailed and well evidenced proposals

– maintain the cross-party consensus on which the Bill is based

– demonstrate that they would benefit Scotland, without prejudice to the UK as a whole

The Scottish government has made their set of demands as a package and we will respond as a package at the appropriate time.

The UK government will also fight to maintain the United Kingdom in any independence referendum.

We will not place obstacles in the way of a referendum but we believe strongly that more powers for the Scottish Parliament – through the Scotland Bill – is the right constitutional route for Scotland.

That’s why we will oppose separatism in any guise whenever the referendum takes place.


Alongside our commitments to more tailored welfare and improved devolution we are also determined to build a bigger and stronger society.

In the coming months and years we aim to build on the deep-rooted foundations we have in Scotland to achieve this goal.

Government can be an enabler but it cannot be expected to deliver the Big Society alone.

We all have an important role to play.

We want to support a thriving market in charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises.

I support and admire what so many public-spirited Scots are doing in their communities.

I look forward to working with you to realise the benefits of the Big Society in Scotland.

David Mundell — 2011 Speech at Scottish Conservative Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by David Mundell at the 2011 Scottish Conservative Party Conference on 2nd October 2011.

Scottish Politics is never dull, Scottish Conservative politics particularly.

It’s been a busy year already with a parliamentary election and a referendum 2011. I want to thank all our candidates and activists across Scotland for their hard work in May.

Before I speak about the future of our party and the challenges the Coalition Government faces in Scotland, I also want to pay tribute to our outgoing leader, Annabel Goldie.

Its may be trite to say but it is true – Annabel Goldie is not just one of the best known but best loved figures in Scottish politics with a long and distinguished service to the voluntary party.

Annabel was elected to the Scottish parliament in 1999.

She became leader of the MSP group in 2005.

Her skirmishes with Alex Salmond at the First Ministers Questions have become a feature of the Scottish political scene.

During the last Scottish Parliament Annabel was acknowledged as the only leader to hold Mr Salmond to account and to be willing to take tough decisions and tell people like it is.

Well-respected across the political spectrum in Scotland, Annabel has become a national figure and her wit and good sense more widely known through her many appearances on Question Time and Any Questions.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I know you will all join me in wishing her well in the future, but also in sharing my hope that she still has much to give to our party and to public service.

Of course, the future of the Conservative party in Scotland, which Annabel has been so proud to represent, is going to be debated at an event at this conference and indeed the length and breadth of Scotland at leadership hustings.

The contest to date can, I think, be rightly characterised as being about change.

I don’t think anyone within or outside our party in Scotland would disagree with the statement that the party must change, and in particular, we must attract more, and younger people to vote for us across Scotland as a whole.

We must be clearly identifiable as the first choice for those want to vote for a sensible centre right party of the sort that exists (and commands support in) virtually every other European country.

And in so doing, we must be able to demonstrate that we are relevant and make a difference to the lives of people in Scotland if they vote for us at Council, Scottish Parliament, Westminster and European Elections.

That is why I want to see the leadership election underway focus on policy, leadership qualities and on the campaigning style our party will have in Scotland to take us forward.

As our only Member of Parliament in Scotland, I have clearly set out my own personal views this morning.

But of course it will be for members in Scotland to decide.

But during the period of this leadership election, we must continue to focus on the issues which really matter to real people; the economy, growth and jobs remain the government’s top priorities.

The difficult financial decisions we have been forced to make have brought confidence and stability to the UK economy: record low-interest rates for our borrowing, our triple A credit rating assured and, in the first six months of this year, the UK economy growing at a faster rate than America’s.

And we are taking action to promote growth: not least by cutting corporation tax to 26% this year, and 23% by 2014, making it the lowest rate in the G7, the fifth lowest in the G20.

We’ve singled out corporation tax because we know it is the most growth inhibiting tax that there is.

Alex Salmond says he would cut it too, but the facts speak for themselves.

He already has power over business rates and yet he is increasing them by £850m by 2015, undermining the very support we are providing businesses through our cuts in corporation tax.

Alex Salmond’s “Big Plan McB” is political junkfood.

When it comes to getting the economy moving, the only B we should be interested in is Business – helping it, promoting it.

In Scotland there are positive signs, with unemployment below the national average and falling last month.

And in the Scotland Office we are doing our bit to get Scottish enterprise motoring.

Not only are we proceeding with the Scotland Bill and its significant transfer of financial powers, we have set up a Trade and Economic Growth Board, made up of leading Scottish business figures, to advise on global opportunities and to act as ambassadors for the Scottish business community to make clear that Scotland is open for business.

Now if you listen to Alex Salmond you’ll hear him take the credit for any good economic news, and pass the blame to Westminster for any bad news.

When the sun comes out it is thanks to the SNP and is a boost to the case for independence and when it starts to rain it’s all the fault of the London-based parties.

Conference, people are seeing through this.

Just because the Scottish people rejected Iain Gray and Scottish Labour in May does not mean they voted for independence.

And just as the Scottish people rejected AV overwhelmingly, when the time comes I believe they will see through Alex Salmond’s narrow, nationalistic separatism.

However, we mustn’t be complacent. I welcome the Prime Minister’s reaffirmation this weekend of his commitment to keep Scotland in Britain.

Nothing must get in the way of that and it must be the priority in months ahead for the Scottish Conservative & Unionist party.

Thank you.

Ed Miliband – 2011 Speech at Reading the Riots Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by Ed Miliband, the Leader of the Opposition, to the Reading the Riots Conference on 14th December 2011.

It is a privilege to be here today and I want to congratulate the LSE and the Guardian for their work on understanding the causes of the riots.

I talked in my Party Conference speech about how we needed a different set of values by which our country should be run.

Since then, I have been talking about what that means for our economy both today and in the future.

Today, I want to say how I think this argument speaks to the issue of our society and the riots.

My argument is this:

If we are to prevent the riots re-occurring, we must understand the causes and act on them.

In your study, half of those who rioted said they would do it again.

And the vast majority – fully 80% – said they thought it proba bly would happen again.

We owe it to the victims of these terrible events, often the poorest and most vulnerable in our society, to make sure that doesn’t happen.

But that is not the only thing we must do.

The riots have also been a window on deeper issues facing our country.

Indeed, every place I went to in the aftermath of the riots, people would say why did it take a riot for anyone to come and listen to us?

My big fear was that politics, then media would arrive in a flurry and then move on.

I believe there is still a real danger that that is going to happen.

Last Friday I went to Brixton to meet some people who I’d met straight after the riots.

There I heard from was a young man called Steve, and I want to tell you the story.

He told me about growing up on an estate.

About how many said that nothing good had ever come out of his neighbourhood.

He told me about one of his teachers who told him that he would either end up working in a dead end job, or going to prison.

And for a time he believed it, yet he also used to say to himself:

‘What about Ian Wright, the footballer, he came from my area, he went to my school, how did he do it?’

Today, Steve, having been helped by an organisation called XLP dedicated to combating youth violence, having got qualifications, now works with young people on the power of sport to change their lives.

His life has been turned round.

Why do I tell this story?

Because the story of Steve is not the story of someone who rioted.

Even when he felt that he didn’t have any hope.

The vast majority of young people like Steve didn’t riot in the summer

And it is very important to hold onto that.

It tells us, contrary to what David Cameron says, that Britain is not broken.

The vast majority of people have decent values.

That said, a minority rioted, looted and did the wrong thing.

What should our response be to that?

What people told me time after time in communities affected by the riots is that nothing could excuse or justify what happened.

They said we have to punish those who commit wrongdoing. And they’re right.

But they also wanted us to explain.

Now some will give the easy answer: this is criminality pure and simple and it only needs a criminal justice response.

Now it’s right to say that we have a responsibility to ensure we have policing that is able to react quickly to sudden outbreaks of widespread disorder.

It is equally right to say, and I know this has been highlighted in your research, that we also need policing which is rooted in local communities, and that recognises the issue of stop and search.

And all these issues will be looked at by the former commissioner Lord Stevens in his independent review over the next year.

But all this is very different to saying that the answer is only to be found in the criminal justice system.

I was never convinced that the answer was as simple as that, and that is why I pressed for a Commission to look at the causes of the riot.

Its interim report and that of the Reading the Riots project tells us that this will address the deeper causes.

That is one simplistic answer we can reject.

But there is another answer which says that this should be an easy problem for governments to fix. It recommends another programme or a new raft of initiatives – targeted at gangs or families who need help.

Again, there is a place for these kinds of measures like Family Intervention Partnerships.

But when you hear people say those things alone are the answer, I believe we need a bigger response.

More comprehensive, and yes more complex.

I reject the arguments of those who say opportunity doesn’t matter. And I believe it will take a bigger change in Br itain to create the opportunities which our communities need.

And I reject as well the arguments of those who say values don’t matter. I believe that as a country we have got to acknowledge that too often the good values that the vast majority of people hold are not the values being rewarded or encouraged.

First, opportunity.

It was David Cameron who said in 2006 that: “of course not everyone who grows up in a deprived neighbourhood turns to crime….But there are connections between circumstances and behaviour.”

And both your research, and the Riot Communities and Victims Panel, uncovered the importance of young people having hopes and dreams.

Look through the evidence of the Panel and you don’t need to be a rocket scientist or social scientist to see the figures on the background of the young people who rioted: low qualifications, excluded from schools, and two thirds with special educational needs.

Circumstances matter. Opportunity matters.

And when I was talking to those who didn’t riot, who came out to join the clean up, whose shops were affected, who were fearful of their safety. They said the same thing. There must be a better way.

Why do we allow these young people to waste their lives and damage their communities?

Too many people felt they had not much to lose and something to gain from doing what they did.

And what struck me visiting different areas affected was that so often the choice between on the one hand going into the gang, into drugs, doing the wrong thing, and on the other, staying on the right path, can seem very narrow.

I was the first to say at the time of the riots that it was far too simplistic to blame Government cuts.

Nothing can excuse what happened, and we should hold those who did the wrong thing responsible.

But your work shows that it is our responsibility to make sure that young people have more to aspire to than nicking a pair of trainers or a widescreen TV.

If we are to do right by our young people we must take opportunity seriously.

Today’s unemployment figures show a further rise in youth joblessness.

Still more than 1 million young people out of work, out of hope.

And youth joblessness is just the tip of a bigger iceberg. The bit we see most clearly.

Under the surface is a much greater set of problems facing our young people.

For generations parents have able to raise a family in Britain knowing that they could pass onto their children a better future than they had.

I’ve talked about it as the promise of Britain.

Today parents can have no such confidence. From getting on the housing ladder to the kind of job available, to the huge level of impending student debt, our children face a more insecure future than we had, with fewer opportunities and finding it tougher to get on.

No wonder we hear our communities asking for big change.

But opportunity is the not the only thing that matters.

In his recent book on the riots, my Labour colleague David Lammy tells the story of a young constituent of his.

On the night of the riots, he found Blackberry messages pouring in, telling him where to go for the next outbreak of looting.

He had a choice.

The same choice faced by tens of thousands that night.

He passed the information to his parents, who passed it to the authorities.

Like the majority, he decided not to get involved.

And the left should not shy away from it: these were individual ethical decisions.

And if we are to stop the riots happening again, we need to care about how these values are learned.

Families matter.

Many young people didn’t riot because their mums saw it on TV and made sure they were home.

Male role models matter too

Institutions matter.

Schools, churches, mosques, youth clubs, fo otball clubs, and so on.

Would Steve, the young man I talked about at the beginning, have rioted if his life hadn’t taken a different path thanks to the youth group?

Anyone can say they care about values.

The question that politicians need to answer is what are we doing about them.

Clearly we need to support and strengthen families. But I don’t think the answer is the marriage tax break that David Cameron talks about.

Equally it’s not enough simply to say there should be financial support for children even though I believe passionately in the tax credits and benefits system doing so.

The truth is that the challenges facing many parents are changing and as a country we need to catch up

We have an economy where people work two or three jobs and don’t have time to be at home with their kids.

Britain has some of the longest working hours in the world.

If we are serious about parents teaching the right values to their kids, parents need to have time to do it.

We need to build a different economy and one which better reflects the needs of our families.

And when countries like Sweden or Finland have more family friendly working hours, better childcare and higher national income than Britain I challenge anyone to explain why that new economy is not possible in Britain.

It’s because values matter that I am a passionate believer in the importance of Britain having world-class schools.

World class not just in teaching and learning but also teaching about the values we want to see in our young people.

Schools and family life are just two areas where I believe we can strengthen our society’s ability to encourage and reward the right values which the vast majority of us share.

But it shouldn’t stop there. We should be taking every opportunity to demonstrate to our young people that if you work hard and do the right thing the opportunities will be there for you.

It’s true in the benefits system – it’s why I say if you are a good neighbour and contribute to your community you should be rewarded.

And it’s true in the boardroom – which is why I say big payouts can only be justified if they are really in return for jobs created, real business success.

Too often we are guilty as a country of sending a message that something for nothing rewards are OK whilst looking like we don’t care about people who work hard and don’t get enough out of it.

That can’t carry on.

But at the same time as challenging those who don’t take values seriously, I want to challenge anyone who wants to spend their time stigmatising the values of poor communities.

Last Friday, in Brixton, one lady shouted out: ‘what about the MPs who fiddle their expenses’?

Let’s be honest: when people in society see those at the top taking what they can, it has an effect on what people think is right and wrong.

You have bankers selling securities they know are risky, and crashing the global financial system.

You have top executives taking pay rises of 4,000% over the last thirty years.

You have journalists listening to private voicemails, in the hope that they will sell more papers and make more money.

That too is a culture of take what you can.

Everywhere I went after the riots, this was mentioned.

Not just the offences themselves, but the sense that people got away with them.

If we are to take values seriously, we have to take the values of those at the top seriously because it influences the rest of society.

It’s no good the powerful just lecturing the powerless.

And this is where we all need to take responsibility for the culture we inhabit and nurture.

And when you have young people looting shops and trying to excuse it by talking about MPs’ expenses and bankers’ bonuses, it is time to worry abo ut who is setting the standards for society.

The decent majority?

Or an irresponsible minority?

Let me end on this thought:

This is a time of unprecedented challenge.

At times like this, people tend to succumb to pessimism about what is achievable.

Despite the difficulties, we must be optimistic about the power of politics to change things.

The task is this.

To understand that in the last three years we’ve seen a crisis of our major financial institutions, we’ve seen a crisis in our economy, and a crisis of faith in Britain’s major institutions, from politicians to the press, and this crisis of the riots in our cities.

The values of the vast majority are the right values.

The danger is people lose faith in the power of politics to change these things.

The answer cannot be more of the same.

We must rebuild our economy and society in a different way in the future.

With a different set of values.

Where the young person who works hard knows they can get on.

Where every institution of the country promotes the values of something for something, responsibility and looking after each other.

And those at the top set the right and not the wrong example to everyone else.

If we act not only on opportunity but on the values of our country, we can not only prevent another riot, but build the kind of society we want to see.

Ed Miliband – 2011 Labour Party Conference Speech


Below is the text of the speech made by the Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband, at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool on 26th September 2011.

Thank you Conference.

It’s great to be in Liverpool.

Labour Liverpool.

A generation ago a Labour leader came to Conference to condemn the behaviour of a Labour Council in Liverpool.

Today I come to Liverpool, proud to hold our Conference in this great city.

Proud of the work our Labour council is doing.

Conference, it’s been a busy year for me.

There’s one person I want to thank more than any other.

For her love, her support, for her encouragement.

My wife Justine.

Ask me the three most rewarding things I’ve done this year.

Being at the birth of our second son Sam.

Then getting married.

It is 2011 after all.

And starting to tell Daniel, my older son, the stories my Dad used to tell me.

My kids, Daniel and Sam.

A new generation of Miliband brothers.

I know what you’re thinking.

But just to reassure you.

We’re really hoping they become doctors too.

And of course one other big event happened in my life, one that the media was really interested in:

My nose job.

July 27th.

They called it Ed Nose Day.

In case you wondered listening to me, it was a great success.

I had a deviated septum and it needed repositioning.

Typical Labour leader.

He gets elected and everything moves to the centre.

A year ago I was elected your leader.

And I want to thank one colleague in particular for her support over that time.

For her help, her advice, for her friendship, and her commitment to equality and social justice.

Harriet Harman, our fantastic deputy leader.

Conference, let’s get down to business.

This is a dangerous time for Britain, and for Britain’s economy.

The Government’s austerity plan is failing.

You can sense the fear that people have as we watch the economic crisis that stalked our country in 2008 threatening to return.

Stock markets round the world falling.

The United States in difficulty.

The Eurozone struggling.

And people in Britain losing their jobs.

Now is not the time for the same old answers.

From us, on the issues that lost us your trust.

From this Government, on the growth crisis we face.

You need to know that there is an alternative.

You need to know that it is credible.

So people need to know where I stand.

The Labour Party lost trust on the economy.

And under my leadership, we will regain that trust.

I am determined to prove to you that the next Labour Government will only spend what it can afford.

That we will live within our means.

That we will manage your money properly.

As someone who believes that government can make a difference, I have a special responsibility to show you that every pound that is spent, is spent wisely.

The next Labour Government will still face tough decisions.

We won’t be able to reverse many of the cuts this Government is making.

And let me tell you, if this Government fails to deal with the deficit in this Parliament, we are determined to do so.

It’s why we will set new fiscal rules to bind government to a disciplined approach.

And it’s right, as a down payment, to tell you that we would use every penny of the sale of bank shares to pay down the debt.

But I have to tell you frankly.

I have a fundamental disagreement with the Government.

They believe Britain can address our problems of debt without addressing our problems of growth.

They are wrong.

Think of how you pay off the credit card bill.

You need to make savings in the household budget.

But if you lose your job and the money stops coming in, you can’t pay off the bill.

People in Britain are losing their jobs.

They aren’t spending.

Government is cutting back.

And the recovery has stalled.

Of course, the world economy is suffering.

But our Government is making it worse.

Because the current plan to raise taxes and cut spending more dramatically than any other country is not working.

A year ago, lots of people thought the Government was taking the right course.

The Governor of the Bank of England.

The International Monetary Fund.

But one person in particular stood outside the consensus.

Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls.

He was right.

But he is not interested in being proved right.

And nor am I.

I am interested in the Government doing the right thing by the British people.

So there is a big choice facing the country.

Whether to stick on the current plan or to change course?

There is an alternative:

For Britain and other countries to act together to get our economies moving.

Like a VAT cut now to put more money in people’s pockets.

And action to put our young people back to work.

I say to David Cameron.

Put the politics aside.

Look at the facts.

Recognise what is staring you in the face.

And understand that protecting our economy matters more than protecting your failed plan.

So I’m going to tell it straight.

That’s the lesson I have learnt about this job and myself over the last twelve months.

To be true to myself.

My instincts.

My values.

To take risks in the pursuit of that.

And to stand up for what is right.

The moment it came home to me most was when I heard the terrible news that Milly Dowler’s phone had been hacked.

Someone had hacked into the voicemails of a missing teenager.

Deleted them from her phone.

Given her parents false hope.

As Justine said to me that morning, it was sick that someone could do that.

That’s why I had to speak out.

I knew when I said what I did that I was breaking rule number one of British politics.

Don’t mess with Rupert Murdoch.

I did it because it was right.

That’s the lesson I have learned most clearly in the last year.

The lesson that you’ve got to be willing to break the consensus, not succumb to it.

You know, I’m not Tony Blair.

I’m not Gordon Brown either.

Great men, who in their different ways, achieved great things.

I’m my own man.

And I’m going to do things my own way.

That is what it means to lead.

And I know this.

Nobody ever changed things on the basis of consensus.

Or wanting to be liked.

Or not taking risks.

Or keeping your head down.

It’s a lesson for me and it’s a lesson for my party too.

Don’t believe this stuff about governments losing elections, rather than oppositions winning them.

It sounds to me like a consolation prize for opposition leaders that have lost.

I’m not interested in consolation prizes.

I’ll tell you what I’m interested in.

Winning back the trust of the British people.

Winning the next general election.

My message to the public is this:

We know waiting for the Tories to fail won’t win us back your trust.

And we won’t deserve your trust if that’s what we do.

Paying homage to past leaders won’t win us back your trust.

And we won’t deserve it if that’s what we do.

Asking to carry on where we left off in government won’t win us back your trust.

And we won’t deserve it if that’s what we do.

My top demand of my Shadow Cabinet, my party, my team, is this:


Ambition to change our country.

It’s why we were founded.

It’s in our souls.

It’s the only point in doing the jobs we do.

And it’s the reason I stood to be the leader of this Party.

And it is urgent, at this moment, in Britain 2011.

In every generation, there comes a moment when we need to change the way we do things.

This is one of those moments.

And I believe from our conversations over the past year that you, the British people, know it.

You’ve seen a series of crises hitting our country over the last few years.

This summer’s riots.

Not the first time we’ve seen decent people with the right values losing out to those with the wrong ones.

The banking crisis, MPs’ expenses.

Journalists hacking phones.

From them all a something for nothing culture.

Take what you can.

Fill your boots.

Who cares as long as you can get away it.

And these are just the noisy scandals which grab the front pages.

But you know there’s a quiet crisis which doesn’t get the headlines.

It’s about the people who don’t make a fuss, who don’t hack phones, loot shops, fiddle their expenses, or earn telephone number salaries at the banks.

It’s the grafters, the hard-working majority who do the right thing.

It’s a crisis which is happening in your town, your street and maybe even in your home.

It is a crisis of the promises made over the last thirty years.

The promise that if you’re in work, you will do better each year.

The promise that if you work hard at school the doors of opportunity will open up to you.

The promise that if you teach your kids the difference between right and wrong and bring them up properly, they will get a good job, and a decent home.

These crises point to something deep in our country.

The failure of a system.

A way of doing things.

An old set of rules.

An economy and a society too often rewarding not the right people with the right values, but the wrong people with the wrong values.

So the task of leadership in this generation is no ordinary task.

It is to chart a new course.

And strike a new bargain in our country.

That’s what I want to talk to you about today.

Let’s be clear about one thing.

The problem isn’t the people of Britain.

I saw it when I met our troops in Afghanistan.

Brave men and women.

Called to serve our country.

At this moment, as we meet in the comfort of this hall, hundreds, thousands of our troops are risking their lives.

In harm’s way, so far from home.

We should think of them today and every day.

Let’s all thank them and acknowledge the heroism they show on behalf of our country.

And as always in our history, we see the true British character in moments of crisis.

We saw it during the riots.

It was a terrible moment for Britain.

People looting shops, burning cars.

It even happened right by my old school.

But for every person that looted, there were hundreds, thousands who said this will not stand and came out to help with the clean up.

I saw it in Manchester, people of all generations, who came out the next morning to get the city back on its feet.

Those young people with the brooms.

Those young people who join us at Conference today.

And let us celebrate what they did.

Let us celebrate too those brave police officers who worked day and night to bring order to our streets.

They put themselves in harm’s way and we should thank them for it.

Citizens and public servants alike.

Theirs are the true values of Britain.

They are the true face of Britain.

And when we talk about the places where the riots happened, let’s remember that the vast majority of people who live there are decent, law-abiding, community-spirited.

We must punish those who do wrong.

But I’m not with the Prime Minister.

I will never write off whole parts of our country by calling them sick.

We are not a country of bad people but great people.

Great people in a great country.

Ready to celebrate the Olympics next year.

Olympic Britain 2012, ready to light up the world.

But with such great people, how have we ended up with the problems we face?

It’s because of the way we have chosen to run our country.

Not just for a year or so but for decades.

Now there are hard lessons here for my party which some won’t like.

Some of what happened in the 1980s was right.

It was right to let people buy their council houses.

It was right to cut tax rates of 60, 70, 80 percent.

And it was right to change the rules on the closed shop, on strikes before ballots.

These changes were right, and we were wrong to oppose it at the time.

But while some of it was right, too much of what happened was based on the wrong values.

That’s where New Labour came in.

The rebuilt schools, new hospitals, more police.

The minimum wage, tax credits, the new deal.

Half a million children lifted out of poverty.

Britain with Labour: the only country in Europe where poverty was not going up, but was going down.

My party is proud of that record.

And so am I.

But good times did not mean we had a good economic system.

We changed the fabric of our country but we did not do enough to change the values of our economy.

You believe rewards should be for hard work.

But you’ve been told we have to tolerate the wealthiest taking what they can.

And what’s happened?

Your living standards have been squeezed by runaway rewards at the top.

You believe we owe duties to each other.

But in our economy you’ve been told that duties to each other come second.

And so while many companies do the right thing and train their workforce, others do not.

And what’s happened?

You’ve seen your sons and daughters not getting an apprenticeship, stuck in a job where they can’t progress.

And we have seen immigration policy which didn’t work for the people whose jobs, living standards and communities were affected.

You believe in the values of the long-term.

But in our economy, you’ve been told the fast buck is ok.

And what’s happened?

We’ve ended up with a financial crisis and you’ve ended up footing the bill.

You believe in a society where everybody is responsible for their actions.

But you’ve been told that if companies are big enough or powerful enough they can get away with anything.

And what’s happened?

Big vested interests like the energy companies have gone unchallenged, while you’re being ripped off.

So you have been told for too long that the only way our economy can succeed is if we reward not your values, but a totally different set of values.

Trickle-down economics.

The triumph of finance over industry.

The victory of vested interests over the public interest.

And who’s been rewarded in this economy?

Take Fred Goodwin, who ran the Royal Bank of Scotland.

He was at the heart of the banking crisis.

Compare him to Sir John Rose, former Chief Executive of Rolls Royce, a great British business leader.

Creating wealth and keeping jobs in this country.

He is the true face of British business.

The vast majority of our businesses that have the right values and do the right thing.

Rooted in their communities.

Committed to their workforce.

And creating real, lasting value.

But at the time of the financial crisis, Fred Goodwin was paid over three times more than Sir John Rose.

I tell you something, Fred Goodwin shouldn’t have got that salary.

And I tell you something else:

We shouldn’t have given Sir Fred Goodwin that knighthood either.

You know what your values are.

You believe in looking out for each other.

You believe we are stronger together.

Weaker on our own.

But we have allowed values which say take what you can, I’m in it for myself, to create a Britain that is too unequal.

The people at the top taking unjustified rewards isn’t just bad for our economy.

It sends a message throughout our society about what values are ok.

And inequality reinforces privilege and opportunity for the few.

You know what your values are.

You believe whether you get on shouldn’t depend on where you come from but what you have it within you to become.

Those are Britain’s values.

Reward linked to effort.

Something for something.

But as the rungs of the ladder grow further and further apart, the chance of climbing up, become harder.

Think of some of the kids at school today in my constituency, in Doncaster.

Or in your town.

Ask yourself, what are their chances, however bright, of getting into one of the top universities, competing against people with all the chances in life?

Of having the network of connections that will set them up for their career?

21st century Britain: still a country for the insiders.

What’s my story?

My parents fled the Nazis.

And came to Britain.

They embraced its values.


Who built a life for us .

So this is who I am.

The heritage of the outsider.

The vantage point of the insider.

The guy who is determined to break the closed circles of Britain.

And as young people confront the choices they have in life, they see routes to success today based on a wrong set of values.

The something for nothing of celebrity culture.

The take what you can of the gangs.

And in parts of some of our communities, a life on benefits.

You know what your values are.

But they are not the values being rewarded in our benefits system.

We must never excuse people who cheat the welfare system.

The reason I talk about this is not because I don’t believe in a welfare state but because I do.

We can never protect and renew it if people believe it’s just not fair.

If it’s too easy not to work.

And there are people taking something for nothing.

And if at the same time people who have paid into the system all their lives find the safety net full of holes.

No wonder people are angry.

It’s my job, my Party’s mission

To say: no more.

It’s all got to change.

We need a new bargain.

Based on Britain’s values.

Britain’s values in our economy, in our society, and in the way our country is run.

Let’s confront head on the big challenge we face of building a new bargain in our economy.

Built on values of hard work, something for something, the long-term.

We need a new era of wealth creation in this country.

But it will not happen with the old set of rules.

And we can’t spend our way to a new economy

We are competing not just with Germany and Japan, but with China, India and Brazil.

Don’t believe those who would tell you that the kind of economy we have now will help us to compete in that world.

We can’t pay our way unless as a country we invent things, make things, and sell real services and products.

Britain’s future will be built not on credit default swaps but on creative industries.

Not low wages and high finance, but low carbon and high tech.

Not financial engineering, but real engineering.

Of course, the banks and financial services are important to Britain.

They employ people right across the country.

They will still be important to Britain in the future.

But they must change so that they are part of the solution to our economic future, not part of the problem.

You’ve been told all growth is the same, all ways of doing business are the same.

But it’s not.

You’ve been told that the choice in politics is whether parties are pro-business or anti-business.

But all parties must be pro-business today.

If it ever was, that’s not the real choice any more.

Let me tell you what the 21st century choice is:

Are you on the side of the wealth creators or the asset strippers?

The producers or the predators?

Producers train, invest, invent, sell.

Things Britain does brilliantly.

Predators are just interested in the fast buck, taking what they can out of the business.

This isn’t about one industry that’s good and another that isn’t.

Or one firm always destined to be a predator and another to be a producer.

It’s about different ways of doing business, ways that the rules of our economy can favour or discourage.

Look at what a private equity firm did to the Southern Cross care homes.

Stripping assets for a quick buck and treating tens of thousands of elderly people like commodities to be bought and sold.

They may not have sold their own grandmothers for a fast buck.

But they certainly sold yours.

They aren’t the values of British business.

It must change.

It must never happen again in the new economy we build.

We must learn the lesson that growth is built on sand if it comes from our predators and not our producers.

For years as a country we have been neutral in that battle.

They’ve been taxed the same.

Regulated the same.

Treated the same.

Celebrated the same.

They won’t be by me.

We need the most competitive tax and regulatory environment we can for British business.

But when I am Prime Minister, how we tax, what government buys, how we regulate, what we celebrate will be in the service of Britain’s producers.

And don’t let anyone tell you that this is the anti-business choice.

It’s the pro-business choice.

Pro-business on the side of the small businesses who can’t get a loan.

Pro-business on the side of high value manufacturing that can’t build its business because of the short-termist culture.

Pro-business on the side of the British company losing out to its competitors abroad when their government steps in and our government stands aside.

And that includes companies like Bombardier and BAe systems.

Being sold down the river by this Government.

Just like Sheffield Forgemasters before them.

Having Nick Clegg as the local MP didn’t help much.

You know, the boundary review means his seat will be represented by a Tory after the next election.

No change there then.

Supporting the producers, that is what it means to be pro-business today.

That is why I say all major government contracts will go to firms who commit to training the next generation with decent apprenticeships.

And none will go to those who don’t.

And it is also why I say, the new bargain in our economy must be built on co-operation not conflict in the workplace.

Raising productivity, working together, helping firms to compete.

That is the most important future for the trade unions in this country.

And we must challenge irresponsible, predatory practices wherever we find them.

We need investment in energy here in Britain.

But our energy companies have defied the laws of gravity for too long.

Prices go up but they never seem to come down.

I believe our environment and climate change is a crucial issue for our future.

An essential part of the new bargain.

Responsibility, commitment for the long term:

That’s what my kids will want from us on the environment when they grow up and ask whether we were the first generation to get it or the last generation not to.

So over time there is going to be upward pressure on energy prices.

But that makes it all the more important we get the best possible deal for customers.

So let’s break the dominance of the big energy companies.

Let’s call a rigged market what it is.

And get a fairer deal for the people of Britain.

But as we challenge the predators let’s celebrate Britain’s producers.

Wherever we find them.

If people make money and profit through hard work, hard graft, something for something, let’s praise them.

And let me tell you what the problem is with these Tories.

They don’t understand who the real wealth creators of this country are.

Or the values our economy needs for them to succeed.

They talk as if the CEOs and the executives are the only people who create wealth.

Of course great business leaders make a huge difference to our country, and I applaud them.

But the small businesses that are the lifeblood of our economy are also the wealth creators.

The scientists and innovators are also our wealth creators.

And the young apprentices are also the wealth creators.

The wealth of our nation is built by the hands not just of the elite few but every man and woman who goes out and does a day’s work

The Tories aren’t building a new bargain that supports the right people with the right values.

Young people, doing the right thing, wanting to go to higher education are going to find that their hard work and ambition will be punished with tens of thousands of pounds of debt.

And yet at the same time, George Osborne plans cuts in corporation tax for the banks.

It’s the wrong choice.

Now some of you would like no fees at all.

I understand that.

But it wouldn’t be responsible to make promises I can’t keep.

That’s Nick Clegg’s job.

Let me tell you what I would do.

If we were in government now, we’d be cutting the costs of going to university from a maximum of £9,000 to £6,000.

To the young people who want to get on and contribute to our country my message is simple.

I won’t let you be priced out of your future.

Labour is on your side.

We can’t afford to carry on with so many young people locked out of opportunity.

Three thousand of our brightest young people, at state schools, get the grades to go to our most competitive Universities.

But they never go.

That can’t be right.

It creates a sense that there is no something for something deal.

I went to a fantastic local school.

It was a tough area but it was a school that changed lives.

But the truth is that the problem in some of our schools is not just investment.

It’s also about values.

Of bright children held back when aspirations are low.

Or when closed circles at the top of society shut them out.

In any one year more than a quarter of our schools don’t even send 5 kids to the most competitive universities.

Is anyone seriously telling me that there aren’t pupils at any of those schools who are good enough to go?

It’s got to change.

And we will change it.

Here is my challenge to those schools and Universities.

Raise your game.

To the schools not doing enough I say:

Lift your ambition, lift your sights.

To the Universities not opening up I say:

Open your eyes, open your doors.

Say to the very brightest children at every school: if you get the grades, you’ll get a place.

And it’s not just in our schools that I want to change the values that get rewarded.

It’s right across society.

The new bargain must demand responsibility from all.

We’ve got to put an end to the idea that those at the top can take whatever they can, regardless of what they give back.

It’s why we must end the cosy cartels of the way top pay is set in our economy.

So every pay committee should have an employee on the board.

And the something for something deal requires that sacrifice as well as prosperity is fairly shared.

Have you noticed how uncomfortable David Cameron is when he has to talk about responsibility at the very top?

He found it easy to be tough on you.

VAT went up.

He called it a tough decision.

Tax credits were cut.

He said they couldn’t be afforded.

Help paying for childcare was hit.

He said it was the only thing he could do.

When you have had to pay, it’s always necessary, it’s always permanent, it can never be reversed.

And yet at the same time they are straining at the leash to cut the 50p tax rate for people earning over £3,000 a week.

Only David Cameron could believe that you make ordinary families work harder by making them poorer and you make the rich work harder by making them richer.

It’s wrong.

It’s the wrong priority.

It’s based on the wrong values.

How dare they say we’re all in it together.

So we need a new bargain at the top of society, and in our benefits system too.

So it rewards the right people with the right values.

But it isn’t delivering that.

And we’ve got to fix it.

If you think putting it right means just stripping away welfare then you are better off with Iain Duncan Smith and David Cameron.

But at the same time we have to face the truth.

Even after reforms of recent years, we still have a system where reward for work is not high enough.

Where benefits are too easy to come by for those who don’t deserve them and too low for those who do.

So if what you want is a welfare system that works for working people then I’m prepared to take the tough decisions to make that a reality.

Take social housing.

When we have a housing shortage, choices have to be made.

Do we treat the person who contributes to their community the same as the person who doesn’t?

My answer is no.

Our first duty should be to help the person who shows responsibility.

And I say every council should recognise the contribution that people are making.

David Cameron likes to talk tough on welfare, but do you know who the big losers are from his changes?

Time and again it’s those who work hard, who try to get on.

It’s the cancer patients who have worked all their lives but now lose their support

It’s the couple who have put money aside and saved, but now lose their tax credits

And it is the single mum working as a dinner lady who loses help with her childcare.

It’s wrong.

And we have got to change it.

And while those who do the right thing are hit hard, the demands on those who don’t work aren’t tough enough.

Gone is the something for something requirement that every young person out of work for six months will be required to work.

This Government won’t make the commitment to help our young people back to work.

It’s wrong and we would change it.

Decency, fairness, helping those who do the right thing.

I believe in a benefits system with values.

And I believe in the value of work.


Think about that word.

The party of work.

Now under my leadership, we will be the party which makes welfare work too.

And it’s not just in our benefits system that I want to change the way government works.

It’s in our public services as well.

Millions of public servants deliver a fantastic service every day of every week.

But we all know that sometimes powerful organisations can become unaccountable.

Work not in the interests of those who need them but in their own interests.

That’s what vested interests are.

My task, our responsibility, is to make government work better for people.

The patient frustrated when they can’t be seen by the person they want.

The victim of crime who just wants their case properly investigated.

You know what it’s like.

You stand in the queue.

You hang on the phone.

You fill in the form.

And then all you get?

Computer says no.

We need to change that.

To give power to the public.

Like the power to the elderly couple to choose whether they are cared for in a care home or in their own home.

Or the parents I know struggling with their council on their child’s special needs who want to know who else is facing the same challenges.

So I will take on the vested interests wherever they are because that is how we defend the public interest.

And there is no greater public interest than our National Health Service.

Cherished by all of us.

Founded by Labour.

Saved by Labour.

Today defended by Labour once again.

Why does Britain care so much for the NHS?

Because, more than any other institution in our country, the values of the NHS are our values.

It doesn’t matter who you are.

Or what you earn.

The NHS offers the highest quality care when we need it

I saw it this year with the birth of our son, Sam.

Like millions of other families, mine had the best of care from doctors, nurses.

And nobody asked me for my credit card at the door.

And when I look at everything this Tory Government is doing, it is NHS that shocks me most.


Because David Cameron told us he was different.

You remember.

The posters.

The soundbites.

David Cameron knew the British people did not trust the Tories with our NHS.

So he told us he wasn’t the usual type of Tory.

And he asked for your trust.

And then he got into Downing Street.

And within a year – within a year – he’d gone back on every word he’d said.

No more top-down reorganisations?

He betrayed your trust.

No more hospital closures?

He betrayed your trust.

No more long waits?

He betrayed your trust.

And the biggest betrayal of all?

The values of the NHS.

Britain’s values.

The values he promised to protect.


Hospitals to be fined millions of pounds if they break the rules of David Cameron’s free-market healthcare system.

The old values that have failed our economy now being imported to our most prized institution: the NHS.

Let me tell David Cameron this.

It’s the oldest truth in politics.

He knows it and now the public know it.

You can’t trust the Tories with the NHS.

And let me tell the British people:

If you want someone who will rip the old rules so that the country works for you, don’t expect it from this Prime Minister.

On the 50p tax rate, on the banks, on the closed circles of Britain, on welfare, on the NHS, he’s not about a new set of rules.

He’s the last gasp of the old rules.

The wrong values for our country and the wrong values for our time.

You know Britain needs to change.

Every day of your life seems like a tough fight.

To make ends meet.

To do the best by your kids.

To look after your Mum or Dad.

And it will be a tough fight to change Britain.

But I’m up for the fight

The fight for a new bargain.

A new bargain in our economy so reward is linked to effort.

A new bargain based on your values so we can pay our way in the world.

A new bargain to ensure responsibility from top to bottom.

And a new bargain to break open the closed circles, and break up vested interests, that hold our country back.

I aspire to be your Prime Minister not for more of the same.

But to write a new chapter in our country’s history.

The promise of Britain lies in its people

The tragedy of Britain is that it is not being met

My mission. Our mission.

To fulfil the promise of each so we fulfil the promise of Britain.

Ed Miliband – 2011 Speech on Responsibility in the 21st Century


Below is the text of the speech made by the Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband, in June 2011 at the Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre.

Thank you for coming this morning.

The issue I want to talk about today can be summed up in a couple of stories.

While out campaigning during the local elections, not for the first time, I met someone who had been on incapacity benefit for a decade.

He hadn’t been able to work since he was injured doing his job.

It was a real injury, and he was obviously a good man who cared for his children.

But I was convinced that there were other jobs he could do.

And that it’s just not right for the country to be supporting him not to work, when other families on his street are working all hours just to get by.

The other story is about people in a very different world from that man.

The story of Southern Cross care homes – where millions were plundered over the years leaving the business vulnerable, the elderly people in their care at risk and their families feeling betrayed.

Those elderly people were treated simply as commodities.

This story shames our country.

And there is a link between the man on incapacity benefit and those executives at Southern Cross.

What is that link?

That these are people who are just not taking responsibility – and the rest of us are left picking up the pieces.

It’s not about responsibility to the state, or the government, but responsibility to your neighbours, your friends and many others who you may never meet but who are affected by your actions.

For my party, these two stories point to some hard truths about what people think about us and what we must do if we are to win their trust again.

For too many people at the last election, we were seen as the party that represented these two types of people.

Those at the top and the bottom, who were not showing responsibility and were shirking their duties. From bankers who caused the global financial crisis to some of those on benefits who were abusing the system because they could work – but didn’t.

Labour – a party founded by hard working people for hard working people – was seen, however unfairly, as the party of those ripping off our society.

My party must change.

We were intensely relaxed about what happened at the top of society.

I say – no more.

We must create a boardroom culture that rewards wealth creation, not failure.

To those entrepreneurs and business people who generate wealth, create jobs and deserve their top salaries, I’m not just relaxed about you getting rich, I applaud you.

But every time a chief executive gives himself a massive pay rise – more than he deserves or his company can bear – it undermines trust at every level of society.

We cannot and we must not be relaxed about that.

We did too little to ensure responsibility at the bottom.

I say – No more.

We will be a party that rewards contribution, not worklessness.

If you believe in wealth creation and the welfare state like we do, we must acknowledge the only way to protect both of them is through responsibility.

We must be once again the party of the grafters.

And these stories are not just important for Labour. They are important for the country, too.

When I think about the kind of country I want my sons to grow up in, it is a country where they—and millions of their generation—can do better than their parents.

It’s what I call the ‘promise of Britain’ – that the next generation does better than the last.

But what does a better life mean?

Better in terms of jobs, housing and the material things that matter. Of course.

But better for me, and indeed I think all of us, is not just about the material – not just about earning money and owning things.

Because that doesn’t tell us anything about the feel, fabric and character of our country – or about the most important thing in life, which is about our relationships with each other.

That’s what I want to talk about today.

We need to understand the value of responsibility to each other and what it really means.

We need to understand why Labour in government talked about fixing it but didn’t.

Why the Conservative-led government’s approach is woefully inadequate.

And what the way forward is if we are to build a greater sense of responsibility and national mission for our country.

Let me start by talking about why these values of responsibility, of duty to each other, matter.

One of my earliest memories is listening to my father talk about his experiences of Britain during and after the Second World War.

He talked about his life in the Navy—how it brought people together from all backgrounds and walks of life in a common spirit.

He talked of the sense that they all looked out for each other, despite all the things that could have kept them apart.

He remembered most the deep fellowship that helped win the war and build the peace.

When I think about my children, I want them to grow up in a Britain like that.

I want them to understand what makes this country special.

I want them to live in a country where people look after each other, look out for each other, care for each other, where compassion and responsibility to one another are valued.

Tony Blair once said he wanted a country ”where your child in distress is my child, your parent ill and in pain is my parent, your friend unemployed or homeless is my friend; your neighbour my neighbour. That is the true patriotism of a nation.”

This patriotism is all around us. We see it every day.

The unsung heroes who make such a difference to the lives of others.

The people who will give up every Friday night so young people have somewhere to go and something to do.

The volunteers who help out the local hospitals at all hours of day and night.

The young men and women who risk life and limb in the armed forces for our protection.

Care, common-feeling and compassion are all around us.

But let’s be honest. We also look around and see how those ties which bind us together have become frayed.

In my father’s war-time generation, people had a deeply-held feeling of responsibility to others.

Today, the overwhelming majority of people – at every level of society from rich to poor – still play by the rules.

Working hard. Paying taxes. Obeying the law. Caring for others.

Good citizens.

But they feel others are not doing the same. They are having to pay the price for the behaviour of an irresponsible minority.

They feel that while they stick to the rules, others are getting one over on them.

It’s part of the squeeze on the middle.

The services on which they rely are being cut by an austerity government after a global crisis caused by bankers who still get multi-million pound bonuses.

The gap grows every wider between the rewards for those at the top and the squeeze on the living standards of everyone else.

And they still have to pay taxes to fund the bankers and to fund some people on benefits who aren’t bothering to work.

People who act responsibly – people who do their duty – are getting angry. And I understand why.

That irresponsibility is not only unfair on everyone else; it is bad for the economy.

And people feel the consequences of irresponsibility in different parts of their lives.

The rubbish fly-tipped by the roadside.

The throb of loud music, played by the neighbour in the small hours.

The overgrown and litter-strewn front garden.

And every time someone acts with casual indifference to the lives of those around them, it undermines the trust of others and frays the bonds which bind our society together.

We should not demonise people anywhere in society.

I do not accept the Conservative characterisation of those on benefits as being feckless and worthless.

The man was I talking about earlier cared about his children and wanted to bring them up right, but the system neither demanded nor encouraged him to do the right thing.

We have a responsibility to provide people with opportunities to improve their lives and escape poverty.

And we have a responsibility to look after the vulnerable.

But those who can work have a responsibility to take the opportunities available.

The same is true of high earners.

It is vital that we reward and nurture wealth creation.

But too often we see people getting pay and rewards which are not linked to what they have achieved.

This isn’t just unfair – it’s bad for business, jobs and our economy.

Take an example. Rolls Royce is a great British business, world -leading, innovative.

Sir John Rose who recently retired as their Chief Executive was a great British business leader – creating wealth and keeping jobs in this country.

In contrast Fred Goodwin, who ran the Royal bank of Scotland, was at the heart of the irresponsibility which led to the collapse of the banking system.

He helped bring our country’s banks to their knees.

And yet at the time the financial crisis hit, Fred Goodwin was being paid over three times more than Sir John Rose.

What greater evidence could there be of the failure to link pay and performance in our boardrooms.

Back in the 1970s, very high rates of taxation put people off creating greater wealth.

The link between pay and performance was broken.

There can be no going back to that.

But the danger today is that pay and performance have become detached again.

Over the last twelve years Chief Executive pay in Britain’s top companies has quadrupled while share prices have remained flat.

And according to the recent High Pay Commission report, just in the last 10 years, the pay of someone at the top of a company has gone from 69 times the average wage to 145 times.

Things haven’t always been this way.

It is worth recalling that JP Morgan founded his financial company on the idea that the ratio of pay between the highest and lowest paid employee should be no more than 20 to 1.

It isn’t for government to set maximum ratios but we do need change to encourage the responsibility we need.

To carry that out, my party needs to understand where New Labour succeeded and failed.

Those who founded the Labour movement were motivated to do so by the idea that they could achieve more together than as isolated individuals just looking out for themselves.

We continued that tradition in government.

Repairing the fabric of society through investment in schools, hospitals and the police.

But we did not do enough to change the ethic we inherited from the 1980s – ‘the take what you can culture’ of those Conservative governments.

New Labour in office talked about rights and responsibilities.

So, why didn’t we succeed in changing the ethic of our society in the way we wanted?

Because we were not consistent enough in applying these values across our society.

We were too slow to recognise the need for greater responsibility among those on benefits.

And we saw responsibility as only applying to those on benefits, because they were getting something from the state.

That meant the responsibilities of others were ignored – the business executives, the bankers, the Chief Executives.

Just because they – or anyone else – weren’t getting something from the government it doesn’t mean they don’t have responsibilities.

Because the most important responsibility is not to government, it is to each other.

Whether it is not abusing the trust of your neighbour by claiming benefits when you can work….

Or not paying yourself an inflated salary to the detriment of your company, your shareholders or your staff.

So we sent out the wrong message to those at the top of society.

And we all know what happened: the banks acting as if there was no tomorrow and causing the worst financial crisis in a century.

And even after that happened the Confederation of British Industry, the Financial Services Authority and even the Governor of the Bank of England sounded more willing to speak out on top pay than we did.

And we did not do enough either to acknowledge the difficulty in creating a responsible society when there is a huge gap between the rich and everyone else.

When people lead parallel lives, living in the same town but different worlds, we should not be surprised that it’s hard to nurture a sense of responsibility and solidarity.

That is why we have to tackle the new inequality in this country between the top and everyone else.

Now what about the current government and its approach?

On the surface, our responsibility to each other is a big concern of theirs and indeed we hear repeated tirades against people on benefits.

But because of their values—and true intentions— they cannot build the kind of responsibility that I have been talking about.

Just take their current welfare reform bill.

We support their attempts to build on our plans to make those who can work do so.

But their bill will make it harder for people to be responsible.

It undermines childcare support for those seeking work.

It punishes people in work who save, denying them the help they currently get through tax credits.

It cuts help for the most vulnerable, those living in care homes, who receive support to get out and about.

And, it takes away money from those who are dying even though they have contributed to the system all their lives.

None of this will help people show more responsibility. In fact, it does the opposite.

Nor are they ensuring there is the work available for people who are responsible.

And when they talk about the Big Society, and people showing responsibility through volunteering, they don’t seem to get that you can’t volunteer in your local Sure Start centre or library when it has been closed.

You cannot create a good society – or even a big one – simply with pleas for more volunteers.

Finally we will never encourage a sense of responsibility if society is becoming more and more unfair, and more and more divided.

The idea that we’re all in it together under this government is just a cruel joke.

So what are the lessons we should learn to build the kind of society we want to see?

Above all, it is that responsibility and duty to one another must apply across our country.

We cannot lecture people on benefits about responsibility if we do not also address the problem at the top—in the public and private sectors.

It is why it is right that proper action was taken against MPs who defrauded our nation through their expenses.

It is why corporate tax avoidance and evasion are so wrong and need to be tackled relentlessly.

So how do we change things to ensure a better link between top pay and performance?

As other countries require, we need companies to justify and explain what they are doing.

On pay, companies should publish the ratio of the pay of its top earner compared to its average employee.

If it can be justified by performance, they should have nothing to fear.

We need shareholders to better exercise their responsibilities to scrutinise top pay.

And we also need to recognise – as many great companies do—that firms are accountable to their workers as well as their shareholders.

Some companies already understand that having an employee on the committee that decides top pay is the right thing to do.

We should debate whether this requirement should be extended to all firms.

And of course the same should be true in the public sector.

So we need responsibility at the top of society, but we also need it at the bottom.

Again, the principle should be that we reward those who make a contribution.

I strongly believe in a welfare state that looks after those in need, including those suffering from ill health.

That principle of compassion should always be at the heart of what we do.

That is a view shared by people right across this country.

But if we are to improve the British welfare state, we must reform it so it genuinely rewards people who are responsible and contribute, as well as protecting those in need.

One area where people’s sense of fairness is under threat is social housing.

There is a terrible shortage of social housing in this country.

It will be one of the key tests of the next Labour government that we address this issue.

But we also need to do so in a way that commands public support and respect.

Need is and will remain a crucial test of who gets a house.

But across the country, there are examples of how we can also encourage people to display the responsibility that our society needs.

In Manchester, as well as helping the most vulnerable with housing, they give priority to those who are giving something back to their communities – for example, people who volunteer or who work.

They also look to reward people who have been good tenants in the past and who have paid their rent on time and have been good neighbours.

This approach means that rather than looking solely at need, priority is also given to those who contribute – who give something back.

It’s fairer and it also encourages the kind of responsible behaviour which makes our communities stronger.

It is not about punishing people. It is about rewarding people who do the right thing in their communities.

We are looking at all these issues in our policy review – but this is a principle we will seek to apply so that, as far as possible, the benefits that people receive also encourage them to do the right thing.

Let me end on this thought.

What builds a community and a country is a sense of shared responsibility, common endeavour and big national ambitions.

The Tories have no vision for our country.

No sense of national mission.

No vision for how we can deliver on the promise of Britain for the next generation.

We need a culture in our country which marks a real break with the ‘take what you can’ ways of the past.

I know that there is a yearning for that different culture.

A more responsible economy.

A more responsible society.

And a sense of common life that offers meaning and purpose.

That is the mission for our party.

That too should be the mission for our country.

Ed Miliband – 2011 Speech to TUC Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by Ed Miliband, the Leader of the Opposition, to the TUC Conference on 13th September 2011.

Friends, 10 years ago, Tony Blair came to the TUC.

But he didn’t deliver the speech he came with.

We all know why.

Indeed some of you were there that day in Brighton.

Trying to comprehend what had happened.

United in shock and sorrow with those who feared for their loved ones.

We said at the time, we would never forget.

And we won’t.

So let us today remember all those who died, including the British citizens and the heroic public service workers, the 343 New York City firefighters.

I am proud to come here today as Labour’s leader.

Proud of the relationship between the trade unions and the Labour Party, based on shared values of equality, fairness and social justice.

But most of all, I’m proud to be here because of who you represent:

The hard working men and women of Britain.

The people who look who look after the sick, who teach our children, and who through their hard work create the wealth of this country.

People like the Sodexo dinner ladies I met in Richmond last year.

They told me of their situation:

No sick pay.

Shift patterns changed without any notice.

Having to buy their own uniforms.

We can all imagine the strain that put on them and their families.

Struggling to make ends meet.

Not knowing when they were going to be called to work.

Losing money if they were ill.

This is the story of too many people in Britain today.

And surely these low-paid women had no chance against one of the most powerful companies in the world?


They got together, they sought the help of a union, Unison, and they campaigned for these basic rights.

And friends, thanks to their determination, things have changed.

They won better pay, sick pay, and recognition for their union.

Let us applaud them for what they have achieved and the example they have shown.

I also think of the Vauxhall car workers I met in Ellesmere Port.

During the recession in 2008, their whole plant and the livelihoods of those workers were under threat.

What did they do?

They sat down with the management.

They worked through the problems.

They made some sacrifices.

And by doing that they saved their jobs.

Let us applaud them too for what they achieved.

These two stories show what trade unions can do for the hard working people they represent.

But you won’t hear about this in most discussions of your work.

Too often the spotlight of publicity falls elsewhere.

But I come to this conference as a Labour leader who believes you deserve credit for these stories, the daily work you do.

And what do people say about new democracies around the world?

Even the Tories.

They say the right to join a trade union is vital.

If we say it abroad, we should say it at home too.

These are the reasons why I value the link between the trade union movement and the Labour Party.

It is why I will resist any attempt to break it.

And it explains why I want reforms to the Labour Party to strengthen our movement.

The three million trade union levy payers – working men and women – are a huge asset to our party.

They should never, ever, feel like passive or unwanted members of our movement.

I want them to feel part of it.

Proud of it.

And I want us reaching out to the people who are not members of our party, not even members of the trade unions, to hear their voices too.

That is the way we become a stronger movement.

Of course, there are times when you and I will disagree.

You will speak your mind.

And so will I.

But our link is secure enough, mature enough, to deal with disagreement.

Because the relationship between party and unions is not about romance or nostalgia.

It is about respect and shared values.

It is a relationship in which we listen to each other when we disagree.

And we know that what unites us is greater than what divides us.

OK, by now maybe you’re thinking, hang on, we’ve seen this movie before.

He’s about to get to the bit where he tells us to “modernise or die.”

You’re half right.

I am going to talk about change.

But I’m not just going to talk about how people need to change to suit our economy.

I’m also going to talk about how we change our economy to suit the needs of people.

Because I reject the fatalism and pessimism that can surround the debate about economic change.

Leadership is not simply about telling people to accept change being forced upon them.

It is also about helping people to shape change, and shape their futures.

That is what our movement at its best has always been about.

So today I want to talk about the big choice our country faces over the coming years.

Whether we carry on as we are, or change the way our country works for the hard working men and women you represent.

Let’s face facts.

The British economy isn’t working for millions of people in our country.

Most people’s living standards are squeezed while those at the top see runaway rewards.

In the face of massive competition from countries like China and India, too often the British answer has been to compete on the basis of low pay and low skills.

And too often it leaves workers facing insecure prospects.

My message to you today is not simply about this Government.

Not simply about the immediate economic difficulties we face.

It is something more profound.

We have to challenge many of the assumptions on which economic policy has been based for a generation.

If we don’t, we will fail the next generation.

Financial services are important to Britain and will continue to be so.

But unless we broaden our economic base and tackle irresponsibility of the banks we will be exposed to crisis as we were in 2007.

Jobs must be our priority, and we must ensure they are decent jobs at decent wages and opportunities are extended to all our young people.

We need to reward entrepreneurship and wealth creation.

But if we just shrug our shoulders about inequality, as we have too often in the past, it will hurt not just our society but our economy too.

Changing these assumptions presents huge challenges for all of us.

For the next Labour Government.

For business.

And for the trade union movement.

I want to talk to you today about how we as a country can build that new economy.

That starts with a plan for growth.

We all know there needs to be a Plan B.

We know what the Tories’ Plan A stands for.


We have had nine months of the British economy flat on its back.

Growth close to zero.

Unemployment up.

1 in 5 young people out of work.

And what does George Osborne say?

Britain is a “safe haven”.

Tell that to the thousands of people who lost their jobs last month.

Tell that to the 16,000 businesses that have gone bust in the last four quarters.

Tell that to the millions of British families struggling to make ends meet.

There is no safe haven for them.

The Tories have forgotten the fundamental lesson:

You cannot simply cut your way out of a deficit.

You need to grow your economy as well.

The Government’s policies are hurting.

But they are not working.

And what is the result?

Tens of billions of extra borrowing over the coming years, above what they had predicted.

The evidence is piling up showing how the Tories are wrong to be cutting too far and too fast.

And how they are failing to share the burden of deficit reduction fairly.

Between those who were responsible for creating the crisis.

And those who were not.

A trebling of student fees.

Rising rail fares.

And higher pension contributions.

In government, we worked with trade unions to reform public sector pensions.

We sat down and we negotiated.

It was difficult but we got an agreement.

That shows the way we should reform pensions in this country.

It’s not about change versus no change.

It’s about what kind of change, and how it’s done.

The Tories have set about reform in completely the wrong way.

Even before John Hutton’s report was complete, they announced a 3 per cent surcharge on millions of your members.

It was a typically bad move by a bad government trying to pick a fight.

So I fully understand why millions of decent public sector workers feel angry.

But while negotiations were going on, I do believe it was a mistake for strikes to happen.

I continue to believe that.

But what we need now is meaningful negotiation to prevent further confrontation over the autumn.

Ministers need to show public sector workers – and the people who rely upon those services – that they are serious about finding a way forward.

The Tories claim to be the party of reform.

But their actions risk derailing the vital reform of public sector pensions because many people may now opt out of the system.

That won’t save money.

It will end up costing the taxpayer billions of pounds.

And at the same time as we see millions of hard working families being hit, who is getting a tax cut?

This year they are cutting taxes for the banks.

And now what is George Osborne obsession?

Cutting the 50 pence tax rate.

For the richest 1 per cent of the population.

For people who earn over £150,000 a year.

They have raised VAT.

They have cut tax credits.

And they say that these changes are set in stone, and will not be reversed.

It tells you everything you need to know about this Government that at the same time they are chomping at the bit to cut the 50p tax rate.

And what excuse do they plan to hide behind?

The claim that it doesn’t raise that much money because people avoid paying it.

It is nonsense.

But if that is the best they can do, I’ve got a suggestion:

Mr Osborne, I’ve got a message for you.

If people are avoiding their taxes it’s your job to stop them.

And what do they offer for the other 99 per cent of the population?

Greater insecurity.

Make it easier to sack people.

Reduce protection against unfair dismissal.

This isn’t an accident.

It’s because of their values.

What they believe.

The message is clear.

It’s one rule for those at the top.

Another rule for everyone else.

They say there is no alternative.

But there is.

It is fairer and it makes economic sense.

First, prioritise tax cuts for the hard-working majority, not the super-rich.

Cut VAT now to 17.5 per cent to get the economy moving again.

Second, insist that those who caused the crisis help pay to put it right.

Renew the bankers’ bonus tax and use the money to support enterprise, put the young unemployed back to work, and to build homes.

Third, provide some international leadership.

Because if every country and continent simply focuses on it s own strategy we will never get the growth we need.

And I say to this Government, if you want an export led recovery, you won’t get it from the world engaging in collective austerity.

So these are things Ed Balls and I would be doing to get growth going at home and abroad.

But the challenge we face is even greater.

This is not just another turn of the business cycle.

A successful economic future can only be built on a different set of values.

Hard work.

Long-term commitment.

And responsibility.

A new economy will mean rejecting outdated ideas.

Rejecting the old view that the best government is always less government.

The old view that short term shareholder interests are always in best for Britain’s companies.

And the old view from some on both sides of industry, that employee representation must mean confrontation not cooperation.

A new economy will mean the government, employers, and t he workforce all shouldering new responsibilities.

Government must ensure the rules of the system favour the long term, the patient investment, the responsible business. Because paying our way in the world is going to be tougher than it’s ever been.

The short-term, fast buck, low pay solution.

That won’t win when we are competing with China and India.

And it’s no good government just walking away.

If we’re going to be the very best at the things we are good at – advanced manufacturing, creative industries, business services, pharmaceuticals, renewables – then government has to work in partnership with business.

To understand what technologies and skills we need for the future.

To provide the certainty they need to invest.

To look at what government buys so that innovative companies can grow.

And that includes companies like Bombardier – being sold down the river by this Government.

To make sure good regulation lets companies win new markets.

And to build in every region and nation the universities, the skills, banking services, and the leadership in cities and regions, that will let companies grow and create jobs.

Sometimes government should get out of the way.

Sometimes the way it regulates does hold back small business.

But sometimes government should lead.

And the financial crisis showed that.

The crisis also has significant implications for the way government will operate in the coming years.

We are not going to be able to spend our way to a new economy.

The deficit caused by the banking crisis is not going to be cured easily.

We need economic growth, and we need people to pay their fair share of taxes.

But if we were in government, we would also be making some cuts in spending.

I sometimes hear it said that Labour opposes every cut.

Some people might wish that was true.

But it’s not.

We committed ourselves to halving the deficit over four years.

That would mean cuts.

Like our plans for a 12 per cent cut in the police budget – not the 20 per cent being implemented by this Government.

Like cuts to the road programme.

And yes, reform of some benefits too.

And there are cuts that the Tories will impose that we will not be able to reverse when we return to government.

And getting the deficit down means rooting out waste too.

We all recognise that not every penny that the last Government spent was spent wisely.

All of us know that there is waste in any government.

In this Government too.

I say stop the waste.

Stop the waste of £100 million on creating another tier of politicians with elected police commissioners.

And stop the waste of billion s of pounds on an NHS reorganisation.

A reorganisation that nobody wants and nobody voted for.

So government has to change if we’re to support the new economy.

But so do our businesses.

In Britain, we should reward productive companies, not predators.

So the way our banks work needs to change.

Not just separating the retail and investment divisions, but greater competition too.

If we can strike off rogue doctors and lawyers, the banking industry must be willing to strike off those bankers who do damage to their customers, their institutions and their country.

And we shouldn’t pretend to be neutral about the way different businesses are run.

Between the way Southern Cross ran its business, and how Rolls Royce chooses to run its.

The new economy must mean more firms who invest long-term and pay their employees fairly.

That is why, back in power, we will ensure that every firm that gets a major contract from government provides apprenticeships.

Good employers recognise the need to foster co-operation between managers and workers.

Others need to do this better.

And, let’s face it, some need to make a start.

Business leaders need to explain how their salaries are related to performance.

Over the last 12 years, chief executive salaries in Britain’s top companies have quadrupled while share prices have remained flat.

In some cases these rewards are deserved.

But in others they are because of the closed circle of people that sit on remuneration committees, handing out pay and bonuses.

Frankly it’s not good enough and it has to change.

Some companies already have workers on the committee that decides top pay.

I say, every company should have an employee on their remuneration committee, so the right pay is set and it is justified.

So for me, the demand for change is from government, employers and trade unions.

For you, the trade unions, the challenge of the new economy is this:

To recognize that Britain needs to raise its game if we are to meet the challenges of the future.

And to get private sector employers in the new economy to recognize that you are relevant to that future.

Unions can offer businesses the prospect of better employee relations.

As you did during the recession.

Of course the right to industrial action will be necessary, as a last resort.

But in truth, strikes are always the consequence of failure.

Failure we cannot afford as a nation.

Instead your real role is as partners in the new economy.

But, as you know better than I, just 15 per cent of the private sector workforce are members of trade unions.

You know that you need to change, if that is to change.

That is why so many unions are making huge efforts to engage with the other 85 per cent.

But you know the biggest challenge you face when you try to do this: relevance.

Relevance in how firms grow.

Relevance in how workers get on.

Relevance right across the private sector.

And you know you will never have relevance for many workers in this country if you allow yourselves to be painted as the opponents of change.


In the new economy you can, and must, be the agents of the right kind of change.

You know the new economy that emerges from this crisis must be built on foundations of co-operation, not conflict, in the workplace.

Let me end with this thought.

I know what a tough time many of your members are having at the moment.

Tough times that are also being felt by millions who aren’t your members around this country too.

The economic crisis is casting a long shadow over the hard working families of this country.

The decent men and women, who do the right thing, and who just want their kids and grandkids to hav e better chances than them.

So it feels like quite a dark time.

But the reason I am in politics, the reason I believe in the power of politics, is because these things are not inevitable.

So yes this generation, in one sense, faces a huge set of challenges that come out of the economic crisis.

But in another sense, as we always know, out of crisis comes the chance to think about the kind of economy and society we want to build.

The opportunity to grasp the change we need in this country.

To say, it doesn’t have to be this way.

An opportunity to rewrite the rules.

To build an economy that works for the hardworking majority.

To build a society that restores responsibility from top to bottom.

To build a country that stands up for the next generation, that fulfils the promise of Britain.

And to build the more prosperous, the more just, the more equal, Britain we all want to see.