David Miliband – 2004 Speech on Public Services and Social Democracy


Below is the text of the speech made by David Miliband at the Guardian Public Services Summit on 28 January 2004.

I want to start with a simple point. I am here as a politician. And we are at an absolutely critical time in the life of the Government – the first Labour government re-elected to serve a full term, the only Government in Europe to be raising investment in education and health care as a share of national income, the first Government since 1945 to make the renewal of public services its number one priority.

Day to day and week to week it is your decisions that help patients, pupils, victims of crime. But politics sets the direction, the investment, the purposes, the priorities. I want to use my short time to address the following: what is a distinctively social democratic approach to public services, and how we make a social democratic settlement for public services a reality in Britain.

A Social Democratic Settlement

I speak as someone who believes passionately in the renewal of social democracy – the project of civil, social and political progress that dominated reform, though not always government, of industrialised countries for most of the 20th century. The aim for our country is simple: to extend to all the life-chances of the most fortunate. And the challenge for public services follows directly: to create a public realm where security and opportunity are available on the basis of need not ability to pay.

This needs more than good policies – though they are vital, and numerous in the work being done around the country. A social democratic settlement for public services aims to embed in the governing structure and culture of the country new parameters for public policy.

We need services that are, and are seen to be, excellent or improving or both. But we need more. A social democratic settlement for public services would have distinctive features:

– a social democratic settlement would tilt against inequality, giving greatest help to those in greatest need, and using the power of an active welfare state to change life chances;

– a social democratic settlement would engage citizens in their production of public services; people do not want to spend their lives in meetings, but they will increasingly want choice and voice in how their services are delivered

– it would embody the best of social partnership, making the most of the sense of vocation among public servants, and using this commitment as a spur to the most modern working practices, not an excuse for holding back change

– it would have funding secure, sustainable and equitably raised;

– and it would recognise that the public sphere cannot do it all, and instead thrives when it brings together the best innovation from public, private and voluntary sectors.

If these are the aims, I see three central challenges to their achievement, derived directly from the ambitions I have set out. They go to the heart of the political and policy choices open to us today. They concern the role of the individual citizen, the purposes set by government, and the incentives for staff.

The first challenge for a social democratic settlement is to ensure that universal services meet individual need. Neither rights-based paternalism nor choice-based consumerism are adequate.

Some people argue that by definition mass services cannot deliver the personal touch. I disagree. Services for all citizens can be customised to the needs of each citizen.

In education we call it personalised learning. Its key components try to learn from experience – strengths and weaknesses – of professional power and market forces. It depends on flexibility at the front line, choice for the learner, and incentives for innovation:

– the education service can only be personalised when there is serious and ongoing assessment of individual student need; this requires the time of staff and the engagement of students

– it needs school staff to be able to deploy a range of teaching strategies, so professional flexibility and development are key

– the school and its component lessons need to be organised around the learning needs of the student, so that lesson times and timetables are informed by what we know about how youngsters learn as well as what they want

– when students get older they need an increasing range of curriculum choice, within the school and including college and work-based alternatives; this requires integration of service between different institutions

– and services in school must be properly linked to services beyond, which is the exciting promise of the new engagement between education and children’s social services.

These foundations of personalised service cannot be restricted to the education service. From what I understand intelligence-led policing is founded on serious engagement with data; efficient hospital care depends on proper integration of primary and secondary services around the needs of the patient; this summit can deliver deeper understanding of the links and similarities.

The second challenge concerns the relationship between excellence and equity. We see this in every debate, from Foundation Hospitals to university funding to specialist schooling. In an unequal society, how can excellent provision serve the least fortunate, rather than the most?

There are two answers. One is to say we cannot; excellence will always be monopolised by the well-off, so a social democratic approach should be simply to tackle poor performance.

I believe this is profoundly wrong. We must obviously tackle failure. But aside from the absurdity of trying to put a glass ceiling on the achievement of different services, excellence can be used as a battering ram against inequality.

Education is a case in point. Since 1997 the number of schools judged effectively failing by Ofsted has fallen by 960 in primary and 227 in secondary, to 207 and 78 respectively. But tackling inequality of opportunity requires us to do more:

– by challenging every school to develop a centre of excellence for itself and as a resource for other schools; this is the aim of the specialist school programme

– by paying the best schools in public and private sectors to partner with other state schools and spread their good practice; this is the aim of the Leading Edge programme, which now involves 100 leading schools and 600 learning from them

– by pooling budgets so schools can use each other’s resources to raise standards; this is how leadership development is being fostered in our 1400 toughest secondary schools

– by promoting the development of federations of schools, and syndicates of schools, that replicate excellent provision.

So excellence should be a resource for a more egalitarian system, not a threat. It can do more than set an example; it can be a locomotive for improvement across the system.

The third challenge is about how we combine flexibility in delivery with accountability for results. No one believes every community has the same needs; but flexibility on its own can lead to poverty of aspiration and paucity of provision.

It may be tempting to say that that strategies, targets, Czars and interventions are a diversion. But they are a reaction to the laissez-faire that led to low aspirations, provider convenience, limited innovation. We saw it in English secondary education in the 1970s.

We need central and local government to speak up for the fragmented voice of the consumer, and make good the market failure that allows underperformance to continue. I stress the importance of local government: a Britain of a 100 strong, vibrant and challenging city governments would be a great place.

But here are what I see as the bones of the settlement between front line providers and their funders in central and local government:

– There must be public information on performance, produced in an accessible form, that commands the confidence of professionals and citizens. It should rounded and informed view of how different institutions are performing. That is why we are developing the idea of a School Profile, that will set out in an accessible way qualitative as well as quantitative information beyond the bare bones of raw and value added exam and test results. The answer to the limitations of league tables is more information not less.

– There must be central intervention to set minimum standards. For example in the 111 schools with less than 20% of pupils getting 5 GCSEs grade A-C, and the 425 schools above 30% but underperforming given their intakes, we are intervening directly from the centre to help them make progress.

– This central intervention must be in inverse proportion to success, and critically it should be an organised and systematic engagement with a single accountability mechanism. In education it is what we are now calling the ‘single conversation’: every school with an annual engagement with all its partners, central and local, to identify problems, agree priorities, set targets.

– Choice between services helps raise the quality of those services; it promotes innovation and improvement; but it is most effective when it is combined with voice for individuals over their services, to help shape it to their need.

– Some funds will always need to support central initiative – to tackle inequalities, to promote innovation, to spread good practice; but the aim should always be to end up mainstreaming it in front line services. So funding should be delegated as soon as capacity exists to the frontline, with full flexibility to meet local need.

Intelligent accountability is the essential foundation of public confidence in public services. It can be a burden, but it is a vital one, because it supports improvement and challenges the lack of it.

Let me conclude as follows. Ideology without competence is a dangerous vice. But competence without ideology is a limited virtue. I believe our challenge is to achieve a consistent harmony of the two.

A social democratic settlement for public services is vital for the future of the country – and most vital for those in greatest need. Enabling government, empowered staff, informed citizens. This is the relationship I have tried to sketch out today. I look forward to discussing it with you.

David Miliband – 2010 Speech to Demos


Below is the text of the speech made by David Miliband, the then Foreign Secretary, to the Demos conference on 23rd February 2010.

The Prime Minister asked on Saturday that voters take a second look at Labour. He set out serious plans for the pursuit of noble causes based on clear values. This speech is about those values, and how a re-elected Labour government would make them real.

The core value we espouse is a commitment to use government to help give people the power to shape their own lives. The power that comes with income and wealth. The power that comes with skills and confidence. The power that comes with rights and democratic voice. Not just for the few but for all. It is a fundamentally progressive vision of the good society.

In this lecture I want to explore why and how only the centre-left, social democrats and radical liberals, can realise the progressive insight that a free and powerful people is made not born.

I grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, when “progressive” was a word that neither Labour nor Conservative would have considered a compliment. Labour was struggling to reconcile the Labourism of its old right with the utopianism of the new left, the Tories sloughing off the pragmatism of Edward Heath for the radicalism of Margaret Thatcher. “Progressive” didn’t really capture what politics was about.

But after 1989 and the fall of the Berlin Wall, progressive became the catchword for centre-left politics, for the less ideological more values-based ideas approach that united Clinton and Blair with the governments of Havel and Mandela. It is a compliment to our time in government that after 2005 our opponents tried to learn our language. David Cameron and George Osborne have both made speeches in which they tried to claim the idea of being a progressive force for the political right. But it is not a claim that withstands serious scrutiny.

In the 1990s , spurred by David Marquand’s book The Progressive Dilemma, Labour embraced a more pluralist centre-left politics, in a conscious effort to draw on its liberal as well as social democratic heritage. That coalition has now dominated politics for a decade, bringing together individual rights in a market economy with collective provision to promote social justice.

I am proud of the long lists of changes in each category. I think we have changed the country for the better. The liberal achievements – gay rights, human rights, employee rights, disability rights – on the one hand. The social democratic ones – childcare, university places, health provision – on the other. And then those areas that fused the best of both: a New Deal for the Unemployed that uses the private and voluntary sector, devolved budgets for disabled people, the digital switchover, Academies, all combine government leadership with bottom up innovation and engagement.

It is very striking the extent to which this agenda continues to dominate important parts of political life. After all, one reason the Conservative leadership are currently tied in policy knots – backing away from health reform, back to front on government’s role in sponsoring marriage, facing both ways on economic policy – is that they have felt it necessary to assert that they too seek progressive ends, contrary to the history of conservatism. It is quite a bizarre situation. New Labour was built on the application of our traditional values in new ways. The Tories are saying that they have got new values – in with social justice, out with no such thing as society – that will be applied in old ways, notably an assault on the legitimacy and purpose of government itself.

New Labour said the values never change but that the means need to be updated. The Tories want it the other way round. They say the values have changed, but, miraculously, the policies should stay the same. They even boast about not needing a ‘Clause IV moment’.

This is actually not just a dry technocratic debate. It is about how much hope we invest in the future. Progressives are optimists about change. Conservatives are fearful that change invariably means loss. We think things can work better. Conservatives worry that they never will. We trust, as Bill Clinton used to put it, that the future will be better than the past, and we all have a personal responsibility to make it so. The Conservatives think, as they always have, that Britain is broken.

Now the polls show the British people are not feeling particularly optimistic at the moment: the political system is in disrepute, our financial system has had to be rescued from deep collapse, the moral authority of the West is contested, and international institutions are all but paralysed on issues like climate change.

That explains why the Tories, after promising to ‘let sunshine win the day’ in 2006, have decided that not only that it is raining but that it will never stop. That is why they have embraced a rhetoric of national decline, and are now promising an Age of Austerity. They think they’ve spotted that people are miserable and if they can only make them more miserable still, they can benefit.

Personally, I think this pessimism is overdone. David Halpern’s work on the hidden wealth of nations provides some backing for this. And in any case, the purpose of politics is to change people’s minds not read them. As then Senator Obama said in his Jackson Day Dinner speech in October 2007, when his campaign started to catch fire, principles are more valuable than polling.

The truth is that the routines and assumptions of 20th century Britain are all under threat of change. So there is a sense of discontinuity and rupture, and no settled destination. Jobs, communities, families are changing. The changes in the space of one generation are stark; some times they are alarming.

But that does not mean to say that Britain is inevitably declining. The right way to see how Britain is changing is not through the prism of decline, but through the prism of transition. Transition in the economy, society, politics. Transition too in foreign policy. So we should judge parties on whether they understand the challenges of the modern world, and whether they have a vision for how to meet them.

The transitions through which we are living are profound:

– A multi-polar world, where the rise of the Asian middle class, at a rate of some 70m a year, is not just the growth market of tomorrow; it is an indicator of how economic power, and political power, is going to shift from West to East.

– A world that has to find a way to stop consuming resources as if there were three planets rather than one. It’s dropped off David Cameron’s top ten reasons to vote Conservative. It’s not dropped off ours.

– The twin challenges of better bringing up children and adjusting to ageing populations.

– Economies where manufacturing and services depend on intensive learning, knowledge creation, and scientific development.

– Societies that are more open and diverse than ever before, but where trust needs to be renewed.

– A world of political systems that develop new multilateral arrangements at the regional and global level, and embrace subsidiarity at the national and local level.

We know, in each area, where we have to get to. We know too that the old ways are not going to work. So we have to chart a new course. These are big questions and I cannot deal with all of them today. That is what our manifesto will do. But I do think there is a principle which applies to them all. I think it is a principle too that means the future requires philosophical and policy thinking that can only be supplied by the centre-left.

That principle is that power needs to be vested in the people, but we do not reveal a powerful populace simply in the act of withdrawing the state. In fact a powerless government simply means more power for the already powerful. That is the error that runs through David Cameron’s speeches. We make powerful people by providing a platform on which people can stand.

It is not just that Government must be a countervailing power to vested interests, which is what the Competition Act has done to protect consumers; or that Government must address inequalities, which is what tax credits and labour laws do; or that Government must forge alliances around the world, which is what the European Union does; or that Government must protect people from risks beyond their control, which is what our bailout of the banking system has done.

It is that the big challenges of the modern world require an alliance of active government and active citizens. And that although government may be more needed than before; it is more questioned than before; so as the Prime Minister said in launching the Smarter Government White Paper it needs to be more reformed than before, not more reduced than before.

The expansion of capacity in public services – not just staff but also capital investment – has achieved a qualitative shift in public service provision, both in its scope and its depth. Part of our job in the Labour Party is to persuade people that they don’t need another period of Tory government to remind them what its like to have underfunded services. But we know that in the next ten years investment cannot be the driver of reform in the way it has over the last ten. We simply will not manage chronic diseases that account for 80 per cent of the NHS budget without empowering the people who suffer those diseases; we will not restore trust in politics unless we bring the public into the decision making tent at local as well as national level; we will not reduce fear of crime or increa se creativity in education through the actions of police officers and teachers unless they build new kinds of relationships with people, parents, pupils.

The argument of the Right is that this alliance should be based on a zero sum view of relationships between government and society. To roll society forward you need to roll government back. That’s not how I see it. The transitions we face as a country require three interlocking commitments from government to nurture a country of powerful people.

First that it guarantees what markets and self help cannot provide. The reason the welfare state grew in the 19th and 20th centuries across Europe was simple: self help could not offer the services and protection that people needed. That remains true today – with new risks like care for the elderly added to old ones like the need for healthcare.

Today the Prime Minister is setting out how it is the responsibility of government to build an empowering education system for the future. It applies in other spheres too. If government does not guarantee apprenticeship places for young people, or a job guarantee if they have been unemployed for more than six months, no one will.

Guarantees do not always mean government funding; the social care debate, or university funding, shows that. They do not always mean government delivery: childcare shows that. But they do mean being clear about the birthrights of people, and committing to fulfil them: clear on the goals, pragmatic on the means.

It’s just bogus to say that when government takes on commitments it necessarily disempowers individuals. The right to a cancer diagnosis within a week, to see a specialist in two weeks, puts power in the hands of patients; to abolish the right is to empower the manager. The right to be treated for all conditions within 18 weeks is a powerful tool in the hands of individuals precisely because it is accompanied by the commitm ent that if they are not helped by the NHS within those periods they can go to an alternative provider.

Second, the role of government is to provide a platform for markets and civil society. Strong government can nurture citizen responsibility not stifle it. As James Purnell – soon no longer to be my colleague but a good friend who has a big contribution to make to public life outside Parliament in the future – said two weeks ago, the point about the modern centre-left is that we seek empowering government, dynamic markets and strong communities as supports for and disciplines on each other.

The role of government is not to eradicate markets but mobilise them. The fight against climate change is a good example. Carbon markets will not exist without a powerful role for government. And without carbon markets there will be no efficient reduction in carbon emissions. The plans for feed-in tariffs from April this year will enable citizens and communities to s ell renewable energy back to the grid at guaranteed prices. Alongside this there will be new incentives to install renewable heat and a financing scheme to make home energy insulation more affordable. This is not Government crowding out citizen initiative.

And governments are not an alternative to self help networks for the elderly and disabled to manage their own care. They are a key support to them. That is why the NHS is creating expert patient programmes and enrolling diabetes and Alzheimer’s patients in self-help networks. Strong government can be a platform for civil society when it becomes more porous, open and interactive in the use of its information, buildings, infrastructure and budgets. That is why the UK alongside the US is leading the world in opening up public data to the public.

Nor do we ignore the danger that Governments will tend to bureaucracy or obduracy without the check of strong communities, with strong rights of redress against poo r treatment, and ready-made levers to take power for themselves. That is why we have legislated for staff coops in the NHS. Whether employee or citizen led, the Labour Party has rediscovered its mutual tradition in the last decade not just the last month, and with the Cooperative Party and the Commission on Ownership we are not going to let it go.

We also know government has to promote rights to neighbourhood management in local services. It’s ironic that when I went to Hammersmith on Friday the Tory Council was resisting people power on its estates, as communities sought to use powers brought in by the Labour government to enable them to run, and save, their estate, in favour of bulldozing what the leader of the Council called “ghettos” to make way for more expensive housing.

Third, government only works as an ally of powerful people when power is situated in the right place – starting locally. We can only do that through what Phil Collins and Ric hard Reeves call turning Government upside down. We should start with the assumption that the individual should have power, but never forget that government needs to have enough power to stop the individual being overpowered. In government we would call it subsidiarity – so that fewer people would understand. In practice it means a more central role for local government, but also devolution to neighbourhoods.

Britain was built by powerful city government, but we have got the balance wrong between universality and dynamism in the last fifty years. That is one reason I favour in the next Parliament a referendum that is not just about the Alternative Vote for the House of Commons, but also about local government, fixed term Parliaments, and the House of Lords. Call it a Reset Referendum.

But localisation is not a strong enough recipe for powerful people in the modern world. Localisation without internationalism just means sink or swim. This applies in spades in our relations with the European Union:

– We will not make the transition to being a low carbon economy without European regulation.

– We will not make the transition to systemic financial regulation without effective European regulation.

– We will not make the transition to effective security for an age when terrorism not invasion is our risk, without effective European security cooperation.

Labour’s challenge is not its philosophy. It is that it has to answer for every time government does not fulfil this vision. But the Tories’ problem is that their instinct is the oldest deception in politics: that government just hurts the little guy. In essence it is an extension of Charles Murray’s dependency culture thesis about the welfare state from the 1980s, and applying to all functions of government not just welfare.

David Cameron’s Hugo Young Lecture last year was intended as a corrective to his disastrous foray into policy substa nce at his party conference where he said that the state was always the problem and never the solution. As he sought to allay fears that he had used the economic crisis to show his true colours as a small state Reaganite, he still showed what he really thinks.

The kernel of his analysis of Britain today was this: “There is less expectation to take responsibility, to work, to stand by the mother of your child, to achieve, to engage with your local community, to keep your neighbourhood clean, to respect other people and their property”. It was declinist. It blamed government for all ills. And every single assertion that can be measured in his list was wrong. Divorce rates are falling. School achievement is rising. Volunteering is up. Crime is down. The Tory dystopia of modern Britain relies on a picture of what is actually happening in Britain that has as much basis in reality as Avatar does. They need to believe that 54% of children born in poor areas are teena ge pregnancies for their politics to add up.

But though the instincts are clear they are split down the middle. Not right versus left. There isn’t a Tory left any more. But head versus heart. Radicalism versus reassurance. The heart says cut government, attack Europe. The head says: watch out, don’t say that, the voters might hear.

The Tories say big government is the problem, but promise a moratorium on change in the health service, the biggest employer in the world. They say Britain is heading the way of Greece, yet will not say how their deficit reduction plan differs from ours. They say we are a broken society…and will heal it through a social action line on Facebook. They say we have sold our birthright to Europe, but don’t want a bust up over it. Everyone knows we need to reform social care so people can grow old without fear, and all the Tories can do is put up scare posters.

I recognise the Tory difficulty. We faced it after 1994. You need to reassure people you are not a risk; and you need to offer change. But while we promised evolution not revolution in the short term, like sticking to Tory spending limits, we offered a platform for radical change in the medium to long term, from the minimum wage to school investment. Cameron’s got himself facing the other way round. The heart insisted on radical change in the short term – cuts in inheritance tax for the richest estates, a marriage tax allowance, immediate cuts in public spending, bring back fox hunting. But after that, the head gives the impression that it really doesn’t know what to do, other than press pause on reform, offer a £1 million internet prize for the best policy ideas, and then go off and play with the Wii. They have managed the unique feat of being so determined to advertise pragmatism that they have completely obliterated any medium term vision to their politics, while cleaving to short term commitments that leave the impression they are ideological zealots. It’s the precise opposite of the New Labour approach in the 1990s.

The result is that today’s Conservatism looks more and more like a toxic cocktail of Tory traditions. The government on offer from David Cameron would be as meritocratic as MacMillan, as compassionate as Thatcher, and as decisive as Major.

So yes Labour is behind in the polls. We are the underdog. But this is an exciting time to be on the centre-left of politics. The changes in our country require values of social justice, cooperation and internationalism if they are to benefit more people rather than fewer. We have learnt lessons in government. And the Tories can try rhetorical accommodation. It has been tried before. Salisbury talked about “Tory democracy” but bitterly opposed the extension of the vote and self government for Ireland. Macmillan talked about a Middle Way, but battened Britain down in a straitjacket of social conservatism.

What Labour offers is the courage to continue reforming so that Britain can prosper from the transitions shaking the modern world. So that Britain continues to believe in progress. Progressive reform is Labour’s mantle and we will not relinquish it.

David Miliband – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference


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


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

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

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

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

So let me start with the war in Afghanistan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The way to defeat this enemy is to divide it.

Separate the hard core from the rest.

Does that mean the Afghan government talking to the Taleban?

Yes, with a simple message:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On Monday we saw their missile tests.

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

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

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

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

I also remind Conference of this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friends first, country second.

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

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

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

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

He set out five priorities.

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

Wrong values.  Wrong judgment.  Wrong decision.

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

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

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

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

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

It makes me sick.

And you know what makes me sicker?

No one in the Tory party batted an eyelid.

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

I tell you conference, we will never remain silent.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Because what do the Tories really believe?

Scrap inheritance tax.

The NHS condemned as a 60 year mistake.

Trash anything European.

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

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

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

The work that matters most is making that future possible.

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

This week we showed which side we are on.

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

So let’s tell them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is a fight for the future of our country.

It is a fight we must win.

David Miliband – 2008 Speech on the Future of the Middle East


Below is the text of the speech made by the then Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, at the United Nations Security Council held in New York on 16th December 2008.

Thank you Mr President.  The United Kingdom welcomes this debate and welcomes the prospect of a new UN Security Council resolution, the first since 2004.  The violence, intensity and grievances of the Israeli Palestinian conflict have global ramifications and their resolution is the proper business of this Council.

Mr President, the Security Council does not lack consistent policy on the Middle East.  Though our resolutions have been sporadic, they have gained significance and status from their scarcity.  The numbers 242, 338, 1397 and 1515 ring out as the rallying points for peace.  It is right that after a year of intensive activity we take stock, add a new number to the line of previous resolutions and most important resolve to use 2009 with determination to make progress within the framework of this resolution.

The starting point for the United Kingdom is the concerns of the people of Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.  They are tired and fearful, tired of conflict, but also of false promises, fearful of each other, but more fearful of the future.

One year after Annapolis, the bilateral discussions have been detailed and serious and the Syrian track has been launched.  But cynicism and pessimism have grown.  Rockets from Gaza land further in to Israel.  The Israeli restrictions in particular on food and medicine causes acute suffering in Gaza.

Mr President, there are plenty of people ready to say that there can be no two state solution.  I applaud the determination of Secretary Rice not to join them.  The Annapolis process has not delivered a Palestinian state, but the absence of an Annapolis process would have left us much worse off.

Secretary Rice has spoken plainly and powerfully of the stakes, the vision and the necessary steps.  Now we have to follow her and help the parties to take these steps.

The resolution before us is significant for its espousal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace.  It emphasises the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative.  The United Kingdom welcomes this emphasis.

The responsibility for a resolution of the Middle East conflict does not just fall to Israel and the Palestinians, though they must lead the process.  It falls to every state in the region, for the only sustainable peace must be a twenty three state solution, not just a two state solution.  Twenty two Arab states and Israel living side by side in security.

We welcome the recent reiteration by the Arab League on behalf of its member states that the Arab world wants formally to end the conflict and establish normal relations with Israel.  We believe that the outlines of that peace are clear and can command consensus.  Recognition and respect from Arab states for Israel and a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders with a just settlement for refugees and Jerusalem the capital of both states, Israel and Palestine.

Mr President, there will need to be brave decisions on all sides, above all by the bilateral partners in the negotiations.  For Israel, this means fulfilling its Road Map commitments, notably on illegal settlements and improving conditions for Palestinians on the West Bank and in Gaza.  For Palestinians, this means finding a way to reunite around negotiations and non violence.  And those who would torpedo the process must know that we are determined not to allow them to succeed.  Hamas must end their rocket attacks on Israeli civilians, abandon violence and demonstrate their commitment to the political process by moving towards the Quartet principles.

Mr President, the United Kingdom welcomes operating paragraph four on the development of Palestinian capacity and the development of the institutions of a Palestinian state.  We believe this is vital.  The political process and the solution on the ground are, and the situation on the ground, are inseparable.  They need to be mutually reinforcing.  Better security forces for the Palestinians does not just mean better lives for them, it means more security for Israel.  We applaud the efforts of President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad to make this a reality and are determined to play our part in supporting them.

Mr President, our role here today is not just to pass a resolution.  It is to challenge all those with an interest in the region to join us in 2009.  The perils of inertia are clear.  Inactivity and confrontation are the recruiting sergeants for extremism from Mogadishu to Manchester.  The gains of effective action are the opposite, the reversal of four decades in which the Middle East has been destabilised and the world made less safe.  That is why the United Kingdom pledges to do all in its power not just to support this resolution, but to progress its implementation.

Thank you very much.

David Miliband – 2008 Speech on Somalia


Below is the text of the speech made by the then Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, on the UN resolution on Somalia. The speech was made at the United Nations Security Council on 16th December 2008 in New York.

Thank you Mr President.

I’d like to just start by setting out an Explanation of Vote in relation to the Resolution that we have just passed before moving on to my broader statement.

The United Kingdom has voted in favour of this Resolution because we support robust action to address the serious threat to international navigation posed by piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia, including to deliveries of humanitarian aid to the people of Somalia.

The authorisation conferred by paragraph 6 of the Resolution to permit States cooperating with the transitional Federal Government to use “all necessary measures that are appropriate in Somalia for the purpose of suppressing acts of piracy ” enables States and regional organisations, with the consent of the TFG, to act using force if necessary against pirate activities on land in Somalia.

This is an important additional tool to combat those who plan, facilitate or undertake acts of piracy from the territory of Somalia.  The UK considers that any use of force must be both necessary and proportionate.  These concepts include an assessment that the measures taken must be appropriate for the circumstances to which they are directed.

That concludes my Explanation of Vote and I’d like now to make a statement on the wider issue of piracy and related issues.

I am obviously grateful to our colleague, Dr Rice, for her initiative in taking this Resolution through and for securing unanimous support for it.  I think this is an opportunity to discuss both the narrow issue of piracy and the wider situation in Somalia.  I shall try to do so briefly.

The seas off Somalia are a key economic artery for global trade and for many nations represented here, but they are also essential to the delivery of essential humanitarian supplies to the people of Somalia.

The UK, and many others, are working to address the issue of piracy at sea with the EU, NATO, and Combined Task Force 150 all playing their role in seeking to escort World Food Programme vessels, deterring pirate activity and, where possible, disrupting attacks.  Others are contributing naval assets to undertake similar tasks.  The cooperation at military level amongst those contributors is demonstrating how we can work together on this difficult issue.

However, it is important that we work, not just on the military front, but with the shipping industry, either on a government to industry basis or through the International Maritime Organisation.

To support these efforts, I welcome the practical measures that we will agree in the Security Council Resolution today, that we have agreed in the Security Council Resolution today.

But as my Russian colleague has intimated, we cannot look at the issue of piracy through the prism of international trade or shipping alone.  In Somalia itself, as people are understanding from watching television or reading the newspapers today, the political humanitarian and security situations carry real risk.  The Djibouti Process has for many people opened a potential new chapter for Somalia.

It is a Somali-owned process and must remain so.  But we have a responsibility as members of the Security Council to do what we can to support it.  It will not succeed in isolation from the political process.

I hope that all those engaged in the negotiation can do what is necessary to turn it into practical reality.

The clear and shared goal is to work for a credible commitment from the TFG, the ARS and other political forces to re-energise the Djibouti political process with the aim of producing a more representative political system.

There are, however, two major areas of uncertainty that raise questions for the United Kingdom.  One is about political uncertainty, the other is about uncertainty relating to the security situation.

In respect of the political uncertainty, there is a necessity for early concrete steps to deliver a viable way forward.  Sheikh Sharif’s recent visit to Mogadishu is an important example of this.  We also need to see an orderly transition to the proper Government of National Unity and clear appointment of key Cabinet figures.

This will be vital if Somalis are to be effective in developing an indigenous security sector.

At the same time, it is clear that there are major questions relating to the security situation as well.

I look forward to learning in this Debate of the views of a range of members here, including our Somalia Delegation, about their understanding of the intentions of Governments in the region, about the future of AMISOM and about the security needs in Somalia.

We understand that the history of intervention in Somalia is one that carries a great deal of important lessons for all of us.  We will be addressing these issues, consistent with our own commitments, not just to the humanitarian situation, but also to the political support that is going to be necessary to take this forward.

Thank you very much, Mr President.

David Miliband – 2008 Speech at the UK/Caribbean Ministerial Forum


Below is the text of the speech made by David Miliband on 15th July 2008 at the Foreign Office and the UK/Caribbean Ministerial Forum.

Well good evening everyone. A very, very warm welcome to you all to the Foreign Office. This is the Locarno room, where the Peace Treaty of Locarno was signed just after the First World War. So you are extremely welcome here.

I especially want to welcome obviously the leaders from 10 friends in the Caribbean, ten countries who are deep and long-standing allies, and who are here for the UK-Caribbean Forum.

I also want to introduce my friend and colleague Meg Munn, whose ministerial duties include the countries that are represented in the Caribbean forum, and also Gareth Thomas, who is Minister for Trade.

Though distinguished are all of those visitors, I hope all of you will understand if I single out a different group for mention tonight, because we have representatives here from the Windrush generation.

I think we all know that the word “Windrush” has entered the British lexicon, the British vocabulary, in a very, very profound way. The Windrush generation are an inspiration, an example, a set of leaders for values and commitments that I think are very important for the whole of British society, and it’s important the week after we have celebrated the 60th anniversary of the National Health Service to remember the contribution of the Windrush generation and their successors to the whole history of the National Health Service. Actually, I think you can make the case that the strength – and the enduring strength – of the National Health Service in part owes to what those generations did at all levels of the Health Service in the 1950s and 1960s and beyond.

And that is a symbol of a commitment right across British society. The 800,000 Britons of Caribbean origin, Caribbean heritage – some are ministers, some are lawyers, some are parents, and teachers in schools – they are all massive contributors to our society, and the enduring link that exists between our governments is only, in a way, possible because of the people-to-people links that join us together, so I hope you’ll excuse me if I give a special welcome to them here.

That generation I think helped to shape me. I went to a school in inner London where 64 different languages were spoken – people came from a whole range of backgrounds. And I’m proud that we’ve become a society that’s better not just at promoting “tolerance”, which is a very minimalist way of thinking about other human beings, but actually at promoting respect and welcome for the benefits that diversity brings. There’s still a way to go, but we’ve come a long way and I think it’s important to recognise that.

It’s also important to say I’m really delighted that the Secretary General of the Commonwealth is here – the new Secretary General of the Commonwealth – Kamalesh Sharma, formerly the very distinguished Indian High Commissioner in London, now taken off his post as High Commissioner, and so I hope you’ll all be lobbying him as well tonight.

We’ve got two days of really serious work ahead of us. And I think at the heart of our discussions – we’re going to have detailed discussions about a whole range of issues – but I think at the heart of our discussions is the question of how we take our relationship to a new dimension.

We know the relationship we used to have, we know the relationship we’ve got, I think our challenge over the next two days is to map out our relationship for the future that is based on shared values, and I do want to applaud the statement of CARICOM only in the last few days about the situation in Zimbabwe, because the situation in that country is a challenge to all of our values.

This has got to be a community of values but it can also be a community of interests, and we’re going to talking over the next few days about crime and security, which is a massive issue in your countries but also a massive issue in our country. We’re going to be talking about food security, and food affordability, which are issues in both of our countries.

We’ll also be talking about something which probably wouldn’t have appeared on our agenda five or ten years ago – certainly it wasn’t on the agenda at the first meeting in Nassau in 1998 – which is the issue of climate change.

Because some of you are able to talk about the challenge of climate change as a reality and not as a theory. And that I think is something that is very important in helping the world wake up to the challenges that it faces.

I think it’s important that we’re honest about the fact that our relationship is changing and it’s changing because circumstances are changing, but I think it can be as strong as ever, not just at a government-to-government level, but also at a business level, which is why the trade round is so important, and at a people-to-people level, because in a way the people-to-people links are growing – obviously tourism – but they are also growing through the contribution of people of Caribbean heritage to our country and the links that they have back to the Caribbean. And I hope that’s something that we can in the next couple of days build on.

One of my favourite poems is a poem with the title “Roots and Wings” and it’s about how community is really important to people . If you don’t have deep roots you don’t have security. But it’s also about the fact that on their own, roots are not enough. The purpose of a decent society is to help individuals grow wings to be able to see the world, to engage with all the challenges and opportunities that the world has got. And in a way I hope that that notion – strong roots, strong wings – will really inspire us over the next few days. The meetings that we’ll have with a range of ministers, and also with the prime minister, I think will give us a chance to map the way for a confident and strong future between Britain as a whole as well as the British government and the countries and people of the Caribbean.

And on that note, I can think of no better person to second this word of welcome and introduction than Baldwin Spencer, the Prime Minister, and Foreign Minister as well, of Antigua, a man whom I now know from having met him first of all in November in Uganda, a man who has links to the Miliband family that I didn’t know about.

This isn’t an unknown part of my heritage that I’m about to reveal, but Baldwin had – I would say the good fortune – but he had the fortune to be a student of my father’s while he was a student in the UK and that brought home to me that while our countries can seem a long way apart there are actually more meeting points than many of us realise.

Baldwin , you are co-chairing the forum over the next couple of days. You’re extremely welcome to the Foreign Office as a friend of Britain as well as a friend of the Milibands and I am merely the appetiser for your main speech tonight.

So on that note, welcome to the UK-Caribbean forum, thank you for coming tonight and please give a warm welcome to Baldwin Spencer. Thank you very much.

David Miliband – 2008 Speech on Africa


Below is the text of the speech made by the then Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, at the University of South Africa on 7th July 2008.

This is my first visit to South Africa as Foreign Secretary and I’m delighted to be here at the University of South Africa.  The purpose of my visit is simple: to recommit Britain to support the next steps in South Africa’s progress and to lay the foundations for government, business and civil society from our two countries to work together in the future.

For my generation, not just in Africa, but around the world, South Africa’s journey to freedom will always be an inspiration. A fortnight ago, the celebration of Nelson Mandela’s birthday in London was an opportunity for the whole world to honour a man and a struggle that has come to represent the very best to which humanity can aspire.

Today, as I have already seen in Alexandra township, the challenges seem to multiply as the enemies of progress become more complex. The aspiration is simple. As Nelson Mandela once said “to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others”.

That demand for respect and freedom is at the heart of the UK government’s approach to domestic and international policy. At home, we seek to spread opportunity, redistribute power, and strengthen security. Abroad, we seek to use all the UK’s assets to help every nation build the democratic accountability and human security on which true stability is based.

In my speech today, I want to talk about how we apply those values to a world where the balance of power within and between states is shifting.

Around the world, there is what I call ‘a civilian surge’.  Power is moving downwards, as people demand more rights, more protection, and more accountability. Whether it is monks protesting on the streets of Burma, Iranian bloggers voicing their opposition online, or voters in Pakistan defying terrorist attacks, people are showing they have the will and capacity to take back their freedom.

Power is shifting upwards too. Trade, climate change, and terrorism cannot be addressed by any single nation. So together, countries are working out shared rules and developing shared institutions, whether regional like the EU and AU, or global.

And power is moving across from West to East, as India and China become global players, both economically and politically. By 2020 it is estimated that Asia will account for 45% of global GDP and one third of global trade. Its military spending will have grown by a quarter and its energy demand by 60%.  No wonder some call it the ‘Asian century’.

Change always brings uncertainty and instability. But my view is that the power to do good in the world is greater than ever before. Rising literacy, the availability of mobile phones and the internet, and the spread of democracy, for all its faltering progress, promises to liberate. But the old ideologies of foreign policy – balance of power, non-interventionism – don’t address the real issues. Today, I want to sketch out how we might do so.

Power Shifting Downwards

Over the last thirty years, we have seen what some describe as the ‘third wave of democracy’. Across central and eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America and much of Africa, democratic accountability has replaced authoritarianism.

Yet today, there is a pause in the democratic advance. In some countries, democratic advances have been reversed, in others, authoritarian regimes have been resilient to civilian protest.

Some argue that this proves that democracy is not suitable for countries with under-developed economies or deep tribal divisions. Or that democracy is merely a western aspiration.  It follows from both of these assertions that countries should not interfere in other countries’ struggles for democracy.

I disagree. I believe that democracy is a universal aspiration. 9 out of 10 Africans say they want to live in a democracy. Already this year we’ve seen in Kenya and Zimbabwe the determination of ordinary Africans to make their voice heard.   When people are fighting for democracy, democratic governments should support them. Why? Not just out of moral duty. Democracies are also more likely to respect human rights, more likely to support open trade, and less likely to go to war.

The question I believe we should focus on is not whether to support democracy, but what forms of democracy work in countries with weak states, ethnic divisions, and fragile economies.

Democracy is, in my view, often defined too narrowly.   Free and fair elections are the most basic demand. But elections without a functioning state, without buttressing institutions within civil society, are of limited value.

Rather than back individuals, we must support the institutions that provide checks and balances on the concentration of power.

In Tanzania, the Prime Minister resigned because of Parliamentary pressure over allegations of involvement in corruption deals.

In Sierra Leone, the electoral commission played a critical role in preventing corruption in the elections last summer. As a result,    people have confidence that the results are fair.

In the DRC, South Africa has been providing support for policing, the judiciary, and civil service. This is critical to ensuring the state is able to enforce the rule of law, raise tax, and spend money effectively and without corruption.

I’ll talk in more detail later about Zimbabwe, but let me just add here the example of Zimbabwe, where in the first round of the Presidential elections, monitors armed with satellite and mobile phones were able to publish results independently on the web. Bloggers and others ensured the world knew exactly what was going on, as the Mugabe government unleashed a campaign of violence and censorship against its opponents.

The common theme here it is that we need constitutions and institutions that disperse power, rather than concentrate it.  For example, in Kenya the winner-takes-all approach with highly centralised and strong presidential power is problematic in an ethnically divided country. Constitutional reform to share power more evenly is now being tested with the formation of a coalition government and a new office of prime minister.

The most difficult argument against promoting democracy is that democracy has to be home-grown. It is neither legitimate nor effective when promoted by outsiders.  However, I believe there are practical things that all governments can and must do to support democracy.

First, we can use our aid budgets to support accountability and help support state institutions and civil society.  Across Africa, the UK is investing in bodies such as the judiciary, Parliaments and Ombudsmen. For example, since 2001, our Department for International Development has provided nearly £4.5 million to the Malawian Parliament.  In Kenya’s Rift Valley, we are working through local NGOs to bring together diverse communities and help them resolve their differences peacefully. And in Liberia, thanks to the BBC World Service Trust, which my department helps fund, 70% of Liberians are now following Charles Taylor’s trial in The Hague.

Second, trade can be used not just to drive economic growth but also to nurture social and political modernisation. That is why the “Everything but Arms” system and the EPAs are so important, offering duty free, quota free access to EU markets. It is why Aid for Trade is a central plank of our development agenda, and it is why we are pushing hard – including within the EU – for a new global trade deal to give all developing countries better access to global markets.

Third, we can deploy robust diplomacy. Where the international community through the United Nations is united in its condemnation of a regime, where it is prepared to support that with targeted sanctions against and where it is prepared to play an active role in mediation, we can undermine the legitimacy and viability of authoritarian regimes.

Fourth, in countries suffering from conflict, troops may be needed to provide the security that is the platform for re-establishing democratic government. Where possible, in Africa, troops should come from African countries.

But, in some situations, international support will be needed. In Sierra Leone, seven years ago the UK intervened to defeat rebel forces and restore the democratically elected government of Tejan Kabbah. Since then our troops have continued to work alongside the country’s own armed forces, ensuring adequate security for last year’s successful elections.

Power Shifting Upwards

If states are increasingly under-pressure to become accountable downwards to citizens, they are also having to increasingly cooperate regionally.

This continent is scarred by problems that have spread across national borders.

A conflict that began with the Rwandan genocide engulfed the entire Great Lakes Region, and now the fighting in Darfur has contributed to instability in Chad. Over two and a half million Africans have fled their homelands, seeking refuge from war or famine.  Malaria still kills a child every thirty seconds. And of course this continent is particularly vulnerable to climate change.

The basic public goods we used to be able to count on getting from the nation state, in particular, security and health, are hard to provide by nation-states alone.

It was such problems – economic depression, refugees and war – that spurred the creation of the European Union after the Second World War. Force gave way to politics. Common markets can replace military conflict with trade. And nations can come together to manage their problems collectively, rather than let them tear them apart.

I’m not suggesting this can be replicated everywhere, but Europe has shown that by pooling resources and sharing political power you can replace centuries of conflict with security and prosperity.

That is why I was interested to hear the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, trumpet the EU as a potential model for cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. And it is why, in my view, the African Union, launched here in South Africa, is one of the most important developments on this continent in recent years.

Having replaced the old OAU principle of “non-interference” in other states’ affairs with one of “non-indifference”, in the last seven years the AU has played a major role in restoring peace to Burundi, and deployed peacekeeping missions in both Sudan and Somalia while the rest of the world sat on the sidelines.  The AU’s Peer Review Mechanism is a groundbreaking initiative to encourage countries to seek support and advice from each other on governance.

I believe that the EU and the AU are natural partners.  I want to see them working together in three key areas:

The first is conflict.

In 2003 the EU deployment in Ituri, North-eastern Congo, helped to prevent the bloodbath that many were predicting and allowed the UN time to reinforce and reconfigure its peacekeeping mission. And of course 3,000 EU troops are today trying to stabilise eastern Chad.

But our aim for the longer-term is to build African capacity to prevent conflict and respond to crises, rather than try to fill gaps ourselves. This is why the EU is spending 300m euros over the next three years on all aspect of AU peace and security capacity.

And it is why we in the UK are supporting the creation of the African Stand-by force, which involves training 12,000 peacekeepers.

Over the next two decades, Africans should start to take over from the UN as the primary source for conflict prevention and resolution on this continent.

The second area is energy. With the world’s largest desert in the Sahara, Africa has huge solar power potential.

The proposed Grand Inga hydroelectric project on the Congo River in DRC could bring power for the first time to 500 million Africans.

Through the Emissions Trading Scheme and the Clean Development Mechanism the EU could help provide the financial transfers that Africa needs to make this a reality and to bypass the high-carbon stage of industrialisation.

If African countries work together to tap new sources, in twenty years many more states could be exporting rather than importing energy.

Higher global energy prices should be lifting Africans out of poverty, not pushing them further into desperation.  And for Europe this means a new, green energy supply right on its southern doorstep.

Third is development. Rising food prices are forcing Africans to cut back on education and healthcare, and sell off livestock in order to eat. The EU, as the world’s largest aid donor, and the world’s largest single market, can play a big role.

Malawi has shown that by subsidising fertilisers and agricultural inputs it is possible to double agricultural productivity in just twelve months.

For larger scale agriculture, we need more progress on reducing agricultural tariffs and subsidies.

If we can secure a global trade deal to liberalise global agricultural markets, in ten years time Africa could be not only feeding itself, but also exporting agricultural produce and helping to dampen food prices throughout the world.

Power Shifting Eastwards

When it comes to trade and development, Africa’s dominant relationship has historically been with Europe and America. But with the rise of China and India, and the resurgence of Russia, economic and political power is becoming more fragmented.

China is set to become Africa’s biggest trade partner, overtaking the US in 2010.  Japan is doubling its aid and Russia is committed to cancelling over $11bn of bilateral debt.

Pakistan, India and Bangladesh are now the largest contributors to UN peacekeeping missions in Africa, with 25,000 troops stations around the continent.

This is a major opportunity for Africa. Money flowing into Africa from the commodity boom far outstrips money from aid. Chinese investment in infrastructure – in the roads and railway networks that are the spine of any developing economy – has already matched that of the whole OECD combined.

In Mozambique for instance Chinese firms have helped repair 600km of road.

Low-priced Asian goods mean more Africans can afford mobile phones or motorbikes. India is working to narrow Africa’s “digital divide”, funding a Pan-African E-network to give more Africans access to the internet.

As African countries are being courted by investors around the world, they can become more demanding in their negotiations.

But the risk is that history repeats itself: a commodity boom enriches the few, stunts the diversification of the economy, and leads to poor governance, with rulers accountable to foreign interests, rather than to their people.

That is why I believe we need to forge a consensus on what I call ‘responsible sovereignty’.

In an interdependent world, all nations, both existing and emerging powers, have to act responsibility towards each other. They must show respect for democracy. They must support good governance. They must work to eradicate poverty, and tackle climate change.

These high standards also apply to companies and countries that wish to invest in Africa.  We need transparency about business relationships and about where the money from the commodities boom is going.

Unless states act responsibly, they can face a backlash. It may come from financial markets or it may come from the people. It is interesting that in the last Zambian election, the threat by one opposition candidate to expel all Chinese labourers – however much we might deplore it – spoke to a widespread feeling in the country that that some Chinese firms were not fully respecting local labour law.


And that brings me to Zimbabwe, where the power shifts I have described and the great challenges we face – come together.

Britain has long and historical links with Zimbabwe. I have never believed that the rights and wrongs of our history should prevent us from speaking clearly and frankly about the situation today. Robert Mugabe’s misrule does not invalidate the struggle for independence; our colonial history does not mean we cannot denounce what is wrong. The test, at all times, should be whether our commitment and action can help the people of Zimbabwe.

Robert Mugabe was once a liberator. His struggle for independence in the 1970s earned him a place in the history books.

But politicians in democracies must answer to the people not once, or twice but continually, in regular, free and fair elections.

Today, Robert Mugabe is refusing that most basic of tests. He has turned the weapons of the state against his own people.

On 29 March Zimbabwe’s people voted – in huge numbers – for change.  But the man who was once the people’s President, has shown that he is no longer listening.

Worse, he is so determined to cling on to power that he has unleashed a campaign of unchecked brutality against his own people. Three million Zimbabwean refugees have fled across the border to your country. I met some of them yesterday in the central Methodist Church in Johannesburg. I heard of the hunger, the violence and loss of life that had led them to flee their country. This is human suffering which need not and should not be happening.

In the UK, we have followed very closely the response of South Africans to this unfolding disaster.  The letter signed by 40 leading Africans, including eight prominent South Africans, on June 13th, expressing their concern about “intimidation, harassment and violence” was an early expression of alarm. We also noted:

– the dock-workers who refused to handle shipments of arms bound for Zimbabwe

– the church leaders, political parties, trade unionists and independent commentators who have  spoken out in the strongest terms; Archbishop Desmond Tutu said recently that Mugabe has “turned into a kind of Frankenstein for his people.”

Nelson Mandela himself who has spoken of “a tragic failure of leadership”.

And South Africa joined the international consensus at the UN on the 23rd June to say “to be legitimate, any government of Zimbabwe must take account of the interest of all its citizens…[and] that the results of the 29 March 2008 elections must be respected.”

Elsewhere in Africa, leading voices from Botswana and Tanzania to Kenya have added their voices to those urging Mr Mugabe to respect the democratic verdict of the Zimbabwean people. To step back from tragic failure.

In South Africa you see and pay everyday the consequences of economical and political meltdown in Zimbabwe. For the British government, the way out is clear:

There needs to be a transitional government led by those won the 29 March election.

The world community needs to unite at the UN this week not just to condemn violence but to initiate  sanctions on the regime and send a human rights envoy to Zimbabwe.

And the AU and UN need to appoint a representative to work with SADC on the way forward.

The Zimbabwe people need urgent aid to keep body and soul together.

We need to plan together for the day when Zimbabwe has a legitimate government and needs a broader package of international support.

I believe this is an agenda that is not a British agenda or a Western agenda but a humanitarian agenda around which the world can unite.

President Mbeki in 1998 called for an African Renaissance.

I want to echo that call today. For this is a continent with a long and vibrant history. It is a continent of great creativity and enormous diversity. But too many of its people still lives scarred by poverty and fear.

It will not be an easy journey, but it is a possible journey and one which will enable Africans to complete their liberation struggle. To complete their release from centuries of slavery and colonial domination.

That is the Renaissance which you, Africa’s new generation, deserve.

David Miliband – 2004 Speech on the Future of Teaching


Below is the text of the speech made by the then Schools Minister, David Miliband, in Cambridge on 3rd November 2004.

It is a pleasure to be here today.  Your focus on the future of teaching is appropriately timed.  We have more teachers than for a generation; they are better supported by 100 000 more support staff than seven years ago; and Ofsted say that standards of teaching have never been higher.

But we also know that while test and exam results suggest a rising tide of educational achievement, including in our toughest areas where achievement is rising faster than the national average, there remains significant untapped potential in our younger generations.  Charles Clarke has said he believes in recognising achievement by quality not quota, and on that basis we cannot rest:

– 25% of 11 year olds do not read, write and do Maths well;

– 45% of 16 year olds fail to get five GCSEs at grade A-C;

– 25% of 16-18 year olds are neither in full time education nor in training.

So we have challenges ahead, and their resolution depends on good teaching.  That is why this conference is important.

The American educationalist Lawrence Downey has captured the nature of the challenge very well.  He says: “A school teaches in three ways; by what it teaches, by how it teaches, and by the kind of place it is.”

Today I want to talk about “How we teach”.  Admittedly dangerous territory for a politician, but one that is vital.  My contention is that your title – “the future directions of teaching” – buries rather than unearths the key issue.  We cannot talk about the future of teaching unless we think about the nature of learning.  They are two sides of the same coin.  And thinking about the nature of learning requires us to do more than shape teaching around the needs of the learner; that is important as we debate new ideas on multiple intelligence; but thinking deeply about the nature of learning requires us to mobilise the energy, ideas and motivation of the learner to exploit the power of teaching.

In all the debates about school improvement, in all the discussions of productivity in the education system, this key factor of productivity is too often sidelined. The engagement of the pupil – the heart of active learning – is not an alternative to good teaching. It doesn’t mean the displacement of the teacher. It does make teaching a different process to one based solely on the transmission of knowledge from the mind of the teacher to that of the learner.

My argument is simple:

– Personalised Learning is the big idea in education today, and has at its core the idea of the active learner;

– The goal is for all pupils to have a real sense of shared ownership of their school experience; for that, teachers and learners need to work together in new ways;

– And to deliver such an entitlement on a universal basis we need to extend principles of flexibility and empowerment in our education system.

Personalised Learning 

Personalised Learning is for me the way in which a school tailors education to ensure that every pupil achieves the highest standards possible. It is educational provision shaped around the needs, interests and aptitudes of every pupil. It is not new for our best schools; but it is a new frontier for many.

There are five key elements to Personalised Learning. Each one has at its core the contribution of the active learner.

First, assessment for learning uses data and dialogue to diagnose every student’s needs, interests and aptitudes. Pupils have shared ownership of this process because they participate actively in the dialogue. They have a voice and their voice is heard.

Ofsted tells us that just four out of ten secondary schools use assessment for learning well. Staff at Seven Kings School in Redbridge vouch for the power of assessment for learning. They use assessment for learning to provide structured feedback to pupils, to set individual learning targets, and to help plan lessons according to individual needs. This is personalisation in schools and the improved results are one of the rewards. In 1997, only around half the students achieved 5 GCSEs A* – C. In 2004, this number had risen to almost 85%.

The dialogue helps to highlight the strengths that would profit from further stretch, to identify the weaknesses that would benefit from further support and to determine the most appropriate learning pathways.

St Bonaventure’s is an 11-18 boys’ comprehensive with a mixed sixth form. It uses assessment for learning strategies to tackle underachievement head on. By carefully monitoring pupil progress each term and regularly reporting to parents, potential under-achievement can be picked up at an early stage. Ofsted has commended its achievements with Afro-Caribbean pupils and the school is now sharing its good practice throughout the education community.

Embed these practices in all schools and we will achieve a step-change in achievement. That is why the Pupil Achievement Tracker is at the heart of our drive to ensure critical self-review of performance in every school.

Second, personalised learning demands effective teaching and learning strategies that develop the competence and confidence of every learner. High quality teaching delivers these strategies.

It does so because it immediately engages the pupil and gives them a sense of shared ownership in the learning process by recognising and building on their individual needs, interests and aptitudes.

From this sound base, the teacher moulds their repertoire of teaching skills to meet the diverse needs of individual pupils. As a result, they continue to actively engage the pupils, to stretch and support them as appropriate, and to accommodate different paces of learning.

In such a learning environment, pupils acquire the skills to fulfil their own potential. Sound pedagogy has increased their knowledge, but it has also given them the capability and the belief to take more responsibility for and control of taking forward their own learning.

Cramlington Community High school, a 13-18 mixed comprehensive in Northumberland, is an example of what is possible. First years take L2L, “Learning to learn” as a core course. It has a specific slot on the timetable because it’s felt that both pupils and the school gain from the course. It even has its own suite of 3 rooms with interactive white boards, 4 laptops on each table and a large flat screen PC to encourage collaborative work, and audio and video facilities. The course teachers from a wide range of curriculum areas are chosen because of their excellent understanding of a variety of teaching methodologies. Their teaching seeks to develop the 5Rs (resilience, resourcefulness, responsibility, reasoning and reflectivity). Questionnaires and journal entries create a constant dialogue to assess changes in motivation and perceptions of learning, which can then inform the learning environment. The aim is to give pupils the competence and confidence that they can use across the curriculum, throughout their school years and beyond.

With the proportion of pupils achieving 5 or more grades A*-C (GCSE/GNVQ) up from 63% in 2001 to 73% last year, this is a good school striving to be even better.

Third, curriculum entitlement and choice is needed to engage students, with clear pathways through the system.

In primary schools, it means students gaining high standards in the basics allied to opportunities for enrichment and creativity. In the early secondary years, it means students actively engaged by exciting curricula, problem solving, and class participation. And then at 14-19, it means significant curriculum choice for the learner.

This is where the vision of the Tomlinson report on 14-19 education is powerful. It sees the long-term goals for all students of stretch, incentives to learn, core skills and specialist vocational and academic options. It is a future already being charted by diverse groups of schools, colleges and employers across the country.

An exciting innovation in curriculum development is happening at Preston Manor School in Brent, a school that achieves very high standards in pupil performance with an ethnically diverse pupil profile.

The school looks to develop pupil self esteem by encouraging pupil participation and actively promoting pupil voice. Starting in October 2003, a team of students from Preston Manor and 3 other schools in Brent have been working with Blaze Radio and the National Youth Theatre to produce “The Manor”, a radio soap opera and website designed as a learning resource for the PSHE and Citizenship curriculum.

Their teachers talk of the range of personal and interpersonal skills that have been developed by raising and dealing with issues through drama. The website, the performance at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith and the upcoming roadshow will mean that this effective practice can then be shared with an even wider audience.

We will be coming forward in the New Year with a detailed and positive reaction to the Tomlinson Report.

Fourth, personalised learning demands a radical approach to school organisation. It means the starting point for class organisation is always student progress, with opportunities for in-depth, intensive teaching and learning, combined with flexible deployment of support staff. Workforce reform is absolutely crucial. The real professionalism of teachers can best be developed when they have a range of adults working at their direction to meet diverse student need.  It means a school ethos focussed on student needs, with the whole school team taking time to find out the needs and interests of students; with students listened to and their voice used to drive whole school improvement; and with the leadership team providing a clear focus for the progress and achievement of every child.

A radical approach to school organisation also recognises that other well-established strategies have a role to play.

Students of all ages have long used peer tutoring as an assessment revision strategy for example – working together and testing each other. It is a strategy that we should exploit further, because recent examples from peer-tutoring practice in schools indicate that when it is applied across the pupils’ school experience, there are marked gains in pupils’ achievement across a number of measures. Pupils use one another’s knowledge and skills so that they can both do better. But the role of the teacher is still crucial. They ensure that children learn how to work most effectively in this way, organize pupils into the most appropriate groups, and set the tasks which offer the right level of challenge.

In Cornwall LEA for example, they have made the “thinking together” teaching strategy a key part of their in-service training in their drive to implement the primary strategy “Excellence and Enjoyment”. Their evidence from ten years of data is that pupils in schools that have adopted the strategy have achieved significantly higher SATs scores in Maths and Science than pupils in control schools who have not used the strategy.

At Eggbuckland Community College, pupils are taught the skills which make peer tutoring more than just a conversation between two pupils. Ofsted has described the strategy as one where “pupils help one another with topics that they’ve struggled to master and readily share the fruits of their research or other ideas.”

Fifth, personalised learning means the community, local institutions and social services supporting schools to drive forward progress in the classroom. Every school needs a strong sense of itself, but must also look beyond the school to make the most of these potential partnerships. The reason for doing so is because every pupil deserves the best opportunities, wherever they may be found. By focussing on the best deal for their pupils, schools show pupils that they do have shared ownership, because schools show that their pupils’ interests matter. There is already real innovation.

For example, Shireland Language College in Sandwell is building stronger partnership with parents. It’s working with its six primary school partners to use ICT to provide parents with more and better information about their children’s progress. Every family has been given a computer on loan, and parents have been trained to view their children’s homework online. The next stage of the project will enable parents to access their children’s achievement and attendance data, so that they can work with schools to identify and respond to each child’s individual learning needs.

Millfield Community School in Hackney has integrated services and developed a wide range of provision. Its offer to students includes a breakfast club that opens at 7am, play centre provision until 6pm, and a Saturday school that teaches an accelerated learning curriculum for Key Stage 2 pupils. The school is also proactive in educating parents on how best to support their children, providing guidance on the education system and the curriculum, as well as family learning courses in literacy, numeracy and ICT.

The challenge of delivery

Our goal must be a strong and confident learner at the heart of the teaching process. This agenda will promote excellence and equity. Our challenge is to deliver this in every classroom in the country. It can’t be achieved by central control. The role of Government must be to create the most conducive conditions for creative and informed professional decision-making. I see three aspects as critical.

First, there is no substitute for schools leading reform. Professional collaboration and networking help to generate excellence. By supporting collaboration and networking, we can enable our best schools to become locomotives of progress in others; with our best teachers helping the rest; and our best departments sharing their best practice. The hard edge of this collaboration is improvement, with schools developing the capacity to deliver personalised learning. That is the purpose of:

– the 4000 strong network of Advanced Skill Teachers, with over 300 focussing specifically on ICT, who spend the equivalent of one day a week helping other teachers outside their own school improve their offer.

– the Leading Edge Programme, in which 100 schools work with 600 partners to tackle some of our toughest learning challenges – including efforts to increase achievement amongst pupils from disadvantaged and / or minority ethnic backgrounds.

– the Excellence in Cities programme, that develops school partnerships and shared responsibility for, amongst other things, opportunities for gifted and talented students, Learning Mentors, and City Learning Centres that give pupils better access to the latest education technology.

– and the online communities of professionals, who are debating reform, discussing what works in their own classrooms, and helping to chart the future of education.

Second, there is no substitute for sponsored innovation. That is the evidence of the Academies programme. Academies are demonstrating that radical innovation can transform the structure and culture of schools beset by endemic underperformance. They do things differently to raise attainment: like a five term year, an extended day, longer learning sessions, better use of ICT, a bigger role for governors.

– Innovative teaching of ICT is happening at the City of London Academy. Rather than the teacher leading pupils through a menu of software, learning takes place through guided discovery.  The laptops have a variety of applications and the students are encouraged to experiment and find for themselves the potential of the software. The whole curriculum builds on this by allowing students to use their ICT skills in other settings and to solve a range of problems.

– Innovation in school organisation is happening at the Walsall Academy. The school day is organised into two sessions per day, with students spending the whole morning or afternoon in one curriculum area. The novel structure to the day is working well, particularly with year 7 students, who sometimes struggle with the transition to secondary school.

– Sponsored innovation is not confined to schools. Government can also promote innovative partnerships between school, colleges, Higher Education and Business, which are important for putting a wider pool of skill at the service of young people. Our national partnership with Cisco is broadening their opportunities to engage with new technology. There are now over 600 Cisco Network Academies that reach about 24,000 students across the country.

Third, we need to have the right accountability framework in place. On that score, there is real progress on the way:

– We are introducing the school profile. This will be one short, accessible document that brings together the key information about a school’s performance, the school’s view of what makes it special, and what its priorities are for the future;

– We are reforming the inspection system. Visits will be shorter and sharper, and intervention will be in inverse proportion to success;

– We are developing a New Relationship with Schools. The relationship will be based on the 3 principles of legal and financial flexibility, smarter accountability, and hard-edged collaboration. These principles will enable our schools to deliver reform. To help deliver reform, there will be a single conversation with a school improvement partner to assess performance, set improvement priorities and identify support needs.


These are the nuts and bolts. But teaching and learning are about culture as well as technique. On this front, we all have a job to do.

There’s an old culture that has had its time and we need to sweep it away. It says that more will mean worse; that public services cannot deliver excellence; that poor children will always get poor results.

There’s a new culture that we need to promote to take its place: high aspirations for all; a willingness to take risks; a commitment to excellence for the hardest to reach as well as the easiest to teach.

The future of teaching and learning is about this new culture in schools and a new culture in our wider society. They nurture each other. I want all schools in the future to engage with pupils and the wider community in such a way as to achieve lasting change. That is the potential of education and that is the potential we have to fulfil.

Step 1 is to recognise achievement. Step 2 is to articulate the vision. Step 3 is to mobilise the community. That is our task now, and I look forward to working with you to achieve it.

David Miliband – 2004 Speech on Educational Achievement


Below is the text of the speech made by the then Schools Minister, David Miliband, at Alton Towers on 16th November 2004.

Thank you for the invitation to speak to you this morning. Since becoming Schools Minister I have met representatives of the GSA on a regular basis and it is good to get the chance to meet more of you. The Association does a diligent, determined job on behalf of you and your schools, and I would like to use this public occasion to thank Sheila Cooper, the general secretary, and Cynthia Hall, the president, for the way they have worked constructively with the Government. The education system is better for that constructive engagement, and long may it continue.

Today I want to make a simple argument: that across our country there has been a revolution in educational achievement over the last 30 years, that girls have been primary drivers and beneficiaries of that revolution, and that now is the time to learn the lesson of that progress in planning for the future.

In the early 1970s, for the country as a whole:

– Only 150 000 pupils got the equivalent of 5 good GCSEs

– Only 80 000 got the equivalent of 2 A levels

– Only around 70 000 went on to university

For girls, the figures were more depressing:

– Less than half the pupils getting 5 good GCSEs were girls;

– Only 45% of those getting 2 A levels were girls;

– Only a third of those going on to university were girls; that means only about one girl in 25 made it to university, not because they lacked the brains, but because they lacked the opportunities.

The problem was not that we could not identify or produce educational excellence; it was that the excellence was extremely restricted, and the opportunities for pupils, especially girls, to demonstrate their achievement were capped.

Today, excellence is not universal. Too many young people do not fulfil their educational potential. But there has been a transformation in achievement and it has been led by girls:

– Over 340 000 pupils achieving 5 good GCSEs, almost 60% of them girls;

– 240 000 students achieving the equivalent of 2 A levels, 55% of them girls;

– 375 000 accepted into higher education in 2004, over half of them girls.

There remains a stubborn gender gap in the labour market, but that is for another occasion.

This education revolution is a tribute to teachers, and single sex girls’ schools have played their part. The GSA has over 200 member schools, and in the maintained sector, we have just over 200 girls’ schools, educating about one in seven girls in state schools.

Today I want to set out what I believe are the lessons, or at least some of the lessons, of this advance. There are six lessons I want to highlight. I believe they have relevance across the public/private divide; in fact one is related directly to it; and they have relevance to girls and boys education, separately and together.

The first lesson is that nothing is more important than the quality of teachers and teaching. Across the public/private divide we have a shared interest in making teaching an attractive profession, and ensuring that our teachers are teaching in the most effective ways.

The omens are good:

– a record number of people want to be teachers, with over 40,000 trainees this year;

– there is a burgeoning market in mid-career switchers into teaching, 7000 on the GTP alone;

– in the state sector the National Strategies at KS1-3 have established an international reputation for best practice;

– schemes like Teach First are bringing outstanding undergraduates into teaching;

– And OFSTED say we have the best generation of teachers ever.

The foundation of good teaching is clear awareness of pupils’ diverse needs and then the skills to deploy a repertoire of teaching strategies to meet these needs. In the state sector the National Agreement on Workforce reform sets the basis for every teacher to focus on their own teaching.

Across the public/private divide I would like to see professional development benefit from a shared dialogue about how to meet pupil needs. I think this can be of benefit to all, whether helping pupils with stretch for specific talents or with support for special needs. The Government’s Five Year Strategy sketched out our ambitions for professional development, and this is an area we want to take forward.

The second lesson is that we must combine rigour in setting standards with flexibility in developing the curriculum and absolute determination to recognise achievement for the standard it reaches.

The decision by a Conservative Government in 1984 to move away from quota systems to the allocation of grades, and to establish in its place standards of quality as the benchmark for grading, was in my view right. It is not just inequitable, but is in my view perverse, to penalise one candidate because of the quality of work of another; and it is equally perverse to upgrade one candidate because another has an off-year. Quality not quotas is the way forward.

The Tomlinson report challenges us as a country to develop a 14-19 education system built around the interest and aptitudes of individual pupils. His report discusses the best of international practice; it seeks to address the concerns of employers and higher education; it recognises that different students will want a different curriculum menu; he suggests incentives for participation and progression. His proposals for a common core at each level of achievement and then a series of options are designed to meet the needs of all young people. It is important that his proposals seek to build on strengths in the current system.

The Government has committed itself to respond in detailed and positive fashion in the New Year. We will do so and seek to build enduring consensus to improve stretch, tackle dropout, and promote high quality vocational studies.

We are determined to ensure that in the breadth of curriculum and in the qualifications’ structures we give all pupils the chance to show what they are capable of.

The third lesson is that we need to ensure that in our teaching, school organisation and out of school support we tailor provision around the needs, interests and aptitudes of individual pupils. This is Personalised Learning – not children learning on their own, not child-centred theories, but real recognition of the diversity that exists in our student population.

In this context, there is a particular gender issue.

Many girls’ schools have a fine record. Almost 75% nationally of girls in girls’ schools get 5 good GCSEs. They get support, confidence and tailored teaching. Girls’ schools have their own pressures, but they avoid others.

I believe there is a bright future for our single sex schools, but I also believe that the debate about whether single sex or co-education is the right approach is ultimately sterile. No one seriously proposes abolishing single sex schools or co-education. Instead of debate on structure, we should learn the lessons of single sex education and apply them in the co-education sector. These lessons are about recognising the differences between pupils, as well as the similarities. Let me give two examples.

First, we need to recognise that in mixed sex schools girls and boys can prosper being taught separately for part of the time.

Mike Younger, Director of Teaching at the University of Cambridge Faculty of Education, and his colleague Dr Molly Warrington are about to complete a 4-year research project into raising achievement that looks at this issue.

They looked at a co-educational comprehensive school, where single sex teaching was used in subjects where gender is sometimes seen as influencing underperformance, such as Languages for boys and Maths for girls. The number of boys who got 5 good GCSEs went up from 68% in 1997 to 81% in 2004. The number of girls went up from 68% in 1997 to 82% in 2004. Both boys and girls did better, and the gender gap usually common at GCSE was negligible. When interviewed, some of the reasons that pupils gave for the improvement were that they felt more confident to participate in the lessons, there were fewer distractions and they didn’t feel the need to show-off.

Of course, there are also examples in the maintained sector of boys and girls helping each other. At Notley High School in Essex, a girl-boy seating arrangement was seen as a way to improve boys’ performance. Yet in seven years, not only has the number of boys achieving 5 good GCSEs jumped from 40% to 60%, but girls’ achievement has also improved.

I want to see schools learning from this record and this good practice. They are good examples of personalised learning.

I have therefore agreed with the Secondary Heads Association that they should carry out a survey of their members on best practice in tailoring school organisation to girls’ and boys’ different needs. We can then disseminate the results to promote informed professional dialogue about the best way to replicate the successes of single sex education in the maintained sector.

The fourth lesson I draw from the last 30 years is that while poverty and disadvantage present barriers to achievement, they can be overcome. Mulberry School is a girls’ comprehensive school in Tower Hamlets; 99% of students have English as a second language; over 70% of pupils are on free school meals. Yet the disciplined leadership and committed teaching in that school has taken exam results to 56% getting 5 GCSEs A*-C from less than 40% ten years ago.

When I asked the head teacher about the message she wanted me to take to this conference, she argued that state schools’ experience of ICT, raising pupils’ self-esteem and collaborative activities should be of interest to the independent sector.

We want to see educational change in all our most deprived communities, and the private sector can help. The Academies Program targets educational underachievement in our poorest areas, and with the educational and organisational expertise of outside sponsors to help lever significant change.

I hope many of you will follow the lead of the Church School Company, set up in the 19th Century with a charitable mission to extend education to girls – it now has eight independent girls’ school but now believes it can only fulfil the charitable mission of its founders by using the educational expertise to extend education to pupils from deprived communities. The Queen opened the first of several CSCO Academies last month, and I look forward to more.

The fifth lesson is that schools teach by their values and ethos as well as their subjects and pedagogy. That is why we believe every school needs a strong sense of its own provision and why we put strong emphasis on the values, norms of behaviour and community role of schools. I know this is something you take seriously. At a time when young people are challenged from many sources, it is our responsibility to ensure that schools set the right example, and give the pupils the chance to show the community that the next generation can be more than the best educated, but also the best prepared for the challenges of the future.

I see schools fulfilling their social mission in part by the pupils they produce, but also the role they play in the wider education system. This is the sixth lesson: we need to bridge the public/private divide in order to mobilise all educational resources for the benefit of the country’s future. Academies are one way, but there are others:

– The Leading Edge programme, in which 100 schools work with 600 partners to tackle some of our toughest learning challenges including efforts to increase achievement amongst pupils from disadvantaged and/or minority backgrounds, uses best practice to lead the rest; there will be 600 such leading edge schools by 2008, and I hope more will participate;

– We set up the independent/state school partnerships (ISSP) scheme in 1998 to promote collaborative working between the sectors, widen educational opportunities, raise standards in education and foster a climate of social inclusion.  Since 1998, 280 partnerships have provided benefits for over 80,000 pupils in 1,100 schools across the country. Such links, wherever they exist, help to identify and disseminate the effective practice that can really drive change. I thank you for your support, which I believe has been of mutual benefit. Appropriately enough the 8th round of the scheme is launched today and you can find out more about it at www.teachernet.gov.uk/buildingbridges.

In these six areas, I believe public and private sector can take forward the educational revolution together. It is a revolution of aspiration as well as provision, and it has shown its worth in the progress of the country over the last thirty years.

The girls’ school movement has a big part to play, not just for the girls in girls’ schools, but in ensuring that the lessons of its priorities are spread right across the education system. There are challenges wherever one works, public or private, single sex or co-educational; the truth is there is no one right answer, but instead different right answers for different pupils. Our job is to find these answers for those pupils; I believe that together we can do it.

David Miliband – 2001 Maiden Speech in the House of Commons


Below is the text of the maiden speech made by David Miliband in the House of Commons on 25th June 2001.

I have listened carefully to the serious and interesting contributions in this debate. I extend my congratulations to hon. Members who have made excellent maiden speeches. My hon. Friends the Members for Aberavon (Dr. Francis), for Morley and Rothwell (Mr. Challen) and for Telford (David Wright) made powerful and persuasive contributions. My hon. Friend the Member for Rhondda (Mr. Bryant) showed that, although he may have abandoned the cloth, he has not lost the gift of the preacher. I am grateful for the chance to join them and address the House for the first time.

South Shields is a constituency where unemployment is three times the national average, where the rate of economic inactivity is one of the highest in Britain and where the collapse of the mining and shipbuilding industries has brought massive economic change and wrought real economic pain. It is therefore appropriate that I should make my maiden speech in a debate on economic policy as part of a Queen’s Speech that is dedicated to defining and reforming the Government’s role in a modern society, for I am here to represent a constituency and to stand up for an ideal—the power of our action together to create a more equal, more productive society.

A maiden speech is a daunting occasion. One of my predecessors, Mr. Cecil Cochrane, waited 12 months before opening his account in the House. He then said: I was commissioned … to render the Government every possible support during the War, and I am not certain … that I have not rendered that support better by keeping silent than I should have done by asking you … to notice me before.”—[Official Report, 22 May 1917; Vol. 93, c. 2205–206.] I hope that I do not come to regret opening my mouth sooner than Mr. Cochrane, but my commission is to represent the people of South Shields and it is about them and their needs that I want to speak.

First, I pay tribute to my immediate predecessor, David Clark. He spent 22 years working hard for the people of South Shields and had a distinguished ministerial and parliamentary career. He has a permanent memorial of his commitment to the constituency and his passion for the environment in the magnificent leas, now owned by the National Trust, along the South Shields coastline. I am sure that he will make a distinguished contribution to the other place.

South Shields is a town of rich heritage and great diversity. It is known for its river, its mines and the sea. It is also a political town, steadfast in its values, rich in a tradition of radicalism and reform rooted in trade unionism and community organisation. The people of South Shields know the dignity of work, the difficulty of economic change and the difference that an active, enabling Government can make; they know how high quality public services can liberate them as individuals and lift up our entire society; and they know that although there has been progress in the past four years, the work to tackle inequality of life chances is nowhere near done.

South Shields has real strengths. The Port of Tyne Authority has more than 1,000 employees; shipyard and engineering workers have skills and expertise second to none; and there are growing companies in the manufacturing, retail and finance sectors. After four years of fast progress, the performance of our primary schools now outstrips the national average. South Tyneside college is a world leader in marine and nautical studies. Crime in South Shields is falling and housing and social services are improving.

The town boasts more than 200 voluntary organisations, as well as Britain’s oldest local daily newspaper, the Shields Gazette South Shields did not just provide the inspiration for Britain’s most-read author, Catherine Cookson, but now has a vibrant artistic life centred on the old Customs house. Its coastline is magnificent, its neighbourhoods diverse, and its people warm and hard working.

There is more. South Shields football club is only 12 divisions off the premiership, in the Albany Insurance northern league. For a nervous first-time candidate, the local team provides the perfect answer to the difficult choice between professing allegiance to Newcastle football club or Sunderland football club. In that, as in much else, South Shields has no trouble finding a third way.

South Shields also has a long, proud, multicultural tradition. The town’s roots go back to Roman legions and Danish settlers. Our Yemeni community, about 1,000 strong, dates back to the 1890s. The Bangladeshi community, of similar size, now into its third generation, is ready to challenge Birmingham as the curry capital of Britain. Both communities play a vital part in the life of South Shields.

The River Tyne has sent whalers to the Arctic, shipped trains to the Punjab, refuelled Navy destroyers for the fight against fascism and sent the first lifeboats to sea to rescue those in trouble; in return have come goods, ideas, investment and people. Just as the river gives and the river takes, so South Shields depends on what we take from the world and what we can give back. I have special reason to know this.

Over 50 years ago, my distinguished predecessor as Member for South Shields, J. Chuter Ede, was Home Secretary in the 1945 Government—probably the greatest reforming Government in our history. One of his hardest tasks was to make decisions on immigration applications from millions of refugees around Europe. There were many hard cases. One application came from a man who had spent the war here, separated from his wife and daughter who were in occupied Belgium, but with his son, who studied at school and then served in the Royal Navy.

The man who lodged that application was my grandfather, Samuel Miliband. Despite long correspondence, the then Home Secretary felt compelled to deny his application. There could not, he wrote, be exceptions. My father had previously been given leave to stay, and later, I am pleased to say, my grandparents were allowed to join him.

Inclusion and opportunity have been the great motors of progress throughout human history. For me, it is a sign of hope for South Shields, and hope for Britain, that the grandson of a man denied residence in Britain by the then Member for South Shields can, 50 years later, represent South Shields in the House; but my job will not be done until every person in South Shields is able to develop every part of his or her potential to the full.

South Shields is a great town with great people, but they have so much more to give. It is the Government’s job to help them all to shine. Unemployment has fallen by more than 1,000 since 1997, but in Rekendyke ward, it is more than 17 per cent.; in Tyne Dock, 11 per cent.; in Beacon and Bents, 11 per cent. Those figures represent a toll of misery and waste. Some 60 per cent, of young people in South Shields fail to get five good GCSEs—more waste. Long-term illness, often associated with mining, affects one in five households—more pain.

To those who say that economic policy is for middle England and social policy for the Labour heartlands, South Shields replies I that a strong economy and a strong society are inseparable and must be built together, with leadership from Government. In South Shields, icy North sea winds lead people to say “cold hands, but warm heart”. Today, we need a Government with helping hands and a warm heart.

I am glad to say that the priorities of the Queen’s Speech are the priorities of South Shields. In my previous role, I was privileged to play an advisory part in developing the manifesto on which the Labour party was elected to serve a second full term, but I now feel much more privileged to be elected by the people of South Shields to ensure that they receive the full benefit of the policies in that manifesto.

South Shields needs investment in skills, transport and business support to tackle unemployment. We need investment and reform to support our teachers in building up secondary education and to sustain all staff in building up the health service. We need modernisation of the tax and benefit system to tackle child and pensioner poverty. As well as innovative legislation for new ideas, we need effective administration of policies already announced, from expansion of services for under-fives to swift action for miners’ compensation.

South Shields has a unique political history. I am the only Member of the House who can say that, since the first Reform Act of 1832, his constituency has never elected a Conservative Member of Parliament. Until the first World War, the Liberal tradition was dominant, but for 70 years, South Shields has been a Labour town. Throughout that period, South Shields has benefited from flashes of Labour radicalism. The Housing (Financial Provisions) Act 1924—known as the Wheatley housing Act—brought council housing. The 1945 Government brought new health facilities. The 1964 Government brought development assistance. The 1974 Government brought child benefit. The 1997 Government enacted the new deal and the minimum wage. Through all that time, however, South Shields suffered because those flashes of radicalism were never consolidated by two consecutive terms of Labour government.

For 70 years, South Shields has felt like a Labour town in a Conservative country. Following the general election, I am glad to say that South Shields feels like a Labour town in a Labour country, making common cause across divides of tradition and geography with people across Britain who share its values and its priorities: public services based on need, active government dedicated to spreading wealth and opportunity, communities built on tolerance and mutual responsibility.

South Shields is bounded by the River Tyne and the North sea, but our town is outward looking. Our community is south Tyneside; our economy is Tyne and Wear and the wider north-east; our commitments and connections stretch across continents.

I chose to stand in South Shields and now South Shields has chosen me. I believe in the potential of inclusion, the power of opportunity and our responsibility to extend it to all. That is the hope for South Shields. That is the message of the Queen’s Speech. That is the cause that I shall stand for every day that the people of South Shields choose to send me to this House.