Harriet Harman – 2016 Speech in Tribute to Jo Cox


Below is the text of the speech made by Harriet Harman, the Labour MP for Camberwell and Peckham, in the House of Commons on 20 June 2016.

I want to add to the very moving tributes to Jo. I got to know Jo after the 2010 general election, when she was elected to chair Labour Women’s Network, which she did for four years. She would regularly burst into my office with that extraordinary energy she had and tell me all that they were doing to help Labour women get elected to Parliament to give women a bigger voice in the party. So many of the Labour women here in this Chamber today who were elected in 2015 and who are so deeply mourning Jo’s loss were women whom, under Jo’s leadership, Labour Women’s Network helped and supported.

Not long after she had her son, she came to give me one of those regular briefings, and, of course, the baby came too—I remember it because she literally did not stop kissing him all the way through the meeting. When she had her daughter, she was still there for the women who were trying to become candidates—texting them support, phoning to commiserate if they did not make it, urging them to try again. Her feminism—her solidarity with other women—was a thread that ran through her and all her work in her community and for humanitarian causes. She always said to me emphatically that her children were her priority above everything. But there was no dividing line between Jo’s maternal heart and her great political heart. Her children will grow up to know what an amazing woman their mother was. She is such a great loss to our politics; and an irreplaceable loss to her family, to whom we send our heartfelt sympathy.

Harriet Harman – 2016 Speech on the EU


Below is the text of the speech made by Harriet Harman, the Labour MP for Camberwell and Peckham, at Lloyds of London on 13 May 2016.

Thank you so much for letting me come and talk to you today about women at work and the European Union.

You work here in the financial services industry, an industry which is crucially important to the economy of this country and for the employment of women.

Financial services generate over £126 billion for our economy every year and half a million women work in it. Not just here in London but in Leeds, Edinburgh, Bristol and throughout the country.

The work that you do in financial services powers that industry and provides the income for hundreds of thousands of households.

Your work is important to this sector and I know that it’s also important to you and your family. The fact of the matter is that there are few households, and no regions and no sectors which could manage without women’s work. Our work is vital to household budgets and to our economy. The workforce is now women and men. But despite that we are still not equal at work or at home. We’ve made great strides at work, and you can see that with women’s earning power increasing. But the higher up you get in any workplace the fewer women there are. And there is still not equal sharing of family responsibilities – whether it be for bringing up children or caring for the elderly or disabled. Though men are doing more at home, in the overwhelming majority of households, the responsibility still rests firmly with women.

So the rights and protections that we have at work remain important- the right to be paid equally, not to be discriminated against, not to be harassed, not to be oppressed because you’re a part-timer, a right to return to work after having a baby, to have a right to take time off to go to ante-natal appointments, the right for fathers to have time off when their children are young.

One of the great social changes over the last 30 years has been the progress that women have made. Women now have equal educational qualifications to men and expect to be able to work on equal terms with men in whatever field they choose. Womens’ attitudes have changed – we’re no longer prepared to put up with being second-class citizens.

This is a huge, and quite recent change. When I first started work there was no right to equal pay – job adverts showed the woman’s rate and the man’s rate for the same job. Employers could and did advertise jobs for men, which women couldn’t apply for. And when you got pregnant you usually kept it secret to try and keep your job for as long as possible. When you left work to have a baby your job went. You had to apply to go back to work like a new employee – even to your old job. Most women worked part-time and were completely the poor relations at work – not allowed to be in the workplace pension scheme, first to be made redundant, and denied access to training and promotion.

For women starting out in 2016 rather than in the 1970s when I started work, all this might seem positively prehistoric. But remember that the changes that we achieved didn’t come through hoping something would turn up – but through action.

The women’s movement saw women demanding change – prepared to fight against the government, employers and even their own trade unions to assert their rights to work and be equal at work with laws to back them up. And that is what has happened year on year over the decades. And the EU has been a massive ally in this process.

You may have seen the opinion polls on the EU referendum which will be on June 23rd. The latest show that 42% are for staying and 40% are for leaving. But I’ve met so many people who are undecided, who haven’t made up their mind, who want further information and are still thinking about it. And twice as many women as men haven’t yet decided how to vote in the referendum.

It doesn’t help anyone make up their mind to see men shouting at each other in speeches. So, rather than joint them, I want to bring some facts into the debate.

It’s easy to overlook, but it’s impossible to overstate, how important the EU has been in our struggle for women’s rights at work. Some of our rights came directly from the EU, some rights were enhanced because of the EU and our rights as women at work can’t be taken away, as they are guaranteed by our membership of the EU.

This is a paradox because the EU is every bit as woefully male-dominated as our own political institutions. But despite that, the historical fact is that the EU has led and strengthened our rights as women at work in this country. And we should never take that for granted. Faceless bureaucrats they may be – but the EU has been a strong friend to British women at work.

The rights that we now have at work did not just arrive out of thin air. They came from a combination of what our governments have done and what the EU has made them do. I would rather we got all of our rights from our own government. Half the population are women and we are a democracy – it doesn’t seem too much to ask for our own government to back us up. It feels odd to get legal rights handed to us from Brussels rather than from Westminster. But if it’s a case of having them coming from Brussels or not at all, let’s not be in any doubt that wherever they come from, these rights are essential for women’s progress in their lives. No government likes a Directive – let alone from abroad – telling them what to do or a Court – and God forbid a foreign court – forcing them to make changes. But EU Directives and European Court judgments have been making our government back women up at work. So if it comes to a choice between Directives or fewer protections for women at work – I’ll take the Directives any day.

I want Brussels to be there to guarantee these rights. I don’t want our government to have the “sovereignty” to take away those rights. Over the years we fought for those rights and they should be there for you now.

For most people, what goes on in Parliament is baffling enough, let alone understanding the complex interplay of our Parliament and Brussels. But when people come to vote about whether to stay or leave Europe, it’s important for them to know what Europe has done which has made a difference to their lives. The language might be impenetrable and the institutions baffling, but the fact is that the EU has been a strong friend to women at work.

Let me explain specifically about women’s rights at work. And these are facts here – not spin, not conjecture, not predictions – plain facts. And although this goes back some decades, it’s not “historical” because I was there fighting for those rights, for the progress which was hard won, inch by inch, and these rights are still important for you now and I don’t want to see them threatened by our leaving the EU.

Take equal pay for women. The founding treaty of the EU, the Treaty of Rome which everyone has to sign up to when they join the EU, requires that women should be paid equally and get equal treatment. When we signed up to the EU in 1973 that was a right that all women in this country got.

In 1970 the Equal Pay Act came into force and said that you could get equal pay but only if there was a man doing the same job that you could compare with. Because we were in the EU our government was required, in 1976, to extend that to where women were doing work which was not the same as a man but where they could show their work was of “equal value”. This gave hundreds of thousands of women better pay. Like the women at Ford, who in 1984 got a pay increase claiming their work as machinists was of equal value to the higher paid men.

Like low paid women council cleaners who claimed the same pay and bonuses as the higher paid men in refuse collection. I was there in Cabinet Committees when my colleagues gnashed their teeth at the European Court for telling our councils that the agreement they’d reached with the unions would have to be changed. They said it wasn’t the right time for the women to get the same pay as the men. But it’s never “the right time” for government or employers to be able to afford equality for women. And this is not a luxury, its basic fairness.

Take the situation for part-timers. Our Equal Pay Act covered pay, but didn’t cover pensions – nor did the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act. Most part-timers were women – they still are. And part-timers were excluded from companies’ workplace pension schemes, making certain that women would be worse off in retirement than men. In 1986, an EU ruling said that excluding part-timers from occupational pension schemes was sex discrimination, that pensions were “deferred pay” and should be covered by the Equal Pay Act. This meant that hundreds of thousands of part-time women got access to pension schemes for the first time, and part-timers were still protected.

The EU is full of guarantees for working women as we have our babies. The EU guarantees that women have to get some maternity pay. The 1992 Pregnant Workers Directive required that women who were off work on maternity leave had to be paid an “adequate allowance” not less than sick pay.

The EU guarantees that women have a right to return to work after they’ve had a baby. The Pregnant Workers Directive guarantees women at least 14 weeks’ maternity leave and a right to return to their old job. Our government gives women more than that – extending maternity leave to a year – but the EU Directive guarantees that women can never have their right to return to work abolished.

The EU gave, for the first time, a right to fathers to take time off when they have a baby. In 1996 the EU issued the Parental Leave Directive which requires EU members to give fathers as well as mothers four months leave in the first eight years of their child’s life. This was the first time fathers got rights in law and that’s important not just for the child and the father, but also for the mother.

EU Directives and court rulings mean that our government has to ensure that employers give women time off work to go to ante-natal appointments. They have to protect breast-feeding women, and they have to give parents a right to time off for urgent family reasons – like a child falling ill.

The EU has waded in against sexual harassment at work. The 1975 Sex Discrimination Act made it illegal for a woman to be harassed at work. And that can’t be repealed because it’s guaranteed by the 2006 EU Equal Opportunities Directive which ruled that sexual harassment is unlawful discrimination

“Those rights are now secure”

We fought hard for those rights, in Brussels and in Westminster. That’s a fact. If we leave the EU, the guarantees of those rights will be gone. That’s a fact too.

Some people will say, “OK the EU helped us to get those rights, and guaranteed them, but we don’t need Europe anymore because those rights are accepted by everyone now. We don’t need the guarantee anymore.”

Would that it were the case that everyone now agrees that women’s rights at work are paramount. But they don’t.

Every time any new right for women has been introduced, whether it’s come from Westminster, our courts, or Brussels – it’s been bitterly opposed. There was opposition to the Equal Pay and the Sex Discrimination Acts. The Tories voted against the Equality Act as recently as 2010. In the past, even unions opposed equal rights for their part-timer women members. The CBI and the Chambers of Commerce oppose new rights. Even the Labour government which I was part of complained about European Court of Justice rulings on women’s rights. It’s naive to suppose that everyone now suddenly agrees with them. Women’s rights are in the firing line whenever there’s a call for deregulation or “cutting red tape”. Bright ideas pop up to give businesses “greater freedom” in this sector or that region. Right now, though few will say they oppose women’s rights, given half the chance, the covert hostility to these rights would soon rear its ugly head. They argue that it’s about saving government money or cutting red tape on business, but women’s rights would be sacrificed.

And why should we trust the likes of Boris Johnson, Iain Duncan-Smith or Nigel Farage with our rights as women? And even if they say they’d guarantee not to go below the rights for women that the EU guarantees, I don’t trust them as far as I can throw them. It’s your rights which are at stake here – so nor should you.

We need more rights for women – not fewer

Instead of fighting to stop us going backwards, we should be pressing for more rights for women at work. I want to see the laws on preventing discrimination against older women brought into force. I want to see rights for carers to take time off. I want to see mothers able to share their maternity leave with the child’s grandparents as they can now share their maternity leave with the child’s father. I want maternity leave to be longer and maternity pay to be better.

We’ve made huge progress over the years but we are still far from equal. The last thing we need now is to have to fight to defend and protect the rights we’ve already got. But that is what would happen if we left the EU. We’ve got used to being able to rely on the EU to underpin those rights. Let’s not take them for granted and find that we have to fight for them all over again. We need our energy to be going forward, not to prevent ourselves going backwards.

So if you think it’s important that women at work have rights at work, to equal pay, to opportunity, as parents, stand up for those rights and vote to stay in the EU. Don’t be complacent about those rights. Protect them by voting to stay in.

Jobs as well as rights.

It’s not just your rights at work which Europe is important for, it’s also those jobs themselves.

Women are now working in every sector, in every region. Those sectors are bolstered by our membership of the EU because the EU helps our economy generally. It’s our biggest trading partner, with EU countries buying nearly half of everything we sell abroad.

We’re here in the City of London at the heart of our financial services sector. If you look at the people at the top of financial services, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s all men. But that is far from the case. Half a million women work in financial services – women like you who work hard, do well and are ambitious – and 41% of those financial services we sell abroad go to Europe. If we weren’t in the EU, Frankfurt, Paris and Dublin would be looking to hoover up those jobs. A study by City Link and PWC estimates that around 50,000 women working in financial services would lose their jobs if we left the EU.

And what about other sectors where women work?

Over half of the chemicals and pharmaceuticals we export go to Europe. Over half our food exports go to the EU. What would happen to the 1 million jobs of women who work in that sector if we leave?

My decision to vote to remain is based on a whole range of issues:

– Jobs and investment.

– UK influence in Europe.

– UK influence through the EU in the rest of the world.

– The EU as a body of countries committed to human rights.

And my general belief that it’s best to look forward and outward rather than backward and inward – especially in a globalised world.

Opting out for a quiet life was never a way to make progress on anything. And outside the EU it wouldn’t be a quiet life but one of frustration and ineffectiveness. A quick adrenaline boost of “going it alone” followed by long endurance of problems and marginalisation.

I think we should have the confidence to recognise that we make a big impact in the EU. Why wouldn’t we want to continue to do that when they are our nearest neighbours and our biggest trading partners? Our history has been about being a leading country in Europe, not cutting and running.

Over the last few decades there’s been a transformation in women’s lives, with women going out to work as well as caring for children and elderly. Regarding ourselves as equal citizens whose contribution in the world outside the home is important and should not be undervalued.

Over the last three decades (when I’ve been an MP) we’ve struggled to make our way forward towards equality at work. The objective fact is that through those decades the EU has been a friend to women in this country. Let’s stick with them and let’s work to make further progress.

Harriet Harman – 1982 Maiden Speech to the House of Commons


Below is the text of the maiden speech made by Harriet Harman to the House of Commons on 5 November 1982.

I know that hon. Members sadly miss Harry Lamborn, who died this summer. It is a great privilege to represent the people of Peckham, but I regret that I have come here as result of a by-election following Harry Lamborn’s death. I should have preferred to come here after a general election, knowing that he and his wife Lil were enjoying a well-earned retirement. Harry will be long remembered in Peckham not only for the 10 years that he served in the House as Member of Parliament but for the many years before that when he was a Southwark councillor. His contribution to the area is warmly remembered and he will be sadly missed.

Peckham is not faring well under the Government’s policies. Since 1979 unemployment has more than doubled and more than 80 young people chase each job at the Peckham careers office. More than 9,000 families are on the housing waiting list, at a time when more than 1,000 skilled building workers are on the dole and the council owns land on which it would build but for the fact that Government cuts have almost put an end to new council building.

For those in council homes—nearly 80 per cent. of homes in Southwark are rented from the council—the Government have forced up rents and plan to do so again. Under the Government’s housing policy, the home owner in Chelsea receives nearly twice as much public subsidy as the council tenant in Peckham. Despite the fact that rents are increasing, repairs take much longer because of cuts in the budget for major maintenance. I am not talking simply about a lick of paint; I am talking about major maintenance and vital repairs. Living standards for those in work are falling.

I wish to mention the case of one constituent. I should not call her a “case” but, unfortunately, she is a welfare case. She works a six-day week for 47½ hours in the catering department of St. Thomas’s hospital. She receives only £58 take-home pay and her rent is £45 a week. That is why she is a welfare case. It is a scandal that someone who works so hard in the public service must fight her way through a web of rent and rate rebates just to be able to live. For the increasing number of those who are out of work, living standards are falling even faster and their lot is to stand around on street corners with nothing to do.

Vital public services have been hit badly. Southwark council can provide only about 500 nursery places for the borough’s 13,500 under-fives. Even when the Inner London Education Authority has the money to build schools and provide nursery places it is not allowed to do so. The Government prevent ILEA from providing more nursery places.

The Government are directly responsible for something which people in Peckham are extremely concerned about, and that is the increase in crime. We do not know very much about the causes of crime, but we know that as youth unemployment increases so juvenile crime increases. Therefore, the Government’s responsibility for directly increasing unemployment, especially among young people, gives them a direct responsibility for the increase in juvenile crime. This is not to excuse crime, but if we are to solve the problem we must understand its causes and tackle them.

We know also—Government reports have borne this out—that dark corners of rundown ill-lit estates attract muggers and vandalism. The Government’s cuts in housing have a direct effect on crime in our inner cities.

Increasing the powers of the police, especially their powers randomly to stop and search—it seems that what the Government will be providing in their police Bill will amount to random stop and search—will do nothing to attack the causes of crime. However, what it will do—and we know this to be so—is to strain further the relations between the police and the public. It will alienate further the police from the public they are supposed to serve and make it harder for the police to do their job. If the Government are serious about wanting to improve the relationship between the police and the public, they should bring London’s police under the control of locally and democratically elected people. Statutory consultation will not do. The police will consult, but having done so they can and will be able to go their own way.

The effect of Government policies on Peckham is no accident. It is not the effect of the mismanagement of a Government who have got their sums wrong but the politics of inequality. There is no need for the tragic waste of talent of the young person in Peckham who would make an excellent electrician or carpenter but who cannot find an apprenticeship, let alone a job. There is no need for people to remain homeless while building workers are on the dole and while land becomes a blight because it is empty and becomes an eyesore. There is no need for pensioners to go to bed halfway through the afternoon as the winter approaches because they cannot afford to pay their heating bills, let alone the standing charges. There is no need for young mothers to become depressed as they struggle to bring up children in small flats with no nursery facilities and no play facilities in the area.

There is no need for any of that because we are a wealthy nation. We are rich in oil and natural gas and rich in the skills of the work force. But we must plan to use this wealth to put people back to work, to build homes and hospitals and to provide the schools and services that millions need. We must increase the wages of the low paid to stop the gulf of inequality that is opening up and to put spending power back in people’s pockets to regenerate the economy. During the recent by-election some reports painted Peckham as little better than a dump. It is not a dump, and such reports and such descriptions have been deeply offensive to the people of Peckham, who are struggling to make their area a decent place in which to live, to work and to bring up their children. This Government are making that struggle much harder.

The Government have taken to talking about “the inner city problem”. They point to places such as Peckham and talk about “this problem”. That is completely the wrong way round. The Government do not have an inner city problem; but the inner cities have a Government problem. It is not the people of Peckham who are the problem. The problem lies with those on the Government Benches who are deciding Government policies. It is about time that we stopped criticising the inner city areas and started criticising the Government.


Harriet Harman – 2013 Speech to Labour Party Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by Harriet Harman, the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, to the 2013 Labour Party conference.

Harriet Harman MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, speaking to Labour Party Annual Conference 2013 in Brighton, said:

Conference, this week, we’ve packed in hours of debate; hundreds of fringe meetings; and most importantly delivered a One Nation fiscal stimulus for the bars of Brighton.

We began on Saturday at our fantastic Labour Women’s Conference – with 1,000 women. The biggest political gathering of women at any party conference, ever.

Proving, once again, Labour is the only party for women.

And what a contrast with the other parties.

David Cameron believes that women should be seen and not heard – and that’s especially when it comes to his Cabinet.

And as for the UKIP conference – where to begin?

What can you say about the human car crash that is Godfrey Bloom? A man so unreconstructed, he makes Jeremy Clarkson look like a Fabian.

But Godfrey, all is not lost.

You’ve got some time on your hands now – so we’ve arranged a special emergency session for you.

At the “Harriet Harperson Institute of Political Correctness”.

And Godfrey, the good news is that I, myself, will be there to give you some advanced ‘one to one’ training.

And we’ll start with you whisking that Dyson round the back of my fridge.

And as for the Liberal Democrats – Lib Dem women are an endangered species.

Our Women’s Conference was a women-only event. But Yvette and I decided we would do a bit of positive action and let one man in – our leader Ed Miliband and he got a fantastic reception.

The Shadow Chancellor wanted to come too – but we had to say to him “sorry we’ve already got a man on the platform – and he’s called Ed.”

Conference, in Ed Miliband we have a great leader.

Ed, we hoped you’d do a good speech yesterday, but you gave an amazing speech.

Ed has an unerring ability to understand the concerns that people have in their everyday lives.

It was Ed who warned that we are seeing, for the first time, a generation who won’t do as well as the one that went before. That’s something every parent worries about.

Then while Cameron and Clegg wallowed in complacency, Ed was the one who spoke up about the cost of living crisis.

And when Ed sees something’s wrong, he will not shrink from the challenge.

He will never say:

– it’s just too difficult;

– or the odds are stacked against us

– or you’ll have to put up with it – because the energy companies are just too powerful.

Ed fights for what’s right. People often feel that in this day and age there are forces which are just too big and powerful for politics to make a difference.

But Ed has shown – even from opposition – the ability to make change.

He stood up against phone hacking.

He averted David Cameron’s rush to war in Syria.

And he has shown that politics can make a difference.

But Ed is about a new kind of politics. And that shines through in everything he does. Like when he got egged.

You can really see the change.

When John Prescott got egged, he was massively angry and threw a punch.

When Ed Miliband got egged, his immediate thought was ‘Oh God – I really hope this is free range’ That’s just the kind of guy he is.

And Ed is a leader who listens. To the people he meets and the party he leads.

And that’s why yesterday on this stage, he moved Labour from being a party of protest which understands people’s concerns – to a party of policies which will address those concerns.

Better childcare – for mothers who tear their hair out trying to balance work and home.

Freezing fuel bills – how can you feel the warm glow of recovery if you can’t turn your heating on.

And helping the next generation get their first home by putting housing at the heart of our mission and getting Britain building again.

So now – every single one of us – our shadow cabinet, MPs, MEPs, Peers, Councillors, our great parliamentary candidates, representatives from the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly, trade unionists, our members and supporters.

Our whole Labour team in every part of this country, will get out on the doorstep and give people hope that their lives can be better than this. Britain can do better than this.

Our momentum comes not just from our policies – but from the people in our party – the whole Labour team. We are a party that has grown.

Just look at the membership.

Since the General Election, our membership is up by 17 per cent.

Since David Cameron became leader of the Tories their membership is down 40 per cent.

We now have more members than the Tories and the Lib Dems put together.

We are working hard and campaigning in communities all around the country.

But we all know that we could be doing more – particularly to reach out to and involve people at work. After all, Labour is the party of people at work.

The plan for party reform that Ed is proposing is not to weaken the relationship between Labour and trade union members – it is to make it a reality – especially at local level.

And I want to spell out what is obvious and what is true but needs saying.

We are fiercely proud of the link between our party and trade unionists. That link is at the heart of our history and will be an essential part of our future.

Because while the Tories are bankrolled by a handful of millionaires – we are a movement of millions of working people.

But these men and women are under attack.

And so when David Cameron attacks trade unionists and stokes up hatred against them we will stand up for them.

Because we know with the Tories – it’s one rule for them and their privileged friends – and another for everyone else.

The rich will work harder if you cut their taxes.

Make the poor work harder by slashing their benefits.

Under – occupy a mansion – well you need protecting – so of course we can’t have a Mansion Tax.

Under occupy a council home – tough – pay the bedroom tax or face eviction.

Well, not under a Labour Government. We will axe this cruel, useless, hated tax.

And speaking of cruel, useless and hated, let’s spend a moment thinking about how good it will feel to kick out this miserable government.

When it came to austerity, they said “we’re all in it together”.

But they’re not saying that about the recovery.

It cannot be a recovery that’s only for the rich and not the rest.

And what about the Lib Dems?

They say they are in coalition. But look what they do in Westminster?

Week in week out – the Tories bring forward their nasty policies and the Lib Dems – they vote them through.

They call it coalition – we call it collusion.

And then Nick Clegg had the nerve to stand up at his conference and claim that he had been a brake on the Tories.

With the Lib Dems, it’s not just collusion – it’s delusion.

Here’s a little reminder of just some of the things the Lib Dems voted for.

– putting up VAT,

– slashing tax credits,

– cutting police,

– trebling tuition fees,

– tax cuts for the richest

– the bedroom tax and

– let’s not forget the top down reorganisation of our NHS – which no-one wanted and no-one voted for.

One thing they did announce last week at their conference was they were going to bring in free school meals.

But when Southwark Labour Council did exactly that last year – the Lib Dems bitterly opposed it.

So, Nick Clegg, come to Southwark for a free school meal – and I’ll serve you a very large portion of humble pie.

But it’s just not fair to say that Clegg has got no principles at all.

He has got one principle – one that means a lot to him.

That is, regardless of who’s in government, Nick Clegg must be Deputy Prime Minister.

He wants to go on and on and on.

No wonder Vince Cable looks so miserable – you almost have to feel sorry for him.

So Conference – let’s have no talk about us being in coalition.

Labour is not fighting for a draw.

Labour is fighting to win.

Conference, we know we face a huge task.

It’s barely three years since we were kicked out of government.

The Tories will fight a dirty, vicious campaign.

And Lynton Crosby will be the ring-master for the right wing press.

But remember – this is not a popular government.

They stand up for the wrong people.

They’ve failed on the economy.

They’re ruining the NHS.

And people know it.

So yes – it is tough.

We will not lose our nerve.

Because the polls which are most important, are the ones where people actually vote.

And in local councils up and down this country, the Tories are losing seats, the Lib Dems are losing seats and it is Labour who is making gains.

Since Ed Miliband became leader, we have gained 1,950 new Labour Councillors.

Conference – those are the polls you won’t read about in the newspapers but those are the polls that count.

So it is tough – but we can do it.

The General Election is there for the taking.

So, Conference, while we are in no doubt about the scale of our task, we leave here determined to do whatever it takes to kick out this miserable coalition and fight for a Labour government.

Harriet Harman – 2013 Speech to Labour Arts Policy Event


Below is the text of the speech made by the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Harriet Harman, to the Labour Arts Policy Event held on 12th February 2013.


Thank you all for coming today and for the Soho Theatre for hosting us.

I think we all feel that we meet at an important moment for the arts and our creative industries

A moment of huge opportunities – matched only by the scale of the threats.

Arts are successful

Stepping back, there is no doubt that the arts are hugely successful, internationally admired and rightly self confident, creating jobs, generating revenue, earning foreign currency, reaching into all parts of the country, extending opportunities and generally doing what art and culture does – enriching the life of the nation and developing the human potential of each and every individual.

Art is something we are very good at in this country. We’ve got great cultural and artistic traditions and are at the cutting edge for the future – the Olympics opening ceremony reminded everyone of that.

There is no shortage of success to marvel at and enthusiasm to go yet further.

But no-one here is lulled by that into a false sense of security. We know that the success that we see now has been built over many years. Above all, by the talent and determination of our artistic and creative community but also, critically, nurtured with the support of public policy, backing from government and local government.

And it is that essential support which is now threatened

Why did Jeremy Hunt think it was alright to cut the Arts Council by 30 per cent?

Why did Gove think it was OK to kick the arts out of the curriculum?

Why did Osborne think it was alright to stigmatise arts patrons as tax dodgers?

Why is Eric Pickles getting away with crushing local government’s ability to support arts in their communities?

And why doesn’t Maria Miller realise that it’s her job to fight back against this – instead just telling the arts they’ve never had it so good?

My worry is that what we have here is a brazen and wholesale government retreat from public policy backing for the arts and our creative industries.

Role of government

No-one thinks that the role of the state is to control or direct art, but the state must play its part:

–  ensuring the curriculum has arts and creativity running through it so that for every child and in all schools, education includes the arts

–  ensuring that all children have out of school opportunities – after school, in school holidays.

–  ensuring that the Arts Council is well supported and funded

–  ensuring that local government is able to support the arts locally and regionally, and

–  that all of this has to be championed and protected by a strong central government department .

It’s government’s role to underpin the platform on which the arts build other support and to ensure that it is available for all people in all areas.

Importance of speaking up for the arts

But even if the culture department is failing to speak up for the arts – you are – and all credit to you for doing so.

Your voice is strong and important and you have our backing.

If we don’t fight to protect the arts, the price will be paid in the future. Arts and culture takes years to build up. But can easily be so quickly destroyed. The price will be paid in inequality – arts increasingly the preserve of a privileged elite – concentrated in London.

What needs to be done 

So, what are we going to do about this?

Or should I say, what next?

I think it’s of the utmost important that you are not only doing your day jobs but also working together for the arts.

You have the authority, the legitimacy, the commitment, to do that and with the respect you command, you are a powerful movement. Gove’s backdown on the EBacc was in no small part due to the leadership you gave from the arts against it.

But because I don’t think he’s genuinely changed his mind we’ll have to keep a close eye to make sure he doesn’t just pause and try and sneak it in again.

Remaking the argument for the arts

I think it’s right that you are remaking the arguments for the arts. The case has always been there – we made it, together, in the run up to 1997. It was the reason we trebled the budget of the Arts Council, strengthened the DCMS, empowered artistic renaissance in the great cities of our regions.

But there is a new generation who’ve emerged during a time of flowering of the arts who now need to hear and be confident in making the case. And there’s a generation of the public who have no idea about the scale and importance of public funding in the arts.

Perhaps it was because no-one felt they needed to draw attention to it, because the funding could be relied upon. Or was it, perhaps, partly out of a hesitation about drawing attention to public subsidy it in case that might jeopardise it.

But whatever the reason, go to any institution or read any programme and the names of the donors are up in lights but the contribution – the collective contribution of the taxpayer – is all but invisible. So the irony is that the cuts have been made easier because most people remain unaware of the important role of subsidy in the arts.

Fighting back against the cuts

I think it’s right that we fight back against the cuts. Even though it’s a very difficult time because the Government’s austerity programme is choking off economic growth and threatening public services. It is a difficult time. When the police are being cut, when home care support for dementia sufferers is being cut back, there is a fear that speaking up for the arts sounds like special pleading, or people not realising how tough it is out there, or that you’ll be making it worse by biting the hand that feeds you.

But it’s not special pleading. You are not doing it for yourselves – you are doing it for all those children who still don’t have access to the arts; for the regions which will get left behind; for the opportunities it affords for economic growth; for the part it plays in our national identity.

And even when it’s tough we still have to think about investment for the future in jobs, growth, opportunities, regeneration – which is what we know arts investment is.

And, as for “biting the hand”, make no mistake, if there is no fight back against the cuts the Government will take that as a clear signal that they can come back for yet more.

There is a great deal of support for that – including many on the Tory back benches concerned about the arts in their own area. So we will be highlighting that in the House of Commons, not just in oral questions to the Culture Secretary, but also make sure that every time Gove and Pickles answer oral questions they are challenged about what they are doing to the arts.

And because there is concern in parts of the Tory backbenches as well as massive concern on our side, we will have, in opposition time in the near future, a full scale debate and vote in the House of Commons and bringing the Culture Secretary to the House to answer all the arguments you are making.

Survival strategy for the arts

As well as making the case for the arts and fighting back against the cuts we need to forge a survival strategy for the arts. And I know you are doing that through innovative thinking and partnerships between you, with the Arts Council, through philanthropy and with local government.

And to help and support our local councillors in playing that role with you, Dan and I have set up the Creative Councillors Network with the LGA Labour group, to bring together, brainstorm and lend support to the Labour councils and councillors to ensure that whilst facing the biggest cuts to local government in a generation they are able to continue to sustain the foundations for the arts in their area.

As their ability to give grants diminishes, they will all be doing more of the non-revenue things that can make such a difference, such as:

–  Using the grant of planning permission to leverage investment into the arts

–  Using public spaces, buildings, parks, empty shops for the arts

–  Allowing their capital assets to be used as security for loans

–  Sharing their back office facilities with arts organisations

–  Bending over backwards to grant licenses for the performing arts

–  Offering market stalls at peppercorn rents.

And they have just set up Core Cities which brings together Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield and which will discuss how councils – even in the most challenging of times – can and will continue to support the arts.

Planning for a future arts policy 

And we need to plan for the future.

We’ve been working on our 5 point plan for jobs and growth in arts and the creative industries:

– young people and skills

–  access to finance – including scope for crowd funding of equity and loans as well as gifts

–  a strong championing of intellectual property

–  a specific focus on our regions

–  exporting and inward investment.

In all our discussions on this we work together with Chuka Umunna on Business, Ed Balls on Treasury issues, Stephen Twigg on Education and of course Hillary Benn on Local Government who will be here with us later.

We hope to get back in to government – so now is the time firmly to re-establish the case for the arts in public policy and work up a clear plan for a 21st Century arts policy.

2015 is when we want to start doing it – so the thinking and the planning must be now.

So I hope that we can work together to forge a programme for our manifesto for the vision for arts policy for 2015 and beyond.

Harriet Harman – 2013 Speech to the Oxford Media Convention


Below is the text of the speech made by Harriet Harman, the Shadow Culture, Media and Sports Secretary, to the Oxford Media Convention on 23rd January 2013.

This time last year when we met:

Lord Justice Leveson was conducting his Inquiry.

Mark Thompson was Director-General of the BBC.

Jimmy Savile was a national treasure.

Jeremy Hunt was Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, and;

We were eagerly discussing what might be in the Communications Bill.


We’ve got the landmark Leveson Report.

Mark Thompson is no longer the Director-General of the BBC – and nor is the man who replaced him.

Jimmy Savile is now a national monster.

Following my calls for the sacking of Jeremy Hunt he’s been promoted – Maria Miller is now our Secretary of State.

And it looks as if the Communications Bill is never going to materialise.

What hasn’t changed

But some things haven’t changed.

We still need to tackle the longstanding problems of wrongdoing in the press.

We still need to support the BBC, one of our most important national institutions.

We still need a strong DCMS. The department must not be weakened: if anything, its voice needs to be even stronger at the Cabinet table.

Leveson: the victims

The families who suffered press intrusion and gross violations of their privacy are still pressing for the changes that will protect people in the future from what happened to them.

The harassment, the character assassinations – laid bare before the Leveson Inquiry. These were not mere technical breaches of the rules, victimless crimes.

Just think for a moment about what those victims have been through.

Can you imagine anything worse than your three year-old daughter going missing – you pour your heart out into your diary as you struggle to live your life day to day – and then the most intimate contents of that diary are spread over a national newspaper?

Can you imagine anything worse than to be at your daughter’s bedside as she fights for her life and struggles to cope with paralysis – only to have newspapers reveal she was pregnant?

Can you imagine anything worse than fearing your missing teenage daughter has been murdered – your hopes rise that she might still be alive. But she wasn’t. And you then discover that the News of the World was hacking her voicemail?

These victims have gone through and are still going through unimaginable suffering. But despite that, they were prepared to relive those experiences in the full glare of publicity at the Leveson Inquiry, because they want change.

We often talk of walking a mile in someone’s shoes; none of us would want to walk even one step in theirs.

They remind us why the status quo, unsatisfactory for decades, can no longer be an option.

They want the implementation of the Leveson Report – and so do we.

We must act on Leveson’s proposals for substantial and lasting change.

Importance of a free press

Another thing that hasn’t changed is our strong belief in, and commitment to, freedom of speech and a free press.

Leveson’s proposals are not a threat to the press. They strengthen, not weaken, our press.

For the press can only be strong if it is clean.

How can the press hold to account those who abuse power if they are abusing their own?

How can they have the legitimacy and moral authority, necessary for the press in a free democracy, if they are breaking their own rules and breaking the law?

Leveson’s proposals

Lord Justice Leveson proposes a framework which provides for the continuation of self-regulation by the press, but – and this is the key difference – with a legal guarantee that that self-regulation will be effective, independent and continue to meet high standards.

The role of the law – the legal underpinning – would be limited to setting up a body whose task would be to recognise the self-regulatory system and to check it once every 3 years.

Leveson said this was essential to ensure that, despite all the protestations of change and good intentions, the press did not once again slip back into their old ways – as they have always done after all the other inquiries and reports.

Labour’s support

We strongly support that.

It cannot be just the good faith of the press that ensures the new system remains independent and effective. There was good faith after previous Royal Commissions and after the Calcutt Reports, but they have always slipped back.

The new system must be guaranteed by law.

Arguments in favour of statute

The press have strongly opposed the key recommendation that recognition should be underpinned by law – that statute should set up the recognition body. They say it would cross the Rubicon and pose a fundamental threat to our democracy.

Let me address each of their arguments in turn.

The first is that any statute affecting the press automatically ends a free press. But there are already statutes affecting the press.

The press themselves asked to be included in section 12 of the Human Rights Act 1998.

The press themselves asked for a Defamation Act.

The first argument—that any law mentioning the press undermines freedom—therefore does not and cannot hold.

Secondly, the press argues that the statute Leveson proposes would be the regulation of the press by a ministerially appointed quango. But this is not what Leveson recommends. It does not set up the self-regulatory system. It would be limited to guaranteeing the system of self-regulation. No newspaper would be required by law to join. It would remain voluntary to join, on the basis of incentives.

In that, what it proposes is similar to the Irish system, which has been in place since 2009. That covers all the newspapers operating in Ireland, which volunteer to be part of the Irish Press Council, which includes the Irish editions of the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Daily Star, The Sun, The Sunday Times, The Mail on Sunday and the Sunday Mirror.

Why have those newspapers signed up to the Irish system? Why, if as they say, any press law would end freedom of speech, have British editors not chained themselves to the house of the Taoiseach? Why, if they are so worried that any press law crosses the Rubicon, has our Government not summoned the Irish ambassador for a dressing down?

If the Irish system really posed a threat to the freedom of the press, where were the protests in Ireland, a country known for its passionate commitment to human rights?

Thirdly, there is the argument about a press law being the thin end of the wedge, the start of a slippery slope, the beginning of our descent into Zimbabwe.

A central feature of our democracy is that it is the responsibility of elected representatives to make and change laws, and we can do that at any time.

If that is a slippery slope, so is the very existence of Parliament. The only way to address that concern is to abolish Parliament, and we have yet to hear anyone proposing that.

Fourthly, there is the argument that the legislation proposed would inevitably be complicated and cumbersome. But that is simply not the case. We have drafted and published a short bill. Hacked Off have published a short bill. The Government has drawn up two draft bills.

All of these show that a Bill can be drafted in a way to give effect to what Lord Justice Leveson recommended.

Finally, there is the civil liberties argument. I do not believe that Lord Justice Leveson’s central recommendations, for an independent system of press self-regulation guaranteed by law, would undermine freedom of speech.

This is not about politicians determining what journalists do or do not write. The freedom of the press is essential.

But so is that other freedom: the freedom of a private citizen to go about their business without harassment, intrusion or the gross invasion of their grief and trauma. Those two freedoms are not incompatible.

Royal Charter

Since the publication of the Leveson Report, we have been engaged in cross party talks with the Tories and the Lib Dems.

And into those talks Oliver Letwin has brought the proposal that the legal underpinning of the recognition body should be provided not by a single statute, as suggested by Leveson and as agreed by us, but through a combination of a Royal Charter and accompanying statutory provisions.

The most straightforward way of implementing Leveson is to have a single statute.

While the statutory route is straightforward the Royal Charter route is anything but. It is untried and untested and we are unpersuaded that it can do the job that Leveson proposes.

Government has never before sought to legislate through a combination of statute and Royal Charter rather than through a bill in Parliament.

It is as yet unclear how the body established by Charter could be funded.

It would clearly need statute to stop ministers on some future occasion toughening or weakening its provisions by edict of the Privy Council.

There would need to be statute to provide for the exemplary damages regime which would incentivise newspapers to join the self-regulator.

Perhaps the most fundamental concern is whether the recognition body established by Royal Charter would survive the inevitable legal challenge.

As we entered the cross party talks we set the government a deadline of the end of January to publish Leveson-compliant measures.

While the Government has shared their Royal Charter and accompanying clauses with us in the talks, and with the newspaper industry, most MPs, peers, lawyers and others with an interest have yet to see them.

It is now time for the Government to have the courage of its convictions. We have – and have drafted and published our bill.

I now challenge the Government to publish their Royal Charter and accompanying draft clauses by the end of this month, and let them be subjected to public scrutiny.

And while the talks have been useful and will continue, the elephant in the room – statute alone or statute and charter – must be discussed openly and agreed on by parliament.

The public must be able to scrutinise the proposals.

And Parliament – to whom Lord Justice Leveson trusted a key role in setting up the new system – must be able to decide.

That’s why we will ensure that this will come back to Parliament – with, if necessary, a debate and vote at on one of our Opposition Days in February.


We all know that it wasn’t just the impunity from the lack of a proper press complaints system that led to phone-hacking and media intrusion.

It was a sense of invincibility arising from the power of the concentration of media ownership.

Monopoly ownership inhibits a diversity of views, and competition. It is bad for our democracy and bad for the consumer.

Above all, it places too much power in the hands of one man.

Rupert Murdoch owns too many newspapers. 34 per cent of national circulation – two of our biggest daily papers, and two of our biggest Sunday papers – is too much.

Despite the financial pressures facing newspapers and people now getting their news online, newspapers are still powerful, still wield significant political influence, and still set the news agenda.

The failed News Corp bid for the whole of BSkyB focused attention on cross-media monopoly. But owning too much within one sector – owning too many newspapers, for example – is also a problem.

The Leveson Report made recommendations on media ownership and plurality. And it is a key issue which we must address.

Work needs to be done. Much important work has already been done. We propose that the Government returns to previous work and builds on it.

A notable example of that is the Joint Committee of Both Houses, chaired by Lord Puttnam, which scrutinised the Communications Bill in 2002. That report made a number of recommendations about the role of Ofcom, about ensuring plurality was a consideration in mergers, and about the level of ownership that should be permitted.

Their expertise must be put to work on the Leveson recommendations on ownership.


The future of the BBC remains of critical importance.

It is impossible to overstate its importance to us at home, and abroad.

It is an essential part of our national life and our media landscape.

It is a source of national pride, and one of our most trusted and valued institutions, with its unparalleled breadth, depth, reach, and appeal, from Saturday night entertainment to sport, from world-class drama to top-drawer comedy, and of course its news.

We all think we raise our own children, but it’s in partnership with Auntie.

And that’s why the sexual crimes committed by Jimmy Savile were so shocking.

It was so horrifying above all because of what Savile’s victims had suffered and what they still suffer.

But also it was so shocking because the public trusts and values the BBC so much.

No doubt the enemies of the BBC will take this as an opportunity to pounce. Question its funding. Challenge its independence.

We must protect the BBC. This is a time for cool heads and for the BBC to take the steps to restore confidence.

Tony Hall was an excellent choice as the new Director-General, bringing experience from working within the BBC but also from outside it.

He is the right person to bring stability to the BBC, and I hope that he will lead the change mapped out by George Entwistle in his short stint as Director-General, about there being too many executives. Too many at the top and at the expense of a focus on content and output.

I also hope he will address the executive pay situation at the BBC.

Working for the BBC is prestigious, professionally satisfying and it is public service.

When you work for the BBC – paid for by the licence fee payer – you are making a choice not to work in the private sector and to get the huge benefits of working at the BBC.

Tony Hall will have to address the high pay for executives, and especially how much they are paid compared to front line producers.

As the Public Accounts Committee has shown, there must be transparency about BBC pay and pay offs. And if the public object – which they do – then the current system is simply not sustainable.

Communications Bill

Finally, the Communications Bill. Or rather, the lack of the Communications Bill.

We haven’t had a Bill – or even a White Paper – or even a Green Paper – since we met last year.

Just a series of roundtables.

This leaves individuals and our creative industries in a state of uncertainty.

And it is bad news for swathes of our country – particularly rural areas – who still don’t have access to decent speed broadband.

Labour made a pledge – which all judged to be reasonable and achievable – that everyone would have access to 2 megabits per second broadband by the end of 2012.

The Government abandoned that target and instead promised to deliver superfast broadband to 90 per cent of premises by the end of 2015.

But having abandoned our target, the Government looks set to fail to achieve their own.

Too many people across the country are losing out, particularly rural communities.

2.6 million households, 10 per cent of UK broadband connections, still don’t receive basic 2 Megabits per second broadband.

Had Labour been in power almost all of those 2.6 million households would have had access to basic broadband.

Rural areas are almost 50 per cent less likely to receive broadband of at least 2 Megabits per second.

In Ceredigion in Wales, a quarter of premises have no fixed line broadband.

In Teesdale, some farmers have to make a fifty minute round trip to an internet centre to file their online cattle returns.


The Culture, Media and Sport brief is a wide-ranging one.

But we need to keep in mind the common themes.

The need to support innovation and nurture creativity.

The need to make sure that opportunities are available to everyone.

The need to protect people from abuse of power and to hold vested interests to account.

The need to build One Nation, where everyone has a stake, whether that’s giving everyone the opportunity to work in the creative industries or making sure everyone has broadband.

Where prosperity is shared fairly, and the powerful – like Murdoch – are held to account.

Where we protect the institutions – like the BBC – that bind us together as One Nation.

Harriet Harman – 2012 Speech to Labour Party Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by Harriet Harman at the 2012 Labour Party Conference in Manchester on the 4th October 2012.


Hi conference.

I’m Hattie, 62, from Camberwell.

And here’s today’s news in briefs.

It’s been a great week for the Labour Party.

And it’s been a great week for Ed Miliband.

I’ve known Ed for more than 20 years.

In fact, it was me that gave him his first job in politics.

And, you know, when Ed worked for me, people were always saying, I don’t know how you do it, with all that you do and so busy with 3 young children, you make such brilliant speeches.

But my secret weapon was Ed Miliband.

Ed, with your speech you showed everyone, the qualities you’ve always had:

•      your conviction

•      your confidence

•      your compassion and

•      your courage.

And when you told us the story about your family, you showed everyone why you have

•      such faith in this country

•      and such faith in the power of politics as a force for good.

Ed, we all know you love baseball, of course, you’re a Red Sox fan.

So, can I just say to you…

You knocked the ball right out of the park.

Shadow culture secretary 

Conference, since we met last year, I’ve taken up my new role as shadow culture secretary.

I was lucky enough to go the Brits.

The wine was flowing, the music was loud and I did that thing that politicians must never do.

I hit the dance floor.

I know what you’re thinking…. why is it that our Deputy Leaders always have to make such a prat of themselves at the Brits?

The next morning I was mortified.

As I feared, someone had tweeted about it – “Labour MP in dodgy dancing cringe fest”.

But the good news was it then said – ‘honestly…. you’d think @tessajowell would know better’.

And the other good news is that people are still stopping me in the street and saying “thank you so much for bringing the Olympics to Britain, Tessa”.

And I say, “you’re welcome”.

And we all want to say a huge thank you to Tessa for all her years on Labour’s front bench and the brilliant job she did on the Olympics.

Thank you, Tessa.

Reading material 

And in my new role as shadow culture secretary, I’m always asked what I’m reading.

And just the other week, I had an awkward moment when a journalist asked me if I’d read “that” book.

Women here will know the one…

The one about a sado-masochistic relationship – you know…

with a dominant superior controlling a naive submissive…

And I said: “don’t be silly – of course I’ve read the coalition agreement.”

Now, as it happens I have also read ‘50 Shades of Grey’ – for ‘research purposes’.

But I have to say I don’t think it’s very realistic.

Because, let’s be honest, what most women want is not a man who ties you to the bed, but one who unstacks the dishwasher while you watch the Great British Bake-Off.

Starting gun for 2015 

Each and every conference has its own defining point.

This is the conference – here in Manchester 2012 – where Ed fired the starting gun for the next general election.

Because of what Ed’s done since he became leader – we are now in with a fighting chance of forming the next government.

But we all know that we still have a long way to go.

We’ve got to fight the Tories.

We’ve got to fight the Lib Dems.

We’ve got to work as a team.

And we’ve got to have no, no-go areas for Labour.

Cameron – letting down young people and women

Because people all over this country are suffering with this government.  Young people are finding it really hard to get their first job.

And women are finding it hard to hang onto their jobs – and that’s just the women in David Cameron’s Cabinet.

You know Angry Birds used to be David Cameron’s favourite computer game – now it’s his pet name for Caroline Spelman and Nadine Dorries.

But there is one woman who can always rely on David Cameron’s unswerving, unconditional support – Rebekah Brooks.

But when it comes to the next election, I suspect women in this country will have seen enough and won’t give Cameron one of those famous ‘second chances’ he’s so fond of.

Lib Dems – Tory accomplices 

And what about the Lib Dems.

They claim to be a brake on the Tories – but they are nothing of the sort – they are their accomplices.

They boast of the pupil premium – all well and good – but then they vote with the Tories for the biggest education cuts since the 1950s.

They boast of taking people out of tax by raising the tax threshold – all well and good – but then they vote with the Tories to slash those people’s tax credits.

They boast of a clamp-down on tax avoidance – all well and good – but then they vote with the Tories for tax cuts for millionaires.

People say you get the politicians you deserve.

But no-one deserves Nick Clegg.

Calamity Clegg who has propped up this miserable Tory government every step of the way.

It’s no wonder Vince Cable is on manoeuvres.

But let’s not forget Saint Vince is in it up to his neck too. After all, it was his policy to treble tuition fees.

So I have a message for Vince. Don’t bother texting Ed – he’s changed his number.

We have a first-past-the-post system and voters get just one vote – we’re saying to them vote Labour.

We are not fighting to be part of a coalition government – we are fighting to win.

Corby by-election 

So now, in that all important by-election in Corby:

•      we have got to campaign as never before

•      and make sure people use their vote – their one precious vote

•      to elect our fantastic local Labour candidate Andy Sawford.

Marginal Mindset 

To win the next General Election we must – all of us – adopt a marginal seat mindset and listen to the people where we don’t have Labour MPs as well as where we do.

That’s why every one of our shadow ministers will adopt a marginal seat – working alongside our Labour candidate, to listen to and understand the concerns of people there.

Ed Balls has twinned with Clair Hawkins in Dover and Deal. Chuka is backing Clive Lewis and Jessica Asato in Norwich and I’m proud that I’m twinned with Andrew Pakes in Milton Keynes.

Conference, we’ve got to be the voice speaking up for the young couple in Dartford, as well as the young couple in Darlington.

We’ve got to speak up for the pensioner in Gloucester, as well as in Grimsby.

The commuter in Milton Keynes as well as in Manchester.


And at a time when many people have no faith in politicians and think that politics is a dirty word– it’s even more important that people can see, in parliament

•      someone like them

•      people they can relate to

•      people they can trust.

And over the months ahead, in your local parties, you’re choosing your candidates for the next general election I know you will want to choose candidates from all walks of life – from our factories and shop floors, from business to our armed services, people from all different backgrounds and cultures and a balanced team of men and women.

We must reflect the country we seek to serve.

No complacency 

And because we’re determined to achieve the difficult task of making this a one-term coalition there’s no place for complacency – or business as usual.

We have to – and are – doing things in a different way.

We’ve got to reach out beyond our party faithful into communities, connecting with people who otherwise feel that politics has nothing to offer them.

We have to build our party with more members and more supporters – so let’s each and every one of us play our part in Labour’s Plus One Campaign.

Which has already been a great success. Since just the start of this conference, more than 1200 new members have joined, and 5000 have registered as supporters.


Conference, we all celebrated the Olympic games-makers who came here this week.  I want us to thank our very own conference games-makers – our fantastic army of stewards.

And there’s another group of people I know we’ll all want to pay tribute to – our brilliant and hardworking party staff.

This has been a difficult year but the work you put in – in our headquarters and all around the country – is nothing short of heroic.

Thanks to each and every one of you.

Iain McNicol 

And I want to thank our General Secretary Iain McNicol.

Iain, you have led the party staff through those difficult times and I have no doubt, with you at the helm, our party will go from strength to strength.


It’s always great to be at conference.

But this week has been special.

This week – the game has changed.

We know we have big challenges ahead.

But we leave Manchester emboldened, enthused, with a strong sense of purpose.

We have grown in confidence.

We have grown in self-belief.

This country needs a government of and for all its people, not a coalition that plays divide and rule.

This country needs a One Nation Labour party and a One Nation Labour government.

Harriet Harman – 2012 Speech to TUC Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by Harriet Harman, the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and the Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, to the TUC Conference on 17th March 2012.

Good morning. And I’m very happy to be here this morning, with so many of you who have long worked in the press and broadcasting, campaigned for press freedom, against media monopoly and for higher press standards. Particularly the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, the National Union of Journalists and here at the TUC.

This is an important moment and an opportunity for long overdue change. And your insight into what needs to change and your pressure for that change is vital.

You have the concerns of those who care about the public interest and you have the knowledge that comes with working in the media.

The profession of journalism is very much in the dock because o f phone hacking and the evidence that has come before the Leveson Inquiry. But it is important that we all remember that good journalism is vital for our democracy and despite the drama round phone hacking most journalists are highly professional doing vital work and often in dangerous conditions to get to the truth. The death of Marie Colvin reminded everyone that without fearless journalists the truth of suffering and oppression will remain hidden from view.

I believe that most journalists – like most politicians – go into the profession to do good and serve the public interest.

So, although journalism feels under attack at present we must not lose sight of the huge professional commitment in journalism and the amazing work that is done.

But I know that you also have concerns about employment and trade unionism in the media.

Journalists have always worked under pressure – the pressure of deadlines, the pressure of being the first to the story – or the sc oop… But now, that pressure is exacerbated by people not buying newspapers and instead, getting their news online which creates a very difficult commercial climate.

Employment in the media – particularly in newspapers – has become much harder over the last few years. Jobs have been lost. In just one week this year, 75 jobs went at Trinity Mirror’s national papers, and 30 jobs went at the Telegraph.

The competition for market share in a shrinking market has created pressure on journalistic professional standards – some feel under pressure to cut corners to get a story. And the right to challenge that is undermined by job insecurity. There is a fear that, if you object, then you will be the first out the door and into a world where it’s hard to get another job.

But the fact that newspapers are under pressure does not justify any undermining of employment rights.

And I want to pay tribute to Michelle Stanistreet and the NUJ for standing up for journalists.

And the truth is that if journalists, with the backing of the NUJ, had more power to protect their professional integrity, some of the worst problems that have now come to light may have been avoided.

So trade unionism is good for the individual in the media and is good for press standards.

We support a free press as a basic human right. And there’s another human right which we support which is freedom of association – trade unionism. And though it does not seem to have been documented, we all have the sense that when it comes to news reporting of trade unions, the press is not fair. Depiction of trade unions in the press rarely highlights the life changing work of local representatives – protecting their members from discrimination and unfairness. When did you last see reports of trade unions working patiently on behalf of their members with the management to secure a sustainable future for the business? Instead, the depiction is of extremism and perversity.

Women’s groups have made a submission about stereotyped treatment of women by the press.

It’s not right for some sections of the press to abuse their right to free speech in a way that undermines another fundamental right – freedom of association.

I think it would enhance Lord Justice Leveson’s work if evidence on that was presented to him.

This conference has been called at an historic time – with the media under scrutiny like never before.

The central issue is that we all want a free press which is able to report without fear or favour, but we have all been revolted at the unfairness and corruption revealed by Leveson. And we all want change. Business as usual is not an option.

I’ve thought long and hard about how we ended up in this position and I think there are two deep-rooted problems which led us into this mess and which we must confront: the concentration of media power and the lack of redress for press complaints.

Because of the evidence at the Leveson inquiry – and the harrowing testimony of the victims such as the Dowlers – most of the discussion about change has focused on press complaints.

But the wrongdoing in the Murdoch empire was due not only to the absence of any proper complaints system which led to a sense of impunity. But also from too great a concentration of power which led to a sense of invincibility. And it is this combination of impunity and invincibility which lies at the heart of the problem and must be addressed

Let me start with that concentration of media ownership.

The malpractice and illegality exposed by the Leveson inquiry was never just “one rogue reporter” or a few bent policemen. It is a symptom of an underlying structural problem.

Murdoch owns too many newspapers. 37% of national circulation – owning two of our most influential dailies and two of our most influential Sunday papers, was too much. And had it not been for the hacking scandal and Murdoch dropping his bid, the Government would have waived through his bid for the whole of BSkyB. As well as the DCMS select committee, both Ofcom and Leveson are looking at ownership, and it is clear that there needs to be change.

We must make sure that opportunity is not wasted.

There needs to be agreement on:

– a trigger for intervention – action cannot be confined just to an event such as a takeover

– the maximum percentage of ownership permitted

– a methodology for how ownership is measured

– the mechanisms for enforcing – for example, divesting

– and a strong Ofcom, which must be powerful in practice as well as on paper.

And the issue is not just ownership across newspapers, broadcasting and other media but also how we address monopolistic ownership within those sectors.

Of course substantive change will need to be informed by the outcome of the Leveson Inquiry and the Ofcom review. But there are thing s the government can and should do now to strengthen the law which was clearly revealed as inadequate by the Murdoch/BskyB bid.

Over the course of that bid, it became clear that it was not only political unwillingness of the government to act, but legal inhibitions on action too.

We are proposing that the law be changed so that in cross media cases like this…

– The person making the application must prove to Ofcom that they are a “fit and proper person” at the start of the process – before the applicant notifies the European Commission that they intend to buy another company.

– That the “fit and proper person” test should be broadened to include not just criminal convictions but also any previous history of impropriety, failure in good governance, or investigation or prosecution for tax fraud.

– If it’s discovered that they not have been open and transparent in the information they have given in proving they are “fit and proper” the applicat ion should be struck out.

– That an applicant would have to accept the jurisdiction of the UK court. That if your bid is successful, and your company is involved in a court case, you can’t avoid a court summons by being abroad.

The BskyB bid stress tested the existing legal framework and showed clearly were the cracks.

Despite widespread and serious concern about Murdoch’s business practices, Ofcom did not initiate the “fit and proper person” test until after the Miller Dowler hacking revelations.

Under the changes we propose Murdoch would have to have full disclosure and had to prove himself a fit and proper person before he was even able to formally start the process of the takeover.

We don’t have to wait to do this. My colleague in the Lords, Baroness Scotland, has been telling the government since last July that they can change the law under the powers that they have in the Enterprise Act. And they should do this.

The situation is different for local newspapers. And the biggest danger at local level is not having a newspaper at all.

Revenue is declining as fewer people are buying local newspapers and classified advertising is moving online. Local newspapers are closing or moving to regional hubs, with the loss of local news reporting and the loss of journalists’ jobs. Claire Enders estimates that 40% of jobs in the regional press have been lost in the last 5 years.

Local newspapers are important to local communities.

They also provide a route for journalists, especially those outside London, into the national media.

So we should take the particular situation in local newspapers into account when framing protection against monopoly in the future.

As well as preventing monopoly and promoting plurality, we need to give members of the public redress where journalistic professional standards are breached.

The financial pressures which have intensified competition between papers and left some feeling that they are fighting for their lives cannot justify intrusion and illegality, the terrible stories that we’ve all heard at the Leveson Inquiry.

Lord Justice Leveson has presided over a fearless and forensic process, and an emotional one. It has been a decisive moment for free speech – the free speech of the victims often heard for the first time. Even before Leveson has finished hearing the evidence and started writing his report, the Inquiry is emphatically demonstrating the need for change.

Look at what happened to Charlotte Church, a child with a huge talent. But for the News of the World the most important thing was to sell stories. No information – not the most intimate, not the most private and not the most painful personal and family issues – was off limits. In their pursuit of profits they dehumanised Charlotte Church and her mother. To the News of the World they were not a child and her mother. They were no thing more than commodities to sell more papers. She showed real courage in coming to the Inquiry to say how that felt.

You can only admire, too, the remarkable strength of Bob and Sally Dowler. What could be worse than to lose a beloved daughter to murder? But to the News of the World they were not grieving parents deserving the greatest sympathy. They were nothing more than commodities to sell more papers. For the Dowlers to come to the Leveson inquiry and – in public – relive those grim days and weeks, in the full glare of the press that had so abused them, was hugely courageous.

The need for change is clear. The challenge – for Leveson and for all of us – is that this change commands as great a consensus as possible, and that this change is positive and enduring.

There is much heat and justifiable emotion around the debate about the future of press standards, but there is an important need for the response from politicians and the press to be measur ed.

In my role as Shadow Culture and Media Secretary I want to be clear that Labour’s starting point will be a commitment to defend the freedom of the press.

As a lawyer, at the start of my professional life, I fought the cause of press freedom, working at Liberty. Because of my work holding the government to account, I was prosecuted for contempt by the then Attorney General in what became the landmark case of Home Office v Harman.

As a politician, I’ve spent enough time in opposition to dread the thought of the government interfering in the press. I’ve spent enough time in government to recognise that government power is dangerous if not held to account by the press.

Because the press are now in the dock, it looks like special pleading from a vested interest when they make the case for press freedom. That’s why it’s all the more important that politicians must insist on the freedom of the press. Politics cannot operate in a democracy witho ut a free and fearless press. We don’t want a cowed press.

Instead of doing things the usual way – where government and opposition each come up with their own proposals – we do need to do things differently.

I want to see newspaper editors to get together and come forward with their own proposal. I’ve been calling for this since January and I’m very pleased to see Jeremy Hunt echo that this week.

It would be better for the editors to frame the solution rather than have one imposed on them. We have had extensive general discussions. It’s now time for the editors to propose a new system for press complaints which is not just rhetoric.

This new system should deliver on the principles the editors say they actually want.

– A system independent of political interference and also independent of serving editors, who cannot be allowed to go on marking their own homework

– A system that is citizen centric, accessible and straightforward for all and not available only to the rich.

– A system that applies to – and is able to enforce its rulings – against all newspapers.

Last week, the Press Complaints Commission announced it was to close itself down and move to a transitional authority proposed by PCC chair, Lord Hunt. But the new body and Lord Hunt’s proposals fail a fundamental test.

It will apply not to all papers – but only to those who opt in.

So it is nothing more than business as usual. A change of name but not of substance.

And after all the evidence that has come before the Leveson inquiry, the status quo is not an option.

Many people have asked me whether I’ve been shocked by the revelations at the Leveson Inquiry. The sad truth is, it just confirmed what I had always believed.

Many people have also said to me, “But you were in government for 13 years – why didn’t you do something about it? You were too close weren’t you?”

The answer to that lies i n what happened in the past.

In our 1992 manifesto, we put in what we believed was necessary: that we should ‘establish an urgent inquiry’ by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission into media ownership, and – if the press failed to deal with abuses of individuals’ privacy – to implement the statutory protections recommended by the Calcutt report.

Our commitment to tackling media monopoly and introducing a robust press complaints system meant that the Murdoch press was determined to stop us getting into government. Not a day went by without on every issue, his papers battering us.

As we approached 1997, we – as Tony Blair said in his famous ‘feral beasts’ speech – turned to ‘courting, assuaging and persuading the media… after 18 years of Opposition and the, at times, ferocious hostility of parts of the media, it was hard to see any alternative’.

And, it is fair to say, that when we were in government, many senior figures did become too close to News International and Murdoch.

However, we did some things that Murdoch objected to. We strongly supported the BBC and we established Ofcom. But we didn’t sort out media ownership or complaints.

We’ve all got a lot of baggage on this. But we’ve got to leave it behind. This is not a time for press or politicians to settle old scores.

We must have an open debate. It cannot be a debate where the media dictates what we are allowed to discuss and propose about their future.

New ownership rules must address invincibility – it has to protect against monopoly and promote the public interest.

A new complaints system must address impunity and give redress to individuals.

Neither of these are a threat to a free press, but they ensure it’s a fair press.

The financial crisis facing print journalism cannot be used as an excuse to duck reform.

This is a critical time for the media, and for public policy towards the media. The Leveson Inquiry, the Ofcom review of media ownership and the forthcoming Communications Bill green paper – all of these things could have a profound effect on the shape of our media landscape for years to come.

We cannot waste this opportunity. We need free debate and we need judicious reform.

We owe that to the proud tradition of the British press, we owe that to everybody who works in it and we owe it to the public.

Harriet Harman – 2012 Speech on the UK Music Industry


Below is the text of the speech made by Harriet Harman, the Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, at the University of Hertfordshire on 20th February 2012.

Thanks David for that introduction and thanks to the University of Hertfordshire for hosting this event and to UK Music for helping to organise it.

Having just been on a tour of the facilities and having met some of the staff and students, it’s clear to see that Hertfordshire boasts one of the leading music faculties in the UK – from songwriting and composition to recording and production – and the pioneering course in music and entertainment industry management.

Despite the 18% drop in higher education applications across the creative arts sector, applications for music here at Hertfordshire have risen by 50%. That tells us that even with the real concerns about rising tuition fees, music is still an industry that young people want a career in.

So what better place to make my first major speech on music as Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport?

And what better time to make it – on the eve of the Brit Awards and just after Adele scooped so many awards at the Grammys.

This is a really big week for British music. But, music is important in everyone’s lives every day – whatever your age. Even I managed to download Adele onto my iPad – to the astonishment of the young team in my office who often think I’m more facelift generation than facebook.

Important for young people 

But it’s young people who music matters most to – like the young people in my South London constituency of Camberwell and Peckham. It’s a key part of their identity and many have hopes of a future working in the industry.

A public policy imperative

So we, as politicians, must take music seriously – there is a democratic imperative for us to represent what our constituents feel so passionately about – not just for fun, but for their own ambitions for their future.

So, as their representative, I want to ensure that I look to their future both as consumers and as creators so:

– That they can get the music they want from all over the world, as fast and as cheaply as possible

– That they can make the music they want and are able to distribute it – all over the world

– That they can work in the music industry or the many technology industries that support it. Some of you will want to end up working for a record label – and some of you will want to work for Apple, Google, Amazon or Spotify.

Putting the music business at the heart of Government

One of the things that strikes me most from talking to people in the music business is the real sense of frustration that within Government, music is invisible outside of the DCMS. Music is always praised for its importance for our culture but not recognised for its important to our economy. Its broader value in providing jobs and economic growth is still not acknowledged across Whitehall.

And it should be.

The British music industry generates £3.8 bn per year and is the second largest exporter of music in the world with a 12% share of global sales of recorded music.

As well as British performers punching well above their weight in terms of sales across the world, when it comes to jobs, music, visual and performing arts are the largest employers within the creative industries.

Music matters to our nation’s culture and identity but also matters to the economy.

My determination is that we in the Labour Party should have an integrated approach. So that music is not just in a silo at the DCMS. That it will be integrated across our teams in education, business and the treasury so that we put music at the heart of our economic agenda.

I know that many of you might feel that you’ve heard it before – but I believe that we can make that change and that we must. Our economy needs growth and jobs. Music as part of the creative industries is growing faster than the rest of the economy. It’s a no brainer.

Forging a 5 point plan for jobs and growth in the creative industries

So music has to be of equal importance to our treasury team, our business team and our education team as it is to me and our DCMS team. To show how we mean to go about this, later this month, I’m bringing together Ed Balls, Chuka Umunna and Stephen Twigg to forge our 5 point plan for jobs and growth in the creative industries. We want our Creative Summit to take forward a meaningful dialogue between the Labour Party and your industry to ensure that we can both speak up for those issues in Parliament now and, over the coming years, develop the best policies to support jobs and growth in music and in the wider economy.

Through the course of the conversations, I and my colleague Dan Jarvis – Labour’s shadow minister for the arts and creative industries – have been having with people in the industry it’s clear that there are some themes emerging about what our vision should look like and I want to hear from you about what you think. The main areas seem to be: access to finance; exports; a regional strategy for growth; young people and skills; and intellectual property.

Access to finance

Access to finance is clearly a huge issue. The paradox is while London is a global financial capital and Britain’s artists are global success stories – most of the music industry still struggles to get finance. The Government has to play its part in trying to improve the situation – to encourage the city to recognise the creative industries as an important investment for the future.

The banks have got to start lending to viable music businesses. The music industry is made up of thousands of small businesses – 92% of the UK music businesses employ fewer than 10 people. And they need to be able to get finance – to start up, to go from small to medium and for medium sized firms to grow. So it’s a big concern that the banks are not lending and Operation Merlin figures show banks still failing to meet their lending targets. It’s not good enough. It doesn’t seem too much to ask that in the global capital of banking we should have lending to our global music industry.


We are a net exporter of music and that’s growing. One in every 10 albums sold around the world is by a UK artist. British music puts us on the world map and helps attract tourists.

Music is a fantastic Great British asset – but the Government has got to better support the industry as an export and respect it as a serious earner of overseas currency for the exchequer. When David Cameron and George Osborne lead British business on trade delegations overseas to bang the drum for UK plc, as well as seeing defence and pharmaceutical companies represented, I want to see music, film and other creative industries at the forefront.

In all the regions

We need to build a more balanced economy for the future – not just less reliant on financial services but also less reliant on London.

Just as our reach needs to be global it needs to be across all regions of the UK. Last week I was in Manchester – with its massive music tradition and now with the new BBC media centre in Salford. Historically Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow have had a massive impact on music. And music has been a key part of economic regeneration in the regions too. The abolition of the Regional Development Agencies – which helped draw in investment and stimulate growth in our regions – including from European funds to our regions – hasn’t helped. Their replacements, the new regional growth funds, in their current form, are not adequate and this must be addressed. There has to be a proper regional strategy for growth in the music industry.

Opportunities for young people

That’s one of the things that will make sure that there are opportunities for young people in the industry – wherever they live.

Unlike politics – the music industry has no problem appealing to young people. But we have to ensure that the music industry has the widest pool of talent to draw on and there is real equality of access. So:

– We must ensure that every child gets a decent music education, the chance to sing, play an instrument, learn to appreciate music and to get the cross-curricula benefits that music brings.

– We must ensure that the industry gets graduates with the right qualifications and skills.

– And we must ensure that a generation who get their music online pay for the music that they use.


To sustain the music industry in the digital age as well as encouraging new business models and innovation, we still need effective copyright protection. So if you create something – it is yours – to license for others to use, to sell or give away.

And this is the basis for all the industry including:

– Investors

– Entrepreneurs

– Managers and marketers

– As well as the sound engineers and session musicians.

The collection of royalties makes money available for investing in new talent.

The BPI estimates the record industry reinvests over 20% of its revenue in developing new talent

Copyright infringement makes it difficult to run a business – especially if you are a small to medium sized business – as so many are in the music industry. You can’t run a business effectively if the products you want to sell don’t generate revenue because they are downloaded for free.

Every music company would love to have a success story like Adele. But the reality is that most music businesses are not music giants but are small, independent companies making a living and breach of copyright inhibits their ability to grow especially when it comes to dealing with banks.

Let me give you and example. Music producer Steve Levine took out a bank loan to produce and distribute singer Natalie McCool’s first album. He released her single on iTunes for 99p per download. The week the single was released a website Freedownloadsong.com offered it for free. Her fans believed this to be legitimate and nearly 7,000 downloaded her song. Had Steve been able to sell these songs at 99p per track he would have been able to pay Natalie and the bank loan. The bank accused Steve of giving them inaccurate sales projections and demanded their money back. The paradox is that there was demand but because of the free downloads they generated no returns which meant that he, the artist and the bank all lost out.

And as you’ll all know, this is not just a one-off.

Research by this university and UK Music found that:

– Over 60% of 14 – 24 year olds were downloading music without paying for it.

Research from Harris Interactive found that:

– ¾ of all digital music obtained in 2010 was downloaded illegally.

Of course every illegally downloaded track would not translate into one which was paid for but even taking that into account Jupiter Research estimate:

– That revenue lost to the recorded music industry last year through piracy was £236m.

And despite the success of UK music, piracy has contributed to the fall in revenues of UK record labels – down 1/3 since 2004.

The last Labour Government started doing something about this with the Digital Economy Act.

The Government commissioned the Hargreaves review – which has reported and soon, they are going to publish a Green Paper and then bring forward legislation. So now is the time to take things forward and for the Government to strike the right balance between the content industries, including music, and the technology companies to create a climate where innovation can flourish while copyright is protected. This debate has been going on for long enough and needs to be brought to a conclusion.

I know these two sectors – technology and content – feel pitted against each other when it comes to discussions about piracy.

I’ve had discussions with both, I know the arguments from both sides.

It’s too simplistic to point to one side as the villain of the piece. Because the reality is there a common interest – both need each other and both must be part of the solution.

The rights holders don’t want to be seen as the opponents of the democratisation of culture. The tech companies don’t want to be seen as supporters of piracy. Both need each other and there are big commercial incentives for both sides to come together and get this right.

What the music industry should do

Big strides have been made by the music companies – there are now 70 license services. But they should do more to support innovation and new business models. They could make more of their catalogue available and support simplification of licensing, such as provision for licensing of orphan works and making it easier for more deals to be struck through a Digital Copyright Exchange.

What the technology companies should do

The technology companies need to do more with the content creators to better signpost legitimate search.

And they should do more to tackle piracy including by stifling the income of the pirate websites. There are a relatively small number of very big pirate websites which make a lot of money. When they are based offshore they are hard to reach. But that mustn’t lead us to conclude that nothing can be done. Google, as a major site for advertising, could take a lead to engage the advertising industry in depriving illegal sites of their advertising revenue.

If Google and the ad agencies drain the swamp of piracy by removing their financial incentive – online advertising – then we would have a fertile environment in which paid-for content could flourish.

No-one could imagine how we would survive without Google – most of us use it hundreds of times a day. But it is because they are so effective – and trusted – that Google and other search engines should use their creative energy to help the music industry fight piracy.

What the Government should do

And the Government should:

– implement the Digital Economy Act under a clear timetable including getting on with the notification letters and publishing the code of practice

– lead and set a deadline for agreement in the industry for site blocking, search engine responsibility and digital advertising. The music industry – and other creative industries – say that if the Government got a move-on, they could do this by May this year.

– Make it clear that if there’s no agreement, this will be legislated for in the Communications Bill

– promote London and our hub cities as the melting pot for both creativity and technology. What we offer is the synthesis of these two – while elsewhere in the world there are technology centres or creative centres – our cities offer both.

– lead joint work bringing together the technology industry and the content creators to educate and signpost consumers to legal access to content.

– recognise – like they do in the US – that there is a public policy imperative to protect rights owners. Currently rights holders feel that they are on their own, that the law is not enforced and the Intellectual Property Office is not on their side. So Government must act – gear up enforcement and tackle the fragmentation of the enforcement agencies.

Diversity challenge

In my constituency, the people who are going to be the future of this industry are women as well as men and black as well as white. But like many industries in Britain today there’s a stubborn lack of diversity at the top of both the music industry and technology companies.

Many artists in the industry – like the consumers – are women and ethnic minorities. But the top management of the industry is dominated by white men. The reality is that who you know is still too important in your ability to get into the business. The industry needs to ensure that everyone – including all of you – gets a fair chance based on merit to get into the industry and a fair chance based on merit to rise up the industry. I know that the industry has recently committed to a diversity charter – now it needs to turn words into action.


Music provides the backdrop to our lives. It defines the eras in which we grow up and enriches so many other activities – the movies, TV shows and adverts we watch; the video games we play; the bars and clubs we go to; the smartphones we use.

As we all look forward to the Brits tomorrow this is a time to really celebrate the achievements of the UK’s music industry at home and abroad. And this year is especially important as the Olympics will offer every part of British music – from our recording artists to our world famous orchestras – a platform to showcase our talent to the world.

Thank you for being here today and for listening me.

I look forward to working with the industry on how we can take the right steps now to nurture it make sure that in five, ten or even 50 years we still have a great British success story we can all be proud of.

Harriet Harman – 2012 Speech to Oxford Media Convention


Below is the text of the speech made by Harriet Harman, the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, to the Oxford Media Convention on 25th January 2012.

I’m very pleased to be here today – meeting up with those of you I haven’t met before and with many of you who I have known for years – but in my new capacity as Shadow Culture Secretary.

At the age of 61 it’s exciting to be part of Ed Miliband’s new generation. Not so much the face book generation as the face lift generation.

We meet in historic times:

– Never before have the creative industries been so important to help take us through these difficult economic times

– And never before has the media been under such scrutiny because of the phone hacking scandal

And all of this against the backdrop of astonishing developments in technology.

One of the things that we are most proud of from our time in government is the support we gave to culture, the creative industries and sport.

From free entry to museums and galleries, to boosting the film industry with tax credits, to winning the Olympics.

Labour supported something that is hugely important to people’s lives, something we are good at in this country and something that has a massive importance in the future.

If our politics is to reflect the aspirations and concerns of young people, then culture, media and sport must be at its heart. In my constituency of Camberwell and Peckham – as everywhere else – it is impossible to overstate how central culture, media and sport is in the lives of young people. They are all consumers – and great many of them want their future to be working in your industries.

You, in the creative industries have punched above your weight economically and as well as being the centre of our cultural agenda you must be at the heart of our education, economic and business agenda.

That is why the DCMS must never be seen as the ministry of fun. It is fun – but it’s bread as well as roses. DCMS policy must not stand alone but must be completely integrated with Education, Business and the Treasury.

I am determined to do that and next month, I’ve brought together a summit with our shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, our Shadow Business Secretary, Chuka Umunna, and our Shadow Schools Secretary, Stephen Twigg.

We want to work with you to develop a comprehensive plan for jobs and growth in the creative industries – and knowing Ed Balls it’s bound to end up being a 5 point plan.

We will be looking at a number of areas that many of you have raised including:

– Access to finance – making the City realise that creative industries are a good investment

– Making sure that the next generation have the right education and skills – to foster the designers, the technicians, and the animator of the future

– Giving proper support for our exports – when the Prime Minister leads a high level business delegation overseas – I want to see the creative industries right in there

– Protection against copyright theft and getting the correct balance for intellectual property rights.

Britain creates some of the best and most sought after content in the world. We’re the world leader in exporting television formats, the second biggest exporter of music and our video games industry is one of the largest in Europe. These industries bring great pleasure to millions of people here in the UK but they are also an engine for jobs and growth across the economy. That’s what we were trying to support with our Digital Economy Act. It is vital that new business models are allowed to flourish as technology advances but we must also support the creators and owners of copyright to have a right for their work not to be stolen. The irony is that many of the kids who are downloading free music want to make a living out of creating too. We need to protect their right to a future in the industry. It’s tough for young people entering the industry today. The force of the internet ripping through age-old business models mean many industries are still searching for new ways to generate revenue.

That’s four points – the fifth one is still up for grabs.

What has been well reflected throughout today’s debates is that there are huge issues across the landscape – from newspapers to broadcasters. And we’ve heard today from BBC Chair – Chris Patten.

It’s impossible to describe – without sounding gushing – the centrality of the BBC in the life of this country. We think we bring up our own children – but Auntie is there alongside us as we do it. The BBC news is most trusted not just here – but around the world. The sheer scale of the BBC – the world’s biggest broadcasting organisation – means that it is able to be – and is – a massive centre of gravity for our creative industries. Under its wings, there flourish an eco-system of trainees and independent production companies. The BBC doesn’t belong to the Government of the day. And when we were in Government we were not always the best of friends. But the BBC doesn’t belong to the Government of the day, it belongs to the people which is why they trust it more than any Government and why my approach as shadow secretary of state is to be an ardent and outspoken supporter of the BBC.

Many who usually come to this conference aren’t here today because they’re in the High Court – at the Leveson Enquiry.

The phone hacking scandal went to the heart of the politics, police and the press and one thing is clear – things will have to change.

Though there was nothing new about public figures complaining about the press, what changed things and where public anger erupted was that it was not just celebrities – the rich and powerful who had been targeted – but ordinary people who had suffered terrible tragedy.

It was because of the revelations about what had been done to the Dowler family that Ed Miliband spoke out against News International and called for a judge-led inquiry. He was right to do that – it was brave – and it led to the Government setting up the Leveson Inquiry.

Leveson has been a painful process as everything has been played out in public. However it has been powerful and cathartic and it should leave no-one in any doubt that it cannot be business as usual.

There is much heat and justifiable emotion in the demand for change. But there is an important need too, for the response from politicians and the press to be balanced.

It is a paradox. The public worry that the relationship between the press and politicians has been far too close. The press worry that politicians will use this scandal to exact revenge on the press and settle old scores for the friction which is inevitable when the press hold government and politicians to account.

It’s fair to say that over 30 years in parliament, I’ve don’t ever remember being described as a “darling of the press”. Harriet Harperson – Hapless Hattie – “she who hates men” – and those are some of the nicer things that have been said.

So it might come as a surprise to some that I am standing up for press freedom.

But I have spent enough time in Opposition to dread the thought of the Government interfering in the press.

And I’ve spent enough time in government to recognise that government power is dangerous if not held to account by the press.

And, indeed, at the start of my professional life, I fought the cause of press freedom – at Liberty. And because of my work there holding the government to account – I was prosecuted for contempt by the then Attorney General who launched a prosecution against me in what became the landmark case of Home Office v Harman.

Those of us who are politicians in a democracy should be the first to understand that politics cannot operate in a democracy without a free press.

In my new role as Shadow Culture Secretary, I want to be very clear Labour’s starting point will be a commitment to defend the freedom of the free press.

Because the press are now in the dock, it looks like special pleading from a vested interest when they make the case for press freedom.

So that’s why its all the more important that politicians must insist on the freedom of the press.

But the press must acknowledge the outrage that was felt by people all round the country. And editors must understand that the status quo is not an option. It will just not be good enough to let the dust settle and then go back to business as usual.

There now needs to be a thoughtful, clear-eyed sober debate that focuses on shaping the future for the British press

There appears to be an emerging consensus around some key principles. That a new system must be:

– Independent – independent of political interference but also independent of serving editors. There needs to be advice and expertise – we can’t have people marking their own homework.

– It must be citizen centric – it must be accessible and straightforward for people. Seeking redress should not work just for the rich and powerful.

– It must apply to all newspapers – there can be no opting out.

These are all clearly sensible principles but we need to see how they could be made to work. And the key question is who is in the best position to do that.

Instead of doing things the usual way – Government and Opposition each coming up with our own proposals and then Leveson coming forward with his – I propose something different.

I think it would help Leveson if newspaper editors got together and came forward with a solution and I challenge them to do that. We have had a good airing of concerns and scoping of the issues but it is time for editors to lay their cards on the table and come up with a solution that guarantee these principles. It cannot just be rhetoric. I would like to see them frame the solution rather than have one imposed upon them

And with regards to the Press Complaints Commission. I know there are attempts to revive it. But I feel strongly that we’ve gone beyond that and it is time for a fresh start.

On the question of media power and cross media ownership, it is important that we have plurality in our media because it allows for competition and prevents obstacles to new entrants in the market which is bad for the consumer.

This is what the plurality framework is for.

But, by the end of the fiasco around the Murdoch/BSkyB takeover bid, it was clear to everyone that change is needed:

– To make clear that the judgments are made independently and not politically

– To make sense of the application of the “fit and proper person” test

– To make sure that we look across the media – not just at the newspapers – or any one siloed sector in a converging world – in a vacuum

– To make sure that, even without an “event” such as a takeover bid, there is the power to stop a monopoly developing

In the end, our plurality laws were intended to ensure that no one person gained unwelcome control over our media and accumulated too much power in our public affairs. In July, Parliament, at the instigation of a small number of MPs, and backed by Ed Miliband and others returned to this original intent. We must now complete that work and Ofcom and the Culture, Media and Sport select committee will have an important role in leading the debate on this.

Finally, can I turn to the press and the police? The police are prohibited from taking money from the press for stories – and the press are not allowed to pay them. But clearly that has been happening and no doubt Leveson will bring forward proposals to address that. We have to be sure that the police investigate without fear or favour.

We, in Labour, embrace the cultural vitality of our media sector. The richness it provides our nation and the opportunities it offers our people. And its appeal to modernity.

A vibrant and flourishing creative and cultural life is a symbol a of modern, progressive society. From Harold Wilson’s “white hot heat of the technological revolution” to, dare I say it, Tony Blair’s “Cool Britannia”, we’ve striven to champion an advanced media sector.

It’s a real privilege to be holding the responsibility of this brief at such an important moment, and I look forward to working with you.