Tessa Jowell (Baroness Jowell) – 2016 Maiden Speech in House of Lords

Below is the text of the maiden speech made by Tessa Jowell (Baroness Jowell) in the House of Lords on 23 May 2016.

My Lords, I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak in this debate on the Loyal Address and to be doing so for the first time in your Lordships’ House. I thank the noble Lord for his kind introduction. This place throngs with noble Lords who have for years been my heroes and my heroines, as well as my very dear friends, so it is an honour to be able to listen to their speeches and to learn. What a pleasure to have been able to listen to the valedictory speech of the noble Baroness, Lady Perry, who I think is a woman with more than one more adventure inside her.

I extend particular thanks to my two sponsors, my long-standing and dear noble and learned friend Lord Falconer of Thoroton and my noble friend Lady Lawrence of Clarendon, who has been a heroine of mine for many years and has deserved all the acclaim she has received as a campaigner against racism and for social justice. If only it had not been as a result of such a terrible personal loss. I also thank my mentor and dear noble friend Lady Jay of Paddington. There are so many more to whom I would like to pay tribute, but for the sake of your Lordships’ time and their blushes I will stop there. Of course, I would particularly like to thank all the staff of the House who have been so kind, welcoming and helpful since I arrived here. The doorkeepers, those in the Dining Room and those who welcome guests at the Peers’ Entrance have made me feel so welcome and have been so helpful.

As I was preparing my contribution to the debate today, I consulted my noble friend Lord Hennessy of Nympsfield—who, in turn, recalled asking the late and much-loved Lord Peston in advance of his own maiden speech what happened here. “Gossip and the discussion of ailments”, came the reply. These topics no doubt do get their occasional airing, but I have been so impressed in the short time I have been a Member by the important contribution made by this House in confronting with uncompromising humanity some of the most difficult issues of this time. The campaign led by my noble friend Lord Dubs showed that a confident, optimistic country can indeed distinguish between the fear of a free-for-all in immigration and the chance to give back to a small number of unaccompanied refugee children who have suffered unimaginable trauma their childhood.

Tax credits, support for disabled people and social housing are all causes that will change the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. They were all taken up by your Lordships in the short time that I have been a Member. So I would say to the Prime Minister, in the light of the proposals in the Loyal Address, that, however thwarted he may feel by this House, bad and unfair laws are not improved by curtailing the power of scrutiny in this place.

I sat for 23 years in the other place, both as a Back-Bencher and in government. I do not think there was a single day in my 23 years as a Member of Parliament when I did not feel awe at the responsibility of representing 80,000 people and trying to meet their expectations of me. My former constituency of Dulwich and West Norwood, now so ably represented by my successor, Helen Hayes, represents all I most admire about our country—its diversity, the endless ingenuity of its people, their optimism and their belief in the possibility of change. All my constituents, rich and poor, benefited equally from the dedicated staff at King’s College Hospital. Over all those years we campaigned together with community organisations such as the Brixton Soup Kitchen, Centre 70 and 4ALL, along with many others, and with local parents, for secondary schools which are transforming the ambition of young people so often written off.

My own first job was as a social worker in Brixton, tramping the same streets that I was later lucky enough to represent in Parliament and supporting families who had so much stacked against them. I hope that I will never become inured to what poverty smells like, nor forget the look of disappointment in a young person’s face when they realise that the great opportunity of London seems to be for others and not for them. Our new mayor, Sadiq Khan, carries on his shoulders such high expectations from those dispossessed. I congratulate him so warmly on his victory and pledge to help and support him in every possible way to be, as he wishes, the mayor for all Londoners.

The great issue before this country today is, of course, our membership of the European Union—the focus of so much of today’s debate. I devoutly hope that we will remain in it as fully engaged partners, but with the self-confidence to continue to negotiate change. So a vote to remain is not a vote for the status quo. Amid the daily salvos from warring economists and the claims and counterclaims of the partisans, it is too easy to forget that the European Union is a union of 28 nations, in a continent that saw the deaths of 70 million from wars in the last century, that have bound themselves together by common commitments to standards of human rights, rights at work, democracy, the rule of law and peaceful coexistence. We should never take that for granted.

Of course the EU institutions need to be improved. In many ways, this forthcoming referendum is a reproach to their slow response to public concern about this. Of course the EU faces enormous challenges, but we are not alone in wanting to shake up its inadequate institutions. But the founding optimism, its vision and its purpose are noble ones. We should stand up for them. Of course I respect the sincerely held views of those who want to leave, but behind the go-it-alone rhetoric I detect a deep pessimism. Those who wish to make this leap in the dark discount our importance to the rest of the European Union and the fact that our active engagement is a force for stability and good sense. It is a matter of vital national interest and it is a view which betrays a lack of confidence in our own country, in our ability to lead and win the argument for reform.

Personally, I feel I have been here before. When I proposed that we bid for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, I was told by all sides, “I wouldn’t bother if I were you. Even if we try, we won’t win. The French have it all sewn up—and, if we do win, we won’t be able to host it properly”. “Best not get involved” was the general advice. Here I pay particular tribute to my dear friends, the noble Lords, Lord Coe and Lord Deighton, who always believed that we could do it and did so much to make sure that we did.

And indeed we did. We did make a world-class venue out of a wasteland. We did inspire our young people not just in this country but around the world through International Inspiration. We did lead the world in sport after sport, and in that summer we found a renewed sense of our national identity, of who we are: self-confident and diverse. I think it took us a little by surprise. In those summer weeks four years ago, to recall Abraham Lincoln, we found,

“the better angels of our nature”.

I hope that in that same spirit the people of this country will renew their commitment to the European Union as an optimistic community of nations in which proud and distinct national identities are also the foundation of collective solidarity and open trade.

What I wish for my country, I wish for my own beloved Labour Party. I hope it can embrace the energy of its new and growing membership, who all share a belief that we should help people achieve more together than they can alone. But my party can do that only when it governs. It fails when it becomes a sect of the elect, turning its back on those who are not true believers, and becoming obsessed with rooting out heresy.

My Lords, I am truly honoured to join you. I hope to be useful and constructive, to learn from you and to offer help where I can. The great Seamus Heaney’s last injunction to his wife was, “Noli timere”—“Do not be afraid”. In holding the Executive to account, in defending a just cause even when it is unfashionable, in defending the weak against the strong and in forging our future proudly and confidently in a prosperous, peaceful Europe—in all these endeavours, we need not be afraid.

Tessa Jowell – 2012 Speech to Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Tessa Jowell, the Shadow Minister for London, to the Labour Party conference on 2nd October 2012.

Conference, it was an incredible summer of sport and culture – one whose shared memories will bind us for years to come.

In this session we are going to answer the question and introduce to you some of the people it takes to make an Olympic champion.

And so many thanks are due.

But let me begin by saying thank you Manchester. Had it not been for your inspirational Commonwealth Games in 2002, we would not have had the courage to bid for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

During those long years of preparation, when the doubters said it would cost too much, that the buildings would not be ready, that the public would not come, we always knew it would work.

So to all those 40,000 construction workers, apprentices and contractors from all over the country who built the Olympic Park on budget and on time, thank you.

The trades unions whose partnership with the contractors and the Olympic Delivery Authority delivered the biggest construction project in Europe with not even one reportable accident, let alone a death, of a worker in the Olympic Park. That is unprecedented and you did that. Thank you.

Seb, Paul and Jonathan, and the outstanding organising committee which always stood aside from party politics even after the election. It proved Harry Truman was right when he observed that it is remarkable what a small group of people can achieve together when they don’t care who gets the credit. We all did that together and thank you.

To the games makers, 70,000 representatives of the best of the British people, and thank you to the millions – 13 million who welcomed the torch to their communities across the UK, and the millions who cheered our Olympic and Paralympic athletes to such extraordinary success – thank you.

To all our athletes who after years of support from scores of people did it on the day and who showed what talent, unremitting hard work and raw courage can achieve – we thank you and we salute you.

Conference, in 1996 in Atlanta we won one gold medal, in London we won 29. It was the sustained and well-directed investment of public money in coaching and facilities which made that leap from the playground to the podium possible.

When you were watching the Olympic and Paralympic summer was anyone out there thinking that Britain was broken? I don’t think so.

This summer we showed ourselves as we are at our best: a country of progressive values, with an inclusive and joyous patriotism which celebrated our open, diverse and tolerant society.

It was a terrible summer for prejudice, intolerance and cynisism.

Our modern Britishness so perfectly embodied.

Mo Farah, a man from Somalia, wrapped in the Union flag, as proud to be one of us as we are proud of him.

And Nicola Adams who not only showed that there are no no-go areas in sport, but that there is not men’s sport and women’s sport, but just sport.

And our Paralympians who showed us that disability is not a bar to athletic greatness. On the contrary: the limiting factor for any athlete in any sport in any circumstance is what his or her body can be pushed to do, which is why so many of our Paralympians proved themselves to be among the greatest athletes in either games.

When we won the right to host the Games we made a promise. That the 2012 Games would inspire a generation. Until the election this was happening in schools across our country.

The dismantling of this world class organisation for sport in our schools is beyond belief.

So in order that we keep our promise, I have invited the Government to work beyond party to develop the facilities, coaching and curriculum space so that we keep our Olympic promise to young people across our country.

Building the next generation of Olympic champions starts with that – a plan for sport at every level. Showing the young people of our country that when we said we would inspire a generation, we meant it.

Because a moment like the summer of 2012 comes along just once in a lifetime.

When we all come together it shows what we can do.

Thank you.

Tessa Jowell – 2011 Speech to Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Tessa Jowell to Labour Party conference on 25th September 2011.

Conference, I think I speak for all of us when I say how proud we are to be here in Liverpool, the 2008 City of Culture, to celebrate London as an Olympic city in 2012.

But of course it’s not just a celebration for London – but a celebration for the whole of the UK.

Because the Olympics will be held in the largest new urban park in Europe.

Built in East London by businesses all around the UK.

More than 1,000 contracts nationwide.

40,000 jobs just in the Olympic Park, apprenticeships across the country.

And just look at the Olympic Stadium.

The concrete from Essex.

The steel from Bolton.

The seats from Luton.

And the turf from Scunthorpe.

Conference, these Games will change the geography of London.

A new cultural, commercial and sporting quarter in East London.

Fulfilling the promise that we made when we bid to host the Games, when we were in Government.

60 years of regeneration in just six.

It’s an achievement of which we can all be proud.

Completed on time and under budget.

So 2012 will see the Olympics and the Paralympics, and it will also see the celebrations of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

But before that…

We have big elections for the GLA and the Mayor of London.

A big Labour-Tory battle.

Londoners face the double whammy of a Tory Mayor and a Tory-led Government.

The people of London live with what this means

– That it’s the Tories that put up their tube fares.

– That it’s the Tories that break their promises on the police.

– And that it’s the Tories that place the economy at risk – by playing politics with jobs and growth

London’s first line of defence is our Labour members of the GLA, and we’re so proud of you all:

The Leader of the Group, Len Duvall:

Jennette Arnold

John Biggs

Joanne McCartney

Navin Shah

Nicky Gavron

Murad Qureshi

And of course the person we hope will be the next deputy Mayor, Val Shawcross.

Standing up for what Labour did – and what London Labour has to do.

Just remember what Ken oversaw as Mayor.

The biggest investment in public transport since the Second World War.

Neighbourhood police teams in every ward.

And, with Tony Blair and me – an Olympic moment and Olympic legacy that will change London forever.

Ken, as we remember your achievements and the challenges ahead, we must make sure that the contest next May will not be just a contest of celebrity.

It must be a campaign about who will be the most effective leader, the most effective Mayor of London during these most difficult of times.

A campaign about who understands the lives of real Londoners.

The millions of people who never see their face in the diary pages of the Evening Standard or Hello Magazine – but day in day out, work hard, play by the rules and just want to get on.

This is Ken’s city and those people are Ken’s Londoners.

These are the people who are counting on the Mayor to get things done for them – so that they can do more for themselves.

Because it’s competence not celebrity that gets young people back to work.

Competence not celebrity that will build them new homes.

Competence not celebrity that will keep their tube fares down.

They don’t need a TV personality – but they do need a mayor that realises this is the largest job in public service outside No 10 Downing Street.

With the talent, ambition and drive to build a better future for London.

London is a Labour City.

And Ken, we are with you.

Every activist will be working tirelessly to return a Labour GLA and elect you as mayor.

But we all know that beating Boris Johnson will be a whole lot tougher.

We shouldn’t underestimate how the Olympics will give him the advantage of incumbency.

Turning this around will be a real challenge.

Ken knows that. He’s up for that fight.

Our activists, who chose him so overwhelmingly, know that too.

And that’s why, Conference, we are today united in our determination and our passion to win this campaign.

So this week, each and every one of you, make a pledge to help Ken win.

Our campaign will be led from the grassroots, spread through word of mouth.

So get on yourken.org and pledge how you can get involved.

Lead the campaign in your ward or take responsibility for your street.

And you can see how it’s done here.

So Conference, so that Londoners, across our city, can finish the sentence – ‘I’m voting for Ken because’.

I’m proud to introduce.

Our candidate.

The future Mayor of London.

Ken Livingstone.

Tessa Jowell – 2010 Speech to Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Tessa Jowell, the then Shadow Minister for the Olympics, to the 2010 Labour Party conference.

Conference, in three weeks time – the Coalition will announce their spending review – a defining moment.

Because then the Coalition will announce a programme of cuts cloaked in the language of the ‘Big Society’.

They’ll say ‘we’re all in this together’, but what they mean is that ‘it’s your problem not ours’.

And, of course, the question is – what does the Coalition mean by the ‘Big Society’?

If they really believe that people should have more control over their lives – then we agree.

If they mean that communities can and should be more powerful – we know.

And we know because we did it while we were in Government.

David Cameron says that he wants the voluntary sector to grow.

And conference it has grown. It has doubled in size.

Under Labour.

He wants more people to participate in civic life.

And they are.

And it happened under Labour.

He wants a civil society to have more power.

And look what civil society achieved.

Remember ‘Make Poverty History’? Campaigns against smoking in public places, and those campaigns for gay rights? Community movements that captured the imagination of the public and found their champion in our government.

They changed the law and they changed our country for the better.

And it’s all happened under Labour.

Conference, we should be proud of what we achieved and be confident that we can win this argument.

Because their ‘big idea’ is to steal our language of fairness, solidarity and responsibility – and to reduce our movement’s founding values to a marketing slogan.

Not so long ago the Tories believed that there is ‘no such thing as society, only families and individuals’.

Now they say that society alone, through the actions of individuals, should become the sole providers of the very structure and essence of our community life.

They think you can have the state or civic action but you can’t have both, indeed – you shouldn’t have both.

And we know that they are wrong.

Because the fact is that community life is created through our shared investment in our local lives – local schools, hospitals, Sure Start centres, libraries, parks and open spaces.

And it is here that the partnership formed between the enabling Government and the community makes our charities, our mutuals and our society stronger than ever.

So Conference our challenge to the Coalition is this:

You can use our language and mimic our values – but when the next election comes the people of this country will judge you in these ways:

They will judge you on whether civil society becomes ‘bigger’ and, indeed, more sustainable;

Whether local people are equipped, willing and able to shoulder the burden of their new responsibilities;

And on whether Britain is a fairer place than when you came to power.

And I don’t know about you conference, but I think that for a Government that says that it wants to build up our communities – it has an odd way of going about it.

£742 million cut from the ‘Big Society’ in its first 100 days.

And that is before the real cuts follow in 3 weeks time.

A survey published today by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations says that confidence among charity leaders is lower than ever before – and that the little platoons required to build the Coalition’s big vision are afraid they’re being led off a cliff.

But to be a credible Government in waiting we need to spell out our own vision of what the ‘good society’ means.

Because while the policy that underpins the ‘Big Society is so flawed, its rhetoric does echo the popular mood.

That in a post-crash post-parliamentary expenses Britain, people want to feel a sense of ownership, control and accountability; something which neither free market fundamentalism nor remote and centralised statism can provide.

Our people are not seeking empty slogans, but a different kind of society where they feel and are more powerful.

Confident that businesses are run as much in the interests of people that depend on them as they are in the pursuit of profits.

Where public services are developed on the experience of users and the wisdom of their staff.

Where power does not just reside in a political class but is part of people’s lives and their experiences – they know it and they believe it.

So where do we start on building our vision for the ‘good society’?

Financial services that command the confidence of the public through long-term security not short term risk. And that means, Conference, that we should look for a mutual future for Northern Rock and a People’s Bank at the Post Office.

Public services that are indeed responsive and, we know, popular – building on co-operative schools and foundation hospitals to give users real power over social care, housing and Sure Start centers.

And our Labour Councillors, so many with a new Labour mandate, forging a new relationship with their communities based on the co-operative values of fairness, accountability and responsibility.

New trusted institutions across our economy, the state and society – that are of the people, by the people and for the people.

Conference, our Party is renewing and you, our activists, must lead the way.

In our communities, our branches, our councils and our CLPs.

So Conference, seize this moment – be brave, be responsible and radical, remembering our traditions of self-help and colle ctive action.

So that when we return to Government – and we will – we are a renewed political movement that can bring the change to this country – the change that this country will by then so badly crave.

Tessa Jowell – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Tessa Jowell, the then Minister for the Olympics, to the 2009 Labour Party conference on 28th September 2009.

Conference, five years ago, I came to tell you about the progress of our bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games.

I told you then that we were going all out to win, that big prizes are never won by timidity and playing safe.

Britain went all out to win, and we won the big prize. To host the Olympics in London 2012.

In just over 1,000 days, the next big prize is up for grabs.

The eyes of four billion people will turn to the Olympic Stadium in East London for the opening ceremony:

A chance to show that Britain delivers.

A chance to show the extent of our ambition.

A chance to showcase Britain to the world.

Let no-one be under any illusion, hosting the Olympics is a huge challenge:

The largest peacetime logistical operation in our history,

26 world championships in 60 days.

We’re a little bit ahead of time and on budget.

With just under 3 years to go and over 40% of the build complete, there is no longer any doubt that we will deliver the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games we promised.

But hosting the Games was always about much more than 60 days of world class sport.

When we decided to back the bid in 2003, we had two major ambitions:

To accelerate the regeneration of East London by 30 years in 5 years

And transform a generation of young people through sport, including through International Inspiration, in developing countries around the world.

We are making huge strides forward:

With Europe’s biggest regeneration project, and in partnership with outstanding local leadership, we’re transforming 4 of the 10 most deprived boroughs in the country.

We are creating a major international centre for the industries that will drive our economic recovery: sport, digital, tourism, retail and sustainable living.

We’re fulfilling our ambitions for young people, too.

Our groundbreaking school sports programme has allowed us to get 90% of children doing 2 hours a week of sport in school.

And now we are going further.

By 2012, we will achieve 5 hours each week for the under-16s, while the free swimming programme launched in April has already delivered 4.5 million more swimming sessions.

In tough economic times, we stretched our ambitions so that London 2012 delivers a shot in the arm to the UK economy, creating jobs and work for businesses right across the country.

By 2012, 30,000 people will have worked on the Olympic Park.

But these are not just London’s Games, they belong to the whole of Britain.

And all of Britain is playing its part:

Steel for the Olympic Stadium from Bolton;

The Basketball Arena, the largest temporary structure ever built, constructed by a firm from Glasgow;

And the steel for the Aquatics centre, the iconic building that will be the symbol of London 2012, supplied from Neath.

1,000 companies around the country – two-thirds of them small and medium-sized businesses – have won direct contracts to help build the Olympic Park and Village, with hundreds more further down the supply chain.

So when in three years time, the curtain goes up on opening ceremony for the Olympic Games, the greatest show on earth, the world will witness a Britain that succeeded in its ambitions:

– That delivered the Games we promised

– That brought regeneration to East London

– That transformed a generation of young people through sport.

For the athletes arriving from around the world, and the fans who come to cheer them on, the opportunity to discover a Britain that is open to the world, a Britain of creativity and talent, a Britain of diversity and tolerance.

For all of us at home, the opportunity to witness our Olympic heroes and heroines in action, clocking up the medals. Our goals: 4th in the Olympics medal table, and second in the Paralympics’.

I, though, have the privilege to see Olympic heroism all the time as I travel round the country.

I saw it when, along with the Prime Minister, I met young apprentices helping to construct the Olympic Park, working hard for companies which have the foresight to invest today in the workforce of tomorrow;

I saw it when I went to the ceremony for young people graduating from the Personal Best programme, who have succeeded in learning new skills so they can join the 70,000 volunteers we’ll need to host the Games;

And I saw it when I met young people at the Fight for Peace Academy in Newham and its sister organisation in Rio, a pioneering project which helps combat crime and gang violence through sport.

All of them, striving to succeed because they’re ambitious for their future. They can’t realise their ambitions alone: inspiration has to be provided, horizons lifted, and doors opened.

Their names may not hit the headlines in the summer of 2012.

They may not mount the podium to receive a medal, the adulation of a nation ring in their ears.

They may remain, in President Obama’s words, ‘obscure in their labour’.

But, as they realise their ambitions, so we realise ours.

An Olympics like no other: success measured not simply in bronze, silver and gold, but in the transformation of young lives.

Tessa Jowell – 2003 Speech to Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by the then Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell, at the 2003 Labour Conference in Bournemouth on 29th September 2003.

When I ask my South London constituents what would improve the quality of their lives their list is long and varied.

They talk to me about jobs and pensions, freedom from fear, safer streets, more for young people to do.

But perhaps most touching of all is the young mum I know who is just starting a college access course so that her young daughter could have greater ambitions than she had ever had for herself.

So that her dreams can be within her reach, as they have never been for her mother.

Perhaps the greatest gift we can give to those who dream is the confidence and the means to have a go.

Achieving your best is intensely personal, but you cannot achieve it on your own.

Each of us, according to our own tastes, enriches our own life, with music, drama, art, books and sport.

And we do that with our families, teachers, coaches, friends, the community around us, to help us learn and understand.

So, when we talk about the importance of culture, we must also accept the responsibility to give everyone the opportunities that the few take for granted.

And when we talk of achievement, when we think of dreams coming true, nothing beats the Olympic Games.

Earlier this year we decided to bid for the Olympics and Para-Olympics to come to London in 2012, so let’s just pause to look at a few of the reasons why……

And one of those stars Steve Cram, is with us today and will address Conference in a few minutes.

We are bidding for the Olympics because they will showcase Britain as a can-do nation.

They will galvanise the regeneration of London’s East End.

They will give sport in Britain its biggest ever boost.

That’s why our Labour Government – with the support of the other political parties – has joined with the Mayor of London and the British Olympic Association to make this Bid.

Barbara Cassani, the Chair of the Bid, now has her team assembled and things are really moving.

This will be a bid to rival the best.  And we are backing it 100%.

Young people starting in secondary school now can aspire to be champions in 2012.

But we want everyone to feel that sport can be a vital part of their lives, regardless of their talent.

To enjoy sport for its own sake.

To compete and to excel.

And because a good sport policy is also a good education policy, a good health policy and good anti-crime policy.

This is not just talk.

We are putting in place the foundations in schools and communities, and building the ladder of opportunity to take the talented, whatever their background, as high as they can go:

– Reviving school sport, with 400 specialist sport colleges, and 3,000 sport co-ordinators, bringing competitive sport back into our schools.

– Boosting grassroots sport, first with £750 million of Lottery money for school and community facilities announced by Tony Blair three years ago, then with a further £100m for community sport halls announced this summer, and just three weeks ago the decision to give community amateur sports clubs mandatory rate relief.

– Bringing the best artists and creative talents into some of the most deprived schools in the country in our Creative Partnerships.

– Developing summer play schemes, with sport, music, dance and theatre helping our young people feel the pride that comes from learning new skills.

I’m proud that we brought back free entry to our museums, that the National Theatre and the Royal Opera House have brought in new audiences by cutting their ticket prices.

The Baltic Gallery in Gateshead packs in local people and tourists alike, free to all.

But as we know, equality of opportunity is a fine phrase for those who already have the will to succeed.

But for many, success in any field remains just a dream.

Our mission is to enable those who today can only dream, to have the chance to achieve their very best tomorrow.

To feel they were given a chance and the means to grab it.

Of course our Party exists to deliver prosperity, education, and good health for the many and not just the few, but we also exist to feed the imagination of the many as well.

It’s only fair that everyone gets the chance to enjoy the finest of music, of theatre, of dance, of film.

It’s only fair that everyone gets the opportunity to enjoy the sports of their choice.

Throughout Britain our towns and cities are increasingly recognising just what the arts and sport can do for their people, for their environments and for their economies.

Great cities, like Newcastle, Glasgow, Gateshead, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Cardiff, Leeds.

Wonderful cities, finding the vigour of their 19th Century boom years in the 21st Century’s creative industries.

Liverpool will buzz with excitement and its economy will get a terrific lift as European Capital of Culture.

Because cities that embrace the arts, sports, fine buildings, libraries and galleries, and yes, bars and clubs and sports venues, are cities worth living in.

And worth businesses moving to.

And in every part of Britain the Lottery is the cultural and sporting venture capital of our communities.

– The Eden Centre, transforming the Cornish economy.

– The Commonwealth Games legacy transforming East Manchester.

– The Laban Centre in Deptford.

– The Ikon Gallery in Birmingham.

Every constituency has received at least 50 Lottery awards.

From Village Halls to the Deep in Hull.

From play for children to plays at the National Theatre, the Lottery touches every community, every age group, every culture in the country.

This work goes on.

Take just one example, I’ve asked the New Opportunities Fund to talk to War Veterans groups about how their members might want to mark the 60th Anniversary of the most remarkable 12 months in our history, from D-Day to the Fall of Berlin.

I want to ask them how they would like their history remembered.

Projects that make their memories available to today’s young people.

That help us understand how today’s world was created by the sacrifices of a generation now in their 80s.

This is the Lottery people love.  They know that Lottery money is the people’s money, not politicians’ money.

That investment is building communities, changing lives, respecting differences, opening new doors.

There are many dividing lines between this Labour Government and the Tory alternative.

Under the Tories the Lottery neglected the most deprived areas and the most desperate communities.  We changed that.

The Tories cut investment in sport and the arts.  We changed that.

The Tories forced the sale of school playing fields.  We changed that too.

Because markets fulfil the demand of those who can pay, not the needs of those who can only dream.

Because equality of opportunity without a place for those who have never dared to aspire, is just a highway for the privileged.

Opening that highway to all is the task before us: it’s not only in health, education, transport and welfare that we must rise to the challenge of change, but in bringing real opportunity to those with talent wherever they may be.

And finally there is another message from the Olympic debate.

When we asked people whether they wanted us to bid, they made one thing very clear, they wanted us to give it a go.

They would forgive us for trying even if we didn’t win.

They understand the challenge.

But people want the best for Britain, and the best for their families.

They expect us to set the toughest targets and do our damndest to reach them.

But they won’t forgive us if we won’t even try.