Ed Miliband – 2011 Speech in Newcastle-upon-Tyne


Below is the text of the speech made by Ed Miliband at a campaign event in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 2011.

One year ago the Liberal Democrats told voters in Newcastle that they would fight for the next generation to get fair chances, for families struggling to get by and to strengthen the ties that bind our communities together.

That is what Nick Clegg told the people of Britain exactly one year ago when he looked viewers in the eye during in that first historic TV debate and promised a different kind of politics.

But the Lib Dems have broken their promises.

A year ago the Lib Dems promised to scrap tuition fees. But they trebled them.

A year ago, the Lib Dems promised to oppose a rise in VAT. But they voted to back the Tories in raising it to 20 per cent.

A year ago, the Lib Dems promised to protect the NHS. But they backed David Cameron’s expensive bureaucratic plans which put the founding principles of the heath service at risk.

A year ago, the Lib Dems promised to support measured deficit reduction plans. But they backed Tory cuts that go £40 billion further and faster than those Labour would have made.

What a difference a year makes.

Today I want to make a direct appeal to people who voted Liberal Democrat in past elections.

Some may have voted Labour before, others not.

But day-by-day it’s becoming clearer the Liberal Democrats can no longer claim to represent the values for which so many voted at the last election.

I know that some people in the Lib Dem leadership like to claim they are making a difference inside this Conservative-led Government.

But the truth is that the Liberal Democrats are not front seat passengers or back seat passengers in this Conservative-led Government . They are locked in the boot of a vehicle which is travelling rapidly in the wrong direction.

We may have heard some shouting coming from that boot in recent days. There is, after all, an election on. But it isn’t changing either the speed or the way this Government is headed. Too many people who thought they were voting for a progressive party a year ago have been betrayed.

There may still be three main parties standing candidates but there are only two directions for our country

There is the Labour way: standing up for young people, for students, for sure start, for the next generation; standing up for families feeling squeezed; standing up for strong, safe communities.

And there is the Tory-Liberal Democrat way. Cuts that go too far, too fast. Cuts that are not only unfair on cities like Newcastle but which also threaten the jobs and the economic recovery we need.

Labour is standing up for your values. We would tax bank bonuses, not give the bankers a tax cut. We would not have imposed a VAT rise on families feeling the squeeze. We would have made sensible cuts at a speed which protects jobs and services rather than supporting reckless cuts that go too far too fast. We support  the NHS. We support keeping police on the street. We support giving our young people a fair chance in life.

I believe these are the values of the majority of voters in this country.

If these are your values, let Labour be your voice in these tough times.