Jim Murphy – 2009 Speech to Labour Party Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by Jim Murphy, the Secretary of State for Scotland, at the 2009 Labour Party conference.

Wherever I go in Scotland I am in awe not just of the beauty of our country but the brilliance of our people.

Our cities that have helped shape the world can still have their best decades ahead of them.

Visiting our islands and seeing the wind and wave power technology of the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland and in Aberdeen which we want to be the renewable energy capital of Europe

On the River Clyde hundreds of apprentices I met making Britain safer by building Royal Navy ships

Parents I listen to balancing all the pressures of modern life and putting their children first.

Scotland’s pensioners who worked hard and saved hard to make Scotland all that it is –  probably the most powerful small nation on earth.

And we are stronger, fairer and more self-confident. But after repairing decades of Tory damage we still have a lot to do to build on our success.

Of course we have so much in common across the UK but there are also many differences – that’s the nature of devolution.

But the one big choice over the next year is the same – Labour government or Tory government; Gordon Brown or David Cameron; Gordon’s experience or the most superficial Tory leader in modern history.

And David Cameron wants to make the Tories a one nation party again – but that nation isn’t Scotland.

In Scotland David Cameron is even less popular today than Mrs Thatcher was in the 1980s – but he is no less a threat to Scotland’s families and our economy.

And the Scottish Tory candidates are probably the most hard-line in living memory.

They think the only problem with the 1980s was that their party didn’t go far enough in cutting back the welfare state and they can’t wait to finish the job.

Back then they allowed generations of Scots to get stuck on the dole and would have done the same in this recession because they opposed Labour’s £500 million investment to prevent the newly unemployed from becoming the long term unemployed.

Of course Labour will cut costs, but we’ll protect frontline services. However, the Tories would make savage cuts immediately, they would risk the recovery.

Because they believe in small government; in the politics of sink or swim and in the politics of your on your own. Today’s Scottish Tory candidates are Mrs Thatcher’s grandchildren.

And Scotland’s distrust of the Tories isn’t just because of what they did in government in the last recession but because of what they have said in opposition throughout this one.

They are probably the only opposition party anywhere in the world demanding that their government does less to help those on modest and middle incomes during this global recession.

In Scotland they are hated by many for their past and distrusted by most because of their present.

The Tories still don’t get Scotland. But Scotland gets them. And doesn’t want them back.

It will take an enormous effort from us but we have the team to do it. I am delighted to introduce Labour’s Leader in the Scottish Parliament and Scotland’s next First Minister Iain Gray.