Jim Murphy – 2010 Speech to Labour Party Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by Jim Murphy to Labour Party conference on 27th September 2010.

Conference, in May we face a big election in Scotland – but we face it with confidence.

Although the general election was painful for us and the millions we stand for, our results in Scotland were stunning. Every seat held. An increase in the share of the vote. All by-election losses regained. Over a million votes for Labour.

We’re not just the Scottish Labour Party – we’re Scotland’s Labour Party. We should be so proud of Scotland’s achievement.

Peculiarly, it was also a good election for the Tories too.

Remember they boasted they would win 12 Scottish seats – and they did. One Tory. 11 Lib Dems.

But not a single person in Scotland voted Li b Dem in order to put the Tories into power.

That’s why people are so angry about what they see.

Let’s be under no illusions. This is a Tory Government and would be cutting hard and fast even if there was no deficit. For them, the deficit is a handy excuse to let them do what they’ve always done.

The Lib Dems haven’t put the breaks on the Tories – they have bolstered them.

Just look at the decisions they’ve made – Tory decisions, most of them, and all supported by a Lib Dem Party that has lost its heart.

Taking away help from pensioners, carers, disabled people.

I believe that we didn’t lose our economic credibility in Government and we all know that we won’t lose it in Opposition.

But the Tory budget will cast 125,000 Scots out of work – remember how much the closure of the Ravenscraig hurt Scotland, it is emblematic of the Tories affection for Scotland. But this current Tory budget is the equivalent of a Ravens craig every two weeks. Under this Government, someone in Scotland loses their job every six minutes. You will be pleased to know that I am going to make a short speech but by the time I sit down, another mum or dad will be without an income.

And the most immoral cut of all – axing the Future Jobs Fund. A simple idea: at the height of recession, instead of paying people benefits – support them to do a job. Not a made up job. A real job in a real firm.

And what a success. 11,000 young Scots. A Future Jobs Fund job created every hour.

The Tories claim it’s not sustainable. No evidence, no research – just assertion.

So I went and asked those in Scotland who took part – how was it for you?

I have never seen more compelling responses. Daily, there were testimonials from people who came to praise the scheme. I saw it for myself. A young man in Buchan said he didn’t think he’d fit in to his company but after 6 months wrote to say “it is wit hout a doubt in my mind, the best thing to happen. It’s not just about paid work – it’s about life experiences.”

That is the policy immorality of this Government laid bare: a gang of Cabinet millionaires whose lives are unaffected by their decisions taking jobs in the Western Isles, in the Central Belt and in the East End of Glasgow.

The Lib Dems are part of a Tory Government that’s going where even Thatcher feared to tread.

It took Thatcher six years to cut support for the unemployed. This government did it in six weeks.

Nick Clegg has sold his soul and lost his way.

Scotland knows that’s hard enough to cope with one Tory party – now we’re being asked to stomach two. Because make no mistake. This is a Tory Government with Tory values.

So conference, Scotland has a message for the Lib Dems. If you vote like a Tory, if you speak like a Tory, if you act like a Tory – Scotland will treat you like a Tory.

The SNP paid for years for heralding Thatcher’s arrival and became the Tartan Tories and the Lib Dems will be known as the Tories Little Helpers for years to come – you’ve sold out and come the next election Scotland is coming to get you.

When Nick Clegg stood on a stage just 30 miles from here in a city that knows unemployment all too well, he spoke eloquently, right into the camera lens, but turned away from the unemployed.

But for all the thousands of words he spoke, he didn’t mention unemployment once. It was almost as if he had his job now and was disinterested in those who will lose theirs in the future.

This coalition is composed of one party that doesn’t seem to care about unemployment and another that doesn’t understand it.

His only message to Scotland is that this won’t be like the 1980s. Too right, Nick.

It wont be like the 1980s because back then a decent Liberal Party stood up to Tory cuts and you’re on the other side this time.

It won’t be like the 1980s because the Labour Party is determined not to spend every day of a decade in well intentioned but futile Opposition.

It won’t be like the 1980s because we wont let the Liberals do to our shipyards what the Tories did to our steelworks.

Because the ideology behind this government is an ideology that says the state is bad.

I don’t have an ideological commitment to the state. I have an ideological commitment to making poor people better off, and know the state can help do that.

Our journey back starts here in Manchester, but the road runs through Scotland and Wales. These are our next big tests as a party and I know our new leader Ed Miliband will offer any and every support to Scotland in May.

Many Scottish families battered by the recession caught in the middle of a perfect political storm: a Tory Government at Westminster that is causing unemployment and an SNP Government at Edinburgh that isn’t doing enough to stop it.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

So I am delighted to welcome here today my friend and colleague, the next First Minister of Scotland, Iain Gray.