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Transcripts


In their own words

Ed Miliband's speech to Labour conference

“It is great to be in Labour Manchester. And you know Manchester has special memories for me because two years ago I was elected the leader of this party. I’m older – I feel a lot older actually – I hope I’m a bit wiser, but I am prouder than ever to be the leader of the Labour party.

“You may have noticed that doing this job, you get called some names – some of them nice, some of them not so nice. Let me tell you my favourite – it was when Mitt Romney came to Britain and called me ‘Mr Leader’. I don’t know about you but I think it has a certain ring to it myself, it’s sort of halfway to North Korea. Mitt, thanks a lot for that.

“Now, look, let me tell you a little insight into conference. I always look forward to conference, but the leader’s speech – as previous leaders will attest – can be a bit of a trial. You get all kinds of advice from people ‘say this, don’t say that; smile here don’t smile there; stand there, don’t stand there’. Thanks Tony, Gordon and Neil for that.

“But sometimes you get a bit fed up with it as a leader. So the other day, and this is an absolutely true story, I decided that to get away from it all, the speechwriting and all of that, I’d go for a walk with my three-year-old son, Daniel. It was an absolutely gorgeous late summer day, so we went out – I wanted to go to the park. Here’s the first thing he said to me ‘daddy, I can help you with my speech’. I was like ‘not you as well’. He is a Miliband after all, and he said to me ‘daddy, you can’t do it on your own’ – this is absolutely true. And I said ‘well, that’s a good Labour insight, you can’t do it on your own, Daniel, what do you want in my speech?’

“He said ’I want dinosaurs’, he said ‘I want dinosaurs, I want flying dinosaurs, I want dinosaurs that eat people, daddy.’ I said ‘no, Daniel we tried predators last time’...

“I want to do something different today; I want to tell you my story, I want to tell you who I am, what I believe, and why I have a deep conviction that together we can change this story.  

“My conviction is rooted in my family’s story, a story that starts a 1,000 miles from here because the Milibands haven’t sat under the same oak tree for the last 500 years.  Both of my parents’ came to Britain as immigrants, Jewish refugees from the Nazis. I know I would not be standing on this stage today without the compassion and tolerance of our great country, Great Britain. And you know, my parents saw Britain rebuilt after the Second World War.

“I was born at my local NHS hospital, the same hospital where my two sons would later be born in. As you saw in the film, I went to my local school, I went to my local comprehensive with people from all backgrounds. I still remember the amazing and inspiring teaching I got at that school, and one of my teachers, my English teacher, Chris Dunne is here with us today. Thank you Chris and all the teachers at Havistock.

“It was a really tough school, but order was kept by one of the scariest headmistress you can imagine, Mrs Jenkins. But you know what, I learnt at my school about a lot more than just how to pass exams: I learnt how to get on with people from all backgrounds, whoever they were. I wouldn’t be standing on this stage today without my comprehensive school education.

“So Britain gave me, gave my family a great gift that my parents never had, a safe and secure childhood. And you know my parents didn’t talk much about their early lives; it was too painful, it hurt too much, the pain of those they lost, the guilt of survivors.

“But I believe that their experience meant they brought up both David and myself differently as a result because having struggled for life itself, they instilled in us a sense of duty to ease the struggles of others. And this came not just from my parents’ wartime experience, it came from the daily fabric of our childhood.

“There were toys and games, rows about homework – I was actually a Dallas fan believe it or not which didn’t go down well with my dad as you can imagine. So, of course the normal things, but every upbringing was special, and mine was special because of the place of politics within it.

“When I was 12 years old, I met a South African friend of my parents; her name is Ruth First. The image I remember is of somebody vivacious, full of life, full of laughter; and then I remember a few months’ later coming down to breakfast and seeing my mum in tears because Ruth First had been murdered by a letter bomb from the South African secret police, murdered for being part of the anti-apartheid movement. Now, I didn’t understand the ins and outs of it, but I was shocked, I was angry – I knew that wasn’t the way the world was meant to be. I knew I had a duty to do something about it.

“It is this upbringing that made me who I am – a person of faith, not a religious faith but a faith nonetheless; a faith that I believe many religious people would recognise. So here is my faith: I believe we have a duty to leave the world a better place than we found it. I believe we cannot shrug our shoulders at injustice and just say ‘that’s the way the world its’ and I believe that we can overcome any odds if we come together as people.

“That’s how my mum survived the war – the kindness of strangers, nuns in a convent who took her in and sheltered her from the Nazis, took in a Jewish girl at risk to themselves; it’s what my dad found when he came to these shores and joined the Royal Navy and was part of Britain winning the War.

“Now, of course my parents didn’t tell me what career to go into. My late father, as some of you know, wouldn’t agree with many of the things I stand for. He would have loved the idea of ‘Red Ed’, but he would have been a little bit disappointed that it wasn’t true. My mum probably doesn’t agree with me either, but like most mums is too kind to say so. And look, when I was younger I wasn’t certain I wanted to be a politician, but I do believe the best way to give back to Britain, the best way to be true to my faith is through politics.

“Now that is not a fashionable view today, because millions of people have given up on politics, they think we’re all the same. Well, I guess you can say I am out to prove them wrong; that is who I am.

“That is who I am, that is what I believe, that is my faith. And I know who Britain, who I need to service in Britain with my faith – it’s the people I have met on my journey as Leader of the Opposition, the people who come up to me on trains in the street in the shops, who ask me about what the Labour party is going to do for them and tell me the stories of their lives. It’s for them, the people I’ve met on my journey as Leader of the Opposition that today’s speech is for.

“I think of the young woman I met at a youth centre in London earlier this year. She was brimming with hopes and ambitions for the future, she was full of life, she was full of desire to get on and do the best for herself. And then she told me her story:  she had sent off her CV to 137 employers and she’s not had a reply from any of them. Many of you in this audience will know people in the same position – just think how that crushes the hopes of a generation; I want to talk to her, to a whole generation of young people who feel that Britain under this Government is not offering them a future.

“I think back to this small businessman I met in July, a proud man called Alan Henderson, a small businessman. Let me tell you Alan Henderson’s story: he spent 40 years building up his sign-making business, 40 years. He told me his story; he went to see his bank manger in 1972 at his local high-street bank, he got a loan and he started his business. But something terrible happened to Alan Henderson and his family a few years back. He was ripped off by the bank he’d been with all that time. And Alan Henderson and his family have been living through a nightmare ever since. I want to talk to him and all the people of Britain who feel they’re at the mercy of forces that are beyond their control.

“I want to talk to all the people of this country who have always thought of themselves as comfortably-off but who now find themselves struggling to make ends meet. They ask, why is it that when the oil price goes up, the petrol price goes up, but when oil price comes down, the petrol price just stays the same? They ask: why is that the gas and electricity bills just go up and up and up? And they ask why is it that the privatised railways can make hundreds of millions of pounds in profit at the same time as train fares are going up by 10% a year? They think the system just doesn’t work for them. And, you know what? They’re right; it doesn’t. It doesn’t work for them because of cosy cartels and powerful interests that government hasn’t cut down to size. I want to talk to them and all the millions of people across the country who don’t think they get a fair crack of the whip. And I want to say to them: yes, our problems are deep, but they can be overcome.

“The deep problems about who Britain is run for and who prospers within it – one rule for those at the top, another rule for everybody else; two nations, not one. I want to say to them today it’s not the Britain you believe in, it’s not the Britain I believe in, it’s not the Britain this party will ever be satisfied with.

“So, friends, we’re going to change it and here’s how. My faith that we can starts with the inner strength of us as a country, because the problem isn’t the British people – just think about the Olympics and Paralympic Games – it was a triumph for Britain. And why did we succeed? We succeeded because of our outstanding athletes from Zara Phillips, the granddaughter of a parachuting queen to a boy born in Somalia, called Mo Farah – Mo Farah, a true Brit, a true hero to our country.

“We succeeded because of the outstanding volunteers, the gamesmakers who are here with us today, all 70,000 gamesmakers. They put a mirror up to Britain and showed us the best of ourselves.

“We succeeded because of our outstanding troops, our outstanding troops many of whom were drafted in at the last minute. And let us today pay tribute to their bravery, their courage, their sacrifice in Afghanistan and all around the world. And let’s say to them: just as you do your duty by us in the most courageous way possible, so we will always do our duty by you both in military and in civilian life.

“We succeeded because of our outstanding police, and let us, in this city of Manchester show our appreciation for what the extraordinary policemen and women of our country do for our country.

“And we succeeded , and we succeeded – and this is a real lesson – we succeeded because of a group of individuals who saw the odds against London’s bid, and thought ‘never mind the odds, we are going to pioneer the bid for London, we are going to fight for the bid for London, we are going to win the bid for London’ – from Seb Coe to our very own Dame Tessa Jowell.

“And you know what friends, we succeeded because of one reason more than any other. We succeeded because of us; we succeeded because of us, us the British people, us the British people who welcomed the athletes from abroad, who cheered them on, who found ourselves talking to each other each morning about what had happened in the Olympics the night before in a way that we hadn’t talked to each other before. We succeeded because we came together as a country, we worked together as a country, we joined together as a country. That’s why we achieved more than we imagined possible.

“You know, I’ll just tell you this: I can’t remember a time like it in the whole history of my lifetime, I can’t remember a time like it, that sense of a country united, that sense of a country felt it was together. That is the spirit this Labour party believes in.

“But I may not remember that spirit, but that spirit has echoed through British history. You know, 140 years ago, 140 years ago to the year, another leader of the opposition gave a speech. It was in the Free Trade Hall that used to stand opposite this building... his name is Benjamin Disraeli – he was a Tory, but don’t let that put you off just for a minute. His speech took over three hours to deliver – don’t worry, don’t worry – and he drank two whole bottles of brandy while delivering it. Absolutely true.

“I know a speech that long will probably kill you and the brandy would definitely kill me. But let us remember what Disraeli was celebrated for: it was a vision of Britain. A vision of Britain where patriotism, loyalty, dedication to the commons cause courses through the veins of all and nobody feels left out, it was a vision of Britain coming together to overcome the challenges we face. Disraeli called it ‘One Nation’; one nation, we heard the phrase again as the country came together to defeat fascism, and we heard it again as Clement Attlee’s Labour government rebuilt Britain after the War.

“Friends, I didn’t become leader of the Labour party to reinvent the world of Disraeli or Attlee but I do believe in that spirit, that spirit of one nation, one nation – a country where everyone has a stake; one nation – a country where prosperity is fairly shared; one nation where we have a shared destiny a sense of shared endeavour and a common life that we lead together; that is my vision of one nation, that is my vision of Britain, that is the Britain we must become.

“And here is the genius of one nation: it doesn’t just tell us the country we can be, it tells us how we must rebuild. We won the War because we were one nation, we built the peace because Labour governments and Conservative governments understood we needed to be one nation. Every time Britain has faced its gravest challenge, we’ve only come through the storm because we are one nation. But too often, governments have forgotten that lesson.

“With 1m young people out of work, we just can’t succeed as a country; with the gap between rich and poor growing wider and wider, we just can’t succeed as a country; with millions feeling that hard work and effort are not rewarded, we just can’t succeed as a country; and with so many people having been told for so long that the only way to get on is to be on your own, in it for yourself, we just can’t succeed as a country.

“To come through the storm, to overcome the challenges we face, we must rediscover that spirit, that spirit the British people never forgot, that spirit of one nation, one nation – a country where everyone plays their part, a country we rebuild together.

“So, here is the big question of today: who can make us one nation? Who can bring Britain together? What about the Tories? What about the Tories? I didn’t hear you, what about the Tories?

Let me explain why, let me explain why. I want to talk very directly to those who voted for David Cameron at the last general election: I understand why you voted for him, I understand why you turned away from the last Labour government – this Government took power in difficult economic times, it was a country still coming to terms with the financial crisis, a financial crisis that has afflicted every country round the world. I understand why you were willing to give David Cameron the benefit of the doubt. But I think we’ve had long enough to make a judgement, long enough to make a judgement because they’ve turned a recovery into the longest double-dip recession since the War, because there are more people looking for work for longer than for any time since the last time there was a Conservative government.

“And here’s the other thing: what about borrowing? Borrowing, the thing they said was their number one priority; this year, borrowing is rising not falling. Let me just say that again – borrowing, the thing they said was their most important priority, the reason they were elected, is rising not falling – not because there hasn’t been pain and tax rises and cuts affecting every family in this country, not because they didn’t want to cut borrowing, they did, not because your services aren’t getting worse –they are; but because if you stop an economy growing, then it leaves more people out of work claiming benefits, not paying taxes, businesses struggle so they’re not paying taxes, and as a result borrowing goes up – borrowing, not to invest in schools and hospitals and transport and education, but borrowing to keep people idle. So the next time you hear a Conservative say to you ‘Labour would increase borrowing’, just remember it is this Government that is increasing borrowing this year.

“So what have we seen? We’ve seen recession, higher unemployment, higher borrowing; I don’t think that’s what people were promised. There’ll be some people who say – and this is an important argument – there will be some people who say ‘there is short-term pain, but it’s worth it for the long-term gain’, but I’m afraid the opposite is true. The longer you have low growth in our country, the bigger the debt hole becomes for the future, and the bigger our problems will be in the future. The longer a young person is out of work, that’s not just bad for their prospects now, it’s bad for their prospects for the whole of the rest of their lives. And if a small business goes under during the recession, it just can’t get up and running again in the recovery.

“So when David Cameron says you  ‘well, let’s just carry on as we are and wait for something to turn up’ don’t believe him. Don’t believe him. If the medicine’s not working, you change the medicine. And I’ll tell you what else you change. You change the change the doctor too and that’s what this country needs to do. Look around you. You know, the problem is the British people are paying price of this government’s failure. We’re going to the petrol station and not filling up your tank because you can’t afford it. Your tax credits are being cut because the government says it can’t afford it. Your mum and dad are not getting the care they need because the govt says they can’t afford it.

"There are some things this government can afford. What do you think at this most difficult economic time is going to get us out of our difficulties. What did they choose as one of their priorities? A tax cut for millionaires. A tax cut for millionaires. Next April, David Cameron will be writing cheque for £40,000 to each and every millionaire in Britain. Not just the one year, but each and every year. That is more than the average person earns in a whole year. At the same time, they are raising a tax for pensioners next April. So we the Labour party, the country knows it is wrong…

"And here’s the worst part. David Cameron isn’t just writing the cheques. He’s receiving them. He’s the one getting the tax cut. Is he awarding himself a tax cut [to] reward himself for a job he thinks is a job well done. How many of his other cabinet colleagues have cheques in the post from the millionaires’ tax cuts and how can he justify this unfairness in Britain 2012?

"And of course, let’s not forget this tax cut wouldn’t be happening without Ncik Clegg and the Liberal Democrats. Isn’t it shameful that the party that supported – that implemented the budget of 1909 – Lloyd George’s budget is supporting the millionaire’s budget of 2012?"

"That’s the reality in Britain today – it's reaping from the top, it’s a rip-of for everybody else. It’s a recovery for the top. It’s a recession for everybody else. This Prime Minister said we’re all in it together. Don’t let him ever tell us again we’re all in this together.

"And I say this: you can’t be a one nation Prime Minister as you raise taxes on families and cut taxes for millionaires. You can’t be a One Nation Prime Minister if all you do is seek to divide the country. Divide the country between north and south. Public and private. Those who can work and those who don’t and can’t work. And you can’t be a One Nation Prime Minister if your chief whip insults the great police officers of our country by calling them plebs.

"There is one thing that this government might have claimed to be good at. And that’s competence. Because after all, I think they’ve been to Eton. So maybe they’d be good at it. Have you ever seen a more incompetent, hopeless, out-of-touch, U-turning, pledge-breaking, make it up as we go along, back of the envelope miserable shower than this Prime Minister and this government?

"What have we had? We’ve had the caravan tax, we’re had the churches tax, we’ve had the pasties tax, we’ve had public at the pumps, we’ve had [cash] for donors, we’ve had the country suffering with Rebekah Brooks, he even he even rode the horse… and now what do we have? We have the Minister for Murdoch becoming the minister for the National Health Service. We have an international development secretary, she says she doesn’t believe in international development. We’ve got a party chairman who writes books about how to beat the recession under a false name. I’m not making this up. I have to say, if I was chairman of the Conservative party, I’d have a false name too.

"And here’s my favourite part of all. There’s even a bloke [Lord Hill] who went to see the Prime Minister, he made an appointment in the last reshuffle in order to resign. But David Cameron was too incompetent to notice that he wanted to resign so Lord Hill stayed in the Government. They’re so useless they can’t even resign properly. So look. They’re not going to build One Nation so it’s up to us. And let me say to you, One Nation is not about avoiding decisions. It’s a way of making the difficult decisions. And let me make it very clear about what faces the next Labour government I think it is incredibly important that to be one nation, we have to show compassion and support for all those who can’t work…

"The way to do so – those who can work have a responsibility to do so. We can’t leave people languishing out of work for one year, two year, three years. We’ve got a responsibility to them and they have a responsibility to take the work that is on offer. To be One Nation, we’ve got to give much greater dignity to our working population. Because you know we’re going to have to tackle the care crisis that faces so many families up and down this country. And living longer should be one of the great virtues of the 21st century. But friends, in order to be able to do that we’re going to have to work longer. Have a later retirement age than we do now.

"To be One Nation, we’ve got to live within our means and because borrowing is getting worse not better, it means the cuts that this government made that we just won’t be able to reverse, even though we’d like to. And that’s why we said in this parliament that we’d put jobs over paying the pub sector and in the next parliament, we have tough settlements for the public services and that will make life harder for those who use them and harder for those who work in them. But here’s the big difference between a One Nation government led by me and this current government: those with the broadest shoulders will always bear the greatest burden.

"I would never cut taxes for millionaires and raise them on ordinary families. That is wrong, that is not being One Nation. And here’s the other thing. I would never accept an economy where the gap between rich and poor just grows wider and wider. In one nation, in my faith, inequality matters. It matters to our country. There isn’t room for the Labour party to be One Nation because we can’t go back to old Labour. We must be the party of the private sector just as much as the party of the public sector. As much the party of the small business struggling against the odds ads the home help struggling against the cuts.

"We must be the party of south just as much as the party of the north. We must be the party as much as the squeezed middle as those in poverty. There is no future for this party as the party of one [interest] of this country. It is right to move on from new Labour. Because New Labour, despite its great achievement, was too silent about the responsibilities of those at the top and too timid about the accountability of those in power. In One Nation, responsibility goes all the way to the top of society. The richest in society have the biggest responsibility to show responsibility to the less [well-off]. And I’ve got news for the powerful interests in our country. In One Nation, no interest, from Rupert Murdoch to the banks is too powerful to be held to account.

"So we must be a One Nation party, to become a One Nation government to build a One Nation Britain. And here’s how we’re going to take some steps to do that.

"We’re the One Nation economy and the first [issue] is to sort out or banks. Sort them out once and for all. Not just prevent another crisis, but to do what hasn’t been done in decades: let them pay their way in the world. We we need banks that serve the country.

"The small businessman I talked about early on, he wanted to go to his bank, look his bank in the eye... instead he found a bank more interested in playing the international money markets. That’s why he was ripped off. Of course, this government promised change but things are not changing. So I’ve got a message for the banks. We can do this the easy way or the hard way, either you fix it yourselves between now and the election, or the next Labour government will ensure that the high street bank is no longer in the arm of a casino operation…

"There are some people who say this is all too radical – let’s just carry on as we are… We can’t carry on as we are, we cant carry as we are – two nations not one. The banks and the rest of Britain. We must have a One Nation banking system as part of a one nation economy.

"We need an education system for young people... I remember when at Havestock School, my comprehensive, the kids who passed in advance, who were academic – they would go to university and the world would open up for them like it did for me. But think about all those kids who had talent and ability, great talent and ability. School just didn’t offer them enough – that was 25 years ago. And it’s even more true today. Just think in your mind’s eye about the 14-year-old today. Today is a school day. Think about that 14-year-old, not academic. Not academic, already bored at school, maybe already starting that process of truanting, of not going to school, of course they need to get back to school and their parents need them to get back to school. They can’t afford to drift through life with no qualifications and Britain can’t afford to do that either. And we can’t just say to that 14-year-old just put in the work, because we’ve been failing them too.

"But now it’s time to put our focus on the forgotten 50% who do not go to university. Here’s the choice I want to offer to that 14-year-old who's not academic. English and Maths to 18, because rigour in the curriculum matters. The courses in which you engage them are relevant to them, experience with employers, culminating at the age of 18, a new gold-standard vocational qualification a new technical baccalaureate.

"You’ve got to change the culture of this country, friends. We can’t be a country where voc qualifications are seen as second-class, they are the real route to apprenticeships and jobs, they can be as valuable for our young people as a university degree…

"We’ve got to change the culture of our country – there needs to be a real route to our apprenticeships. But let me tell you though there is a problem. Only one in three large employers in Britain actually offers [an] apprenticeship and if anything, the public sector, the situation is far, far worse. That is about a culture of a country which hasn’t been dealt with for decades. It is the task of the next Labour government to do that. The public sector is going to have to step up to the plate. We can’t be two nations and when the public sector offers contracts to the private sector, the next Labour government will ensure that every private sector contract will only be awarded to a company that trains the next generation with apprenticeships.

"It is when the public sector is having a contract with a private sector company – it’s not just buying goods and services, it must be about building one nation together, public and private sector joining together.

"And we need a new deal with British business. You get control of the money for training as you have long asked for, you set standards, but you have a responsibility to make sure the training happens. In One Nation, there is no place for free labour – the firms that don’t train poach workers from firms that do. Think about this vision of education. Education. Proper vocational qualification and and then think about the vision on offer from the Conservatives. Michael Gove. Michael Gove who wanted to bring back huge academic exams. I remember what that was like. O levels and CSEs, one group of young people written off. We are hot going back to those days. Michael Gove who has contempt for vocational qualifications and for the best vocational qualifications our country has. And Michael Gove has nothing to say about education to 18.

"Education, there really is a choice of two futures. Education for a narrower and narrow elite with the Conservatives and a one nation system as part of a one nation economy with the next Labour government.

"To be a One Nation economy, we have to make life just that bit easier for the producers and make it harder for the predators. Predators and producers. I think one year on, people know what I was talking about. This says to me,  that the pressure for the first batch of city investors – they can‘t take the long view, They need to plan one year, two year, three years ahead. But they have to public their accounts in Britain every three months in line with the wishes of the best of brutish business we will end that so companies in Britain can take the long… view for our country.

"Companies in Britain are far more easily bought and sold than in many other country. Did you know that when a takeover is launches, the hedge funds and speculators can swoop in for a quick profit. They’re not acting in the interests of the firms, of the nation, they’re just in it for the fast buck. It’s wrong and we will change it. And here’s the thing, ladies and gentlemen, I would like British business to work with us in advance of the next Labour government. Let’s [change] the rules of the game so we have a One Nation business model as part of a one nation economy for our country... But one nation isn’t just about the things we need to change, it’s about  the things we need to conserve as well… A common way of life matters. My vision of one nation is an outward-looking country, a country that engages with Europe the rest of the world.

"I’m incredibly proud to be the son of immigrant parents of the multi-ethnic diverse Britain which won us the Olympic bid, and the Olympics saw that kind of country here in Britain.

"But to make that vision work, to make that vision work for our country, immigration must work for all, and not just for some. Too often in the past we’ve overlooked those concerns, dismissed them too easily.  

"Here’s where my approach is going to be different both from the past Labour government and this Conservative government. We need secure management of our borders, we need competent management of the system but here’s the big change – it’s about the way our economy works. Immigration has really significant economic benefits. But not when it’s used to undercut workers already here and exploit people coming here.

"The last Labour government didn’t do enough to address these concerns, and the Tories never will. So the next Labour government will crack down on employers who don’t pay the minimum wage. And we will end the shady practices in the construction industry and elsewhere, of gang masters. So we need a system of immigration that works for the whole country, and not just for some.

"There’s no more important area of our common life than the United Kingdom itself. One of our four countries, Scotland, will be deciding in the next four years whether to stay or to go.

"I want to be quite clear about this – Scotland could leave the UK. But I believe we would be far worse off as a result. Not just in pounds and pence, but in the soul of our nation.

"I don’t believe that solidarity stops at the border. I care as much about a young person unemployed in Motherwell, as I do about a young person unemployed here in Manchester. We have common bonds. We have deep bonds with each other, the people of Scotland and the people of the rest of the United Kingdom.

"And by the way – if you think about the people of Scotland and the Olympic Games. They weren’t cheering on just the Scottish athletes of Team GB, they were cheering on all the athletes of Team GB.  That’s what the SNP don’t understand. And why would a party that claims to be left of centre, turn its back on the redistribution, the solidarity, the common bonds of the UK? Friends it is up to us, it is up to us, we the Labour party must be the people who fight and defend and win the battle for the United Kingdom.  

"And after the UK itself, there is no more important area of our common life than the National Health Service. The magic of the National Health Service, for me, is that you don’t leave your credit card at the door. The National Health Service – it’s based on a whole different set of values, a whole different set of values that the people of the UK love. Not values of markets, money and exchange, but values of competition [later amended by Labour press office to say 'compassion'], care and cooperation. That is the magic of the National Health Service. That is why the British people love the NHS.

"And I’m afraid the Tories have shown in government it’s something they just don’t understand.  Remember before the last election. Remember those airbrushed pictures – ‘Ill protect the National Health Service’, with that picture of David Cameron. Remember those speeches, the three most important letters to me, he said, were N. H. S.

"It was a solemn contract with the British people. And then what did he do? He came along after the election and he proposed a top down reorganisation that nobody voted for, that nobody knew about and nobody wanted. And here’s the worst part, here’s the worst part – when it become unpopular, he paused. Remember the pause? He said he wanted to listen.

"And what happened? The GPs said no. The nurses said no. The paediatricians said no. The radiologists said no. The patients said no.

"And the British people said…[crowd shout ‘no’]

"And what did he do – he ploughed on regardless, he broke his solemn contract with the British people – a contract that can never be repaired.  

"Let me tell you what I hate about this reorganisation. Let me tell you what I hate. I hate the waste; I hate the waste of billions of pounds at a time when the NHS has its most difficult settlement for a generation.

"I hate the fact that thee are 5,500 fewer nurses, 5,500 fewer nurses, than when David Cameron came to power. Think what he could have done if he hadn’t spent billions of pounds on a top down reorganisation, and used the money to employ nurses rather than sacking them.

"But here’s what I hate most of all. Here’s what I hate most of all. It’s that the whole way they designed this NHS reorganisation was based on the model of competition that there was in the privatised utilities – water, energy and gas. What does that tell you about these Tories? What does this tell you about the way they don’t understand the values of the NHS?

"The NHS is not like the gas, electricity and water industries. The NHS is the pride of Britain. The NHS is based on a whole different set of values for our country. Friends it just shows that the old adage is truer now than it ever was – you just can’t trust the Tories on the Nation Health Service.

"Let me be clear. Let me be clear. The next Labour government will end the free market experiment, it will put the right principles back at the heart of the National Health Service, and it will repeal the NHS Bill.

"So friends. This is where I stand. This is who I am. This is what I believe. This is my faith. I was talking to my mum, this morning - as you do before a big speech – and she reminded me that her mother was born in a small Polish village in 1909.

"I went back to that village with my mum about a decade ago. About 2,000 people live there, and it’s quite an event having people form England coming over. It feels a long way in that village, and what my parents experienced, to this stage today.

"You see Britain has given my family everything. Britain has given my family everything. Britain and the spirit, the determination, the courage of the people who rebuilt Britain after the Second World War.

"Now the question is asked again. Who in this generation will rebuild Britain for the future?  Who can come up to the task of rebuilding Britain?

"Friends it falls to us. It falls to us the Labour party, as it has fallen to previous generations of Labour party pioneers, to leave our country a better place than we found it. To never to shrug our shoulders at injustice and say ‘that is the way the world is’. To come together, to join together, to work together as a country.

"It’s not some impossible dream. We’ve heard it, we’ve seen it, we’ve felt it. That is my faith. One nation, a country for all, with everyone playing their part. A Britain we rebuild together. Thank you very much."

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