PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers
- Sign up to see last 24 hours
Dont have an account?Sign up here
Tuesday 24th September 2013 | 14:15
Thank you friends, thank you
It’s great to be in Brighton and I want to start by thanking somebody from the bottom of my heart for the kindest of words, not Justine I would like to thank her - round of applause for Justine please ladies and gentlemen.
Not my mum, not my mum, but a woman called Ella Phillips - it was local election day, Ella rode past me on my bike, she fell off - it's not funny, I helped her up and afterwards she called me something I'd never been called before, she said I was an action hero.
Why are you laughing?
She said I was an action hero who mysteriously appeared out of nowhere and she said 'what added to all the confusion was that Ed was actually attractive and not geeky at all' - I promise you she did say that. She said even the way he appeared was suave.. I don't know why you find this so funny,. He was dressed casually, but he had style. sounds like me, doesn't it?
Now, I was pretty pleased with this, as you can tell, until something dawned on me. Ella was concussed. She was badly concussed, in fact she herself said 'I was seeing things because I was still in quite a daze' - well, Ella, you're not kidding, but et me say, Ella, if you're watching today, thank you, you've made my year.
I want to start today with the simplest of thoughts, an idea that has inspired change for generations, the belief that helped drive us out of the Second World War and into that great reforming government of 1945, an ambition that is more important now than it's been for decades, an emotion that is felt across our country, our kitchen tables, every night, a feeling that is so threatening to those who want to keep things as they are, words that are so basic and yet so powerful, so modest and yet so hard to believe. Six simple words that say Britain can do better than this. Britain can do better than this. We’re Britain, we're better than this.
Are you satisfied with a country where people are working harder for longer for less, year after year after year? Are you satisfied with a country divided, losing touch with the things we value the most? Are you satisfied with a country that shuts out the voices of millions of ordinary people and listens only to the powerful? Are you satisfied with a country standing apart as two nations? Well, I'm not satisfied, we're Britain, we're better than this. And we have to rebuild anew. One Nation. An economy built on your success, a society based on your values, a politics that hears your voice, rich and poor alike accepting their responsibilities to each other - one nation, we're going to make it happen and today I'm going to tell you how.
I want to start with leadership, leadership is about risks and difficult decisions, it's about those lonely moments when you have to peer deep into your soul. I ran for the leadership of this party, it was really hard for my family but I believed that Labour needed to turn the page and I was the best person to do it and when I became leader I faced a decision about whether we should stand up to Rupert Murdoch. It wasn’t the way things had been done in the past, but it was the right thing to do, so I did and together we faced him down.
Then the other way I face an even bigger decision about whether the country should go to war. The biggest decision any leader faces, the biggest decision any Parliament faces, the biggest decision any party faces. All of us were horrified by the appalling chemical weapons attacks in Syria but when I stood on the stage three years ago when I became your leader I said we would learn the lessons of Iraq. It would have been a rush to war, it wouldn't have been the right thing for our country, so I said no, it was the right thing to do.
You see, the real test of leadership is not whether you stand up to the weak, that’s easy, it's whether you stand up for the strong and know who to fight for. And, you know, I'm reminded of a story when I was starting out, standing to be an MP in Doncaster, with a woman called Molly Roberts and there I was candidly trying to get her vote, sitting in her front room sipping a mug of tea and she said to me 'how can you who weren’t brought up in this area possibly understand the lives of people her, their hopes and their struggles'.
It was the right question and here's the answer - for me it lies with the values I was brought up with. In my house it was my mum that taught me these values, about the importance of reaching out and listening to people, of understanding their hopes and their struggles, She is the most patient, generous person I've met in my whole live and she taught me never to be contemptuous of others, never to be dismissive of their troubles. Now, she was teaching me a lesson in life. And some people will say 'ah yeah, but you've got to leave decency behind in politics'.
But I say that they're wrong, because only if you reach out and listen can you do the most important thing a leader can do the most important qualification in my view for being Prime Minister, only then will you have the ability to walk in the shoes of others and know who to fight for, whoever your opponent, however powerful they are, guided by the only thing that matters, your sense of what is right. This is what I believe, this is where I stand, this is the leadership Britain needs.
And when I think about who we need to fight for, I think about all the people I've met over the last year, I think of the people of Britain and their enormous and extraordinary spirit, I think of our troops, serving so bravely around the world, let us pay tribute to them.
I've seen in Afghanistan those young men and women, young men and women who are young enough to be my son or daughter serving our country and it is a truly humbling experience and don't the events of the last few days in Kenya remind us of the importance of being ever vigilant against terrorism at home and around the world?
I think of the brave men and women of our police force who serve with so little credit each and every day for our country, let us thank them for what they do.
Then I think of all the people I've met over the last year. During the local election campaign I did something unusual, I went to town centres and market squares and high streets and I stood on a pallet, not a soapbox, but a pallet - and I talked to people about their lives. And I remember this town meeting I had in Clevleys, I was coming to the end of the meeting and this bloke wondered up and he was incredibly angry. It's a family show so I won't exactly repeat what he said. He was so angry he wouldn't give me his name, but he did tell me his story about how he'd spent the last ten years looking after his disabled wife and then another four years looking for a job and not finding one, he was angry about immigration, some people in the crowd booed him, but actually he wasn’t prejudiced he just felt the economy didn't work for him.
I think of the two market traders I met in Chesterfield, standing by their stalls, out in all weathers, working all hours and they said 'look, this country doesn't seem to be rewarding our hard work and effort, there seem to be some people getting something for nothing. This society is losing touch with our values.
Then I think about this beautiful sunny spring day I spent in Lincoln and the face in the crowd, this young woman who said she was an ambulance controller, so proud to be working for our National Health Service and so proud, too, of her young son, and she was 19 years old. And she said 'why does everyone portray me as a burden on the system? I'm doing the right thing, I'm going out there. Why doesn't anyone listen to my voice?'.
Then I think about the scaffolder I met, just round the corner from where I live, I was just coming back from a local cafe I'd been at. He said to me 'where's your bodyguard?' I said 'I don't have one' - but that's a different story. He told me his story and what he said to me was 'I go out, I do the work, I go round the country, out in all weathers, I earn a decent wage but I still can't make ends meet and he said 'is anyone going to do anything about those gas and electric bills that just go up and up and up, faster than I can earn a living'. He wanted someone to fight for him.
Now if you listen to these stories, four of just millions of the stories of our country - and you have your own of your friends and family. All of these people love Britain, they embody its great spirit, but they all believe Britain can do better than this.
Today I say to them and millions of others - you're right, Britain can do better than this, Britain must do better than this, Britain will do better than this, with a government that fights for you.
But for Britain to do better than this we've got to understand why we got here, why things are so tough at the moment, even while they tell you there's a recovery and why unless we put things right, it will only be a recovery for the few. Now what I'm about to tell you is the most important thing I'm going to say today about what needs to change in our country.
For generation in Britain when the economy grew, the majority got better off and then somewhere along the way, that vital link between the growing wealth of the country and your family finances was broken, this goes beyond one party and one government, it's more important to you than which party is in power, even more important than that.
You see when I was growing up in the 1980s I saw the benefits of growing prosperity, people able to buy a house, a car, even a second car, go on a foreign holiday their grandparents would never have dreamed of, not spent all their hours at work, able to spend time with their kids, not working all the hours that God sends, have a secure pension in retirement and also believe their kids would have a better life than them. That seems a long way away from where Britain is at the moment. That's because it is, you see somewhere along the way that link got broken.
They used to say a rising tide lifts all boats, now the rising tide just seems to lift the yachts. Now i say this to the people of Britain, if I were you I wouldn't even take a second look at a political party unless they make this their central, defining purpose, because your future depend on it, your children's future depends on it, Britain's future depends on it. I say, we're Britain, we can do better than this.
Do the Tories get it? Oh come on I didn't hear you! Do the Tories get it? [No] OK, that's better. They don't get it, do they?
I understand why three and a half years ago some people might have thought David Cameron did get it and that's why people voted for him at the last general election, but they voted for change and I don't think they got the change they were voting for - and let me just explain it this way.
Next week you're going to see David Cameron resuming his lap of honour for how brilliantly he's done as Prime Minister, claiming credit for his enormous achievements, how he's saved the economy, as they put it, I'm in no doubt, he'll even be taking his shirt and flinging it into the crowd, expecting adoration from the British people, like he did recently on holiday. Maybe I should make this problem, if I'm Prime Minister I won't take my shirt off in public - I mean, it’s just not necessary is it. Anyway, I'll try and keep the promise. Back to David Cameron, so he's going on this lap of honour, everything's brilliant, he's saved the economy, George Osborne he deserves the garlands as well, you know, aren't they brilliant?
Come on! The slowest recovery in 100 years, one million young people looking for work, more people on record working part-time who want full-time work, more people for a generation our of work for longer, the longest fall in living standards since 1870, that's not worthy a lap of honour that is worth a lap of shame and that is the record of this government.
He does have on record though, but I don't think it credits a lap of honour - he's been Prime Minister for 39 months and in 38 of those months wages have risen more slowly than prices, that means your living standards falling year after year after year. So in 2015 you'll be asking ; Am I better off now than five years ago?' And we already know the answer for millions of families will be 'no'.
You've made the sacrifices but you haven't got the rewards. You're the first into the recession, but you're the last one out. Now, of course it would have taken time to recover from the global financial crisis whoever was in power, but when these Tories tell you the pain will be worth the gain, don't believe them, they can't solve the cost of living crisis and here's why - the cost of living crisis isn't an accident of David Cameron's economic policy - it is his economic policy and let me explain why.
You see, he believes in this thing called the global race, but what he doesn't tell you is he thinks for Britain to win the global race, you have to lose. Lower wages, worse terms and conditions, fewer rights at work, but Britain can't win a race for the lowest wages against countries where wage rates are pennies an hour, and the more we try the worse things will get for you.
Britain can't win a race for the fewest rights at work against the sweatshops of the world and the more we try, the worse things will get for you and Britain can't win a race for the lowest skilled jobs against countries where kids leave school at the age of 11 and the more we try the worse things will get for you. It's a race to the bottom, Britain cannot and should not win that race.
It's not the low achievements of these Tories, that really gets me, that's bad enough. It's their low aspirations, it's their low aspirations for you, their low aspirations for Britain, but their high hopes for those at the top. The city bonuses are back, up 82% in April alone thanks to the millionaires' tax cut. So when they tell you the economy's healing, that everything's fixed, just remember, they're not talking about your life, they're talking about their friends at the top, that's who they're talking about, it's high hopes for them.
And every so often, you know, the mask slips, doesn't it. The other day the man they call Lord Howell, he was I think their adviser on fracking at one point - nothing funny about that - now he said it was wrong to frack in some areas but it was OK in others, it was OK in the north-east of England because he said and I quote it was full of "desolate and uninhabited" areas. In one casual aside dismissing a whole region of the country.
Let's tell these Tories about north-east of England and every other part of Britain. People go out to work, they love their kids, they bring up their families, they care for their neighbours, they look out for each other, they're proud of their communities. They hope for the future, the Tories call them inhabitants of desolate areas, we call them our friends, our neighbours, the heroes of our country.
They're fed up of a government that doesn't understand their lives and a Prime Minister who cannot walk in their shoes. We're Britain, we're better than this!
Now to make Britain better we've got to win a race to the top, not a race to the bottom, a race to the top which means other countries will buy our goods, companies will come and invest here and we'll create the wealth and jobs we need for the future. But we're not going to be able to do it easily, it's going to be tough. Well, let me just say this, friends - you think Opposition is tough, you should try government, because it's going to be tough, it's not going to be easy and I'm not going to stand here today and pretend to you it is.
We're going to have to stick to strict spending limits to get the deficit down, we're not going to be able to spend money we don't have and, frankly, if I told you we were going to you wouldn't believe me, the country wouldn't believe me and they'd be right not to believe me.
But we can make a difference; we can win the race to the top and let me tell you how. It's about the jobs we create, it's about the businesses we support, it's about the talents we nurture, it's about the wages we earn and it's about the vested interests that we take on...
Let me start with the jobs of the future - the environment is a passion of mine, because when I think about my two kids who are two and four at the moment and not talking that much about the environment, more interested in the Octonauts - there's a plug - in 20 years’ time they'll say to me 'were you the last generation not to get climate change or the first generation to get it?'. That's the question they'll be asking, but it's not just about environmental care, it's also about the jobs we create in the future. You see some people say, including George Osborne that we can't afford to have an environmental commitment at a time like this. He's wrong, we can't afford not to have an environmental commitment at a time like this...
To win that race to the top we've also got to do something else, we've got to support the businesses of the future, now many of the jobs in the future will come from a large number of small businesses not a small number of large businesses.
That changes the priorities for government, when this government came to office, they've cut taxes for large businesses by 6bn but raised taxes on small businesses, now I don't think that's the right priority.
Yes, we need a competitive tax regime for large businesses, but frankly they've short-changed small businesses and I'm going to put it right. If the next Labour government takes power in 2015, we would use the money that this government used to cut taxes for large businesses to cut business rates for 1.5m businesses across our country. That’s the way we win the race to the top.
One Nation Labour - the party of small business, cutting small business rates when we come to office in 2015 and freezing them the next year, benefiting businesses by £450 a year - that’s how we win the race to the top, friends. We've also got to nurture the talents of the next generation, the skills of people. There are so many brilliant businesses in our country who provide amazing training for the workforce, but we’ve got to face facts, and leading businesses say this to me too, which is there aren’t enough of them, and we’ve got to work to change that. So we’ll say if you want a major government contract you might provide apprenticeships to the next generation.
We’ll say if you want to bring in a skilled worker from outside the EU then you’ll also have a legal duty to provide an apprenticeship to the next generation. I’ll also say to companie s doing the right thing, training their workforce, that they will have power to call time on free-riding by competitors who refuse to do the same. That’s where how we win the race to the top, friends.
It's not just businesses who have to accept responsibility, it's young people too. We have a tragedy in this country: hundreds of thousands of young people who leave school and end up on the dole. We’ve got this word for it don’t we: NEETs: Behind that short word is a tragedy of wasted lives. If the schools system fails our young people they shouldn’t be ending up on benefits, they should be ending up in education or training so they can get back on the road to a proper career. That requires them to accept responsibility but it requires government too to accept our responsibilities for the next generation in Britain, and that's what we'll do
To win the race to the top we've got to take advantage of the talents of Britain's 12m parents. Justine and I had the great privilege in every parent’s life this year of taking our son Daniel to his first day at school. He was nervous at first, but he pretty soon started having fun; a bit like being leader of the Labour party really… Well it’s not exactly like being the leader of the Labour party.
For so many parents in this country, the demands of the daily school run combined with their job are like their very own daily assault course. We’ve got to understand that, because we can’t win a race to the top with stressed out parents and family life under strain.
“In the last century, school stayed open till mid-afternoon and that was okay back then because one parent usually stayed at home. But it's not okay now: that's why we want every school in Britain to have the breakfast clubs and after school care that parents need and that's what the next Labour government will do.
“To win the race to the top we've also got to deal with the issue of low pay: the National Minimum Wage, one of the last Labour government’s proudest achievements, friends. But we have to face facts: there are millions of people in this country going out to work, coming home at night, unable to afford to bring up their families. I just think that's wrong in one of the richest countries in the world. The next Labour govt must write the next chapter of defeating low pay in this country: we've got to learn lessons from the National Minimum Wage, because it was about business and working people, business and unions working together to set the minimum wage at the right level, and we’ve got to do the same again. We’ve got to do something about it.
“There are some sectors – and I don’t often say anything nice about the banks - who actually can afford to pay higher wages, and some of them are, al living wage in some of the banks. So we've got to look at what we can do: the next Labour government will strengthen the minimum wage to make work pay for millions in our country – that’s how we in the race to the top.
I'm the son of two immigrant parents and I'm proud of the welcome Britain gave me and my family, and we've always welcomed people who work, contribute and are part of our communities. If people want a party that will cut itself off from the rest of the world, then let me say squarely: Labour is not your party.
But if people want a party that will set the right rules for working people then Labour is your party – the only party that will do it. employers not paying the minimum wage and government turning a blind eye - it's a race to the bottom - not under my government. Recruitment agencies hiring only from overseas – it’s a race to the bottom. Not under my government. Shady gangmasters exploiting people in industries from construction to food processing. It’s a race to the bottom: not under my government.
Rogue landlords, putting 15 people in tied housing, it's a race to the bottom, not under my government, and our country sending out a message to the world that if you want to engage in shady employment practices, then Britain is open for businesses? It's a race to the bottom, not under my government
And in case anyone asks whether this is pandering to prejudice: Let’s tell them it isn’t. Wherever people come from, we've never believed in a race to the bottom, we've always believed in a race to the top, that is our party.
And to win the race to the top we’ve got to take on the vested interests. In the 1990s we committed to a dynamic market economy: look at those words: dynamic market economy. Think about this: what happens when competition fails? What happens when it fails again, and again, and again? When government has to act. Train companies who put the daily commute out of reach, payday loan companies, who force people into unpayable debt. Energy companies who put prices up and up and up. That’s not good for the economy when one section of society does so well at the expense of others: that’s bad for families, bad for businesses and bad for the consumer.
Some people will blame the companies, but actually, I don’t think that's where the blame lies - it lies with government for not having had the strength to stand up for the strong, to powerful interest.
Take the gas and electricity companies: we need successful energy companies, to invest in the future in Britain, but there will never be public consent for that investment unless you get a fair deal. The system is broken and we need to fix it.
If we in the election 2015 the next Labour government will freeze gas and electricity prices until the start of 2017.
You bills will not rise: it will benefit millions of families and millions of businesses
That's what I mean when I say a government that fights for you and that's what I mean when I say Britain can do better than this.
The companies aren’t going to like this, because it will cost them more but they’ve been overcharging people for too long in a market that doesn’t work: we need to reset that market and have a regulator on the customer side that also enables the investment we need. That’s how Britain can be better than this.
Making Britain better than this starts with our economy, but it doesn't just stop there. It goes to our society as well. I told you earlier on about those market traders in Chesterfield and how they felt that society had lost touch with their values. I think what they were really saying is this: that they put in huge hard work and effort, they bring up their kids in the right way, and they just feel that their kids are going to have a worse life than them. Nowhere is that more true than when it comes to renting or buying your home.
There are 9m people in this country renting a home, many of whom who would rent to buy. 9m people - we don't just have a cost of living crisis, we have a housing crisis too. In 2010 when we left office there was a problem, there were 1m too few homes in Britain. If we carry on as we are, by 2020, there’ll be 2m too few homes in Britain. That’s the equivalent of five cities the size of Birmingham. We’ve got to do something about it and the next Labour government will.
We'll say to private developers we can't just sit on land and refuse to build: we’ll give them a very clear message, either use the land or lose the land, that is what the next Labour government will do.
We'll say to local authorities that they have a right to grow, and neighbouring local authorities can’t just stop them, we'll identify new towns and garden cities and we'll have an aim that at the end of the parliament Britain will be building 200,000 homes a year, more than at any time in a generation. That's how we make Britain better than this.
Nowhere do we need to put the values of the British people back at the heart of our country than in the National Health Service, the greatest institution of our country. I had a letter from a 17 year old girl suffering from depression and anxiety. She told me a heart-breaking story of how she ended up in hospital for 10 weeks: mental health is a truly one nation problem, it affects rich and poor, , north and south, young and old alike. And let's be frank: in the privacy of this room; we've swept it under the carpet for too long. It's a very British thing, we don’t like to talk about it: if you’ve got a bad back of you’re suffering from cancer you talk about it, but if you’ve got a depression or anxiety you don’t talk about it because somehow it doesn’t seem right. We've got to change that. It's an afterthought in our National Health Service
You might say, in tough times, how are you going to make it work? Here's the thing, the 17-year-old said in that letter, if someone had actually identified the problem when it started 3 years earlier I wouldn't have ended up in hospital and costing the state. It's about the early identification. And if it's true of mental health, it's true in an even bigger way of care for the elderly.
There’s so much more our countries could be doing for our grandmas and granddads. Just putting a £50 grab rail in the home stops somebody falling over, prevents them ending up in hospital with the needless agony, and all of the money that it costs
The 1945 Labour government raised its sights, even in tough times. I want the next Labour government to do the same: to raise our health in the NHS. Bringing together physical health, mental health, and all the care for the needs of the elderly: a true integrated national health service.
But we don't just need to improve the health service, friends; we've got to rescue it from these Tories. And the Liberals too...
Before the election I remember the speeches by David Cameron; one where he said the three most important letters to him were NHS he's got a funny way of showing it hasn't he? When they came to office they were still saying how brilliant everything was in the National Health Service. Have you noticed they've changed their tune recently? Suddenly they're saying how bad everything is in the National Health Service.
Now, doctors and nurses do a fantastic job. Sometimes they go wrong, and when they do we should be the first people to say so. But hear me on this: the reason David Cameron is running down the NHS is not because the doctors and nurses aren't doing as good a job as they were before, it's because they've come to a realisation, the health service is getting worse on their watch, and they're desperately thrashing around finding someone to blame: doctor, nurses, the last Labour government - that's what they're doing!
Let me tell you about the record of the last Labour government: when we came to office there were waiting time targets of 18 months that were not being met. When we left office, there were targets of 18 weeks that were being met. When we came to office, there was an A&E crisis, when we left there was a A&E service we could rely on. When we came to office there were fewer doctors and nurses, when we left office, more than ever before.
When we came to office people said the NHS was a good idea when it was set up, but they didn't believe it would be there for the next. When we left we left with the highest public satisfaction it has ever seen - yes friends, we did rescue the National Health Service.
When you heard David Cameron casting around for someone to blame for the NHS, it's as simple as ABC - Anyone But Cameron.
We know who's responsible for the needless top-down reorganisation that no one voted for or ever wanted, for the abolition of NHS Direct, we know who’s responsible for not just an annual A&E crisis but for an A&E crisis for all seasons: this Prime Minister. It's the same old story; we rescue the NHS, they wreck the NHS, and we'll have to rescue it all over again - that is what the next Labour government will do.
I’ve explained how we can make Britain better by changing our economy and our society. Here's the bit you've all been looking forward to - party reform. Now let me say to you - change is difficult and uncomfortable. Let me explain to you why it’s so important: with all the forces ranged against us, we can’t just be a party of 200,000 people. We've got to be a party of 500,000, 600,000 or more, and I'm optimistic enough, some might say idealistic enough, to believe that's possible. And I believe that because of the unique link we have with the trade unions. I don't want to end that link, I want to mend that link, and hear the voices of individual working people louder than ever before. Think about our history:
it's you that's been telling me that we haven't been rooted in the workplaces of this country, and that’s what I want to change. It’s about hearing the voices of people: call centre workers, construction workers, people who work in supermarkets, putting them at the heart of our party.
It's about my view of politics; Leaders matter, of course they do, but in the end political change happens because people make it happen, and you can't be a party that fights for working people unless you have working people at the core of your party up and down this country. I want to work with you on my reforms so we can have a mass membership party. Friends, let's make ourselves truly the People's Party once again.
To change our politics we've got to do more than that, we've got to hear the voices of people whose voices haven't been heard in a young time. The voices of young people, their talent, their energy. The voices of young people who haven’t got a job. The voices of young people who demand that we don’t shirk our responsibilities to the environment. The voices of gay and lesbian young people, who led the fight and won the battle for equal marriage in Britain.
And the voices of young people, particularly women, who say in 2013 the battle for equality is not won. You see, they're not happy that 33% of Labour MPs are women, they want it to be 50%, and they. Are. Right.
They are not satisfied that 40 years after the Equal Pay Act we still don't have equal pay for work of equal value in this country, and they are right. They are not satisfied that in Britain of 2013 women are still subject to violence, harassment, and every day sexism. They are not satisfied and they are right. Let’s give a voice to these young people in our party and democracy. Let’s give the vote to 16 and 17 year olds and make them part of our democracy.
We’ve got to win the battle for perhaps the most important institution of all. Our United Kingdom. Friends: devolution works. Carwyn Jones, our brilliant First Minister of Wales, he's showing devolution works. And let's praise the leadership of our Scottish leader Johann Lamont for the brilliant job she's doing against Alex Salmond
That referendum on September 8th 2014, it's going to be conducted on the basis of facts, figures and arguments. But I’ve got a story to tell you that says even more: It’s the story of Cathy Murphy. Cathy Murphy lives in Glasgow, she works in the local supermarket. In 2010, Cathy was diagnosed with a serious heart problem, but she came to Labour conference nonetheless in 2011 as a delegate. She fell seriously ill, her family were called down from Glasgow, the doctors said to her that to save her life they’d have to give her a very long and very risky operation.
She had that operation a few weeks later at the world-leading Liverpool Broad Green hospital. Cathy pulled through, she went back to Glasgow some weeks later and she comes back down to Liverpool every six months for her check-up. She said to me the nurses and doctors don’t ask whether she’s English or Scotish, the hospital doesn’t care where she lives. They care about her because she’s Scottish and British, a citizen of our United Kingdom. Friends, Cathy is with us today, back again. Where is she? Cathy’s here. Friends: I don’t want Cathy to become a foreigner, let’s win the battle for the United Kingdom.
I’ve talked to you today about policy, what a Labour government would do, how we’d make Britain better, and win the race to the top in our economy. But the next election isn’t just going to be about policy, it’s going to be about how we lead and the judgement that w show. I've got a message for the Tories today: if you want to have a debate about leadership and character? Be my guest
If you want to know the difference between me and David Cameron, here's an easy way to remember it: when it was Murdoch vs the McCanns, he took the side of Murdoch, when it was the cancer charities versus the tobacco lobby, he took the side of the tobacco lobby, when it was the millionaires wanting a tax cut versus the families hit by the bedroom tax – he took the side of the millionaires. Come to think of it, here’s an easier way to remember it : David Cameron was the Prime Minister who introduced the bedroom tax, I'll be the Prime Minister who repeals the bedroom tax
Here's the thing about David Cameron: he may be strong at standing up to the weak, but he's always weak when it comes to standing up to the strong. That’s the difference between me and David Cameron so let's have that debate about leadership and character, and I relish that debate.
We know what we're going to see from these Tories till the general election: the lowest form of politics, divide and rule. People on benefits against those in work, people inside and outside unions, private sector versus public sector, the north against the south. It’s the lowest form of politics.
Like sending vans into areas of Britain where people's mums and grandmas have lived for generations and telling them to go home: I say, we're Britain, we're better than this! Telling anyone who's looking for a job that they're a scrounger, however hard they’re looking, even when they're looking for work: I say we're Britain, we're better than this! I say to David Cameron: you can tell your Lynton Crosby. It might work elsewhere, but it won't work here. We're Britain, we're better than this!
That's the easy path for politics, dividing. You need to know this about me, I believe in seeing the best in people, not the worst. That's what I'm about. That’s how we create One Nation, that’s how we make Britain better than this, that's how we make a government that fights for working people.There's going to be a big fight before the general election, but when you prepare yourself for that fight, don't think about our party, think about our country. I don't want to win this fight for Labour, I want to win it for Britain.
Just remember this: thorough our history, when the voices of hope have been arranged against the voices of fear, the voices of hope have won through. Those that said at the dawn of the industrial revoltion that working people needed the vote, and they wouldn't wait - they knew Britain could be better than this, and we were. Those that said at the birth of a new century, that working people needed a party to fight for them, and the old order wouldn't do - they knew Britain could do better than this, and they were.
Those that said at our darkest hour in the Second World War, that Britain needed to rebuild after the war and said never again, they knew Britain could do better than this, and we did, and as the 20th century grew old, those who knew that the battle for equality was still young, they knew that Britain could do better than this. And now it falls to us to build One Nation a country for all - a Britain we rebuild together. Britain's best days lie ahead, Britain can do better than this: we're Britain, we're better than this. I'll lead a Government that fights for you. Thank you!