2014 Labour Conference Speech

I want to start by talking about somebody who’s from Salford, just down the road from here and that’s Alan Henning, a British hostage taken by Isil. His wife, Barbara Henning, made an incredibly moving appeal for his release just over the weekend.

You know, Alan Henning is simply an aid worker trying to make life better for victims of conflict. I think it should tell us all we need to know about Isil and their murderous ways that they take a decent British man like Alan Henning hostage.

And it’s not just British people that they are targeting; it is people of all nationalities and all religions. That’s why we supported a coalition, not simply based on military action but a coalition based on humanitarian, political and diplomatic action to counter the threat of Isil.

Now this week, the president of the United States and the British Prime Minister are both at the United Nations.

We support the overnight action against Isil, what needs to happen now is that the UN needs to play its part. A UN Security Council resolution to win the international support to counter that threat of Isil.

Friends, this country will never turn our back on the world and will never turn our back on the principles of internationalism.

And those values are reflected not just in our country but in this Party, in this hall and in this great city of Manchester. Friends, it is great to be with you in Manchester. A fantastic city. A city with a great Labour council leading the way. And a city that after this year’s local elections, is not just a Tory-free zone but a Liberal Democrat free zone as well.

Now Manchester has special memories for me because it was four years ago that I was elected your leader, here in Manchester. Four years on I feel wiser. I feel older. I feel much older, actually. But hang on a minute, some of you look quite a lot older as well. At least I’ve got an excuse. But I am prouder than ever to be the leader of your party and I thank you for your support.

Now we meet here in serious times, not just for your world but for our country too. Our country nearly broke up. A country that nearly splits apart is not a country in good health. I want to start by thanking all of Labour’s Team Scotland for the part they played in keeping our country together.

Let us thank them all. Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling, Margaret Curran, Douglas Alexander, Jim Murphy, Anas Sarwar, Johann Lamont. Let us thank them all ladies and gentlemen because they helped save our country.

And I want to say to the people of Scotland directly: this Labour party will show you over the coming years you made the right choice. Because we are better together.

Now here’s the thing. All of us, all political leaders, all of us in this hall, have a responsibility to try and explain why 45 per cent of people voted yes. 45 per cent of people wanted to break up our country. And we’ve got to explain why the feeling we saw in Scotland is not just in Scotland but is reflected across the country and my story starts six days from the end of the referendum campaign.

I was on my way to a public meeting. I was late as politicians tend to be. And just outside the meeting I met a woman and I was supposed to be going into the meeting but I wanted to stop and ask her how she was voting. I did that to everybody on the street. One vote at a time. I said to her “how are you voting?” she said “I haven’t decided yet.”

Turned out her name was Josephine. She worked as a cleaner in the building. I asked her what the company was like that she worked for. She said the company was decent but the wages were rubbish. She hadn’t decided because life was so incredibly tough for her. She didn’t want to leave but she thought it might be the best thing to do.

Now, I don’t know how Josephine voted in the referendum, but I do know the question she was asking: “Is anyone going to make life better for me and my family?” And here’s the thing. It isn’t just Josephine’s question. It’s the question people are asking right across Britain: “Is anyone going to build a better life for the working people of our country?” That wasn’t just the referendum question. That is the general election question.

I am not talking about the powerful and the privileged. Those who do well whatever the weather. I’m talking about families like yours, who are treading water, working harder and harder just to stay afloat.

For Labour, this election is about you. You’ve made the sacrifices. You have taken home lower wages year after year. You have paid higher taxes. You have seen your energy bills rise and your NHS decline. You know this country doesn’t work for you. My answer is that we can build a better future for you and your family and this speech is about Labour’s plan to do it. Labour’s plan for Britain’s future.

So what do we need to have that plan for the future? We’ve got to understand what people are saying to us right across the United Kingdom. See, I think across our country there is a silent majority who wanted our country to endure but are telling us that things must change and they come from every walk of life. Like a young woman called Xiomara who works in a pub near where I live.

She lives at the opposite end of the country from Josephine. She’s separated by at least a generation. But they share a common experience. Xiomara couldn’t afford to go to college. So she got a job in the pub kitchen nearby, washing dishes. She’s worked incredibly hard and she’s worked her way up to be one of the chefs.

But like for Josephine, life by Xiomara is incredibly tough. And by the way, she thinks politics is rubbish. And let’s not pretend we don’t hear that a lot on the doorstep. What does she see in politics? She sees drift. She doesn’t think we can solve her problems, now we’ve got to prove her wrong. And it’s not just that people like Xiomara and Josephine are struggling with the problems of today and millions of other people.

I think there’s something almost even more important about our country. People have lost faith in the future. You know, the other day I was in the park. I was actually trying to work on my speech, believe it or not, and I wasn’t getting anywhere, so I went to the park and there were two young women who were in the park and they seemed excited to see me and they came over. And – it’s not that funny – one of them actually said “so it is true, you do meet famous people in this park.” And the other one said “yeah it is.” And then the first one said “no offence, we were hoping for Benedict Cumberbatch.”

But anyway, one of them said something which really stuck with me. She said this, she said: “My generation is falling into a black hole.” And she said about her parents’ generation: “they’ve had it so good and now there’s nothing left for us.” She wasn’t just speaking for herself, she was speaking for millions of people across our country. Millions of people who have lost faith in the future.

Like Gareth, who is high up at a software company. He’s got a five year old daughter, he’s earning a decent wage, he can’t afford to buy a home for himself and for his family, he’s priced out by the richest. He thinks that unless you’re one of the privileged few in Britain the country is not going to work for you and your kids are going to have a worse life than you.

And so many people, friends, across our country feel this way. They feel the country doesn’t work for them. And they’ve lost that faith in the future. Now our task is to restore people’s faith in the future. Not by breaking up our country. But by breaking with the old way of doing things. By breaking with the past.

I’m not talking about a different policy or a different programme. I’m talking about something much bigger. I’m talking about a different idea, a different ethic for the way our country succeeds.

You see, for all the sound and fury in England, Scotland, Wales, across the United Kingdom, what people are actually saying to us is this country doesn’t care about me. Our politics doesn’t listen. Our economy doesn’t work and they’re not wrong, they’re right and this Labour Party is going to put it right.

But friends, to do that we have to go back to the very foundations of who we are and how we run things. We just can’t carry on with the belief that a country can succeed as a country with a tiny minority at the top doing well.

Prosperity in one part of Britain, amongst a small elite. A circle that is closed to most, blind to the concerns of people. Sending the message to everyone but a few: you’re on your own. See, think about it for a minute. In our economy, it’s working people who are made to bear the burden of anxiety, precariousness and insecurity.

They’ve been told: you’re on your own.

So many young people who don’t have the privileges, think their life is going to be worse than their parents.

They’ve been told: you’re on your own.

So many small businesses are struggling against forces more powerful than themselves.

They’ve been told: you’re on your own.

And the most vulnerable have been thrown on the scrapheap, cast aside, not listened to even when they have a case.

They’ve been told: you’re on your own.

And to cap it all, in our politics, it’s a few who have the access while everyone else is locked out.

They’ve been told: you’re on your own.

No wonder people have lost faith in the future. That’s why so many people voted to break up our country. Is it any wonder? The deck is stacked. The game is rigged in favour of those who have all the power.

Friends, in eight months’ time, we’re going to call time on this way of running the country. Because you’re on your own doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t work for your family, it doesn’t work for Britain.

Can we build a different future for our country? Of course we can. But with a different idea for how we succeed. An idea that in the end won this referendum.

An idea I love because it says so much about who we are and who we have it in ourselves to become.

An idea rooted in this party’s character and our country’s history.

An idea that built our greatest institutions and got us through our darkest moments.

An idea that is just one simple word.



Together we can restore faith in the future.

Together we can build a better future for the working people of Britain.

Together we can rebuild Britain.

Friends, together we can.

Together says it is not just the powerful few at the top whose voices should be heard, it’s the voice of everyone. Together says that it is not just a few wealthy people who create the wealth of our country. It’s every working person. Together says that we just can’t won’t succeed as a country with the talents of a few, we’ve got to use the talents of all. Together says that we can’t have some people playing under different rules, everybody’s got to play under the same rules.

And together says that we have a duty to look after each other when times are hard. Together. The way we restore faith in the future. Together: a different idea for Britain.

Now you might be thinking this sounds like a pretty big undertaking, changing the way our country is run, a totally different idea, that’s quite a big task, is it really going to be possible? Can we do it? I mean, it’s the 21st century, is that going backwards? Well it isn’t. And the reason it isn’t is because that idea is everywhere around us to see.

In every walk of life. The inspiration is everywhere of a different way of doing things. See, earlier on I mentioned Gareth, who works at a software company, who’s worried about his daughter and worried about the future. I didn’t just meet him, I met his colleagues as well. And that software company, the thing that shines through about it for me is it is full of bright, savvy young people, full of great enthusiasm.

But it isn’t about the boss at the top. It isn’t each individual on their own. Go to every person at that company and they say the same thing. You need to use the talents of every single person. Not just the software designers, but the customer service. Not just the developers, but those who manage the accounts. And go to so many great businesses across our country and they’ll the same thing to you, that is the ethic of the 21st century in business.

We need great entrepreneurs. Britain needs great entrepreneurs. But the greatest entrepreneurs recognise that they’re only as strong as their team.

And it’s not just in business. They’ll be people here who work in our brilliant National Health Service. Our brilliant National Health Service, friends.

Earlier this year, I spent a couple of days at an NHS hospital in Watford. I wanted to go there to see how things look from the front line. Mainly I sort of got in the way really, but that’s what politicians tend to do. And I remember one evening I was in A&E at 9pm and I was watching nurses from different backgrounds different walks of life, all coming together. I was incredibly moved, I was incredibly inspired by the team work. I was so proud of our National Health Service.

Go to any great hospital, go to any great school, it is the team that makes it strong and then think about our brilliant armed forces and let us pay tribute to them today friends.

Our brilliant, heroic troops serving our country in the most dangerous places. Talk to any of them and they will talk about the team and the team that make sit strong. So it’s true of business, it’s true of public services, it’s true of our armed forces, it’s true of so many walks of life.

You see, if the ethic of the 20th century was hierarchy, order, planning, control, the talents of just a few, the ethic of the 21st century co-operation, everybody playing their part, sharing the rewards, the talents of all. Together. Friends, it is time we ran the country like we know it can be run.

Now here’s a question for you: If the challenge is to run the country on this principle of together, can the Tories be the answer?

Can the Tories be the answer?

I’ll tell you why they can’t be the answer, because if you want the best example of the “you’re on your own”, rig the system for the powerful few, insecure, throwback dogma then just look at this government.

If you’re a low paid worker struggling to make ends meet, you’re working harder for longer for less and you’re on your own.

If you’re a family in the squeezed middle you feel like you’re just treading water and you’re on your own.

If you’re on a zero-hours contract, getting up at 5am every morning to find out whether you’ve got work, they’ll tell you that is how an economy succeeds and you’re on your own.

If you are one of the people worried about the railway company, the payday lender, they’re not going to do anything to help you. You’re on your own.

And if you’re one of the nine million people who rent your home in the private sector, they’re certainly not going to do anything for you. They’re going to tell you you’re on your own.

And why? Because they say intervening would be like Venezuela. That’s what they say. You see they say they don’t believe in government intervention. Really? Of course they do.

Because if you are a millionaire who wants a tax cut, they’re certainly going to intervene to support you. You’re not going to be on your own.

If you are a banker, who’s worried about your bonus, well it’s good news for you because George Osborne is going to go all the way to Europe to fight tooth and nail to try and protect it. You certainly won’t be on your own.

If you are an energy company whose prices and profits are soaring, good news again. You’ve got a Prime Minister who’ll be your own PR man. You won’t be on your own.

And by the way, if you are a Conservative supporting, gold mining, luxury hotel owning, Putin award winning, Russian oligarch, and you have got a £160,000 to spare to bid in an auction, you won’t be on your own; you will be on tennis court playing doubles, with David Cameron. That tells you all you need to know about this government.

Now, look, we know the kind of election campaign they are going to fight. In the next eight months, David Cameron is going to talk a lot about the past. He’s not going to want to talk that much about the present or the future. Now why? He’s going to tell you, he’s going to tell the British public that none of the problems in our country are anything to do with him. He’s done a really outstanding, tremendous job and he really deserves a lot of congratulations and thanks.

So he’s done a great job; all the problems are nothing to do with him and if you just hang on until after the general election things are about to turn the corner for your family.

Now the British people will have to be the judge of this. But I think there are some things to bear in mind. The record of this government, friends, isn’t just mediocre. It is one of the worst ever.

The longest fall in living standards since 1870.

Wages rising slower than prices for 50 out of 51 months.

For your family five years of this government; five years of sacrifice and zero years of success.

Now you might think that David Cameron’s right and things are about to turn round for you and your family. As I say the British people will have to be the judge of this. But isn’t there a second, more plausible explanation for their record? A Tory economy is always an economy for the few.

Because that’s who they care about. That’s the basis on which they think a country succeeds. And so the past with this government is a good guide to the future. Your family worse off. You can’t afford to take that risk. The British people can’t afford another five years of David Cameron.

Now, I’ve got an idea for our Prime Minister: he likes the surfing, he likes playing that game Angry Birds and he likes the tennis with the Russian oligarchs. Friends, I’ve got a great idea: Why don’t we give him all the time in the world to do all of those things. Come next May, let’s send him into opposition.

It’s up to us. We have to build a future for you and your family. That’s what Labour’s plan for Britain’s future is all about.

Today I want to lay out six national goals. Not just for one term of office. Or even for one year. But a plan for the next ten years. Britain 2025.

Day one of me as Prime Minster, this is the plan, and these are the goals I want us to pursue. Now you might ask why ten years? I’ll tell you one of the reasons. People are fed up with politicians who come along and say vote for me and on day one everything will be transformed. Friends the British people won’t believe it. It’s what I call doing a Nick Clegg.

Look, when Nick Clegg broke that promise on tuition fees, he didn’t just destroy trust in himself and the Liberal Democrats. He did something else. He destroyed trust in politics. Every time a promise is broken, every time a false promise is made, every time we say vote for us and tomorrow everything will be totally different, people get more and more cynical. People get more and more turned off.

People think politics is more and more a game and that all we’re in it for is ourselves. That’s why I plan for the next ten years. Not a plan for the next ten years which says nothing changes. But a route map. A route map for the country.

A route map for people like Gareth that I talked about earlier. For the young woman who wanted to see Benedict Cumberbatch and ended up with me and said ‘My generation is falling into a black hole. I want to know there’s a future for me.’ That’s what this plan is about.

Our plan starts with rewarding hard work once again because that’s what we’ve got to do as a country. One in five of the men and women go out to work in our country, do their bit, make their contribution, put in the hours and find themselves on low pay. With Britain’s traditions, with Labour’s traditions, that should shame us all.

So our first national goal is that we halve the number of people in low pay by 2025. Transforming the lives of two million people in our country.

The principle of together says we don’t just use the talents of all, we reward the talent of all. And the minimum wage has got to become a route to bringing up your family with dignity.

So we will raise the minimum wage by £1.50 an hour by 2020. To over £8 an hour. A rise in pay of £60 a week for a full-time worker on the minimum wage. Or more than £3,000 a year. The Tories are the party of wealth and privilege.

Labour is the party of hard work fairly paid. And it’s not the low paid but it’s all working people who should have their talents rewarded.

So our second national goal is that all working people should share fairly in the growing wealth of the country. That means, as the economy grows, the wages of everyday working people grow at the same rate.

You know what’s amazing friends, is that statement, that goal is even controversial. It used to be taken for granted in our country that’s what would happen.

That’s what the cost of living crisis which the Tories don’t understand is all about. To counter it you need a government with a singular focus on tackling it. Key to this is transforming our economy so we create good jobs at decent wages. That requires a massive national effort. The principle of together: everybody playing their part.

For government it means no vested interest, no old orthodoxies, no stale mindset, should stand in the way of restoring this basic bargain of Britain. It means reforming our banks, much bigger reform of our banks. Breaking up the big banks.

So that we have the competition we need in our banking system. It means getting power out of Whitehall. We are far too centralised a country. It’s time we did something about it. It’s time we transferred power out of Whitehall. To our businesses, towns and cities, so that they can create the jobs, the prosperity, the wealth that they need.

It’s about businesses and trade unions engaging in cooperation not confrontation.

And it’s also about something else friends for this party. It’s using our historic values to fight for those at the frontline of the modern workforce. I’m talking about a group of people that we in the Labour Party haven’t talked about that much and we need to talk about them a lot more. The growing army of our self-employed.

Five million people in our country. Often the most entrepreneurial, go-getting people in Britain who have a hard, insecure life very often. You see, because of the job they do, two out of three don’t have a pension.

One in five can’t get a mortgage. They don’t want special treatment. They just want a fair shot. The task for this Labour Party is to end this 21st century modern discrimination. It is to fight and deliver equal rights for the self-employed in Britain.

I said earlier that we need to create good jobs at decent wages. To transform our economy. The jobs of the future. So our third national goal is that by 2025, Britain becomes truly a world leader in the green economy, creating one million new jobs as we do. Under this government, we’re falling behind Germany, Japan, the United States and even India and China when it comes to green technologies and services.

There are so many brilliant businesses who are desperate to do their bit but government’s not playing its part. With our plan, we will. This is what we’re going to do.

We’re going to commit to taking all of the carbon out of our electricity by 2030.

We’re going to have a Green Investment Bank with powers to borrow and attract new investment. And as Caroline Flint announced today, we will devolve power and resources to communities so we can insulate 5 million homes over the next ten years.

You see the environment isn’t that fashionable any more in politics as you may have noticed with David Cameron. But it matters. It’s incredibly important for our economy. And there is no more important issue for me when I think about my children’s’ generation and what I can do in politics, than tackling global climate change. Now we need a plan for jobs. We need a plan for wages. We need a plan that is actually going to help the working families of our country.

At the heart of our plan for our country and for your family is also a future for all of our young people.

I met somebody called Elizabeth the other day. Where is she? She’s here. Elizabeth, why don’t you stand up for one second. Elizabeth is an apprentice.

She’s an auto-electrician. I think it’s fair to say Elizabeth that you are breaking through in what’s been pretty much a man’s world. Now, let’s have another round of applause for her and the great job she’s doing. She is one of the lucky few. Actually Elizabeth’s school, because I met her yesterday, Elizabeth’s school helped her to get an apprenticeship. But so many other schools don’t do that. In fact, lots of the people I meet who are on apprenticeships say ‘my school said apprenticeships were rubbish and they wouldn’t help me but now I’m doing it, it’s really great for me’. Frankly there aren’t enough of them and they aren’t high-quality enough.

So our fourth national goal is that by 2025 as many young people will be leaving school or college to go on to an apprenticeship as currently go to university.

Now, I’ve got to tell you this is an absolutely huge undertaking. We are such a long way away from this as a country. It is going to require a massive national effort. It’s going to require young people to show the ambition to do well and to get on.

It’s going to require schools to lead a dramatic change in education, with new gold standard technical qualifications. And it is going to need business and government to lead a revolution in apprenticeships. You know, government is very good at preaching to business about what it should be doing. Let me just tell you: government is absolutely useless when it comes to apprenticeships. It’s true of governments of both parties. Look at other countries; they do a fantastic job in giving apprenticeships to the next generation. We don’t do that in this country.

First we’ve got to tackle the failure by government. Then we’ve got to say to business that you’ve got to play your part. If you want to bring in a worker from outside the EU, that’s ok but you must provide apprenticeships to the next generation.

You see we can’t have what’s happening at the moment in IT where you’ve got more and more people coming in but actually the number of apprenticeships falling in IT. And we’ve also got to say to business this: We’re going to give you control of the money for apprenticeships for the first time but in exchange, if you want a major government contract, then you must provide apprenticeships to our young people. A plan for jobs, for wages, for education.

But what is it, what other things give us confidence and security in life? It’s the love of the people we care most about. Decent work properly rewarded. But it’s also the confidence and security of having our own home. So many people don’t have that today. That very British dream, of home ownership, is fading for so many people. You know, under this government, we’re building fewer homes than at any time since the 1920s.

So our fifth national goal is that by 2025, for the first time in fifty years, this country will be building as many homes as we need. Doubling the number of first time buyers in our country.

Again it is going to require a massive national effort, a massive national effort. We won’t let large developers sit on land, we will say to small developers and construction companies that we will help them to build homes again in our country. We will build a new generation of towns, garden cities and suburbs creating over half a million new homes.

And we will also make housing the top priority for additional capital investment in the next parliament. This party will get Britain building again.

Your family also needs public services you can rely on. Education policing, transport - and nowhere is that more true than our National Health Service.

I mentioned earlier on that I spent a couple of days at a hospital in Watford earlier on this year. And while I was there I met an amazing man called Colin in his 80s, who sadly died a few weeks later. But I will always remember my conversations with him. You see he remembered the foundation of the NHS, he remembered what life was like before the National Health Service. And I remember him saying to me: “Ed the problem then was you were on your own. On your own having to pay for medical treatment.” Friends we are so proud of our National Health Service. And I know my duty to Colin and to the British people. It is to make sure our NHS is there when we need it.

So our sixth national goal is that we create a truly world-class 21st century health and care service.

Because a hospital is only as good as the services in the community. So see that’s the biggest lesson I learnt in Watford. If people can’t get to see their GP, if elderly people can’t get the visits they need then they end up in hospital when it could have been avoided. And that’s bad for them, and it is bad for the taxpayer it costs billions of pounds. And let’s face it friends those services are creaking.

Those services are creaking just now. One in four people can’t get to see their GP within a week. We’ve had the scandal of home care visits for the elderly restricted to just 15 minutes. In this day and age. The NHS does face huge challenges over the coming years. We will transform our NHS. It is time to care about our NHS. We need doctors, nurses, midwives, care workers, who are able to spend proper time with us, not rushed off their feet. So we will set aside resources so that we can have in our NHS 3,000 more midwives, 5,000 more care workers, 8,000 more GPs and 20,000 more nurses. An NHS with time to care.

And in order to pay for it we won’t borrow an extra penny. Or raise taxes on ordinary working families. We will clamp down on tax avoidance including tax loopholes by the hedge funds to raise over £1 billion. We will use the proceeds from a mansion tax on homes above £2 million.

And we will raise extra resources from the tobacco companies, who make soaring profits on the back of ill health. Because friends the principle of building it together means everyone playing their part in making our NHS what it needs to be.

In total we will set aside £2.5 billion in an NHS time to care fund and tomorrow Andy Burnham will set out our integrated plan for physical health, mental health and care for the elderly. Truly a 21st century National Health Service. The stakes are incredibly high at this election and nowhere more so than on the National Health Service because we know the NHS is sliding backwards under this government. We know they are privatising and fragmenting it.

Just imagine what another five years of David Cameron would mean for our National Health Service Friends.

We are not going to let it happen, our NHS is too precious, too important and we will not let it happen. Friends, we built the NHS. We saved the NHS. We are going to repeal the Health and Social Care Bill and we are going to transform our NHS for the future. That is what the next Labour government will do and friends, we will do it together.

Six national goals friends. Six national goals to transform our country. Not a false promise on day one. Not some pie in the sky idea that can’t be delivered. Real, concrete ideas that can transform our country. That can restore faith in the future. A plan for Britain’s future. Labour’s plan for Britain’s future.

But to make that happen we also have to do something else and transform who has power in our country so that those who feel locked out feel let back in.

You know people think Westminster politics is out of touch, irrelevant and often disconnected from their lives.

And as somebody who stands at Prime Minister’s Questions each Wednesday I often know what they mean. We might as well say it; it is what people think about politics. They think it is not about them and we’ve got to change it. We don’t just need to restore people’s faith in the future with this economic and social plan we need to change the way politics works in this country. What does that mean?

First of all it is time to hear the voice of young people in our politics so we will give the vote to 16 and 17 year olds in general elections.

It is time we complete the unfinished business of reform of the House of Lords so we truly have a Senate of the nations and regions. And it is time to devolve power in England.

And I’m incredibly proud of our proposals. Our ambitious proposals to reverse a century of centralisation and there can be no better place to be talking about this then here in Manchester. Devolving power to local government, bringing power closer to people right across England.

And we need bigger reform of our constitution, but here is the thing friends, given everything we know about what people think of Westminster politics, it has got to be led by the people.

It can’t be some Westminster stitch-up. That is why we need a proper constitutional convention harnessing the civic energy and spirit of people right across our land. England, Scotland, Wales, every part of the United Kingdom. But you know I have realised something else giving people voice is also about recognising who we are as a country.

We are more than ever, four countries and one. England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Britain too.

Each nation making its contribution. We are not just better together, we are greater together. And that is not something to fear that is something to be proud of. I learnt something really important as I’m sure we all did in this referendum campaign.

All of those people who were proud to be Scottish and proud to be British. Just like there are so many people who are proud to be Welsh and proud to be British.

No one more so than our brilliant First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones and let’s hear it for him today Ladies and Gentleman.

And so too we can be proud to be English and proud to be British. And I say to this party we must fight for these traditions and not cede them to others. Englishness: a history of solidarity.

From the Battle of Cable Street against Oswald Mosley and the black shirts to the spirit of the Blitz. Englishness: traditions of fairness. From the Ford workers at Dagenham who fought for equal pay to today’s campaigners for the living wage. Englishness: a spirit of internationalism. From those who fought in the Spanish Civil War to our generosity to those overseas. Now friends there will be some people who tell you that being English, Welsh or Scottish means dividing or setting ourselves against each other. Rubbish. Why? Because here is what we the Labour Party know.

The injustices facing working face them right across the United Kingdom and we can only tackle them together. That is after all what we spent the last two years fighting for and I am not going to let anyone after the last two years drive us apart.

If David Cameron cares so much about the Union why is he seeking to divide us?

He is learning the wrong lessons from Scotland. He is learning the wrong lessons from Scotland. Because what he doesn’t understand is that the lessons are of course about the constitution, but they are not about playing political tactics about England.

And here is why he is doing it. David Cameron doesn’t lie awake at night thinking about the United Kingdom. He lies awake at night thinking about the United Kingdom Independence Party. UKIP. That is why he is doing it friends and I say pandering to them is just one more reason why he is not fit to be the Prime Minister of this great country.

Better together, across the United Kingdom. But also better together, true to our traditions of internationalism. And nowhere is that more true than when it comes to Europe and the European Union. Friends, let me say it plainly: our future lies inside not outside the European Union.

We need to reform Europe. We need to reform Europe on the economy, on immigration, on benefits, on all of these big issues. But here is the question for Britain. How do we reform Europe? Do we reform Europe by building alliances or by burning alliances?

Well, look, what’s really good is that we’ve had a recent experience, a test case, by David Cameron of his strategy.

I don’t know whether you missed it, but it’s about somebody called Jean-Claude Juncker. And in case you missed the score, it’s not so good from his point of view, that’s David Cameron, is he lost by 26 to 2.

Now, why did he lose? Because at the start people thought he might win that vote. I’ll tell you why. Because you see the problem for our country is that when David Cameron comes calling, people don’t think he’s calling about the problems of Britain or the problems of Europe. They think he’s calling about the problems of the Conservative Party. And here’s the funny thing friends, here’s the funny thing. If you’re elected the Chancellor of Germany or the Prime Minister of Italy or the President of France you don’t really think you were elected to solve the problems of the Conservative Party.

That’s why he can’t succeed for our country. And, look, what we had over Jean-Claude Juncker is just a preview of what could befall this country if David Cameron was back in power after 2015. Because he lost 26 to 2 over that. He has to win 28-0 to get reform of Europe. Unanimity. No chance for David Cameron.

He’s got no chance of fighting for this country. Because people think he’s got one hand on the exit door and his strategy has failed. If you want to reform Europe. If you want to change the way Europe works. If you want to keep Britain in the European Union and if you realise that the biggest threat to our prosperity is now the Conservative Party, the right answer is a Labour government.

I’m determined that as Prime Minister, I promote our values all round the world and one of the things that that means friends is seeking a solution to a problem that we know in our hearts is one of the biggest problems our world faces and that is issues in the Middle East and Israel and Palestine.

I tell you, I will fight with every fibre of my being to get the two state solution, two states for two people, Israel and a Palestinian state living side by side, that will be a very, very important task of the next Labour government, friends.

There’s one other thing I want to say about what we need to do abroad. You know we have made extraordinary progress on Lesbian and Gay rights over the last twenty years. If I think about the transformation that I have seen growing up into adulthood, the biggest transformation.

We’ve made such progress on equality. But we have to face the fact that internationally things are, if anything, going backwards. We can’t just let that happen. We can’t just say “well, that’s OK”. The next Labour government will fight to make sure that we fight for our values and for human rights all round the world.

So today I can announce that I am appointing Michael Cashman, Lord Cashman, as our envoy on LGBT rights all round the world.

So it’s about a plan, at home and abroad, but it’s also about leadership.

Friends - you know, I know, that the next eight months represent my interview with the British people for one of the most important jobs in our country.

Let me tell you what I care about.

I care about big ideas that can change our country.

The principle of together.

I care about hearing the voices of people right across our land and not shutting them out.

And I care about something else.

I care about using the power of government to stand up against powerful forces when we need to do so.

It came home to me the other day, when I met Rosie, a doctor from Devon, and she said to me: “what we need is someone who will stand up for working people, for everyday people, because you will have the power and we won’t.”

That’s why I stood up to Rupert Murdoch over phone hacking. That’s why I stood up to the banks over bonuses. That’s why I stood up to the payday lenders over their exploitation of the poorest people in our country. That’s why I stood up to the energy companies over their profits and prices and, yes, it’s why I stood up to the Daily Mail when they said my dad hated Britain because I know my dad loved Britain.

Ok, that’s me, but what about the other guy. Now this isn’t a conventional job interview so I get to say something about him. He stands up for the principle of “you’re on your own”. He stands up for the privileged few. And here’s the thing that gets me the most about him perhaps. He really thinks that a good photo opportunity will fool people into thinking he doesn’t just stand up for the rich and privileged, he stands up for you and your family.

In this day and age, when people are so cynical about politics, I just think it adds to that cynicism. But here’s the thing. He’s been found out.

He’s been found out because he hugged a huskie before an election, and then said “cut the Green crap” after an election.

He’s been found out because he stood outside an NHS hospital before an election with a placard saying “no hospital closures”, and he closed that very same A&E department after the election.

He’s been found out because he changed his logo to a tree before an election, and tried to sell off the forests after the election.

And he’s been found out because he said he was a compassionate conservative before the election, and he imposed the cruel, the vindictive, the unfair Bedroom Tax after the election.

And you know what gets me even more? You know what gets me even more? Is that even now, with all the tales of misery, hardship, injustice, he thinks a bit of rebranding will get him off the hook. So he calls it the “spare room subsidy” as if that will make the problem go away. Well, David Cameron, you’ve been found out.

So friends, there is a choice of leadership at this election. A real, stark choice of leadership. Leadership that stands for the privileged few or leadership that fights for you and your family. And as I said earlier, this isn’t just about leadership and government and Labour’s plan for Britain’s future. It’s also about all of you.

See, we can’t build the country we need without you. Without mobilising every part of Britain.

So I say to young people: we need your hope, your energy, your vitality.

I say to every older person: we respect your service and we need your wisdom.

I say to every business: you can be part of this and we can’t do it without you.

I say to every entrepreneur: we need your ideas, your enthusiasm.

I say to every charity: we admire your spirit and we want to hear your voice.

I say to every nurse, every teacher, every public service worker: we salute your dedication and we know why you do what you do.

I say to every person in our country who believes that tomorrow can be better than today: we need you.

Together we bring up our families.

Together we look out for our neighbours.

Together we care for our communities.

Together we build great businesses, the best in the world.

Together we teach the young.

Together we heal the sick.

Together we care for the old.

Together we invent cures for the most terrible of diseases.

So, of course, friends, together we can rebuild our country.

Together we can reward hard work.

Together we can ensure the next generation does better than the last.

Together we can make our NHS greater than it has ever been before.

Together we can make Britain prouder, stronger in the world.

Together we can restore faith in the future.

On our own, we can’t but together we can.

In the next eight months the British people face one of the biggest choices in generations.

A choice between carrying on as we are, on your own, for the privileged few.

Or a different, better future for our country.

We are ready.

Labour’s plan for Britain’s future.

Let’s make it happen.

Together. Thank you very much.


Want to help us call time on this government? Join Labour today: http://action.labour.org.uk/conference-join


Back to Top