We need answers - not excuses - from this Tory-led Government - Miliband

8 May 2012

ed milibandEd Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, speaking in Harlow today, said:

"The reason I came here today, the first day back at work after the election results on Friday, is that the campaign for Labour to win back people’s trust is a continuing campaign.

"The hard work starts now and I think this is very important for our party.

"In the local elections in Harlow 28.7 per cent of people voted. That means 71 per cent of people didn’t vote. It means two thirds of people didn’t vote.

"I want to start with a message for them today: I want to reach out and understand why you don’t trust any politicians, why you don’t trust any of us, why you don’t believe any of us can answer the questions that you’re facing in your life.

"There is a crisis of politics in this country with people thinking that: ‘I’m not going to engage with politics, you are all the same, you all break your promises.’

"I’m really happy we won Harlow but I know we have a lot more to do to win back trust.

"I passionately believe that Labour can make a difference to the lives of the 71.3 per cent who didn’t vote.

"But they didn’t agree, they didn’t vote.

"It is not like people aren’t voting because everything is great.

"Things are really tough. People are really struggling.

"You’ve seen a trebling of long-term youth unemployment in Harlow in the last year alone. Young people looking for work for more than 12 months.

"That is a crisis of economics alongside the crisis in our politics.

"It’s true in terms of the squeeze on people’s living standards.

"Nick Clegg and David Cameron are in Essex today as well. And Essex was the place where, in the 1980s, the Tories said they stood for aspiration.

"But aspiration is being blunted by what is happening in our economy.

"Aspiration is being held back and it is not just held back in terms of young people looking for work, it is held back in terms of people wanting a house, people wanting to get on, people seeing their living standards squeezed.

"So we also face a crisis in our economics.

"What can Labour do about it?

"Here is where the crisis in our politics and the crisis in our economics comes together.

"Because we are not going to make promises that we can’t keep.

"We are not going to promise people the earth in opposition and then hope people don’t catch up with us in government.

"That has been tried before by David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

"And it didn’t work because their broken promises are catching up with them.

"But we can offer people change.

"Now tomorrow there is the Queen’s Speech coming from this government.

"What would I be recommending?

"I’d be saying the first priority is to get our young people back to work; tax the bankers’ bonuses and create jobs for our young people.

"Then let’s get on with tackling the problem with people’s living standards; stand up to the energy companies so that we guarantee every pensioner over the age of 75 the lowest tariff available and break up the big six energy companies; stand up for people who are seeing their train fares going up; and stand up for different choices on taxation.

"And that is the final thing I want to say, because the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister are going to be out and about today.

"What people want from them, what people in Harlow want from them, are answers not excuses.

"Not excuses from an out-of-touch government blaming somebody else, not excuses blaming the eurozone.

"But answers about why they promised change and things have got worse, not better.

"They came in as a government with goodwill; they came in as a government that was getting the benefit of the doubt from the British people because the British people are fair-minded.

"They promised change, they promised an economy that would grow; and things have got worse, not better.

"And they promised fairness, they promised that we were all in it together, and things have got worse not better because they’re standing up for the wrong people, not the right people.

"And so if they really want to learn the lessons of those local elections, as I do about the people who didn’t vote, they’ve got to learn that lesson that economic failure with unfairness piled on top is not the answer.

"And whatever their excuses, whatever their explanations, they must know these will not wash with people.

"People want real change, a real change in the way this government goes about things, a real change in who this government stands up for."