UK Politics

Labour Party: Gordon Brown's speech to Labour Party Spring Campaign Event

News   •   Feb 22, 2010 08:36 GMT

Gordon Brown MP, Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party, today addressed the Labour Party's Spring Campaign Event.

Gordon Brown said:

You know somebody asked me the other day what my secret weapon was for the election.

I think they were expecting me to say those airbrushed posters –

The greatest money Labour never spent.

But do you know what our secret weapon actually is?

Our beliefs, and the policies that flow from them.

Because this election will be won or lost not on who has the best PR but whose values best reflect the aspirations of Britain’s mainstream majority.

And the coming contest is a big choice; a choice about who’s best for Britain’s future.

And you have to ask yourself, why am I looking forward to this contest more than David Cameron?

It’s because only New Labour has a plan for Britain - substantial, costed, practical - how we can realise Britain’s values in a future fair for all.

And yes New Labour has a record we can be proud of, that in every community in the country we see new schools, new hospitals, more teachers, more doctors, more nurses, more police, new Children's Centres.

That’s the change the Tories never talk about, but that’s the change we see:
- The NHS renewed and lives saved;
- Jobs created and families held together and;
- Schools built and potential unlocked.

Yes we can be proud of the Britain we’ve been building together – dreams achieved, ambitions realised, hopes fulfilled and lives changed.

We should be proud but never satisfied, because our work is not yet done.

And elections are not verdicts on the past –they are choices for the future. And we will go in to this election fighting for causes every inch as great and every inch as noble as any a government has fought for before.

Because we are fighting today for an ideal as visionary as the National Health Servic e – the dream of a National Care Service to take the fear out of old age.

And we are fighting for a future where for the first time every single young person of this generation has the guarantee of training or a job.

And we are fighting for a future where Britain is not isolated but a leader of Europe, a country that has led the world and will continue to lead the world on protecting our planet and securing justice for its poor.

And with the investment we are making we are fighting for a future we have never dared hope for before – one where we beat cancer … in this generation.

And today we are setting out our plan to build a future fair for all:

First, we must secure the recovery,
Not put it at risk.

Second, we must support new industries & future jobs.

Third, as we reduce the deficit by half, we must protect and not cut frontline services.

And fourth, we must stand up for the many not the few.

And I wan t to talk to you today about how I have changed and what I have learned. For me, the lesson of the crisis is that we need to renew our faith in the Britain that believes in hard work, enterprise and responsibility.

It’s the Britain of the family who work hard, pay their way and play their part. Of the business that takes an apprentice although times are tight. Of the communities that stick together even when the going is hard.

And I’ve concluded that the very values that made our country great – the values of fairness and responsibility - are the surest foundations of our future success.

Markets are essential. They help us grow as a nation, they give us the resources to fight poverty, ignorance and disease and they serve the cause of freedom and prosperity.

But it is now more clear than ever that markets need morals. Without that they go astray and can lead us to focus on the price of things, not the value of things. They can cause people to take reckless risks for which others pay the price.

So we need to say anew that markets should serve the public and not the other way around.

So we are ensuring that the public money that was put into the nation's banks is fully repaid.

We have raised the tax rate on earnings above £150,000 and set a 50% tax on this year’s bonuses over £25,000.

We have restructured our banks and are ensuring they have the capital they need.

And we are now discussing with other countries the prospect of a global levy on banks which would help achieve our domestic objectives as well as tackle global poverty and climate change.

We are making these changes because Britain needs to rebuild. We need and will renew the economy, renew our infrastructure and renew our industrial base.

And that is why we have decided that as a nation and a government that we will back British scientists, invest in renewable energy, give priority to biotechnology and adv anced manufacturing, encourage digital and creative industries.

It is Labour which has a vision of a new economy, a decade in which Britain can lead and succeed.

We are determined to reduce the deficit that emerged as a consequence of the world recession and that is why we have already announced tax changes.

And we will take tough action on spending, not just efficiency drives but cuts in some areas. But our bottom line is we will protect the front line… our schools, our hospitals, our police.

And it is only Labour who are prepared to offer direct support to the business community of a total of one billion pounds so that every family and every business in Britain has access to the newest high speed broadband as we become the world-leading digital economy.

Only Labour who have a plan to make Britain a world leader in a four-trillion dollar market for green, clean energy goods and services, opening up the prospects of 400,000 new green jobs for t he British people.

And only Labour who is lifting the number of apprenticeships from 65,000 in 1997 to nearly a quarter of a million this year and only Labour who are targeting investment in manufacturing centres around the regions to help UK businesses develop the best-selling products of the future.

And so my message to the people of Britain today is simple.

I know that Labour hasn’t done everything right. And I know – really, I know – that I’m not perfect.

But I know where I come from, I know what I stand for, and I know who I came into politics to represent. And if you, like me, are from Britain’s mainstream majority – from an ordinary family that wants to get on and not simply get by, then my message to you today is simple; take a second look at us…and take a long hard look at them.

Take a second look at how we’re creating jobs – and take a long hard look at how the day after the election their policies would put the r ecovery and your jobs at risk.

Take a second look at our NHS guarantees and take a long hard look at their plans to cut your right to see a cancer specialist within two weeks, cut your right to see a GP in the evenings and at weekends, cut your right to get your operation in the shortest possible time.

Take a second look at how we will improve the prospects for your children – and a take a long hard look at their plans that hurt middle class families. Plans to cut your Child Tax Credits, cut your child’s trust fund, cut your Children's Centres and cut the budget of your schools.

Can they really say they understand the needs of mainstream Britain when they would kick away the ladders of opportunity that guarantee young people training or a job?

Can they really say they understand the needs of mainstream Britain when they think those most in need of a tax cut are the 3000 wealthiest estates?

When they now vote to keep hereditary seats in the Ho use of Lords?

When they think legalising fox-hunting is a priority?

When they think that Manchester is like the wire?

And when they state that 54%, more than half the girls in Birmingham and Liverpool are pregnant by the time they’re 18?

Can they claim they know the aspirations of mainstream Britain when they so clearly understand so little of how we live?

When it comes to the most vulnerable people in our society, if you put partisan point scoring before a consensus on social care, real families really suffer.

If you frighten people with made up figures on crime, real families really suffer.

And if you talk Britain down in the middle of a recession and undermine confidence, real families really suffer.

Because government is not a game.

Because when you peel away the veneer and actually look at what their policies mean, what you see is not the new economics of the future, it’s the same old Conservative economics of the 1980s. How can they be the party of change, when they haven’t even changed themselves?

And it is precisely because they have not changed, that they cannot and will not join the emerging progressive consensus of the British people which is coming together around the big challenges our country must meet and master in this new decade.

Just consider climate change – a huge challenge facing humanity on which we agree with the scientists, the green campaigners and the business leaders that urgent action is vital, but which the Tory party high command now says is not even a top ten policy priority.

Or think about our industrial policy and our British jobs of the future. Take one example – high speed rail, a project of vital importance to the future of our country, of vital importance here in the West Midlands – but the Tories have chosen to put short term political calculations ahead of the national interest.

Or take the debate on social care �€ “ how can they be the party of change, when yesterday they boycotted the charities and experts and campaign groups trying to find the common ground for the future of social care.

Or take the renewal of politics, like reforming the way we elect Parliament, where we made common cause with liberals and reformers– a cause where the big progressive majority was for change –only the Tories ruled out any change at all.

All they have done is to change their appearance, to give the appearance of change.

But where the challenges for the future are greatest and the need for change the most urgent, the Conservative Party have become again what their historical role has always been; to set themselves against the change the country needs, the change the British people want to see.

And so I say today to every progressive in Britain – of every hue and every background – if you believe in a progressive future fair for all, then New Labour is your home.

If you believe in
- securing the recovery, not putting it at risk – then New Labour is your home

If you believe in
- protecting and not cutting frontline services – then New Labour is your home

If you believe in
- supporting new industries & future jobs and not simply leaving them to chance – then New Labour is your home and

If you believe in
- standing up for the many, not the few – then New Labour is your home.

And so to those who are beginning to wonder how to use their vote, ask yourself whether at heart you believe in fairness and individual opportunity. Ask whether you want to keep on the road to economic recovery or to return to the same old social divisions of the Tory years.

And so today I issue a call to every progressive to come together to fight for the values we cherish and the country we love.

This campaign is not going to be won somewhere else by someone else - it’s going to be won street by stre et, school-gate by school-gate, workplace by workplace – it’s going to be won by you.

If you believe in taking this country forwards not backwards then Labour are the change-makers in this election. And that is why Labour supporters are campaigning with all the fire and fervour of people who’ve got not just candidates but a cause, not just an election to win but a future to fight for.

So don’t ever stop believing that every single child has worth. That every single person has something to contribute. That a prosperous country can be a fair one too.

And don’t ever stop believing that everything you do in the coming weeks will matter. That you can make the difference.

Don’t ever stop believing that a future fair for all is in your hands.

Ours to shape.

Ours to build.

And ours to win.