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Labour Party: Fighting for your future: vote for yourself, vote for your family, vote for your future - Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown, Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party, said in a speech at Bradford University:

Tomorrow our country moves from a month of deliberation to a day of decision.

And for Britain this is not a small decision election but a big decision election.

And I am here in Bradford today at Bradford University to talk about the future we are fighting for.

The future we know it is ours to win.

The future for jobs and skills and for the industry and businesses of today and tomorrow.

And I want to focus today on what above all else I believe this election is about.

Because elections are not just contests of individual interests but they challenge us as a country to live up to our best ideals.

And we stand now not simply on a battleground of party advantage but must seek the high ground from which our country’s future can be seen settled and shaped.

You know me well enough by now to know that I stand committed to shape that future not in the image of the best PR and the best marketing, but according to our best ideals and hopes.

First we have unfinished business that must be finished.

Our country must secure the recovery.

Today the European Union have confirmed that under our policies Britain will be the fastest growing in Europe next year. But only under the policies we are pursuing. So jobs will come, but only under the policies we are pursuing.

And we must do nothing to put it at risk because upon this all else depends.

So we cannot afford thoughtless Tory cuts that would lead to British economic contraction. Just at the moment employment is starting to rise we cannot accept policies based on ideology not fact that would force more and more people out of work.

And just at the time when growth is rising we cannot allow recession to return.

So tomorrow is the day for us to stand firm for what everybody knows to be true; that you cannot cut your way out of this recession, you can only cut your way into a new downturn.

That you cannot prepare for the jobs of the future by robbing from the future to pay for tax give-aways to the richest estates.

You cannot equip Britain for the 21st century by turning the clock back on educational opportunity and denying the next generation the 21st century education skills they need to compete and win on a global stage.

And you cannot prepare Britain for the 2030s if your only policies are a throwback to the 1930s.

And what sort of time has it been?

We have lived through two years in which right wing dogma has not been exonerated but been exposed, when the failures of banks show free market fundamentalism has not succeeded but failed.

And so I tell you this is not a Conservative moment.

Everyone knows that when the banks failed people needed government on their side. Everyone knows that.
Everyone except the Conservatives.

And everyone knows when the global recession threatened our economy that the unemployed, homeowners and small businesses needed government to stand by them. Everyone knows that - everyone except the Conservatives.

Everyone knows that the wrong cuts at the wrong time in the wrong places will risk our recovery. Everyone knows that - everyone except the Conservatives.

Everyone knows that our highest priority should not be tax cuts for the wealthiest estates, but the NHS, the education of our children, and the police and safety on our streets.

Everyone knows that - everyone except the Conservatives.

And I say to that everybody also knows that political opportunism is no substitute for economic opportunity, political posturing is no substitute for an economic programme. And political image making is no substitute for the hard work of policy making. It’s easy to ‘roll up your sleeves’, but it’s a lot more difficult to run a country.

So I believe strongly that this election is not just a test of partisan strength, it’s a testament to the strength of our country’s character.

So it is for me more than just a competition for votes - it is a choice about values.

It’s about who we are, what we hope for, what we want for our families, what we aspire to for our children.

And it’s even deeper than that - it’s about principles, it’s about compassion, and it’s about what’s in our soul.

Because I say you judge the strength of a country not by how it benefits the strong, but by how it strengthens the weak, and how it lifts up those in the middle so they can look higher.

You judge the strength of an economy not just by how it comforts the richest and the most affluent, but how much it makes better the life of the poor and how it works for hard working families.

And I say you judge a society not by how much it satisfies the powerful, but by how much it empowers the powerless and gives everyone a place and a say.

And I say to all who want to listen:

These ideals of justice and fairness are not just abstract sentiments to give us comfort; they are beacons to light our way.

And I say of this enduring rock-solid commitment to justice and fairness – no commitment has done more to improve the condition of our country and our people. No belief has done more than this to inspire the British people to action and equality. And no ideal has done more to enrich the British people with opportunity and dignity.

And with the creation of the NHS, the delivery of educational opportunity for all, and the employment rights of millions, we have been the greatest force for fairness this country has ever seen.

And let us be honest. There’s a fundamental difference of philosophy at stake here –

Under them you’re on your own,
With Labour we’re on your side.

Just think of this – if we’d stuck with the you’re ‘on your own’ philosophy we’d never have had the National Health Service free to all which has given us the moral leadership of the world - and when we went back to that philosophy for 18 years the NHS was short-changed, slashed and left on its knees.

And if we followed the Tory belief that people were best left to fend for themselves without support, there never would have been a minimum wage, far less one that rises every year.

If we thought people did best without the strength of the community around them, there would be no equal rights and no anti discrimination laws.

If we had left prejudice to grow in the darkness, there would have been no civil partnerships and still Section 28.

If the you’re on your own philosophy of selfish individualism had triumphed in the last ten years , there would have been no free nursery places for 3 year olds , no Sure Start children’s centres , no extended schools, no child trust funds and no huge expansion of university college education and apprenticeships.

And I say if their selfish individualism had triumphed over public investment, we’d never have the New Deal and 2 million more people in work, never have had the cancer guarantee that you see a specialist in two weeks, never have had the GP guarantee of a GP in the evenings and weekends; none of these were supported by the Conservatives, all have been delivered by Labour, and all of them again at risk if there is a Tory government. And let us be honest you’d still be having kids taught in portacabin classrooms, waiting for months for your operations in the NHS and be without the largest police force ever in the neighbourhoods of the country.

And if we continued with the ‘on your own’ politics of the Tories then we would not now be putting in place the boldest ever plans for:

Side by side the with National Health Service - a National Care Service.

A new cancer guarantee you get your diagnostic tests within a week.

A new right for parents that you can get one to one tuition for your youngest children.

And a new link between pensions and earnings which transcends the breach of that link by the Tories in the 1980s.

And nowhere is the contrast between Conservatives and Labour more clear and more threatening than on child tax credits - tax credits that go not just to the lowest paid and the least skilled but to teachers, police officers, the self employed, nurses and people with a trade.

Tax credits that now extend to 6 million families and cover 20 million mothers fathers and children

Tax credits that Labour introduced against a wall of Tory and Liberal indifference.

Tax credits that make the difference between subsistence and new clothes and books for the kids, the difference between struggling through and getting some child care, the difference between getting by and a family treat.

Tax credits that hundreds of thousands of families will lose or see cut because of the policies of the Conservatives and the Liberals who simply do not understand the change for families they have made.

You know I heard one of the many media commentators in this election say “he keeps going on about tax credits”. You know what I do – that’s because for so many families they are the difference between getting on and going under, and to so many hundreds of thousands marks the difference of whether the kids can go on the school trip, whether you take a holiday for the first time, and whether you are ever able to buy your own home.

And no public service at threat sums up the difference between ourselves and the Conservatives than the cancer guarantee we are extending to all cancer patients - of professional help all the way through, seeing your specialist within two weeks and getting your diagnostic tests within a week.

For families I know this is not a matter of indifference; the cancer guarantee is a matter of life and death.

And I say any party that wants to remove the guarantee you will get the quickest and the best treatment does not understand what the NHS means to the families of this country.

And I tell you the past is prologue – because I warn you; if the Tories have their way social progress will go in reverse, and instead of advance there will be retreat.

And we simply cannot let that happen. Because have we not been building a country where as a result of business and government working together we have in the last 13 years created, even after a recession, more jobs - 29 millions jobs - than at any time in our history?

And every step of the way we stood up to the Conservatives to protect these jobs when the global recession hit.

And are we not building as a result of all of us working together a nation where brilliant doctors, brilliant nurses and brilliant NHS staff are armed with the resources to fight every day against ill health and disease? And every step of the way we stood up to the Conservatives who refuse to back our investment in the NHS.

And are we not building as a result of working together a nation of great headmasters, teachers, teaching assistants and school staff who, alongside the parents of Britain, do the most important job in the world - giving every child a chance and giving our nation its future? And every step of the way we stood up to the Conservatives who even today want to cut the schools budget and risk our future.

And are we not building a country where community pioneers, voluntary groups, care workers, police officers and care assistants fight every day against isolation, prejudice, anti-social behaviour and injustice? But every step of the way we need to stand up to the Conservatives who want public services to retreat and to become something other than the services we choose as a community to do together.

And are we not now in this year 2010 capable of building together an even better, stronger, fairer Britain where growing as a community from the thousands of acts of compassion, friendship and service we see every day public services need not be as the Tories would have it, a hand-me-down from the past, but a mark of how much and how far our society can travel together - a Britain where all children who need it have the best chance to fulfil their talents, where all patients who need them have access to preventive health services as well as curative care where every family which needs it has the protection of local police on the beat and where there is hope and serenity in households because the breadwinners are not unemployed but in work ?

And contrast that to the tax cuts the Conservatives want to give to the richest estates in our society: 3,000 of them to receive 200,000 each. The feeding of the 3,000, and not an accident of policy but statement of their values that says the more privileged you are the richer we will make you, even at one and the same time as cutting school budgets, tax credits, child trust funds and police.

So you know why the good society works and the big society doesn’t. The good society works because its motto is we will not walk by on the other side. And the big society doesn’t work because its motto is not even God helps those who help themselves, its motto is God helps those whom he has already helped.

I know there are people who say or hope that the election is already over.

But I tell you tomorrow is the people's time to speak.

Tomorrow doesn’t belong to the press, to the commentators, to the insiders, the vested interests or even the political parties.

Tomorrow your voice will be heard and your vote will determine the direction of our country.

To those who are undecided, and I know there are many, let me say:

After a huge global crisis that we had to fight against and overcome, it is right for people to ask what happened, to reflect on what was done to turn this global crisis around and what can be done to make sure that this global crisis never happens again.

As you reflect I ask you to consider this;

At every time in this crisis, I have put the British people first.

Not the banks nor the financial industry not those at the top who do not want to pay their fair share – but the British people.

For me the British people have been and always will be my first priority.

And I tell you adversity has been my best teacher.

Honesty my best guide.

And faith in the future the greatest source of my strength.

So we are fired with new determination.

We are full of energy and firm of purpose because the values that are the core of a Labour Britain - your Britain - are now at stake and have to be fought for, for not only is the economic recovery at risk so is social justice.

And we are all full of energy and purpose because we are on the road to renewing our economy so that we can build our new future of fairness and prosperity for all.

And every second of the day and every inch of the way I am fighting so hard because I want 2010 not to be the beginning of Conservative cuts but the end of global recession.

I am fighting so hard because I want 2010 not to be the year Britain starts going backwards with the Conservatives but the year when our NHS our schools and our police move forward together.

I am fighting so hard because I want 2010 not to mark unemployment going up again, reposessions on the rise, more small business failing again as they all did in the 1990s.

I want 2010, 2011, 2012 to be years of renewal and prosperity.

I ask you when you go in to the polling booths to ask yourself.

Who will stand up for you?

Who when the forces of privilege raise their voice will raise their voice for you?

Who when the economy is on the line will be your spokesman, who will always put your standard of living first?

And who will fight for your family because they know what it is to walk in your shoes?

And I say with humility – I will.

And so I ask you to stand up for the great values of the British people that will make this country what it can and should become.

And with all my resolve I pledge that I will always fight for you – I will secure the recovery, never put your livelihood at risk, and always always always fight for your future.

And with that same humility I ask for your vote – and ask you to vote not just for me – but to vote for yourself, for your family, vote for your future – and see Labour as your best home, and your best hope.


  • Politics, general


  • gordon brown
  • prime minister