Wednesday 27 September 2017 / 1:04 PM 2017 Press Archive / The Latest from Labour

Jeremy Corbyn speech to Labour Party Conference

Jeremy
Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party,
speaking at the Labour Party
Conference in Brighton today, said:

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AGAINST DELIVERY***

Conference, thank you for that.  We
meet here this week as a united Party,  advancing in every part of
Britain, winning the confidence of millions of our fellow citizens, setting out
our ideas and plans for our country’s future, that have already inspired people
of all ages and backgrounds.

And it’s a privilege to be speaking in
Brighton.  A city that not only has a long history of hosting Labour
conferences, but also of inspirational Labour activists.

It was over a century ago, here in
Brighton, that a teenage shop worker had had enough of the terrible conditions
facing her and her workmates. She risked the sack to join the Shop Workers’
Union, after learning about it in a newspaper used to wrap up fish and chips,
and was so effective at standing up for women shop workers, she became
assistant general secretary before the age of 30.

In that role she seconded the historic
resolution at the Trades Union Congress of 1899  to set up the Labour
Representation Committee so that working people would finally have
representation in Parliament.

That became the Labour Party  and it
was this woman, Margaret Bondfield  who later become a Labour MP. And in
1929, the first ever woman to join the British cabinet’

From a Brighton drapery to Downing
Street.  Margaret Bondfield’s story is a reminder of the decisive role
women have played in the Labour Party from its foundation, and that Labour has
always been about making change  by working together and standing up for
others.

Conference, against all predictions in
June we won the largest increase in the Labour vote since 1945 and achieved
Labour’s best vote for a generation.  It’s a result which has put the
Tories on notice  and Labour on the threshold of power.

Yes, we didn’t do quite well enough 
and we remain in opposition for now, but we have become a
Government-in-waiting.   Our outstanding shadow cabinet team here
today. And our message to the country could not be clearer – Labour is ready.

Ready to tackle inequality , ready to
rebuild our NHS, ready to give opportunity to young people, dignity and
security to older people,  ready to invest in our economy and meet the
challenges of climate change and automation, ready to put peace and justice at
the heart of foreign policy.  And ready to build a new and progressive
relationship  with Europe.

We are ready and the Tories are clearly
not. They’re certainly not strong and they’re definitely not stable. They’re
not remotely united. And they’re hanging on by their fingertips.

But this Tory Government does have one
thing that we lack.  They have tracked down the Magic Money Tree when it
was needed to keep Theresa May in Downing Street.  It was given a good old
shake – and lo and behold – now we know the price of power – it’s about £100m
for each Democratic Unionist MP.

During the election campaign, Theresa May
told voters they faced the threat of a “coalition of chaos . Remember that?
Well, now they’re showing us exactly how that works. And I don’t just mean the
Prime Minister’s desperate deal with the DUP. She’s got a “coalition of chaos”
around her own cabinet table  – Phillip Hammond and Liam Fox, Boris
Johnson and David Davis.

At each other’s throats,  squabbling
and plotting, manoeuvring to bundle the Prime Minister out of Number Ten 
and take her place  at the first opportunity  Instead of getting to
grips with the momentous issues facing our country.

But this coalition of chaos is no joke.
Just look at their record since the Conservatives have been in office;

The longest fall in people’s pay since
record began

Homelessness doubled

NHS waiting lists lengthening

 School class sizes growing and
teachers leaving

 Over 4 million children now in
poverty

20,000 police officers … and 11,000
firefighters cut

More people in work and in poverty … than
ever before

 Condemned by the United Nations for
violating the rights of disabled people.

That’s not strong and stable. It’s
callous and calculating. Because the Tories calculated that making life worse
for millions in the name of austerity  would pay for hefty tax handouts to
the rich and powerful.

Conference, your efforts in the election
campaign stopped the Tories in their tracks. The election result has already
delivered one Tory U-turn after another over some of their most damaging
policies. The cruel dementia tax was scrapped within three days of being
announced. Plans to bring back grammar schools  have been ditched . The
threat to the pensions’ triple lock abandoned. Withdrawal of Winter Fuel
payments  dumped. The pledge to bring back fox hunting dropped. And their
plan to end free school meals in primary schools  has been binned.

The reality is that barely three months
since the election  this coalition of Conservative chaos is tearing up its
Manifesto and tearing itself apart. They are bereft of ideas and energy. 
Indeed, they seem to be cherry-picking Labour policies instead, including on
Brexit.

I say to the Prime Minister: “You’re
welcome . But go the whole hog end austerity, abolish tuition fees, scrap the
public sector pay cap. I think we can find a Commons majority for all of that.
This is a weak and divided Government  with no purpose beyond clinging to
power.

It is Labour that is now setting the
agenda  and winning the arguments  for a new common sense  about
the direction our country should take.

Conference, there were two stars of our
election campaign. The first was our Manifesto  that drew on the ideas of
our members and trade unionists  and the hopes and aspirations of their
communities and workplaces.  And we were clear about how we would pay for
it by asking the richest and the largest corporations to start paying their
fair share.

Not simply to redistribute within a
system that isn’t delivering for most people  but to transform that
system. So we set out  not only how we would protect public services but
how we would rebuild and invest in our economy, with a publicly-owned engine of
sustainable growth, driven by national and regional investment banks,  to
generate good jobs and prosperity in every region and nation.

Our Manifesto is the programme of a
modern, progressive socialist party  that has rediscovered its roots and
its purpose, bucking the trend across Europe.

And Conference, the other star of that
campaign was YOU. Our members, our supporters in the trade unions, our doorstep
and social media campaigners. Young people sharing messages and stories on
social media, hundreds of thousands organising online and on the ground 
to outplay the Tories’ big money machine.

Is it any wonder that here today in
Brighton you represent the largest political party in western Europe, with
nearly 600,000 members, alongside three million affiliated trade unionists,
brimming with enthusiasm and confidence in the potential of our people. You are
the future.  And let me say straight away. I’m awed and humbled by
everything you have done, along with hundreds of thousands of others across the
country, to take us to where we are today.

I have never been more proud to be your
elected leader. Our election campaign gave people strength. It brought millions
on to the electoral register  and inspired millions to go to vote for the
first time.

And Labour was the Party of unity,
bringing generations and communities together, rather than pitting young and
old against each other, as the Tories did.  We will never seek to squeeze
one generation to support another.  Under Labour, people will win
together.

The result of our campaign confounded
every expert and sceptic.  I see John McDonnell said the ‘grey beards’ had
got it all wrong. I’m not sure that’s entirely fair, John? We wiped out the
Tory majority,  winning support in every social and age group  and
gaining seats in every region and nation of the country.

So please, Theresa May take another
walking holiday  and make another impetuous decision. The Labour campaign
machine is primed and ready to roll.

Of course, there were some who didn’t
come out of the election too well. I’m thinking of some of our more traditional
media friends. They ran the campaign they always do under orders from their tax
exile owners  to trash Labour at every turn. The day before the election
one paper devoted fourteen pages to attacking the Labour Party. And our vote
went up nearly 10%.

Never have so many trees died in vain.
The British people saw right through it.  So this is a message to the
Daily Mail’s editor-  next time, please could you make it 28 pages?

But there’s a serious message too, the
campaign by the Tories and their loyal media was nasty and personal.  It
fuelled abuse online and no one was the target of that more than Diane
Abbott.  She has a decades-long record of campaigning for social justice
and has suffered intolerable misogynistic and racist abuse. Faced with such an
overwhelmingly hostile press and an army of social media trolls,it’s even more
important that we stand.

Yes we will disagree, but there can never
be any excuse for any abuse of anybody. We settle our differences with
democratic votes and unite around those decision.

That is the Labour Party, here this week,
and out in the communities EVERY week -diverse, welcoming, democratic  and
ready to serve our country.

There is no bigger test in politics right
now than Brexit, an incredibly important and complex process, that cannot be
reduced to repeating fairy stories from the side of a bus  or waiting 15
months to state the obvious.  As democratic socialists, we accept and
respect the referendum result, but respect for a democratic decision  does
not mean giving a green light to a recklesss Tory Brexit agenda  that
would plunge Britain into a Trump-style race-to-the-bottom  in rights and
corporate taxes.

We are not going to be passive
spectators  to a hopelessly inept negotiating team  putting at risk
people’s jobs, rights and living standards. A team more interested in posturing
for personal advantage than in getting the best deal for our country. To be
fair, Theresa May’s speech in Florence last week  did unite the cabinet.
for a few hours at least.  Her plane had barely touched down at
Heathrow  before the divisions broke out again.

Never has the national interest been so
ill-served on such a vital issue,  If there were no other reason for the
Tories to go their self-interested Brexit bungling would be reason enough. So I
have a simple message to the cabinet  for Britain’s sake pull yourself
together  or make way.

  One thing needs to be made clear
straight away.  The three million EU citizens currently living and working
in Britain are welcome here. They have been left under a cloud of insecurity by
this government when their future could have been settled months ago.  So
Theresa May, give them the full guarantees they deserve today.  If you
don’t, we will.

Since the referendum result our Brexit
team has focused above all on our economic future. That future is now under
real threat.  A powerful faction in the Conservative leadership  sees
Brexit as their chance to create a tax haven on the shores of Europe  a
low-wage, low tax deregulated playground for the hedge funds and speculators. A
few at the top would do very nicely, no question. But manufacturing industries
would go to the wall  taking skilled jobs with them our tax base would
crumble  our public services would be slashed still further.

We are now less than 18 months away from
leaving the European Union. And so far, the Tory trio leading the talks have
got nowhere  and agreed next to nothing. This rag-tag Cabinet spends more
time negotiating with each other than they do with the EU. A cliff-edge Brexit
is at risk of becoming a reality. That is why Labour has made clear that
Britain should stay within the basic terms of the single market  and a
customs union  for a limited transition period. It is welcome at least
that Theresa May has belatedly accepted that.

But beyond that transition, our task is a
different one. It is to unite everyone in our country around a progressive
vision of what Britain could be, but with a government that stands for the many
not the few.

Labour is the only party that can bring
together those who voted leave and those who backed remain  and unite the
country for a future beyond Brexi. What matters in the Brexit negotiations is
to achieve a settlement  that delivers jobs, rights and decent living
standards.

Conference, the real divide over Brexit
could not be . A shambolic Tory Brexit driving down standards .Or a Labour
Brexit that puts jobs first a Brexit for the many, one that guarantees
unimpeded access to the single market  and establishes a new co-operative
relationship with the EU.

A Brexit that uses powers returned from
Brussels to support a new industrial strategy  to upgrade our economy in
every region and nation.  One that puts our economy first not fake
immigration targets that fan the flames of fear. We will never follow the
Tories into the gutter of blaming migrants for the ills of society. It isn’t
migrants who drive down wages and conditions  but the worst bosses in
collusion with a Conservative government  that never misses a chance to
attack trade unions and weaken people’s rights at work.

Labour will take action to stop employers
driving down pay and conditions  not pander to scapegoating or
racism.   How Britain leaves the European Union is too
important  to be left to the Conservatives  and their internal battles
and identity crises.

Labour will hold Theresa May’s squabbling
ministers to account  every step of the way in these talks. And, with our
Brexit team of Keir Starmer, Emily Thornberry and Barry Gardiner  we stand
ready to take over  whenever this government fails. to negotiate a new
relationship with Europe that works for us all  reaching outto help create
a Europe for the many for the future.

The truth is …. That under the Tories
Britain’s future is at risk whatever the outcome of the Brexit process. Our
economy no longer delivers secure housing secure well-paid jobs or rising
living standards. There is a new common sense emerging  about how the
country should be run. That’s what we fought for in the election  and
that’s what’s needed to replace the broken model forged by Margaret Thatcher
many years ago.

And Ten years after the global financial
crash  the Tories still believe in the same dogmatic mantra – Deregulate,
privatise ,cut taxes for the wealthy, weaken rights at work, delivering profits
for a few, and debt for the many. Nothing has changed. It’s as if we’re stuck
in a political and economic time-warp.

As the Financial Times put it last
month  our “financial system still looks a lot like the pre-crisis one”
and the capitalist system still faces a “crisis of legitimacy”, stemming from
the crash.

Now is the time that government took a
more active role  in restructuring our economy. Now is the time that
corporate boardrooms  were held accountable for their actions,  And
now is the time that we developed a new model of economic management  to
replace the failed dogmas of neo-liberalism … That is why Labour is looking not
just to repair the damage done by austerity  but to transform our economy
with a new and dynamic role for the public sector particularly where the
private sector has evidently failed.

Take the water industry. Of the nine
water companies in England  six are now owned by private equity  or
foreign sovereign wealth funds. Their profits are handed out in dividends to
shareholders  while the infrastructure crumbles  the companies pay
little or nothing in tax  and executive pay has soared as the service
deteriorates.

That is why we are committed  to
take back our utilities into public ownership  to put them at the service
of our people and our economy and stop the public being ripped off.

Of course there is much more that needs
to be done. Our National Investment Bank… and the Transformation Fund 
will be harnessed to mobilise public investment to create wealth and good jobs.
When I’ve met business groups  I’ve been frank  we will invest in the
education and skills of the workforce  and we will invest in better
infrastructure from energy to digital  but we are going to ask big
business to pay a bit more tax.

The Tory approach to the economy isn’t
entrepreneurial  It’s extractive. They’re not focused on long-term
investment and wealth creation. When you look at what they do rather than what
they say it’s all about driving down wages, services and standards … to make as
much money as quickly as possible with government not as the servant of the
people  but of global corporations. And their disregard for rampant inequality 
the hollowing out of our public services, the disdain for the powerless and the
poorhave made our society more brutal  and less caring.

Now that degraded regime has a tragic
monument  the chilling wreckage of Grenfell Tower. A horrifying fire in
which dozens perished  an entirely avoidable human disaster.  One
which is an indictment  not just of decades of failed housing policies and
privatisation   and the yawning inequality in one of the wealthiest
boroughs and cities in the world,  it is also a damning indictment of a
whole outlook which values council tax refunds for the wealthy above decent
provision for all  and which has contempt for working class communities.

Before the fire, a tenants’ group of
Grenfell residents had warned … and I quote words that should haunt all
politicians  “the Grenfell Action Group firmly believesthat only a
catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our
landlord”. Grenfell is not just the result of bad political decisions  It
stands for a failed and broken system  which Labour must and will replace.

The poet Ben Okri recently wrote in his
poem “Grenfell Tower”:

Those who were living now are dead

Those who were breathing are from the
living earth fled

If you want to see how the poor die, come
see Grenfell Tower.

See the tower, and let a world changing
dream flower.

We have a duty as a country to learn the
lessons from this calamity and ensure that a changed world flowers . I hope
that the public inquiry will assist. But a decent home is a right for everyone
whatever their income or background. And houses should be homes for the many
not speculative investments for a few. Look at the Conservative housing record
and you understand why Grenfell residents are sceptical about their
Conservative council and this Conservative government.

Since 2010: homelessness has doubled,
120,000 children don’t have a home to call their own, home ownership has
fallen, thousands are living in homes unfit for human habitation. This is
why  alongside our Shadow Housing minister John Healey we’re launching a
review of social housing policy – its building, planning, regulation and
management.

We will listen to tenants across the
country  and propose a radical programme of action  to next year’s
conference.   But some things are already clear  tenants are not
being listened to.

We will insist that every home is fit for
human habitation, a proposal this Tory government voted down.  And we will
control rents –  when the younger generation’s housing costs are three
times more than those of their grandparents, that is not sustainable.

Rent controls exist in many cities across
the world   and I want our cities to have those powers too and
tenants to have those protections.  We also need to tax undeveloped land
held by developers and have the power to compulsorily purchase.   As
Ed Miliband said, “Use it or lose it”.   Families need
homes.

After Grenfell we must think
again about what are called regeneration schemes.

Regeneration is a much abused
word.

Too often what it really
means is forced gentrification and social cleansing, as private developers move
in and tenants and leaseholders are moved out.
 
We are very clear: we will stop the cuts to social security.

But we need to go further, as
conference decided yesterday.

So when councils come forward
with proposals for regeneration, we will put down two markers based on one
simple principle:

Regeneration under a Labour
government will be for the benefit of the local people, not private developers,
not property speculators.
 
First, people who live on an estate that’s redeveloped must get a home on the
same site and the same terms as before.

No social cleansing, no
jacking up rents, no exorbitant ground rents.
 
And second councils will have to win a ballot of existing tenants and leaseholders
before any redevelopment scheme can take place.

Real regeneration, yes, but
for the many not the few.

 

That’s not
all that has to change.

All
parties unite in paying tribute to our public sector workers:

The
firefighters who ran into Grenfell Tower to save lives; the health service
workers caring for the maimed in the Manchester terrorist outrage; the brave
police officers who confronted the attackers at London Bridge; and PC Keith
Palmer who gave his life when terrorists attack our democracy.

Our public
servants make the difference every day, between a decent and a threadbare
society.

Everyone
praises them. But it is Labour that values them and is prepared to give them
the pay rise they deserve and protect the services they provide.

Year after
year the Tories have cut budgets and squeezed public sector pay, while cutting
taxes for the highest earners and the big corporations.

You can’t
care for the nation’s health when doctors and nurses are being asked to accept
falling living standards year after year.

You can’t
educate our children properly in ever larger class sizes with more teachers
than ever leaving the profession.

You can’t
protect the public on the cheap.

The police
and security services must get the resources they need, not 20,000 police cuts.

Scrapping
the public sector pay squeeze isn’t an act of charity – it is a necessity to
keep our public services fully staffed and strong.

Not
everything worthwhile costs money though.

Like many people, I have been
moved by the Daily Mirror’s campaign to change the organ donation law.

There are more than 5,000
people on organ transplant waiting lists, but a shortage of donors means that
in recent years only 3,500 of them get the life-saving treatments they need.

So that everybody whose life
could be saved by an organ transplant can have the gift of life – from one
human being to another.

The law has already been
changed in Wales under Carwyn Jones’s leadership, and today I make the commitment
a Labour government will do the same for England.

In the
last couple of days John McDonnell and Rebecca Long-Bailey have set out how we
are going to develop the economic plans in our manifesto to ensure that
sustainable growth and good jobs reach ALL parts of the country.

So that no
community or region is held back.

To
establish regional development banks,. to invest in an industrial strategy for
every region.

But the
challenges of the future go beyond the need to turn our backs on an economic
model that has failed to invest and upgrade our economy.

We need
urgently to face the challenge of automation – robotics that could make so much
of contemporary work redundant.

That is a
threat in the hands of the greedy, but it’s a huge opportunity if it’s managed
in the interests of society as a whole.

We won’t reap the full
rewards of these great technological advances if they’re monopolised to pile up
profits for a few.

 

But if they’re publicly
managed – to share the benefits – they can be the gateway for a new settlement
between work and leisure. A springboard for expanded creativity and culture.

The tide of automation and
technological change means re-training and management of the workforce must be
centre-stage in the coming years.

So Labour will build an
education and training system from the cradle to the grave that empowers
people.

Not one that shackles them
with debt.

That’s why we will establish a National
Education Service which will include at its core free tuition for all college
courses, technical and vocational training so that no one is held back by costs
and everyone has the chance to learn.

That will give millions a fair chance.

Lifelong learning for all is essential in
the economy of the future.

The huge shift of employment that will
take place under the impact of automation must be planned and managed.

It demands the reskilling of millions of
people. Only Labour will deliver that.

As Angela Rayner said yesterday, our
National Education Service will be run on clear principles: universal, free and
empowering.

This is central to our socialism for the
21st century, for the many not the few.

During the election I visited Derwentside
College in the constituency of our new MP Laura Pidcock – one of dozens of
great new MPs breathing life and energy into Parliament.

They offer adult courses in everything
from IT to beauty therapy, from engineering to childcare.

I met apprentice construction workers.
They stand to benefit from Labour’s £250 billion National Transformation Fund,
building the homes people need and the new transport, energy and digital
infrastructure our country needs.

But
changing our economy to make it work for the whole country can’t take place in
isolation from changing how our country is run.

For people
to take control of their own lives, our democracy needs to break out of
Westminster into all parts of our society and economy where power is unaccountable.

All around
the world democracy is facing twin threats:

One is the
emergence of an authoritarian nationalism that is intolerant and belligerent.

The second
is apparently more benign, but equally insidious.

It is that
the big decisions should be left to the elite.

That
political choices can only be marginal and that people are consumers first, and
only citizens a distant second.

Democracy
has to mean much more than that.

It must
mean listening to people outside of election time. Not just the rich and
powerful who are used to calling the shots, but to those at the sharp end who
really know what’s going on.

Like the Greater Manchester
police officer who warned Theresa May two years ago that cuts to neighbourhood
policing were risking people’s lives and security.

His concerns were dismissed
as “crying wolf”.

Like the care workers sacked when they
blow the whistle on abuse of the elderly..

Or the teachers intimidated when they
speak out about the lack of funding for our children’s schools.

Or the doctors who are ignored when they
warn that the NHS crumbling before our eyes, or blow the whistle on patient
safety.

 

Labour is fighting for a society not only
where rewards are more fairly spread, but where people are listened to more as
well by government, their local council, their employer.

Some of the most shocking cases of people
not being listened to must surely be the recent revelations of widespread child
sex abuse.

Young people – and most often young working
class women – have been subjected to the most repugnant abuse.

The response lies
in making sure that everybody’s voice must be heard no matter who they are or
what their background.

The kind of democracy that we should be
aiming for is one where people have a continuing say in how society is run, how
their workplace is run, how their local schools or hospitals are run.

 

That means increasing the public
accountability and democratization of local services that Andrew Gwynne was
talking about on Monday.

It means democratically accountable
public ownership for the natural monopolies, with new participatory forms of
management, as Rebecca Long-Bailey has been setting out.

It means employees given their voice at
work, with unions able to represent them properly, freed of undemocratic
fetters on their right to organize.

I promised you two years ago that we
would do politics differently.

It’s not always been easy.

There’s quite a few who prefer politics
the old way.

But let me say it again. We will do
politics differently.

And the vital word there is “we”.

Not just leaders saying things are
different, but everyone having the chance to shape our democracy.

Our rights as citizens are as important
as our rights as consumers.

Power devolved to the community, not
monopolised in Westminster and Whitehall.

Now let’s take it a stage further – make
public services accountable to communities.

Business accountable to the public, and
politicians truly accountable to those we serve.

Let the next Labour government will
transform Britain by genuinely putting power in the hands of the people, the
creative, compassionate and committed people of our country.

Both at home and abroad, what underpins
our politics is our compassion and our solidarity with people.

Including those now recovering from
hurricane damage in the Caribbean, floods in South Asia and Texas. and
earthquakes in Mexico.

Our interdependence as a planet could not
be more obvious.

The environmental crisis in particular
demands a common global response.

That is why President Trump’s threats to
withdraw from the Paris Climate Change Treaty are so alarming.

There is no contradiction between meeting
our climate change commitments and investing to build a strong economy based on
high skill industries.

In fact the opposite is the case.

Action on climate change is a powerful
spur to investment in the green industries and jobs of the future. So long as
it is managed as part of a sustainable transition.

We know, tragically, that terrorism also
recognises no boundaries.

We have had five shocking examples in
Britain this year alone.

Two during the course of the General
Election campaign and one in my own constituency.

Both Andy Burnham and Sadiq Khan – the
mayors of Manchester and London – played a crucial role in bringing people
together in the aftermath of those brutal attacks.

The targeting of our democracy, of
teenage girls at a pop concert, of people enjoying a night out, worshippers
outside a mosque, commuters going to work – all of these are horrific crimes.

And we all unite in both condemning the
perpetrators and in our support for the emergency and security services,
working to keep us safe.

But we also know that terrorism is
thriving in a world our governments have helped to shape, with its failed
states, military interventions and occupations where millions are forced to
flee conflict or hunger.

We have to do better and swap the
knee-jerk response of another bombing campaign for long-term help to solve
conflicts rather than fuel them.

And we must put our values at the heart
of our foreign policy.

Democracy and human rights are not an
optional extra to be deployed selectively.

So we cannot be silent at the cruel Saudi
war in Yemen, while continuing to supply arms to Saudi Arabia, or the crushing
of democracy in Egypt or Bahrain, or the tragic loss of life in Congo.

And I say this today to Aung San Suu Kyi
– a champion of democracy and human rights – : end the violence now against the
Rohingya in Myanmar and allow the UN and international aid agencies in to
Rakhine state.

The Rohingya have suffered for too long!

We should stand firm for peaceful
solutions to international crises.

Let’s tone down the rhetoric, and back
dialogue and negotiations to wind down the deeply dangerous confrontation over
the Korean Peninsula.

And I appeal to the UN secretary general,
Antonio Guterres to use the authority of his office and go to Washington and
Pyongyang to kick start that essential process of dialogue.

And let’s give real support to end the
oppression of the Palestinian people, the 50-year occupation and illegal
settlement expansion and move to a genuine two-state solution of the
Israel-Palestine conflict.

Britain’s voice needs to be heard
independently in the world.

We must be a candid friend to the United
States, now more than ever.

The values we share are not served by
building walls, banning immigrants on the basis of religion, polluting the
planet, or pandering to racism.

And let me say frankly – the speech made
by the US President to the United Nations last week was deeply disturbing.

It threatened war and talked of tearing
up international agreements.

Devoid of concern for human rights or
universal values, it was not the speech of a world leader.

Our government has a responsibility. It
cannot meekly go along with this dangerous course.

If the special relationship means
anything, it must mean that we can say to Washington: that way is the wrong
way.

That’s clearly what’s needed
in the case of  Bombardier where thousands of jobs are now at stake.

A Prime Minister betting our
economic future on a deregulated trade deal with the US might want to explain
how 220% tariffs are going to boost our exports.

So let Britain’s voice be heard loud and
clear for peace, justice and cooperation.

Conference,
it is often said that elections can only be won from the centre ground.

And in a
way that’s not wrong – so long as it’s clear that the political centre of
gravity isn’t fixed or unmovable, nor is it where the establishment pundits
like to think it is.

It shifts
as people’s expectations and experiences change and political space is opened
up.

Today’s
centre ground is certainly not where it was twenty or thirty years ago.

A new
consensus is emerging from the great economic crash and the years of austerity,
when people started to find political voice for their hopes for something
different and better.

2017 may
be the year when politics finally caught up with the crash of 2008 – because we
offered people a clear choice.

We need to
build a still broader consensus around the priorities we set in the election,
making the case for both compassion and collective aspiration.

This is
the real centre of gravity of British politics.

We are now
the political mainstream.

Our
manifesto and our policies are popular because that is what most people in our
country actually want, not what they’re told they should want.

And that
is why Labour is on the way back in Scotland becoming once again the champion
of social justice.

Thank you
Kezia. And whoever next leads Scottish Labour – our unifying socialist message
will continue to inspire both south and north of the border.

That is
why our party now has around twice the membership of all the other parties put
together.

Conference,
we have left the status quo behind, but we must make the change we seek
credible and effective.

We have
left our own divisions behind. But we must make our unity practical. We know we
are campaign-ready.

We must be
government-ready too. Our aspirations matched by our competence.

During the
election campaign I met and listened to people in every part of the country.

Struggling
single parents, young people held back by lack of opportunity.

Pensioners
anxious about health and social care, public servants trying to keep services
together.

Low and
middle earners, self-employed and employed, facing insecurity and squeezed
living standards.

But
hopeful that things could change, and that Labour could make a difference.

Many
hadn’t voted before, or not for years past.

But they
put their faith in our party.

We offered
an antidote to apathy and despair.

Let
everyone understand – We will not let you down.

Because we
listen to you, because we believe in
you.                                                   

Labour can
and will deliver a Britain for the many not just the few.

Thank you.