Learning from the lessons of the past, making Labour truly the people’s party – these were the themes of Jon Trickett’s speech at Leeds NW Labour’s hugely successful annual dinner and 2015 campaign launch on Sunday evening.
He was eloquent about Ed Miliband’s style of leadership:
– His strength – standing up to Murdoch, where some might have kept quiet; one of the first politicians prepared to do that
– – ready to take a principled stand on Syria, to give diplomacy a chance.
– In general his readiness to listen and learn – but also his courage to act when his mind was made up.
Jon reminded us of the successes of the last Labour government – and especially about its rescue of the NHS from the crisis situation of 1997
– the contrast with the failures of this LibDem/Tory Coalition
– a government which had created an A and E crisis in July, and presided over such an increase in fuel poverty that we must all fear what the winter months would bring.
But at the heart of his message was Labour’s determination to be, once more, the people’s party.
We now face a gulf in our society where a 1000 or so of the wealthiest have seen their wealth INCREASE by £200 billion since 2008, whilst 13 million working people were in poverty.
– where 6 energy cartels confronted the 24 million households and 6 million small businesses struggling to pay their ever rising bills.
– Where the LibDem/Tory Coalition has faced people with the stark choice – Heat or eat.
These are the social divides Labour must tackle.
Freezing energy prices is just one example of how this would be done – using the 20 months of a price freeze to dismantle the cartels and introduce real competition.
The Living Wage is another – work should pay, and there would be tax breaks for employers who ensured that it did.
These were two of the many policies which Labour is now set to roll out
– policies which have been thought through, examined, tested –
– Because Labour is determined to return to office in 2015 – a hard task and one which few twentieth-century defeated parties have managed to achieve after a single term in opposition.
But for the sake of the people of this country, up against the disastrous policices of this government, Labour must succeed.
To do this, it must reconnect with the people of Britain – making Labour once again a mass party, once again the party of the people.
– That will be done on the doorstep – through the new community politics.
– It will be done through Labour’s links with the Trade Unions, so central to the Labour family – their 3 million political levy payers a source of new mass membership.
– It will be done through a new breed of Labour politicians – ones who will reflect the breadth and diversity of British society – working people, women, ethnic minorities, the disabled.
– – MPs whose commitment will be to their constituents – not to second jobs. Labour will outlaw second jobs for its own MPs.
Above all it will be done through policies which will make Labour the government that works for working people.
We’ll be working to return Alex Sobel to parliament, to make sure that happens.
Britain can do better than this – and it will do, under a Labour Government.