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GRM Speech: Launch Speed to TUC
#1
Comrades, thank you for agreeing to have me come and speak with you this afternoon.

The Labour Party now finds itself at a crossroads. It was with deep regret that I learned of Neil's decision to stand down as leader of the Labour Party. Whilst I understand his reasons for doing so, and wish him a restful and deserved period of recovery, it is disappointing that his leadership ended so soon. Neil is to be commended for his work in moving the Labour Party on from the debates of the past and his major contribution, the Policy Review, stands us in good stead of reconnecting with the electorate. For that, I thank him and wish him well.

That journey, of reconnection, is why I am announcing today that I am standing in the election to be the next Leader of our Party. Labour must now do more than reflect on the policies of the past. We've listened and we've learned those lessons. The public sent a clear message at the last election; you're on the right track but there's something missing. Now, we must lead. Labour needs a leader who will take it to that next step on our journey and look forwards. Labour needs a leader who will generate new thinking, heed the latest research, and target our policies not at the debates of the 1970s and the 1980s, but generate policies that will tackle the challenges of the 1990s and beyond.

Labour must not be allowed to lurch back to the debates and politics of the past, which the electorate and our members have rejected. Our days in the political wilderness must come to a close. We must listen and look forward to the challenges the 1990s and 2000s will pose. That will require more than a few selected thinkers in stuffy rooms of Whitehall. That will require a national debate. Britain deserves that of its Opposition, and of a future Government. Labour must not now obsess over being a good Opposition alone. We must work with our members up and down this country to make a modern, credible alternative to this failing, beleaguered Tory Government.

The direction that this Party now goes is in the hands of our members, our affiliates and our Parliamentary representatives. They must reflect carefully on which direction they would like to take this party. Back to the past, out of touch and out of office. Or to the future, to new ideas, a new decade and a new Government. Voters in this election will be deciding who they want to challenge the next Conservative Prime Minister. They will be deciding who they want to make the case for an alternative. They will be deciding who has the calibre needed to tackle the extreme free market obsessions of the Tories; to make our economy stronger, our society fairer and our global outlook more just.

The Labour Party, for me and millions of people across our country, represents the best values of being British. Fairness, equality, social justice, democracy and the rule of law. It represents the working man, the working woman, the family, the local business and the industry. The Labour Party should be the things not just by shouting about them from the side-lines but by demonstrating these values and offering a credible, modern alternative.

I am the son of a coalminer, unfortunately killed in the War. What would my father today say about his home village in Wales? The unemployment? The decimation of the local economy? The damage to the local community? The lack of opportunity? The unfairness? Would he feel, as I do, that this country deserves better? Better than pickets, pit closures and poll taxes. This country deserves an economy that supports the supply of education, research, training and transport. It deserves businesses that work for those who work for them. It deserves workers having the dignity of employment, of skills and of opportunities.

To do this, we need a new way of thinking. Looking forward. That is why, if elected Leader of the Labour Party, I will take us beyond policy reviews. Beyond reflecting on what didn’t work and move us on to dreaming about what could. If elected leader, I will launch Agenda 2000. A new approach to policymaking. Agenda 2000 will be the Labour Party's agenda not for the next few weeks or the next election but will curate the best thinking from workers, from Trade Unions, from researchers, from members, from parliamentarians and will collate them into well-researched, fully thought-through policies for the next millennium. Agenda 2000 will be our manifesto for a decade. It will use research and experts to build up a policy platform for Government that will support Britain in moving on from this decade of despair to a decade of recovery, of investment and of opportunity.

Does that mean there will be no policies for now? Of course not. We can still take the best thinking of our Party and new thinking and create a realistic alternative. The free market has clear limitations and it is the role of the Labour Party, as the party of workers, to protect them from it. It is for the State to ensure that gaps are filled and the supply of the economic system is fulfilled. The state needs to ensure that public services, electricity, water, transport, are protected and well-funded. We need to ensure education, skills and research get the support from the private sector and the public sector that they deserve. We can use our best thinking to achieve that already.

Under my leadership, the Labour Party would be forthright in saying; the role of the State is clear and established and no amount of Tory sabre-rattling with the Unions over privatisations is going to change our mind. The public deserve health services, education, water and transport that are publicly funded and supplied efficiently. The Labour Party would pursue a policy of promoting and encouraging, robustly, democratisation of our businesses. Through workers' cooperative business models and democracy in the workplace, Britain can ensure a fair deal for both workers and businesses. You deserve a say. Private businesses that support the national good, through investment in target areas of free market inefficiently, would be eligible for tax credits under a Labour Government. Under my leadership, Labour would make your case that us vs them, public vs private, job losses and pit closures and strikes for basic decency and a fair pay packet should be a thing of the past. Not only that, but we'd be laying out the framework for how to do it. No more excuses.

Under my leadership, we will take steps to ensure that society is fairer. No child should go to school in a class of 40. Labour would promote and legislate on a class size cap, review the national curriculum to ensure it is preparing our children adequately for the 21st Century and introduce new reading programmes. Under my leadership, Labour would invest in building new social housing to jumpstart the construction industry, offer jobs to the unemployed, with skill-booster training programmes if needed, to ensure there is no gap left by selling of council properties. We would support the lowest paid with robust welfare networks, family support and a minimum level of income. Where the free market would leave a worker behind, the Labour Party, the party of workers, must pick them back up. Where it leaves communities to rot, the Labour Party, the party of community, must support them. That is not just politics, that is the duty of a responsible Government.

Beyond our own country, Britain itself can be a leader in thinking. This Party now needs to make a strong socialist case for Britain as a leader in the world. We need to be demonstrating that Britain can lead in Europe. Britain ought to be a key player in the EEC, through cooperation and international dialogue. Labour can make that case. Labour can make the case that Britain does not have to choose between two types of old world thinking; Trident or unilateral denuclearisation. We can lead, globally, on a credible alternative; seeking to have Britain maintain our defence while working with other likeminded countries to achieve international agreements on proliferation, denuclearisation and nuclear energy use. Britain should be leading that conversation and Labour should be leading Britain to that position. Under my leadership, that is exactly what we would do.

Labour has an historic opportunity now to move this party and country on. On from strife, from oversimplification of economic debates into public vs private, on from pit closures and poll taxes. Labour can be leaders of the national conversation, leaders in all areas of public life. Labour can be the party for a fair economy, the party for a fair society and the party for Britain as a global leader. Labour is on a journey and the direction we take next, to the past or to the future, thankfully, is in your hands. Thank you.


CAMPAIGN LEAFLET

AGENDA 2000
Gruffydd Rhys Morrison MP
Labour and Cooperative
Member for Easington
Formerly Shadow Foreign Secretary
Biography  | XP: 5| Traits: Safe pair of hands
Issue Champion: Britain’s place in the world
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