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Let's Lead Europe Launch (Bibi Lauria)
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Having invited key London and national media, and party members from all main parties, as well as sapping in passing onlookers, Bibi takes to a makeshift stage, with "Let's Lead EUROPE" emblazoned on banners behind her, on an abnormally warm February afternoon in Trafalgar Square. She is smartly dressed and businesslike; beside her is Roy Hattersley, in a tweed jacket and bright red tie, looking rather statesmanlike; beside him is Alex Cardigan, sleeves rolled up on a floral shirt, having abandoned his jacket.

Good morning! Thank you all for turning out today!

If you had told my sixteen year old self – freshly dropped out of school – that she would someday stand, and deliver speech, on stages just like this one, I doubt she would ever have believed it in a thousand lifetimes. And yet, against the odds, here we are. People often remark on similar such stories as akin to the ‘American Dream’  – one where perseverance, and a little elbow grease, can achieve extraordinary things. But I have always reject this label for my own life, for it lacks the underlying truth that very few can get ahead without a little help from society at large. I would never have been able to turn from dropout, to social housing support officer if it were not for the compassion of others, that knew nothing about me other than that I believed desperately in changing lives for the better. And this is not unique to me – for it is the story of so many of our countrymen. It is not so much an ‘American Dream’, but a ‘British Truth’.

We are – yes – a nation of proud individualists; from bakers and builders, to cooks and creators – there is a rich vein of talent and drive that runs in the blood of every one of this land's children; but this has never meant that we are afraid to come together as communities, big and small. The extraordinary pride that we have in our ability to be self starters, is mixed with a raw compassion – a moral philosophy that we treat neighbour like self. In an unwritten social contract, signed at birth in NHS hospitals, we guarantee to all that we will never fault, nor stumble, in the pursuit of common good. But this responsibility we undertake spans wider than just these shores. This contract has guided generations of our countrymen to fight, often literally, in the names of all. From Wellington and his defeat of Napoleon, to Churchill and the liberation of Europe – we have never doubted that this duty encapsulates the continent too. For Britain’s story is, and will always be, inextricably tied to that of our friends and partners on the continent. From the First World War, to the Second; our national story is one where we refuse to hide in the fight for liberty, tolerance and prosperity for all Europeans. I believe that we must vigorously chase these values, for which British men and women have twice laid down their lives this century. It is those values, for which this great country has toiled for at its own peril.

But a future of prosperity and freedom cannot be delivered by Britain alone. In a world divided by loyalties to East and West, we have been put at risk of being caught in the crossfire of international diplomacy and conflict. We must be realistic that we no longer live in the golden age of British independence. Caught between two great empires, we have sensibly tied ourselves to friends across the Atlantic. But as this world evolves, we must stand ready to change with it. And where there is opportunity – we must stand and seize it.

Where forty eight years ago we stood shoulder to shoulder on the beaches of Normandy with French, Polish, Czech, Norwegian, Belgian, Dutch, Dane – European sons – we now have the chance to bring together this continent once again.

A single currency is the coming question that will be posed to Britain. Whether intentionally or not, the wheels of a train that has been slowly and quietly assembled, over the last thirty five years, are now beginning to turn in rapid motion. The click-clack of their approach is growing ever louder, and it is essential that we are ready and willing to jump aboard – not as a passenger, nor as the coal shoveler, the engineer or the ticketmaster – but as the conductor. A single currency in Europe offers up an extraordinary and unparalleled opportunity for Britain to gain through the common labours of this continent, whilst being able to steer the wheel. The single currency is our chance – Europe's chance – to solidify those values that we cherish most, without bloodshed nor losers. 

This is more than just a moment – it is re-emergence of the Age of Europe.

But there are those that sit opposed to this bold vision. Those that foretell a grave sovereign disaster, where we are no longer able to exert the full powers required to govern ourselves. It is, indeed, a scary prophecy. This country has been made Great by the decisions taken here at home. But obsessed with crystal balls, the point has been sorely missed that British involvement in a single currency is the best way to secure the long term sovereignty of this country. I fear that we are trapped to become a 51st State, should we not embrace this chance.

Our question is akin to shepherds and sheep; whether we are to lead, or be led. With a European single currency, in which Britain plays a key role, we will have the powers and influence to guide every decision along the way; but if we are to be stuck outside it – isolated as a rocky American outpost, that refuses to cooperate with our historic partners – then we are knowingly and willingly casting aside our vital chance to lead. We must not allow ourselves to shy away from taking up our rightful mantle at the heart of this project, which will come to influence us whether we play our part or not. 

But it is the right of the British people to make that decision. I am deeply honoured to serve as a member of a government that has guaranteed that voice on this issue – with the promise of a referenda, should a single currency emerge. And it is that promise of a referenda that has led me here today. I am immensely proud to announce the launch of the Let’s Lead Europe movement, which will raise the public banner for British entry into a future single currency spanning the European continent.

This is a hugely unifying moment for Europe and Britain alike. So it is with great pleasure that I can welcome one of my co-chairs to the stage – Roy Hattersley MP. This is a truly cross-party movement.

Please give him a very warm welcome!

[Hattersley does some spiel and then introduces Cardigan, whose speech can be found in a separate thread.]
A few years ago it would have been unimaginable to see a Cabinet minister fronting a cross-party campaign in support of the single currency but then these are new times.

This speech is a nice combination of personal background, wider oratory and policy nous on the issue of Europe, which receives media coverage as part of the cross-party launch with the senior figures of Hattersley and Cardigan.

Some journalists even indicate that Lauria is one to watch as a future senior minister or even the Prime Minister...

2XP to Lauria
Redgrave | A-Team

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