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Speech to Citizens UK: Labour's Fair Shot


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How do we move forward when all is new? This is the question I continue to find myself asking as Prime Minister. Much will continue to be made of our friends on the right that I do not want this job - I mean, yes, but if you want power at the expense of your friend having a significant health surprise? I question your humanity and your soul. They can keep using that as a talking point, but here's my rejoinder - do you want a Prime Minister who wants this job? Do you want a Prime Minister who wants the power and status that this position brings? My predecessor, David Cameron, wanted to keep power so much that he made a deal with the Devil, or just Nigel Farage, to ensure his party had a majority government. Theresa May tried to increase her majority to ensure that her vision of Brexit came to fruition. Obviously, that failed. So here we are. How do we move forward?

The line that this is a government "for the many and not the few'' resonated with millions across this country. That’s not a surprise when you consider how hard it has been for most people to get by over the last seven years under the Coalition and then the Conservative majority - the many includes Mary, a single mother in Manchester who has had her social security cut while richer folk got a tax cut. The many includes John, a Liverpudlian on a long waitlist to see an NHS GP. The many includes Arthur, a homeless man in London. The many includes Dave and Jackie, a regular hardworking couple who are raising their kids but haven't had a decent pay rise in years. The many includes everyone who wants to improve the standing of their lives - the many are everyone in our communities, we are the many.

By focusing on the many, we recognize the humanity of those around us. It’s easy to sit in Number 10 and reduce the NHS’s spending. But when I’m actually in NHS waiting rooms meeting with constituents, when I’m on a picket line with striking workers, that is when the power of our common humanity is revealed. That is why I am a member of the Labour movement, that is why I ran for Prime Minister, and that is why I’m here with you today.

One of my political heroes, former American President Harry Truman, promoted his platform as a “Fair Deal” for the American people. With the support of the government, with investment in public services, everyone in America would get a fair deal in how they were treated and in their opportunities to succeed. What we need is a new version of the Fair Deal - a new proposition that recognizes the inequalities and inequities inherent in our systems and gives people the support that they need to reach out and grasp opportunities.

I am proud to announce the revival of the Fair Deal here in this country as we establish the Fair Shot. This Government is committed to providing each and every person in this great United Kingdom a Fair Shot at living the life they were meant to live. It’s a nice little name, but what does it actually mean? Looking back to William Beveridge’s report that was released seventy-five years ago, there are five things that continue to be required for a Fair Shot and two additions that must be made:

  1. A Fair Shot at Financial Security - All people must be able to live with enough money to get by. Those employed deserve a living wage, and those unemployed deserve the support of their Government to stay afloat without needing to jump through 20 hoops.
  2. A Fair Shot at Healthy Living - All people must be able to see their GP quickly, to be quickly referred to specialists, and get the healthcare they need in a timely fashion.
  3. A Fair Shot at Education for All - All people must be able to learn and grow in educational settings that are free at the point of use and taught by qualified teachers who have the time to ensure that every student learns.
  4. A Fair Shot at Safe, Affordable Housing - All people must have a stable place of residence where they do not need to worry about how they will cover their rent. This residence must also be a safe place to live.
  5. A Fair Shot at Gainful Employment - All people must be able to work in a position they are qualified for at a company that supports them, pays them well, and allows them to collectively bargain for benefits.
  6. A Fair Shot at Brexit - All people must be able to see the United Kingdom leave the European Union without losing their rights and privileges that have been granted to them through our membership in it.
  7. A Fair Shot at Equality Under the Law - All people must be treated equally under the law with the rights and privileges that they are granted through their citizenship, and for everyone to have a voice in our electoral system.

This is what we must be about, friends. We are in the business of making other peoples’ lives better. If you’re in the Labour Party or politics for yourself and your own ideas and dreams of power, get out. Go find another field where you can be the egocentric person you are. But we care about each other. We care about our communities, our neighbors, and we find new ways to solve old problems. I love that our colleagues in the Co-operative Party have a bee in their logo. There’s a lot we can learn from them -  about working as one body for the benefit of the whole and about providing for each other and our young.

I often joke about how working for John McDonnell meant I got exposed to a lot of Christian theology that is never going to matter for me, which is accurate. But one thing that has always stuck with me is a quote from the mystic and activist Catherine of Siena - “If you are what you ought to be, you will set the whole world on fire.” I want you, friends, to imagine that. A world where we are all what we have been created to be, a world where we are all on fire for loving each other, improving our society, and making this, as a character from one of my favorite musicals once said, “our paradise planet.” We’re a party with red rosettes for a reason. And if that reason isn’t to signify that we will set this world on fire, I don’t want to hear about it. Because that is our goal, that is our creed, and that is what we will continue to do in this Government. 

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