29/09/2011 Today at Conference


Giles Dilnot presents highlights of the Labour Party's annual conference in Liverpool.

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Good evening and welcome to the final round-up of the Labour Party


conference here in Liverpool. On Tuesday, Ed Miliband said he wanted


to build a new society, a new economy. On Wednesday, he had to


point out he was not anti- business been left on the final day to the


deputy leader, Harriet Harman, to try to regain some of the political


initiative and refocus the attack on the Conservatives. She focused


particularly on voter registration. It has been great to be here in


Liverpool this week. On behalf of everyone here at our conference, I


want to give a huge thank you to all the people of Liverpool. You


gave us such a warm welcome, you are rightly proud of your


magnificent city, and we are proud of Labour's role in its


transformation. But people are worried, here and


throughout the country. Worried about their job, worried about the


prospect for their kids, about what is going to happen in their local


area. And there is only one party leader who understands that, and it


isn't Nick Clegg, and it certainly isn't David Cameron. It is our


Labour leader Ed Miliband. He spoke up for the squeezed middle, and he


is right. He has understood people's fears for their children,


and their aspirations for them, too. He shares their anger that the


bankers are getting off scot-free, and he said that as prime minister,


he would end reckless irresponsibility from the bottom,


write to the top. Ed was the first party leader to speak up against


the abhorrent phone hacking. Ed I here that phone hacking is going


to be made into a phone, had gate the movie. -- into a film. One of


the leading roles is Chris Bryant. That has been relatively easy to


cast, it is obviously Daniel Craig. There is one problem, and it is a


huge headache for the casting director. They just can't find


anyone with enough raw magnetism to play it our very own Tom Watson!


But all the time that Murdoch has been in the headlines, another


crisis has been going on, as people see the economic storm clouds


gathering. Today, we heard about the terrible job losses at BAE


Systems. All around the country, behind their front doors, people


are worried. Behind the front door of Downing Street, the Tories are


oblivious. It is not going to affect them, so it doesn't matter.


They also removed from people's lives. But I hear they do watch TV


from time to time, and I hear they love Downton Abbey. The only thing


is they think it is a fly-on-the- wall documentary. They never need


to do their own dirty work. Why would they, they have got Nick


Clegg and the Lib Dems to do that. The Lib Dems boast, you will have


heard it, that they are a brake on the Tories. What happened, then, on


tuition fees, VAT, police cuts, the NHS, clearly the brakes failed.


There is no doubt who is in the driving seat. It is clear who is at


the wheel, and this time it is not Chris Huhne, it is the Tories. On


the rare occasion when the Lib Dems in government do get there a --


their way, what do they do? They make it harder for local


communities to get CCTV and they force the police to destroy DNA


evidence, which is vital for convicting criminals. And the Lib


Dems, to their eternal shame, a colluding with the Tories in


changing the law on the electoral register. The plans the Tories have


set out are going to push people off the electoral register, deny


them their voice, and deny them their vote. The numbers are going


to be huge. The Independent Electoral Commission warned that


this could deny millions of people in this country the right to vote.


And the Tories are doing it because they hope it will help them win the


election. That is a shame for the assault on people's democratic


rights, and we will expose it, and campaign against it. Parliament has


no right to take away people's right to vote, and the government


cannot be allowed to get away with it. The two Eds both acknowledged


what we all know, but not everything we did in government


turned out right. And people need to know that over the past year, we


have taken a hard look at what we did and we have learnt lessons. But


it is time now to move on, because we have got important work to do.


When it comes to Sure Start children centres, we have got to


fight to stop them closing. When it comes to the 50p tax rate, we have


got to say now is not the time to drop it. When it comes to saving


lives in the developing world, we have got to make the Tories keep


our aid budget. When it comes to This week has seen debate and


discussion of Labour people all across the country. I want to say


to our Welsh delegates, how proud we are of the work of Carwyn Jones


and his team in the Welsh Assembly. And I want to say, too, how much


our hearts go out to the families of the four Welsh miners, and the


family of the Yorkshire miner who died this week. Men who worked hard


in difficult conditions and who tragically lost their lives. Our


thoughts are with them and their families.


We have heard about the process of renewal under way in Scottish


Labour. I would like to pay tribute to Iain Gray. His passionate speech


at this conference shows he is the best first minister Scotland never


This week, we have had a sharper focus on our campaign for the


Greater London Assembly, and for Mayor of London. What does Tory


Boris Johnson stand for? Higher fares for Londoners, lower tax for


bankers. Let's face it, Boris is in it for himself, Labour's Ken


Livingstone is in it for London, And a stronger voice for young


people, many at conference for the first time, some as young as 16


speaking with such conviction. With the Tory Lib Dem attack on the


Future Jobs Fund, EMA, tuition fees, the government have hit the


prospects for young people, but young people are hitting back. We


have seen this week, the dynamic new generation of young Labour.


This week has been a turning point. Ed has shown his bold and


optimistic vision of the future. We have challenged the unspoken


orthodoxies that have governed Britain for too long, and we have


refounded our party so we can be a force that changes people's lives.


Conference, let's go for it. Deputy leader, Harriet Harman. Also


on the platform today was the shadow community is secretary,


Caroline Flint. Here's what she had to say. -- Shadow Communities


Secretary. The Tories like to talk the language of localism, but it is


a strange localism that imposes cuts that fall deeper and faster on


local councils and communities than on almost any central government


department. It is a strange localism that dismantles local


services and puts blind faith in volunteers taking up the reins.


Because, as Ed Miliband has said, you can't volunteer in your local


Sure Start centre or library when it has already been closed. It is a


strange localism that sees Eric Pickles take to the TV studios to


smear local councillors with cynical, politically motivated


attacks. It is a supreme irony that a man of


Eric Pickles stature is the Minister for meals on wheels.


And let's face it, barely a day goes by without yet another missive


from Mr Pickles to local councils. It would take more than a weekly


bin collection to get rid of his rubbish. Labour councils are


showing that we are the real party of localism. Not the party of big


government, or an overbearing white wall, but the party of quality


local services, of modern housing and stronger communities. Giving


people a voice, giving them hope, when all the Tories offer is chaos,


confusion and fear. Conference, one Tory MP said that chaos in the


planning system is a good thing. Well, they have certainly delivered


on that. They're planning reforms have already caused confusion and


alarm -- their are planning reforms. We are living in strange times when


the government reveals that the National Trust is part of a vast


left-wing conspiracy. I must be going to the wrong meetings. Course,


we all want an effective planning system that is able to meet our


future needs for housing, transport and infrastructure, and which


supports jobs and growth. And that is exactly what we did in


government. Building businesses and homes, creating jobs, supporting


growth. We did so while we created new national parks and protected


over 1.6 million hectares of green belt.


Labour did so while insuring brownfield and town-centre first


policies, and we won't let them undermine this now. It is a


disgraceful sight, to seek Tory and Liberal Democrat ministers proudly


publicising their opposition to local housing schemes in their


backyard, while standing in Parliament, wringing their hands


about the need for more homes. Pure hypocrisy.


The truth is, the economy isn't stalling because of the planning


system, it is stalling because of Cuts that go too far, too fast, and


no plan for growth. Look at what they are doing on housing. First-


time buyers waiting longer, fewer houses built last year than any


year since the 1920s. 200,000 new homes cancelled in 18 months.


Waiting lists for council house is soaring, and only half a million


mortgages provided last year. That is half the number provided each


year during Labour's first 10 years. Conference, the Tories have sucked


the life out of our economy and hit the building industry hard. And for


every one of the housing developments cancelled, there are


skilled people put out of work, and small suppliers put out of business.


That is why we must kick-start the building industry, by repeating the


bankers bonus tax to fund 25,000 new homes, and why a temporary cut


in VAT to -- on home improvements Because George, you might enjoy it


hurting, but it certainly ain't working.


APPLAUSE Conference, I am proud of what we


achieved in our 13 years in power. Proud of the 1.5 million homes


modernised, proud of the 250,000 affordable homes built in the teeth


of a recession. And proud of the one million extra families able to


buy a home for the first time. But I'm honest too that we did not do


enough. In Government, we were too slow to trust local councils and


communities. We were too reluctant to relinquish the levers of the


state. Too often we looked like the party of Whitehall, not the Town


Hall. Ed Miliband and I both know the only way you create stronger,


safer, fairer communities is by trusting people to make their own


decisions. As our film showed, Labour councils are pioneering new


ways of delivering services, reinvigorating civic life and


empowering local people. Localism can never mean cutting councils


loose, leaving communities to fend for themselves or pitting the north


against the south, where the Tories try to divide our country, we will


seek unity around a funding system fair to everyone and which reflects


need as well as encongestion chargeing growth. -- Encouraging


growth. Caroline Flint there. Earlier Andrew spoke to her and


asked where she'd been during the riots? I was away. When I came back


I went to visit Lewisham. I visited crowden, Ealing and Birmingham to


speak to people and see how they felt about it. Should you have had


a higher profile snfrplts I think Ed wanted Yvette to handle it


because it was the policing issue in the first instance. In terms of


the follow up to it, it's how the councils responded and what the


Government will support council in terms of the clear up. Just to say


something about your point about these are our children, I think in


terms of, some some of these cases, the rot set in before that. We


didn't have riots in Doncaster. But we're suffering with the loss of


coal mining and intergenerational unemployment. There are issues


around families in London and elsewhere where that's the case as


well. That doesn't excuse the fact that, to be honest, when I went to


Croydon, what I was being told, it wasn't Croydon young people, they


were organised criminals that took advantage of a situation. Reading


the comments about this so-called Shadow Cabinet reshuffle that's


coming up, I can't work out whether you're going to be fired or


promoted. I really don't know. What's your instinct? I haven't


really heard about many of the comments. You're so busy getting on


with what you're doing. You go through the week and you don't see


much of the news or read the papers. I try to do the best job I can,


Andrew and I very much enjoy doing my brief on this. It's given me an


opportunity to think about how we reconnect with local government


base. We're expecting a Shadow Cabinet reshuffle now because for


the first time, a Labour leader has the power to choose his or her own


Shadow Cabinet, as oppose totd one MPs elect for him. Exactly. That's


been an important transition in the last year. If you look back at


what's been significant for Ed, that is up there, that he made a


decision that that's what he wanted to do and brought the party with


him on that one. It helps him both to define himself, the sort of team


he wants and how he wants to build that team. Are you comfortable with


the direction of the party in the sense that it's not saying, look,


New Labour's run out of steam, it's time to inject new life into New


Labour for a new era, but saying New Labour is over and we're


starting something new. I'm not sure it's saying New Labour is over,


because I think about what did it mean to me when I got involved in


the party and when I saw those years, 18 years in Opposition. For


me it was always about the Labour Party getting itself to a place


where it can reflect modern aspects of our lives that were changing,


but hold onto the principles we built our party on. I don't think


that's changed. We have to move on. The problem was New Labour was so


associated with two particular individuals. We can't allow that to


just capture us for the rest of time. I think it's about moving


forward, but dealing with the challenges of today and tomorrow.


Have you not opened yourselves to the criticism of your opponents,


that it represents a clear move to the left. Mr Miliband doesn't talk


about the market economy any more. He talks about the centre, but he


implies the centre has moved left to him. I don't think it's about


moving to the left, because I look at Yvette's speech on law and order.


We're the ones defending keeping DNA records, keeping CCTV, keeping


police numbers up. I've talked about changing the way in which we


look at allocating social housing to make sure that working people on


low incomes get a shout. Those policies have been absolutely


supported by Ed. There are challenges that we have to face up


to - the financial system, we didn't regulate it well enough.


That has, over the last few years, been concerns about parts of


business and how it operates. There's very good examples of


business in this country that develop their workforce, work with


communities and there are others, let me give you an example,


businesses that go into liquidation, having not paid their business


rates, leaving their staff without any wages and then they can just


start up again under another name. I think it's talking about the bad


practices, in doing that, we're not anti-wealth or anti-enterprise.


know, it has been an eventful year for erld. So we asked the former


Cabinet minister Alan Johnson for his take on the last 12 months.


# They seek him here # They seek him there


# His clothes are loud # But never square


# It won't make or break him # So he's got to buy the best


# Because he's a dedicated follower of fashion #


. Refashioning the Labour Party was never going to be easy for Ed


Miliband. Taking on the worst job, leader of the Opposition, at the


worst time just after an election defeat and in the worst possible


circumstances, beating his brother at the Labour Party Conference.


Isn't the biggest favour that Ed Miliband can do -- David Miliband


can do is to end the psycho drama. I came on Saturday, planning a


slightly different week and so, I'm now thinking what I'm going to do


instead. You know what, it's measuring up to be a pretty good


year for Labour. Party membership sin creasing. We're ahead in the


polls. We had notable successes in local elections. So far, we've won


every by-election. # Oh, yes he is


# Oh, yes he is # We were stitched newspaper Scotland.


Unfortunately for Ed and for me, the alternative vote didn't suit


the public. But despite the party being split on the referendum, it


didn't damage the leader. In other areas, Ed has bravely decided to do


what he thinks is right. For example, scrapping the Shadow


Cabinet elections and making it clear that he wants to change the


rules for electing the party leader. In respect the policy, Ed probably


made life difficult for himself by supporting a graduate tax and a


blank sheet of paper probably wasn't the best phrase to use. But


this early in a Parliament, no Opposition leader wants to pick


policies off the peg. And Ed isn't your typical party leader, forever


chasing headlines. But the last 12 months have really been all about


the cuts. Ed has been very clear that we have to cut our coat


according to our cloth, but sometimes that message has been


lost. Our struggle, friends, is to fight to preserve, protect and


defend the things we value. Parliament, Ed is up against a


consummate performer in David Cameron. Today we learn the Foreign


Secretary describes this gang as the children of Thatcher.


rather be a child of Thatcher than a son of Brown. Whilst he's taken


some hits, he's also had some notable successes. He was statesman


like on Libya. He was strong on issues like cancer sufferers, DNA


and of course, the hacking scandal and David Cameron's decision to


hire Andy Coulsonment -- Andy Coulson. He's got to admit he made


a catastrophic error of judgment by bringing Andy Coulson... Into the


heart of his Downing Street machine. On reflection, I think Ed's had a


good year. On personal issues, he's got a new wife, new baby, a


different nose and a brother less estranged than he seemed to be a


year ago. I think Ed Miliband's done extremely well. I think he'll


grow in confidence and in stature, as his turn unfolds. Alan Johnson


with his take on Labour's year. What about this week? What's it


been like? The weather's been good. It's been hot for most of us. What


about the kopbsfrepbs -- conference itself. Our old friend Quentin


Letts from the Daily Mail has been taking the temperature.


It's Liverpool. It's Labour, but is it leadership? That was Ed


Miliband's task when he arrived at the start of the week, to establish


himself aiz character with his movement. Who is this guy,


Miliband? I'm not Tony Blair. line went down really well. They


don't like Tony here. Mr Miliband had a reasonably successful


afternoon, I feel, particularly when he did some old Labour-style


Tory bashing. Only David Cameron could believe that you make


ordinary families work harder by making them poorer and you make the


rich work harder by making them richer.


APPLAUSE It's wrong, it's the wrong priority.


It's based on the wrong values. How dare they say we're all in it


together? CHEERING


Of course, if Mr Miliband is going to establish a relationship with


the British people, he'll have to make friends of the British media.


We had this speech from Denise Lewis. The industry -- Ivan Lewis.


The industry should consider whether people guilty of


malpractice should be struck off. In other words, any journalist


misbehaving could be banned. Oh, dear, that's me to the knacker's


yard. I'm going have a word with the police, make sure they're OK


with that sentence. Now sport. Who's that portly fellow? He


tackles pretty low in politics too, they say. As for his speech, it was


toying with the idea of an apology, but a politician as tribal as Mr


Balls was never going to find that particularly easy.


When they say we made mistake in Government, they're right. We have


to admit them and show we've learned. The 75p pension rise, that


was a mistake. So was abolishing the 10p tax rate. We didn't do


enough to get employers to train their workforces. We should have


adopted tougher controls on migration from Eastern Europe. We


didn't spend every pound of public money well. Yes, we didn't regulate


the banks toughly enough and stop their gross irresponsibility here


in Britain and around the world am If we don't pay off the deficit now,


it will be left to future generations. Lo and behold up one


popped in the form of Rory Wheel, 16 from Maidstone. The home I lived


in since birth was repossessed. We had nothing, no money, no savings.


I owe my entire well being and that of my family to the Welfare State.


That is why I join the Labour Party. That same Welfare State is being


ruthlessly ripped apart by a vicious and right-wing Tory-led


Government. We later learn that young Rory


wasn't quite up to some of the proletariat. He'd been to private


school and his dad was a property developer. Never mind, he's a face


for tomorrow. Where have been the faces of the past? No Tony Blair


there. No Peter Mandelson. No Gordon Brown. Not even a John


Prescott. It's almost as though, these security fences have been


designed to keep New Labour out. Oh, well, it's Manchester next, the


Tories, see you there. As you can see people pack ago way.


That's about it from the Labour Party Conference, where Ed Miliband


said he wanted to build a new society, and move on from the


Brown/Blair years. Did he manage it? You can be the judge of that.


Now the conference road show moves to Manchester and the Tories get


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