29/09/2011 Today at Conference


29/09/2011

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


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Transcript


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

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

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

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

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

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initiative and refocus the attack on the Conservatives. She focused

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

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

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

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

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

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transformation. But people are worried, here and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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he would end reckless irresponsibility from the bottom,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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to be huge. The Independent Electoral Commission warned that

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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in difficult conditions and who tragically lost their lives. Our

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thoughts are with them and their families.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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optimistic vision of the future. We have challenged the unspoken

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

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

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

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on the platform today was the shadow community is secretary,

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

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

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

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local councils and communities than on almost any central government

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department. It is a strange localism that dismantles local

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

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

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

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

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smear local councillors with cynical, politically motivated

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attacks. It is a supreme irony that a man of

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Eric Pickles stature is the Minister for meals on wheels.

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

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

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

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

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

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local services, of modern housing and stronger communities. Giving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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future needs for housing, transport and infrastructure, and which

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

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government. Building businesses and homes, creating jobs, supporting

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

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over 1.6 million hectares of green belt.

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Labour did so while insuring brownfield and town-centre first

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

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disgraceful sight, to seek Tory and Liberal Democrat ministers proudly

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publicising their opposition to local housing schemes in their

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backyard, while standing in Parliament, wringing their hands

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about the need for more homes. Pure hypocrisy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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every one of the housing developments cancelled, there are

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

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

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

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

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hurting, but it certainly ain't working.

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APPLAUSE Conference, I am proud of what we

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ways of delivering services, reinvigorating civic life and

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empowering local people. Localism can never mean cutting councils

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

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

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

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need as well as encongestion chargeing growth. -- Encouraging

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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coal mining and intergenerational unemployment. There are issues

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

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

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

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were organised criminals that took advantage of a situation. Reading

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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opportunity to think about how we reconnect with local government

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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low incomes get a shout. Those policies have been absolutely

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

:19:08.:19:11.

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

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

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

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business in this country that develop their workforce, work with

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

:19:25.:19:29.

businesses that go into liquidation, having not paid their business

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

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

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

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

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

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# They seek him here # They seek him there

:19:59.:20:06.

# His clothes are loud # But never square

:20:06.:20:11.

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

:20:11.:20:15.

# Because he's a dedicated follower of fashion #

:20:15.:20:19.

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

:20:19.:20:23.

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

:20:23.:20:27.

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

:20:27.:20:32.

circumstances, beating his brother at the Labour Party Conference.

:20:32.:20:37.

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

:20:37.:20:42.

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

:20:42.:20:47.

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

:20:47.:20:50.

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

:20:50.:20:54.

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

:20:54.:21:01.

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

:21:01.:21:08.

every by-election. # Oh, yes he is

:21:08.:21:12.

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

:21:12.:21:17.

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

:21:17.:21:22.

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

:21:22.:21:27.

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

:21:27.:21:31.

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

:21:31.:21:35.

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

:21:35.:21:40.

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

:21:40.:21:45.

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

:21:45.:21:51.

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

:21:51.:21:55.

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

:21:55.:21:59.

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

:21:59.:22:05.

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

:22:05.:22:11.

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

:22:11.:22:14.

according to our cloth, but sometimes that message has been

:22:14.:22:20.

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

:22:20.:22:30.

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

:22:30.:22:33.

consummate performer in David Cameron. Today we learn the Foreign

:22:33.:22:38.

Secretary describes this gang as the children of Thatcher.

:22:38.:22:42.

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

:22:42.:22:46.

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

:22:46.:22:53.

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

:22:53.:22:57.

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

:22:57.:23:03.

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

:23:03.:23:07.

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

:23:07.:23:15.

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

:23:15.:23:19.

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

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

:23:23.:23:31.

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

:23:31.:23:38.

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

:23:38.:23:42.

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

:23:42.:23:47.

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

:23:47.:23:50.

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

:23:50.:24:00.
:24:00.:24:02.

Letts from the Daily Mail has been taking the temperature.

:24:02.:24:05.

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

:24:05.:24:09.

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

:24:09.:24:12.

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

:24:12.:24:21.

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

:24:21.:24:25.

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

:24:25.:24:31.

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

:24:31.:24:34.

Tory bashing. Only David Cameron could believe that you make

:24:34.:24:38.

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

:24:39.:24:44.

rich work harder by making them richer.

:24:44.:24:49.

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

:24:49.:24:52.

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

:24:52.:24:57.

together? CHEERING

:24:57.:25:02.

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

:25:02.:25:08.

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

:25:08.:25:15.

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

:25:15.:25:17.

The industry should consider whether people guilty of

:25:17.:25:23.

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

:25:23.:25:26.

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

:25:26.:25:30.

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

:25:30.:25:40.

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

:25:40.:25:45.

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

:25:45.:25:50.

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

:25:50.:25:53.

Balls was never going to find that particularly easy.

:25:53.:25:57.

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

:25:57.:26:01.

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

:26:01.:26:07.

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

:26:07.:26:12.

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

:26:13.:26:17.

adopted tougher controls on migration from Eastern Europe. We

:26:17.:26:21.

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

:26:21.:26:25.

the banks toughly enough and stop their gross irresponsibility here

:26:25.:26:30.

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

:26:30.:26:34.

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

:26:34.:26:39.

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

:26:39.:26:44.

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

:26:44.:26:49.

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

:26:49.:26:54.

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

:26:54.:26:57.

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

:26:57.:27:02.

Government. We later learn that young Rory

:27:02.:27:05.

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

:27:06.:27:09.

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

:27:09.:27:13.

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

:27:13.:27:16.

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

:27:16.:27:21.

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

:27:21.:27:27.

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

:27:27.:27:35.

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

:27:35.:27:38.

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

:27:38.:27:43.

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

:27:43.:27:47.

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

:27:47.:27:50.

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

:27:50.:27:54.

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