Thursday, 4 October 2012

Harriet Harmarn's Closing Speech at LPC12

Hi Conference,

I’m Hattie,62, from Camberwell.

And here’s today news briefs.

It’s been a great week for the Labour Party.

And it’s a great week for Ed Miliband.

I’ve known Ed for more than 20 years.

In fact, it was me that gave his first job in politics

And, you know, when Ed worked for me, people were always saying, I don’t know how much you do it with all that you do and so busy with 3 young children, you make such brilliant speeches.

My secret weapon was Ed Miliband.

Ed, with your speech you showed everyone, the qualities you’ve always had:

Your conviction

Your confidence

Your compassion

Your courage

And when you told us the story about your family, you showed everyone why you have

Such faith in this country

And such faith in the power of politics as a force for good

Ed , we all know you love baseball, of course , you ‘re a Red Sox fan.

So, I can just say to you…

You knocked the ball right out of the park.

Conference, since we met last year, I’ve taken  up a new role as Shadow Culture Secretary.

I was lucky enough to go the Brits.

The wine was flowing, the music was loud and I did that thing that politicians must never do.

I hit the dance floor

I know what you’re thinking …. Why is it that our Deputy Leader s always have to make such a prat of themselves at the Brits?

The next morning I was mortified

As I feared, someone had tweeted about it –‘Labour MP in dodgy dancing cringe fest’.

But the good news it then said-‘honestly….you’d think@tessa Jowell would know better’.

And the other good news is that people are still stopping me in the street and saying:

“Thank you so much for bringing the Olympics to Britain. Tessa!”

Thank you , Tessa.

And in my new role as Shadow Culture Secretary , I’m always asked what I’m reading.

And just the other week, I had awkward moment when a journalist asked me if I’d read “that” book.

Women here will know that one.

The one about a sado-masohistic relationship – you know….

With a dominant superior controlling a naïve submissive.

And I said: “don’t be silly – of course I’ve read the coalition agreement.”

Now, as it happens I have also read’50 shades of Grey- for research purposes’.

But I have to say I don’t think it’s a very realistic.

Because , let’s be honest, what most women want is not a man who ties you to the bed, but one unstacks the dishwasher while you watch the Great British Bake off.

Each and every Conference has its own defining point.

This is the Conference- here in Manchester 2012 – where Ed fired the starting gun for next general election.

Because of what Ed’s done since he became leader- we are now in with a fighting chance of forming the next government.

But we all know that we still have a long way to go.

We’ve ggot to fight the Tories

We got to fight the Lib Dems

We’ve got to work as a team.

And we’ve got to have no no- go areas for Labour

Because people all over this country are suffering with this Government. Young people are finding it really hard to get their first job.

And women are finding it hard to hang onto their jobs- and that’s just the women in David Cameron’s Cabinet.

You know Angry Birds used to David Cameron’s favourite computer game- now it’s his pet name for Caroline Seplman and Nadine Dorries

But there is one woman who can always rely on David Cameron’s unswerving, unconditional support Rebecca Brooks.

When it comes to the next election, I expect women in this country will have seen enough and won’t give Cameron one of those famous ‘second chances’ he’s so fond of.

 And what about the Lib Dems.

They claim to be a brake on the Tories – but they are nothing of the sort- they are their accomplices

They boast of the pupil premium – all well and good – but then they vote with the Tories for the biggest education cuts since the 1950s.

They boast of a clamp – down on tax avoidance- all we and good- but then they vote with Tories for tax cuts for millionaires.

People say you get the politicians you deserve.

But no- one deserves Nick Clegg.

Calamity Clegg who has propped up this miserable Tory Government every step of the way.

It’s no wonder Vince Cable is on manoeuvres.

But let’s not forget Saint Vince is in it up to his neck too. After all, it was his policy to treble tuition fees.

So I have a message for Vince. Don’t bother texting Ed- he’s changed his number.

 We have a first – past- the post system and voters get just one vote- we’re saying to them vote Labour

We are not fighting at be part of a coalition Government – we are fighting to win.

So now, in that all important by- election in Corby:

We have got to campaign as never before

And make sure people use their vote- their one precious vote.

To elect our fantastic local Labour candidate Andy Sawford

To win the next General Election we must – all of us – adopt a marginal seat mindset and listen to the people where we don't have Labour MPs as well as where we do.

That's why every one of our Shadow Ministers will adopt a marginal seat – working alongside our Labour candidate, to listen to and understand the concerns of people there.

Ed Balls has twinned with Clair Hawkins in Dover and Deal. Chuka is backing Clive Lewis and Jessica Asato in Norwich and I'm proud that I'm twinned with Andrew Pakes in Milton Keynes.

Conference, we’ve got to be the voice speaking up for the young couple in Dartford, as well as the young couple in Darlington.

We’ve got to speak up for the pensioner in Gloucester, as well as in Grimsby.

The commuter in Milton Keynes as well as in Manchester.

And at a time when many people have no faith in politicians and think that politics is a dirty word – it’s even more important that people can see, in Parliament:

Someone like them.
People they can relate to.
People they can trust.

And over the months ahead, in your local parties, you’re choosing your candidates for the next General Election I know you will want to choose candidates from all walks of life - from our factories and shop floors, from business to our armed services, people from all different backgrounds and cultures and a balanced team of men and women.

We must reflect the country we seek to serve.

And because we're determined to achieve the difficult task of making this a one-term coalition there's no place for complacency - or business as usual.

We have to – and are – doing things in a different way.

We’ve got to reach out beyond our Party faithful into communities, connecting with people who otherwise feel that politics has nothing to offer them.

We have to build our Party with more members and more supporters – so let's each and every one of us play our part in Labour’s Plus One Campaign.

Which has already been a great success. Since just the start of this conference, more than 1200 new members have joined, and 5000 have registered as supporters.

Conference, we all celebrated the Olympic games-makers who came here this week. I want us to thank our very own conference games-makers - our fantastic army of stewards.

And there's another group of people I know we'll all want to pay tribute to - our brilliant and hardworking party staff.

This has been a difficult year but the work you put in – in our headquarters and all around the country – is nothing short of heroic.

Thanks to each and every one of you.

And I want to thank our General Secretary Iain McNicol.

Iain, you have led the party staff through those difficult times and I have no doubt, with you at the helm, our party will go from strength to strength.

It's always great to be at Conference.

But this week has been special.

This week – the game has changed.

We know we have big challenges ahead.

But we leave Manchester emboldened, enthused, with a strong sense of purpose.

We have grown in confidence.

We have grown in self-belief.

This country needs a government of and for all its people, not a coalition that plays divide and rule.

This country needs a One Nation Labour Party and a One Nation Labour government.