Speeches sourced from the Labour party’s online archive More…


Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Opposition, speaking at the Welsh Labour Conference in Cardiff is expected to say:


It is great to be back in Wales.

It is great to be back in Labour Wales.

A Wales where Labour is governing in its own right once again.

Our victory in May didn’t happen by chance.

It happened because of your hard work.

It happened because of the hundreds and thousands of conversations you had with people all around Wales.

It happened because you showed that Labour had a vision for Wales.

Not for ourselves but for the people we came into politics to serve.

And it happened because you were led in those elections by somebody who showed he was and is the best person to stand up for Wales: Carwyn Jones, and let us pay tribute to him.

And let us thank all of the AMs, and the fantastic results we had including that famous victory for Julie Morgan.

Julie – the House of Commons’ loss is the Welsh Assembly’s gain.

And let us also thank someone who is a fantastic asset to our party in Wales and across the United Kingdom, my good friend Peter Hain.

And nothing showed his abilities more than the way he spoke out so eloquently after that crisis in his constituency, when those four miners lost their lives in such a tragic accident.

Our thoughts were with their families on that day.

And I want to thank all our Welsh MPs at Westminster, and our MEP Derek Vaughan, who campaign every day for a fairer Wales and a fairer UK.

I also want to thank too our councillors for their dedicated work for the Labour Party.

Now, it is time for all of us to turn our sights to the local elections in May.

And let’s see Labour winning once again.

I know how tough it is for you as councillors faced with deep cuts from Westminster.

Deciding between the home help, the local library, and other vital services.

But you and I know this also: it is always better to be in government ---at whatever level---making decisions, with Labour values, to best serve the interests of working people.

We see those values in Labour councils in Wales every day in the decisions they are making.

We see those values every day in the decisions Carwyn and his team are making.

The beating heart of Welsh Labour: solidarity, community, responsibility, a belief in the common good.

Forged in our mining communities,

Felt in the valleys,

And given expression in everything from Aneurin Bevan’s NHS to Neil Kinnock’s platform of opportunity, to Labour in government in Wales today, we have always been about righting wrongs, tackling injustice on behalf of people who need the power of government as a liberating force for peoples’ aspirations.

And today Britain needs these ideals more than ever.

We need a Labour government in Westminster as a partner to a Labour government in Wales.

In every generation, Labour’s task has been to make our country work for working people.

Above all, we need to change our economy so that it doesn’t just work for those at the top as it does today but works for all of Britain’s working people.

That’s what I mean by responsible capitalism.

And let’s face it, today too much of our economy is based on irresponsible capitalism.

Take the bonuses at the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Why was there such public anger?

Because it was a seven figure bonus just for doing your job.
Because RBS was still failing small businesses.

And because at a time when everybody else was being squeezed because of what happened in the banks, the banks were indulging in business as usual.

And bonuses as usual.

So no, it’s not just about one’s man bonus.

Or one man’s knighthood.

It’s about what kind of country we are and what kind of country we aspire to be.

It’s about questions of solidarity, community, responsibility, a belief in the common good.

The way we live together.

What’s happening in our country a few miles down the road from the City of London?

Last Wednesday, I visited a youth centre near a tough estate where I talked to young people looking for work.

One of them said she had sent off 137 CVs and had not received a reply.

She was desperate to work but had only found a couple of months’ employment in a fish and chip shop and they had tried to pay her cash in hand for less than the minimum wage.

She raised what had happened at RBS.

And the friend who was with her said: hang on, if the bankers caused the crisis why are they still earning bonuses, why aren’t they paying for it?

And I thought I wish I could bring one of those bankers at RBS, receiving the multi-million pound bonus just five miles away in the City of London, to that centre.

To see why when Labour talks about these issues, it’s not about the politics of envy, it’s about a culture of responsibility.

Two separate worlds in Britain 2012.

A country that seems at times to have forgotten the most basic lesson: that as a nation we succeed or fail together.

But Carwyn Jones’ government has not forgotten this lesson.

This year four thousand young people will get jobs under Carywn’s Jobs Growth Wales.

Four thousand young people who know the difference between a Tory government in Westminster that leaves young people on the scrap heap and a Labour government here in Wales that invests in our young people.

But think how much more we can do together.

With a different economic strategy.

And as part of our five point plan, taxing the bankers’ bonuses and using the money to create 100,000 jobs for young people.

100,000 young people who would know the difference between a Conservative-led government and a Labour government.

But the challenge of our time is to create the right sort of jobs for the future.
It is that we have too many jobs which are low wage, low skills.

An economy that works for working people is one that provides good jobs at good wages.

And when we talk about irresponsible capitalism and how we tackle it, as we should, let’s also talk about responsible capitalism and how we encourage it.

Like Ford at Bridgend, a plant providing high quality jobs and apprenticeships.

And thanks to the Young Recruits initiative, Wales will have 1000 more apprentices in workshops and factories this year.

But think how much more we can do.

For training our young people with apprenticeships.

I promise that one of the first acts of a Labour government in Westminster would be to say that every company that gets a big government contract must provide apprenticeships for the next generation.

And to create these good jobs, we need finance that serves industry, not industry that seems to serve finance.

Don’t tell me it’s anti-business to say we have to reform the way our banks work.
That’s the old thinking.

It’s the old establishment thinking.

It’s the old thinking that we’ve got to sweep away if we’re going to create an economy that works for working people.

It’s pro-business to say we need to reform our banks so that they properly serve business.

Because if we are to have an economy that works for working people, we need more successful entrepreneurs and businesses making profits and generating wealth.

But we won’t achieve that unless we reform our banks.

Small businesses in every high street across Wales who want to take on new workers know how hard it is to get the finance.

An economy that works for working people means a banking system that realises that its duty is to provide that lifeblood of finance for small business.

And that’s why we need to look at plans for a British Investment Bank.

Because an economy that works for working people doesn’t just see runaway rewards at the top.

But everyone benefiting from rising and shared prosperity for all.

It’s why we say we would change the way top pay is set.

And end the cosy cartels of people awarding each other pay rises.

And as part of our proposals, we would put an ordinary employee on every remuneration committee.

So that top executives have to look an ordinary member of staff in the eye before they award themselves that pay rise.

You know the reality.

People’s wages not rising.

On current forecasts, the average worker will be earning the same in three years’ time as they were ten years ago.

But the weekly shop costs more.

It costs a lot more to keep the house warm.

It costs more to take the train.

And at the same time, companies think they can get away with adding on all sorts of hidden charges.

Like banks charging you £6 for every day you’re over your overdraft limit.

And we have a government standing by and not standing up to those vested interests.

Energy prices will rise over time as we tackle climate change.

But that makes it all the more important that government does everything it can to get the best deal for working people.

Why is it that the poorest people in society pay most for their energy?
That’s not your idea of fairness, and it’s not mine either.

It’s wrong to say to the oldest, most vulnerable people: “go online, and shop around for a good deal.”

Let’s change the law so the energy companies are required to give every one of the 260,000 over 75s in Wales the cheapest tariff available.

And we would do it if we were in government.

And let’s break up a rigged market so that the companies have to pass on their cost savings to us, the consumer.

And take train fares.

Why is it with these train companies that when they make losses, the taxpayer bears the burden, and when they make profits, they’re laughing all the way to the bank?

The government told you that prices of train fares would only rise by 1% above inflation.

So why is it that they’re going up more than 10% between Chester and Crewe.

Because the government gave the companies a loophole.

I say: that’s wrong, and we would change it.

We can stop inflation-busting fares from the train companies of over 10%.

And we would, by law.

And we can stop those unfair overdraft charges as well, by giving the Financial Conduct Authority that power. And we would.

We would take on the powerful vested interests to keep down the cost of living.

Just as in the first half of the twentieth century, government used its power on behalf of working people for basic rights to conditions, hours and safety.

So in the twenty-first century, government must use its power on behalf of citizens to protect their basic rights too.

And a country that works for working people doesn’t just have an economy that works, but public services too.

You know that here in Wales.

Four thousand front-line police posts were cut in the first year of David Cameron's government.

Here in Labour Wales you have invested in 500 extra police community support officers to protect and reassure your communities.

On tuition fees, you are showing a different way forward by helping Welsh students to avoid £9,000 tuition fees.

And on the NHS, David Cameron tries to tell you what you what to do.

Let me tell you one thing Wales shouldn’t be doing, what they are doing in England, adopting a 'free market free-for-all' which puts profits before patients.

But on public services, we have to face the facts.

We have a government in Westminster which is failing.

Growth is down.

Businesses are closing.

Unemployment is up.

And so are the costs of unemployment.

Last November, George Osborne admitted that his plan to eliminate the deficit in one Parliament had crumbled.

And that means we all have to face the fact that even if Labour wins the next election, there will be less money around for us to spend.

If we win, we will have to make difficult decisions.

That’s why it right to prioritise, as we did in government, jobs over pay.

And we would have different priorities, different choices.

And what is this government doing?

Cutting taxes for the banks while they raise taxes on ordinary families.

Higher VAT.

Cuts to tax credits.

£580 a year costs for the average family with children from this April.

And as the Conservative-led government hits the people of Wales, what is the Welsh Secretary doing?

Lobbying hard.

At the Cabinet table banging her fist.

Fighting for the allocation of hundreds of millions of pounds of resources.

But not for the unemployed of Cardiff.

Or the small businesses of Swansea.

Or the young people of Anglesey.

But instead a different lasting memorial to her time as Welsh Secretary:

The Gillan Tunnel.

Not so much Wales’ voice at the Cabinet table.

But Buckinghamshire’s voice in Wales.

And can you imagine a world without devolution, with Cheryl Gillan running Wales.
Be afraid, be very afraid.

Let me state a simple truth.

I believe devolution has strengthened the United Kingdom not weakened it.

And we all have a duty, from every part of the United Kingdom, to fight for our United Kingdom.

This is as much an issue for the people of Wales as for the rest of the UK.


Because we are stronger economically together and weaker apart.

But also because we know something else:

We are linked together by a common history, family ties, and shared bonds.

The history of our islands is a history we built together.

Take our party.

An Englishman Clement Attlee led that pioneering government of 1945.

A Welshman, Aneurin Bevan, created its proudest achievement, the NHS.

And none of it would have been possible without Keir Hardie, who founded the Labour party, served as an MP first in Wales, and born in Scotland.

And we didn’t just build our history together, we care about each other.

The family in Wales cares about the children in poverty in England.

They care about the pensioners in Scotland.

We want to change our country not just for people in one part of it, but for people in the whole of it: our United Kingdom.

We all have our own particular reason to feel this way.

Mine is this:

My parents were refugees from the Nazis.

Theirs was a generation fractured by war, who out of the darkness, saw a different world built after 1945.

That’s why they brought me up to believe that politics could make a difference.

That’s why mine was a political household.

Not of elected politics.

But of two parents who believed passionately that it wasn’t good enough just to get angry about injustice, you needed to change things.

Ours is a different time.

But the challenge is the same as it has always been down the ages for our party: to imagine something different.

Out of the financial crisis, not to go back to business as usual.

Or to the irresponsible capitalism that caused the crisis.

But to build a newer world.

To build an economy that works for the 99% not just the 1%.

To build a society based on our principles of equality and justice.

To build a society which fulfils the promise of Britain, which works for the next generation.

Built on the principles we hold dear.




That’s our mission.

That’s what drives me on.

That’s what makes me Labour.

That’s what should drive all of us on through to the May elections.

That’s what will drive us all on to the next General Election.

That is the way Labour can win back trust across the United Kingdom and win the next General Election.

Keyboard shortcuts

j previous speech k next speech