Sep 29, 2021
Keir Starmer Labour Conference 2021 Keynote Speech Transcript
UK Labour leader Keir Starmer gave the keynote address at the 2021 Labour conference in Brighton. Read the transcript of his speech here.
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Doreen Lawrence: (14:50)
Thank you. Hello, my name is Doreen Lawrence. I think you all know my story. Like so many of you, I spent my life fighting for people to get the justice they deserve, campaign against racism, helping to ensure that young people can fulfill their potential, trying to build a better country.
Doreen Lawrence: (15:22)
About 15 years ago, I met Keir Starmer. He was a lawyer then. He was known for being on the side of ordinary people. Even back then he had good hair. Keir’s always on the side of families who deserve justice. He took the decision to prosecute my son Stephen’s murderers. It meant that finally some justice was done.
Doreen Lawrence: (15:54)
Keir has been a friend to me ever since. Through my campaigning, I’ve met a lot of people. I’ve met a lot of people who talk a lot, but Keir is someone who listen and acts. That’s why, when I said, “I could be his race advisor.” He said, “Yes,” because I knew it wouldn’t just be about talking, it was about changing things.
Doreen Lawrence: (16:26)
He asked me to investigate the impact of COVID on minority communities. I was shocked by what we found, how black communities were badly affected by COVID because of the inequality in our society, how people’s health was so badly impacted by the discrimination they faced, how inequality made the pandemic so much worse. Keir didn’t just read my report. He said, “This must lead to real change, and when I’m prime minister, it will do.”
Doreen Lawrence: (17:17)
That’s the sort of man he is, and that’s the sort of prime minister he will be, someone who doesn’t just believe in justice, equality, security, and opportunity, but someone who just work his whole life to help people to get them. I’m proud to call Keir my friend, and I’m proud to work with him as leader of the Labour party and I’m proud to introduce him to you now.
Speaker 2: (19:26)
Conference, welcome Keir Starmer, our next Labour prime minister and leader of the Labour party.
Keir Starmer: (20:16)
Thank you so much conference. I’ve waited 17 months, 25 days and two hours to appear in front of you in this hall, as leader of our great party. And Doreen, thank you for your kind words. Thank you for everything you’ve done for criminal justice. Thank you for everything you’ve done for our party. I’m so proud to call you my friend. Thank you, Doreen. And conference, let me take this first opportunity to thank my brilliant shadow cabinet and shadow Lords team for everything that they have done in the last 18 months. Thank you so much, colleagues.
Keir Starmer: (21:29)
And Louise Ellman, welcome home. This hasn’t always been an easy conference. Sunday was particularly nerve-wracking, but then the results started coming through, Arsenal three, Tottenham one.
Keir Starmer: (22:23)
Conference, before I start, let me tackle the issue of the day head on. If you go outside and walk along the seafront, it won’t be long before you get to a petrol station that’s got no fuel. Level up? You can’t even fill up.
Keir Starmer: (22:50)
And conference, doesn’t that just tell you everything you need to know about this government? Ignoring the problem, blaming someone else, then coming up with a half baked solution. Why do we suddenly have a short of HGV drivers? Why is there no plan in place?
Keir Starmer: (23:10)
A tank of fuel already costs 10 pounds more than it did at the start of the year, gas and electricity bills up, gaps in the supermarket shelves, rent up, especially for those on the lowest income. Yet, this is the very moment the government is putting up tax on working people, putting up tax on small business and shamefully slashing Universal Credit, the lifeline for six million families.
Keir Starmer: (23:54)
We have a fuel crisis, a pay crisis, a goods crisis, and a cost of living crisis all at the same time. Conference, let me quote to you what the prime minister said at the United Nations last week, “We believe that someone else will clear up the mess we make because that’s what someone else has always done.” Well, prime minister, either get a grip or get out of the way and let us step up and clear up this mess.
Keir Starmer: (24:32)
This is our first full conference since the 2019 general election, in which we suffered our worst defeat since 1935. To our devoted activists, our loyal voters, I want to say, loud and clear, you saved this party from obliteration and we will never forget it. Thank you.
Keir Starmer: (25:23)
But my job as leader is not just to say thank you to the voters that stayed with us. It is to understand, and to persuade the voters who rejected us, to those Labour voters, who said their grandparents would turn in their graves, but they couldn’t trust us with high office, to those who reluctantly chose the Tories, because they didn’t believe that our promises were credible.
Speaker 4: (25:57)
It was your [crosstalk 00:26:00].
Keir Starmer: (26:02)
To the voters that thought we were unpatriotic or irresponsible, or that we look down on them, I say these simple but powerful words, we will never, under my leadership, go into an election with a manifesto that is not a serious plan for government. Thank you. It will not take another election defeat for the Labour party to become an alternative government in which you can trust.
Keir Starmer: (27:08)
And conference, that’s why it’s been so important to get our own house in order this week and we have done that. This is a-
Speaker 5: (27:35)
Keir Starmer: (27:35)
At this time on a Wednesday, it’s normally the Tories that are heckling me, it doesn’t bother me then, and it won’t bother me now. This is a big moment in our country’s history. We will look back at this moment and we’ll ask, how did the nation rebuild after the pandemic? Did we learn? Did we use the crisis to make the future?
Keir Starmer: (28:22)
I see a government lost in the woods with two paths beckoning, one earth leads back where we came from, none of the lessons of COVID are learned, the flaws that were brutally exposed by the pandemic, all worsened, childhood poverty increases, the crisis in social care gets worse, the housing market still broken, slow and steady decline.
Keir Starmer: (28:59)
But there’s another path, down which we do address the chronic problems …
Keir Starmer: (29:03)
Down which we do address the chronic problems revealed by COVID, with the kindness and the togetherness that got us through. That path leads to a future in which a smart government enlists the brilliance of scientific invention to create a prosperous economy and a contribution society in which everyone has their role to play. It will be a future in which we make an opportunity out of tackling the climate crisis and in which Britain is once again a confident actor in the world. I believe in this country and I believe we will go forward. Today, I want to tell you how. Today I want to tell you where my passions were born and why I’m in politics.
Keir Starmer: (30:07)
There are two rocks in my life. The two sources of what I believe to be right and good, family and work. I’m not from a privileged background. My dad a was a tool maker. Although, in a way, so was Boris Johnson’s. My dad was a tool maker in a factory that worked on the shop for all his life. He gave me a deep respect for the dignity of work. There are some lines from Auden that capture the beauty of skilled work. You need not see what someone is doing to know if it’s his vocation, you only have to watch his eyes. How beautiful it is that eye-on-the object-look. I saw that eye-on-the-object look in my dad. The pride that good work brings, it puts food on the table and it provides a sense of dignity.
Keir Starmer: (31:47)
When I hear that this country is creating so many low paid jobs. And when I tell you that good work and fair growth will be the priority for a labor government I haven’t learned this in some political seminar. I learned it around the kitchen table. I learned it at home from my dad. How pride derives from work, how work is the bedrock of a good economy and how a good economy is an essential partner of a good society. That is why I am so proud to lead a party whose name is Labour. Don’t forget it. Don’t forget it. Labour, The party of working people.
Keir Starmer: (33:10)
My mum worked incredibly hard too. She was a nurse in the NHS and a very proud nurse too. I got, from my mum, an ethic of service, but my mum was also, unfortunately, a long term pay of the NHS. When she was young, she was diagnosed with Still’s disease. It’s a rare form of inflammatory arthritis, which severely restricts mobility. This disease, along with the drugs she had to take to control, it took a very heavy. The NHS, that had been her livelihood, became her lifeline. There were times, many times, when mum was so ill that she had to go into hospital.
Keir Starmer: (34:17)
I remember going into the intensive care unit one day, as I often did, mum’s bed was a RT of tubes and temperature devices. I could sense the urgency in the conversations of the four nurses or my mum’s bed. I knew without being told they were keeping alive. I can hardly convey to you the emotion of seeing your mum in that condition. And there was a sort of horrible irony in the moment. I’d just picked up an award for work I’d done on the death penalty, which in my own way, was about trying to save people’s lives. I’d gone to the hospital, hoping to tell my mum about it. And there in front of me, those four nurses were working to save her life.
Keir Starmer: (35:26)
When that long day was over, I thanked them for what they’d done. And they said to me, “We’re just doing our job.” And they were. They were doing their job for my mum that night, somebody else’s mum the night before, somebody else’s mum the night after. But that’s not just a job, it’s a calling. So when I think of the extraordinary dedication of doctors and nurses working to keep people alive as the COVID virus took hold, I know what that looks like. I understand what that means. Just as we stood on our doorsteps and applauded, let this conference ring out its approval to the NHS staff, truly the very best of us.
Keir Starmer: (36:59)
Thank you [inaudible 00:36:59]. Shouting slogans or changing lives conference. Thank you, conference. Thank you, conference.
Keir Starmer: (37:58)
So you see, family life taught me about the dignity of work and the nobility of care. Conference, as I say, slogans or changing lives. Slogans, we can chant all day. We can chant all day. But conference, even with a name like Keir, I was never ever one of those people reared for politics. I became the first person in my family to go to university. The first to go into the law. And every day as a lawyer, if you’re a young radical, as I was, you think of yourself as working for justice. You see people getting a raw deal and you want to help. Justice, for me, was not a complicated idea. Justice, to me, was a practical achievement. It was about seeing a wrong and putting it right. That’s my approach in politics too. Down to earth, working out what’s wrong, fixing it.
Keir Starmer: (40:12)
I had the great honor of becoming this country’s chief prosecutor leading an organization, the Crown Prosecution Service. Three very important words. ‘Crown’ brings home the responsible of leading part of the national legal system. ‘Prosecution’ tells you that crime hurts and victims need justice to be done. ‘Service’ is a reminder that the job is bigger than your own career advancement. I will always remember the day that John and Penny Clough contacted my office. Their daughter, Jane, was a nurse who’d been the victim of terrible domestic abuse. After repeated assaults jane summoned the very great courage to report her partner. He was arrested and remanded in custody. But then, very much against the wishes of the Clough family, he was let out on bail. Jane lived in constant fear that he would return to harm her. She tried to ensure she never traveled to work alone. The one morning that Jane arrived at work unaccompanied, he was waiting for her in the hospital car park, where he stabbed her 71 times. When Jane’s parents got in touch my office advised me not to see them. “You can’t get emotionally involved in cases,” they said, I replied, “If I haven’t got time to see the parents of a young woman who’s just been murdered, then what am I doing in this job?” On the day that John and Penny were supposed to come and see me to tell me about the cruel murder of their daughter and how the criminal justice system had let them down, my own daughter was born. We had to push back the meeting. It was an incredibly emotional day for all of us. As I listened to John and Penny, tell me, Jane’s story, I knew that a great injustice had been done. I made a promise to John and Penny at the end of that first meeting, that I would work with them to make sure that no other family went through what they’d been forced to endure. And we rolled up our sleeves and we changed the law.
Keir Starmer: (44:03)
I am delighted to say that John and Penny have become good friends of mine. And I am beyond honored that they have joined us here today. Conference, John and Penny Clough. [inaudible 00:44:52].
Keir Starmer: (44:57)
John and Penny taught me how to keep your dignity under severe pressure. Doreen Lawrence taught me the same lesson. Hers was a long battle for justice for Steven against the odds, confronting racism, but never giving up. Her courage and resilience over 28 years is impossible to describe in words. I honestly don’t know how I would cope if anything happened to one of our children. I do know that I am humbled John, by Penny and by Doreen.
Keir Starmer: (45:58)
And that is why unto my leadership the fight against crime will always be a Labour issue. Labour will strengthen the legal protection for the victims of crime. We will not walk around the problem, we’ll fix it. Conference, when I learned that 98% of reported rape cases don’t end in a criminal charge I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it. I asked my team to check the figures. “That can’t be right,” I said. But it was. Shocking. We will fast track rape and serious sexual assault cases and we will toughen sentences for rapists, stalkers and domestic abusers.
Keir Starmer: (47:31)
This is part of who we are, because it’s part of what I am. Today, conference, I’m here to tell you what I stand for, but I’ll also tell you what I won’t stand for. I won’t stand for 2 million incidents of antisocial behavior this year. I won’t stand for record levels of knife crime that we have in this country today. And I won’t stand for nine out of 10 crimes going unsolved. Under the tourists, the criminal justice system is close to collapse. There’s never been a bigger backlog in the crown courts. After 11 years of [inaudible 00:48:49] government, we have lost more than 8,000 police officers. They pretend it doesn’t make any difference. It does. Ask the workers on the day shift at Tata Steel and [inaudible 00:49:01]. They told me about the repeated incidents in their neighborhood. Or the young women I recently saw in [inaudible 00:49:10] who told me that they dare not go out in their high street alone. They see more violence and fewer police. It’s common sense to put the two together. The tourers are letting you down and I can promise you that will never happen under my leadership.
Keir Starmer: (49:49)
Thank you. Conference, there’s something else I took from a career in the law. And that, that there’s one law when it applies to everyone. Now, I try to remain calm in the bear pit of parliamentary politics. I’m not a career politician. I came to politics late in life and I don’t much like point scoring. But the one thing about Boris Johnson that offends everything that I stand for is his assumption that the rules don’t apply to him. When Dominic Cummings took a trip to Barnard Castle to test his eyesight, Boris Johnson turned a blind eye. When Matt Hancock breached his own lockdown rules, Boris Johnson declared the matter closed.
Keir Starmer: (50:57)
When I got pinged, I isolated. When Boris Johnson got pinged, he tried to ignore it. That’s not how I do business. When I was the chief prosecutor and MPs short of the highest standards on their expenses I prosecuted those who had broken the law. Politics has to be clean. Wrongdoing has to be punished. Conference, there times in this parliament, when I feel like I’ve got my old job back. Contracts handed out to friends and donors, the former prime minister lobbying the chancellor by text, refurbishing number 10 with a loan from an anonymous donor. On behalf of the public that cares about clearing up politics. I put this government on notice.
Keir Starmer: (52:11)
I’ve spent my entire working life trying to get justice done. In 2003, when I was working with the policing board of Northern Ireland, when I was learning up close just how hard it is to make a split second life and death decision in a riot situation, as I work with the police to create a lasting institution in accordance with the Good Friday Agreement, Boris Johnson was a guest on Top Gear, where in reference to himself he said to Jeremy Clarkson, “You can’t rule out the possibility that beneath the elaborately constructed veneer of a blithering idiot, lurks a blithering idiot.”
Keir Starmer: (53:12)
When in the autumn of 2010, I was the chief prosecutor working with Doreen Lawrence to finally get a prosecution of the two men that murdered Steven, Boris Johnson was writing an article in the Telegraph, declaring a war on traffic cones. And when this country was threatened by terrorists who were trying to bring down planes with liquid bombs, I spent the summer of 2010 helping to put those terrorists behind bars, where they could no longer pose a danger to British citizens. And whilst I was doing that, what were you doing, Mr. Johnson? You were writing a piece defending your right not to wear a cycle helmet.
Keir Starmer: (54:23)
Conference, it’s easy to comfort yourself that your opponents are bad people. I don’t think Boris Johnson is a bad man. I think he’s a trivial man. I think he’s a showman. He’s a showman with nothing left to show. He’s a trickster who’s performed his one trick. Once he’d said the words, “Get Brexit done,” his plan ran out. There is no plan. The questions we face in Britain today are big ones. How we emerge from the biggest pandemic in a century. How we make our living in a competitive world. The climate crisis. Our relationship with Europe. The future of our union. These are big issues, but our politics is so small. These times demand a responsible leader with clear values.
Keir Starmer: (55:42)
From my dad, I understand the dignity of work. From my mum, I appreciate the nobility of care. From my work, the principle that we are all equal before the law. From the victims of crime, that the law is there to make us secure. Work, care, equality, security. That’s what I mean by justice. And that’s what I’ve been aiming at all my working life. That’s why I’m in politics. And those are the values this country needs as we first seek to recover from the pandemic and then to look with excitement and anticipation at the path that beckons to [inaudible 00:56:55] Britain for the future to make this nation anew. I want to start with the importance of care. COVID 19 exposed the state of Britain 2020. After a decade of cuts and neglect the health service wasn’t ready. Just when the nation needed four nurses on its bed, sadly, they couldn’t always be there. 1.6 million older people were going without the care they needed. GP numbers had tumbled. Waiting lists for treatment had spiraled. Then, on top of that, the government was fatally slow to respond. The prime minister’s inability to make up his mind really mattered. Britain has the worst death toll in Europe.
Keir Starmer: (58:02)
Britain has the worst death toll in Europe. We have lost 133,000 people to COVID. Every one of them, somebody’s mom, dad, sister, brother, friend. I know it was difficult, but the situation is worse than it needed to be. And it wasn’t just a government failure over 18 months, it was a failure of the government’s duty of care over 11 years. 11 years.
Keir Starmer: (58:50)
There are cracks in British society and COVID seeped into them. Low earners were at greater risk. So were Black and ethnic minority communities. COVID forensically found those who already had health problems and has left in its wake a significant backlog. NHS waiting lists are at the highest level on record. 5.5 million people are waiting for treatment. The great scandal of the pandemic was what happened in our care homes. And let me tell you this, conference. An unfair tax hike that doesn’t fix social care and doesn’t clear the NHS backlog is not a plan. We know that people will still be forced to sell their homes for care, working people will have to pay more, but there’s still no plan. A plan would prevent problems before they buy it. A plan would provide care at home where people are. A plan would ensure the workforce was properly valued. And a serious plan wouldn’t be funded by hammering, working people.
Keir Starmer: (01:00:26)
There is no doubt that the NHS needs more money, and a Labour government will always fund the NHS properly. But the future of the NHS can’t just be about chasing extra demand with more money, and neither can it be about reshuffling the furniture in yet another pointless reorganization. We have to understand the big moment that the NHS faces. In 1900, the average British person expected to live to the age of 48. Today, average life expectancy is 80. The number of people age 65 and over in this country is growing three times faster than the number aged under 65. That is a wonderful achievement, and the biggest test in the history of the NHS.
Keir Starmer: (01:01:32)
No society in British history has been as old as our modern nations. Small politics will no longer do. I want Britain to be the healthiest nation on Earth. So let me tell you what Labour would do. We would shift the priority of the NHS away from emergency care towards prevention. We can catch problems early. And at the same time, we can use the resources of the NHS better. And I don’t just mean physical illness either. With every pound spent on your behalf, we would expect the treasury to weigh not just its effect on national income, but also its effect on wellbeing.
Keir Starmer: (01:02:26)
Now, let me give you an example. One of the urgent needs of our time is mental health. Labour will guarantee that support will be available in less than a month. We will recruit the mental health staff that we need, over 8,500 more mental health professionals supporting a million more people every year. Under L<abor, spending on mental health will never be allowed to fall. And we’ll make sure that children and young people get help early, by ensuring that every school has specialist support and every community has an open access mental health hub.
Keir Starmer: (01:03:48)
Conference, this is prevention in action, helping young people looking after their wellbeing. It’s the principle my mom taught me, the principle of care. Let me give you a flavor of what care will look like in the future. I was at University College Hospital in London recently. An orthopedic surgeon told me about a robot. This robot sits on the operating theater, making sure every incision is just right. The surgeon can’t go wrong because the robot works an override system, a bit like driving a car with a driving instructor. The doctor and the robot working together are so efficient that patients can be discharged a whole day earlier.
Keir Starmer: (01:04:42)
Over time, that means thousands of hospital beds are freed up. The range of possibility is bewildering. Precision editing of the genome will help us wipe out pathogens. The science of robotics and exoskeleton will help patients who are struggling to move. Virtual reality is being used to alleviate suffering of post-surgical pain. I could talk about this all day. I promise I won’t. I don’t pretend to understand all the medical science, but as politicians, we have to recognize the scale of what’s happening and put the power of smart government behind it. That is what care will mean in the future. This is how health will be remade. And then we need to give our young people the tools of the future. Education is so important. I’m tempted to say it three times.
Keir Starmer: (01:05:55)
When you don’t invest in young people, the whole nation suffers and the less fortunate get behind. By the time they finish their GCSEs, pupils from poorer families are 18 months behind their wealthier peers. That’s right, 18 months. The pandemic showed that you can’t trust the Tories with the education of our children, children on free school meals going hungry. There was u-turn after u-turn on school closures. The attainment gap between rich and poor grew. The government asked Kevin Collins, a recognized expert in the field, to be there recovery czar. He told them what they needed to do, and they said, “No.” When he saw the government plans, which he described as feeble, Mr. Collins had no option but to resign. If you can’t level up our children, you are not serious about leveling up at all. And even before the pandemic, 200,000 children grew up in areas with not a single primary school rated as good or outstanding. Just think about that. Not a single primary school rated as good or outstanding. I want every parent in the country to be able to send their child to a great state school. On top of that, if you can believe it, 40% center of young people leave compulsory education without essential qualifications. What does that say about their future? We will not put up with that. That is why Labour will launch the most ambitious school improvement plan in a generation, not walking around the problem, but fixing it. Under Labour, education will recover. But education needs to do more than just recover. It needs to be pointed in the direction I took from my dad, towards skill, towards work. Employers in all sectors tell me that they need well-rounded young people, young people skilled in life, ready for work, young people who can communicate and work in a team. That’s why it’s stupid to allow theater, drama, and music to collapse in state schools. We want every child to get the chance to play competitive sport and play an instrument. When I was at school, I had music lessons with Fatboy Slim.
Keir Starmer: (01:10:13)
I can’t promise that for everyone, not even here in Brighton. But I can promise that Labour, as the name tells you, will make a priority of getting this country ready for work. That’s why we will focus on practical life skills. We will reinstate two weeks of compulsory work experience, and we guarantee that every young person gets to see a careers advisor. Conference, young people won’t be ready for work already for life unless they are literate in the technology of the day. Fewer than half of [inaudible 01:11:17] employers believe young people have the right digital skills. We do much worse in computer skills than most of our economic rivals. That is why Labour will write a curriculum for tomorrow.
Keir Starmer: (01:11:39)
Reading, writing, and arithmetic are the three pillars of any education. We would add a fourth. Sadly, it doesn’t begin with R. Digital skills. We need to ensure that every child emerge from school ready for work and ready for life. And conference, as in health, so too in education, we can work by the light of new technology. Machine learning can cater for individual work styles. Artificial intelligence can help tuition, especially for students with special needs. Cloud computing has brought the archive of the best that’s been said and done to the handset of every student. There is so much possibility, and all we have to do is to learn to adapt.
Keir Starmer: (01:12:47)
I think my dad might appreciate the technical term that’s used for this change. It’s known in the trade as retooling. And conference, what is the small Tory idea to respond to this change? They want to reintroduce Latin in state schools. So let me put this crisis in the only language that Boris Johnson will understand. Carpe diem, seize the day, seize the day. Finally, it’s time to act, to educate our young citizens in the skills they need for work and the skills they need for life.
Keir Starmer: (01:13:55)
A society that cares, an education system that fosters the skills, that’s the foundation of an economy that works. In his great study, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, David Landes explains why Britain was home to the first industrial revolution. “The perfect home for growth,” said Landes, “Had responsive, honest government.” I’ll say no more about that just at the moment. It tended to favor the new over the old, enterprise over conservatism. It spread the rewards evenly to make sure most of the talents were recognized all of the time. But the most important factor of all, the lesson we need to relearn, was that Britain led the world in the technology of the day, the flying shuttle, the spinning jenny, the power of the loom. These inventions were once the wave of the future in textiles, iron, energy, and power, Britain was a pioneer.
Keir Starmer: (01:15:09)
I know that with Labour, we could do that again. But every day we waste with a government with no industrial strategy, we’re falling further behind. A scientific revolution is happening around us. But if we don’t have a government ready to remake the nation, the opportunity will pass us by. Already, too many people are shut out of economic reward. We once took it for granted that our children would enjoy more than their parents. That idea drove my mom and dad. It comforted them that whatever the ups and downs of life, they were living in and contributing to a better society.
Keir Starmer: (01:16:05)
But after 10 years of the Tories, we’ve lost this. We have 5.7 million people in low paid and insecure work, workers in transport, care, education, and the utilities. These were the people who kept the show on the road during the pandemic, and their reward is continued low pay and job insecurity. The millennial generation, clustered in low paid jobs, will be the first generation to have lower lifetime earnings than the one that went before. After a decade of the conservatives, we have an economy with historically low rates of investment. Since 2010, in the investment league of 170 nations, Britain comes in a miserable 150th. Labour will work with sectors which are strong, pharmaceuticals, materials, defense, chemical engineering, consumer goods, environmental technology, transport, and biotechnology.
Keir Starmer: (01:17:27)
Under Labour’s buy, make, and sell in Britain program, there’ll be more local procurement. The towns that were the crucibles of the original industrial revolution need to be revived in the next. The coal and cotton towns of Lancashire, the wool towns of Yorkshire, the great maritime and fishing economies of our Seaport, these places made Britain the envy of the world. We cannot make the nation we want without them. The lesson is that a secure, well-paid workforce of skilled people in high class work, protected by good trade unions is not separate from good business. It is the definition of good business. And good business and good government are partners. I have no doubt that the small businesses of this country are the next generation of wealth creators. I want to see enterprise in creative companies. I want to see them make a profit and employ more people. I want to create the conditions in which inventive small businesses can grow into inventive big businesses. But we don’t give ourselves the best chance. I’ve lost count of how many business leaders have told me that they wish their time horizon could be longer. So when I say that Labour pledges to change the priority duty of directors to make the long term success of the company the main priority, we will do it with the blessing of British business.
Keir Starmer: (01:19:43)
A focus on the long term will allow for better investment. Labour will make Britain a world leader in science and research and development, and we will set a target to invest a minimum of 3% of GDP. This nation will not grow with the low wages, low standard, low productivity of the Tories. I’m determined we’re going to change this by investing in our businesses, by unleashing our creativity, by bringing forward the new deal for working people launched by Andrew on Saturday. This is how we remake our nation, the good society and the strong economy as partners. Without a good society, we waste the talents of too many people. Without a strong economy, we cannot pay for the good society. Talk is cheap, but progress isn’t. If we want permission to create the good society, we have to win trust that we will create a strong economy. The economic inheritance from the Tories will be appalling. A boxed Brexit followed by COVID has left a big hole. The government is learning that it’s not enough to get Brexit done. You need a plan to make Brexit work.
Keir Starmer: (01:21:49)
I do see a way forward after Brexit. If we invest in our people and our places, if we deploy our technology cleverly, and if we build the affordable homes we so desperately need, but the public finances we inherit will need serious repair work. I take the responsibility of spending your money very seriously. That’s why our approach to taxation will be governed by the three principles. The greater part of the burden should not fall on working people. The balance between smaller and larger businesses should be fair. And we will chase down every penny to ensure that working people paying their taxes always get value for money.
Keir Starmer: (01:22:57)
As Rachel said on Monday, all spending will be scrutinized by an office for value for money. There will be no promises we can’t keep or commitments we can’t pay for. Too often in the history of this party, our dream of the good society falls foul of the belief that we will not run a strong economy. But you don’t get one without the other. And under my leadership, we are committed to both. And I can promise you now, under my leadership, Labour will be back in business. And let me give you an example of how this template could work.
Keir Starmer: (01:24:13)
Let’s take the hardest question on the biggest issue of our time: climate change. Climate change. This is an issue of security. It’s a test of justice on a global scale. Climate change poses an existential threat. It will turn fertile terrain into desert land. Conflicts will break out over scarce resources like water. Millions will be displaced by flooding, forest fires, and violent storms. Time is short and we have a duty to act. But that obligation shouldn’t daunt us. It should embolden us. Shifting the economy onto a sustainable path is full of promise for Britain, full of promise.
Keir Starmer: (01:25:27)
Every time I enter a high tech factory, I wonder what my dad would’ve made of it. Not so long ago, we shaped metal by drilling it, milling it, and turning it. I remember my dad working with a spark eroder, submerging metal in a liquid and using an electrical charge to shape it. We thought it was revolutionary at the time. But at Airbus recently, where they’re developing the world’s next hydrogen wing, I saw them working with 3D engineering, literally shaping components by bringing together particles and matter in a way completely unimaginable in the factory my dad used to work in. I saw young apprentices in a fully unionized factory proud of the skilled work that they were doing. And their pride came from knowing that they were at the heart of a revolution building the next generation of hydrogen and battery planes. They felt like pioneers of flight perched on the edge of a cliff, taking the risk, knowing that success for one of them would change the world. In Scotland, I saw the great potential of wind power at Whiteley Wind Farm, yet, conference, of the-
Keir Starmer: (01:27:03)
… wind farm. Yet, conference of the 250 wind turbines at Whiteley, not one of them, not one of them was made in Britain. From the manufacturing base in Fife, the workforce can see the turbines literally being towed in from places like Indonesia. The next generation of deep sea wind turbans could be our opportunity, skilled engineering, offshore work. Sectors where we could lead the world, if only we had the government willing to lead
Keir Starmer: (01:27:54)
Public funding was an important component of so many inventions, the personal computer, the internet, the iPhone. If only we funded science seriously, we could make a historic contribution to the battle against climate change. Action is needed, not in the future, but now.
Keir Starmer: (01:28:26)
If we delay action by a decade, the cost of climate transition will double. This urgency is why Labor will bring forward a green new deal. Our green new deal will include a climate investment pledge to put us back on track, to cut the substantial majority of emissions this decade.
Keir Starmer: (01:29:27)
And if we’re serious about climate change, we need to upgrade our homes. The Tories inherited plans from labor to make every new home zero carbon. They scrapped them. They scrapped them and now we have a crisis in energy prices. Emissions from homes have increased, and we have the least energy efficient housing in Europe. So it will be Labor’s national mission over the next decade to fit out every that needs it, to make sure that it is warm, well-insulated and cost less to heat and will create thousands of jobs in the process.
Keir Starmer: (01:30:17)
I can also pledge that we will introduce a clean air act. And everything we do in government will have to meet a net zero test to ensure the prosperity we enjoy does not come at the cost of our climate. That’s why on Monday, Rachel set out her ambition to become Britain’s first green chancellor. Committing the next Labor government to an additional 28 billions of capital investment in our conscious green transition for each and every year of this decade.
Keir Starmer: (01:31:22)
Like those pioneers in flight, and like those young engineers working on the next generation plane, we have within our grasp to make a historic difference. We have it within our grasp to be the change we need in the world. After a decade of Tory government, we need that change. Under the Tories, wages have fallen in every English region. Local government is being cut to the bone more than half a million. More children live in poverty on so do half a million more pensioners. For the first time in decades, life expectancy has stalled. And after all that, the Tories expect us to believe that leveling up is more than a slogan. Well, let me offer the conservative party a lesson in leveling up. If they want to know how to do it, I suggest they take a look at our record, the last time we were in government. Hospital wait’s down, GCSO results up, 44,000 more doctors, 89,000 new nurses. Child poverty down one million, pensioner property down one million, rough sleepers down 75%, a national minimum wage.
Keir Starmer: (01:33:31)
The OECD said that no nation had a bigger rise in social mobility than Britain. You want leveling up? That’s leveling up. And you can see the benefit of labor empower today. Look at what our fantastic metro mayors and local authority leaders are doing. And let’s hear it for the difference Mark Drakefoot and his team are making in Wales. I have a great relationship with Mark, but I fear that it’s under threat. I believe in the union of the nations on these islands. But we have a cavalier government that’s placing it in peril. Scotland is in the unfortunate position of having two bad governments.
Keir Starmer: (01:35:50)
The tourism Westminster and the SNP in Holyrood. When Nichola Sturgeon took office, she said she wanted to be judged on her record. Well these days with the poorest in society, less well-educated and less healthy, and with the tragedy of so many drug related deaths, we hear rather less about the SNP’s record.
Keir Starmer: (01:36:19)
The SNP and the Tories walking lockstep. They both exploit the constitutional divide for their own ends. Labor is the party that wants to bring our nations together. And to the fantastic leadership of Anna Saba, Labor is the party of the union. Because it’s not just divorce would be a costly disruption, although that’s true, and it’s not just that our union is in all our economic interests, though that is also true. It’s that we’re more progressive together, we are more secure together, we are a more bigger presence in the world to get that
Keir Starmer: (01:37:52)
We are greater as Britain than we would be apart. As Gordon Brown said recently, when a Welsh or Scottish woman gives blood, she doesn’t demand an assurance that it must not go to an English patient. I’m delighted that Gordon will lead our commission to settle the future of the union. And I know that Gordon believes that if you look past the tourist pathetic attempts to divide us in a culture war, you can glimpse a tolerant progressive nation of which we could all be proud.
Keir Starmer: (01:38:47)
I believe that our diversity is one of the things that makes this country great. As this country continues to change, as we slowly liberate the talents of more people, as we name and tackle discrimination, as we make a better place for people with disabilities, I believe we grow as a country.
Keir Starmer: (01:39:21)
When the government ignored Marcus Rushford’s campaign on school meals, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it. When Rushford and the England team, took the knee to highlight, to condemn the racism that they had had to endure, the home secretary encouraged people to boo. Well, in this conference hall, we are patriots. When we discuss the fine young men and women who represent all our nations, we don’t boo, we get two half feet and we cheer. And let me say a word to about another band of great British men and women, our military put themselves in harm’s way to protect our security. I am proud of them. And I’m proud of the work they did for us in Afghanistan. Thank you.
Keir Starmer: (01:41:26)
It grieves me to see Britain isolated and irrelevant. Labor is the party of NATO, the party of international alliances. And in Labor, we will rebuild our alliances, we will mend broken relationships and we will do right by the Great Britain’s who serve in our armed forces.
Keir Starmer: (01:42:29)
I can see the ways in which we can remake this nation. And that’s what we get to do when we win. In a way, the more we expose the inadequacy of this government, the more it presses the question back on us, if they’re so bad, what does it say about us? Because after all, in 2019, we lost to them and we lost badly. I know that hurts each and every one of you, so let’s get totally serious about this. We can win the next general election. This government can’t keep the fuel flowing, it can’t keep the shelves stacked. And you’ve seen what Boris Johnson does when he wants more money, he goes straight to the wallets of working people. Labor is the party that’s on the side of working people. So imagine, just imagine waking up the morning after the next election, in the knowledge that you could start to write the next chapter in our nation’s history, bending it towards the values that bring us year after year to this conference hall to seek a better way. Proud in the knowledge to you were part of it. I have loved my first full conference as leader, I’ve really loved it. But I don’t want to through the same routine every year. In a few short years from now, I want be here with you talking about the difference we’re making, the problems with fixing as a Labor government.
Keir Starmer: (01:45:29)
That is what this party is for. That is the object of the exercise. And as the lead of this party, I will always have that eye on the object look, how beautiful it is that eye on the object look.
Keir Starmer: (01:46:21)
This is a big moment, a time of rapid change, the first pandemic in a century, the aftermath of Brexit to sort out, the urgent claim of the climate, then our own domestic questions, providing a secure job that pays a decent wage, a good school nearby, health and social care that you can rely on, a home you can afford. This is a big moment that demands leadership. Leadership founded on the principles that have informed my life and with which, I honor where I have come from.
Keir Starmer: (01:47:24)
Work, care, equality, security. I think of these as British values. I think of them as the values that take you right to the heart of the British public, and that is where this party must always be. I think of these values as my heirloom. The word loom from which the idea comes is another word for tool. Work, care, equality, security, these are the tools of my trade and with them, I will go to work. Thank you, conference. Thank you conference. Thank you.