The following arrived in a brown envelope at Lib Dem Voice Towers, this morning. It is probably an early draft.
[Check against delivery]
[Note to self. I will be speaking without use of the autoclue. Will need to deliver the speech entirely without a clue.]
I want to start by thanking somebody from the bottom of my heart.
Ella Philips, who fell off her bike and called me an action hero who mysteriously appeared out of nowhere. She called me suave and not geeky at all.
I was pretty pleased with this until I realised she was concussed. So I got her to vote in her local constituency candidate selection.
I have emotion that is felt at kitchen tables across the country every night. Six simple words that say “can you pass the ketchup please”.
We have to rebuild anew one nation, and today I’m going to tell you how.
I will start with leadership. Leaderhsip is about risks and decisions. I ran for the leadership of this party to spite my brother.
The other week I faced a bigger decision: whether this country should go to war. All of us were horrified with the chemical attacks. But I saw the opportunity to score political points, and said no.
Let me tell you about normal person. She said to me “How can you understand the lives of normal people who live round here”. My answer – I was brought up in great privilege, infused with socialist theory from books.
The most important qualification for being prime minister is knowing good apple pie. this is what I believe and this is where I stand.
Every week I think about the people of Britain. What are they like?
Hooray for the troops!
Hooray for the police!
Hooray for all the poeple I have met!
Normal person wandered up, he was very angry about immigration. I was a bit scared.
Hooray for the NHS!
For generations in Britain, when the economy grew, people got better off. But somewhere along the way [under Tony Blair] this link was broken. They used to say a rising tide lifts all boats. Now a rising tide just lifts the yachts. Now I say this: don’t take a second look at a political party like ours that made this happen.
Now I have a question for you. Do the Tories get it?
murmur of confusion
Wrong answer! Do the Tories get it?
David Cameron will be claiming to have saved the economy after the mess we left it in. Come on! We left it in a bigger mess than that!
[This is the bit where I channel Ronald Reagan]
Am I better off now than I was 3 years ago? The cost of living crisis is not an accident of economic policy, it is a consequence of our decision to spread the pain of 2008 over the following 10 years. [Sure we should say this?]
Britain can’t win the global race, it can do better than that, it can lose. Britain cannot and should not try to have a competitive economy, it must stagnate.
The Tories call our people inhabitants of desolate areas. We call them people whose votes we can take for granted.
To make Britain better you have to win a race to the top, and it will be tough. So forget everything I have just said, that was just positioning.
Many of the jobs in the future will come from small businesses. So I’m going to put up taxes on big business to cut business rates for small businesses. One nation Labour, extending the class war to cover small versus big business.
And because this government has overseen a massive voluntary expansion in apprenticeships, let’s introduce some compulsion to some businesses, just to give the whole program a bit of a sour taste.
Young people should have access to education and training. Why did nobody think of this before?
Going to primary school is a bit like being leader of the Labour Party. Can I have the paints please miss.
And we’ve also got to deal with low pay. We will strengthen the minimum wage so that people can pay our extra 10% income tax on low earners.
I’m the child of immigrants, but hiring foreigners to do work? It’s a race to the bottom! Not under my government! (Except for me being PM)
In the 1990s we committed to a dynamic market economy. But what happens when competition fails? Train companies, pay day lenders, energy bills – we did nothing about any of these in government but they make for good rhetoric in opposition.
If we win in 2015 the government will freeze gas and electricity prices until the start of 2017. So clearly – if we have any chance of winning – bills will rise sharply in early 2015, and we can blame that on the coalition.
Hooray for the NHS again!
We don’t just need to improve the health service we’ve got to rescue it from the Tories (and Liberals too) who are actually doing the work on integrating health and social care that we only talk about.
Let me tell you about the record of the last Labour government. When we came to office there was a moderately burdensome tick box target culture, but when we left it was immense. [Do we talk about Mid Staffs? No, you fool]
So we will scaremonger over the NHS all over again and for all time.
Now for the best bit. Party reform. Yay.
Change is difficult. But the reason it is impossible in our party is because of our unique link with the unions. My reforms are about hearing the voices of the few million union members much louder than the tens of millions of others.
I want to talk about gay and lesbian young people who are now allowed to marry thanks to the coalition.
But we have to win the battle for the United Kingdom, or I won’t have a chance of winning a general election.
So I have talked to you today about unfunded spending commitments. But the next election won’t just be about unfunded spending commitments and hidden extra cuts and tax rises to pay for them. If you want to know the difference between me and David Cameron, it is simple. He is a more effective class warrior than I am.
We know what we’ll see from our party at the election: divide and rule; north v south, rich v poor. It’s the worst form of politics. Britain is better than us.
The easy path for politics is to divide. I believe in one nation, us versus them. I want to win it for Britain. Britain is better than us.