Thank you Conference.
Thank you Norma for the introduction.
I am proud to be taking over as General Secretary of this great Party.
I want to speak to you today about my vision for the Party and the tasks ahead, but before I do, let me thank Ray Collins for his work as General Secretary.
Ray is a tireless servant of the Labour movement.
As a trade unionist, and as General Secretary, he has put Labour values into action. He’s given leadership at the most difficult of times.
He’s also given me great support and advice.
He will now continue helping our cause in Parliament as a member of the House of Lords, where there must be enough former Labour Party General Secretaries to form their own union branch.
Ray, we thank you for all that you have done, and will do, for our Party.
It’s great to be in Liverpool.
Joe Anderson – Labour’s leader here in Liverpool, and his fellow Labour councillors showing hard work and community campaigning delivers far more than Cameron’s flawed Big Society.
A great Labour council, with campaigning councillors well-versed in seeing off the Liberal Democrats.
Liverpool is a Labour city with a long Labour tradition.
When you get off the train at Lime Street, you’re greeted by a statue of Bessie Braddock, a pioneering Liverpool Labour MP.
An independent, strong and formidable woman indeed.
I am sure she would be so proud to see Labour Conference back here in Liverpool.
Conference, I should say a few words about myself.
I grew up on the west coast of Scotland, on a small struggling farm.
I joined the Labour Party in my teens, and the GMB in my early 20s.
I worked for the Labour Party – as an agent in a marginal seat, and as a member of party staff, organising visits, campaigns and elections.
In my first job as an organiser, I forgot to book a car to pick up a VIP from the airport for a by-election.
He had to get a taxi, pay for it with his own money, and he wasn’t best pleased.
Eventually, Gordon forgave me.
As a self-funded organiser I had to raise money from bingo rounds and fundraising dinners to pay for my own salary – now that’s quite an incentive!
Then I worked for my union the GMB – organising workers in the south east of England.
Don’t let anyone tell you the south is only full of stockbrokers.
Some of the hardest-pressed workers live in the south, and need a strong union – and a Labour Government – as much as anyone.
Conference, I’m a Labour man, and a Union man.
Apologies to my CLP Wimbledon. Sometimes I’ve skipped a G C to be with my wife and kids.
I haven’t read every pamphlet by Compass and Progress.
I’m not absolutely sure what the differences are between Blue Labour, Red Labour and Purple Labour.
But I’ve always paid my union dues and my party subs.
I’ve never ducked a leaflet round.
And I’ve never crossed a picket line.
I’m proud to have come from the union movement.
We have often had people who worked for unions who become General Secretary.
It’s part of the link that makes us strong and we should never be ashamed or afraid to admit it.
Like Larry Whitty – I will strengthen and build our Party.
Like Tom Sawyer – I will reform our Party – to be fit to retake power.
And like Margaret McDonagh – I will ensure Labour has the relentless desire to win elections at every level.
I am so proud to say that my wife Shelley and my two children Hamish and Scarlett are here today.
I know for some of you this is your first Labour Party conference.
I’m determined to make you feel welcome and feel able to have your say.
If you don’t I want you to tell me direct. You can phone me, write to me, talk to me, you can even message me on Twitter.
You’ll also be able to talk to party staff.
Our staff are incredible.
They go to great lengths to deliver for our members and for our Party.
Our staff are an essential part of our rebuilding process – their dedication, expertise and commitment will provide the platform for reform.
Conference, I grew up in this movement as a campaigner and an organiser.
First for the Party, and then for the GMB.
I know our strength is in the power of our ideas coupled with the power of our organisation.
I organised Operation ToeHold in the early 90s, which helped to win Labour councillors in seas of blue.
Without it, we wouldn’t have won seats such as Dorset South, Falmouth and Dover.
I want Labour to be Access All Areas – where Labour stands proud, and wins local elections, no matter where in the UK.
Our members are the most important part of this.
I want local members to feel empowered. Not leaflet fodder.
Not rent-a-crowd when a politician comes to town.
Not bombarded with emails just asking for money.
I want you to feel confident that your views will be heard, your ideas listened to, your experience valued.
That’s what the changes in Refounding Labour are all about.
We all want to see Ed Miliband in Number 10. Refounding Labour – the first steps towards a vibrant Labour presence in every community – will take us on that journey.
As we’ve seen since Ed became leader we’ve already notched up some great successes.
Wins in by-elections in Oldham, Barnsley, Leicester and Inverclyde.
Wins in councils like Hastings, Oxford and Gillingham.
Most recently, a fantastic victory for Sally Gimson in Camden in the Highgate ward by-election.
I recently heard Norma Stevenson – our inspirational chair – say that the next General Election will be won by our members, our activists, and our hard working councillors not just MPs.
Norma you are completely right – we need active parties everywhere.
Showing Labour can deliver – street by street – ward by ward – community by community.
Labour is a movement, not just a group of MPs.
If you win the toehold on the parish or district, you start to build towards the parliamentary seat.
It piles up votes for the Euros.
It gets us MSPs, AMs and MLAs.
And it’s about time we told Boris to get on his bike – you know – one of the ones he nicked from Ken.
We need to get Ken back at the helm as Mayor of London.
So what are the priorities – how do we win again?
First, we build the party finances.
I’ve said I’m proud of Labour’s links to the unions.
But our finances should never be anchored on a single source of income.
Not just the unions, not just the big donors.
Stability needs a plurality of sources – and the best one is regular small donations from our friends and supporters.
So we need to look at how we can get more donations, tied to specific campaigns and activities.
We need to empower local parties with the opportunities to raise resources themselves.
I will set up a campaign development fund that allows local parties to access funding for specific campaigns and organisers.
Second, we need to energise the party locally.
People live in communities, not constituencies.
So let’s build our activities around peoples’ lives.
Find new ways to organise and engage.
This is the community organising that Ed Miliband will talk about this week.
It’s an exciting idea.
A party which takes action, not just minutes.
A party that delivers change, starting with your street – empowering our members, volunteers and supporters will be my obsession as your General Secretary.
We all know why we went to our first party meeting.
A sense of social justice, a desire for world peace, to save the NHS, there are so many reasons.
But why does anyone come to their second party meeting?
We’ve recruited nearly 30,000 new members since Ed became leader and hundreds more joining ever single week.
I see the job of all of us in the Party to engage and empower our members to be active and to help bring about change in their community – wherever it is in the country.
This is why, Conference, I pledge to have a Labour politician visit every local by-election – anywhere – across the country between now and the next General Election.
Finally, we need a platform that speaks to peoples’ concerns and their aspirations, which offers people hope and helps them to get ahead in life.
We all know people who work all the hours there are, just to give their family the best start in life.
Who sacrifice, struggle and strive to give their children a better life than they had.
Ambition, aspiration and hope for a better life are Labour values.
The knowledge that we only prosper if society is strong, and we only get ahead if we work together.
They’re my values, the ones I want my kids to grow up with.
They’re values of the trade unions.
They’re the values of the Labour Party.
They’re Ed Miliband’s values.
They are your values.
This is the promise of Britain.
But these are values that neither David Cameron nor Nick Clegg recognise or understand.
Conference, let’s stop history repeating itself.
Let’s make this a one term opposition.
Conference, we need to get them out, and get a Labour Government back in.