Politicians from the new Right are tapping into voter anger and claiming to speak for ordinary people – Burnham rally speech

7th January, 2017 12:00 pm

Andy Burnham

This is an extract from Andy Burnham’s speech at a rally in central Manchester today to launch his ground campaign for the role of metro mayor.

“I want to make something clear to you all at the outset: this campaign is not about the same old, tired politics; this is a campaign to change politics. We are going to break the Westminster mould and, true to Manchester’s traditions, do things very differently.

“In Tory England, young people have been made the target for cuts; here, they will be our priority for investment. Westminster has given us a housing crisis by selling off our council housing; in Greater Manchester, we will have a new drive to build more in all 10 boroughs. And, while social care continues to be starved in the rest of England, we will bring it into the NHS family as part of the country’s first National Health and Care Service.

“Our mission will be to make Greater Manchester the best place in the country to grow up, to get on and to grow old; a beacon of social justice to the rest of Tory England, providing true political leadership on the biggest challenge of our times – rising inequality.

“Only this week, we saw the starkest illustration of why this is desperately needed. By lunchtime last Wednesday, the UK’s top 100 executives had already earned what the average person will earn in the whole of 2017.

“These sickening figures confirm what many people feel about life today: that those in positions to make the rules are rigging them in their own favour and paying for their excess by making life harder for those beneath them. And let’s be clear: this same feeling lay behind the Referendum result and applies as much to politicians and senior public servants as it does to business leaders.

“But let’s look at some of these politicians from the new Right who are tapping into this anger and claiming to speak for ordinary people. They are ex-City traders, property magnates, millionaires and billionaires who have made a career out of climbing up the ladder and stamping on those beneath them. Put simply, they are frauds.

“People are fed up with a politics where words are not backed by deeds. They want politicians to live by what they say.

“I will provide the new political leadership people in Greater Manchester want to see.

“We don’t know yet what the salary of the Mayor would be. It is still be determined.

“But what I can say to you today is that, whatever it is, I won’t be taking it in full. When MPs were given a pay rise in 2015, I didn’t take it and instead gave it to a homelessness charity in Leigh. If I am elected Mayor, I will go further. I will donate at least 15% of my salary on an on-going basis to kick-start a new Mayoral Fund to eradicate homelessness and rough sleeping in Greater Manchester – a Fund that I will seek to build up by asking for donations from others too.

“From the very beginning, I want to set the right lead and put my money where my mouth is.

“When I go to Greater Manchester businesses asking them to give back to this city-region, I want to do so having shown them that I am doing the same myself. And when I go to senior people in the public sector to ask them to show restraint on top pay, they won’t be able to say that there is one rule for them and another for me.

“Good political leadership is about truly embodying the values that have shaped the place that you seek to represent. What sets Greater Manchester apart is that it is full of people and businesses who want to get on but who also want to give back; people who never forget where they came from and those coming after them.

“I want to be a Mayor for Greater Manchester who is truly in tune with the spirit of this place and who speaks directly to what it is all about. I want to lead a city-region that gives back, that does things differently and stands out as a beacon of social justice to the rest.”

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