Ed Miliband’s speech to Unite conference

28th June, 2012 11:09 am

I want to thank Len McCluskey and Tony Woodhouse for your invitation to be here.

Away from the headlines, across the country, your union often plays a vital role helping working people and their firms to succeed.

That is what we’ve seen at Ellesmere Port.

Unite working together with General Motors to bring 700 new skilled jobs to Merseyside.

Working together to secure the long-term future of the plant.

Working together to secure a potential future until 2020 and beyond.

Without Unite, Ellesmere Port would not have been saved.

Let us all pay tribute to all of those involved in the work at Ellesmere Port.

And at thousands of other workplaces around the country.

Through your community membership, you are reaching out.

Through initiatives like the Unite Jobs board, which helps people find jobs in their area.

Showing that trade unions can help not just those in work, but also those looking for work.

That is the modern future for trade unionism.

And I applaud this work.

And I also want to pay tribute to Diana Holland.

While the Government were making the oil tankers dispute worse, ramping up the rhetoric by talking about jerry cans, she was trying to resolve it in a dignified way.

Your job is to represent your members.

My job is to lead the Labour Party.

Of course we will have differences.

I will be candid about them and so will you.

But we have to find new ways of working together for Britain.

That should be true of any Government.

That’s why today I want to talk about our economy, its present, its future, and how we can work together to change it.

I want to start by talking about the revelations about Barclays.

Nine months ago in my Conference Speech I talked about irresponsible, predatory capitalism.

Today we see one of the worst cases yet.

Millions of pounds being made by bending the rules, rigging the system to the cost of ordinary borrowers and savers.

The banks told us they had cleaned up their act.

But this shines a light on what has really been going on.

Three things need to happen:

First, this cannot be about a slap on the wrist, a fine and the foregoing of bonuses.

To believe that is the end of the matter would be totally wrong.

When ordinary people break the law, they face charges, prosecution and punishment.

We need to know who knew what when, and criminal prosecutions should follow against those who broke the law.

The same should happen here.

The public who are paying the price for bankers’ irresponsibility will expect nothing less.

Second, the Government should urgently look at the regulation of this area of banking.

We need to change the way things are run so that this can never happen again.

Third, there is a much wider issue about the culture of parts of the banking industry.

This shines a light on a swaggering culture which is not about serving the public, but serving itself by whatever means necessary.

Too many people in the banks clearly think they were big to fail, too powerful to be challenged.

They clearly believed they could do anything they liked and were above the law.

This is yet another example of some of the rich and powerful having their own moral standards, just as we saw during phone hacking.

We cannot have a country where this happens.

That is why we need the strongest punishment, a change in regulation and a change in the culture of our banks.

We need banks that serve a more responsible capitalism, working for the majority of the people and enabling us to pay in our world.

The failure of our banks is part of an economy that does not work for the working people of this country.

Stopped working for the people whose living standards are being squeezed.

Stopped working for young people like the young couple I met on a train recently.

She was working long hours at a hospital to pay her way through university.

And he had studied aerospace engineering for five years at Cranfield University.

He’d been looking for a job in aerospace for nearly two years.

This country had made an investment in him by subsidising his university fees.

Now we are wasting his talent, that investment.

That’s a tragedy for him and a tragedy for our country.

It’s why the next Labour Government will need to rebuild our economy.

Because instead of rebuilding our economy, this Government is tearing out its foundations.

They have turned a recovery into a recession.

We have a double-dip recession made in Downing Street.

And still David Cameron says ‘you call it austerity, I call it efficiency.’

Who is he trying to kid?

He says Britain is ‘headed in the right direction’.

What planet is he on?

Why are the Tories so out of touch?

Because they are listening to the wrong people.

They are listening to those who already have power and influence and not to the working people of this country.

They make policy with cosy kitchen suppers for the privileged.

Cosy country suppers for the powerful.

But in Tory Britain there is no place at the table for the decent hardworking families of this country.

We know it’s wrong.

And it would be different under a Labour Government.

But they are not just out of touch because they listen to the wrong people.

But also because they have the wrong ideas.

The wrong ideology.

Cutting taxes for millionaires while raising them for millions.

Trickle down economics.

Giving money to those at the top while taking it away from the rest of the country.

And making it easier to fire people when they should be making it easier to hire people.

It’s wrong and it doesn’t work.

Let’s call it what it is.

Old-fashioned Tory economics.




And making the problems of our country worse not better.

Ask the workers at Coryton oil refinery.

Where hundreds will now lose their jobs.

The Government had a clear choice:

Do all it could to help save the refinery.

Or stand aside and do nothing.

The Government said their hands were tied because of the European Commission.

But they didn’t even ask the Commission.

If other governments can fight to keep their refineries open, why can’t ours?

Why can’t our Government even try?

It’s yet more proof that this Government doesn’t stand up for the working people of Britain.

And Britain doesn’t just need a change of government.

It needs a change of ideas.

And a change of mindset.

Because what is the other problem with this government?

It is that they really do believe that there is no alternative.

They really do believe the 1930s idea that when you’re in a global downturn there is nothing that can be done.

And so we have the spectacle of the powerful saying to the powerless:

‘We’re in for a few bad years and there’s nothing we can do to change it.’

They’re not the ones who will suffer but they say it all the same.

The G20 Summit comes and goes.

The European Summit will come and go.

But what do we get from the British Prime Minister?

No leadership.

The same old mantra:

‘There is no alternative.’

The same mindset that has been failing us for these last two years.

Friends, you know and I know:

Of course there is an alternative.

There is always an alternative.

If Labour was in Government, we would get our economy growing again.

Cutting VAT.

Encouraging businesses to take on new workers.

Investing in our infrastructure.

And putting our young people back to work.

It’s just wrong that so many young people like the aerospace engineer I met are on the dole for one year, two years, three years.

Long-term youth unemployment has more than doubled in the last year alone.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

I say, we say:

Tax the bankers’ bonuses and guarantee jobs for those young people.

A Labour Government would get our young people working again.

But we don’t just need change in the short-term.

We need to rebuild our economy from the ground up.

We need to look further back than the current crisis or the current Government.

For too long, we have had an economy that doesn’t work for most working people.

An economy where industry too often serves finance rather than finance serving industry.

An economy where too many young people leave school without hope of a real career.

And an economy where people are in poverty even though they working hard.

We need to change all that.

That will be the task of the next Labour Government.

And this task will be even more important because of the mess the Government has made of things.

The hard truth is this:

Whoever wins the next election will inherit a deficit.

And because there will be less money around, the best route to social justice will be through changing our economy so that it works for working people.

And let me tell you about my vision of the economy for the future.

It’s an economy where real engineering is as important as financial engineering.

Where every young person, whether they go to university or not, feels that they have the skills and training they need for a successful career.

Where we encourage companies to invest not for the short-term but for the long-term.

And where nobody who works is in poverty.

So how do we build it?

It can’t be built simply on the basis of old-style free market economics.

It can only be built on government, employers and unions understanding their role and playing their part.

Government needs to back the sectors that will succeed in the future.

That means a modern industrial strategy with a vision and a plan of how we can succeed as a country.

It means backing small businesses and addressing the financial barriers they face, with ideas like a British Investment Bank.

And it means taking skills seriously.

That’s why the next Labour Government will say:

‘You won’t get a major Government contract unless you offer apprenticeships for the next generation.’

For employers and unions, it will often mean working together.

At times, there will be conflict between workers and employers.

You will stand your ground.

And employers will stand theirs.

But you show every hour of every day, up and down the country in the work you do, that cooperation is the best way forward for the people you represent.

Sometimes this is difficult.

Like over the London bus dispute.

We all want the Olympics to be a success.

The eyes of the world will be upon us.

The best way to resolve this dispute is by all sides getting round a table and negotiating a solution.

I know you believe that and have called for that again in the last twenty-four hours.

But we cannot let industrial action disrupt the Olympics, and damage this special moment for Britain.

And all sides must ensure that doesn’t happen.

And we must make sure that every employer in the country fulfils their obligations to their workforce.

But we have not won that battle yet.

Friends, the minimum wage was one of Labour’s proudest achievements.

But far too many people in this country are still not paid the minimum wage.

Only seven companies have ever been prosecuted for not paying it.

Is there anyone here who believes that only seven have broken the law and exploited labour?

We all know the realities.

The Labour Party and the Unions campaigned together to establish the minimum wage in law.

Now we must campaign together to make sure it is enforced.

I talked last week about the fact that we have some recruitment agencies in this country employing migrant labour and closing their books to workers from Britain.

So that they can bring in workers who are unorganised and unprotected.

Unite works to recruit workers from all backgrounds into the union, so that they get the protection and representation they deserve.

We didn’t do enough in Government.

Including on agency workers, where we acted too late.

We need to do more.

More to make sure that everyone is paid the minimum wage – no matter where they come from.

More to stop a race to the bottom on building sites, in hotels and kitchens, in food processing plants up and down this country.

And we’re not going to wait until we’re back in power to do this.

We’re starting now.

We’re launching a campaign to highlight cases of exploitation of working people in Britain – wherever they are from.

A campaign to gather that information to help us build the case for change.

So businesses can say “I know something’s not right in my sector of the economy.”

“Some of my competitors are breaking the rules.”

So workers can safely say “I am being exploited”.

“I am being paid less than the minimum wage.”

But it’s not just about the minimum wage either.

The “minimum” should never be the summit of our ambition for the working people of this country.

That’s why we are working with representatives from trade unions – including Unite – local authorities and civil society to campaign for the next step.

For a decent living wage.

Starting in local government.

You know a couple of weeks ago I met somebody, a cleaner, who said to me that she’d taken the step of writing to the leader of her council to thank him.

And I asked her why.

She said she was writing to thank him for starting to pay her the Living Wage.

So let us congratulate Labour councils like Birmingham for committing to paying the Living Wage to every one of their workers.

That’s how we start building a better economy for the future.

Because we will never rebuild Britain’s economy if it is based on the wrong foundations:

If it based on low wages, low skills, fast buck, and take what you can.

The best employers know this.

Labour knows it.

You know it too.

So we have to change our economy, but we have to change our politics as well.

You and I know that people don’t think politics can make a difference.

They don’t believe that politicians keep their promises.

They think that whoever is in power, things will be the same.

Including some of your members.

We won’t change that overnight.

But we do need to change it.

With a politics that is realistic about the promises it can keep.

A politics that stands up for the many not just for the powerful few.

And we need a politics where politicians look like the constituents they represent.

That’s not what Westminster looks like today.

That’s why I say we should not rest until 50 per cent of Labour’s MPs are women.

We should not rest until many more of our Trade Union leaders are women.

That’s why I say we should not rest until ethnic minorities are properly represented in our party.

And we should not rest until we deal with one of the most glaring omissions:

The lack of working class representation in our politics.

That’s why I have asked Jon Trickett from our Shadow Cabinet to lead our work on this issue.

I knew when I became leader of the Labour Party that our party should have one clear mission.

To ensure we are a one-term Opposition.

Not for ourselves.

But because of what this Government was going to do to Britain.

Two years on I feel that more strongly than ever.

I believe in a more equal, fairer, more just Britain.

We’re not the public economy and the private economy.

We are one economy.

We’re not the north and the south.

We are people from right across Britain who share aspirations, hopes and dreams for the future.

And we’re a country that succeeds or fails together.

At the elections in May the British people gave Labour a platform.

I intend to seize that opportunity.

To show how we will rebuild our economy so it works for working people.

To create a society that is united not divided.

And build a politics that people can believe in.

There are entrepreneurs and trade union members, builders and teachers, and working people across the country who all share this vision.

Let’s work together to make it happen.

Let’s rebuild Britain.

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  • Whatever happened to the humble paragraph? On paper/screen at least it helps makes this speech verge on the unreadable.

    • Hugh

       “On paper/screen at least the lack of them helps makes this speech verge on the unreadable.”

      An effective technique to convey the experience of listening to it, then.

  • AlanGiles

    I would assume, Ben written like this makes it easier to read off of an autocue, where you are getting one line at a time scrolling up

    •  Yes Alan you would be right there. Another nail in the coffin of political oratory.

      • treborc

        It is taken of course from the Labour party site, so it would have been written like this and then you add the  feeling or not your self, pretty bland and really it would be better  to see for once Ed Miliband speaking from his heart on what he see and thinks, not from some speech writer.

        • If you want to see Ed do this go to one of his informal meetings where he speaks without notes and responds to the audience. He’s actually a lot better doing that!

          • treborc

            Lets hope he comes across like that to the millions who will not sit and listen to him in a room.

          • I don’t think he is the best platform speaker in the world, but then they tend to lack substance in recent years

  • Dan Filson

    Labour both nationally and locally needs to learn the difference between what you read out and a speech as released to the media. The speaker may well want a speech laid out like this, but it makes for an impossible read. It must be assembled into paragraphs. And where you may in your autocue version use one word sentences, in the written version, link them together with commas and drop the screaming capitals. Check whether it reads as well then as it sounds wen delivered.

    As to content, my mind glazed over as platitude followed platitude. Must try harder.

    • Good points Dan. This has had me wondering about the way that when we read, we are still speaking, even if only in our heads. We are actually speaking a speech like the speaker does in a sense. When we struggle to engage with it, we can surely hazard a decent guess that the speaker will too.

  • This is very important:

    “And we should not rest until we deal with one of the most glaring omissions: The lack of working class representation in our politics.”

    Well done to Ed for putting this imbalance on the agenda.

    • treborc

      Because that is what UNITE have been saying for ages, the problem with speeches like this the speech writer checks to see what the Union is demanding them places it at the heart of the speech.

      We want to see more working class MP’s  well of course what is working class these days, you will not be seeing to many miners or steel workers working class of course could mean the leaders of Unite or the GMB. One way to end the battle of the Unions as labour has done in the past.

      • Redshift

        The definition is difficult and that could cause problems if you wanted to introduce something along similar lines as all-womens shortlists. 

        However, if you looked at measures that would have the right effect without needing to define working class then that would be far easier. If for example, you had all-local shortlists in many marginals it’d stop the parachuting of the generally very well-off (often Oxbridge educated) seat-seekers and give local campaigners, union activists, good local councillors, etc a better fighting chance of getting selected. 

      •  Of course you won’t be seeing too many future MPs who are miners or steelworkers. There aren’t many miners or steelworkers these days. It’d be a lot easier to increase working-class representation if we actually tried to get people from a broad range of occupations to put themselves forward, rather than just harking nostalgically back to the days when it was the NUM rather than the central party that parachuted people in.

        • treborc

          I have noticed in my area the people who are now councillors are mainly from Universities who have an agenda of onward and upward.

          My Union has a Policy of taking on employ people from Universities these days to work as advisor’s sadly it’s the way of the world.

        • I think that is what Ed envisages. The issue starts lower down, though – working class participation in politics is very low in the sense of those active, and on that score the unions are a way of helping to achieve this.

          • treborc

            Dump it onto the Union as labour stays silent, some how I do not think that will go down well.

    • Doc!!!

      coming from a PPE Leader

    • Bill Lockhart

      Does it occur to any of these politicians that the kind of people who are used to working hard and honestly in return for fair remuneration are rightly repulsed by politics as a career? That professional Tories are thus more likely to be spivs than GPs and professional Leftists more likely to be unemployable sociologists than tool makers?
      Real people with real skills have not the time, the energy nor the inclination to hold their noses and immerse themselves in the facile charlatanism of active politics.

  •  It might help in some places, but that’s not necessarily going to be enough. In some areas the bulk of our councillors are middle-class professionals, so you’d need to try and get more working-class members to put themselves forward as council candidates first – which is probably an easier priority to achieve.

    Then you need to consider that it’s a big advantage to have previously been a PPC in an unwinnable seat. We aren’t going to have all-local shortlists there, because they wouldn’t be big enough. So you get well-spoken middle-class candidates getting those and then having a leg-up in the selection for the safe Labour seat they live in at the next election.

    Your idea works for areas with strong and active local parties. In areas where that’s not the case, you’ll just get seat-seekers renting accomodation in the constituency a few months ahead of time.

  •  Sorry, that was supposed to be a reply to Redshift.

  • John Dore

    Given whats going on, this was quite key:

    Your job is to represent your members.My job is to lead the Labour Party.

    • treborc

       Our Job is to ensure the money we pay the political party ensure that  those members voices are heard.

      Unions are not cash cows to the labour party, the money given is not free, like it or not.

      • “the money given is not free, like it or not.”

        If only you had the same view of those on benefits…!

        • John Dore

          That was so funny.

          • treborc

             Small things please small minds.

          • John Dore

            That kinda sums your trolling up. You must have a pathetic life.

          • LaurenceB

            Don’t feed the trolls! Giving them the attention they crave only makes them linger longer and make more tiresome comments. You’re your own worst enemy mate.

        • AlanGiles

          I take it, Jon, that you are still a hardliner on the question of benefits?

          I have to inviote you to answer the question I put to “Purple Booker” (no answer yet, but that’s no surprise): Where are all the jobs that these lazy unemployed people should take?. Not where you would LIKE them to be, what might happen IF,,, etc etc.

          More than 2 million people are unemployed on June 29th 2012 – many jobs are part time and short term contracts. So where are all the jobs that those of you who disapprove of benefit claimants think people shoiuld be falling into?

          • AlanGiles

            That’s right –  if you can’t think of anything more intelligent to say, have a go at “benefit claimants” – never fails to win a round of applause from a certain sort of audience – if they can rfaise their knuckles from the ground, that is.

            I have little doubt, if you or any member of your family ever fell on hard times through illness or unemployment, you would expect to receive the benefits you are entitled to?. You would no doubt say that you had been paying in for years…..? Well so have many of “them”

          • Its quite sickening to think that this person was accepted as a Labour candidate and actually stood representing our interests – still, it was in a hopeless seat and anyone wanting to make sure he will be defeated if he tries again only has to collect together his collected views on here

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            The Labour Party is a “broad church” – many people say that.  As an outsider reading your views, it appears to me that you want the Labour Party to represent only your views, and indeed have thought yourself into believing that only your views can be Labour views.  Witness your use of such phrases as “our interests” – it is exclusive and divisive.

            He was selected no doubt by a local committee of local party members.  I do not recall which seat it was but somewhere in Yorkshire I think, and a rural place.  Do you ever in your socialist paradise of Liverpool ever stop to think that rural communities perhaps are less confrontational, gentler and more centrist than the urban struggle and decay you believe is normal, and pick a candidate to suit?  He may even have been local and reflect the local population and social makeup, a factor you like when it is some fire-breathing socialist who was born in a stairwell, but don’t when it does not fit with your pre-conceived ideas.

            I suspect that the selection committee had rather more sense than you do.

          • treborc

            So why are you here, you seem to have little time for labour, little time for Unions and not a lot of time working it would seem.

            For somebody with so little interest on life you spend a hell of a lot of time here.

          • John Dore

            Whay are you here?
            1. You say you dont vote Labour
            2. You try to destroy any sensible conversation?

          • Demian Thorne

            There’s a draft blowing 
             hot air hither and thither on LabourList. Can somebody for the sake of all concerned get to their feet and – SHUT THAT DORE?

          • John Dore

            Oh dear, made up another name because you couldn’t come back as the last.

            Your a tw…..

          • treborc

             hot air

          • Demian Thorne

            How could you possibly know that I was a twin?

          • Alan Giles

            Jaime, a lot of Jon’s views do seem to be more akin to one-Nation Toryism than Labour – remarks about benefits, both here and in the past, remarks about unions, defence etc.

            That’s fine if that is what he believes in, but he is bound to be on a collision course with LL readers who have more traditional Labour views, and you can hardly expect those of us who disagree with him not to say so. Jon is not shy in fighting his own corner, which in all fairness he does politely.

          • I’m in favour of broad church inclusiveness but fear that Jon may have placed himself beyond the pale. He became a poster boy for the Tories after breaking ranks  during the London mayoral campaign.

            If he was selected as Labour candidate in my constituency he would have my full support simply because I’m a Labour member and don’t see any point in remaining a member if unwilling to support the candidate. Many may not take the same view though, and regard him as being undeserving of the support he previously denied to another candidate. In this respect I feel he has blotted his copy book and will be lucky if opportunity knocks twice.

          • That’s exactly the point. I’m by no means on the outer left of the party and recognise we are a broad church – but some of Jonathan’s views have been in the ‘sharp intake of breath’ category

          • Yawn. Put another record on, do. Jonathan’s views are so right wing that I am surprised that he wants to stay in the Party. I really don’t see how any one who is openly right of centre on economics can remain in a ‘democratic socialist party’ without considerable cognitive dissonance. His result was poor, but no doubt you’ll find an excuse for that one too. Its not a seat likely to return a Labour MP so it would have had very little to do with who was the candidate.

            Anyway, when we win the next election, it won’t include your seat – and there are only two seats in Cambridgeshire which could ever be remotely winnable, so they are hardly the target audience. I’m interested in winning the election, not easing the worries of those who will never vote for us

          • Yawn. Put another record on, do. Jonathan’s views are so right wing that I am surprised that he wants to stay in the Party. I really don’t see how any one who is openly right of centre on economics can remain in a ‘democratic socialist party’ without considerable cognitive dissonance. His result was poor, but no doubt you’ll find an excuse for that one too. Its not a seat likely to return a Labour MP so it would have had very little to do with who was the candidate.

            Anyway, when we win the next election, it won’t include your seat – and there are only two seats in Cambridgeshire which could ever be remotely winnable, so they are hardly the target audience. I’m interested in winning the election, not easing the worries of those who will never vote for us

          • You have an excellent chance of winning too. People are all for free handouts of other people’s money. They are all for nice office jobs in the warm wearing a suit. They are all for freebies and being told how wonderful they are.
            Add to that the postal votes.
            And the electoral boundaries.
            And the decline and fall of Mr Alex Salmond.
            And the nostalgia for Mr Blair and the Time of Plenty.
            And – Bingo!

            Ed has even got the fruity voice which Mr Wilson once charmed the people with.

          • Alan Giles

            Ed Miliband sounds nothing like Harold Wilson. I think Mike H, along with many others, including myself, do not have any nostalgia for Blair and what he did both to our party and the country.

          • AlanGiles

            Hi Mike, I had placed this reply in the wrong place (it was in rfesponse to Mike Stallard), though the last para applies to Jon.

            I am very concerned that this hard nosed attitude to people who need to claim benefits is so prevelant amongst younger Labour types now (no doubt the influence of Blair/Hutton/Purnell/Byrne), as we all know employment is much more precarious now.. No doubt Jon, being on the fringe of politics, if he lost his job, well placed friends would rally round – and that is the problem – so many of the political class have such good connections, they have no idea what life is like for  shop assistants, factory workers etc, who lose their jobs and don’t have these contacts.

            Also, when you think about it, politics is one of the few professions where you can be totally inept and still have the chance to balls-up people lives – I am thinking of Duncan-Smith: an embarrassment to his own party as probably their worst leader ever, now rewarded as he is with an important job, which he doesn’t deserve – a has been who should have remained history. Speaking of which Andy McSmith, in todays “I” newspaper has a bizarre  dream/nightmare (though in his case I think it is a dream) of Blair returning as PM in 2015.

          • It just doesn’t chime with the reality experienced up here, where there just aren’t enough jobs. 
            The point is that there will never be a perfect benefits system, but the money which is even at the most highly estimated , defrauded, is a pittance compared to tax evasion, tax avoidance, and so on. Its not worth sacrificing people in need to please the baying mob

          • John Dore

            Merseyside is a needs to take responsibility for its own state of affairs, Manchester Leeds and other cities are doing very well.

            It is down to the people of Merseyside to do better as well as the state to help it. Seeing things with a Mersey view would only destroy the country.

          • I was on the dole in Harrogate.I got a couple of jobs at a call centre, then went all over the place doing door to door sales for commission only, selling glamour photos, representing the water board, and starting up a club for other people on the “rock’n’roll”.
            It is all there so long as you are prepared to drop your standards and muck in.

          • Alan Giles

            Selling “glamour photos”?.

            You were’nt one of those who used to hang around in Tunisia saying “you want to buy naughty postcards?” as in ‘Carry On Abroad’?.

          • Demian Thorne

            The next thing he’ll be saying is “Would you like to meet my sister?”. I pray to the Almighty that the “glamour photos” weren’t self portraits!

          • Dave Postles

             Of course there’s no perfect system.  When I was a kid on our council estate (1950s), there were constant refrains about families living on the NAB.

          • John Dore

            Same old narrow minded crap.

          • Alan, I take it that you haven’t been to the dole office or looked in the local paper recently.
            I am not going to do an ad hominem  on you.
            It would be all too easy.

            Now please answer this without personal insult if you can hold back for a second.
            If you pay people not to work and pay people to have illegitimate children without any shame then – guess what! – you get an awful lot of “hard working families” and “vulnerable”. But – hey – that makes a lot of work for Lady Bountiful. And it makes everyone’s heart warm – so long as they are politicians living in green streets and looking for election. 

            Code words for you: “go for growth”, “end the cuts”, “austerity does’t work”. “reflate the economy.” “Tory double dip recession”. All the same meaning: a dog whistle for the “vulnerable” and the “hard working families”.

          • Alan Giles

            If you and your wife were unemployed Mr Stallard, I am surprised you don’t find it possible to have a little more compassion and understanding. Dragging “illegitimate” children and “shame”  into the equation doesn’t do anything to bolster your argument,  and merely makes you sound narrow minded, judgmental  and bigoted and in response to your ”
            If you pay people not to work “, I can only repeat the invitation I have already given to Jon Roberts and “Purple Booker” – WHERE ARE all the jobs for the unemployed? . All 3 of you seem to be implying the fault is in the individual and not the fact that we have more than 2 million unemployed.

          • 30 chasing every job here…..

          • Bill Lockhart

            Maybe 4 or 5 actually doing any chasing, the rest down the bookies or doing a little light dealing.

          • treborc

            fecking hell Tories are out in force to day or new labour well same thing really

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Unemployment in Liverpool was 22,302 in March of this year, according to the Liverpool Daily Post (See http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/ldpbusiness/business-local/2012/03/14/unemployment-goes-up-but-government-stays-upbeat-99623-30536013/ , citing ONS figures).

            For your remark to be true (30 seeking each job), there would be less than 744 jobs in Liverpool.  And yet the top result of a Google search on “jobs Liverpool” shows just one of many recruitment agencies displaying 975 jobs:  see http://jobsearch.monster.co.uk/jobs/?where=Liverpool&cy=uk&WT.srch=1&WT.mc_n=Srch_UK_SK_G_OTH.

            That is just one agency in the private sector, let alone the total result from all agencies plus the Job Centre network.

            And none of that stops anyone at all from thinking “I live in an area with very few jobs.  I had better get my horizons broadened and go to find a job”

            Or is it preferable to wallow in benefits while not moving 30 miles up the road to Manchester, where the same search parameters return 2,732 jobs with just one agency?

            At some point Mike – although I am not going to hold my breath – you and other socialists will realise that there’s not very much money, no one on God’s earth owes anyone else a living, and that people have to get off their bottoms and look after themselves.

          • AlanGiles

            Jaime: 30 miles for a doctor with a car isn’t that long, but if you are a woman working on a check-out in Tesco, dependent on the bus, not so easy.

            With all due respect, can you not understand that not everyone has a car, works in a highly paid enviroment or is so free of committments they can just up and leave where they are located?

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas


            30 miles is not too far to move, if the daily commute is not what is wished.  Of course, for some people it may be.  But the alternative is simply to give up.

            Why do you feel I am free of commitments?  I have a contract with six months of notice, my wife is a partner in a local business, my wife’s parents are getting older (as are mine, but they are 9,000 miles away so I cannot visit weekly), my children are at local schools and we value the continuity of education.  I think we are probably as encumbered as anyone else.  And yet, if it was the right thing to do for us, we would sell the house, hand in my notice, my wife sell her partnership stake, and move to wherever in the world was best for our future.  And do you know what?  Because we are bringing our children up to be confident and to seek new challenges, I don’t think they’d mind too much if my wife and I told them we were moving to Canada, Australia, or to Chile – they’d look forward to new experiences.

            I don’t understand why some people have the attitude that a life on benefits is preferable to getting off their bottoms and moving to where the opportunity is (both work and generally in life).  It is probably a poverty of personal vision and ambition.

          • Alan Giles

            Jaime, There is the expense of moving, for one thing. Leaving friends and family, children having to change schools &c.

            But we have been through all this before. You and me could afford to do this, if we had to, but many simply cannot.

          • Losange

            “… we would sell our house…”

            This is where you’re going wrong. This is the splinter in your eye. You are seeing the world from the perspective of someone who has assets and capital whereas unemployed people commonly don’t even have any money at all, certainly not enough to be able to afford the deposit necessary to rent a flat or a house or pay a firm of removers to transport their furniture and possessions from one place to another.

            The welfare cap recently introduced will make adventuring like this even more impossible.

            As you are going to see from the spring of next year right up to the next general election as things carry on getting worse and winding down.

          • Dave Postles

            Sadly that is and will be the case.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            That is no excuse.  I had two suitcases when I left Chile,  and very little money. Yes, I had a job to go to, but no-one would expect someone to move if there was no job to go to.

            To save us all time, are you able to state at what point you do believe that an unemployed person  should be told to get off his or her bottom?  Or is it endless support, encouragement and tax money, irrespective of how ridiculous the excuse.

            30 miles is nothing.

          • Losange

            In a democracy, never. In the old Soviet Union, yesterday.

          • John Dore

            The swathes of immigrants moving thousands of miles with no money just show how the arguments of those full of excuses need to be ignored. The benefits systems allows for fecklessness.

            My friend is a Bobby in Liverpool and the stories he tells beggars belief.

          • James

            If what you say is true why do schemes like the New Deal, Flexible New Deal and the Work Programme all fail in placing the unemployed in sustainable work? The provider organisations, supposedly all experts in personnel placement and recruitment, are ALL private, profit-making companies who are paid by results and universally failing to get unemployed people referred to them into jobs.

            A4e were recently outed as managing to place a mere 3.5% of the thousands of people referred to them to on the Work Programme into paid work lasting three months or more.

            Is this because the provider organisations are useless?

            Or could it  that the unemployed are evil geniuses, determined to live in poverty on benefits, who manage individually and collectively, in their hundreds of thousands, to outwit the Jobcentre,  government,  welfare system and the new Work Programme sanctions based regime under which they live?

            Or could it be that there really aren’t enough sustainable waged positions available to “force” the unemployed into?

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Or maybe the people they were trying to place had the wrong attitude, and the prospective employers said “no” before taking a future problem onto their staff?  That can happen as well.

            There is a local builder near to where I live. He is the second generation of his family business, and employs something like 30 people. He came with a crew to do some work on a brick outbuilding we have. 3 of his crew were Polish, and I asked him about them. He said they were just as good as local bricklayers, and had a good work ethic. He pays them British wages, everything is above board, VAT receipt, NI is paid by him. And the work he and his crew performed was very good: quality, and to a fixed price. Those are the sort of attitudes that employers want.

          • Dave Postles

             My dad fought through WWII.  After the general demobilisation, he commuted from Leicester to Coalville to work down Snibstone Colliery for five years.  It was too much, so he worked as a labourer on building sites.  His bronchial troubles became so bad that he got a job painting hosiery machines in a factory.  He ended up as the single person in the factory’s warehouse, run off his feet.  He retired at 65, but died of lung cancer before his 71st birthday (the next generation may have even less time for retirement).  I do not want anyone to have the same misfortune.  Nor do I want people to self-immolate outside JobCentres.  Give it a rest, please.  It’s a minor issue in the greater scheme of the current condition of the UK.

          • James

            You comment undermines your own argument since in the case of A4e it would mean that 96.5% of Work Programme clients had been refused work by employers because they had attitude problems, or similar, which is preposterous if only from a mathematical point of view.

            The Work Programme is a sanctioned based regime where claimants not “fully engaged” and carrying out every direction given to them by their provider organisation to the letter can lose their right to benefits for up to three years. Work Programme failure cannot possibly hence be attributed to bad behaviour exhibited by or to the calibre of participants generally; there are simply too many of them for this to possibly be true.

            As far as immigrant labour goes this normally involves young, physically fit men and women, in their twenties or early thirties, who visit this country briefly to work very hard for short periods of time before going home. Because they have no roots or friends or family in the UK and are only interested in earning as much money as possible while resident in the country they are quite willing to travel nomadically from place to place, working all the hours God sends, sleeping in overcrowded accommodation sometimes several to a room, putting up with all sorts of privations and minimum wages, knowing all the while that their discomfort is destined to be short-lived and not something they will have to put up for the rest of their lives once they return to their homeland.

            British people wouldn’t be willing to tolerate this standard of living long term  in the country of their birth. Nor should they.

            Greater mobility of the workforce might help some younger citizens to secure employment, especially if they have tertiary qualifications or are highly skilled, but mobility per se really isn’t some sort of grand panacea as far as UK unemployment goes.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            You misread.  I said it can happen “as well”, which is not the same as saying it is a sum completing algorithm.  It is another possibility that your list of only two did not include, that is all.

          • Dave Postles

            He probably meant 30 applicants for most of those jobs which do not require substantial experience or a particular skills set, in the context of unemployed people who are in receipt of benefits.

          • Are you right?
            The problem is this: there are lots of jobs out there, but you don’t fancy doing them.
            Given a decent wage to live off from the taxpayers, you can afford to wait until something nice comes up. Then you chase that job, but – hey – there’s a queue for it!
            Now then, what about, for instance, working in a hotel washing up? Or ten hours standing sorting carrots in a freezing and damp factory? Or how about cleaning toilets in an office for the minimum wage? Fancy that? Or a paper round for cash? Or doing cold calling on the phone? How about any of these jobs – with a screaming idiot boss for the minimum wage (with deductions)? The immigrants are all too happy to do any of these jobs with a broad smile.

          • Losange

            Blimey! Hearing these reports of how badly the British treat their immigrant labour makes me ashamed of my heritage. I can only hope, if Labour are returned to office, that they will do something to improve the lot of these foreign workers as soon as possible. Who would believe third world conditions like these were common in the workplace for foreign guests to our county in the 21st century.

            We should all hang our heads. 

          • John Dore

            Hard truths should not be so openly delivered.

          • So, given that people are going to have children in any case, does this mean that we put them into care instead?
            Or do we leave them to fend for themselves?
            I think I’d rather live in a civilised society

          • Bill Lockhart

            Does this mean you’ve abandoned your call for sterilisation for poor brown women who want an education? You seem very confused.

          • Losange

            What’s your position on Catholic couples who have very large families, because they are forbidden by the Pope from using contraception, who are living long-term on benefits? Should their children face penury simply because their parents are religious adherents? 

          • I do not know. I do not actually know of any such families. Do you?

          • Losange

            No. I don’t know of any families in which women, encouraged by the availability of benefits, deliberately get pregnant and give birth to illegitimate children either. Do you? And if you don’t why make such [email protected] comments on LabourList as per your efforts above?

          • Demian Thorne

            So that’s why they have such big families in the third world… it’s all those social security benefits handed out to women in countless thousands of poor African, Asian, and South American villages that’s encouraging women to keep squeezing out babies.


            You learn a little something every day.

        • treborc

          I cannot be bother to answer a new labour pratt

          • John Dore

            Why, because he’s right and you have nothing to offer but to call him a Tory? Go on you know you want to.

          • Demian Thorne

            “… he’s right…”

            Politically speaking, yes. Right-wing that is. 

        • Simon

          What about healthcare? Will the sick have to do some workfare in order to qualify?

          • Demian Thorne

            Well, if Cameron cuts benefits to the poorest and largest families there’ll definitely be a lot of vacancies putting wheels on miscarriages.

        • treborc

          No you Tory you, it’s money given in by the National insurance of which I paid into for thirty years. lets pray that none of you washed out Tories looking for a home in labour never get cancer, my god how will you live with your self claiming benefit.

      • John Dore

        “Our Job is to ensure the money we pay the political party ensure that  those members voices are heard.” 

        Our Job is to ensure the money we pay the political party ensures that  the political influence of the Union leaders is most prevalent; whilst pretending it is the voices of our members. Progress out! Out! Out! …. Out!

        Its a democracy dontcha know       MATE.

  • A_j_marsden

    usual platitudes from an untrustworthy out of touch  politician

  • Kb32904

    My God, if you lot are Labour supporters, we’re doomed.

    Quit bellyaching and get a grip !

    Like it or not, Ed is the leader and if we want a Labour government in 2015, you had better damn well quit griping and get behind him or else we are heading for another 5 years of misery and corruption at the hands of Cameron and Clegg.

    • Most of them aren’t!

      • treborc

         true and as we saw at the last election most are not alone

    • treborc

      You mean in place of what thirteen years of labour.

    • Simon

      The trouble is that the awfulness of the Conservatives might well get them back into power in coalition with the Liberal Democrats. If Labour looks unlikely to win the next election, which looks very possible, and the country faces a Tory majoritarian government or another coalition with the LibDems who will put a brake on some of the very worst and most brutal Tory aims (no housing benefit for the under 25s, time-limited benefits for the unemployed in which people are made to suffer greater and greater poverty the longer they are denied work etc) and stop then from coming into being. Logically, if Labour look a dead loss and you want to deny the Tory Party a working majority, it the only thing you might be able to do to frustrate the Conservative plans is to hold your nose and vote Liberal Democrat! A terrible thing but perhaps the only thing that might be able to stop Cameron and his crew from waging a war of extinction against the sick, disabled, poor and the needy.

  • “The public who are paying the price for bankers’ irresponsibility will expect nothing less”

    And who do you think pays the welfare for all those hard working families then?

    • AlanGiles

      This reply appeared in the wrong place. It is for you, Mr Stallard (and also to a certain extent to my friend Jon, certainly the last paragraph)

      That’s right – if you can’t think of anything more intelligent to say, have a go at “benefit claimants” – never fails to win a round of applause from a certain sort of audience – if they can raise their knuckles from the ground, that is.

      I have little doubt, if you or any member of your family ever fell on hard times through illness or unemployment, you would expect to receive the benefits you are entitled to?. You would no doubt say that you had been paying in for years…..? Well so have many of “them”

      • Slick- but no banana.
        I was unemployed for about 10 years in the 1990s. My wife was laid off being a nurse for a year at the same time and that was when our landlord repossessed his/our house.
        Ad hominem is absolutely no good in this case.
        And I am still right. The only really big industry in UK at the moment seems to be banking and we are knocking it on the head!
        Oh – I am not a banker, actually.

        • Demian Thorne

          You most certain are a… sorry…. I read the “b” in “banker” as a “w”. My bad.

        • Dave Postles

           Actually, it seems that shareholders are reacting against the banks.  If the banks cannot even attract the shareholders – because of the stink emanating from them – then the diminution of the banking industry lies at its own door.

          I do think, however, that you are undervaluing the car industry.

  • Dave Postles

    RBS fined £150m for manipulating Libor.

    • Demian Thorne

      Some MPs were jailed for less. When are the top bankers going to be hauled into court and held responsible for their actions? 


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