Unite chief calls for an economy for the many in Labour party conference speech
- Monday 24 September 2018
Moving contemporary composite two on the economy at Labour party conference Unite general secretary Len McCluskey is expected to say (check against delivery): “Conference, we live in an extraordinary time. We have gone through a summer when everything possible has been used to attack and undermine our party and our leader, but we are still ahead of the Tories in the polls!
“Despite the smears and the sneers from the media and some who should know better, we have held all the incredible advances we made last year under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
“That tells us something about our country.
“People are desperate for hope, crying out for an alternative to austerity, fed up with inequality and the economics of privatisation, outsourcing and deregulation and anxious about a blundering Tory ‘no deal’ Brexit.
“And they can see through the venomous attacks for what they are – the last throw of an elite desperate to hang on to its privileges, perks and ill-gotten gains.
“It also tells us something about our party and our movement. We are stronger than our enemies.
“And their abuse is the highest compliment they could pay us – they feel threatened, and they are right to be so.
“Because we are coming for their fat cat tax fiddles.
“We’re going to take back the railways, water, energy. We’re going to build houses for the people, not for foreign oligarchs.
“We’re going to kick the capitalists out of the NHS. We’re going to lift the burden of debt from our young people.
“And we are going to give trade unions and working people their rights back. So we can look the bosses in the eye and end their abuses from McDonalds to Uber.
“That’s the programme that last year won us the most votes this century and we would be insane to retreat an inch from it.
“The polls prove that that the British people want that agenda put into action. They want that change made – as soon as the Tories dare risk a general election.
“Wouldn’t it be great comrades if all our party, from top to bottom, was united in promoting our alternative?
“I’m not talking about an unthinking agreement on everything or blind loyalty.
“Anyone has a right to disagree and a right to criticise. We are a democratic party, but I am talking about some MPs turning into an echo chamber for whatever line of attack the Tories and the press are deploying against us. Yes. Anyone with a point of view should be heard, but anyone screaming ‘you are a racist’ at Jeremy Corbyn has lost every sense of moral proportion, every shred of decency.
“Nor do we need any lessons on racism from the professional, fully paid-up racists of the Daily Mail and the Sun.
“Not one of them has done a fraction as much for community relations in this country as Jeremy Corbyn.
"Our party is the party of unity, equality and justice. It’s the Tories who stoke fear and hatred.
“So we should not let the attacks put us on the back foot for a minute. It’s time we all – each and every one of us – spoke up for our leader.
“The most decent and principled man in politics today.
“He should not have to face these attacks alone, and while Unite is here and good comrades like you, he will never have to. And let me advise anyone who may be listening to siren voices urging some sort of breakaway.
“If the centre ground is fighting for a better deal for working people and protecting our communities, look no further.
“It’s right here in the Labour party.
“So Chuka, drop the country club plotting. Listen to working people the length and breadth of the country. Get behind the party that made you.
“And join the rest of this movement in fighting to get rid of this rotten government.
“Give our country the fresh start it needs. And make Jeremy Corbyn the people’s prime minister.”
For more information please contact Alex Flynn Unite head of media and campaigns on 07967 665869
Notes to editors:
- Unite is represents workers in Britain and Ireland with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.