Ed Miliband has launched Labour’s general election pledge card, declaring the British people have a clear choice between two visions for the future as he urges them to choose hope over fear in this campaign.
Speaking at a pre-election rally of more than 1,500 party members and supporters in Birmingham, Ed Miliband described how the Tories’ plan is failing Britain. Ed Miliband showed how Labour’s better plan for a better future is based on a simple idea: that Britain only succeeds when working people succeed. This idea has been at the root of British prosperity in the past, can bind our country together again, is the argument that Labour will take to the British people over the next 54 days, and runs through each of Labour’s election pledges:
On the election choice:
“Today we launch our pledge card for the general election. Today we set out how we can replace a failed, tired, government for the few with a government that is truly for all the people of Britain. Today I tell you how we will change the way our country is run when I am Prime Minister.
“It is based on a different idea of how we succeed, a different idea of how we live together, a different idea of the kind of country we can become – because the choice at this election is not simply between parties and leaders, but between different visions of our country.
“The choice is between the pessimists or the optimists, fear or hope, the few or the many, the good of some or the good of all. Today I urge the British people to choose optimism, to choose a country for the many, to choose the good of all, to choose hope – and to recognise that when working people succeed, nothing can stop us as a country.”
On the prospect of a Tory second term:
“The Tories will carry on putting in place their vision of how our country succeeds by stripping public services to the very bone so they hit their target of spending back to levels not seen since the 1930s, before there was a NHS and children left school at 14.
“Be in no doubt what that means: education cut, the NHS undermined, social care devastated, crumbling infrastructure, lower living standards. This is not the future that our great country deserves. This is not the future the great people of our country deserve. Britain can do better than this.”
On the idea driving Labour’s election argument:
“Our country deserves a future based on the idea that Britain only succeeds when working families succeed; the idea that has powered success for Britain throughout our history. Whenever we have prospered, whenever we have succeeded, it is not because we have been driven by the success of a few at the top but by the success of working families.
“We’re different from the Tories because we believe our fates are intertwined as a nation. Each of us has an interest in all of us succeeding. Any civilised country is built on the idea of the common good. And that means common rules, shared and respected by all its citizens. That’s why we can’t have one rule for some and another for others – the rich and the powerful not playing their part or not paying their dues.”
On how this idea is embodied in each of Labour’s election pledges:
“I do not simply say that we should judge our nation’s success by the success of working people. I say that only by working people succeeding can we succeed as a country. And it is an idea embodied in our pledges, written through each like a stick of rock.”
On the economy:
“The Tories promised to eliminate the deficit and they have failed. They’ve made the cuts but they haven’t cut the deficit as they promised. Because an economy with falling living standards and people working for less, is an economy where the tax revenue isn’t coming in and the deficit isn’t going away. That’s why our deficit plan is built on the foundation of an economy that works for working people with rising living standards and tax changes based on the principle that those with the broadest shoulders bear the greatest burden.”
On living standards:
“Our economy is at last growing again, but that vital link between the wealth of our nation as a whole and working people has been broken. My government will be different. We will stand up to the big energy companies. We will write the next chapter in the fight to abolish poverty pay. We will ban exploitative zero hours contracts. And we will help Mums and Dads balance work and family life with 25 hours free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds.”
On the NHS:
“The NHS is the bedrock of security for working families. We need to rescue it from this government and we will – with more doctors, more nurses, more homecare workers and more midwives funded through a mansion tax on properties worth over £2 million. And we will build a world leading health and care service, joining up services from home to hospital.”
“We will not countenance systems and rules that damage the interests of all those people working hard and trying to get on. That’s why we say we will have fair rules on immigration. People will have to wait for at least two years until they can claim benefits. And we will call time on employers who don’t pay the minimum wage, gangmasters that exploit migrant labour, recruitment agencies that only advertise abroad. My government will ensure no dodgy firm, no shady loopholes, no sharp practices can exploit migrant labour and undercut the wages and conditions of working people.”
On young people:
“We will give a future to every young person in Britain because we just cannot succeed as a country unless we do. So to every young person I say we will protect investment in your education, we will guarantee you an apprenticeship if you get the grades, and we will relieve the burden of debt if you go to university.”