Monday 14 June 2010

Opening lines at the hustings

"Our task goes beyond finding a new leader for the Labour party; it is to put the heart and soul back into the Labour party" - Andy Burnham, who says Labour was a good government but was too based on modest incremental changes, and now needs the inspiration and idealism, a national care service and a commitment to equal life chances.

"It is no exaggeration to say that the supporters and members of the Labour party saved the leadership of the Labour party in the 2010 election campaign" - David Miliband, saying the party must turn that extraordinary resilience; he talks about 'the values shared by all five candidates', "but the question for us is how we turn the poetry of values into the prose of real change in people's lives". "We are all agreed that the Blair-Brown era is over, but we have a task more historic than that".

"I stand before you this evening as a potential leader of the Labour Party. And some of you will be thinking 'well, I don't know about that'. She does not look like a credible leader. She is not even wearing a tie ... In the 21st century, this may be what a Labour leader looks like", says Diane Abbott. The task is to revitalise the party from the grassroots up, and she is best place to understand how to revitalise those ranks. Our mistake was not listening - on tuition fees, on 10p tax, or gone into an illegal war on Iraq. "We have to build on the achievements of the last 13 years, but above all this leadership election is the turn the page election and I believe I am the turn the page candidate".

"I was urged by one of my supporters to set out why I am uniquely best placed to be Labour leader, but that's not my style and you are intelligent enough to work that out over the course of the evening", says Ed Balls. "I want to talk about why the future of the party should be rooted in the values of the organisations hosting tonight's event, especially the Fabians. I was very proud to be Chair of the Fabians. We are about taking great causes and turning them into real policies which make a difference. We are about also rooting our policies and new policies too in our values. We have here over a hundred years of Labour tradition, in the Fabians, the co-op, the trade unions. Finally, campaigning organisations as well".

"I want to tell you who I am. Before you vote for the leader of the party, you need to know who we are" - Ed Miliband. "My parents were immigrants fleeing persecution: they saw more than anybody why politics mattered. I went to a comprehensive school while Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister. People ask why I have spent so much time in politics. It is because I saw from a very early age that politics really matters".

"There is no contradiction between movement politics and power politics".

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