Ever since he became the leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband has been talking about how we need to harness the talents of everyone – and how those in power should be governing for the whole country, not just a few at the top.
That’s what he means when he says he wants ours to be a One Nation Labour Party – one which is rooted in the lives of men and women in all our communities and which, in government, will create an economy that works for working people.
The Tories are busy congratulating themselves and saying they’ve turned the economy around when ordinary families know things are getting harder not easier. Living standards have now been falling for longer than at any time since 1870.
There are a million young people looking for work. Long-term unemployment is higher than at any time in a generation. And there are 1.4 million people stuck in part-time jobs.
In the face of this cost of living crisis, what is David Cameron’s priority? Standing up for the wealthiest few by cutting taxes for millionaires while asking everyone else to pay more. The Prime Minister is out of touch, and is failing to turn things around for hard-working families in Pendle.
Ed Miliband has said that if Labour were in power, we would make fundamentally different choices. We would offer a compulsory jobs guarantee to young people, getting them a job with proper training on at least the minimum wage – funded by a tax on bankers’ bonuses. We’d increase the number of apprenticeships, set up a British Investment Bank to get money to small businesses, and build more homes. The unfair “bedroom tax” would be scrapped.
We would act to stop the abuse of workers being exploited on zero-hour contracts. Some people are on call all day, without any guarantee of going to work. Or, after years on a regular contract, they’re now trapped on zero-hour contracts with no idea of what their wages will be next week. I really welcome Labour’s announcement that the next Labour Government will put a stop to the exploitation of these contracts.
There has been a lot in the press about Labour’s proposed reforms of our relationship with the trade unions. People may wonder why this matters to them. It matters as we are changing the Labour Party so we can change the country – and carry out all those reforms that will really make a difference to people.
The Conservatives don’t represent the whole country. Under David Cameron, they hold working people, as members of trade unions, in contempt. Being One Nation is about governing for the whole country – and that’s why Ed Miliband is arguing for a new kind of Labour Party, one with a new relationship with individual trade union members.
Currently, we have three million working men and women formally affiliated to Labour. But the vast majority of them play no role. They are affiliated in name only. They don’t really have a voice – and we aren’t hearing what they have to tell us. We want to make every member a real part of the Labour Party – and want people to make a positive choice to join us and to make their voice and their stories heard.
We’ve seen that Ed Miliband is determined this change will happen. I really support what he’s doing – and want to play my part in getting more working people involved in the Labour Party here in Pendle. If you want to see our country change so everybody is getting a fair chance, and our government works for all of us – not just a few at the top – I hope you’ll join me.
Pendle Labour Party Vice Chair (Membership)