With Andy Burnham MP
House of Commons, 18 June 2012
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It’s great to see you all here today to share this discussion with us.
I’ve had so many congratulations, on twitter and elsewhere, on bringing the Olympics to this country – but just to let you know, I’m not Tessa Jowell!
I’m Harriet Harman, and I’m here with Clive Efford, our Shadow Sports Minister. And I’m Shadow Secretray of State for DCMS, and delighted to see everybody here today.
Especially with Andy Reed. Andy, who as well as doing so much when he worked with the ministerial team at DCMS, and as well as doing so much at national level, has always walked the walk – or perhaps I should say run with the ball – at local level in Leicestershire
- in actually playing for Birstall Rugby Union Club, and
- doing so much to build on and support the work of Loughborough University, which is massively impressive.
So congratulations to Andy on his OBE in the Honours List over the weekend, which is incredibly well-deserved for your work at local level and at national level.
What we’ve all been thinking about and talking about is continuing the work of, and trying to build on the achievements of, what Andy and other colleagues did on sport when we were in government.
And Gerry Sutcliffe, who’s in the audience – we’ll always remember you for Camberwell Leisure Centre, and being able to go swimming in the Camberwell Baths.
Local community by local community, you can see the absolute backing of people like Gerry and Andy to get those facilities for local people.
And I think it’s really great Andy Burnham has taken on the health portfolio, because it means you can carry on that passion and commitment.
Although we’re not in government, we want to support the government when they’re doing the right thing and when DCMS is doing the right thing. And when the plug is being pulled on them by the education department or the Treasury, we will back them up when they’re doing the right thing.
But obviously we will be very critical of them when they’re doing the wrong thing.
We want to see sport across the country as well as in our own constituencies. Because there’s a democratic imperative in sport for every MP, whether they’re sporty or not.
When you are a sports-mad country, when you’ve got parents, kids, local communities, all participating in sport, supporting their children, watching sport on TV, it’s a democratic imperative.
If we are to represent our constituents, we have to take sport seriously.
People can’t imagine their lives without sport, especially this summer with Euro 2012 and the Olympics.
It’s important for health. And it’s important for the economy as well.
But it’s also so important in public policy because our constituents think it’s important. Especially young people. And I think Andy’s point – that sport is not a luxury that we can’t afford in a time of austerity, but is part of the answer to the future – is absolutely right.
Sport and the economy
I was very struck by a number of things when I visited Loughborough University.
I met lots of excellent people there. And I wondered, why is it so different from the House of Commons?
And then I realised it’s because many of the people I met there had muscles rippling under their suits.
But also there were brains rippling as well as muscles rippling, on all these issues about how sport and leisure are important for our economy.
The figures are very clear on this. According to a Business in Sport and Leisure report, the economic contribution of sports activities, health and fitness was £25.4bn in 2010, with sport representing £18.3bn of that.
And you could see all the people in Loughborough knew that: they were not only passionate about sport but understand it’s going to be a future career and a part of our future economic growth.
So when we talk about legacy – those fantastic facilities in Loughborough are an absolute credit to you, Andy.
And sport is something we’re renowned for all around the world.
You all know this.
But I’ve travelled a lot in Africa (because many of my constituents come from Africa), and whether you’re in Ghana, or Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, you see the British footballers – English footballers – everywhere, absolutely pre-eminent.
I think the strength of that was reflected in last week’s £3billion deal for Premiership TV rights, and that underlines the huge success that English football is.
But I think at a time when local community sport is suffering, we have to absolutely insist that this helps sport and football at the grassroots level. It must deliver for that.
Football has its roots in all of our communities and this is one occasion where the Premier League in particular needs to remember the phrase: ‘we are all in it together’.
And make it a reality.
As to the question of fans. The Premier League wouldn’t be able to have the success it does without the fans, and the passion that people in this country feel for the game.
But many people do ask – and we see that again with the television rights purchase – how much of it is going to get down to local level?
Is it actually going to make season ticket prices go up rather than down? Why is it that Premiership players can be on an average of £22,000 a week, over a million pounds a year, and the season tickets at Arsenal start at over £950?
And of course there’s always the demand on all parents for football shirts which cost so much.
It is paradoxical, at a time when the Premier League is receiving £3billion from TV rights, fans are worried not only about the cost of the game but the financial threat to their clubs, from Rangers to Portsmouth.
And that’s why one of the things Clive has been strongly arguing for is more access to information, more transparency for fans – from clubs to fans – to let them see what is actually going on.
One thing I just want to mention, and in football in particular – something we’ve seen highlighted recently – is tackling racism.
I think when we all saw those images on the TV from Poland and Ukraine, we all thought two things:
- Firstly, we were horrified, and also had a sense that everybody in this country would be horrified
- But also a sense that we have made a lot of progress on this over the years, and that is because of incredible hard work.
Everyone felt aggrieved that the family of Theo Walcott, whose performance was so important against Sweden, couldn’t comfortably travel to the game.
And I think it’s really important that we emphasise the support we have for initiatives such as Kick It Out and Show Racism the Red Card.
But we should never be complacent in that work. We are a million miles from where we used to be, and from where they are in Poland and Ukraine, but we mustn’t be complacent and everybody knows that.
In my own borough, in Millwall, where 48% of the population in Southwark is black, if you see Millwall fans flooding into the stadium they’re nearly all white, and we need to make sure we keep working so people feel comfortable to support their local team.
So we’ve got to continue making strenuous efforts on that.
A nation that loves sport
It’s because sport is so important that we did do all the things that Andy described when we were in government.
Investing in school sports.
I think it’s also part of the equality of opportunity agenda: you shouldn’t only have access to sport because your parents have got the money to finance it, or because you go to a school with lavish private facilities.
Sport is absolutely a question about equality and equal access, but that doesn’t drop down from the sky. It has to be worked at as part of public policy.
We all saw the effect of introducing School Sports Partnerships, which increased the children taking part in 2 hours high quality PE each week from 25% in 1997 to over 90% by 2010. That was spreading access to sport.
Competition and participation
And I think about the kids in John Ruskin school in my constituency. The School Games are very important indeed. But to get to that there has to be competitive sport within John Ruskin primary school. Then there’s got to be competitive sports between that primary school and other primary schools in the local area. And then London-wide.
All before that person – who might be, for us, the future Usain Bolt – gets picked up.
That’s why the argument that poses wide participation against competitive sport is an egregious one. A phony argument.
The kids who we need to extend participation to are going to be every bit as interested as the ones who are going to be the highest level achievers in competitive sport, so I think it’s terrible when one is posed against the other.
We need the widest possible participation not only for its own sake, but also because we want to support the next generation of world class elite sports men and women.
School sport cuts
That’s why we’re so worried about the triple-whammy hitting school sports.
Central government funding for school sport has been cut by 60%. In some areas that might not be so much of a problem where parents can chip in.
But I can tell you, the parents in my constituency are often doing more than one job to make ends meet, and they don’t have the money to be able to chip in when the government pulls back 60% of funding.
- Cutting the funding.
- Axing the School Sports Partnerships.
- And at the same time, getting rid of the School Sport Survey.
And I really want to hear from you – and this is something I discussed with people in Loughborough – how do we measure in the absence of that survey?
I think the government is hoping it will go under the radar.
We need to measure and see what young people are doing in order to make sure that we hold the government to account for what they said they would do for school sport.
Women and sport
I want to back up too what Andy said about women and sport.
I think that argument you made, Andy – that sport is not just for a part of the population, it is for the whole population – is absolutely right.
And we are not a minority, but it is very odd that sometimes you get the impression that people in sport are talking about women as if we are a minority.
Actually, we’re 50% plus of the population. So that is something we’ve got to think about, about how we encourage wider participation amongst women and girls.
I think the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation’s survey was very interesting, finding that young women wanted to get more active but that they’d been put off by the way PE was run in schools.
Part of that is making sure that PE goes with the grain of what young people want to do.
And I think another part of that is giving our amazing sportswomen a higher profile.
It really did tell us everything we needed to know that the last BBC Sports Personality of the Year could not even get one woman onto the shortlist.
The shortlisting panel appeared to include representatives from Nuts and Zoo, who have women in their sights in one way – but clearly not in the right way.
I’m a huge supporter of the BBC, but when they manage to include a panda on their women of the year shortlist but not any woman on Sports Personality of the Year, it’s absolutely crazy.
So we need to have action on that, and cross-party working, as Andy’s been doing.
Parenting and sport
The other thing I would say is that sport is not only economic policy, not only is it health policy, but it’s also family policy.
I think there’s been a big recognition within the education department that it’s not just schools and brilliant teachers that teach children how to read – vital though they are – it is also parental support that actually makes all the difference in the world.
That has been recognised, and policies adopted for that, in relation to reading in particular. But if you actually look at our sports participation, and parents being able to support their children in their sporting development, it’s absolutely critical.
And I think that we should do more to acknowledge and celebrate and facilitate parents being involved in their children’s sporting activity.
If you look behind all of the sport that’s going on at local community level, there are parents there, and we should be recognising that sport is something that brings families together.
If you look at sports stars, there are parents there – people like Tom Daley, and we think about his dad; Andy Murray, and we think about his mum; and Jenson Button, and we think about his dad.
And yet there is not necessarily a policy approach to how we actually recognise that and support that.
My parents supported me in sport. Just because I’m not an international sports star, it doesn’t mean my parents didn’t try!
And just because my children aren’t international sports stars, it doesn’t mean I didn’t try. It doesn’t mean I wasn’t on the touchline of the football pitch, or on the balcony of the swimming pool.
It’s part of parenting.
It should be part of education, part of our economy, but part of parenting as well.
And I think we need to celebrate those mums and those dads who are actually being pivotal to their children’s sporting success and helping them get on in their lives.
None of our sports would run without volunteers – community-minded people – and not just parents.
Running sports clubs and helping run sports clubs, the massive amount of volunteering that goes into sports – there should be a recognition of that.
I think of a woman I met on the train on Friday: Nikki Hennessy from West Lancashire.
She was coming down on the train because she was going to try on her purple uniform as an Olympic volunteer, and was absolutely delighted about it.
She’s a volunteer. She’s actually paying her own train fares, her own hotel costs, because she wants to contribute to what we’re bringing to this country.
And she is part of the legacy of the Olympics that we have to keep faith with, the legacy of all those people who’ve participated in it, and all the aspirations of the kids watching it.
We’ve got to make sure that we pressure the government at national level.
And we will support all of our councillors at local level.
When they’re being told ‘it’s such tough times in local government, it’s a luxury we can’t afford, we’re having to cut adult social care, so how on earth can we keep this facility or that facility open?’, that we work as a team.
That we say, actually, it is important and you’re right to know and believe it is important.
Because those things you are doing today in local government – they are important for people tomorrow. In the economy, and in their health, and in their families and their local communities.
So I think we feel – in very challenging times – we’re going to work as a team, across departments, to support sport.
If the government does the right thing, they will find us unstinting in our support for them.
When they don’t, we will be there to criticise them and hold them to account.
I’m very fortunate in my work, not only from all my parental and local experiences, but by having a great shadow sports minister in the shape of Clive Efford, and being able to work with someone who is a beacon – as well as a nifty footballer himself – in Andy Burnham.
Charles Wheeler Lecture
University of Westminster, 13 June 2013
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I’m absolutely delighted and honoured to be here. And congratulations to Robin Lustig, a very worthy winner of this year’s Charles Wheeler award.
Thank you very much for inviting me to give this lecture, and to give it here at the University of Westminster – what a fantastic building. And I’m delighted to be introduced by Steve Barnett who has toiled so long, and with such wisdom, on the question of media reform. It’s such a pleasure to work with you Steve – you always have wise words to take people forward.
And it’s an honour to be here with Lady Wheeler.
The Charles Wheeler lecture is an important event in the media calendar.
And I can remember as if it were yesterday, Charles Wheeler's broadcasts down the decades. Just the sight of his furrowed brow and the beady intelligence of his eyes conjured up authority, honesty, depth and experience. He continued to broadcast right up into his 80s. And I look forward to the day when women are able to continue to broadcast beyond their 50th birthday.
The importance of journalism
He was respected by all for all the best qualities in journalism.
No-one here will be in any doubt about the importance of journalism:
• the medium for debate without which our democracy couldn't function
• holding power to account
• informing and entertaining, and
• telling us about ourselves and the world in which we live.
Often great journalism requires:
• great courage
• great tenacity and commitment.
The Leveson Inquiry
But this year’s Charles Wheeler’s lecture comes at a time when, after the public revulsion at the revelation of the hacking of Milly Dowler's phone, people are questioning the values and ethics of journalism.
And this was what led up to:
• the Leveson Inquiry being set up
• then cross party talks
• parliament's approval of a draft Royal Charter to establish a new press complaints regime
• And then the press putting forward their own draft Royal Charter.
We are yet to get to the end of that process and it all remains deeply controversial.
The draft Royal Charter approved by Parliament
But the draft Royal Charter supported by the victims of press intrusion and approved by parliament provides the complaints system which is long overdue and poses no threat to the freedom of the press.
It is ironic that when we're talking about news reporting, hostile reporting of the Draft Royal Charter has fostered a number of myths.
I want to explode some of those myths today.
First it is constantly referred to as press regulation. It is not regulation, it is redress for those who complain about breaches by the press of their own code. So can we please be accurate and refer to it as a press complaints system and not press regulation.
Second it is attacked for being born out of a stitch-up in discussions from which the press were excluded. Not true. There were extensive discussions with the press. Government ministers met the press numerous times - and many more times than they met the victims of press intrusion. Looking back at my diary it’s clear that I had many meetings with the victims of press intrusion and Hacked Off. And I make no apology for that. But I had even more meetings with newspapers - with editors and proprietors.
And during those discussions we sought to work through how we could make the Leveson proposals work in practice - neither gold-plating them nor watering them down
The third myth is that press concerns about Leveson's report were ignored. Not true. Leveson proposed the recognition system be set up in statute and we supported that. The press didn't want that, so the government proposed a Royal Charter instead and - despite our misgivings – we accepted that. And there were many other changes - such as in the arbitration system and the responsibility for the code - that the press called for and we made.
The fourth myth is that it involves political interference in the press. Far from it. There's an absolute aversion to that from all sides of the House of Commons. No parliamentarian has called for political interference in the press. So we went to great lengths to keep Ministers and Parliament out of the process, and that’s what Leveson’s proposals actually did.
Under the terms of the draft Royal Charter, politicians are banned from:
• Serving on the Recognition Panel or
• Serving on the board of the independent self-regulator.
Once the Charter has been sealed by the Privy Council, to prevent ministers meddling with it, it cannot be changed except by a 2/3 majority of both Houses of Parliament.
So those were all things to keep politicians from being involved.
The fifth myth is that it's designed for national papers and threatens local papers. In fact, Leveson specifically provides that, if they want, local papers can set up their own regulator - or have different arrangements within the national regulator.
So the draft Royal Charter framework protects journalistic standards, protects the public and protects the freedom of the press.
Where we are now
This is a very controversial issue over which there have been heated and divisive arguments for decades.
So it is highly significant that all the party leaders agreed on the draft Royal Charter and brought it to Parliament. And it is highly significant that it was then endorsed unanimously by Parliament on 18 March.
But we are not at the end of the road of what is a complex and byzantine process of a Royal Charter. The situation has been complicated by the fact that while the government were ironing out the last technicalities of the Charter approved by Parliament a section of the newspaper industry (PressBoF) submitted to the Privy Council their own proposals for a Royal Charter.
The Privy Council can only consider one Charter on any one issue at the same time. And as the PressBoF draft Royal Charter was the first one to be submitted, the Privy Council must follow due process and must have the space to do that.
The Privy Council has now consulted on the PressBoF Royal Charter. We await their decision, and hope the Government will have the opportunity to submit the parliamentary Royal Charter to the Privy Council in due course.
We don’t yet know if and when the Privy Council will turn its attention to the draft Royal Charter approved by Parliament. But we hope it will be soon, because Parliament resolved in March for it to go to the Privy Council in May, which of course hasn’t happened.
But if and when it is approved, this will then be the process.
The Royal Charter will be sealed by the Privy Council.
The Commissioner for Public Appointments will appoint an Appointments Committee. That Appointments Committee will appoint the members of the Recognition Panel.
It will then be up to the press to propose an independent self-regulatory body, or bodies, which match up to the Recognition Criteria in the Royal Charter.
If within 12 months of the Royal Charter being sealed, not all significant news publishers are part of the system, the Recognition Panel will have to report that to Parliament and the public.
If within 15 months of the Royal Charter being sealed, there is no regulator, the Recognition Panel will have to report that to Parliament and the public.
Not just impunity, but invincibility
So that's the complaints system.
But while the sense of impunity which came from the lack of a proper press complaints system was a key part of the problem, so too was the sense of invincibility that came with too much newspaper power concentrated in the hands of one man and the lack of proper regulation to guard against media monopoly.
And that was also within Leveson's terms of reference.
The malpractice and illegality exposed by the Leveson inquiry was never just "one rogue reporter" or a few corrupt public officials. It was a symptom of an underlying problem: the power that comes from monopoly ownership. Before the News of the World closed, Murdoch owned newspapers with 37% of national circulation – two of the most influential dailies and two of the most influential Sunday papers. That is too much power in one man's hands. And had it not been for the hacking scandal his bid for the whole of BSkyB would have been waved through.
But this isn’t just about Rupert Murdoch.
It’s about guarding against monopoly, promoting the principle of plurality and having proper regulation for a media world where there is massive change and convergence between newspapers, broadcasting and social media.
Media monopoly matters
Preventing monopoly is important in any commercial area - for all the reasons we know about - such as protecting against new entrants being obstructed from getting into the market.
But there is an even greater imperative over and above the usual objections to monopoly when it comes to the media, because the media is about communication and the exchange of information in our democracy.
The concentration of unaccountable media power distorts the political system.
The free flow of information, of different points of view, is crucial for open debate.
The availability of a diverse range of views is important to each and every citizen.
But if you have a concentration of power, you have a small number of people who have too much control:
• Over the political agenda
• Over the public policy debate
• Over political decision making.
What makes media monopoly different from others is that the media plays a role in representing politicians to the public in a way that influences their votes. When a media company grows too big, it has the ability to trade policy influence for favourable coverage which is damaging to our democracy.
Too much power in too few hands hinders proper debate.
Plurality ensures that no media owner can exert too much influence on public opinion and on policy makers.
It ensures that no media company can have so much influence that it feels itself invincible, above, even, the rule of law.
It ensures no private interest can set itself above the public interest.
The time for reform is now
But we don’t have a proper regime for protecting against monopoly.
The inadequacies and complexities of the system were laid bare by the News Corp bid for the whole of BSkyB.
And the system is out of date – this is an age of great change in the media, where we have print newspapers, broadcast media and new media, and a convergence of all three.
Everyone agrees the system doesn't work and is out of date and that this problem - which has been there for some time – must be addressed now.
And this includes the Prime Minister. In the House of Commons in July 2011, after the revelation of Milly Dowler’s phone being hacked, he said:
[to] address the vexed issue of media power. We need competition policy to be properly enforced. We need a sensible look at the relevance of plurality and cross-media ownership. Above all, we need to ensure that no one voice... becomes too powerful.
We agree with him.
We feel it would be best for us to go about this - as we did with press complaints - on a completely cross-party basis.
So I make this offer to Culture Secretary, Maria Miller. I call on her to establish a process that:
• brings the political parties together
• engages with the media industry and experts, and
• frames proposals for new regulation which should form part of a new Communications Act.
This process needs to be transparent, objective and have integrity.
There are a number of key issues that this process should address, about ownership within media sectors as well as cross-media ownership.
We favour clear bright lines –
• a lower ownership level below which there is no issue
• an upper limit beyond which it would not be possible to go and where there will need to be divestment
• and a clear, non discretionary regulatory regime of obligations (such as measures to bolster editorial independence, independent governance and duties to promote plurality) for those media organisations which fall in the middle band between the lower level and upper limit.
So, lower limit – no problem. Middle band – a non-discretionary set of obligations. Upper limit – not possible.
There’s already been a great deal of thinking on this.
Enders Analysis have proposed a 15% cross-media limit which would include any medium of communication that stands between a creator of content and an audience. Avaaz has proposed 20% as the upper limit for ownership within any one sector, while the NUJ has put forward a limit of 25% across media sectors and within each media sector.
Whatever the figures arrived at, we will need agreement on a clear measurement methodology that includes a recognition of the important influence of new media players online.
This process which I am proposing will also need to agree when those judgements about share will be made - not just, as now, when there's an event such as a merger but by continuous market monitoring.
And the process will need to agree remedies that will need to be applied when those limits are exceeded.
Clear limits and a non-discretionary regime for the middle band will remove the temptation for media organisations to pressurize ministers and the regulator and tie them up in litigation.
The process should also agree on the question of the ‘fit and proper person’ test. We think it’s currently undefined and too narrow and needs to be properly defined, so it clearly covers impropriety and failures of good governance as well as criminal convictions.
And the process should take particular account of the different circumstances that obtain at a local level, both broadcast and print.
Local newspapers are very important indeed, and when we talk of diversity and plurality, it is not just on a national level. Local reporting is important. It is central to the lives of communities and to local democracy across the country:
• keeping people in touch with local events in their community
• keeping people informed about important local issues through their reporting, and
• holding local democracy to account.
It’s 10 years since Parliament last decided on these issues - and that was before Facebook, let alone Twitter... The Communications Act 2003 doesn't even use the word ‘internet’!
The pace of change is only accelerating so our framework must be "future proof". And though it’s all very challenging and complex, it must not be left in the ‘too difficult’ box.
And above all, we will not make progress if we allow the political parties to divide on this issue.
We should work together to make sure that the freedom of debate in the democracy which we all care about is protected.
So British democracy and the British people, has the media it needs, the media it deserves, and a media which would be very different to the world of Charles Wheeler, but where the values it embodies would make him proud of it.
Harriet Harman MP, Labour’s Deputy Leader and Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, today, at the Roundhouse in London, made a speech on Young People and the Arts:
9 June 2014
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I would like to start with a huge thank you to Marcus and Nicola and your team here at the Roundhouse for hosting this event.
You're blazing a trail on the question we are discussing today - which is the fundamental question of how we ensure all young people are engaged with arts and culture. I've seen for myself here today the pioneering work you do with young people so there's no better place to be having this discussion than in this iconic venue.
And I’d like to thank all of you for the many discussions we've had together and for taking the time to be here today.
It’s very easy in difficult times just to feel on the defensive, but we should do the opposite. This is exactly the time to think big.
I think we're all determined that, despite the challenges which are everywhere, it is possible to make a huge leap forward on public policy on the arts.
And that is why today I'm publishing a consultation document which sets out a series of questions about arts policy and young people which I hope you'll give answers to and which will pave the way for a big and bold arts commitment in our manifesto.
Why arts and culture matter
I come to this as someone who believes that the arts are fundamental to what it is to be human. For how each individual develops and understands and sees themselves and the world around them. For how we understand and interpret time and place.
And that is why it must be for everyone, not just for some. And that's why it is a public policy imperative to make that the case.
There has been a view that public policy on arts, culture and creativity should focus principally on the contribution it makes to the economy. And that is certainly important.
But it’s about far more than just the economics...
It’s about what it means for each and every individual, for all our communities as well as the economy.
Arts are important for individuals
I think we should talk about rights here. It is every child’s right to open up and explore their artistic and creative potential which should be a journey which goes on for the rest of their life.
It gives them the opportunity to learn to enjoy, understand and make a rich contribution to every aspect of their lives – social, political, economic, psychological.
A sense of where they’ve come from historically, a sense of where they’re going; and how they may want to change that and take control of their lives.
It helps them in every way to become that unique person that they, and they alone, have the potential to be.
So, that being the case, how, then, can we accept a situation where some get that opportunity and others do not? How can we tolerate cultural exclusion?
Creative and cultural learning supports attainment in all subjects including in literacy and maths.
And research shows that taking part in arts activities at school can make up for early disadvantage in terms of:
• likelihood to progress to further education;
• employment outcomes; and more general benefits, like
• participating in society through volunteering and voting.
Having an appreciation of, and an engagement with, the arts gives a young person what many of you have described to me as cultural capital - which is important in and of itself, but also contributes to social mobility.
Research demonstrates that taking part in arts activities develops social skills like confidence and communication, giving young people wider social networks in school and in their wider community.
Some children will find they have a unique talent and want to pursue a career in the arts or creative industries. That's not just the right of each individual, it’s important for the talent pool for our artists and creators of the future.
Arts are important for communities
Young people’s engagement in arts is vital in for their sense of community and place. The leaders of our great cities - like Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Gateshead - are in no doubt about the importance of the arts to civic identity. And that is why they are so determined to sustain the arts in their cities. Albert Bore, the Leader of Birmingham City Council, once said that without the arts, our cities are deserts.
And, beyond the individual, the whole community benefits when the arts are a path to rescuing a young person who has gone off the rails or when the arts play their part in helping people struggling with mental illness. Arts and culture refresh the parts that others can’t reach - that's why it is so incomprehensible to ban books being sent to prison.
Arts are important for the economy
At a time when people ask where the jobs of the future are going to come from, and how we're going to pay our way in the world, we should be in no doubt about the importance of arts and the creative industries for jobs, growth and the economy.
This country excels in the arts and culture in all their forms. We produce some of the greatest creativity on the plant – whether it’s music, fashion, film, theatre, broadcast, design, art, our libraries, our museums. Our cultural creativity is admired and envied – and consumed – around the world.
That's why the creative economy already accounts for over 2.5 million jobs and contributed over £70billion a year to the UK’s economy and £15.5 billion of exports. Creative industries are growing faster than any other sector.
This artistic and creative success which is so evident today did not come out of the blue - it is built on years of public support and investment.
Investment which nurtured the creative talent of people from all walks of life, in all parts of this country because arts and culture thrives on the widest pool of talent.
For our economic success in this sector to continue to grow in the future, it needs a widening not a narrowing talent pool.
Why focus on young people?
So it is alarming that, when we know it’s the right of every child to art and culture; when we know how important it is to the community and when we know we need the widest talent pool for our creative economy - that we are going in the wrong direction.
That is what underlies your concern that because of what the government is doing, the arts are in danger of becoming:
•More remote from children from working class backgrounds;
•More remote from young people in our disadvantaged communities;
•More remote from young people in our regions; and
•More the prerogative of a metropolitan elite.
The government has cut the Arts Council. Local councils have been cut to the bone and the hardest hit are the councils in the most deprived areas. That's particularly damaging for arts and culture in our regions.
And they have downgraded the role of arts and culture in our education system and we are already seeing the results of that.
A decline in arts in school
The indisputable fact is that since this Government came to power there's been a marked reduction in the participation of children in the arts - look at what the Government's own report "Taking Part" says is what's happening in schools.
For primary school children, participation in arts activities is down by a third:
o music down from 55% to 36%;
o theatre and drama down from 49% to 33%;
o dance down from 45% to 29%; and
o visits to a heritage sites have declined
In a third of all museums, visits from school children have decreased.
And, the whole government narrative around the Ebacc, which the arts community fought so valiantly against, sent a damaging signal to downgrade the arts in education.
So now the number of children sitting arts GCSE’s is declining. Since the election...
o music down 9%
o drama down 13%.
o film excluded from the curriculum altogether.
They've cut teacher training places in arts education by 35%, and the numbers of specialist arts teachers has fallen.
This makes no sense in terms of the arts and our creative industries but it makes no sense in wider educational terms either.
We reject the binary choice between science and arts.
We need our young people to grow up to be problem solvers – to be creative and analytical – to become innovative and inquiring in their chosen profession.
The STEAM subjects – science, technology, engineering, arts and maths – in combination are more than the sum of their parts.
Music improves spatial reasoning and has long been associated with better maths.
Arts and engineering excellence have been linked back as far as Leonardo di Vinci.
There must be no sense that arts and creative subjects in education are somehow a “soft touch”. Nicola Benedetti rightly highlights the discipline, focus and application that music demands. And try telling Deborah Bull or Arlene Phillips that dance is a soft option.
Artistic endeavour demands all that and great courage – exactly the things that young people need for their future in a demanding and changing world.
What we would aim to do in education
That is why I am determined that, in our manifesto, we will give arts their proper place in education - a point that you have emphasised so clearly and so publicly.
In discussion with you, we want to shape a clear commitment for a Labour government to a universal cultural entitlement for every child.
That would mean two things - experiencing excellence and participation.
You'll see in the questions we ask - should this mean a guarantee that every child visits a theatre, concert, gallery every year? Should every child be guaranteed to take part in music, drama, dance and painting?
What we need you to help us with is to craft something which is not overly bureaucratic but which does demonstrably deliver.
Which gives the certainty that it is really getting to every child, without it being top-down, one-size fits all.
One of the things which is clear is that arts provision in schools is not even a post-code lottery, it is so patchy that it varies even from school to school.
Some schools include arts in their curriculum and take up opportunities to visit local arts institutions and others just don't.
It so much depends on the commitment of the head or a particular teacher. One of the key questions in our consultation is what role Ofsted should play in ensuring high standards in creative learning activity in every school. Should a school be able to be rated as outstanding if it doesn't provide an outstanding cultural education?
We've already made a commitment that if we get into government we will offer after-school clubs through every primary school. I want to hear from you how we can mainstream arts and culture into this expanded after-school sector.
Education is so important because it’s the only chance for all those children who don't get culture at home. This doesn't mean that families who don't have culture at home do not value it – given half the chance, they do.
When I was invited by David Lan to see the excellent student production of a Samuel Becket play at the Young Vic, I chatted to the woman sitting in front of me. It turns out she lives in my constituency and works as a cleaner.
She was bursting with pride seeing her daughter shine on stage
The Young Vic programme that had given her daughter that opportunity, had unleashed her inner tiger mum.
So don't let anyone think that the aspiration for your children is confined only to pushy, middle class parents.
Our approach to arts subsidy
Labour strongly believes there's a public policy imperative for the government to support the arts.
I am very clear that, for all the reasons I've set out, we must have state support through public funds for the arts. It cannot be left to the private market or philanthropy.
But there is a democratic imperative for the arts to show why the hard-pressed tax payer - struggling with the cost of living crisis - should fund the arts.
Public funding is only sustainable to the extent that the public who are paying for it support it. So the public have got to see:
• What is public funds are being put into it and
• What they are getting out of it.
Unless people know the vital role of public funding in the arts they enjoy, they won't defend it.
In any programme, on any plaque in a theatre/gallery or arts venue you can see the names of companies that have donated or generous philanthropists.
But the biggest donor - the tax payer is virtually invisible. Just a micro dot of the arts council logo is not enough. I think every programme or plaque should have a pie chart showing the public support. Just like private donors can't be taken for granted - nor can the public donor.
So they've got to see what goes in. But they've also got to see what comes out of it
That is particularly the case when there is, and will continue to be, a squeeze on public finances.
Whilst in better times, it might have been possible to fund the arts without consciously engaging public support, that just isn't the case now.
When the NHS is struggling, and councils face agonising choices about cutting care for dementia sufferers - public funding for the arts is only sustainable to the extent that the public know it matters for them.
And the public will not support the arts, especially at such difficult times, for family and public finances, if there's even a suspicion that its disproportionately something for the elite, for a privileged few.
We all have to turn and address this big issue.
If you are getting public money, people have to have a stake in what you do.
So we have to have a genuine and visible widening of access and inclusion. For example I know the Royal Opera House does great work in Thurrock which I visited recently.
But when I went to the Opera House last week - even from the cheapest seats in the house - I couldn't see in the audience anyone who wasn't like myself - white, metropolitan and middle class.
For institutions which get public funds, it can't be like that. To change audiences, there has to be committed, focused intervention.
And you can see when that's done.
At a St Lukes concert I was at by Aurora last month, there was a group of young people who were clearly not the usual suspects. They clearly didn't know to wait until the end and enthusiastically clapped after the first movement. I was delighted when they did that - it showed that they were there for the very first time and, more importantly, that they loved it. And they were made to feel welcome.
You will see the challenge we pose on this in our consultation document - should we make the role of the Arts Council much clearer and more specific on this than it is now and should it demand much greater accountability?
Should it be a clear condition, fully spelt out, for organisations getting public money through the Arts Council, that they demonstrate how they will extend opportunities to young people and publish progress on how they are doing this year on year?
And arts institutions have, even if they are national, a particular responsibility to the children and young people in their own area.
It massively strengthens the case for public subsidy when an institution - like the Turner Contemporary - can say what percentage of primary school children in Thanet and Margate have been through their doors, and be committed to increase it year on year. It’s almost worse to have Turner Contemporary in your area if it’s for other people, not for you.
That goes for higher education institutions too. Camberwell School of Art is a wonderful national school. But its in the deprived community of Camberwell. I don't want any child to have gone to Oliver Goldsmiths primary school - in the same block as the Arts school - but never have been up those steps. A start is being made by the college, the local council, local schools and Peckham Platform. But we've a got way further to go.
I know a lot of good work goes on you are passionate champions of. But, it's not nearly enough and most people don't know anything about it.
Universality doesn’t mean dumbing down
There's always the argument that universality means dumbing down.
I challenge that vigorously - it is a false dichotomy to say you must choose between universality and excellence.
I don't believe that none of the children in Oliver Goldsmiths, Harris Academy or St Thomas The Apostle are interested enough or talented enough in painting, graphics, photography, sculpture or fashion to go to Camberwell.
It was universality in dance in Cuba that gave us Carlos Acosta.
It was universality in Venezuela's El Sistema that put the bassist Edicson Ruiz into the Berlin Philharmonic.
The danger is that, at the moment, there is a growing number of young people with no meaningful exposure to arts and culture.
And nor must we let the best be the enemy of the good. The good is a stepping stone to the best.
It wasn't elitism that gave birth to the creative excellence of Tracey Emin, Danny Boyle or Steve McQueen.
We shouldn't protect the arts from the people - we need to allow people into the arts.
The BBC Proms is funded by the public through the license-fee payer. I love to experience their excellence in the Albert Hall - and people come from all around the country but I don't see people from my own constituency there.
The BBC is a huge and important arts organisation and I'm delighted that they are bringing this all together with BBC Arts.
But we pose the question in our consultation - should the BBC ensure that in all aspects of their work they have a targeted, specific and visible focus on inclusion of young people across the regions - including through audiences, internships, and engagement with schools.
Across the whole country – local councils
It is very important when thinking about a universal entitlement for young people, that we look at the particular, and very different, challenges that there are outside London, across the regions.
The reality is that - especially outside London – support and funding for arts and culture depends on local councils.
Because of their importance to local arts I've pulled together a network of the councillors who have the lead responsibility in their council for culture and the arts.
Our Creative Councillors’ Network brings together best practice on supporting arts not just on direct funding but also through things like planning and licensing permissions, using public spaces for the arts, sharing council back office functions with small arts organisations and using empty shops for the arts.
Many have taken a lead working with arts organisations in their local area and drawn up a specific arts and culture strategy.
One of the questions we pose in our consultation is whether all local authorities should have the responsibility to take the lead on developing a local arts and culture strategy with a particular focus on the inclusion of young people.
Our record and ambitions for the future
In laying the ground for the future, it is helpful to glance back to learn what we can from the past.
We're fiercely proud of what we did in government:
• Free entrance to museums and galleries, meaning a third more visits by the under-16s;
• Creativity in education, and Creative Partnerships;
• Trebling the Arts Council’s budget, and supporting the arts through local government funding and regeneration projects; and
• The Cultural Olympiad.
But there were some things that we did not do:
• We did not embed and entrench the sense that every young person has a right to the arts and this is a universal entitlement - irrespective of a child’s family background or where they live.
• We didn’t very publicly make, and win, the case for public subsidy for the arts underpinning this.
• We should have done more to banish the notion that the arts is seen by the public mostly for the privileged few.
Notwithstanding the fact that if elected, we would inherit difficult financial circumstances - that is what we should do now.
Britain is blessed with:
• Brilliant creative talent;
• Dynamic artistic cities;
• Vibrant festivals; and
• One of the world’s most iconic cultural institutions - the BBC.
But what we don't have from the current government is ….
• Substantial, strategic, visionary leadership; and
• An arts policy fit for the 21st century which ensures art and culture for all.
Ed Miliband and I are very clear that we want, at the heart of our 2015 manifesto, a bold offer for young people and the arts.
That would be my mission as Culture Secretary and I know that working together with all of you, we could make that happen.
Thank you for being here today.
1. Cuts Survey, Gina Evan, Museums Association, 2013
26th August 2014
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
I'm so pleased to be here with you in Ealing.
Ealing Central and Acton is a constituency saddled with a Tory MP – who has voted to introduce the bedroom tax, give tax cuts for millionaires, squander precious NHS resources on a massive reorganisation, voted against cutting fuel bills and against measures that would start bringing some sanity into the London housing market – for renters and buyers.
Ealing and Acton desperately needs a Labour MP. And in Rupa Huq, we’ve got a great candidate who will make an outstanding MP for this constituency and an outstanding contribution to Parliament.
Labour's team is stronger here since we won more council wards in the local elections earlier this year – in fact, in this constituency, on council Election Day,it was Labour which won the most votes – so that's very encouraging.
But I know Rupa and her team are taking nothing for granted, and campaigning hard, with the help of our local councillors, members and activists for a Labour win next year.
The gains we've made at council level – not just here in Ealing, but all over the country – are a vital building block in our General Election campaign. But they are important in their own right. It has never been more important to have a Labour councillor, and a Labour council, on your side
Our councillors are at the forefront of demonstrating fairness in tough times.
Yesterday Hilary Benn showed that the most deprived areas are being hit hardest by the Tories' spending reductions. And that some of the wealthiest areas have actually seen an increase in spending power.
So I want to pay tribute to the work that our councillors are doing across the country – paying the living wage, finding creative ways to protect services, battling the Bedroom Tax and expanding schools whilst facing some of the toughest budget cuts.
In my role as Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, I have been impressed by how Labour councillors are achieving this.
We know it is a difficult time for our culture leads in local government, having to make the case for arts and culture spending when social care, elderly care, rubbish collection and other essential services are facing cuts too.
But we have to make the case for culture – the arts are important for individual opportunity, in shaping communities, and in bringing jobs, economic growth and regeneration.
That's why we’ve invited Labour councils to share their ideas, and there are already some great examples.
Here in Ealing, the Labour Council has an arts strategy which aims to enable more opportunities for all to participate and get involved locally. They help shape their communities through festivals and by supporting organisations like Pitzhanger Manor where we are today.
And, just as Pitzhanger Manor is used In TV production, in Ealing they seek to link their arts and heritage to regeneration, valuing the contribution that the creative industries make to the local economy.
And we have just seen another summer of Ealing arts festivals – enlivening the local community with jazz, blues and comedy – and the London Mela is being held right here in Ealing next Sunday.
Our councillors – we’ve had 2,288 more Labour councillors beating Tories, and Lib dems and other parties since 2010 – are advocates for change and progress, and a key part of our fight for a Labour government.
But before the General Election, there's another vital vote in this country – next month's referendum on the future of Scotland. And Labour is at the forefront of the campaign to say that Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom are Better Together.
Labour's values of solidarity and equality are shared by people in Scotland and across the UK. Labour's achievements, like the NHS and the minimum wage, are achievements hard won by people from all over the United Kingdom, and now enjoyed by people in all parts of the United Kingdom.
The values we share, the institutions we value, the future we build, are best safeguarded by staying together, not breaking apart – which is why I hope that Scotland will say "No, thanks" to separation next month.
The Tories’ summer
The Tories performance over this summer has been woeful.
They should have been thinking about the best interests of this country – to fight the cost of living crisis. INSTEAD THEY said they were going to take the fight to Labour. In fact, they took the fight to each other.
Two ministerial resignations, countless backbench attacks on David Cameron, and Boris Johnson's leadership campaign.
Their summer started with a reshuffle – supposedly to be the reshuffle for women.
David Cameron said he wanted a third of his ministers to be women. In fact, only a quarter of the Cabinet are women – compared to 44 per cent of the Shadow Cabinet.
Even when David Cameron put a woman into the Cabinet in place of a man, he combined that with a cut in her salary.
The new Leader of the House of Lords, a woman, is paid £22,000 less than the old one, a man. Talk about a gender pay gap.
The reality is that the Tories are about conservatism – not progress towards equality. They are a million miles away from being a team of men and women delivering for women as well as men in this country.
They know that people don't like to see a male dominated government. But they haven’t changed. The Tory Party is now a party where you can see women – but in the Tory Party women are seen but not heard.
Labour has made a choice to strive for equality – for women and men to be on equal terms. And to listen to and act on the concerns of women. That is why, when we were in government, we pressed forward on the progressive agenda which brought real change to women’s lives – doubling maternity pay and leave, free breast cancer screening for women aged 50-70, to introducing Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit to help working families, toughening action on domestic violence.
We have more women MPs than all the other parties put together. And we have selected more women to stand for seats that Labour hold and where Labour hopes to win. We are resolutely pressing on with all women shortlists to ensure that the number of women in the PLP continues to rise.
It’s just one example of the difference between the parties.
And while we've got a strong, united team, pulling together to win the next election and put Ed Miliband into Ten Downing Street...
The Tories haven’t got a united team. They’ve got Boris Johnson.
So convinced that the Tories aren't going to win the next election and that there will then be a leadership contest, Boris Johnson clearly feels that he's got as much out of London Mayor as he's going to and is determined to come back to Parliament.
There's a pattern here. Boris Johnson did precious little in Parliament when he was MP for Henley. But it was a useful stepping stone for moving on to be London Mayor. And then he used his office as Mayor of London as a stepping stone to be Tory leader. Just two years into his term as Mayor, he's looking for his next step up.
And it looks like he's not the only Tory who thinks that they are doomed to lose. Look at Baroness Warsi – warning David Cameron that he can’t win.
And look at the seven Tory MPs who were only elected for the first time in 2010 are throwing in the towel and standing down.
And while Labour’s membership has risen since the General Election, the Tory membership is melting away – their membership has halved under David Cameron’s leadership.
The Tories think they’re losing. It's our job to prove them right.
Labour’s summer – The Choice
No wonder David Cameron wanted to get away from it all. We all saw the photos of him pointing at fish.
Cold, slippery – and the fish didn’t look great either.
But while David Cameron has been pointing at fish, Labour's Shadow Cabinet has been pointing out the threat of five more years of a Tory government. The Choice could not be clearer.
The Choice on leadership, with Ed Miliband showing the difference between David Cameron's photo-op politics and a leadership, based on big ideas for the future, sticking to your principles even when it's hard, and caring about people's lives.
And from that Choice – about who is right to lead the country, and what values and priorities they should have, comes two very different futures.
Another five years of the Tories means no answer to the big challenges facing Britain: no solution to the cost-of-living crisis, an imbalanced recovery that just helps a few at the top, and a lack of long-term planning so that we won't even get close to building the new houses and infrastructure we need.
Another five years of the Tories means an NHS with longer waiting lists, more rationing and more privatisation, schools with rising class sizes and more unqualified teachers, more violent criminals getting away with it and fewer police officers on the beat.
Another five years of the Tories means rail fares rising by hundreds of pounds, no reform of the Big Six energy companies and no action to freeze your energy bills, and five more years of insecure, poor quality jobs that pay less and cost taxpayers more through working people having to rely on benefits to make ends meet.
It doesn't have to be like this. Labour has been setting out a better way – the Labour future.
Action on the cost of living, with a freeze on energy bills, expanded free childcare, an increase in the minimum wage and a lower 10p starting rate of income tax to help millions of people on lower and middle incomes.
Action on the NHS, with a guaranteed GP appointment within 48 hours, and integration of health and social care, organising services around the needs of people, their families and their communities.
Action in schools, where we'll make teaching standards the top priority, ensuring that all teachers in all state schools become qualified. And reform of our education and skills system to create a clear route for the forgotten 50 per cent of young people who do not go to university.
So now we face a contest between these two visions for Britain. It’s a contest we know we can win.
But we know the Tories are going to throw everything they’ve got at it as well.
Labour’s strength on the ground versus Tory money
While the Tories can’t beat us on the number of activists campaigning on the ground in key seats –they have a steady stream of big donors willing to bankroll their campaign.
The same people they handed a tax cut to. The people who go to David Cameron’s dinners.
Hedge funds, bankers, millionaires – you can see who they are. But there’s one group of people bankrolling the Tories whose identity is completely secret.
Since the last election, the Tories have been given over five and a half million pounds by unincorporated associations – organisations who don’t declare where their money comes from. They donated £372,000 in the last 3 months alone.
And this money is being funnelled into the Tories’ key marginal seats. In 27 of their key seats, more than half the money raised since 2010 has come from these secretive clubs.
It's no wonder they need this shady money. In three quarters of their most marginal seats, their membership is falling.
We may be outspent, but we won’t be out-organised or out-campaigned. They want to buy the election. We’re fighting to win it.
We’re ahead of them on selections – we’ve already selected three quarters of the candidates we need. The Tories have only filled one third of their vacancies.
And it seems that every time they select a candidate, another of their MPs resigns.
We’ve got more members than the Tories and the Lib Dems put together. We’ve got activists out on the doorsteps in our key seats, rain or shine. Working hard and campaigning all over the country.
And we’re recruiting even more – which is why Gloria de Piero and Jonathan Ashworth last week launched Labour's Seaside Express.
They even managed to attract a Tory mole to join them. Unfortunately for him, he was unmasked when he forgot what his own name was supposed to be.
Even Grant Shapps remembers when he’s supposed to be calling himself Michael Green.
But everyone who supports Labour is welcome to join our new Registered Supporters scheme, part of Ed Miliband’s party reforms, doing even more to reach out and involve more people in our party.
The Tories are bankrolled by a few millionaires – but we are a movement of millions of working people.
What’s at stake in this election is nothing less than the future of the country. Your vote in 2015 will help to define what Britain looks like, not just in 2020, but for decades to come.
We’ve set out the Choice. Now we have to fight for a Labour future.
UKRAINE AND THE SHOOTING DOWN OF MH17
Prime Minister's statement 21st July 2014
Check Against Delivery
I thank the Prime Minister for his statement and advance sight of it.
The shooting down of MH17 over the skies of Ukraine was a tragedy which shocked the world.
On behalf of the Leader of the Opposition who is visiting Washington, can I join him in expressing our heartfelt, deepest sympathy to the relatives of those who have lost their lives?
All of us have been outraged by the images of the site. The site left open for anyone to trample over, the way the bodies of the deceased have been handled with what looks like casual indifference. We've all been horrified. But what must it be like for the families of the deceased to see this?
The families not only face grief and loss but multiple practical issues. Will he identify a senior minister to co-ordinate support for them - as was done by The Right Hon Member for Dulwich and West Norwood after 9/11, 7/7 and the Tsunami
[As he says] will he ensure that his government does everything it can to enable the international community
*help secure the site
*repatriate the bodies
*gather the evidence which shows who's responsible
Does he agree that, as soon as the investigation into the disaster is complete, there should be an emergency meeting of European Heads of Government to consider what further steps should be taken.
It appears that International civil aviation regulators imposed no restrictions on crossing this part of Eastern Ukraine.
In light of the attack on flight MH17, can he say whether there is specific travel advice now to British Citizens planning to go abroad?
The evidence is growing that this was not simply a tragedy but a terrible crime.
Surely this is a moment of reckoning for Europe. This is the moment for a strong and determined EU to step up to its responsibilities and confront the Russian actions.
Europe must show its sorrow but also its strength.
I welcome the Prime Minister's commitment to seek a toughening of EU sanctions against Russia at tomorrow’s EU Council Meeting. Can he tell us what measures he wants to see considered?
Will he support decisive steps to extend sanctions, not just against specific individuals but also sanctions against Russian commercial organisations to dissuade President Putin from the supply of arms and the support for the separatists that he is now providing across the Russian border?
Mr Speaker, turning to the horror which is unfolding in Gaza...
It's intolerable to see the harrowing images of hospitals overwhelmed, mortuaries overflowing, and parents devastated as they cradle their dying children.
Yesterday the world stood witness to the most blood stained day.
Since the start of this conflict 20 Israelis have been killed - 18 of them soldiers.
508 Palestinians have been killed - including countless children. Mr Speaker, innocent young children. Their short lives ended in the most brutal and horrific of circumstances. No parent should ever have to go through the horror of burying a child whose life has been ended by violence.
No-one would suggest reducing this conflict to a leger of casualties - but I'm sure the whole House would agree we must acknowledge the scale of the suffering in Gaza. Because the life of a Palestinian child is worth just as much as the life of an Israeli child.
Every death will fuel the hatred, embolden Israel's enemies and recruit more supporters to terrorist groups like Hamas
We stand up for Israel's right to defend itself. But this escalation will not bring Israel lasting security.
Does he agree with the Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki Moon that
We must continue to press for an immediate ceasefire
An immediate end to the Israeli military operation in Gaza
And rocket fire by Hamas
That all sides must respect international humanitarian law and that Israel must exercise maximum restraint?
What is his view of the reports suggesting that Israel is using of flechette shells?
Does he agree that the only way to avoid the cycle of violence and perpetual insecurity in the region is to address the root causes of the conflict? And that there must be an immediate return to the negotiating table and talks for a 2 state solution.
In the words of Mr Ban, "Israelis but also Palestinians need to feel a sense of security. Palestinians but also Israelis need to see a horizon of hope"?
Harriet Harman 2014
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
Conference, it's great to be here in mighty Manchester.
And we meet in historic and difficult times. It's a time of crisis in the Middle East with ISL causing misery to hundreds of thousands of innocent people. We must learn lessons from the past and ensure that the world's approach to dealing with the crisis includes not just military but also diplomatic and humanitarian action.
Less than a week ago people in Scotland were going to the polls and we are all so relieved that they decided to stay with the UK because when it comes to the cause of progressive politics, the struggle for social justice and the fight to kick out the Tories, we are better together.
So we owe a big debt of gratitude to all you who campaigned and especially to Alastair Darling, Jim Murphy, Douglas Alexander and Anas Sarwar.
But there's one person who played a key role in keeping the Union together. Someone who's had the biggest comeback since Cheryl Cole made it back onto the X factor....our former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.
We know that success always has many fathers. But let’s not forget it has mothers too, and I would like to pay tribute to two extraordinary women who played a leading role in the Scottish campaign - Johann Lamont, and Margaret Curran
But as well as the historic vote in Scotland last week, this conference is history in the making as it's the last time we gather before we
*fight the general election,
*win the general election and
*make Ed Miliband the Prime Minister.
And that's why there has been a unity and determination about this conference. People feel that change is coming and that Labour are that change.
Now every year I say conference is historic but it has never been more true. As someone once said.... this is no time for sound bites...... but conference, I feel the hand of history is on our shoulder
And the fringe events and bar activity have been as vibrant as ever.
It was great to go round all the receptions.
But the only thing was that once again I've been the victim of mistaken identity.
And I've worked out what the problem is....it's my hair. I'm used to people coming up to me and saying well done on the Olympics, because they think I'm Tessa Jowell. .... but I didn't quite know how to react when this time I was leaving a fringe and on the way out I overheard someone say "why's Grayson Perry just made a speech at USDAW?"
It's a great privilege to speak at all the receptions but it can be a tough gig especially when you're competing with the free bar and buffet.
I'll be honest with you, when I went head to head with the Cheese Cobbler at the West Midlands.... there was only one winner and it wasn't me.
But people are very kind and it was lovely to be introduced at Young Labour as "the voice of the young generation"... this was a bit surreal bearing in mind I own tights that are older than the guy who introduced me.
I think we can all agree that this year we have had an exceptional chair of the NEC in Angela Eagle
We know she’s a woman of absolute principle and dogged commitment to Labour's progressive values but she’s also got a really sharp sense of humour which we see her use to good effect as Shadow Leader of the House
After the Tory reshuffle, she was taunting William Hague saying when he was Foreign Secretary he was swishing around the world mingling with Angela Merkel and hanging out with Angelina Jolie and now he's Leader of the House of Commons he’d have to make to do with Commons Angela.
But there’s nothing common about our Angela. In fact, she’s got quite a lot in common with Angelina Jolie. Stay with me….
Angelina is known for her glamorous outfits - usually skin tight - So is our Angela, usually day-glow jackets.
Angelina in her films, vanquishes useless men – so does our Angela. She’s already got rid of two Tory leaders of the Commons – Sir George Young and Andrew Lansley.
Angelina has a very hot, partner who she adores – so has our Angela...Maria
So eat your heart out Angelina Jolie, we’ve got Angela Eagle – and she's a jewel in our crown.
We know that David Cameron's got a problem with women. We'll never forget that time in the House of Commons when he told Angela Eagle to "calm down, dear” and he's at it again. Today we hear he's described Her Majesty the Queen as "purring down the phone at him."
And We Are Not Amused.
Sometimes it’s like we've got David Brent as Prime Minister.
ED VERSUS CAMERON
Conference, as we go into the final months before the General Election, we are going to be in the fight of our lives and when the country decides who will be their next Prime Minister, there will be a clear choice.
Ed is a leader who at every stage of his leadership has rewritten the political rules and challenged conventional wisdom.
He stood up to the might of Rupert Murdoch and the Daily Mail.
He challenged the view that political leaders must never question the markets even when they don't work for everyday people
He took on the energy companies who are ripping people off.
He's rewritten the rule that says Labour has to tear itself apart in opposition.
And, perhaps most remarkably, he's rewritten the rule that say that it’s just not possible to get back into government after only one term.
Because within just 4 years he's taken our party to within touching distance of Downing Street.
Yesterday Ed set out a great plan for the future of Britain. Yesterday he spoke about Labour's plan to bolster our precious NHS with more GPs, more nurses and more midwives.
And he explained clearly how we will finance that without extra borrowing - though a mansion tax, a crackdown on tax avoidance and a tobacco levy. The Tories are challenging our numbers. But, you know, no-one wants to hear politicians endlessly arguing about the figures. So let’s solve that problem right now. Let the independent Office of Budget Responsibility audit Labour's plans. So that the public will see that our plans add up. Here's my challenge to The Tories. You cannot criticise our numbers while you are blocking an independent scrutiny of them. Let us go to the OBR. And if you won't let us, let's hear no more. You can put up or shut up.
David Cameron is also defying conventional wisdom.
Conventional wisdom says that in your first term as Prime Minister you get a honeymoon. But already his own party hate him and are eyeing up their next leader.
Conventional wisdom says that you are at your strongest when you're a new Prime Minister, yet he's been too weak to stop them "banging on about Europe".
Conventional wisdom says that a Prime Minister always gets two terms, but his party can see the writing on the wall and that why so many Tories are throwing in the towel or defecting to UKIP.
Divided parties do not win elections
And what a contrast.
We are united and fighting to win.
They are fighting like rats in a sack and the only person they are rallying behind is not their party leader at all - it’s the man on the zip-wire - Boris Johnson.
But party leaders don't get it right all the time. And Ed - it’s fair to say - there've been a few incidents where the photograph hasn't quite worked out how you wanted.
But who would you rather have? A man who one day had a bad photo with a bacon sandwich or a man who's Director of Communications was sent to prison.
And can I just say, David Cameron's photocalls are nothing to write home about.
Do you remember the photo we saw this summer when he was on one of his several holidays, where he was pointing at fish.... cold and slippery.... and the fish didn't look too good either.
And as for the one with him on the beach in his wetsuit Baywatch style - they might both be called David , but there there's no chance of any confusion between David Cameron and The Hoff.
WE CAN WIN
Conference, if there is one thought I want us to take away - it is this - we can win this election.
I know the task is daunting.
We have hard work ahead but we can do it - because we must.
We cannot allow this country to be ravaged by another 5 years of Tory rule.
A government which poses the biggest threat to the NHS.
A government protecting millionaires while making it harder for everyone else.
A government who've seen a record expansion of food banks. - causing the despair and sense of hopelessness which UKIP preys on.
Here at the women's conference last Saturday, a woman told us that she took an American visitor to see the food bank where she volunteers.
Her American friend was deeply moved and asked "Does your government run this?"
She replied, "No - our government caused this."
But food banks are not just a shame on the Tories, they are a shame on the Liberal Democrats who have helped the Tories every step of the way.
People have suffered because of that and we will make sure that the Liberal Democrats pay the price next May.
TALENT OF TEAM LABOUR
We know we are going to face the fight of our lives and the Tories are awash with money. - a lot of it in Roubles.
They may be able to outspend us, but they will never out organise us.
We can't match their millionaires and oligarchs, but they will never match our unity and determination.
When it comes to team Labour - we have the best in the business.
Our people out front, our elected representatives at local and national level, but also those behind the scenes.
Our party staff, led by General Secretary Iain McNicol, are second to none. Whether it’s in our HQ our out in in our regions, they are utterly professional and for them it's never just a job - it's a cause. And it’s that passion and commitment which is key to us winning the General Election.
We know that the Tories are going to be underhand and it's going to be a really dirty fight.
And Conference, we've got to face up to how bad it's going to be.
It's going to be even worse than when they took that Baked Alaska out the freezer on the Great British Bake Off. That's how bad it's going to get.
We know The Tories are going to throw a lot of mud at Ed and our party.
But we've got to be really clear about why they're doing that.
They attack the messenger when they can't argue with the message.
But we are up for that fight.
We've got the policies, the people and the principles.
But above all we have the duty to save this country from another term of Tory rule and give people the hope of a better Britain.
WOMEN'S CONFERENCE SPEECH
September 20th 2014
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
It’s often a cliché to say we meet in historic times. But at this moment that is exactly what it is.
We've had the historic vote in Scotland to stop the UK breaking up and
next May we've got the chance to make history by making this just a one term coalition and getting Labour back into government
WHY WE ARE ALL HERE
Thanks Gloria - congratulations on taking over as Shadow Equality Minister following the trail blazed by Yvette. It is a joy to work with you secure in the knowledge that you listen to women and you will fight for them.
It is incredible to be here with you all. To see you all. For us all to be here together.
1200 of us over the course of today
And we're all coming to this women's conference today because
*we believe in the rights of women
*we believe that Labour is the party for women
*and because we hate what The Tories are doing to people in this country and we want to kick them out.
1,200 of us over the course of today. If we could have had a bigger hall it would have been more. But 1,200 women together in one place is clearly a massive health and safety risk.....not least to the body politic!
WHAT WE ARE GOING TO DO
We're here together today to
*listen to each other, to hear the voices of women from all around the country and from all different ages and backgrounds. (ck youngest oldest, furthest north furthest southwest, unemployed cleaner? lawyer? need to give examples of range of people coming)
*we're here to strengthen the elbow of our leading Labour women. They deserve and need our support. I am so proud of them so let's massively admire them today.
* we're here to tell it like it is about what the Tory/lib dem government are doing to turn back the clock on women's advance and social justice
*we're here to make our demands for change and say what we expect a Labour government will do
*we're here because we are proud to be women who are Labour women fighting for and speaking up for women in this country and around the world
*we're here to wrestle with the issue of how we address the financial struggle and political alienation felt by so many women
* and we're here to fire up our absolute determination to get a Labour government in and kick the Tory/libdem coalition out.
And that is all completely straightforward and I know at the same time you'll be getting texts from children who can't find their pe kit, or need money, or from your elderly mum who's worried because the carer hasn't turned up....or the husband asking whether you've managed to get the washing machine mended yet.
But that shouldn't be a problem. We can change the world while multi-tasking!
SCOTLAND - GENDER GAP
I've come straight from Scotland where I've been with so many of you for the referendum campaign. Scotland is staying and Britain is staying together. But make no mistake; there has been a political earthquake which has changed the political landscape.
And there was a massive gender divide in the vote on Thursday. With men voting "Yes" and with women voting "no". 8% more men voted to leave the UK than to stay. 14% more women voted to stay in the UK than to leave. And that massive 22% gender divide cut across all ages.
I think that though disaffection and alienation felt by men was felt by women too, every bit as much. But women were not prepared to take the leap in the dark. They were not prepared to take risks with their children and grandchildren's future. And they were not swayed by Alex Salmon's macho style.
But things will not go back to what they were. Nor should they. There are too many people - women and men - who believe that politics is out of touch and politicians have no idea about their lives and don't care and that we are all the same. That goes not just for the "No"voters but the "Yes" voters too. And it’s there not just in Scotland but in England and Wales too.
NEED TO REACH OUT AND ENGAGE
That is felt in the deprived communities in and around London - but it is magnified for every mile you go further away from London and the further down the income scale you are. So we need to think hard about this. Its a time to really listen and to recognise the scale of the change we need. None of us individually has the answer but together we can work it out. And we'll get it right and take the action we need not by promulgating the answers from the centre but letting the answers emerge from the regions and from the people who feel alienated.
WOMEN'S CONCERNS - IN SCOTLAND, ENGLAND AND WALES
And women in Scotland, even thought they voted "No" to separation are not supporting the status quo. Women in Scotland, have the same concerns and problems as women in England and women in Wales.
We're all concerned that for all the progress that we made when we were in government-
*women are still second class citizens at work - the lowest paid, the most undervalued
*too many women - and their children live in terror because of domestic violence - men beating up their wives or partners or even killing them - is still commonplace in Britain today
*and it's still a real headache for working women to look after the children and hold down a job, or care for grandchildren and older relatives.
So for all the progress we've made and which we are really proud of, we have miles further to go. And to make that happen, two things are necessary
A LABOUR GOVERNMENT AND STRONG PRESENCE OF WOMEN
*we've got to have a Labour government and
*we've got to have a strong presence of women in the PLP backing up a strong presence of women in that Labour government.
ALL WOMEN SHORTLISTS
And that means no going back on all women shortlists. So when we remember what the Labour government did which helped women, and we castigate the Tories for still being hopelessly male dominated we've got to remember that it just would not have happened with the sort of male dominated PLP we had before women only shortlists.
No-one likes All Women Shortlists. It feels really uncomfortable to rule out men from a selection.
But we tried everything else. We tried a woman on every shortlist....ending men-only shortlists - well that caused a huge row and made no difference still it was the men on the shortlist who were selected We changed the rules so that the shortlists had to be half women. an even bigger row. and still nothing changed and it was the male half of the shortlist which got selected. So we were driven to the conclusion that it would have to be women-only shortlists.
5 ARGUMENTS FOR AWS
But they are still hugely contested and controversial wherever they are proposed.
So here's five key points to arm yourself when you need to defend All-women shortlists
*We are a representative democracy. Our Parliament needs to be representative and All women shortlists make parliament more representative - with half the country being women its a democratic imperative to get more women into Westminster
* its not just about getting women into parliament for the sake of it - important though that is - its the difference they make in parliament and our women have changed not just the face of parliament but the political agenda in this country.
*without all-women shortlists you will have a male-dominated parliament which will never understand women's lives or deliver for women
* if you're against All women shortlists you're supporting inequality - defending a status quo in which men in the PLP still outnumber women 2 to one.
*Its rubbish to say women from all women's shortlists are not as good as women who come in on open shortlists. Look at our terrific Labour women in parliament....Gloria, Yvette, Caroline, Rachel, Mary, Angela, Margaret Curran. And all the fantastic PLP women. You can't tell which came in from all women shortlists and which came in from all women shortlists and they are all twice as good as the dreary Tory men MPs
So for each of us here today, we've got a card to have in our handbag. Showing how without All Women Shortlists the Tories and the Libdems are still in the dark ages. And showing what Labour women in Parliament have done for Labour women in the country and didn't happen till we got women in Parliament.
Childcare, doubling maternity pay and leave, tougher laws domestic violence and on equal pay.Keep it with you - in your GC, in the pub. You'll need it. Because whether its from Wales, Scotland or the Regions of England. We are going to have more All women shortlists and we are going to have more Labour MPs and more of them will be women.
MAKING IT HAPPEN
Our chance of making that happens depends on every one of us in this room. We've got to make sure that our manifesto delivers for women and we have a campaign that reaches women and men. We've got to make sure that we get our amazing women parliamentary candidates elected - and they're in every region of England, in Scotland and in Wales
Together, all of us will be make sure that come next May there are more Labour women - in parliament to open up opportunities, tackle inequality, fight against discrimination and - as Labour women - we will not stop till Britain is a fairer place and women are equal to men.
That's our rights as women and that's our values as Labour.
Advertising is key to British success, both as an important and creative industry and also in the work it does to promote other winning sectors. That was the theme of my speech to the ISBA annual lunch today. Labour’s approach will be to work through existing bodies which self-regulate advertising and have stood the test of time and, where things change, to act on the basis of sound evidence.
A lively Q&A included how government could work better with the industry on government-purchased advertising.
8th JULY 2014
Harriet Harman MP
SPEAKER BERCOW A CHAMPION OF EQUALITY
I'm very proud to be giving the Speakers Lecture. This is one of your many innovations since you've been speaker. And I'm delighted to see you all here. I want to thank you, Mr Speaker, for this choice of subject. It is very typical of you. You presided over radical proposals in the Speakers Conference on parliamentary representation. You insisted - in the teeth of opposition - on a nursery for the children of MPs and the 2,000 people who work in parliament. You appointed the first woman to the post of Speakers Chaplain and you ensure, when you choose who to speak in the Chamber, that it’s not just the usual suspects but that all members get a fair crack of the whip.
You said when you ran for Speaker that you would be a champion of equality and you have been exactly that.
[I'm delighted to have been asked by you to talk about Equality and Parliament - a subject close to my heart and one of my central missions over the last 30 years. and one which has earned me nicknames like Harriet harperson, harradan Harriet - there are so many who clearly need a stint in the Harriet Harman institute of political correctness]
EQUALITY IS IMPORTANT
I'm grateful for the opportunity, in this moment of pre-referendum and pre-election fever, to set out why the issue of equality and parliament is - and remains - so important.
Equality and diversity is important
*as a matter of principle,
*to ensure good people are not excluded from parliament,
*for the signal it sends to the public who feel disaffected and distant from parliament.
*to avoid the group-think which comes from a homogenous group which will fails to understand the different groups of people in this country.
*and it’s needed if parliament is to lead change to a more equal country
And inequality is old fashioned and out of touch. Any institution, anywhere in the world, which is all-male is showing that it’s stuck in the past.
But my starting point is the basic principle. The principle of equality - that no-one should be excluded from, or discriminated against in, representing a constituency, becoming an MP because they're a woman, because they're not white, because they are gay, disabled or from a working class background. Parliament must represent all of the people so it must champion equality. It cannot do that if, by its composition, it's an emblem of inequality.
NOT A MERITOCRACY IF PARLIAMENT EXCLUDES
Parliament must include the best people - drawn from the widest pool of talent and commitment. It is not doing that if it’s exclusive and discriminatory. So it’s paradoxical that our argument for equality in the composition of parliament meets with resistance on the basis that it would water down the "quality" of MPs. MPs are chosen on merit - we were told - and what were arguing for was a threat to that.
But how could it have been the result of merit or quality that, when I arrived in 1982 parliament was 97% men and only 3% women. And this overwhelmingly male parliament was 100% white. The "merit" argument has been used to resist progress towards diversity not just here in parliament but right across the establishment from boardrooms to the judiciary. I have always found the argument that pits merit against equality not just ludicrous, but offensive. Essentially it's saying to women, black people, people with disabilities and from working class backgrounds "we'd like to have you here but we can't afford to water down the quality". What matters is not just the quality of the individuals but also the composition of institution as a whole. And even if the individuals are high quality, if they are totally homogenous then the institution as a whole lacks merit.
THE IMPORTANCE OF WHO PEOPLE SEE IN PARLIAMENT
When people see parliament on TV it’s important that they see and hear people like themselves. How could women believe that parliament understood their lives when it was so overwhelmingly male? How shameful that for so many years people from the Asian and Afro-Caribbean communities had played their part so assiduously in our democracy by voting in general elections and yet not one single MP was non-white. When Bernie Grant - who along with Diane Abbot was one of two Afro-Caribbean MPs to come into parliament in 1987 - appeared at the Queens Speech dressed in full African dress there was muttering and sneers. But to see him there - resplendent in flowing African robes on the Green benches of the House of Commons sent a huge and positive message that reached people from the Afro-Caribbean community - not least in my constituency - that the House of Commons was hearing now from their community. He was representing not just his own constituency of Tottenham - but the wider Afro-Caribbean Community.
The election of David Blunket in the House of Commons not only brought a great politician to parliament, it sent a powerful message that parliament would hear from people with disabilities and recognise their abilities. Every time Ann Begg speaks from her wheelchair in the Commons it’s not only about the importance of what she says but also about the inclusion of wheelchair users more generally.
EQUALITY IN PARLIAMENT NEEDED TO FIGHT INEQUALITY IN THE COUNTRY
But it’s more than just about what parliament looks like... that parliament should mirror the country which elects us. It’s also about the fight for change. This country is riven by deeply-entrenched inequality - which are growing. We need parliament to lead the fight against inequality - to address the causes of it. It must lead by example to lead change in the country. It cannot hope to lead change to tackle inequality in the country, if you can see, just by looking at it, that it itself, embodies discrimination. So equality and diversity in parliament is important to drive forward equality in this country.
THE NEED FOR MORE LABOUR MPS FROM WORKING CLASS BACKGROUNDS
Diversity is about class background too. The Labour Party specifically was founded to speak up for working class communities. But the founding PLP - being disproportionately university graduates - was initially very different from the Trade Union members in whose interests the party was established. But through the Labour Party, the trade union movement did, for many years, bring to parliament men from working class backgrounds. There wouldn't be any women for me to sit with in the tea room when I was first elected - but because of the 20-strong NUM group of Labour MPs I would often find myself in the tea room with former miners from the coalfields of Scotland, Wales and the North. And their voice was strong in the chamber. With the change of our industries and the fall in trade union membership that has changed. But, in the Labour Party we are acutely aware of the need to represent the breadth of people who elect us. It is a challenge to our party to select candidates from all different backgrounds - a challenge for the Labour Party and for our trade unions. And with more than 50% of the trade union members being women, that means working class women as well as men.
COMPOSITION OF PARLIAMENT SHAPES THE POLITICAL AGENDA
Who is in parliament is obviously critical to what we debate and the decisions we make. It’s embarrassing in a democracy if you are deciding on behalf of people who are not there to speak for themselves. Who's in parliament shapes the political agenda. Despite pioneers like Jo Richardson, issues like childcare and domestic violence scarcely made a dent on the political agenda before the women MPs arrived in 1997. It needed Dawn Primarolo to move an amendment to the 2000 Finance Bill to exempt sanitary towels from VAT. No man in parliament at that time could even bring himself to mention it. A debate about the wearing of the veil needs to hear not just from men...but also from women...especially from our women MPs from the Muslim community.
Diversity in Parliament is needed to protect us from the group think which is so dangerous for any institution - most spectacularly recently in the financial services industry. A homogenous group of men in the boardrooms - all mutually reinforcing - was oblivious to the risks they were taking with their companies' and their country's future. There was no-one with a different perspective, able to see things differently.
Because equality and diversity is essential for our democracy to be worthy of the name "representative democracy", having a truly representative parliament is a democratic imperative. We need more people - like the rest of the public to be in parliament. Especially at a time when people feel that politicians are a different species who have no idea about the lives everyone else leads. So, the issue is not just who gets in to parliament but what we do - and feel able to do - when we get here. It’s no good having MPs from all walks of life if when we get here we morph into homogenous parliamentary uniformity.
THE PRESSURE TO CONFORM
Though my election to parliament was very much to do with the demand of the women's movement to redress the lack of women in Parliament, as soon as I got here I was under massive pressure to be as like the men as possible.
FAILING TO FOLLOW THE MAINSTREAM AGENDA
Being very much a fish out of water - one of only 10 Labour women in a parliament of over 600 MPs, I received well-meaning advice on how I could redress my deficiencies.
I should keep my head down for a few years, and learn the ropes. I should avoid the terrible humiliation that would befall me if I made a mistake. I must avoid drawing attention to myself. It would only annoy everyone I should not bang on about women or I'd be pigeon-holed and stereo-typed so I should focus mainstream issues. And I should hang out in the bar to show I was "clubbable".
But having supported me to get into parliament the women's movement wanted me to blaze a trail - and would have been dismayed it I’d kept my head down.
It was impossible to be inconspicuous when I arrived hugely pregnant.
Women outside Parliament were counting on me to talk about childcare and maternity leave - not just join the debates about the money supply.
And I couldn't hang out drinking in the bar when I was feeling sick from pregnancy or rushing back home to put the babies to bed.
Because I didn't conform, the punishment for being different was often nasty.
When I came back after having my first baby I was reported to the Sergeant at Arms for breaking the rules by taking my baby through the division lobby under my jacket. Of course I'd done no such thing - I was still fat from being pregnant. What made it worse was that it was obviously my own side... because it was our lobby. I told the whips I'd have to miss a vote because I was ill - with mastitis. And they put it in the papers.
CALLING FOR MORE WOMEN MPS
When I campaigned for more women MPs, that was deeply and very personally resented by the men MPs who accused me of attacking them by saying they were incapable of representing their women constituents.
The point I'm trying to make here is that it’s not just the struggle to get in to parliament but the struggle to stick to what you stand for when you do. So I'll always be grateful for the support I got. Jack always insisted that however horrible it was in parliament, the women's movement was right behind me. And both Neil Kinnock and John Smith were massively supportive.
But that pressure to conform and homogenise is still alive and well. After the 2010 General Election, you organised a session in the chamber for all the new MPs and I spoke as former Leader of the House. I reminded the new MPs that their constituents, having voted for them, expected them to blaze a trail here and that they should ignore warnings (and hints about the fastest route to ministerial office) to keep quiet for a few years. In the following weeks so many came up to say that's exactly what had happened to them
MAKE YOUR OWN PATH. DON'T FOLLOW IN SOMEONE ELSES FOOTSTEPS
The whole point is that each Member elected must represent their constituents and what they stand for in the way that they see best. I've always been happy to hear women saying that they've stood for the council or for parliament because they saw me doing it. But I don't like the notion of role model. To follow someone and model yourself on them is the opposite of change. There is no right way to be an MP. Every MP must be their own role model.
NO MATTER WHAT, YOU HAVE TO SPEAK UP FOR YOUR CONSTITUENCY
And once you are here - even if you are in a minority - and even if you find it ridiculous, and hard-going and are determined to change it - you still have your job to do for your constituents. And must plunge in and stand up for them
Throughout the years that I was struggling as a young MP with young children, like every MP I still had to play a leading role on behalf of my constituents - as they struggled on long hospital waiting lists, as they aspired to better education and opportunities for their children. You always have to be there for your constituents especially when the community faces huge shocks. Over the years my constituency has been rocked by the murder of 10 year old Damilola Taylor, rioters smashing up Rye Lane, 3 women and 3 children being burnt to death in the tower block fire at Lakanal House. There's no point in being an MP if you can't stand up for your constituency. So no matter how hard you find it, you have to get on with it. Minority MPs - whether women, BAME or disabled however difficult we find it, we can't afford to be victims, we have to be pioneers.
1997 THE START OF BIG CHANGE
Our campaigns for more women MPs succeeded. But only through the mechanism of All Women Shortlists. This is has always been and remains to this day, hugely controversial. But we only did it because it was the only thing that worked. We had tried bringing about change by winning the argument - making the case to select more women. But still only men were selected. We tried a woman on every shortlist for selection. There was an almighty row about that but still only men were selected. We tried 50:50 shortlists. Again a huge row but still no women selected. So it was only by the radical measure of excluding men altogether from 50% of the seats we hoped to win, that we got women elected.
But the effect of those all-women shortlists was transformational - and more than 100 Labour women swept in to parliament in 1997. That decisive moment changed not just the face of parliament but the agenda of politics and parliament. We introduced the National Childcare Strategy, new laws on domestic violence, the Equality Act, doubled maternity pay and leave, brought in the right to request flexible working - issues of huge importance to women in this country - we know that there is still a way to go on all of this - and new frontiers like the challenges facing older women have to be faced up to - but none of this would have happened without the women. And now in parliament - like in most workplaces in the country there are pregnant women and loads of Westminster babies - who can, thanks to your change in the rules - be taken through the lobby without, it seems doing irreparable damage to our democracy.
WOMEN STILL DEFINED BY MARRIAGE AND CHILDREN
But even though now things are miles better - with a critical mass of Labour women MPs - they still face challenges. Not least around the issue of children. A woman MP is still defined by her marital status and reproductive record in a way that would be unthinkable for a man. And to an extent she can't win. This was set out so clearly by Hilary Clinton. The Clinton Conundrum is... Bake cookies and you are a real woman - but can't be a leader. Fail to be bake cookies and you can be a leader but you're not a real woman.
This can be painfully divisive amongst women MPs. In any interview, a young woman MP who doesn't have children is challenged to explain herself. Something that doesn't happen to a married man MP. If she explains it by way of her focus on her work being incompatible with having children she's inadvertently making a judgment on other women who are trying to be mothers as well as MPs. And it works the other way round too. Maria Miller, pointing out that she was the only mother in the cabinet, was passing judgment on the other women in the cabinet who didn't have children - but not the men. If a woman MP does have children she is either a devoted mother and a deficient MP who'll remain on the side-lines. Or is she a dynamic and ambitious MP and therefore a deficient mother. An MP father who attends his child's school open evening can tell everyone about it in a loud voice and is admired as heroic. But a woman MP best not mention because she'll soon be identified as insufficiently committed to her work. And this is because the underlying reality is, and the cultural expectation is, that it remains the case that in most families, it's the mother who takes the daily responsibility for young children - and indeed for older relatives.
I massively admire my younger women colleagues - with and without children - who forge their way through this. But though they get on with the job and don't whinge, it’s still hard for them. In some ways it’s easier for them - there now being a critical mass of women. But in some ways it’s harder. It’s particularly galling to arrive in parliament in a generation which purports to espouse equality only to find it is far from the case.
STILL A LONG WAY TO GO
Though we have made a great deal of progress - we still have a long way to go. Though active opposition to women in parliament has all but disappeared - it has been replaced, to an extent, by "passive resistance" - protestations of a belief in equality unmatched by preparedness to change. While everyone says they are in favour of equality and diversity in parliament, we shouldn't be lulled into a false sense of security. Active outspoken opposition has been replaced by passive resistance which in some ways is harder to deal with. You don't have to openly oppose equality to perpetuate inequality. All it takes is for those in positions of power to do nothing and the status quo prevails. Progress towards equality requires men to change as well as women. Particularly men in positions of power.
And women must not only seen but also be heard. It's really a deliberate misrepresentation to have the few Tory women MPs clustered around the Prime Minister so that they can be picked up by the TV cameras while the rest of the government benches are nearly exclusively men.
And just as the front line of politics must be equal, so must be the power structures behind it. It is not only on the green benches that power is exercised but also in the corridors. Remember in "The Thick of It" the special advisor was more powerful than the junior ministers. The overwhelming majority of special advisors are still white men. And they work with a press lobby which is the same with a mutually reinforcing homogeneity.
POLITICAL REPORTING NEEDS TO CHANGE TOO
And though we know that increasingly people exchange views directly on twitter and other social media, the lobby is still influential in setting the agenda for both print and broadcasters. The lens through which an overwhelmingly male parliament is reported on to the public and commentated on is, itself, woefully male. The parliamentary press lobby is long overdue for change too
STILL A BATTLE - EVEN AT THE TOP
And the truth is that even getting to the top of the political structures is no guarantee of equality. Imagine my surprise when having won a hard fought election to succeed John Prescott as deputy leader of the Labour Party, I discovered that I was not to succeed him as Deputy Prime Minister! If one of the men had won the deputy leadership would that have happened? Would they have put up with it? I doubt it. And imagine the consternation in my office when we discovered that my involvement in the London G20 summit was inclusion at the no 10 dinner for the G20 leader's wives.
We must remember Caroline Flint’s denunciation of women being used as "window dressing"
NO HIERARCHY OF INEQUALITIES
My particular experience has been as a woman in parliament trying to bring women's concerns in to politics. But as I've reflected in my comments, parliament needs to be more ethnically diverse, more representative of people with disabilities, include more people from working class backgrounds. In the quest for progress, some argue that race discrimination is much more vicious and intractable than discrimination against women. That All Women Shortlists have discriminated against black men. Some argue that it is your class background, which matters above all. That middle class women squeeze out working class men. We have to guard against the danger of pitting one sort of inequality against another.... fighting amongst ourselves to establish a hierarchy of inequalities is self-defeating. The issues are different ...but they all matter. We need to make common cause, not succumb to divide and rule.
Though the women's movement has made massive progress, there are still many doctrinal controversies - the right not to take your husband’s name, the right to make your husband take your name - then the assertion that women are now so strong that it’s ok to take your husband's name. This culminated in Beyoncé’s latest tour being entitled "I am Mrs Carter." This is of course highly relevant to me because, like Beyoncé, I too am going on tour in the New Year - my General Election tour 2015. Like Beyoncé I've been thinking about what to call my nationwide tour. If anyone here's got suggestions...do please let me know. But I think it is unlikely to be "I am Mrs Dromey."
Harriet Harman MP, Labour's Deputy Leader and Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, today at the Aquatic Centre, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, made a speech on More Sport for all: Labour’s backing for more sport and physical activity for people of all ages in all areas.
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Introduction and thanks
I’m delighted to be here today at this amazing London Aquatic Centre. This iconic venue burst into our consciousness as all eyes were on our 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. It is that legacy we want to ensure is captured and not squandered. And I want to thank all of you for coming, on what is an important day for UK sport with the Commonwealth Games getting underway in Glasgow and massive hopes for real sporting excitement.
So, many thanks to Dennis Hone, of the London Legacy Development Corporation and Ros Collings and Madelaine Sutton from the L L D C who’ve done so much to facilitate today.
I want to pay tribute to Clive Efford, the Shadow Sports Minister, who you all know is truly knowledgeable about, and committed to, sport as well as being a qualified football coach, massive Millwall fan and dedicated parliamentarian and local MP for Eltham. I just want to see him move out of the “shadow” into being the actual sport minister. Our sports ministers were always big and important figures in Government delivering a high profile and high priority, radical agenda that was a key part of our Labour Government's objectives - think Tony Banks, think Dick Cabourn - and his work on the Olympics, think Gerry Sutcliffe and the facilities all around the country he opened. And if we get into government that's Clive will be, working with you to deliver a great programme which will see more sport and more physical activity for all people of all ages across the UK.
Why sport matters for public policy
And perhaps it is with my local constituency, the people I represent in Camberwell and Peckham, that I should start. Like everywhere in this country, they are sports mad. They lined the streets for the Olympic procession. During the World Cup, flags of countries from all over the world fluttered in the windows of the housing estates. Many local young people are fitness fanatics and many work, or want to work, in the sport and leisure industry. And parents, like parents all over the country, take their kids to play in the parks, learn to swim, play football. But we also have people who don’t do any sport or physical activity and need to. If you are one of the army of women of African origin living in my constituency, working all hours in care homes or doing cleaning work as well as bringing up your children, you are not likely to be found in the gym. In two of our wards we have alarmingly high level of obesity and people will suffer as a result with diabetes and heart problems, they will need more health care and they will die younger. And there's a huge gap between them and the active, exercising people in the wealthy wards down the road in Dulwich. Our local secondary schools have been rebuilt – with some great swimming pools and dance studios. But how many people in the streets around them get to use them? And open space for sport is at a premium in Camberwell and Peckham – though it’s very different just down the road with the rolling playing fields of the private schools like Alleyns and Dulwich College.
Sport for all
We want to ensure that everyone, from all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, from all ages, from toddlers through to octogenarians, whether they live in crowded inner London or remote rural areas - gets to participate in and enjoy more sport and physical activity.
It’s a public policy priority for us because people love it, because we’re a great sporting nation (go anywhere in the world and you’ll see posters of David Beckham), because it’s important for health and well-being, because it helps young people do well at school, because it brings communities together with shared goals, it strengthens the local networks which reinforce a sense of place and diverts young people from crime.
And it generates jobs in the burgeoning sport and leisure sector. The operation of sports facilities and sports clubs alone provide 300,000 jobs in the UK. Further jobs are created in the health and fitness sector, and yet more in tourism based on sport.
And that’s why government should give a lead – with the DCMS working with local government and the sports sector and with other government departments. Clive and I work closely with our colleagues in our education team, Kevin Brennan our shadow schools minister is here, our Communities and Local Government team and importantly our health team. As you all know, in Andy Burnham, we have a sport-mad Shadow Health Secretary who is in no doubt about the health imperative of physical activity.
So we have issued a consultation document which poses the questions and invites engagement to shape a long-term strategy which will ensure a sustained boost to school, community and grass roots sport and see a sustained increase in physical activity. I hope that you will all respond to the consultation help us shape a strategy which we will put sports at the heart of our Manifesto for 2015. We were proud of what we did in government and we want to recommit to the energy and change that we committed to.
A sporting environment where all children have a chance
We want a sporting environment where all children have a chance. If you are one of those with exceptional talent and potential, we want you to try out a range of sports while you're young to find out which ones motivate you, be spotted early, and get the backing you need to help you take your talent as far as it will go.
The importance of competition
Early sport experience should be fun and help develop strength and co-ordination. But as children get older, competition has to be at the heart of sport and physical activity. Those children who excel at sport must be given every opportunity to realise their full potential and that means they must have opportunities for the best to compete against the best. Schools Games Competitions, which we started when we were in government, has been built on by the Youth Sports Trust. We would continue with this and build on it so that all children with outstanding talent have the chance to reach the elite level of competition.
And that shouldn’t depend on who you are.
Girls as well as boys must have that chance – we must tackle all the factors which put girls off, from negative stereo-types to poor changing facilities.
Children with disabilities must have the chance – they are every bit as entitled to a full choice of sports with facilities which are adapted to their needs.
Children of all different ethnic backgrounds should have the full range of opportunities - no child should be deterred by stereotypes about sports being one which people of a particular ethnicity are more or less likely to succeed.
And we don’t want young people from low income backgrounds to fail to achieve their potential because they don’t have well-off parents able to pay for extra-curricular sports activities.
Both mass participation and elite sporting achievement.
It is absolutely a false dichotomy to say public policy can either focus on elite competitive sports or mass participation.
But, even if they never win a medal, any child who engages in sport is more likely to enjoy the healthy pursuit of sport into adulthood.
Creating more opportunity for young children is unashamedly a strategy for success at the elite level. We know that the more children who take part in sporting activity the more likely the talent that is there will emerge. Mass participation, beneficial in and of itself, will identify more good, young, sportspeople. The good is not an obstacle to excellence, but a stepping stone to it.
So our answer is grounded in a community strategy – which starts with children.
A children’s sports entitlement – two hours sport in school
So we need a minimum amount of sport that every child does in school.
When we were in Government we introduced two hours of sport and PE each week for every school child. And by the time we left office in 2010, 9 out of 10 children were doing this - a huge increase from what the situation had been before. But the coalition government abandoned this 2 hour target, abolished School Sports Partnerships and scrapped the School PE and Sport Survey.
The result, inevitably, is that children’s participation in sport has fallen. A third of teachers report a decrease in participation by both primary and secondary children. To do this is particularly perverse when we had the once in a generation opportunity provided by the Olympics. The whole point about the UK bidding to host the 2012 Olympic Games was not only to put on a world class Olympics but also to boost sport among a new generation of children and young people and take a leap forward in young people’s participation in physical exercise. But this is not happening.
We know the two hours guideline worked, and we were moving on – we were measuring three hours and looking at a target of five hours in and out of school.
We want to move forward, starting with guaranteeing every primary school child will get a minimum of 2 hours PE and sport every week. We will commit to further progress, collecting the data and considering setting more stretching guidelines - in and out of school. And we will work with you, learning from what we did in government, to put that into practice.
The importance of sport for all in all schools is that it will reach every child. The centrality of sport in school is because you can engender good habits when they are young but also because you can ensure that you extend opportunities to children who will not get it at home. Opportunities at school are key to redressing inequalities in society. So sport in school is central to our sport strategy just as we've made arts, music and drama in school central to delivering our culture strategy.
Out of school clubs
We need to maximise the chances for children to do sport/PE out of school as well. We have already committed that we will set down in law a guarantee that every child will have access to wraparound care from 8am to 6m on school days. This new guarantee of after school provision will have sport mainstreamed into it. We know this will be popular with children and valued by parents as well as entrenching good physical activity for the future.
A children’s sports entitlement – sport taster days
Children need to have a broad range of sports and activity to choose from to discover what they enjoy and what they are good at from the myriad traditional and new ways of enjoying exercise and keeping fit, whether it’s Asian dance, ballroom, martial arts, pilates or football, netball, gymnastics and cycling.
And there is some really good practice going on like right here in Newham where every year 7 pupil - the first year of secondary school - gets access to over 20 sports as part of their PE curriculum. This sort of offer, providing children with taster sessions on different sports, will help them find the sports which can become part of their life, and will help local clubs find and recruit new, enthusiastic young participants.
We must build on this. I think that every child should have the chance to try out different sports and I will be working with Education Colleagues to see how we can make this an entitlement for all children. This will require trained community coaches and National Governing Bodies stepping up to play their part.
We have heard from stakeholders about their frustration of the lack of a clear vision for sport in the community. We have heard from small organisations about their bafflement and annoyance with the complexity of different funding streams emanating from different government departments. So, working across government departments, we will develop a ten year strategy for sport in the community – long term, coherent, cross-departmental.
Setting targets - for all and for the hard-to-reach
We will set objectives including a target, to increase the number of male and female participants. But concentrating only on participation could result in all the effort focussing on the easiest to reach - rather than the least fit and those with the least time or money.
So we would like to see an inclusion target to increase activity within hard to reach groups.
And we will look to local groups to back this up with local implementation plans.
We want these targets, and the action to achieve them, to be very much generated from the grass roots by county sports partnerships. But the local structures we put in place for sport were fragmented when School Sports Partnerships were abandoned. So, where the local structures are not in place we will ask Sport England to work with local authorities and others to get them up and running.
Grassroots sport needs funding for promotion, for facilities, for coaching. Elite sport already contributes to grassroots sport. But the challenge is for everyone to do more.
• can our National Governing Bodies do more with their funding, including meeting targets for getting women and girls playing sport?
• is the Premier League complying with the spirit as well as the letter of the 5% levy on TV rights? The latest deal for TV rights was £1billion a year for three years. 5% of that is £50m which would make a huge difference to community sport
• sports generate income for the betting industry - this is recognised in the Horse Race Betting Levy which contributes £82m to horse racing. But people bet on all sorts of sports now, not just racing. Should there be a similar levy so that businesses which make money from people betting on sport contribute to those sports?
Better facilities used for more sport
You can do a lot with good facilities. You can do even more with good facilities that enable people to play a range of different sport. An all-weather flood-lit football pitch with clean rooms for changing is great – but even better is a pitch that can have football on Saturday mornings, netball and basketball after school hours and keep fit classes during the day.
More people will play, more children, more young adults, more mums and dads and grans, more families playing together.
In our discussions with stakeholders, we have heard about bids for funding from National Governing Bodies which support new facilities for their sport, in preference to facilities which enable all sport. Can we incentivise and encourage facilities which have as wide as possible use and which communities can make the widest possible use of?
Women in sport
Turning next to the question of girls and women. We want girls and women to have the same chance to compete as boys, the same chance to enjoy sport and physical exercise, the same support for and recognition of their sporting achievements. This is right for the sake of the principle of equality. But it’s also important for women's health, jobs, sense of community - and all the issues I set out about the public policy imperative for sport.
But despite it being the 21st Century - where women are not prepared to be 2nd class citizens and we have amazing sporting icons like Jessica Ennis and Tanni Grey-Thompson - we are very far from equality in sport.
Girls are less likely to do sport at school, 1.8 million fewer women than men play sport regularly, in elite sport they get less sponsorship, lower prize money, less media attention, the public money (from men and women's taxes) that goes into national government bodies benefits women less than men and men-only sports clubs still have an exemption from the Equality Act.
The DCMS Select Committee will publish their report on women and sport tomorrow. They have done invaluable work bringing together all the hard evidence. I'm sure their findings will be compelling and that the changes they propose will be robust and well worthy of consideration for implementation.
• setting targets, monitoring and reporting on girls and boys participation in school sports
• ensuring PE staff are equipped to teach girls as well as boys
• thinking about girls as well as boys in relation to sports facilities
• ensuring that publicly funded National Governing Bodies support women in their sport and include more on their boards.
Half the young people in our schools are girls. They deserve equal access to sports. Our sportswomen train just as hard as men and compete just as seriously, yet their events get less media coverage, attract less prize money and the sponsorship deals are woeful. It’s time the media, governing bodies, sponsors and policy makers worked together to tackle sexism in sport. Our female athletes do us proud and they deserve equality.
Working across government for lifelong activity
We need to ensure that sports and physical activity is a part of every stage of life. And we need to look at all the particular points of change and opportunity in life to add in good sports and exercise habits.
Along with health services, and schools, local government can play a really important role - like Southwark Council - who are bringing in free swimming and gym use in all their leisure centres for all residents to enable them to be more fit and healthy and well as provide great community activity.
Even with toddlers and very young children, it’s not too early to start. Even if you've got to the age of 60 or even 80, it’s not too late to start.
This 10 year strategy of more sport for all is absolutely dependent on cross government working. Whether it’s transport developments supporting cycling, helping parents develop their child's physical literacy, including exercise in support of physical and mental health care, designing sport and activity into new developments, getting running tracks into the countryside. DCMS lead on this but it must run right through other government departments and local government. And ensure that the sports stakeholders - instead of getting different messages from different parts of government - can feed in to and be part of a coherent government vision.
We all know what needs to be done. The evidence is clear. What is needed is leadership, teamwork, commitment and action.