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Jeremy Corbyn insists it's 'about winning power'

September 28, 2016 2:48 PM
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He stressed to delegates in Liverpool during his main speech that his aim was also "about winning power".

Referring to the campaign for justice for the 96 Liverpool fans who died at Hillsborough, he said: "Those families have shown... that you can get truth and justice.

"We must learn from them, and we promise those campaigning for justice... we will support your battles... and when we return to government we will change society for the benefit of all.

"So yes, our party is about campaigning, and it's about protest too, but most of all it's about winning power at local and national government, to deliver the real change our country so desperately needs."

He went on to talk about the "testing" couple of months for Labour that started with the murder of Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox, continued with the referendum and then the "tipping over of divisions in Parliament into the leadership contest that ended last Saturday".

He thanked his contender Owen Smith and went on to repeat his earlier statements about the need for "respect" during "robust debate" and his opposition to anti-semitism and abuse.

When he talked about Labour's recent successes, he mentioned the new mayor of Bristol and also London mayor Sadiq Khan, who showed little reaction at the mention of his name.

Later in his speech, he attacked those who "pedalled myths and whip up division" over different groups in society, including migrants.

"It isn't migrants who put a strain on our National Health Service; it only keeps going because of the migrant nurses and doctors who come here, filling the gaps left by politicians who failed to invest in training.

"It isn't migrants that have caused the housing crisis, it's a Tory government that has failed to build homes.

"A Labour government will not offer false promises on immigration, as the Tories have done.

"We will act decisively to end the under-cutting of workers' pay and conditions through the exploitation of migrant labour... which will reduce the number of migrant workers and in the process, the pressure on hard pressed public services that are struggling to absorb Tory austerity cuts."

Earlier, there was praise for Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May, but only in an appreciation that she recognised that "people want change".

Mr Corbyn then moved on to new policies which he said were necessary to undo what the Tories had put in place.

:: The repeal of the trade union act to "set unions free to do their jobs, defending and supporting their members and rights at work to a real living wage".

:: To work toward "full employment, a homes guarantee, security at work, a strong, public National Health Service and social care".

:: A cut in inequality of income and wealth action to secure an equality society.

He said he wanted to use the example set by several Labour councils around the country in setting up schemes that improve their areas and benefit their residents.

Part of a plan to boost the economy would be tackling under investment in green technologies and a proposal to increase spending on research and development to 3% of national income.

He promised to increase spending on infrastructure, but said that businesses must be prepared to contribute to Labour's plan to invest in human capital so that corporation tax would have to rise by less than 1.5% to fund an education maintenance allowance.

He described failure to pay proper taxes by tax avoidance "an act of vandalism" against the NHS and social care.

In a reference to reports of violence in Yemen, he promised a Labour government would ban arms sales to any country that was subject to "credible" accounts of human rights abuses "starting with Saudi Arabia".

He warned that Theresa May could call a general election in 2017 and said Labour is preparing for one in 2017.

"We'll be ready for the challenge whenever it comes. Let's do it," he said. "Let's do it in the spirit of the great Liverpool manager Bill Shankly."

His closing line, after a call for a socialism of the 21st century, was an appeal for unity. "Together we can build a peaceful world," he said.


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