Ed Miliband will today declare that the General Election in six months’ time will be fought on Labour’s core belief that Britain should work for the many, not just a privileged few.
And he will urge his party to fight to change our country where the proliferation of zero-hours contracts is matched by some people at the top getting away with paying zero rates of tax in a zero-zero economy.
“Our country only works for the privileged few today, not for most people. That is not just a slogan or some theoretical idea, it is rooted in the real lives of people in every part of our country.
“People asking why are they being told there is a recovery when they aren’t feeling the benefits, people working so hard but not being rewarded, young people fearing that they are going to have a worse life than their parents, people making a decent living but still unable to afford to buy a house, people who worry that one of the foundation stones of their security – the NHS – is under threat.
“And people asking why they are on zero-hours contracts while those at the top get away with zero tax. This zero-zero economy is a symptom of a deeply unequal, deeply unfair, deeply unjust country; a country I am determined to change.
“We know what we’re fighting for. We are fighting for a country that works for everyday people, and not just a privileged few; a recovery that works for you and your family; the next generation doing better than the last; and the NHS there when you need it.
“Let’s fight for a fairer, more just, more equal Britain.”
He will say powerful interests and political opponents determined to prevent change happening will not succeed in their efforts to throw Labour off course.
“You need resilience in this job. You need fight. But above all, you need belief in what you are doing. Not belief based on a longing to have a picture on the wall down the stairs of Downing Street, not belief driven by a sense of entitlement that it is somehow Labour’s turn. Instead, belief driven by how we must change the country. That is why I am in this job, that is why it matters to me, that is what drives me on.
“We’re in a fight, but not because our opponents think we’re destined to lose. We are in a fight because they know we can win. And, between now and the election, they are going to use every tactic to try to destabilise, distract us and throw us off course. Our task is simple: not to be distracted, but to keep our eyes on the prize of changing this country.”
He will say the Conservatives cannot bring the change people need because their core belief only offers more of the same failed ideas that have caused deep-rooted problems in Britain.
“They have a core belief, just like we do, but its content couldn’t be more different. They believe that the success of the country comes from a few at the top. And as long as they’re doing well, Britain is doing well.”
He will say Labour’s plan will be delivered through big reform to create wealth, devolve power and improve services – not big spending:
“There was a huge financial crash only a few years ago and it left our country with a deficit that has to be paid down. That’s why change has to be about big reform, not about big spending. Big spending won’t solve the problems of an economy that doesn’t work for working people and we won’t have the money to do it.
“So we will be the wealth creators, not just the wealth distributors; the devolvers of power, not the centralisers, and the reformers of the state, not the defenders of it.”
He will say Labour has learnt from mistakes in the past on immigration – but he will never try to ape UKIP’s plan to return to an unequal and unjust past.
“Just as we should apply the values of the British people in the way our country is run, so too on immigration. A sense of fairness and community which means that we can’t simply allow wages to be undercut, that entitlements should be earned, and that people should learn English and be part of our society.
“We will be talking more about immigration as a party and we should. But always on the basis of Labour values, not UKIP values. What we will never do is try to out-UKIP, UKIP. I think it is time we levelled with people about UKIP. It is time we had a debate about where they really stand.
“Piece together the different statements from Mr Farage and his gang and think about what it says: ‘working mothers aren’t worth as much as men; life was better when there wasn’t equality for gay and lesbian people; you feel safer when you don’t have someone who is foreign living next door; the NHS should be privatised; rights at work, whether they come from Europe or from here, are simply a barrier to economic success. And they say let’s get out of the European Union’.
“Their answer is to return to a more unequal, more unjust past. Mr Farage, you go to live in that world if you want to. But I don’t think the people of Britain will follow. We’re Britain, we’re better than this. Because we know you can’t build a vision of the future if you don’t believe in equal rights. You can’t succeed as a country if you try to close yourself off from the world. You can’t make a fairer country if you try to destroy our National Health Service.”