A note from Ed Miliband:
“A duty to leave the world a better place than we found it”
I believe that we have a duty to leave the world a better place than we found it -- that we cannot shrug our shoulders at injustice, and that we can overcome terrible odds by working together.
It was my family who taught me those values and they matter more to me today than ever. They have shaped my belief about how Britain can succeed if we rebuild as one nation.
I want ours to be a country where everyone has the chance to live the life they choose for themselves and their family, where each of us feels a responsibility to look out for one another, and where everyone’s voice can be heard.
“In politics you don’t just have to fight, you have to know whose side you are on”
When I was younger, I wasn’t set on a life in politics, but I did know that I wanted to do what I could to make a difference.
I got selected to be Labour’s candidate for Parliament in Doncaster North in 2005.
It is a great place and the people there will never let me forget that Labour exists to fight for working people. I valued the role I played in the Labour government after that. By 2007 I was serving as energy minister, fighting hard to secure funding to stop the effects of climate change and helping to bring down people’s energy bills at the same time.
The following year, after Labour’s defeat in the General Election, I won the Labour leadership in a close contest. It was a tough time for my family, but I thought Labour had to make some changes and that I was the best person to bring them about.
Throughout my life and career, I have always tried to do the right thing by my values, even when it is difficult. That was true when we took on Rupert Murdoch, the banks and the gas and electricity firms, and it will be true as Prime Minister too. Leadership isn’t about standing up to the weak, that’s easy. It is about standing up to the strong and fighting to make life better for ordinary families.
“My family taught me that values matter”
My wife Justine -- a brilliant environmental lawyer -- has done more than anyone to keep me rooted in real life over the last few years, and we are hugely proud parents of our two young boys, Daniel and Sam. When I can get them away from the Octonauts (they are underwater explorers!), I like to tell our boys some of the same stories my father told me when I was growing up.
Keeping my parents’ story alive is extremely important to me, especially since my dad died in 1994. My parents came to Britain as Jewish refugees from the Nazis, and as immigrants after the war. They were building their life as our country too was being rebuilt. I grew up watching my mum and dad work incredibly hard and I admire them so much for what they achieved. My mum lived in hiding during the War, sheltered by nuns in a convent, having to pretend not to be Jewish. My father came here knowing no English, he worked as a furniture remover, went to night school and ended up becoming a professor.
My brother and I went to the local Comprehensive school when we were kids, and I will always remember the fantastic teaching that I received there. My teachers have inspired me throughout my career.
“Only by uniting will we build the better, fairer, Britain we deserve”
One of the things I have learnt through life, is that our country can only succeed when working people succeed too.
We cannot grow and thrive if our nation’s wealth is stored in the pockets of a few, extraordinarily rich people.
That’s why I will not tolerate the current widening gap between the richest and poorest. I believe firmly that the route to economic recovery is to tackle the terrible cost-of-living crisis faced by millions of families -- a crisis being ignored by this government, a crisis worse than any other since 1870. A recovery just for a privileged few at the top is no recovery at all.
The only way our party will succeed in its mission and in the next election is by standing for the national interest. We will not pander to or focus on the interests of any one, smaller group. One Nation Labour means reaching out to our country at large, so that the views and voices of everyone, from every walk of life -- young and old, public and private sector, north and south -- are acknowledged and listened to.
But Labour will not just design a programme for government: we need to do far more than that to build a One Nation Britain. Government can lead the effort, but all of us – business, trade unions, councils, civil society, communities, families and individuals – must work together to imagine and build the country we want.
Each one of us has a part to play, and only by uniting will we build the better, fairer, country that Britain deserves to be.
Ed Miliband on Labour Vision