‘Conference, I look about me and ask the same thing you do: What am I doing here?
Never underestimate the challenges this party faces but also its successes: once we looked down at the Liberal Democrats as weirdoes but now we have bested them in that.
What I want to say to you is this: short sentences. Just a few words. Not even a verb.
I’ll start by some unconvincing populism by cheering the football results: Arsenal 3 – 1 Tottenham – and I know how you all hate Spurs fans.
We all have failings. I have a confession to make: after 14 years of marriage, I still don’t know what a woman is.
Now fill in random personal details here to make me sound human, with unnatural emphasis in places to sound angry. It might be as interesting as your cousin’s slide-show last Christmas, but we have a long time slot to fill in and nothing to say. Then sound humble. Was I meant to say that out loud?
We will not always see eye-to-eye. I know I stand here as leader looking out over a different party: I’m not a raging, hate-filled communist like most of you; I don’t beat up journalists in corridors like most of you; I don’t hate Jews like most of you. Even so, there are things that we in this movement share – we all agree our policies should target ordinary working people, and I am ready to pull the trigger.
We have all enjoyed the lettuce, gherkin, bacon and tomato sandwiches at lunch, the only sort we agreed.
I have worked in public service for most of my life. Baroness Scotland appointed me as DPP, and although I never prosecuted her, as head of the Crown Prosecution Service I learned the significance of those three those three words that appeared on my desk: ‘Complete’ emphasises that we must finish what we set out to do; ‘Utter’ shows the need to pursue things to the furthermost; ‘Pillock’ is me.
If we are who we say we are, we believe the government is magic, so we can blame Boris for everything from the weather to Tottenham’s fluke goal. If our party believes any principle, it is that the Tories are to blame. When we get power in our hands, we will ensure, as many of you have affirmed, there will be everything in the state, nothing outside the state, and nothing against the state – that is the Labour way.
So far I have not laid down any actual policy nor any practical way to achieve anything Conference has demanded. Let us keep it that way. My watchwords will be Work, Care, Equality, Security – all values which we have done our utmost to extinguish.
I think of these values as my heirloom. The word ‘loom’, from which that idea comes, is another word for ‘tool’; and that is what I am.