» Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Prime Minister’s TUC Speech

The Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) read out some excerpts from the speech the Prime Minister would make to the TUC conference.

He would say the following:

"Globalisation is so often debated today that it can just elicit a yawn…What isn’t clichéd, however, is the response to it.  For the first time, I can sense building up, here and round the world, a division, not of ideology but of attitude, as to how we deal with the consequences of globalisation…. There is a mindset of fear that is different and deep."

"What has changed is the interplay between globalisation, immigration and terrorism. Suddenly we feel under threat: physically from this new terrorism that is coming onto our streets; culturally as new waves of migrants change our society; and economically because an open world economy is hastening the sharpness of competition.  People feel they are working longer, but are less secure.  They feel the rules are changing and they never voted to change them.  They feel, in a word, powerless." 

The Prime Minister would then go on to say:

"In my judgement, we need an approach that is strong and not scared; that addresses people’s anxieties but does not indulge them; and above all has the right values underpinning it.  The challenge won’t be overcome by policy alone; but by a powerful case made on the basis of values, most especially those that combine liberty with justice, security with tolerance and respect for others."

"The answer to economic globalisation is open markets and strong welfare and public service systems, particularly those like education, which equip people for change.  The answer to terrorism is measures on security and tackling its underlying causes. The answer to concern over migration is to welcome its contribution and put a system of rules in place to control it."

The Prime Minister would go on in greater detail to address the challenge of terrorism and look in detail at the positive impact of migration. He would talk about the need for ID cards as a method to help control migration.

Asked whether he would address his future in any way shape or form, the PMOS said no. There would be some comments at the start of the speech, which would come under the heading of party business but he would not brief about them. Asked whether that would be along the lines of the leadership process, the PMOS said no he did not expect any more process stories. Asked whether there would be anything on the reform programme following TUC comments so far, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister would take questions and he suspected that he would address it as part of that. Asked whether the Prime Minister would address concerns about private sector involvement, the PMOS said that again he suspected it might come up in that question and answer session.

Asked whether he would discuss Romania and Bulgaria specifically under the migration heading, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister would address that issue. We continued to believe that this was a complex issue that we needed to look at. The Prime Minister would also set out in detail the net benefits to this country of migration. Asked whether the Prime Minister was asking us to change our attitudes rather than policy, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister would set out the need to address the need to continue to evolve policies that addressed people’s real concerns. This was what the Prime Minister wanted to do. However you also had to have an open approach to these issues. You could not have a closed approach, which was protectionist, pretending that the outside world would not impact on this country because it would.  Asked if that meant he was still in favour of the applicant countries joining the EU, the PMOS pointed out that first of all there had to be a decision made at the EU level. Then we could decide our response to that decision. We were not at that point yet, but the Prime Minister’s basic approach was that migration as a whole had benefitted this country.

That said he also recognised that we had to deal with people’s concerns and the consequences of migration. The Prime Minister would address both in his speech, but he did not take the specific case of Romania and Bulgaria any further because we were not yet at that point. Asked how the Prime Minister would discuss the benefits of migration, the PMOS said that it would be in economic terms in the broader sense, about its impact on economy as a whole. Asked whether he would cite the Polish experience and was there a comment about the Polish ambassador’s remarks about the number of Poles sleeping rough in Britain, the PMOS said that the Polish experience would form part of his argument. The PMOS said he had not seen the ambassador’s comments so he would not comment himself until he had done so.

Asked whether the Prime Minister had spoken to the Chancellor about his speech, the PMOS reminded journalists that he did not discuss conversations between the Prime Minister and any Cabinet colleagues. Asked whether he recognised the reported Daily Telegraph quote saying that the Chancellor could not beat David Cameron, the PMOS said that he had not heard the Prime Minister say that.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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