Leader's speech, Bournemouth 1982a
David Steel (Liberal)
Commentary:In this speech to the Joint Liberal Assembly, Steel criticised the Conservatives’ record in such areas as the economy, education, housing, energy and crime. He then pledged that the Alliance would reduce unemployment by one million, provide eight hours of training per week for all unemployed people aged 18 or under, and invest in public services, transport, energy conservation and hi-tech industries. The Alliance was also committed to devolution and proportional representation, membership of the European Monetary System, which Steel claimed would reduce interest rates, and the abolition of the National Insurance Surcharge. In foreign affairs, the main events were the Falklands war, the need to tackle world poverty, nuclear disarmament, and the massacre of Lebanese and Palestinian civilians in Beirut.
Last year I asked you to go back to your constituencies and prepare for government. In the year since then, we have won Croydon and our allies have won Crosby and Hillhead with our full participation and support. In May we established a record win of 400 local council seats. We now have a solid base - our largest ever total of 1800 Liberal Councillors elected to authorities throughout the land.
But a great deal of our energy and concentration has been devoted during the year to the cumbersome, complicated and contentious task of allocating the constituencies between Liberal and SDP candidates to make our Alliance effective. It is worth stressing again that the vast majority of these 600 individual decisions were achieved amicably and democratically between our two parties at local level.
In about thirty cases we had real difficulty, the only surprise is that there were so few. At the end we have had to push through agreements with same acute disappointments in both parties, but more of course in ours where already adopted candidates have been asked to withdraw.
I understand the pain which these decisions have caused, but they had to be faced sometime and I want to say something to those candidates and those associations who will not be fighting the next election: when I listened to the outstandingly generous speeches made by some of the candidates personally affected through the week, I was proud to be leader of your Party. The role which you will play in providing the campaigning lead for our local government effort next May and for our SDP allies in the next general election is central to the success of our endeavour and therefore crucial to a liberal future.
A liberal future is now the alternative for our country. We have heard a great deal about there being ‘no alternative’ to the present policies. It is a proposition which defies common sense. It is quite simply. Conservative propaganda - and I want to nail it once and for all.
Look around you. Is there no alternative to the silent factories with their machinery sold for scrap? No alternative to the dole queues and wasted lives? No alternative to the decaying cities and the shabby streets? Is there no alternative to the frustration of the young and the abandonment of the old? Is no progress possible? Is no change necessary?
We will never accept this Tory counsel of despair. There must be a better way for Britain than selfishness, violence and decline, than greed among the ruins. Unused skills and resources can and must be matched-up with unfulfilled needs. We believe like Martin Luther King that ‘what self-centred men have torn down, other-centred men can build up.’ We must throw away the economic dogma of the monetarists and the Marxists alike and start again to use our own minds and imagination.
As we do this we shall become the real opposition to the Tories. The Labour Party have forfeited all claims to be considered as an acceptable alternative government. We have to fill the vacuum left by the intellectual and political collapse of that once great party.
Mr. Foot said Mr. Peter Tatchell would never be accepted as the Labour candidate at Bermondsey. Now he is. The militant tendency are condemned by an official report, yet their members are Labour parliamentary candidates in Liverpool and Bradford.
Tony Benn this week made a direct appeal for those Liberals disillusioned with our Alliance marriage to run off with him, presumably to help put asunder the Labour Party. Well I have news for him; there is a world of difference between our commitment to the values of generous and open minded Liberalism where the individual comes first and his argument for a narrow socialism where the state is supreme. This is a free party. If he’s watching let him see there are no concrete walls keeping people in as exist round some societies whose system he admires. People are free to go are there any takers?
No, the truth is Tony you’ve created a bit of a problem for us. So many people are now leaving the Labour Party because of the behaviour of you and your friends that we can’t pack them all in here and for the first time at our Assembly hundreds of delegates have to watch on television in our overflow hail next door.
The social democratic part of that once great coalition which made up the Labour Party has lost the struggle and abandoned ship. The ship is breaking up leaving the Hattersleys and Heffers fighting vainly for control of the wreckage as it drifts towards the shore.
Let us leave them to their absorbing task. We have to pick up the baton of responsible opposition now, and of credible alternative government at the next election.
I want today to read you a few choice sentences from a little book that I have enjoyed re-reading over the summer. It is a work laced with wonder, fantasy, excitement and promise. It is called ‘The Conservative Manifesto, 1979.’ The foreword is written by their leader and promises, that the rest of the pages ‘set out a broad framework for the recovery of our country.’
Let us test their achievements against that promise. I begin by giving credit where credit is due. After three years of struggle, pain and sacrifice during which the rate of inflation went as high as 22% they have got it back to 1% less than they inherited. The Tories proudly claimed last week that they had got inflation in Britain back to the level of 1979.
But that’s not all they’ve got back to the levels of previous years. Manufacturing output is now back to the level of 1967. Manufacturing investment back to 1963. And the level of unemployment is back to the level of 1933.
When the Tories talked of backing Britain no one realised that what they meant was putting the entire country into reverse.
They blame the world recession. But unemployment in Britain in the last three years has become twice the level of the rest of the EEC. Britain went earlier and deeper into the recession than any of our competitors pushed by the policies of the British government.
The manifesto said: ‘Our country’s relative decline is not inevitable, we in the Conservative Party think we can reverse it.’ A lot of people believed them. But no longer. All round, from the CBI to the TUC, from the academic world, from individual industrialists and economists, comes criticism which the Government refuses to heed. Typical is the latest Midland Bank Review: ‘It is now becoming doubtful whether a significant recovery can be achieved without reflationary action in which the Government takes the lead.’
But the lady is, she tells us, not for turning. She’s not for listening either. Her admirers liken her to Queen Boadicea. I regard her as a kind of Queen Canute sitting on the beach ignoring all advice as the tide of disaster rises around her.
This Government has reduced profitability in British industry to an all-time record low, left its plant, capacity, research and investment in a more debilitated condition than anyone of this generation can remember. The so-called party of business has created more bankruptcies and liquidations than any government this century.
Far from building a ‘broad framework for recovery,’ they have laid waste the economy with a ferocity unparalleled since Attila the Hun. They chose to ignore all the warnings that their cures would be worse than the disease. They have left our industries so weak that if the much awaited world up-turn comes we may become unable to respond, and be left as helpless spectators while our competitors mop up the business.
And the most damning indictment of all is that this Government has squandered our national assets of North Sea Oil en the huge cost of our ever-lengthening dole queues.
Unemployment cost us £15 billion last year. And that is only the financial cost. The human cost is appalling. We are breeding a young generation many of whom have no idea how to work because they’ve never had a chance to do any. There is an older generation of men and women in their fifties too, who face the bitter realisation that they’ve been thrown on to the unemployment scrap heap, possibly for ever.
Amid this desolation, one group of people remains determinedly cheerful. The members of the Cabinet. Listen to what they’ve been saying:
Mrs. Thatcher told us in her New Year message that 1982 ‘has all the signs of being a year of great opportunity.’ I pointed out at the time that she mist have forgotten that her 1981 New Year message told us: ‘there is real hope that a year from now things will be looking distinctly brighter.’
Every member of the Cabinet has been at it consistently over all three years: November 1980, Geoffrey Howe: ‘the fall in output is bottoming out’;
December 1980, John Nott: ‘I think we have reached the bottom of the recession’;
January 1981, Nigel Lawson: ‘all the signs suggest that we have now more or less reached the bottom’;
May 1981, Michael Heseltine: ‘there is tangible evidence that the worst is over’;
June 1981, Margaret Thatcher: ‘the recession has just about reached the bottom’;
October 1981, Geoffrey Howe: ‘there are some clear signs that the Government’s economic policy is beginning to work ... we have passed the end of the beginning’;
January 1982, Norman Tebbit: ‘we are beginning to see signs of our policies working’;
February 1982, Patrick Jenkin: ‘we are on the verge of an export-led boom’.
Last month, Norman Tebbit, losing his sense of direction altogether in a television interview proclaimed: ‘we are somewhere near the plateau - near the top.’
All this from his Cabinet colleagues so confused poor Sir Keith Joseph that his only contribution to this stream of bogus propaganda last year was: ‘we are in the bottoming out phase, or very closely approaching it.’
The very last sentence of the Tory manifesto reads: ‘the years of make-believe and false optimism are over.’ What people have got to realise before it is too late is that make-believe and false optimism are the entire threadbare stock-in-trade of this administration.
The bogus promises covered almost every item of policy. Take education.
The manifesto said ‘we must restore to every child, regardless of background, the chance for progress as far as his or her abilities allow.’ Falling school roles provide a unique opportunity to raise the quality of education by reducing class sizes. Yet this Government has left more trained teachers paid to be idle than ever before.
As for higher education they said: ‘much of it in Britain has a world-wide reputation for its quality. We shall seek to ensure that this excellence is maintained.’ Try telling that to the thousands of students with good A levels unable to gain places in college or university in these last two years. Even more try telling it to the poorer Commonwealth countries who because of this Government’s fee increases can no longer afford to send students here, but send than instead to America, Japan or even Russia. What crass short-sighted political and commercial folly.
On housing, tenants were told: ‘we must try to achieve a greater take-up in rent allowances for poorer tenants.’ Greater take-up? They’ve abolished that altogether and are about to introduce a so-called housing benefit which will leave 2 million lower incomes tenants 75p a week poorer.
On mortgages, they said: ‘mortgage rates have risen steeply... our plans will lower them.’ The average mortgage rate during their period of office has been consistently at least 2% higher than they inherited and has twice reached 15%.
On energy, they said: ‘we attach particular importance to measures to reduce fuel consumption by improving insulation.’ They’ve reduced fuel consumption all right, but by pushing up prices and shutting down factories. Their record on insulation is so bad that this summer the Commons Select Committee complained about ‘lack of political will at the heart of Government which smothers the efforts of the Department of Energy’s conservation division.’
In their manifesto, the Tories stated: ‘the most disturbing threat to our freedom and security is the growing disrespect for the rule of law.’ Never have there been so many muggings, break-ins and burglaries. Not even Buckingham Palace has proved safe. Throughout the past three years the crime wave has left an indelible mark on the lives of thousands of people.
Mrs. Thatcher blandly asserted that this break-down of law and order has nothing to do with the scale of unemployment. She chose to ignore what Lord Scarman said in his report:
There is no doubt that unemployment is a major factor in the complex pattern of conditions which lies at the root of the disorders in Brixton and elsewhere.
The Conservatives have shouted order but have denied justice; sooner or later they must understand that without justice, the police will not be able to maintain that order without recourse to methods unacceptable in a free society. The Government deserves credit for improving pay and recruitment in the police; but law and order will improve only when policy changes.
This Assembly gave overwhelming support to a resolution committed to community policing demanding a responsible and responsive police force.
Let me say a word about responsibility. We all learnt with horror of the brutal attack by 17 policemen on an innocent West Indian couple who were wrongfully arrested and beaten up in their own home. They suffered such severe injury that in court, Mr. Justice Mars Jones was moved to describe the police behaviour as ‘monstrous, wicked and shameful’; the matter he said had been deliberately covered up for five years. During this time no action was taken to suspend any of the officers concerned.
We in Britain have reason to be grateful for the high standards of the police. But that high reputation suffers if wrongdoing within the police force is swept under the carpet. It is just no answer to say that there are good and bad in every walk of life - and that therefore one must expect bad policemen. The custodians of law and order are themselves possessed of great. power, especially over ethnic minorities under our inhuman immigration acts. They must not be allowed to have their crimes covered up by obliging superiors. That is not law and order - that is legalised disorder. That is why we insisted on seeing the Home Secretary about the failure of Operation Countryman.
If as speculated the Government’s programme in the coming session includes random stop and search powers for the police, we will vehemently oppose them, because they would compound the sins of the past.
And to our ethnic minorities I repeat my pledge of last year, that I will not be party to any government that does not have, as one of its priorities, a commitment to remove all our present racist legislation, so that they may live their lives in dignity and peace, in a civilised society to which they have already contributed so much.
Returning to the Tory manifesto, the tax and social security section declared: ‘we shall cut incomes tax at all levels and tackle the poverty trap.’ In fact more people are now caught in the income tax net. A low paid couple on £80 a week find themselves paying in tax and national insurance 52% more than when this Government came to power.
They said they would ‘bring more effective help to those in need’; - yet they have reduced unemployment benefit by 5%. And they have let Child Benefit drop in real value.
Of the National Health Service they said: ‘standards are falling; there is a crisis of morale.’ So what have they done to improve morale in the Service? They have threatened to abolish it. And meanwhile they have put Norman Fowler in charge of it. With the other Norman in charge of the unemployed you have the two boot boys of British politics kicking in the windows of the welfare state.
What has happened to the Conservative Party? What have they done with the one nation tradition of Rab Butler, lain Macleod and Edward Boyle? How have the decent Tories allowed their party to be hijacked by the heavy squad? How long will they put up with the unacceptable face of Conservatism?
Whilst I realise that it does not do to be too fastidious in politics, I have to confess to a real sense of repugnance at the way the Prime Minister has tried to use the heroism of British servicemen in the Falkland Islands campaign to the greater glory of her self and her Party. As one Tory MP wrote candidly on Sunday: ‘The party is high on the Falklands factor, the gift of the courage and skill of our servicemen, which has served to mask for a time the realities of politics.’ I yield to nobody in admiration for the bravery, the professionalism and the effectiveness of the army, navy and air force in that campaign. We were all proud of them. We gave them our support then and we thank them again now for their efforts and sacrifice.
But that is not enough for the Prime Minister. She has presided over a shambles of incompetence in her conduct of foreign policy and defence. Yet she has set out, quite deliberately, to cover up her Administration’s nakedness by wrapping herself in the Falklands bunting, by belligerence of language, by a simplistic invocation of the Falklands spirit in the totally different sphere of industrial relations, and by a wish to turn a service of remembrance into a glorification of war. As she plans her parade she should learn that there is a difference between patriotism and jingoism.
This Government has forfeited any moral claim to the allegiance of the people. It has broken faith with the electorate.
If the Alliance is to provide new hope, it must restore faith in the capacity of the democratic political process. Our Alliance must provide new leadership, and fresh integrity. We start with a determination to put our country back to work.
‘Back to Work’ is indeed the title of the imaginative programme adopted enthusiastically by this Assembly earlier in the week: it signals a return to the economics of commonsense and ends the nonsense of paying people not to work when there is so much to do. Over three years we will take 1 million people off the dole queues and get this country moving again.
First, we will start a selective programme of capital spending, increasing the public investment level which by this year has shrunk to a mere 2% of current Gross Domestic Product. We shall invest in the future as well as the present, with vital public expenditure; on homes in urgent need of renovation; on schemes of energy conservation; on long-overdue improvement and electrification of our railways; and on encouraging the emerging high technology industries.
These will not merely be nationally inspired projects but will include a whole range of regional and local schemes. Take just one example. In Manchester, the city’s sewerage system is falling apart, literally. There have been over 50 major collapses in the central area alone since 1975. There are 35 miles of tunnels that need replacing. This one urgent project would generate some 4,000 jobs.
Second, we will reactivate the economy by cutting away the restraints upon our competitiveness and on business. We will bring down interest rates by operating a competitive exchange rate and joining the European Monetary System.
We will scrap the National Insurance Surcharge - the iniquitous tax on jobs so loved by Denis Healey and Geoffrey Howe alike.
But we will introduce also a series of measures designed to boost small businesses. In the short term that will provide the most realistic boost for jobs in the private sector.
Third, we will initiate a massive training effort, to give all young people under 18 the chance of at least 8 hours a week training; and, at the other end of the scale, we will extend the Job Release Scheme to the over 60s.
Fourth, we will greatly expand the programme of job creation, in particular for the long-term unemployed. There is much work to be done to improve our environment and our social services.
Now of course, all this will mean spending more money and expanding the Public Sector Borrowing Requirement. After the savings on unemployment and social security benefit, and the increased tax revenue from those newly in work, the net cost carefully checked on the Treasury’s own computer will be £3,000 million a year for three years.
But there will be no long-term benefit to the economy if this extra spending merely fuels inflation. The fundamental difference between the Labour Party’s proposals and those of the Alliance is our firm belief in the anchor which will stop this recovery drifting into the whirlpool of inflation. That anchor is a sustainable incomes policy.
Establishing a fair, firm and sustainable incomes policy will not be easy. Without it we are lost. The Tories would accelerate the haemorrhage of job losses and Labour would put us into terminal decline, unable to hold back runaway inflation. As the Guardian put it, ‘without wage restraint Labour’s package spells inflationary disaster.’
We will have no truck with that pathetically familiar feature of British economic and political life: the pre-election consumer boom. Even now the cabinet is planning tax cuts next spring, sweeteners for the voters. The result of this electoral bribery will be to suck in more imported cars, more imported washing machines, more imported TV sets - and with each import more British jobs will be exported.
By contrast, we are planning for investment-led recovery, striking at unemployment while resisting the corrosive force of inflation. We shall fight doctrinaire privatisation by the Tories as fiercely as we have fought doctrinaire nationalisation by Labour. British industry desperately needs a period of stability.
It needs active and constructive help too. Yet as Liberals we know that however helpful government policy may be, nothing will be achieved without a change of attitude at work.
Will the way in which management and employees face the future be positive, energetic and imaginative, adjusting to changes in technology and responding to our competitors? Or will it be surly and negative, concerned to protect the past and shut the door on the future.
Of course all parties are concerned with this vital question. Yet Labour and Tories alike have come up with the wrong answers. Labour believe that the bureaucrats in Whitehall and Trade Union bosses at the TUC can change attitudes. Tories believe that it is enough to appeal to the profit motive of a few investors.
Liberals have the right answer, the human answer. It is partnership. We need a revolution in industrial relations in Britain. The Nissan Company has said that they are reluctant to build a car plant in Britain because British workers couldn’t understand that managers were human beings who wanted to mix freely on the shop floor. It would be difficult they said to introduce Japanese methods of communication between workers and management necessary for higher productivity because of the historical conflict between different classes that characterises British society.
That is precisely what we Liberals have always said. I hope Mrs. Thatcher listened when she was in Tokyo instead of taking advantage of Japanese politeness to give one of her little homilies.
To us partnership is not just a pious hope or a management technique. It is the moral basis of a Liberal society. Free people - sharing adversity when it is necessary. Sharing the rewards of their labour and sharing decisions. That is why we shall change company law to turn the limited concept of companies owned by capital alone into living organisations which represent a genuine community of interest of all who contribute to them.
It must be the same with our politics too. When we talk about the new politics, we mean really giving democracy a chance. We want a government, ministers and civil servants alike, which is genuinely accountable to parliament and open to public scrutiny. We want a House of Commons which truly represents the people of this country. We want a constitution which protects the rights of individuals, which pushes power back to the communities of Britain and which guards the rule of law.
It is a curious thing that this country which gave birth to parliamentary democracy has got stuck with a very limited nineteenth century version of it. Now we want to extend democracy and use it to breathe life back into our tired institutions.
We are committed to a Scottish parliament and to devolution of per in the rest of the United Kingdom. We have reaffirmed our total commitment to the introduction of proportional representation. I do not want anyone to underrate our seriousness. Make no mistake, the Alliance will not compromise on this fundamental democratic reform.
But we cannot be concerned with Britain alone. We live in a troubled world, and I fear that the instinctive response to its huge problems is isolation, mutual suspicion and narrow nationalism.
We are beset by problems: of trade, of declining economic activity, of a dangerous fragility in banking and financial arrangements. Over everything looms the growing calamity of world poverty: of famine, scarce resources and over-population.
The Brandt Report struck a ready and enthusiastic popular chord, yet the response of governments was frankly inadequate. At the international summit in Mexico the problems were tossed aside. A bland and pious communiqué was the only outcome. An even greater scandal of our age is the sordid traffic in conventional arms, and the insanity of the nuclear arms race. I understand why so many people have been moved by the build up of nuclear weapons to campaign actively for disarmament. But there has been little tangible result. This summer, five weeks of talks at the United Nations, including speeches from many of the world’s leaders, culminated in the unmitigated failure of the Second Special Session on Disarmament.
There are some things we can do on our awn. We can abandon the pretence of a British independent deterrent. We can and we will cancel the Trident project. But that is not enough. We need effective international agreement. That is why I place so much store on real progress at the multilateral disarmament talks at Geneva. Success there is not helped by those who talk of the possibility of fighting and ‘winning’ a nuclear war. That is a fantastic illusion and dangerous nonsense. It would indeed be a war without winners.
But as we have seen in recent days nuclear war is not the only horror which threatens mankind.
The terrible devastation of Beirut culminating in the unspeakable barbarism of last month’s massacre, deserves more than mere condemnation of those directly responsible. It also demands a recognition by many nations, including Britain, of our own complicity - in fuelling the Middle East conflict by an unrelenting and cynical traffic in arms to both sides. We will lead a European initiative to dam the flood of arms to that unhappy region.
On my own overseas visits last year, in particular Washington, Peking and the UN itself, I have became more and more convinced that we Liberals must work for a new International Charter, as fundamental and far-reaching as the post-war settlement, which included Bretton Woods and the foundation of the UN.
In the United States the Democratic Party has proposed a mutual and verifiable freeze on the manufacture and deployment of all nuclear weapons, leading thereafter step by step to the creation of nuclear-free zones, the reduction of existing stockpiles and thence to general disarmament.
This year too the Palme Commission has put forward a host of practical measures for real disarmament, including battlefield nuclear free zones.
As we cut back on arms spending, the billions of pounds saved should be utilised for the development of the Third World. Growth and prosperity in those areas, which are so desperately poor at present, could provide a great engine to get the world’s economy moving again.
In parallel the Charter should define a new set of relationships to cover finance, monetary systems and resources in such away that equity and efficiency replace corruption and chaos.
A new international settlement of this sort must involve the Soviet bloc and China. It is formidably difficult but no-one can seriously doubt that it is necessary.
In working for this the European Community has a particular responsibility and opportunity. Britain should share the leadership of the community and our government will not behave like this one, complaining about them all being out of step with us lot for nothing is our Prime Minister known throughout the continent as la belle dame sans merci.
Looking at the state of the world today and at Britain itself it is no wonder that so many young people have become disillusioned or disaffected. I want particularly to say a few words to them today:
Standing aside, nursing a grievance, will change nothing. Care and join us. You need us to end the drift and shatter the complacency of the old politics, and we need you to help us do it.
But I want to appeal as well to those who are older and more established: Don’t write off a whole generation. Young people and their ideas must be given a chance. This generation should be of special concern. We have a generation of young people, who are bright, well educated and highly motivated. Yet the missing factor for them that was always there for those of us brought up in the post-war period is hope. We have bred a generation almost without hope, who can echo the poet:
Ah what shall I be at fifty
Should nature keep me alive
If I find the world so bitter
When I am but twenty-five.
Our embittered young see us spending billions on more and more sophisticated weapons while poverty and ignorance continue; they see us willing and able to fight a war eight thousand miles away, but unwilling or unable to find the same amounts of money and effort to tackle the things that matter to them: their education, their jobs and their chance for a decent life.
The anguish in the voice of our young people is also a protest of individuality against uniformity; what Goethe called ‘the deadly commonplace that fetters us all.’ Our amorphous bureaucracy and our insensitive institutions are fetters which the young wish to throw off. We should listen carefully to their protest. We will be judged by our reactions.
What they want is not the easy half-truths and euphemisms about ‘bottoming out’ or ‘turning the corner.’ They don’t want lecturing or hectoring from a Prime Minister: they want understanding.
We can link the idealism of youth to the fine liberal traditions of individual worth, of tolerance, of dissent, of democratic change. Let us make their demand for a limitation on the abuse of power ours as well; let us embrace their demand for a new politics which enhances the quality of life, gives the individual dignity, yet preserves our sense of community. They want a government that speaks directly and honestly to its citizens and one that listens as well, and that is what we are going to give them.
We are a new force in British politics which is realistic, purposeful, and above all hopeful. We must campaign with all our strength and conviction between now and the election.
We represent a new kind of leadership which is not imprisoned by class or ideology or sectional interest. We offer a new kind of politics which truly represents all the people.
That is the real significance of the Alliance. Just as we have brought Liberals and Social Democrats together in a common cause, we must now bring people and government together in a new alliance. Partnership and teamwork are what we believe in. Equality of sacrifice in the hard times is what we shall insist on. Equality of reward when we win through will be the right of every citizen.
Making this country a decent place to live in for all of us will not be easy. But if it is not done together it will not be done at all. Carry this message into every city, every town and every village of these islands. Don’t despair. Cut free from the past.
I have one last quotation from this discredited document. It puts in a sentence the prevailing philosophy of the Conservative Party: ‘government strategies and plans cannot produce revival.’
You see, they abdicated the proper responsibility of government even before they took office. This is a do nothing, care less government.
That was not the attitude of Lloyd George and the Liberal Party in our Yellow Book of 1929, ‘we can conquer unemployment.’ It was not the attitude of President Roosevelt when he adopted the same ideas in the New Deal which pulled America out of the slump of the Thirties. And it is not the attitude of the Liberal Party and our allies today.
So at the end of this Assembly we say to the Government: There is an alternative. We stand determined, united.
If you are not willing to act, we are.
If you do not care, we do.
If you will not give the people of this country the leadership they deserve, you should go.
We are ready to govern.