MANCHESTER, England, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Below are highlights from British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s speech to the ruling Labour Party’s annual conference.
“I know what I want to do in this job. And I know that the way to deal with tough times is to face them down. Stay true to your beliefs. Understand that all the attacks, all the polls, all the headlines, all the criticism, it’s all worth it, if in doing this job I make life better for one child, one family, one community. Because this job is not about me, it’s about you.”
“I didn’t come into politics to be a celebrity or thinking I’d always be popular. Perhaps, that’s just as well.
“And I didn’t come to London because I wanted to join the establishment, but because I wanted and want to change it. So I’m not going to try to be something I’m not. And if people say I’m too serious, quite honestly there’s a lot to be serious about — I’m serious about doing a serious job for all the people of this country.
“What angers me and inspires me to act is when people are treated unfairly.”
“I and then (finance minister) Alistair Darling will meet financial and government leaders in New York to make these proposals:
“First transparency, all transactions need to be transparent and not hidden. Second, sound banking, a requirement to demonstrate that risk can be managed and priced for bad times as well as good. Third, responsibility, no member of a bank’s board should be able to say they did not understand the risks they were running and walk away from them. Fourth, integrity, removing conflicts of interest so that bonuses should not be based on short-term speculative deals but on hard work effort and enterprise. And fifth, global standards and supervision because the flows of capital are global, then supervision can no longer just be national but has to be global.”
“And if we make these changes I believe London will retain its rightful place as the financial centre of the world.”
“I am asking the climate change committee to report by October on the case for, by 2050, not a 60 percent reduction in our carbon emissions, but an 80 percent cut — and I want British companies and British workers to seize the opportunity and lead the world in the transformation to a low carbon economy.”
“And (foreign minister) David Miliband, (international development minister) Douglas Alexander and I will do everything in our power to bring justice and democracy to Burma, to Zimbabwe and to Darfur.
“And I promise you I will work with other countries to bring a permanent settlement — a secure Israel and a viable Palestine — to deliver peace for the people of the Middle East.
“And this week at Britain’s request the United Nations has summoned the leaders of the world to a special summit on what we know is a global poverty emergency.”
“What has become clear is that Britain cannot trust the Conservatives to run the economy. Everyone knows that I’m all in favour of apprenticeships, but let me tell you this is no time for a novice.
“The Conservatives may want to represent the future, but whether it’s Europe or energy, planning or tax credits, university places of 42 days, whenever they are tested on substance they have nothing to offer to meet the big challenges of tomorrow, because they are prisoners of their past.”
“Labour is the party of the National Health Service (NHS) — we created it, we saved it, we value it and we will always support it.
“I’ve always found it unfair that we cannot offer on the NHS the comprehensive services that private patients can afford to buy. And so in April a Labour Britian will become the first country in the whole world to offer free universal check ups for everyone over 40.
“I can announce today for those in our nation battling cancer, from next year you will not pay prescription charges.”
“We want to enable all families to use the Internet to link back to their children’s school.
“We will fund over a million extra families to get online, on the way to our ambition of Britain leading the world with more of our people than any other major economy able to access the Internet and broadband.”
“So today I announce my intention to introduce ground-breaking legislation to enshrine in law Labour’s pledge to end child poverty.”
“We are and will always be a pro-enterprise, pro-business and pro-competition government. And we believe the dynamism of our five million businesses large and small is vital to the success of our country.
“But the continuing market turbulence shows why we now need a new settlement for these times — a settlement that we as a pro-market party must pursue.”
“Where I’ve made mistakes I’ll put my hand up and try to put them right.
“I want to give the people of this country an unconditional assurance — no ifs, no buts, no small print — my unwavering focus is taking the country through the challenging economic circumstances we face and building the fair society of the future.”
“But you know, when it comes to public spending you can’t just wave a magic wand to conjure up the money — not even with help from Harry Potter.”