Let’s turn our work, our communities, our finances, our government, our taxes, to common purpose

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I have suggested that Labour needs a narrative. It does. Let me offer one to Labour, the Greens, the SNP, Plaid and anyone who wants to use it, alone or in partnership.


The world is in crisis. We must change to stop climate change and protect biodiversity or we have no future.

At the same time we have learned that we need stronger health, care, education and support services to manage the threat from crises, like the one created by Covid.

And we need to tackle the impact of financialisation of the economy on people’s lives - most obviously seen in crushing house prices and rents.

We need a new economy. The one we have cannot adapt to any of these threats without there being big changes. It has passed its sell by date, and is near its use by date as well. We have to change.

What we need is freedom from fear.

The fear of unemployment.

The fear of low pay.

The fear of never being able to call a place home.

The fear of ill health.

The fear of old age, and not being cared for.

The fear that no one cares about your community.

In summary, the fear that comes from isolation.

We need not suffer this fear. The UK is a rich country. It has national wealth of at least £12 trillion. It has an able workforce. It is better placed to manage the risks that we face than many nations. But, the resources to face those risks have to be mobilised.

To become net zero carbon we need a million houses a year converted to use heat pumps.

So we need to make a million heat pumps.

And millions of electric car charging points.

And new renewable energy generation capacity, throughout the country.

This can only be done with a carbon army of people to transform our country, starting, continuing and ending in the places in which each and every one of us lives, which will take twenty years, or more.

It could be done with our steel.

And could be done to our designs.

It needs to be done to English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland’s houses.

And in the streets where those houses are.

It has to employ local people.

And it needs to engage people to deliver all the support services - from childcare onwards - that such a programme of work would require.

It must build new houses too. Because we need them. And they must be affordable, and provide security.

And we must also have the local transport we need - because almost all journeys are local, although politicians usually forget that.

Whilst at the same time the NHS must be put back in its feet.

And our wealth should support this. Just offer decent interest rates on National Savings and the money would pour in. £70bn a year goes into ISAs now. More could be raised for a Green New Deal simply by changing tax rules. Let’s call it our national capital. Let’s change all tax reliefs on savings and investment so that they are only given for building for our futures.

And let’s stop worrying about deficits. Let’s instead worry about work, planet, houses and security.

And if inequality is created by government deficits - as it is - then let’s tax the wealthier to deliver social fairness. Prosperity is good, but too much inequality isn’t.

Let’s talk about sharing.

Let’s talk about what can be done together.

But let’s remember we are also different. Let’s respect that fact. That north is not the same as south. That we have differing cultures, national backgrounds and traditions. But that we can work together.

Let’s talk possibility. And not of constraints.

And let’s not pretend that we cannot afford what we know must be done.

Let’s do it instead - turning our work, our communities, our finances, our government, our taxes, to common purpose. To deliver what we all need. Together, that is, because none of us are unaffected by this.

Let’s build the place we have to be.

That is a vision.