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Last Updated: Monday, 24 September 2007, 11:20 GMT 12:20 UK
Hazel Blears's speech in full
This party was founded by men and women who believed in the powerful potential of democratic politics.

By working class communities who knew that by coming together, acting together, working together, there was no force so powerful it could not be overcome.

By people who knew there was no weapon more powerful than their vote.

So they organised, they built up a party from their streets and their workplaces, and they took on the mighty Liberal and Conservative Parties, and the people who owned the land, the mines, the mills, the factories and even their homes, and by fighting for their beliefs, they civilised the 20th Century.

But not one of those giants whose shoulders we stand on, could have dreamed to be where this party stands today.

Ten years of government under our belt. The prospect of a fourth term within our reach.

And as our debate this morning has shown, we've lost none of our passion for politics, or our burning desire for social justice and fair play.

So we will build the houses that people want, so there are affordable homes for the many not just the few, as Yvette will set out later in the week.

We will give more powers to local councils, and enable councillors to be true champions of their neighbourhoods.

I think councillors are the real heroes of our democracy.

Motivated by public service. In tune with communities. Creating strong, safe places where people want to live.

None of the things we value the most would ever have been delivered by market forces - not the public parks, or clean water, or the city squares, or the public works of art, or the public transport systems, or the museums and art galleries.

The great public services, buildings and spaces are expressions of the democratic will, made real by local councils.

Our Labour councillors are the embodiment of all that's best about Labour.

And they deserve our thanks.

When Jane Roberts and her Councillors' Commission report later this autumn, I hope we can debate new ways to get a whole range of people to stand for the council.

Young and keen as well as experienced and wise!

More people from our black and minority ethnic communities, more representatives from every community in Britain, so that councils look like the communities they serve.

And certainly more women, because the current inequality between men and women on councils is a disgrace.

One hundred years after women won the vote, only three out of ten councillors are women, and that must change.

We've come a long way since I was first elected as a city councillor, when a young women councillor was something of a rarity.

We've got some fantastic women councillors.

And congratulations to our newest Labour women councillor Jenny Barnes, who won a by-election in Worcester last Thursday on a 17.6 per cent swing from Tory to Labour.

And today Worcester is no longer a Tory council.

It's good to see Worcester Woman still votes Labour.

As Gordon has said - we need a new politics. New ways to reach out, to engage people, to give real power and control to working people.

We must have the confidence to stop just 'consulting' and put our communities in control.

We need to be the party of devolution, of decentralisation. In short we need to put power in the hands of the people.

So let's discuss new ways of democratising our local services - for example greater local accountability for the police and our health services.

This is the time to be bold.

This is the localist moment in British politics.

Whether it's control of community assets such as village halls, swimming pools, disused schools, former NHS buildings or street markets.

More say over budgets,

Citizens' juries on planning, parks or policing.

New ways to press the council, police or NHS into action.

None of this undermines local government. It makes local democracy stronger - and there is no democracy without local democracy.

It is the moment when the Labour Party has the courage and confidence to give power away.

It is the moment when working people take control, because Labour trusts the real experts - the British people.

A dozen years ago this conference passed Clause IV's call for 'a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few'.

They called it the Clause IV moment.

But conference, now is our real Clause IV moment, when we actually make it happen.

Now, I've said Labour is building the houses so there are affordable homes for the many not just the few.

But there's something more.

We need to make sure that everyone who can work has a job too.

An affordable home and rewarding work - that's Labour's pledge.

I want every child to grow up in a household with adults in work I want every child to open the curtains in the morning and see a community on its way to work.

I want every child to know that when their time comes, there will be a job for them, with a decent wage and real opportunities.

Imagine if we can unlock the talents of all the people, imagine if not one life chance was squandered.

Imagine how brilliant Britain would be.

I started by saying that this party was founded by campaigners. If we lose our passion for campaigning, we're finished. So let's not forget that there are elections next May in London, throughout Wales, and across England.

Let's work to get Welsh Labour councillors elected across Wales.

To win for Labour in places like Hyndburn, Slough, Thurrock, Coventry, Lincoln, Bolton, and Derby where some of our key battleground seats are going to be.

And also to win in London.

Because the last thing a modern, diverse, international-class capital like London needs is a fogeyish, bigoted and upper-class twit for its mayor.

For all Cameron's claims to localism, his is the party which abolished London's city government, starved councils of cash, and created a centralised government worthy of Napoleon.

The Tories have never trusted the people, whether they were single mums, miners, or the millions on the dole, and no amount of open necked-shirts will make us forgive or forget.

So let us campaign with confidence, strong in our convictions, united in our values and determined to see Gordon Brown walk over the threshold of Downing Street at the start of a second decade of Labour government.


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