Harriet Harman’s Speech to Labour Party Conference

Extracts from Harriet Harman, Shadow Minister for International Development speech to Labour Party Conference

Our aid matters.

It matters to the girls in Afghanistan – who go to school now.

It matters to the villagers in Pakistan whose homes were swept away by the flood – who are getting shelter now.

It matters to the Sierra Leonean women I met in the slums of Freetown – who can get free health care for their children now.

It is harder to make the case for international aid when in this country the government are cutting the police and putting up tuition fees.

We must not make the world’s poorest pay the price of a global financial crisis precipitated by the greed and irresponsibility of the world’s banking system.

But when people are dying unnecessarily and – we can help – that is what we must do.

That is Labour’s longstanding commitment to international development – and why Tony Blair and Gordon Brown made it a huge priority every single day of our Labour government –
• We set up the Department for International Development
• We trebled our aid budget and
• We led, internationally, to drop the debt which hung like a millstone round the neck of people in the poorest countries.

Development helps this country too, by growing the market for world trade and reducing the poverty which ferments instability and conflict.

We mustn’t let aid be just the next Tory broken promise.

In their election manifesto, the Tories promised to stick to Labour’s commitment of aid growing to 0.7% by 2013.

We want them to do that.

But while Andrew Mitchell is – to his credit – fighting to live up to our 0.7% promise, most of the Tories are against it – including his fellow cabinet ministers who’re blocking the legislation they promised to put it into law.

We mustn’t let aid be just the next Tory broken promise.

That is why – with the Labour Campaign for International Development – we launched the Keep the Promise campaign.

But there are crucial things on development which no Tory government will ever do.

They’ll never tackle the unfair trade which sees rich countries get richer and the poor get poorer.

They will never tackle the obscene global speculation on food and land that sees profits soar while the poor go hungry.

They will never tackle climate change – which hits first and hardest at the poorest countries. That’s what Ed Miliband did when we were in government. We hear nothing of that now.

The Tories’ team of men only development ministers will never be able to lead the way internationally in empowering women and girls in the developing world.

The Tories will never lead internationally. This government is not doing what Tony and Gordon did – making sure this was raised at every summit and that other countries play their part. We’re doing our bit, but it can’t just be left to us.

Global companies acting as a force for good

Africa has huge reserves of oil, gold, iron, diamonds. The biggest companies make billions of profit. They must publish what they get in profits from each country and what they pay in taxes to each country. Global companies all say they are committed to transparency – but they are not doing it.

No-one can accept the situation where we have to give money to poor countries but those countries – which are rich in natural resources – don’t get their fair share of the profits from their mines.

The truth is, more is lost to people in poor countries from tax dodging by global companies than is paid in aid.

We need to be able to see global companies acting as a force for good – not undermining development as an engine of exploitation.

The government have said they want this to happen – but they are doing nothing about it. That must change.

International development is not about charity, it’s about rights

Conference, international development is not about charity, it’s about rights.

It’s not just about philanthropy, it’s about justice

We are in the Labour Party because we hate injustice and inequality and together we will fight against it

Our fantastic DFID front bench team – Glenys Kinnock, Mark Lazarowicz, and Rushanara Ali – together with faith groups, aid agencies, diaspora communities and Labour members will fight for a fair and equal world.

For the full text click here

International Development at #Lab10 Conference – Wednesday 29th

Into the home straight, but still no shortage of events to attend today. Ed Miliband MP might be joining the earlier starters at the Climate Climate @ The Cube at 8am for Labour and Climate Change: Maintaining Leadership

Lunchtime (12.45pm) means an awkward decision to make between;

Can we ever make poverty history? A Q+A event, hosted by the great and the good of the NGO world with Douglas Alexander MP, Shadow Secretary of State for International Development and Anas Sarwar MP (Manchester Central, Charter 4)

Will population boom end in bust? Hosted by Save the Children and Population Watch in The Usdaw Marquee – Room 2 with Gareth Thomas MP

On the Frontline: Women, Peace and Conflict with Baroness Kinnock and Action Aid in Manchester Central, Central 4.

LCID will be beaming with pride at 6.30pm when our very own David Taylor chairs Beyond Aid: what role for tax in international development? With Christian Aid and Stephen Timms MP in Manchester Central, Charter 4

But before that, we’ll try to catch the first hour of Aid: Help or hindrance? Can aid help poor people hold their leaders to account? ( 5.30pm in Midland Hotel, Chester Suite) or Making the International Arms Trade Treaty Bulletproof (5.30pm in Manchester Central, Central 4)

Disclaimer – We’re human, we make mistakes, the fringe guide makes mistakes, so we offer our apologies if we’ve omitted events or got our venues confused. Let us know by e-mailing tom@lcid.org.uk and we’ll try to fix it!

How we reported Britain in World debate on twitter

LCID was in the hall this morning for the Britain in the World session. We tweeted throughout as @LabourCID. Here’s what we had to say.

In the hall for Britain in the World which is about to start at #lab10 – LCID hopes to get called to ask a question later

While we waited for the discussion to start we read the text of the contemporary resolutions – Pleased to see reference to pursue a Robin Hood Tax in tax avoidance motion at #lab10

Then we started;
Getting under way at #lab10 – showing film highlighting #dec appeal for Pakistan

Now film about #climate change – reminding us that it’s hitting to poorest hardest – #lab10

Welcoming guests from @oxfamgb and Christian Aid to stage at #lab10 (Guest from Oxfam had been involved in Pakistan flood response, while guest from Christian Aid was working on climate change)

Climate meetings need not to be talking shops but actually make commitments that change lives – @oxfamgb at #lab10

. @DAlexanderMP reminds #lab10 of ConDem threat to cut funding to UN emergency disaster response fund

Christian Aid at #lab10 – climate change caused by minority but it’s the poor who are bearing the brunt

Wrapping up Douglas Alexander said;
.@DAlexanderMP – proud of what we’ve achieved on development – fragile political consensus means we have to continue to build support #lab10

If we meet ppl on doorstep says politics doesn’t make a difference. our collective efforts on dev have changed millions of lives #lab10

Give money yes, says @DAlexanderMP, but calls on Labour members to be involved in campaigning on int dev =Join @LabourCID LCID.org.uk #lab10

Conference then spent some time hearing from Bob Ainsworth, Shadow Minister of Defence, but we picked up this on twitter;

RT @susan_nash: Looking 4ward 2 hearing Wai BurmaUK campaign & @AmnestyUK. Her story brought @nusuk delegates to tears, please come #lab10

We welcomed Wai, a human rights activist who spoke about the situation in Burma and the Amnesty International campaign.

Powerful testimony from Wai,human rights activist from #Burma -thnks Gordon Brown & @DMiliband 4 UK support.If only couldve done more #lab10

Wai was given a Find out more about the campaign at www.amnesty.org.uk/hands

It was time for David Miliband, who reminded conference that;
DMiliband – thanks to Labour on int’l dev we went from a laggard to a world leader – #lab10

Finally, we moved into the Q+A session, LCID had a question on the Robin Hood Tax but it didn’t get called. None

Question on MDGs at #lab10 – how do we ensure tough issues don’t fall of the agenda
In response, . @DAlexanderMP need political leadership to achieve #MDGs – to pick up the phone and make the case #lab10

RT @jonnytench @LabourCID also very important question asked on protecting women’s rights worldwide. Labour must continue to champion

International Development at #Lab10 Conference – Tuesday 28th

It’s an even earlier start on Tuesday morning, with the International Breakfast: Europe in the World: Actions to Match Ambitions at 8.30am in Manchester Central, Charter 3. Given the importance of the EU in setting trade, development and environment policy, we’ll be listening with interest (while nibbling away on a croissant!).

Then nothing until the evening, when if you’re a fan of Rum Cocktails, we recommend Cuba – Still a beacon for change? at Bar38 at 5.30pm.

If you’re not, you’re still spoilt for choice.

At 5.45pm, Teafund and CAFOD are joined by Stephen Timms MP to ask Wellbeing and Development: Are we measuring what matters? At the Friends Meeting House on Mount Street.

Just before that at 5.30pm, but at the Radisson Hotel, Pankhurst. Douglas Alexander MP will be speaking alongside representatives from Coca Cola on From poverty to prosperity: Can big business really do good in poor countries?

Presumably next door at Radisson Hotel – Peel (also at 5.30pm) the experts from the Institute of Development Studies will be asking Where did all the aid go? Seven lessons for effective development

Still don’t know what to do?

How about joining UNICEF, Christian Aid and Baroness Kinnock to ask Is Climate Change the Global Justice Cause of the Century? 6pm at Climate Clinic @The Cube


At 6.15pm join Compass to ask Pursuing an Ethical Foreign Policy – Should civil society have a role? (Renaissance Hotel, Vasari)

Disclaimer – We’re human, we make mistakes, the fringe guide makes mistakes, so we offer our apologies if we’ve omitted events or got our venues confused. Let us know by e-mailing tom@lcid.org.uk and we’ll try to fix it!

Congratulations to Ed Miliband

LCID congratulates Ed Miliband MP on becoming the new leader of the Labour Party.

We look forward to working with the former Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change to ensure global poverty stays high on the parties agenda in the coming years.

During the Leadership campaign we asked Ed about his views on global poverty. You can watch his answers here.

International Development at #Lab10 Conference – Sunday 26th

The fringe programme kicks off and the highlight for LCID is Fighting Poverty in the ‘No-Money era’: Could Robin Hood protect the poor and the Planet? Hosted by Oxfam and the TUC at 6pm in Manchester Central, Central 4.

LCID has been campaigning in support of a Robin Hood Tax for the last year, and we recently asked all the Leadership candidates if they supported the idea. We’ll be listening with interest to the debate and what the new leader has to say on the issue.

At the same time in Manchester Central (The Usdaw Marquee – Room 3), Amnesty International will be exploring Defending the defendersHuman rights have a place at the heart of UK foreign policy. The panel includes Wai Hnin Pwint Thon, a Burmese Human Rights Defender. A stark reminder that in many places around the world, the idea of a Party Conference to debate and discuss ideas wouldn’t be able to happen.

This evening sees the first of a number of fringe events throughout out the week focusing on Palestine. Palestine: For peace and justice: why the siege on Gaza must be ended, hosted by Unite together with Palestine Solidarity Campaign & Labour Friends of Palestine is at 5.30pm at the Radisson Hotel – Harty/Barbirolli.

Finally, a number of LCID friends will be heading along to the Save the Children reception, which starts at 9.00pm in the Derby Suite at the Midland Hotel.

Disclaimer – We’re human, we make mistakes, the fringe guide makes mistakes, so we offer our apologies if we’ve omitted events or got our venues confused. Let us know by e-mailing tom@lcid.org.uk and we’ll try to fix it!