a party for the new generation2
Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party
Last year the Labour Party was beaten badly, recording our lowest share ofthe popular vote since 1983 and losing dozens of excellent MPs.The consequences are now being felt not only by the Party but by everycommunity across the length and breadth of Britain.The reason we did not suffer an even worse defeat – and why we preventedthe Conservatives from winning the outright victory they craved – is becauseof the determination and organisation of Labour Party members and activists.In the face of seemingly impossible odds and against much better-fundedopponents, local Labour parties in key battles across Britain held the line andkept our rivals at bay.Our task now is to ensure that same level of energy is replicated at everylevel of the Party.We must repair, restore and reform our party to meet the challenges ahead.Our opponents threaten not only the values we cherish and the communitieswe serve but have made plain their desire to wreck our party too.For instance, we have already seen through their cynical gerryandering ofParliamentary constituencies how the Tory-led Government intends to usepower for narrow political advantage.It is essential that Labour is fit for this fight. I do not want to break the partyup, but build it up. Already, 50,000 new members have joined since the lastelection. We must regard them as only the first wave of recruits.We must look to our own traditions as a community-based grassroots partywhere the voices of individual members, trade unionists were always valued.But we must also widen our horizons to our supporters and the wider public.They must have their say in the future of our party too.In 13 years of government, Labour achieved a great deal of which can beproud but we also lost touch with many of the people we were founded torepresent. The process of reconnection over the next few years is both ameans to regaining the trust of the people and an end in itself.