Trolls and Bullies

Shortly after the death of Batley and Spen’s MP, Jo Cox, I wrote an article noting female colleagues in the Houses of Parliament are suffering online threats, many of which are deeply offensive with sexual undertones. I observed there is a particular kind of person that hates women in authority; this prejudice is not confined to men.

Misogynistic online bullying is not, of course, confined to Members of Parliament. Many women in the public eye, from historian Mary Beard to Caroline Criado Perez, who campaigned for Jane Austen to be on a banknote, to school children have been affected. Bullying of any kind, whether online or offline, is absolutely unacceptable and I completely agree with the Minister for Women and Equalities that there is absolutely no place for misogyny or trolling in our society.

I welcome therefore that the Government has set up the Stop Online Abuse website that offers practical advice, with a focus on LGB&T people, including on social media. This excellent new resource also gives information on how to complain about sexism and bullying on websites, social media sites and in the press and advertising.

It is also important to educate young people against this sort of bullying in the first place, to ensure they are robust and resilient if they come across unwanted images or cyberbullying. A range of websites help children and their parents discuss these issues, and the Government has invested £3.85 million in a second phase of the ‘This is Abuse’ campaign called Disrespect Nobody, which challenges young people to rethink their views on abuse and consent in relationships.

What is illegal offline is illegal online. I welcome recent developments, such as a Twitter director saying he thought the company was doing better on dealing with trolls, but I was glad that the site also recognises more must be done.

Further information

Eric Pickles is a British Conservative Party politician and Member of Parliament for Brentwood and Ongar.

Should out-of-hours work emails be banned?

How often do you spend your day going from meeting to meeting, only to settle into an evening tackling an overflowing email inbox? Well, you may wish that you worked in France, where the government has put forward a law that puts an end to out-of-hours emailing.

The proposed labour reform plans to introduce the “right to disconnect”. If passed, it will require companies to set standards outlining when staff are not obliged to respond to emails.

Of course, the issue of responding to work emails out of hours is not new. We know that constant connectivity to work can have negative consequences, such as stress, anxiety, and work encroaching on home life. As a result, many companies have started to rethink their 24/7 connectivity. For example, Volkswagen made headlines by switching off servers that send emails to employees outside of working hours to prevent stress and burnout, while Daimler implemented an auto-delete policy for emails that arrive while employees are on leave.

However, what might worry employers even more is the impact of constant connectivity on their employees’ productivity, creativity, and ability to focus. For example, did you know that the mere presence of your phone near you can distract you? This is because your phone represents limitless possibilities for connections.

And there’s more – if you have a tendency to check emails late at night on your phone or tablet, beware: research shows that this can have consequences well into the next day, as your phone impairs your sleep and you start work the next day already depleted.

All of this has fuelled a drive for disconnection from technology, which can be seen in the growing trend of the digital detox. The blogosphere is awash with people extolling the benefits of taking a digital sabbatical, and another somewhat ironic trend is the use of productivity apps, such as the Freedom app, to help people switch off and focus. Camp Grounded takes the digital detox even further: a summer camp for adults, it encourages participants to leave technology at the gate and swap constant connectivity for outdoor activities.

Does this sound overly drastic, a bit new-ageish? Perhaps. But the benefits are clear: disconnection from technology in favour of immersion in nature for a few days helps to increase performance on tasks requiring creativity and problem solving; skills that are essential in a knowledge economy.

Can technology be controlled?

However, a digital detox may only be available to those in secure positions who have no fear of losing their jobs. And even the ability to make use of a “right to disconnect” outside of work hours may be easier in theory than in practice.

Many people do not have a fixed working pattern, and indeed working preferences vary – for some, emailing late at night is convenient, rather than stressful. These kinds of issues also vary hugely depending on a company’s sector, and on the location of its customers and competitors. A government-introduced blanket ban cannot account for these variations.

It also raises bigger questions around privacy and workers’ autonomy to manage their digital connections in whatever way they want. For example: how will employers manage those who continue to email outside of the set hours? Will there be penalties? Who will monitor emailing patterns and is it okay to do so?

Lastly, the speed of technological progress is not matched by government regulation. The proposed French regulation would come into effect in 2018. By then, will we still be as concerned with emails? New systems, enterprise social networks and apps used by companies such as Slack, are already transforming how people communicate at work. It is doubtful that the regulation will be flexible enough to cope with new developments.

So, are there merits in the French proposal? Yes, if the new regulation gives employees the power to control their level of connectivity. Yes, if it reduces expectations of employees to be constantly available regardless of actual need. And yes, if it leads to conversations about facilitating different working styles.

Currently, there is no proposed penalty for violating the “right to disconnect” and companies will comply on a voluntary basis. The real value of the reform therefore lies not in its ability to regulate constant connectivity, but in potentially generating conversations between employers and employees about what their culture of connectivity should be.

If the reform leads to such conversations, then it may be a useful model for other countries to observe. If, however, the reform hampers the ability of French businesses to compete and does not deliver a positive impact on people’s work-life balance, then other countries should not follow suit.

Further information

Dr Nora Koslowski is from Anglia Ruskin University’s Lord Ashcroft International Business School.

Porn Revenge

Porn Revenge. Porn revenge is the posting via the Internet or other means a private sexual photograph or film without the consent of an individual who appears in the photograph or film, and with the intention of causing that individual distress.

Porn revenge is carried out by “Porn E-Vengers.” Porn E-Vengers share such videos and images to cause distress to the people in them. They are distinct from Chatroom Bobs who share collect sexual materials for their own personal benefit.

Porn revenge is a criminal offence in the United Kingdom under section 33 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015.

Further information

Jonathan Bishop (2013). Increasing Capital Revenue in Social Networking Communities: Building Social and Economic Relationships through Avatars and Characters. In: J. Bishop (Ed.) Examining the Concepts, Issues and Implications of Internet Trolling. IGI Global: Hershey, PA.

Jonathan Bishop (2012). Taming the Chatroom Bob: The role of brain-computer interfaces that manipulate prefrontal cortex optimization for increasing participation of victims of traumatic sex and other abuse online. In: 13th International Conference on Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (BIOCOMP’12), 16-19 July 2012, USA.


Bland, predictable, and unrealistically positive: the Twitter use of candidates during the Scottish Parliament election

Since 2003, researchers in the Department of Information Management at Robert Gordon University have conducted a series of investigations into the use of the Internet by political parties and individual candidates during parliamentary election campaigns in Scotland. A longitudinal overview of the first decade of this research can be found here. Now that the dust has settled on the 2016 campaign, we present our initial impressions of the ways in which the parties and candidates used social media – more specifically, Facebook and Twitter – in the build-up to polling day on 5th May.

Overall, 17 political parties fielded candidates in the 2016 contest. All 17 parties had an official Facebook page, with 15 of these having a distinct, ‘Scottish’ presence. Meanwhile, 15 of the 17 parties operated a Twitter account during the campaign (the exceptions were Solidarity and the Stronger Community Party), with nine of these accounts having a Scottish focus. Unsurprisingly, the number of online followers these sites attracted varied dramatically. For example, by polling day, the SNP’s Facebook page had almost 240,000 ‘likes’, while just 104 individuals had ‘liked’ the Stronger Community Party’s Facebook page.

Of the 609 individual candidates standing in the election, 359 (58.9%) had an active Twitter account, while 321 (52.7%) were operating a Facebook page. This represents a significant increase in candidates’ adoption of social media, compared with that encountered during the previous Scottish Parliament election campaign. Indeed, back in 2011, only one-quarter (25.8%) of contestants had a Facebook page, while just 18.8% were operating a Twitter account. The use of social media, it seems, has become almost de rigueur for the prospective parliamentary candidate. Again, the candidates’ online followings varied widely, ranging from Nicola Sturgeon’s Twitter following of 297,000, to the two individuals who followed the Twitter account of one fringe party hopeful (we will not reveal the candidate’s name, nor their party, to avoid any potential embarrassment).

The extent of the political actors’ activity on social media also varied dramatically. Despite their account profiles highlighting their candidacies or their political allegiances, a number of candidates failed to post any messages at all during the four-week period we studied (2-29 April). In complete contrast, one UKIP candidate was a particularly prolific poster on Twitter, averaging around 86 tweets each day.

While detailed analysis of the traffic on these sites will be carried out in the weeks and the months ahead, our initial impression is that social media continued to be used primarily for the one-way flow of information from the parties and the candidates to their online followers. Although the SNP and the Scottish Greens did hold a small number of live Q&A sessions on Facebook, such examples were uncommon. Generally speaking, there was little evidence of direct, two-way engagement between politicians and the wider electorate, and there was a reluctance amongst the political actors to respond online to contentious policy questions or critical comments posted by the public.

Instead, the engagement that did take place was largely between members of the public, usually in response to a post originally made by a party or candidate. Continuing a trend observed during the 2014 Independence Referendum campaign, these interactions often involved a significant amount of ‘trolling’ by political opponents. As a result, the online conversations, particularly on the larger parties’ Facebook timelines, frequently degenerated into quite vitriolic exchanges involving no little ‘industrial’ language. In this regard, the politicians and party officials appeared to be perfectly content to light the blue touch paper, retire, and observe the ensuing ‘fireworks’ without making any efforts to moderate the online discussions. The one notable exception could be found on the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ Facebook page, where, at the first sign of any perceived aggression or bad language, a moderator would direct the culprit to the party’s Online Community Guidelines.

Some preliminary analysis of the Twitter traffic, conducted using the software Twitonomy, also suggests that the candidates, when compared to their 2011 counterparts, were increasingly unlikely to provide their personal thoughts, opinions and commentaries on political and policy issues. Perhaps influenced by previous, high-profile, online faux pas of other politicians and public figures, the candidates’ Twitter feeds were instead dominated by what we term ‘Secondary Broadcast’ posts, where the politicians simply provided direct links to other online sites, or where they retweeted others’ comments and links. As an added precaution, the Twitter profiles of several candidates included disclaimers similar to that provided by one Conservative candidate:

“Retweets or ‘following’ not indicative of support, approval or endorsement”

Our initial analysis of the candidates’ Twitter accounts has also reaffirmed a pattern identified in our previous studies: that, when discussing their personal campaign activities, politicians’ tweets tend to be rather bland and superficial, often focusing on the weather conditions encountered on the campaign trail, rather than any salient local policy issues discussed by potential voters. As the following extracts of tweets (sent by six different candidates, only two of whom were ultimately elected) also illustrate, many were also unrealistically positive in tone, suggesting that the local electorate was always receptive to their campaign messages:

If nothing else, then, Twitter reveals the typical Scottish Parliamentary candidate to be an eternal optimist.


Based on a news release from Democratic Audit UK.

What HR Can Do About Cyberbullying in the Workplace

Last month’s discovery of the body of a 31-year-old firefighter in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park after a near week-long search led to the determination that she had committed suicide and that she had been the victim of cyberbullying—likely by her co-workers—for years.

An investigation into the anonymous online postings, in which the Fairfax County firefighter was called derogatory names, is now underway.

Nicole Mittendorff’s supervisors said they were unaware if her co-workers were bullying her on an online community forum. Her supervisors have not said whether she was bullied in person at work.

Teresa Daniel is the Dean of the Human Resource Leadership Program at Sullivan University in Louisville. “Cyberbullying is bullying behavior in the form of intimidation, threats, humiliation and harassment that takes place through the use of computers, cellphones or other electronic devices,” she said. “The idea to trash people we don’t particularly like is not new, but cellphones, computers and social media make it so much easier to inflict widespread damage through the spread of rumors, outright lies or compromising photos.
It is hard to imagine that working adults operate this way, but with the growing use of technology and social media, the sad reality is that the problem does exist and is only likely to get worse unless American organizations get serious about dealing with the problem at work.

Bully Legislation Pending

Daniel is an advocate of the Healthy Workplace Bill, proposed state legislation which would, among other things, provide “an avenue for legal redress for health-harming cruelty at work; allow people to individually sue bullies; hold employers accountable for bullying and compel employers to prevent and correct future instances of bullying,” according to a website promoting the bill.

According to the Cyberbullying Research Center (CRC), 25 states currently have laws against cyberbullying and three have proposed legislation that would make it illegal.

The Workplace Bullying Institute’s 2014 U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey found that 6.5 million workers said they were affected by bullying in the workplace. Sixty-one percent of respondents said their employer failed to react to abusive conduct. As a result, the bullying stopped once those targeted either quit, were forced out or were fired. Twenty-nine percent reported that they contemplated suicide.

Bullying can lead to more than the loss of a job. People experience neurological changes when they’re bullied at work. Robyn Bartlett is a crisis transition coach and founder and CEO of Life Transition Experts in an interview with SHRM Online. And she and other experts say bullying hurts a business as well. “While I have not yet seen any stand-alone statistics about the costs of adult cyberbullying, bullying in the aggregate results in lost productivity, increased absences, higher turnover and increased medical costs due to the increased stress at work,” Daniel said. “It is a form of psychological violence that can and does seriously damage the health and well-being of affected employees. It can also poison an organization by undermining employee morale and by eroding any sense of loyalty, trust or teamwork.

In 2008, the American Psychological Association estimated that U.S. businesses lose a staggering $300 billion per year due to incidences of workplace bullying, Daniel added. More recently, the Harvard School of Public Health reported that one-third of American workers suffer from chronic stress and estimated that the number of workdays lost to mental-health-related absences adds up to $27 billion each year. “Either way you look at it, it’s a big number that is impacting U.S. businesses negatively—and on a significant scale,” Daniel said.

What Can HR Do?

Experts say there is no one approach to ending or preventing cyberbullying. The most promising strategies generally fall into four major categories:

  1. Changes to the organization and its culture.
  2. Strategies to help strengthen individual managers and leaders.
  3. Support services for the targets of bullying.
  4. Accountability measures to coach, counsel and discipline bullies.

HR is usually the first point of contact for a complaint of bullying, and it is important for HR to help targets strategize about how to handle the bully’s negative behavior and guide them to available resources,” Daniel said. Employees “need clear policies about what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior,” Bartlett added. “Educate and train staff and upper management,” about bullying and cyberbullying.

And when there is a bullying issue in the workplace: “In addition to taking steps to investigate and resolve the problem, [offer the person who is the target of the bullying] help with coping and stress management strategies; support via the company’s employee assistance program; and access to counseling, coaching and employee benefits,” Daniel said.

As for the bully, it’s important for HR and the employee’s manager to intervene early. “With the help of an experienced coach, the research evidence suggests that is possible for abrasive [individuals] to overcome their personal limitations or blind spots—if they are personally willing to accept the fact that they need to change. However, when coaching and confronting the bully fail to change that person’s behavior, it is critical for the organization to ensure that the bully is held accountable for his or her misconduct and disciplined according to the organization’s policies,” Daniel said.

That may include termination.

To help prevent these situations from occurring, “Be proactive and ensure that there are clear policies in place to protect employees from bullying. But most importantly, if an employee comes to you with a complaint, listen carefully, take it seriously, and investigate the situation quickly and thoroughly,” Daniel said.

Further Information

Based on a news release from the Society for Human Resource Management.

Digital transformation in government and blockchain technology

Typewriters transformed the way business was done – in government and in business too. Not just because they made the old process of writing everything by scribe quicker and more efficient, but because they can do a particularly clever trick.

Using a simple sheet of carbon paper, a typist could make 2 copies of the same document at once. One copy for the office, one copy for the customer to take away.

The carbon copy gave you simple, instant, distributed, consensual data. It gave some guarantee against tampering, because you’d have to tamper with both copies to make them match. And because different parties held different copies in different places, there was a lot of security built-in.

OK, so it’s not exactly a blockchain, but I hope you can see my point. There was a degree of trust not previously possible without huge expense, built into that simple carbon copy system.

If your copy matches mine, we can both agree that we both know the truth.

Fast forward 400 years, and to modern government.

Once again technology is radically transforming the way we do things.

And the story of digital transformation in government isn’t just about websites and computers.

It’s about changing the business model. Not just about doing the old things in new ways, but changing how we deliver for our customers: the citizens of this country.

And part of that story is about using new technology to build and foster a new culture of trust. Within government and further afield.

Let me explain how government reached this point.

We have worked very hard in recent years to transform government, to bring it up to date with the internet age. We’ve made great strides, but there’s still a very long way to go.

Crucially, government cannot bury its head in the sand and ignore new technologies as they emerge. That’s partly what happened with the web.

As it grew in the late 90s and the 2000s, government lagged behind, because it wasn’t able to get to grips with the potential the web offered.

We’ve fixed that now. But we cannot let it happen again by standing still.

Since 2010, we’ve been working to make government more efficient, and using technology as a vital tool for achieving that.

The problem in 2010 was that the internet had, in the preceding years, become part of the fabric of the nation, but it was not part of the fabric of government.

That’s why we established the Government Digital Service. We took the mess of hundreds of government websites, and built just 1 to replace them – GOV.UK.

But transformation goes much deeper than just websites.

We started work on transforming services. But replacing a paper-based process with a digital equivalent on the web isn’t good enough. No matter how well we put it on the web. It’s still an old process that’s been digitised.

To make real progress, we have to be much smarter.

That’s why we started building what we call ‘government as a platform’. That little catchphrase sums up a huge amount of work building many different things – not just actual technical platforms, but also standards, design and service patterns, data registers, and the skills and capability of the people who deliver digital services, and indeed the whole business of government.

All those things – the platforms, the standards, the legacy technology, the service design – come together as an ecosystem of interconnected components that departmental teams can use to assemble their services.

They will only do that, though, if they actually trust those components in the first place. So delivering transformation is just as much about fostering a new culture of trust across government.

The old culture depended on departmental silos, and services designed and delivered within them. Instead we’ve got to work across those silos. And that depends on trust.

This brings us to the benefits of the blockchain.

Blockchains – distributed ledgers, shared ledgers – are digital tools for building trust in data.

Rather than a single central authority demanding trust and declaring: “I say this data is correct,” you have the distributed consensus of everyone in the chain, saying in unison: “we agree that this data is correct.”

They bring with them built-in integrity and immutability. You can only write new data, nothing is ever removed or deleted.

Now blockchain technology is not going to solve every problem, or work in every context. When a trusted body already exists, for example, that can hold canonical data, that’s often the best solution.

But the fact that data held in the blockchain comes with its own history, and that history is a fundamental part of proving its integrity, this fact is enormously powerful.

What does it mean for us in government? The main reason you’re here today is to help us find answers to that question.

We’ve already committed to supporting the Alan Turing Institute with £10 million to investigate digital currencies and distributed ledger technologies, and we’re excited to explore any and all possible use cases for blockchains in government.

We’re exploring the use of a blockchain to manage the distribution of grants. Monitoring and controlling the use of grants is incredibly complex. A blockchain, accessible to all the parties involved, might be a better way of solving that problem.

Bitcoin proved that distributed ledgers can be used to track currency as it is passed from one entity to another. Where else could we use that? Think about the Student Loans Company tracking money all the way from Treasury to a student’s bank account. Or the Department for International Development tracking money all the way to the aid organisation spending the money in country.

These are just some of the ideas we’re considering in government. We’re still in the early days. That takes time, and a lot of careful thought.

And we want to hear from you. We’re relying on your brains to guide us, to help us take the next steps, and the right steps.

Today is all about blockchain brainstorming.


Today is about exploring future technologies. Not only new ways to do the old things, but how, just as with the typewriter, we can reshape the state to make the best of modern technology.

And how in doing so, each one of us can, through each step forward, play a small part in a much bigger mission: the mission to improve the lives of the citizens who we serve.

More information

The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP is Minister for Cabinet Office.

The United Kingdom, the European Union, and our place in the world

I want to talk about the United Kingdom, our place in the world and our membership of the European Union.

But before I start, I want to make clear that – as you can see – this is not a rally. It will not be an attack or even a criticism of people who take a different view to me. It will simply be my analysis of the rights and wrongs, the opportunities and risks, of our membership of the EU.

Sovereignty and membership of multilateral institutions

In essence, the question the country has to answer on 23 June – whether to leave or remain – is about how we maximise Britain’s security, prosperity and influence in the world, and how we maximise our sovereignty: that is, the control we have over our own affairs in future.

I use the word ‘maximise’ advisedly, because no country or empire in world history has ever been totally sovereign, completely in control of its destiny. Even at the height of their power, the Roman Empire, Imperial China, the Ottomans, the British Empire, the Soviet Union, modern-day America, were never able to have everything their own way. At different points, military rivals, economic crises, diplomatic manoeuvring, competing philosophies and emerging technologies all played their part in inflicting defeats and hardships, and necessitated compromises even for states as powerful as these.

Today, those factors continue to have their effect on the sovereignty of nations large and small, rich and poor. But there is now an additional complication. International, multilateral institutions exist to try to systematise negotiations between nations, promote trade, ensure co-operation on matters like cross-border crime, and create rules and norms that reduce the risk of conflict.

These institutions invite member states to make a trade-off: to pool and therefore cede some sovereignty in a controlled way, to prevent a greater loss of sovereignty in an uncontrolled way, through for example military conflict or economic decline.

Article 5 of NATO’s Washington Treaty is a good example of how this principle works: NATO member countries, Britain included, have agreed to be bound by the principle of collective defence. An attack on any single member will, according to the treaty, be interpreted as an attack on all members, and collective defence measures – including full military action – can be triggered. Britain could find itself bound to go to war because of a dispute involving a different country – a clear and dramatic loss of control of our foreign policy – but on the other hand, NATO membership means we are far more secure from attack by hostile states – which increases our control of our destiny. This is an institutionalised trade-off that the vast majority of the public – and most political leaders – think is worthwhile.

Looking back at history – and not very distant history at that – we know what a world without international, multilateral institutions looks like. Any student of the way in which Europe stumbled its way to war in 1914 knows that the confused lines of communications between states, the ambiguity of nations’ commitments to one another, and the absence of any system to de-escalate tension and conflict were key factors in the origins of the First World War. The United Nations may be a flawed organisation that has failed to prevent conflict on many occasions, but nobody should want an end to a rules-based international system and – so long as they have the right remits – institutions that try to promote peace and trade.

How we reconcile those institutions and their rules with democratic government – and the need for politicians to be accountable to the public – remains one of the great challenges of this century. And the organisations of which the United Kingdom should become – and remain – a member will be a matter of constant judgement for our leaders and the public for many years to come.

Principles for Britain’s membership of international institutions

We need, therefore, to establish clear principles for Britain’s membership of these institutions. Does it make us more influential beyond our own shores? Does it make us more secure? Does it make us more prosperous? Can we control or influence the direction of the organisation in question? To what extent does membership bind the hands of Parliament?

If membership of an international institution can pass these tests, then I believe it will be in our national interest to join or remain a member of it. And on this basis, the case for Britain remaining a member of organisations such as NATO, the World Trade Organisation and the United Nations, for example, is clear.

But as I have said before, the case for remaining a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights – which means Britain is subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights – is not clear. Because, despite what people sometimes think, it wasn’t the European Union that delayed for years the extradition of Abu Hamza, almost stopped the deportation of Abu Qatada, and tried to tell Parliament that – however we voted – we could not deprive prisoners of the vote. It was the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

The ECHR can bind the hands of Parliament, adds nothing to our prosperity, makes us less secure by preventing the deportation of dangerous foreign nationals – and does nothing to change the attitudes of governments like Russia’s when it comes to human rights. So regardless of the EU referendum, my view is this. If we want to reform human rights laws in this country, it isn’t the EU we should leave but the ECHR and the jurisdiction of its court.

I can already hear certain people saying this means I’m against human rights. But human rights were not invented in 1950, when the convention was drafted, or in 1998, when it was incorporated into our law through the Human Rights Act. This is Great Britain – the country of Magna Carta, Parliamentary democracy and the fairest courts in the world – and we can protect human rights ourselves in a way that doesn’t jeopardise national security or bind the hands of Parliament. A true British Bill of Rights – decided by Parliament and amended by Parliament – would protect not only the rights set out in the convention but could include traditional British rights not protected by the ECHR, such as the right to trial by jury.

I also know that others will say there is little point in leaving the ECHR if we remain members of the EU, with its Charter of Fundamental Rights and its Court of Justice. And I am no fan of the charter or of many of the rulings of the court. But there are several problems that do apply to the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, yet do not apply to the Court of Justice in Luxembourg. Strasbourg is in effect a final appeals court; Luxembourg doesn’t have that role. Strasbourg can issue orders preventing the deportation of foreign nationals; Luxembourg has no such power. Unlike the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Treaties are clear: ‘national security,’ they say, ‘remains the sole responsibility of each member state’.

And unlike the ECHR, which is a relatively narrow human rights convention, our membership of the EU involves co-operation – and, yes, rules and obligations – on a much wider range of issues. The country’s decision in the referendum is therefore a much more complex undertaking. So I want to spend some time to go through the most important issues we need to consider.

Arguments that do not count

But before I do that, I want to deal with several arguments that should not count. The first is that, in the 21st century, Britain is too small a country to cope outside the European Union. That is nonsense. We are the fifth biggest economy in the world, we are growing faster than any economy in the G7, and we attract nearly a fifth of all foreign investment in the EU. We have a military capable of projecting its power around the world, intelligence services that are second to none, and friendships and alliances that go far beyond Europe. We have the greatest soft power in the world, we sit in exactly the right time zone for global trade, and our language is the world’s language. Of course Britain could cope outside the European Union. But the question is not whether we could survive without the EU, but whether we are better off, in or out.

Neither is it true that the EU is the only reason the continent has been largely peaceful since the end of the Second World War. Nor is it about ‘the kind of country we want to be’, as the cliche is usually put. Nor is the decision we face anything to do with our shared cultural heritage with Europe. Of course we are a European country, but that in itself is not a reason to be an EU member state.

And nor is this debate about the past. Really, I cannot emphasise this enough. We are not in 1940, when Europe’s liberty was in peril and Britain stood alone. We are not in 1957, when the Treaty of Rome was agreed, Europe was a Group of Six and the Cold War was a generation away from its conclusion. We are not in 1973, when Britain was the ‘sick man of Europe’ and saw the European Economic Community as its way out of trouble. We are not even in 1992, when Maastricht was signed and the reunification of Germany had only just taken place.

We are in 2016, and when we make this important decision, we need to look ahead to the challenges we will face – and the rest of Europe will face – over the next ten, twenty, thirty years and more. Those challenges – about security, trade and the economy – are serious, complex and deserve a mature debate. We need our decision to be the result of a hard-headed analysis of what is in our national interest. There are certainly problems that are caused by EU membership, but of course there are advantages too. Our decision must come down to whether, after serious thought about the pros and the cons, we believe there is more in the credit column than in the debit column for remaining on the inside.


So I want to talk now about those 3 big, future challenges – security, trade and the economy.

A lot has been said already during this referendum campaign about security. But I want to set out the arguments as I see them. If we were not members of the European Union, of course we would still have our relationship with America. We would still be part of the Five Eyes, the closest international intelligence-sharing arrangement in the world. We would still have our first-rate security and intelligence agencies. We would still share intelligence about terrorism and crime with our European allies, and they would do the same with us.

But that does not mean we would be as safe as if we remain. Outside the EU, for example, we would have no access to the European Arrest Warrant, which has allowed us to extradite more than 5,000 people from Britain to Europe in the last 5 years, and bring 675 suspected or convicted wanted individuals to Britain to face justice. It has been used to get terror suspects out of the country and bring terrorists back here to face justice. In 2005, Hussain Osman – who tried to blow up the London Underground on 21/7 – was extradited from Italy using the Arrest Warrant in just 56 days. Before the Arrest Warrant existed, it took 10 long years to extradite Rachid Ramda, another terrorist, from Britain to France.

There are other advantages too. Take the passenger name records directive. This will give law enforcement agencies access to information about the movements of terrorists, organised criminals and victims of trafficking on flights between European countries and from all other countries to the EU. When I first became Home Secretary, I was told there wasn’t a chance of Britain ever getting this deal. But I won agreement in the Council of Ministers in 2012 and – thanks to Timothy Kirkhope MEP and the hard work of my Home Office team – the final directive has now been agreed by the European Parliament and Council.

Most importantly, this agreement will make us all safer. But it also shows 2 advantages of remaining inside the EU. First, without the kind of institutional framework offered by the European Union, a complex agreement like this could not have been struck across the whole continent, because bilateral deals between every single member state would have been impossible to reach. And second, without British leadership and influence, a directive would never have been on the table, let alone agreed.

These measures – the Arrest Warrant and PNR – are worthwhile because they are not about grandiose state-building and integration but because they enable practical co-operation and information sharing. Britain will never take part in a European police force, we will never sign up to a European Public Prosecutor, and 2 years ago we took Britain out of around a hundred unhelpful EU justice and home affairs measures. But when we took that decision, we also made sure that Britain remained signed up to the measures that make a positive difference in fighting crime and preventing terrorism.

The European Criminal Records Information System, financial intelligence units, the prisoner transfer framework, SIS II, joint investigation teams, Prüm. These are all agreements that enable law enforcement agencies to co-operate and share information with one another in the fight against cross-border crime and terrorism. They help us to turn foreign criminals away at the border, prevent money laundering by terrorists and criminals, get foreign criminals out of our prisons and back to their home countries, investigate cases that cross borders, and share forensic data like DNA and fingerprinting much more quickly.

In the last year, we have been able to check the criminal records of foreign nationals more than 100,000 times. Checks such as these mean we have been able to deport more than 3,000 European nationals who posed a threat to the public. The police will soon be able to check DNA records for EU nationals in just 15 minutes. Under the old system it took 143 days. Last year, the French used information exchanged through the Prüm agreement to locate one of the suspected perpetrators of the November attacks in Paris.

These are practical measures that promote effective cooperation between different European law enforcement organisations, and if we were not part of them Britain would be less safe.

Now I know some people say the EU does not make us more secure because it does not allow us to control our border. But that is not true. Free movement rules mean it is harder to control the volume of European immigration – and as I said yesterday that is clearly no good thing – but they do not mean we cannot control the border. The fact that we are not part of Schengen – the group of countries without border checks – means we have avoided the worst of the migration crisis that has hit continental Europe over the last year. It means we can conduct checks on people travelling to Britain from elsewhere in Europe. And, subject to certain rules and the availability of information, it means we can block entry for serious criminals and terrorists.

I have heard some people say – especially after the terrorist attacks in Brussels last month – that the very existence of extremists and terrorists in Belgium, France and other EU member states is reason enough to leave. But our response to Paris and Brussels cannot be to say that we should have less co-operation with countries that are not only our allies but our nearest neighbours. And anyway leaving the EU would not mean we could just close ourselves off to the world: the 9/11 attacks on New York were planned in Afghanistan. The 7/7 attackers trained in Pakistan. And most of the international terrorism casework that crosses my desk involves countries beyond Europe’s borders.

So my judgement, as Home Secretary, is that remaining a member of the European Union means we will be more secure from crime and terrorism.

But now I want to turn to the other challenges we face in the coming decades: trade and the economy.

Trade and the economy

The headline facts of Britain’s trade with Europe are clear. The EU is a single market of more than 500 million people, representing an economy of almost £11 trillion and a quarter of the world’s GDP. 44% of our goods and services exports go to the EU, compared to 5% to India and China. We have a trade surplus in services with the rest of the EU of £17 billion. And the trading relationship is more inter-related than even these figures suggest. Our exporters rely on inputs from EU companies more than firms from anywhere else: 9% of the ‘value added’ of UK exports comes from inputs from within the EU, compared to 2.7% from the United States and 1.3% from China.

So the single market accounts for a huge volume of our trade, but if it is completed – so there are genuinely open markets for all services, the digital economy, energy and finance – we would see a dramatic increase in economic growth, for Britain and the rest of Europe. The Capital Markets Union – initiated and led by Britain – will allow finance to flow freely between member states: the first proposal alone could lead to £110 billion in extra lending to businesses. A completed energy single market could save up to £50 billion per year across the EU by 2030. And a digital single market is estimated to be worth up to £330 billion a year to the European economy overall. As Britain is the leading country in Europe when it comes to the digital economy, that is an enormous opportunity for us all.

These changes will mean greater economic growth in Britain, higher wages in Britain and lower prices for consumers – in Britain. But they will not happen spontaneously and they require British leadership. And that is a crucial point in this referendum: if we leave the EU it is not just that we might not have access to these parts of the single market – these parts of the single market might never be created at all.

The economic case for remaining inside the European Union isn’t therefore just about risk, but about opportunity. And it isn’t just about fear, but about optimism – optimism that Britain can take a lead and deliver more trade and economic growth inside Europe and beyond.

There are risks we need to weigh, of course. And there are risks in staying as well as leaving. There is a big question mark, for example, about whether Britain, as a member state that has not adopted the euro, risks being discriminated against as the countries inside the Eurozone integrate further. When the European Central Bank said clearing houses dealing in large volumes of euros had to be located in the Eurozone, it could have forced LCH.Clearnet to move its euro business out of London, probably to Paris. That was struck down by the EU’s General Court, but the threat was clear. And that is why it was so important that the Prime Minister’s negotiation guaranteed a principle of non-discrimination against businesses from countries outside the Eurozone.

If we were not in the European Union, however, no such deal could have been agreed. There would be little we could do to stop discriminatory policies being introduced, and London’s position as the world’s leading financial centre would be in danger. The banks may be unpopular, but this is no small risk: financial services account for more than 7% of our economic output, 13% of our exports, a trade surplus of almost £60 billion – and more than one million British jobs.

But this is all about trade with Europe. What about trade with the rest of the world? It is tempting to look at developing countries’ economies, with their high growth rates, and see them as an alternative to trade with Europe. But just look at the reality of our trading relationship with China – with its dumping policies, protective tariffs and industrial-scale industrial espionage. And look at the figures. We export more to Ireland than we do to China, almost twice as much to Belgium as we do to India, and nearly 3 times as much to Sweden as we do to Brazil. It is not realistic to think we could just replace European trade with these new markets.

And anyway, this apparent choice is a false dichotomy. We should be aiming to increase our trade with these markets in addition to the business we win in Europe. Given that British exports in goods and services to countries outside the EU are rising, one can hardly argue that the EU prevents this from happening. Leaving the EU, on the other hand, might make it considerably harder. First, we would have to replace 36 existing trade agreements we have with non-EU countries that cover 53 markets. The EU trade deals Britain has been driving – with the US, worth £10 billion per year to the UK, with Japan, worth £5 billion a year to the UK, with Canada, worth £1.3 billion a year to the UK – would be in danger of collapse. And while we could certainly negotiate our own trade agreements, there would be no guarantee that they would be on terms as good as those we enjoy now. There would also be a considerable opportunity cost given the need to replace the existing agreements – not least with the EU itself – that we would have torn up as a consequence of our departure.

Inside the EU, without Britain, the balance of power in the Council of Ministers and European Parliament would change for the worse. The liberal, free-trading countries would find themselves far below the 35% blocking threshold needed in the council, while the countries that tend towards protectionism would have an even greater percentage of votes. There would be a very real danger that the EU heads in a protectionist direction, which would damage wider international trade and affect for the worse Britain’s future trade with the EU.

So, if we do vote to leave the European Union, we risk bringing the development of the single market to a halt, we risk a loss of investors and businesses to remaining EU member states driven by discriminatory EU policies, and we risk going backwards when it comes to international trade. But the big question is whether, in the event of Brexit, we would be able to negotiate a new free trade agreement with the EU and on what terms.

Some say we would strike deals that are the same as the EU’s agreements with Norway, Switzerland or even Canada. But with all due respect to those countries, we are a bigger and more powerful nation than all 3. Perhaps that means we could strike a better deal than they have. After all, Germany will still want to sell us their cars and the French will still want to sell us their wine. But in a stand-off between Britain and the EU, 44% of our exports is more important to us than 8% of the EU’s exports is to them.

With no agreement, we know that WTO rules would oblige the EU to charge 10% tariffs on UK car exports, in line with the tariffs they impose on Japan and the United States. They would be required to do the same for all other goods upon which they impose tariffs. Not all of these tariffs are as high as 10%, but some are considerably higher.

The reality is that we do not know on what terms we would have access to the single market. We do know that in a negotiation we would need to make concessions in order to access it, and those concessions could well be about accepting EU regulations, over which we would have no say, making financial contributions, just as we do now, accepting free movement rules, just as we do now, or quite possibly all 3 combined. It is not clear why other EU member states would give Britain a better deal than they themselves enjoy.

All of this would be negotiable, of course. For the reasons I listed earlier, Britain is big enough and strong enough to be a success story in or out of the EU. But the question is not whether we can survive Brexit: it is whether Brexit would make us better off. And that calculation has to include not only the medium to long-term effects but the immediate risks as well.

The union with Scotland and the other risks of Brexit

Now it is sometimes suggested that Brexit could lead to other countries seeking to leave the European Union. Some even believe that Brexit might be a fatal blow to the whole EU project. And some, I know, think that this would be a good thing. But I’m afraid I disagree. The disintegration of the EU would cause massive instability among our nearest neighbours and biggest trading partners. With the world economy in the fragile state it is, that would have real consequences for Britain.

But if Brexit isn’t fatal to the European Union, we might find that it is fatal to the union with Scotland. The SNP have already said that in the event that Britain votes to leave but Scotland votes to remain in the EU, they will press for another Scottish independence referendum. And the opinion polls show consistently that the Scottish people are more likely to be in favour of EU membership than the people of England and Wales.

If the people of Scotland are forced to choose between the United Kingdom and the European Union we do not know what the result would be. But only a little more than 18 months after the referendum that kept the United Kingdom together, I do not want to see the country I love at risk of dismemberment once more. I do not want the people of Scotland to think that English Eurosceptics put their dislike of Brussels ahead of our bond with Edinburgh and Glasgow. I do not want the European Union to cause the destruction of an older and much more precious union, the union between England and Scotland.

Brexit also risks changing our friendships and alliances from further afield. In particular, as President Obama has said, it risks changing our alliance with the United States. Now I know as well as anybody the strength and importance of that partnership – our security and intelligence agencies have the closest working relationship of any 2 countries in the world – and I know that it would certainly survive Britain leaving the EU. But the Americans would respond to Brexit by finding a new strategic partner inside the European Union, a partner on matters of trade, diplomacy, security and defence, and our relationship with the United States would inevitably change as a result. That would not, I believe, be in our national interest.

We should remain in the EU

So I want to return to the principles I set out to help us judge whether Britain should join or remain a member of international institutions. Remaining inside the European Union does make us more secure, it does make us more prosperous and it does make us more influential beyond our shores.

Of course, we don’t get anything like everything we want, and we have to put up with a lot that we do not want. And when that happens, we should be honest about it. The Common Agricultural Policy, the Common Fisheries Policy, the free movement of people: none of these things work the way we would like them to work, and we need to be smarter about how we try to change these things in future. But that does not mean we have no control over the EU. Britain can and often does lead in Europe: the creation of the single market was driven by Mrs Thatcher, the competitiveness and trade agendas now pursued by the commission were begun at the behest of Britain and Germany, and I can tell you that on matters of counter-terrorism and security, the rest of Europe instinctively looks towards us. But it shouldn’t be a notable exception when Britain leads in Europe: it should become the norm.

And turning to the final test: to what extent does EU membership bind the hands of Parliament? Of course, every directive, regulation, treaty and court ruling limits our freedom to act. Yet Parliament remains sovereign: if it voted to leave the EU, we would do so. But unless and until the European Communities Act is repealed, Parliament has accepted that it can only act within the limits set by the European treaties and the judgments of the Court of Justice. The freedom to decide whether to remain a member of the EU or to leave will therefore always be in the hands of Parliament and the British people.

I do not want to stand here and insult people’s intelligence by claiming that everything about the EU is perfect, that membership of the EU is wholly good, nor do I believe those that say the sky will fall in if we vote to leave. The reality is that there are costs and benefits of our membership and, looking to the years and decades ahead, there are risks and opportunities too. The issues the country has to weigh up before this referendum are complex. But on balance, and given the tests I set earlier in my speech, I believe the case to remain a member of the European Union is strong.

A different European policy

For each of the principles I set out earlier, however, I cannot help but think there would be more still in the credit rather than debit column if Britain adopted a different approach to our engagement with the EU. Because we should be in no doubt that, if we vote to remain, our relationship with the European Union will go on changing. And that change – with new treaties on the horizon – might be for the better or worse.

And to those who say Britain cannot achieve what it needs in Europe, I say have more belief in what Britain can do. I say think about how Britain built the single market, and let’s be that ambitious – in the British national interest – once again.

Let us set clear objectives to complete the single market, to pursue new free trade deals with other countries, to reform the European economy and make it more competitive. Let’s work to ensure the countries of Europe can protect their borders from illegal immigrants, criminals and terrorists. Let’s try to make sure that more of our European allies play their part in protecting western interests abroad.

We need to have a clear strategy of engagement through the Council of Ministers, seek a bigger role for Britain inside the commission, try to stem the growth in power of the European Parliament, and work to limit the role of the Court of Justice. We need to work not only through the EU’s institutions and summits, but by also pursuing more bilateral diplomacy with other European governments.

And it is time to question some of the traditional British assumptions about our engagement with the EU. Do we stop the EU going in the wrong direction by shouting on the sidelines, or by leading and making the case for taking Europe in a better direction? And do we really still think it is in our interests to support automatically and unconditionally the EU’s further expansion? The states now negotiating to join the EU include Albania, Serbia and Turkey – countries with poor populations and serious problems with organised crime, corruption, and sometimes even terrorism. We have to ask ourselves, is it really right that the EU should just continue to expand, conferring upon all new member states all the rights of membership? Do we really think now is the time to contemplate a land border between the EU and countries like Iran, Iraq and Syria? Having agreed the end of the European principle of ‘ever closer union’, it is time to question the principle of ever wider expansion.

Stand tall and lead

So this is my analysis of the rights and wrongs, the opportunities and risks, of our membership of the EU – and the reasons I believe it is clearly in our national interest to remain a member of the European Union.

And I want to emphasise that I think we should stay inside the EU not because I think we’re too small to prosper in the world, not because I am pessimistic about Britain’s ability to get things done on the international stage. I think it’s right for us to remain precisely because I believe in Britain’s strength, in our economic, diplomatic and military clout, because I am optimistic about our future, because I believe in our ability to lead and not just follow.

But I know what a difficult decision this is going to be for a lot of people. I know, because of the conversations I have with my constituents every Saturday. Because of the discussions I’ve had with members of the public – and members of the Conservative Party – up and down the country. And because I myself have already gone through the process of carefully weighing up what is in Britain’s interests, now and in the future, before making my decision. Ultimately, this is a judgement for us all, and it’s right that people should take their time and listen to all the arguments.

So as we approach polling day, and as the country starts to weigh up its decision, let us focus on the future. Instead of debating the peripheral, the ephemeral and the trivial, let both sides of the argument debate what matters. And let us do so in a serious and mature way. Let us concentrate on Britain’s national interest. Britain’s future. Our influence around the world. Our security. And our prosperity. Let us make our decision with the great challenges of the future in mind. Let us have more confidence in our ability to get things done in Europe. This is about our future. Let us, Great Britain, stand tall and lead.

More Information

Theresa May is the Home Secretary in the United Kingdom.

Reality Bites: The real profile of an Internet Troll and her enablers

Reality Bites: The real profile of an Internet Troll and her enablers

Isaac T. Quill

Meme Image

Reality Bites - The Real Profile Of An Internet Troll And Her Enablers. By: Isaac T. Quill (Twitter Handle: ‏@TicklishQuill)

Meme Full Text

If one pays attention to popular culture and the mass media, Internet trolls are unemployed young men in their 20s at home in their parents’ basement spending their time posting abusive messages online.

This study finds that this stereotype, whilst common in the mass media, is not representative of the empirical data collected. The research found that most trolling on blogs and defriending is done by women and because of other women.

It finds that the people who troll are unlikely to be youths not in education, employment or training (NEETs), but more likely to be those in wealthy areas who are bored.

It equally finds that those who troll, or indeed troll-call, are likely to show the symptoms of antisocial personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder respectively.

With the media focussing on represent young people as trolls, the research finds that the existence of benevolent sexism in the police perpetuates this myth, meaning women are getting more favourably treatment, either as trolls or troll-callers.

In fact the research finds trolls are as likely to be men or women…


Isaac T. Quill (2015). Reality Bites: The real profile of an Internet Troll and her enablers. Available online at:


Jonathan Bishop (2015). The Misrepresentation of Digital Teens as Trolls: Considering Political, News and Feminist Agendas. Invited Speech to the 13th International Conference on E-Society (E-Society 2015), Madeira, Portugal, 14-16 March 2015.

Jeremy Corbyn’s speech to Labour Party Annual Conference 2015

Friends, thank you so much for that incredible welcome and Rohi, thank you so much for that incredible welcome. Rohi, thank you so much for the way you introduced me and the way our family and you have contributed so much to our community. That was absolutely brilliant. Thank you very much.

I am truly delighted to be invited to make this speech today, because for the past two weeks, as you’ve probably known I’ve had a very easy, relaxing time. Hardly anything of any importance at all has happened to me.

You might have noticed in some of our newspapers they’ve taken a bit of an interest in me lately.

Some of the things I’ve read are this. According to one headline “Jeremy Corbyn welcomed the prospect of an asteroid ‘wiping out’ humanity.”

Now, asteroids are pretty controversial. It’s not the kind of policy I’d want this party to adopt without a full debate in conference. So can we have the debate later in the week!

Another newspaper went even further and printed a ‘mini-novel’ that predicted how life would look if I were Prime Minister. It’s pretty scary I have to tell you.

It tells us football’s Premier League would collapse, which makes sense, because it’s quite difficult to see how all our brilliant top 20 teams in the Premiership would cope with playing after an asteroid had wiped out humanity. So that’s a no-no for sure!

And then the Daily Express informed readers that – I’m not quite sure how many greats there are here, but I think there are three or four – great-great-great grandfather, who I’d never heard of before was a very unpleasant sort of chap who apparently was involved in running a workhouse. I want to take this opportunity to apologise for not doing the decent thing and going back in time to have a chat with him about his appalling behaviour.

But then there’s another journalist who had obviously been hanging around my street a great deal, who quotes: “Neighbours often see him riding a Chairman Mao style bicycle.” Less thorough journalists might just have referred to it as just a ‘bicycle’, but no.

So we have to conclude that whenever we see someone on a bicycle from now on, there goes another supporter of Chairman Mao. Thus, the Daily Express has changed history.

But seriously Conference it’s a huge honour and a privilege for me to speak to you today as Leader of the Labour Party.

To welcome all our new members.

More than 160,000 have joined the Labour party.

And more than 50,000 have joined since the declaration of the leadership and deputy leadership election results.

I’m very proud to say that in my own constituency, our membership as of last night had just gone over 3,000 individual members and 2,000 registered supporters. 5,000 people in my constituency.

I want to say first of all thank you to all of the people of my constituency of Islington North and Islington North Labour party for their friendship, support and all the activities we’ve done and all the help and support they’ve given me in the past few weeks. I’m truly grateful to you. Thank you very much indeed to everyone in Islington.

Above I want to welcome all our new members to this party, everyone who’s joined this party in this great endeavour. To change our party, change our country, change our politics and change the way we do things. Above all I want to speak to everyone in Britain about the tasks Labour has now turned to.

Opposing and fighting the Tory government and the huge damage it is doing.

Developing Labour’s alternative.

Renewing our policies so we can reach out across the country and win.

Starting next year.

In Wales.

In Scotland.

In London.

In Bristol.

In local government elections across Britain.

I want to repeat the thanks I gave after my election to all the people who have served the Labour Party so well in recent months and years.

To Ed Miliband for the leadership he gave our party, and for the courage and dignity he showed in the face of tawdry media attacks.

And also for the contribution I know he will be making in the future.

Especially on the vital issues of the environment and climate change.

Thank you Ed. Thank you so much for all you’ve done.

And to Harriet Harman not just for her leadership and service, but for her commitment and passion for equality and the rights of women.

The way she has changed attitudes and law through her courage and determination. The Equality Act is one of many testaments to her huge achievements. Thank you, Harriet, for everything you’ve done and everything you continue to do.

I also want to say a big thank you to Iain McNicol, our General Secretary, and all our Party staff in London and Newcastle and all over the country for their dedication and hard work during the General Election and leadership election campaigns.

And also to all the staff and volunteers who are doing such a great job here this week in Brighton at this incredible conference we’re holding. Thank you to all of them. They’re part of our movement and part of our conference.

Also I want to say a special thank you to the fellow candidates who contested the leadership election for this party.

It was an amazing three month experience for all of us.

I want to say thank you to Liz Kendall, for her passion, her independence, determination and her great personal friendship to me throughout the campaign. Liz, thank you so much for that and all you contribute to the party.

I want to say thank you to Yvette Cooper for the remarkable way in which she’s helped to change public attitudes towards the refugee crisis.

And now for leading a taskforce on how Britain and Europe can do more to respond to this crisis. Yvette, thank you for that.

And to Andy Burnham, our new Shadow Home Secretary, for everything he did as Health Secretary to defend our NHS – health service free at the point if use as a human right for all.

I want to say thank you to all three for the spirit and friendship with which they contested the election.

Thank you Liz.

Thank you Yvette.

Thank you Andy.

I want to thank all those who took part in that election, at hustings and rallies all across the country. Our Party at its best, democratic, inclusive and growing.

I’ve got new people to thank as well.

The talented colleagues working with me in the Shadow Cabinet and on Labour’s front bench.

An inclusive team from all political wings of our Party.

From every part of our country.

It gives us the right foundation for the open debate our Party must now have about the future.

I am not leader who wants to impose leadership lines all the time.

I don’t believe anyone of us has a monopoly on wisdom and ideas – we all have ideas and a vision of how things can be better.

I want open debate in our party and our movement.

I will listen to everyone.

I firmly believe leadership is about listening.

We will reach out to our new members and supporters.

Involve people in our debates on policy and then our Party as a whole will decide.

I’ve been given a huge mandate, by 59 per cent of the electorate who supported my campaign. I believe it is a mandate for change.

I want to explain how.

First and foremost it’s a vote for change in the way we do politics.

In the Labour Party and in the country.

Politics that’s kinder, more inclusive.

Bottom up, not top down.

In every community and workplace, not just in Westminster.

Real debate, not necessarily message discipline all the time.

But above all, straight talking. Honest.

That’s the politics we’re going to have in the future in this party and in this movement.

And it was a vote for political change in our party as well.

Let me be clear under my leadership, and we discussed this yesterday in conference, Labour will be challenging austerity.

It will be unapologetic about reforming our economy to challenge inequality and protect workers better.

And internationally Labour will be a voice for engagement in partnership with those who share our values.

Supporting the authority of international law and international institutions, not acting against them.

The global environment is in peril.

We need to be part of an international movement to cut emissions and pollution.

To combat the environmental danger to our planet.

These are crucial issues. But I also want to add this.

I’ve been standing up for human rights, challenging oppressive regimes for 30 years as a backbench MP.

And before that as an individual activist, just like everyone else in this hall.

Just because I’ve become the leader of this party, I’m not going to stop standing up on those issues or being that activist.

So for my first message to David Cameron, I say to him now a little message from our conference, I hope he’s listening – you never know:

Intervene now personally with the Saudi Arabian regime to stop the beheading and crucifixion of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, who is threatened with the death penalty, for taking part in a demonstration at the age of 17.

And while you’re about it, terminate that bid made by our Ministry of Justice’s to provide services for Saudi Arabia – which would be required to carry out the sentence that would be put down on Mohammed Ali al-Nimr.

We have to be very clear about what we stand for in human rights.

A refusal to stand up is the kind of thing that really damages Britain’s standing in the world.

I have huge admiration for human rights defenders all over the world. I’ve met hundreds of these very brave people during my lifetime working on international issues. I want to say a special mention to one group who’ve campaigned for the release of British resident Shaker Aamer from Guantanamo Bay.

This was a campaign of ordinary people like you and me, standing on cold draughty streets, for many hours over many years.

Together we secured this particular piece of justice.

That’s how our human rights were won by ordinary people coming together. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things – that is how our rights and our human rights have been won.

The Tories want to repeal the Human Rights Act and some want leave the European convention on Human Rights.

Just to show what they’re made of, their new Trade Union Bill which we’re opposing very strongly in the House and the country, is also a fundamental attack on human rights and is in breach of both the ILO and the European Convention on Human Rights.

Now I’ve been listening to a lot of advice about how to do this job.

There’s plenty of advice around, believe me.

Actually I quite like that. I welcome that.

I like to listen to advice, particularly the advice which is unwelcome. That is often the best advice you get. The people that tell you, “yes, you’re doing great, you’re brilliant, you’re wonderful”. Fine. Thank you, but what have I got wrong? “Oh, I haven’t got time for that.”

I want to listen to people.

But I do like to do things differently as well.

I’ve been told never to repeat your opponents’ lines in a political debate.

But I want to tackle one thing head on.

The Tories talk about economic and family security being at risk from us the Labour party, or perhaps even more particularly, from me.

I say this to them. How dare these people talk about security for families and people in Britain?

Where’s the security for families shuttled around the private rented sector on six month tenancies – with children endlessly having to change schools?

Where’s the security for those tenants afraid to ask a landlord to fix a dangerous structure in their own homes because they might be evicted because they’ve gone to the local authority to seek the justice they’re entitled to?

Where’s the security for the carers struggling to support older family members as Tory local government cuts destroy social care and take away the help they need?

Where’s the security for young people starting out on careers knowing they are locked out of any prospect of ever buying their own home by soaring house prices?

Where’s the security for families driven away from their children’s schools, their community and family ties by these welfare cuts?

Where’s the security for the hundreds of thousands taking on self-employment with uncertain income, no sick pay, no Maternity Pay, no paid leave, no pension now facing the loss of the tax credits that keep them and their families afloat?

And there’s no security for the 2.8 million households in Britain forced into debt by stagnating wages and the Tory record of the longest fall in living standards since records began.
And that’s the nub of it.

Tory economic failure.

An economy that works for the few, not for the many.

Manufacturing still in decline.

Look at the Tory failure to intervene to support our steel industry as the Italian government has done.

So, as we did yesterday in conference, we stand with the people on Teesside fighting for their jobs, their industry and their community. The company has said that it will mothball the plant and lay the workers off, therefore it is not too late now, again, to call on the Prime Minister even at this late stage, this 12th hour, to step in and defend those people, like the Italian government has done. Why can’t the British government? What is wrong with them?

There’s an investment crisis.

Britain at the bottom of the international league on investment.

Just below Madagascar and just above El Salvador. So we’re doing quite well!

Britain’s balance of payment deficit £100 billion last year.

Loading our economy and every one of us with unsustainable debt for the future.

And the shocks in world markets this summer have shown what a dangerous and fragile state the world economy is in.

And how ill prepared the Tories have left us to face another crisis.

It hasn’t been growing exports and a stronger manufacturing sector that have underpinned the feeble economic recovery.

It’s house price inflation, asset inflation, more private debt.




The real risk to economic and family security.

To people who have had to stretch to take on mortgages.

To people who have only kept their families afloat through relying on their credit cards, and payday loans.

Fearful of how they will cope with a rise in interest rates.

It’s not acceptable.

The Tories’ austerity is the out-dated and failed approach of the past.

So it’s for us, for Labour to develop our forward-looking alternative.

That’s what John McDonnell started to do in his excellent speech to conference.

At the heart of it is investing for the future.

Every mainstream economist will tell you that with interest rates so low now is the time for public investment in our infrastructure.

Investment in council housing, and for affordable homes to rent and to buy.

John Healey’s plan for 100,000 new council and housing association homes a year.

To tackle the housing crisis, drive down the spiralling housing benefit bill and so to make the taxpayer a profit. A profit for the taxpayer because the benefit bill falls when the cost of housing falls. It’s quite simple actually and quite a good idea.

Investment in fast broadband to support new high technology jobs.

A National Investment Bank to support investment in infrastructure.

To provide finance to small and medium sized firms that our banks continue to starve of the money they need to grow.

A Green New Deal investing in renewable energy and energy conservation to tackle the threat of climate change.

The Tories of course are selling off the Green Investment Bank. They are simply not interested in this.

This is the only way to a strong economic future for Britain.

That’s sustainable.

That turns round the terrible trade deficit.

That supports high growth firms and businesses.

That provides real economic security for our people.

The economy of the future depends on the investment we make today in infrastructure, skills, and schools.

I’m delighted that Lucy Powell is our new shadow Education Secretary.
She has already set out how the education of every child and the quality of every school counts.

Every school accountable to local government, not bringing back selection.
We have aspirations for all children, not just a few.

Now my first public engagement as Labour leader came within an hour of being elected.

I was proud to speak at the ‘Refugees Welcome’ rally in London. I wanted to send out a message of the kinder politics we are pursuing and a caring society we want to achieve.

I have been inspired by people across our country.

Making collections for the refugees in Calais. Donating to charities.

The work of Citizens UK to involve whole communities in this effort.

These refugees are the victims of war – many the victims of the brutal conflict in Syria.

It is a huge crisis, the worst humanitarian crisis in Europe since the Second World War. And globally it’s the biggest refugee crisis there has ever been.

But the scale of the response from the government, Europe and the international community isn’t enough.

And whilst the government is providing welcome aid to the region, especially in the Lebanon, we all know much more needs to be done. Because it’s a crisis of human beings just like you and just like me looking for security and looking for safety. Let’s reach out the hand of humanity and friendship to them.

Now let me say something about national security.

The best way to protect the British people against the threats we face to our safety at home and abroad is to work to resolve conflict.

That isn’t easy, but it is unavoidable if we want real security.

Our British values are internationalist and universal.

They are not limited by borders.

Britain does need strong, modern military and security forces to keep us safe.

And to take a lead in humanitarian and peace keeping missions – working with and strengthening the United Nations.

On my first day in Parliament as Labour Leader it was a privilege to meet the soldiers and medics who did such remarkable work in tackling the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone.

There is no contradiction between working for peace across the world and doing what is necessary to keep us safe.

Today we face very different threats from the time of the Cold War which ended thirty years ago.

That’s why I have asked our Shadow Defence Secretary, Maria Eagle, to lead a debate and review about how we deliver that strong, modern effective protection for the people of Britain.

I’ve made my own position on one issue clear. And I believe I have a mandate from my election on it.

I don’t believe £100 billion on a new generation of nuclear weapons taking up a quarter of our defence budget is the right way forward.

I believe Britain should honour our obligations under the Non Proliferation Treaty and lead in making progress on international nuclear disarmament.

But in developing our policy through the review we must make sure we all the jobs and skills of everyone in every aspect of the defence industry are fully protected and fully utilised so that we gain from this, we don’t lose from this. To me, that is very important.

And on foreign policy we need to learn the lessons of the recent past.

It didn’t help our national security that, at the same time I was protesting outside the Iraqi Embassy about Saddam Hussein’s brutality, Tory ministers were secretly conniving with illegal arms sales to his regime.

It didn’t help our national security when we went to war with Iraq in defiance of the United Nations and on a false prospectus.

It didn’t help our national security to endure the loss of hundreds of brave British soldiers in that war while making no proper preparation for what to do after the fall of the regime.

Nor does it help our national security to give such fawning and uncritical support to regimes like Saudi Arabia and Bahrain – who abuse their own citizens and repress democratic rights. These are issues we have to stand up on and also recognise in some cases they are using British weapons in their assault on Yemen. We have got to be clear on where our objectives are.

But there is a recent object lesson in how real leadership can resolve conflicts, prevent war and build real security.

It’s the leadership, the clever and difficult diplomacy that has been shown by Barack Obama and others in reaching the historic deal with Iran. A deal that opens the way for new diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict in Syria.

The scale of the destruction and suffering in Syria is truly dreadful.

More than a quarter of a million people killed.

More than ten million driven from their homes.

I yield to no-one in my opposition to the foul and despicable crimes committed by Isil and by the Assad government including barrel bombs being dropped on civilian targets.

We all want the atrocities to stop and the Syrian people free to determine their own destiny.

But the answer to this complex and tragic conflict can’t simply be found in a few more bombs.

I agree with Paddy Ashdown when he says that military strikes against Isil aren’t succeeding, not because we do not have enough high explosives, but because we do not have a diplomatic strategy on Syria.

That’s the challenge for leadership now, for us, for David Cameron.

The clever, patient, difficult diplomacy Britain needs to play a leading role in.

That’s why Hilary Benn and I together are calling for a new United Nations Security Council resolution that can underpin a political solution to the crisis.

I believe the UN can yet bring about a process that leads to an end to the violence in Syria. Yesterday’s meetings in New York were very important.

Social democracy itself was exhausted.

Dead on its feet.

Yet something new and invigorating, popular and authentic has exploded.

To understand this all of us have to share our ideas and our contributions.

Our common project must be to embrace the emergence of a modern left movement and harness it to build a society for the majority.

Now some media commentators who’ve spent years complaining about how few people have engaged with political parties have sneered at our huge increase in membership.

If they were sports reporters writing about a football team they’d be saying:

“They’ve had a terrible summer. They’ve got 160,000 new fans. Season tickets are sold out. The new supporters are young and optimistic. I don’t know how this club can survive a crisis like this.”

We celebrate the enthusiasm of so many people, old and young, from all communities.

In every part of the country.

Joining Labour as members and supporters.

And we need to change in response to this movement.

Our new members want to be active and involved.

Want to have a say in our Labour Party’s policies.

Want to lead local and national campaigns against injustice and the dreadful impact of Tory austerity.

Want to work in their local communities to make people’s lives better.

They don’t want to do things the old way.

Young people and older people are fizzing with ideas. Let’s give them the space for that fizz to explode into the joy we want of a better society.

They want a new politics of engagement and involvement.

Many of them are already active in their communities, in voluntary organisations, in local campaigns.

And we’ve convinced them now to take a further step and join our Labour Party.

What a tremendous opportunity for our Labour Party to be the hub of every community.

The place where people come together to campaign.

To debate, to build friendships, to set up new community projects.

To explain and talk to their neighbours about politics, about changing Britain for the better.

That’s going to mean a lot of change for the way we’ve done our politics in the past.

Our new Deputy Leader Tom Watson is well up for that challenge. He’s leading the charge and leading the change of the much greater use of digital media as a key resource.

That is the way of communication, it is not just through broadsheet newspapers or tabloids, it’s social media that really is the point of communication of the future. We have got to get that.

One firm commitment I make to people who join our Labour Party is that you have a real say, the final say in deciding on the policies of our party.

No-one – not me as Leader, not the Shadow Cabinet, not the Parliamentary Labour Party – is going to impose policy or have a veto.

The media commentariat don’t get it.

They’ve been keen to report disagreements as splits: agreement and compromise as concessions and capitulation


This is grown up politics.

Where people put forward different views.

We debate issues.

We take a decision and we go forward together.

We look to persuade each other.

On occasions we might agree to disagree.

But whatever the outcome we stand together, united as Labour, to put forward a better way to the misery on offer from the Conservatives.

There’s another important thing about how we are going to do this.

It’s a vital part of our new politics.

I want to repeat what I said at the start of the leadership election.

I do not believe in personal abuse of any sort.

Treat people with respect.

Treat people as you wish to be treated yourself.

Listen to their views, agree or disagree but have that debate.

There is going to be no rudeness from me.

Maya Angelou said: “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”

I want a kinder politics, a more caring society.

Don’t let them reduce you to believing in anything less.

So I say to all activists, whether Labour or not, cut out the personal attacks.

The cyberbullying.

And especially the misogynistic abuse online.

And let’s get on with bringing values back into politics.

So what are our first big campaigns?

I want to start with a fundamental issue about democratic rights for Britain.

Just before Parliament rose for the summer the Tories sneaked out a plan to strike millions of people off the electoral register this December.

A year earlier than the advice of the independent Electoral Commission.

It means two million or more people could lose their right to vote.

That’s 400,000 people in London. It’s 70,000 people in Glasgow.

Thousands in every town and city, village and hamlet all across the country

That’s overwhelmingly students, people in insecure accommodation, and short stay private lets.

We know why the Tories are doing it.

They want to gerrymander next year’s Mayoral election in London by denying hundreds of thousands of Londoners their right to vote.

They want to do the same for the Assembly elections in Wales.

And they want to gerrymander electoral boundaries across the country.

By ensuring new constituencies are decided on the basis of the missing registers when the Boundary Commission starts its work in April 2016.

Conference we are going to do our best to stop them.

We will highlight this issue in Parliament and outside.

We will work with Labour councils across the country to get people back on the registers.

And from today our Labour Party starts a nationwide campaign for all our members to work in every town and city, in every university as students start the new term, to stop the Tory gerrymander. To get people on the electoral register.

It’s hard work – as I know from 10 years as the election agent for a marginal London constituency.

But now we have new resources.

The power of social media.

The power of our huge new membership.

Conference, let’s get to it. Get those people on the register to give us those victories but also to get fairness within our society.

And, friends, we need to renew our party in Scotland. I want to pay tribute today to our leader in Scotland, Kezia Dugdale and her team of MSPs in the Scottish Parliament.

I know that people in Scotland have been disappointed by the Labour Party.

I know you feel we lost our way.

I agree with you.

Kezia has asked people to take another look at the Labour Party.

And that’s what I want people across Scotland to do.

Under Kezia and my leadership we will change.

We will learn the lessons of the past.

And we will again make Labour the great fighting force you expect us to be.

We need to be investing in skills, investing in our young people – not cutting student numbers. Giving young people real hope and real opportunity.

Conference, it is Labour that is the progressive voice for Scotland.

There’s another big campaign we need to lead.

David Cameron’s attack on the living standards of low paid workers and their families through the assault on tax credits.

First, remind people over and over again David Cameron pledged during the election not to cut child tax credits.

On the Question Time Leader’s debate he said he had rejected child tax credit cuts.

It’s a shocking broken promise – and the Tories voted it through in Parliament just two weeks ago.

How can it be right for a single mother working as a part time nurse earning just £18,000 to lose £2,000 to this broken promise?

Some working families losing nearly £3,500 a year to this same broken promise.

And how can it be right or fair to break this promise while handing out an inheritance tax cut to 60,000 of the wealthiest families in the country? See the contrast

So we’ll fight this every inch of the way.

And we’ll campaign at the workplace, in every community against this Tory broken promise.

And to expose the absurd lie that the Tories are on the side of working people, that they are giving Britain a pay rise.

It was one of the proudest days of my life when cycling home from Parliament at 5 o’clock in the morning having voted for the national minimum wage legislation to go through.

So of course it’s good to see a minimum wage.

But the phoney rebranding of it as a living wage doesn’t do anyone any good.

And the Institute of Fiscal Studies has shown Cameron’s broken promise mean millions of workers are still left far worse off.

They can and must be changed.

As I travelled the country during the leadership campaign it was wonderful to see the diversity of all the people in our country.

And that is now being reflected in our membership with more black, Asian and ethnic minority members joining our party.

Even more inspiring is the unity and unanimity of their values.

A belief in coming together to achieve more than we can on our own.

Fair play for all.

Solidarity and not walking by on the other side of the street when people are in trouble.

Respect for other people’s point of view.

It is this sense of fair play, these shared majority British values that are the fundamental reason why I love this country and its people.

These values are what I was elected on: a kinder politics and a more caring society.

They are Labour values and our country’s values.

We’re going to put these values back into politics.

I want to rid Britain of injustice, to make it fairer, more decent, more equal.

And I want all our citizens to benefit from prosperity and success.

There is nothing good about cutting support to the children of supermarket workers and cleaners.

There is nothing good about leaving hundreds of thousands unable to feed themselves, driving them to foodbanks that have almost become an institution.

And there is nothing good about a Prime Minister wandering around Europe trying to bargain away the rights that protect our workers.

As our Conference decided yesterday we will oppose that and stand up for the vision of a social Europe, a Europe of unity and solidarity, to defend those rights.

I am proud of our history.

It is a history of courageous people who defied overwhelming odds to fight for the rights and freedoms we enjoy today.

The rights of women to vote.

The rights and dignity of working people;

Our welfare state.

The NHS – rightly at the centre of Danny Boyle’s great Olympic opening ceremony.

The BBC.

Both great institutions.

Both under attack by the Tories.

Both threatened by the idea that profit comes first, not the needs and interests of our people. That’s the difference between us and the Tories.

So let me make this commitment.

Our Labour Party will always put people’s interests before profit.

Now I want to say a bit more about policy – and the review that Angela Eagle has announced this week.

Let’s start by recognising the huge amount of agreement we start from, thanks to the work that Angela led in the National Policy Forum.

Then we need to be imaginative and recognise the ways our country is changing.

In my leadership campaign I set out some ideas for how we should support small businesses and the self-employed.
That’s because one in seven of the labour force now work for themselves.

Some of them have been driven into it as their only response to keep an income coming in, insecure though it is.

But many people like the independence and flexibility self-employment brings to their lives, the sense of being your own boss.

And that’s a good thing.

But with that independence comes insecurity and risk especially for those on the lowest and most volatile incomes.

There’s no Statutory Sick Pay if they have an accident at work.

There’s no Statutory Maternity Pay for women when they become pregnant

They have to spend time chasing bigger firms to pay their invoices on time, so they don’t slip further into debt.

They earn less than other workers.

On average just £11,000 a year.

And their incomes have been hit hardest by five years of Tory economic failure.

So what are the Tories doing to help the self-employed, the entrepreneurs they claim to represent?

They’re clobbering them with the tax credit cuts.

And they are going to clobber them again harder as they bring in Universal Credit.

So I want our policy review to tackle this in a really serious way. And be reflective of what modern Britain is actually like.

Labour created the welfare state as an expression of a caring society – but all too often that safety net has holes in it, people fall through it, and it is not there for the self-employed. It must be. That is the function of a universal welfare state.

Consider opening up Statutory Maternity and Paternity Pay to the self-employed so all new born children can get the same level of care from their parents.

I’ve asked Angela Eagle, our Shadow Business Secretary, and Owen Smith, our Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, to look at all the ways we can we support self-employed people and help them to grow their businesses.

And I want to thank Lillian Greenwood, our Shadow Transport Secretary for the speed and skill with which she has moved policy on the future of our railways forward.

It was wonderful to see Conference this morning agree our new plan to bring private franchises into public ownership as they expire.

Labour’s policy now is to deliver the fully integrated, publicly owned railway the British people want and need. That’s the Labour policy, that’s the one we’ll deliver on.

Housing policy too is a top priority.

Perhaps nowhere else has Tory failure been so complete and so damaging to our people.

In the last parliament at least half a million fewer homes built than needed.

Private rents out of control.

A third of private rented homes not meeting basic standards of health and safety.

The chance of owning a home a distant dream for the vast majority of young people.

There’s no answer to this crisis that doesn’t start with a new council house-building programme.

With new homes that are affordable to rent and to buy.

As John Healey, our Shadow Housing Minister, has shown it can pay for itself and make the taxpayer a profit by cutting the housing benefit bill by having reasonable rents, not exorbitant rents

And we need new ideas to tackle land hoarding and land speculation.

These are issues that are so vital to how things go forward in this country.

I want a kinder, more caring politics that does not tolerate more homelessness, more upheaval for families in temporary accommodation.

A secure home is currently out of reach for millions.

And John Healey has already made a great start on a fundamental review of our housing policies to achieve that.

And we are going to make mental health a real priority.

It’s an issue for all of us.

Every one of us can have a mental health problem.

So let’s end the stigma.

End the discrimination.

And with Luciana Berger, our Shadow Minister for Mental Health, I’m going to challenge the Tories to make parity of esteem for mental health a reality not a slogan.

With increased funding – especially for services for children and young people.

As three quarters of chronic mental health problems start before the age of 18.

Yet only a quarter of those young people get the help they need.

All our work on policy will be underpinned by Labour’s values.

End the stigma, end the discrimination, treat people with mental health conditions as you would wish to be treated yourself. That’s our pledge.

Let’s put them back into politics.

Let’s build that kinder, more caring world.

Since the dawn of history in virtually every human society there are some people who are given a great deal and many more people who are given little or nothing.

Some people have property and power, class and capital, status and clout which are denied to the many.

And time and time again, the people who receive a great deal tell the many to be grateful to be given anything at all.

They say that the world cannot be changed and the many must accept the terms on which they are allowed to live in it.

These days this attitude is justified by economic theory.

The many with little or nothing are told they live in a global economy whose terms cannot be changed.

They must accept the place assigned to them by competitive markets.

By the way, isn’t it curious that globalisation always means low wages for poor people, but is used to justify massive payments to top chief executives.

Our Labour Party came into being to fight that attitude.

That is still what our Labour Party is all about. Labour is the voice that says to the many, at home and abroad: “you don’t have to take what you’re given.”

Labour says:

“You may be born poor but you don’t have to stay poor. You don’t have to live without power and without hope.

“You don’t have to set limits on your talent and your ambition – or those of your children.

“You don’t have to accept prejudice and discrimination, or sickness or poverty, or destruction and war.

“You don’t have to be grateful to survive in a world made by others.

No, you set the terms for the people in power over you, and you dismiss them when they fail you.”

That’s what democracy is about.

That has always been our Labour Party’s message.

You don’t have to take what you’re given.

It was the great Nigerian writer Ben Okri who perhaps put it best:

“The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love”.

But they’re at it again.

The people who want you to take what you’re given.

This Tory government.

This government which was made by the few – and paid for by the few.

Since becoming leader David Cameron has received £55 million in donations from hedge funds. From people who have a lot and want to keep it all.

That is why this pre-paid government came into being.

To protect the few and tell all the rest of us to accept what we’re given.

To deliver the £145 million tax break they have given the hedge funds in return.

They want us to believe there is no alternative to cutting jobs.

Slashing public services.

Vandalising the NHS.

Cutting junior doctor’s pay.

Reducing care for the elderly.

Destroying the hopes of young people for a college education or putting university graduates into massive debt.

Putting half a million more children in poverty.

They want the people of Britain to accept all of these things.

They expect millions of people to work harder and longer for a lower quality of life on lower wages. Well, they’re not having it.

Our Labour Party says no.
The British people never have to take what they are given.

And certainly not when it comes from Cameron and Osborne.

So Conference, I come almost to the end of my first conference speech, and I think you for listening OK, alright, don’t worry. Listen, I’ve spoken at 37 meetings since Saturday afternoon, is that not enough? Well talk later.

So I end conference with a quote.

The last bearded man to lead the Labour Party was a wonderful great Scotsman, Keir Hardie who died about a century ago this weekend and we commemorated him with a book we launched on Sunday evening. Kier grew up in dreadful poverty and made so much of his life and founded our party.

Stood up to be counted on votes for women, stood up for social justice, stood up to develop our political party.

We own him and so many more so much. And he was asked once summaries what you are about, summarise what you really mean in your life. And he thought for a moment and he said this:

“My work has consisted of trying to stir up a divine discontent with wrong”.

Don’t accept injustice, stand up against prejudice.

Let us build a kinder politics, a more caring society together.

Let us put our values, the people’s values, back into politics.

Thank you.

Digital Detox: How to switch off in a 24/7 world


Many years ago, in 1996, I interviewed Michael Dell, the billionaire founder of Dell Computers. We were sat in a grand room in the Institute of Directors on London’s elegant Pall Mall.

It was the early days of the internet, and I was intrigued to hear Dell talk about how he checked his emails late at night to stay in touch with colleagues around the world. If he was away from the internet for too long, he said, he began to suffer from “bandwidth separation anxiety”.

Michael Dell is a Geek Overlord and he was among the first to experience such feelings.

Today, those symptoms of internet addiction are common across the world.

A tsunami of information overwhelms us every day, leaving tens of millions tied to their devices at all hours. Created to boost productivity, smartphones are becoming weapons of mass distraction.

The fear of missing out, of not being “in the loop” when key decisions are made, the impact on delicate egos of not being liked or followed – all these factors mean that employees and managers live in a permanent and desperate frenzy of trying to stay connected.

Many organisations play to these fears. If the high performers in your company are always online, responding to emails and messages instantly, no matter what time of day or night, then it’s hard not to fall in line and join the undead.

Careers and lives might even depend on it. Many businesses use performance-tracking data as a management tool: if team members don’t rank highly on speed, accessibility and response times, then they’ll soon be tumbling down the leaderboard and, in the end, be shown the door.

It may seem impossible to resist this tide but, as was discussed in a CMI/Citrix GoToMeeting webinar this week, there’s more and more scientific evidence – as well as business common sense – to suggest that managers must begin reducing employees’ internet addiction.

Anxiety, depression and mental health disorders are rampant across the modern working world.

A 2014 YouGov/Microsoft survey found that 43% of 2,000 employees surveyed experienced stress from having to deal with too much information at work, with 34% saying that they felt ‘overwhelmed’.

Vivien Hudson is founder of Brain, Body, Business:

The likelihood of diabetes, heart disease and even depression are all increased in populations that spend large amounts of time sitting for extended periods of time.

David Smith, co-founder of Virtual Gurus and digital fluency lead at TMA World, describes himself as “a fanatical digital worker”, yet he’s deeply concerned about the mental health implications of modern working patterns. He points to World Health Organization research that says that a sedentary lifestyle is the fourth-largest global health issue, ahead even of obesity. “Sitting is the new smoking,” he says.

He also believes that digital detoxing is essential:

I actually wonder if it is us that ‘self impose’ the belief that we should be always connected and available – just because other colleagues are does not mean that we should!

Are we likely to be overlooked for a promotion because we are not constantly connected? I think not. What is vital is that we produce the right level/quality of work that our organisation/manager expects, not that we are available at all hours of the day.

If it is our organisations that are imposing that belief, then they need to recognise that we cannot be available 24/7 without there being consequences – burnout, anxiety, depression or worse.

Many organisations are introducing wellbeing programmes into their agenda – and they need to: the 21st century knowledge worker is in need of some TLC.

So how can managers help employees to unplug from their devices and reduce the risks of burnout? Here are a few tips:

Apply the Pomodoro Technique; the time management method developed by Italian Francesco Cirillo that uses the tomato-shaped Pomodoro timer to break work into 25-minute intervals, separated by short breaks.

Ironically, there are apps to remind you to take breaks, and the Apple Watch will tap you with a reminder.

Use “Out of Office”: this tool has been pushed into the long grass recently, but it’s still an effective ways of buying yourself some space and time when you want to be offline.

Go analogue, regularly; using paper, whiteboards and other analogue tools activate different parts of your brain and will put you into a refreshed frame of mind.

Set up a company running club or walking group so that you and colleagues get out of the office and into the fresh air. These are increasingly popular and more people will join once they’re up and running, including senior managers, directors and partners. Gradually, these clubs will shift the organisation’s culture to one where offline breaks and digital detoxing is encouraged, not frowned upon.

Further information

Matthew Rock is from the Chartered Management Institute.