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Notes of the speech made by Baroness Llin Golding to a recent Labour Party International (Andalucia Branch) event held on Friday 12th June 2015

The Chair, Charles Betty, welcomed Baroness Llin Golding inviting her to address us. She made the following comments;-

Why did we lose? Simply because we didn’t get enough votes in the right places.

Why not? For a variety of reasons –

Yes there was the SNP,

Yes there was UKIP,

And Yes the Liberals who were losing votes.

But where did these votes come from and where did they go? The Pollsters got it very wrong (saying the election was ‘too close to call’) as they admitted – but they weren’t the only ones. One of my friends in the Lords – from Aberdeen – had a bet , in the last few weeks, that the SNP would only win 6 seats!!! I myself had been telling anyone who would listen for months – including meetings in Parliament with the Pollsters – that UKIP was a big threat to Labour and that no way could we depend on picking up the Liberal votes as they were as likely to go to the Tories.

What did we do wrong? We had spent the 5 years of Liberal/Tory Government apologising for the economic crisis which they, along with the media, blamed Labour for, but which we did not cause.

Was public spending irresponsibly used during 2006-07 as the Liberal/Tory Government and the media claimed. No! The public deficit was 2.7% which was lower than when Labour took office from the Tories. In fact under Gordon Brown there was no deficit problem and in 2008 he put more emphasis into investment to help invigorate the world economy, for which he received world-wide praise! Germany and France also responded to the crisis by investing to protect industry. The Liberal/Tory Government however chose to cut investment to industry which didn’t help the crisis. Even places like Turkey and China also invested in jobs which proved the right thing to do. We should have spoken out and answered these unfair criticisms but, Ed Balls, despite all of his expertise didn’t and neither did most of the rest of us.

What messages were we giving to the electorate? None that were clear and constant, positive and hopeful. The fact that we ended engraving them on a large tombstone – at the time of the year when the UK was commemorating the two world wars – says it all!

Now we have the election for a new Leader with Andy Burnham, Liz Kendall and Yvette Cooper declared and supported by MP’s. The voting will be different this time with One Member One Vote (OMOV). Members, Supporters and individual Trade Union members will each have a vote provided they have paid their dues (£3 for supporters and T.U. members).

Of course there will be many other items that we will have to deal with;-

The EU Referendum (or will there be a political fix?) is already being debated and Harriet Harman says that we will take part. (See below for further)

The Tories attack on the human rights settlement which shows they don’t understand it!

The sell-off of protected homes when what is need is to build more homes.

Tax credits to be cut

Selling off of the remaining shares in Royal Mail, Lloyds Bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Benefits will be cut

AND, of course, the Tories will also be looking for a new leader!

The Baroness provided a section of Hansard covering the third day of the Queen’s Speech when the Lords gets to debate it – it is a part of the debate on the European Convention on Human Rights and was made by Lord Falconer of Thoroton.

‘One aspect of the Conservative attack on the human rights settlement as it currently exists is that the Conservatives say they want to prevent the European Court of Human Rights overruling our own courts. In his speech in another place on Thursday, the Lord Chancellor (Michael Gove) said:

“We want to preserve and enhance the traditions of human rights. There will be do diminution in that area; indeed there will be an enhancement of convention rights as a result of changes we propose to make. But the difference”,

Is that:

“We want to ensure that they are consistent with common law traditions and that our Supreme Court is genuinely supreme” –

[Official Report, Commons, 28/5/15; cols 291-92]

It is difficult to know what he means by “enhancement” when all the proposals so far produced by the Conservatives involve a reduction in rights.

Further, his reference to the Supreme Court being “genuinely supreme” betrays a misunderstanding of the current position. The UK courts are the final arbiters of what UK law provides, including human rights law. There is no appeal from what the UK courts say UK law is. The UK Supreme Court has been clear that it will not treat itself as bound by decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and has departed from European court decisions when it has disagreed with them. So both in form and in reality the UK Supreme Court is supreme, and if the European Court of Human Rights finds the United Kingdom to be in breach of the convention, the European court cannot overrule the UK courts or Parliament. All the European court can do is to determine whether there is a breach of the convention – and if there is, it is for the UK Parliament to decide how to remedy the breach. …..’

The Full Speech – which is worth a read as it is witty as well as informative – can be found at the following;


Column 167 1 June 2015

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