Sir Keir Starmer has said he wants Labour to be “Britain’s bricks and mortar” as he set out his vision for his party and the country.
In an essay published ahead of Labour’s party conference in Brighton, the main thrust of which runs to more than 11,500 words, Sir Keir said Labour cannot “wait around for the public to decide we are right” and must instead grasp the opportunities the current political atmosphere provides.
Sir Keir admits: “The Conservatives are not an easy opponent to pin down – and even less so when Labour has tied its own arms behind its back.”
But his comments come at a time where Labour is again gripped in an internal civil war over potential changes Sir Keir wants to make to leadership rules.
The essay, published by The Fabian Society, has been seen as a bid to reset his leadership and craft an ambition for what Labour would look like in Government ahead of his first in-person appearance at a party conference as leader.
Sir Keir said: “People are no longer prepared to sit back while politicians shrug their shoulders.
“The future will belong to those who do not just mitigate against change but grasp the opportunities it provides.”
According to Sir Keir, now is the time for that opportunity, adding: “It is impossible to live in this moment and not feel the winds of changes blowing, just as they did in 1945 and 1997.”
He added: “I want Labour to once again be Britain’s bricks and mortar – a symbol of solidity, reliability, shelter and the prospect of building something new and better.
“To do that, our party must have a relentless focus on the challenges and opportunities of the future and how they can be shaped to the interest of working people.”
He wrote: “When we win, it is not because the country has come around to our way of thinking but because we have seized the future and moulded it.”
But he admitted: “The arc of history will not bend towards us unless we force it to.”
In the essay, Sir Keir sets out 10 principles which he claims would form the basis of a new contract between Labour and the British people.
At its heart is what he has dubbed a “contribution society”, where everyone has a part to play.
Sir Keir said: “People want to emerge from lockdown into something better.
“Our country is now at a crossroads: down one path is the same inequality of opportunity and insecurity.
“The Labour path is about building a better future for working people.
“Labour will build a society that prizes the contributions people make, providing security and opportunity across Britain.”
However Oliver Dowden, Conservative Party co-chairman, said: “If this is Starmer’s ‘big vision’ then he should have gone to Specsavers.
“Labour are talking to themselves about themselves. They’re all essays and no action.”