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Friday 30 September 2016

Corbyn used speech penned in 80s for Kinnock - and rejected by Labour leaders since

David Hughes, Press Association Political Correspondent

Published 29/09/2015 | 20:37

New Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
New Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

A KEY passage of Jeremy Corbyn's conference speech had previously been rejected by every British Labour leader since Neil Kinnock.

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Elements of the address drew heavily on passages by writer Richard Heller offered as suggestions to previous leaders and posted on a blog.

Mr Heller said he was "delighted" that his thoughts had been used and said that although he had "many disagreements" with Mr Corbyn "I now have to admire his rhetorical judgment".

The conference speech was written by Mr Corbyn and his chief of staff Neale Coleman, but a spokesman for the Labour leader confirmed that Mr Heller's words had been used as a source.

In one passage of his address in Brighton, Mr Corbyn said: "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."

He continued: "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."

Then he added: "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'."

Mr Heller's website contains the passage: "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 even sanctity, which are denied to the multitude. And time and time again, the people who receive a great deal tell the multitude to be grateful to be given anything at all.

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

It continued: "The multitudes with little or nothing are told that they live in a global economy whose terms cannot be changed: they must accept the place assigned to them by competitive markets.

"The Labour Party came into being to fight that attitude. That is still what the Labour Party is all about. Labour is the voice that says to the multitude, at home and abroad: 'you don't have to take what you're given'."

Writing on the Guardian website, Mr Heller said he was in Pakistan working on a cricket book when he learnt that his words had been heavily featured in Mr Corbyn's speech.

He said: "I discovered in a Karachi traffic jam today that Jeremy Corbyn intended to make use in his conference speech of a passage I wrote some years ago with the theme of 'you don't have to take what you're given'.

"I have always been proud of that passage, both for its content and its cadences, so much so that I have offered it regularly to every Labour leader from Neil Kinnock onwards and to other Labour speakers. Four years ago, I published it on my website along with some other zingers and exordiums.

"As with every other new Labour leader, I offered it to Corbyn shortly after his election, both to him personally and to Neale Coleman, on learning of his appointment as chief of staff."

He added: "I am delighted that the passage has been used, and am sorry that a spurious story might detract from its message. I have many disagreements with Corbyn, but I now have to admire his rhetorical judgment.

"On the issues where I agree with him, particularly on fundamental values of his party and mine, he is welcome to call on me for other uplifting and memorable tropes."

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