Tuesday, 17 May 2016
Wednesday, 13 November 2013
Leader's speech, Manchester 2013
David Cameron (Conservative)
This week in Manchester we've shown this Party is on the side of hardworking people.
Helping young people buy their own home.
Getting the long-term unemployed back to work.
Freezing fuel duty.
Cutting the deficit.
Make no mistake: it is this Party with the verve, energy and ideas to take our country forward.
And I want to thank everyone here for the great week we've had.
When we came to office, we faced a clear and daunting task: to turn our country around.
In May 2010, the needle on the gauge was at crisis point.
People were talking about this country in a way they had not done for decades.
But three and a half years later, we are beginning to turn the corner.
The deficit is falling.
Our economy is growing.
The numbers of our fellow countrymen and women in work are rising.
We are not there yet, not by a long way.
But, my friends, we are on our way.
I want to thank the people who have done the most to get us this far.
You. The British people.
Never giving up. Working those extra hours. Coping with those necessary cuts.
You. British business. You kept people on in the hard times. Invested before you knew for certain that things were getting better.
Together - we are clearing up the mess that Labour left.
But I have a simple question, to the people in this hall and beyond it.
Is that enough?
Is it enough that we just clear up Labour's mess and think 'job done'?
Is it enough to just fix what went wrong?
I say - no. Not for me.
This isn't job done; it is job begun.
I didn't come into politics just to fix what went wrong, but to build something right.
We in this party - we don't dream of deficits and decimal points and dry fiscal plans.
Our dreams are about helping people get on in life.
Aspiration, opportunity: these are our words, our dreams.
So today I want to talk about our one, abiding mission.
I believe it is the great Conservative mission.
That as our economy starts to recover, we build a land of opportunity in our country today.
Now, I know, it'll be tough.
But I know we've got what it takes in this Party.
Some people say "can't be done" - Conservatives say "what's to stop us?"
They said we couldn't get terrorists out of our own country.
Well - Theresa knew otherwise...
...and that's why Abu Qatada had his very own May Day this year...
Didn't it feel good seeing him get on that plane?
Some people said the NHS wasn't safe in our hands.
Well - we knew otherwise.
Who protected spending on the NHS? Not Labour - us.
Who started the Cancer Drugs Fund? Not Labour - us.
And by the way - who presided over Mid Staffs?
Patients left for so long without water, they were drinking out of dirty vases...
...people's grandparents lying filthy and unwashed for days.
Who allowed that to happen? Yes, it was Labour...
...and don't you dare lecture anyone on the NHS again.
And some people say a lot of things on Europe.
You'll never be able to veto an EU treaty.
You'll never cut the Budget.
And if you did these things - you'd have no allies in Europe.
Well we've proved them wrong.
I vetoed that treaty.
I got Britain out of the EU bail-out scheme.
And yes - I cut that budget.
And in doing all this, we haven't lost respect - we've won allies to get powers back from Europe.
That is what we will do...
...and at the end of it - yes - we will give the British people their say in a referendum.
That is our pledge. It will be your choice: in or out.
BRITAIN IN THE WORLD
And friends, you know what someone said about us recently?
Apparently some Russian official said: Britain is "just a small island that no-one pays any attention to."
Let me just get this off my chest.
When the world wanted rights, who wrote Magna Carta?
When they wanted representation, who built the first Parliament?
When they looked for compassion, who led the abolition of slavery?
When they searched for equality, who gave women the vote?
When their freedom was in peril, who offered blood, toil, tears and sweat?
And today - whose music do they dance to?
Whose universities do they flock to?
Whose football league do they watch?
Whose example of tolerance of people living together from every nation, every religion, young and old, straight and gay?
Whose example do they aspire to?
I haven't even got on to the fact that this small island beat Russia in the Olympics last year, or that the biggest-selling vodka brand in the world isn't Russian, it's British - Smirnoff - made in Fife.
...so yes, we may be a small island
but I tell you what, we're a great country.
But I want to make a serious point about our place in the world.
Following that vote on Syria in the House of Commons, some people said it was time for Britain to re-think our role.
I'm sorry - but I don't agree.
If we shrunk from the world we would be less safe and less prosperous.
The role we play, the organisations we belong to...
... and yes - the fact our defence budget remains the 4th largest in the world...
...all this is not about national vanity - it's about our national interest.
When British citizens -our fathers, mothers, daughters- are in danger...
...whether that's in the deserts of Algeria or the city of Nairobi
then combatting international terrorism - it matters to us.
When five of the world's fastest growing economies are African,
then trading with Africa - and yes helping Africa to develop with aid - that matters to us.
And at the heart of all this work - the finest Foreign Secretary I could ask for: William Hague.
Around the world, we really do matter as a United Kingdom:
England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
The date of the referendum has been set. The decision is for Scotland to make.
All the arguments about our economy, jobs, currency - I believe they make an unanswerable case for the UK.
But today I want a more simple message to go out to all the people of Scotland.
From us here in this hall, from me, from this party, from this country, from England, Wales, Northern Ireland
and it's this:
We want you to stay.
We want to stick together.
Think of all we've achieved together - the things we can do together.
The nations - as one.
Our Kingdom - United.
For 12 years now, men and women from all parts of these islands have been serving their country in Afghanistan.
Next year, the last of our combat troops will be coming home...
...having trained up the Afghans to look after their own country.
More than a decade of war.
Sacrifice beyond measure - from the finest and bravest armed forces in the world.
And I want us to stand, to raise the roof in here, to show just how proud of those men and women we are.
We in this room are a team.
And this year, we said goodbye to one of our team.
Margaret Thatcher made our country stand tall again, at home and abroad.
Rescuing our economy. Giving power to our people. Spreading home ownership. Creating work. Winning the Cold War. Saving the Falklands.
I asked her about her record once.
I was sitting next to her at a dinner - and I was really nervous.
As ever she was totally charming, she put me at ease...
...but after a while I said: "Margaret, if you had your time in Government again, is there anything you'd do differently?"
And she turned to me and said: "You know, I think I did pretty well the first time around."
Well we can all agree with that - and we can all agree on this...
...she was the greatest peace-time Prime Minister our country has ever had.
Margaret Thatcher had an almighty mess to clear up when she came to office
and so did we.
We will never forget what we found.
The biggest Budget deficit in our peace-time history.
The deepest recession since the Second World War.
But it wasn't just the debt and deficit Labour left,
it was who got hurt.
Millions coming here from overseas while millions of British people were left on welfare.
The richest paying lower tax rates than their cleaners.
Unsustainable, debt-fuelled banks booming - while manufacturing withered away.
The North falling further behind.
Towns where a quarter of people lived on benefits.
Schools where 8 out of 10 children didn't get five decent GCSEs.
Yes, they were famously "intensely relaxed" about people getting filthy rich.
...but tragically, they were also "intensely relaxed" about people staying stuck on welfare year after year...
"intensely relaxed" about children leaving school without proper qualifications so they couldn't hope to get a job at the end of it.
That was it.
That was what they left.
The casino economy meets the welfare society meets the broken education system...
a country for the few built by the so-called party of the many.
and Labour: we will never let you forget it.
These past few years have been a real struggle.
But what people want to know now is: was the struggle worth it?
And here's the honest answer.
The struggle will only be worth it if we as a country finish the job we've started.
Finishing the job means understanding this.
Our economy may be turning the corner - and of course that's great.
But we still haven't finished paying for Labour's Debt Crisis.
If anyone thinks that's over, done, dealt with - they're living in a fantasy land.
This country's debt crisis, created by Labour, is not over.
After three years of cuts, we still have one of the biggest deficits in the world.
We are still spending more than we earn.
We still need to earn more and yes, our Government still needs to spend less.
I see that Labour have stopped talking about the debt crisis and now they talk about the cost of living crisis.
As if one wasn't directly related to the other.
If you want to know what happens if you don't deal with a debt crisis..
...and how it affects the cost of living...
...just go and ask the Greeks.
So finishing the job means sticking to our course until we've paid off all of Labour's deficit, not just some of it.
And yes - let's run a surplus so that this time we fix the roof when the sun is shining...
...as George said in that brilliant speech on Monday.
To abandon deficit reduction now would throw away all the progress we've made.
It would put us back to square one.
Unbelievably, that's exactly what Labour now want to do.
How did they get us into this mess?
Too much spending, too much borrowing, too much debt.
And what did they propose last week?
More spending, more borrowing, more debt.
They have learned nothing - literally nothing - from the crisis they created.
But finishing the job is about more than clearing up the mess we were left.
It means building something better in its place.
In place of the casino economy, one where people who work hard can actually get on.
In place of the welfare society, one where no individual is written off.
In place of the broken education system, one that gives every child the chance to rise up and succeed.
Our economy, our society, welfare, schools.
...all reformed, all rebuilt - with one aim, one mission in mind:
To make this country, at long last and for the first time ever, a land of opportunity for all.
So it makes no difference whether you live in the North or in the South, whether you're black or you're white, a man or a woman, the school you went to, the background you have, who your parents were.
...what matters is the effort you put in, and if you put the effort in you'll have the chance to make it.
That's what the land of opportunity means.
That's what finishing the job means.
Of course I know that others in politics may talk about these things.
But wishing for something, caring about something - that's not enough.
You can't conjure up a dynamic economy, a strong society, fantastic schools all with the stroke of a minister's pen.
It takes a mixture of hard work, common sense and - above all - the right values.
When the left say: you can't expect too much from the poorest kids; don't ask too much from people on welfare; business is the problem, not the solution.
Here in this party we say: that's just wrong.
If you expect nothing of people that does nothing for them.
Yes, you must help people - but you help people by putting up ladders that they can climb through their own efforts.
You don't help children succeed by dumbing down education.
...you help them by pushing them hard.
Good education is not about equality of outcomes but bringing the best out of every single child.
You don't help people by leaving them stuck on welfare.
...but by helping them stand on their own two feet.
Why? Because the best way out of poverty is work - and the dignity that brings
We know that profit, wealth creation, tax cuts, enterprise...
...these are not dirty, elitist words - they're not the problem...
...they really are the solution because it's not government that creates jobs, it's businesses.
it's businesses that get wages in people's pockets, food on their tables, hope for their families and success for our country.
There is no shortcut to a land of opportunity. No quick fix. No easy way to do it.
You build it business by business, school by school, person by person.
...patiently, practically, painstakingly.
And underpinning it all is that deep, instinctive belief that if you trust people and give them the tools, they will succeed.
This party at its heart is about big people, strong communities, responsible businesses, a bigger society - not a bigger state.
It's how we've been clearing up the mess.
And it's how we're going to build something better in its place.
So let's stick with it and finish the job we've started.
A land of opportunity starts in our economy.
The chance to get a decent job. To start a business. To own a home.
And at the end of it all - more money in your pocket.
To get decent jobs for people, you've got to recognise some fundamental economic facts.
We are in a global race today. No one owes us a living.
Last week, our ambition to compete in the global race was airily dismissed as a race to the bottom...
...that it means competing with China on sweatshops and India on low wages.
No - those countries are becoming our customers.
and we've got to compete with California on innovation; Germany on high-end manufacturing; Asia on finance and technology.
And here's something else you need to recognise about this race.
The plain fact is this.
All those global companies that employ lots of people - they can set up anywhere in the world.
They could go to Silicon Valley. To Berlin.
And yes, here in Manchester.
And these companies base their decisions on some simple things: like the tax rates in each country.
So if those taxes are higher here than elsewhere, they don't come here.
And if they don't come here, we don't get those jobs.
Do you get that, Labour?
British people don't get those jobs.
Last week Labour proposed to put up corporation tax on our biggest and most successful employers.
That is just about the most damaging, nonsensical, twisted economic policy you could possibly come up with.
I get to visit some amazing factories in my job.
One of my favourites is Jaguar Land Rover...
...not just because they actually let me get in a car and drive it around on my own...
...but really because I get to meet people there who are incredibly proud of their work and their craftsmanship...
...the fact that what they're making sells around the world - the best of British design and engineering.
So when Ed Miliband talks about the face of big business, I think about the faces of these hardworking people.
Labour is saying to their employers: "we want to put up your taxes. don't come here - stick your jobs and take them elsewhere".
I know that bashing business might play to a Labour audience.
But it's crazy for our country.
So if Labour's plan for jobs is to attack business - ours is to back business.
Regulation - down. Taxes - cut for businesses large and small. A new industrial policy that looks to the future - green jobs, aerospace jobs, life science jobs.
We've made a good start: 1.4 million new jobs created in our private sector since we came to office...
...and that is 1.4 million reasons to finish the job we've started.
In a land of opportunity, it's easier to start your own business.
To all those people who strike out on their own, who sit there night after night...
...checking and double checking whether the numbers stack up...
...I say I have so much respect for you - you are national heroes.
I'll never forget watching Samantha do just that - winning her first customer, sorting out the cash flow, that magic moment when she got her first business cards printed.
I was incredibly proud of her then - and I am incredibly proud of her now.
People setting up new businesses need finance - that's why we've brought in Start-up Loans.
They need their taxes cut - and we're doing it - up to £2000 off your National Insurance bill for every small business
And it's working.
Let me tell you how many businesses have started up in Britain since the election: over 300,000.
That is 300,000 more reasons to finish the job we've started.
In a land of opportunity, more people must be able to own a home of their own.
You know that old saying, your home is your castle?
Well for most young people today, their home is their landlord's.
Generation Y is starting to become Generation Why Do We Bother?
Millions of them stuck renting when they're desperate to buy.
I met a couple on Sunday - Emily and James.
They'd both had decent jobs, but because they didn't have rich parents, they couldn't get a big enough deposit to buy a house.
And let me tell you where I met them.
In their new home, bought with our Help to Buy mortgage scheme.
It was still half built. but they showed me where the kitchen would be.
Outside there was rubble all over the ground, but they'd already bought a lawn-mower.
And they talked about how excited they were to be spending a first Christmas in a home of their own.
That is what we're about.
And this, the party of aspiration is going to finish the job we've started.
In a land of opportunity there's another thing people need.
the most important thing of all.
more money in their pockets.
These have been difficult years.
People have found it hard to make ends meet.
That's why we've frozen council tax.
and why we are freezing fuel duty.
But we need to do more. I know that.
We've heard Labour's ideas to help with the cost of living.
Taxes on banks they want to spend ten times over.
Promising free childcare - then saying that actually, you've got to pay for it.
An energy promise they admitted 24 hours later they might not be able to keep.
It's all sticking plasters and quick fixes... cobbled together for the TV cameras.
Red Ed and his Blue Peter economy.
To raise living standards in the long-term, you need to do some major things:...
...you need to cut the deficit to keep mortgage rates low...
...you need to grow your economy, get people jobs...
...and yes - cut people's taxes.
I want people to keep more of their money.
We've already cut the taxes of 25 million hardworking people...
...and yes - that is 25 million more reasons to finish the job we've started.
We're Tories. We believe in low taxes. And believe me - we will keep on cutting the taxes of hardworking people.
And here in Manchester let me say this: when I say a land of opportunity for all I mean everyone - North and South.
This country has been too London-centric for far too long.
That's why we need a new North-South railway line.
The fact is this.
The West Coast mainline is almost full.
We have to build a new railway.
and the choice is between another old-style Victorian one - or a high speed one.
Just imagine if someone had said, no, we can't build the M1, or the Severn Bridge, imagine how that would be hobbling our economy today.
HS2 is about bringing North and South together in our national endeavour.
Because think of what more we could do with the pistons firing in all parts of our country.
With its wind and wave power, let's make the Humber the centre of clean energy.
With its resources under the ground, let's make Blackpool the centre of Europe for the shale gas industry.
With its brains and research centres, let's make Manchester the world leader in advanced materials.
We're building an economy for the North and South, embracing new technologies, producing things and selling them to the world.
So make no mistake who's looking forward in British politics...
...we'll leave the 1970s-style socialism to others...
...we are the party of the future.
We're making progress.
You know how I know that?
It's every week, at Prime Minister's Questions.
There was a time when I'd look across to Ed Balls, and there he was, shouting his head off, and doing this with his hands - screaming out the economy was flat-lining.
...and all with such glee.
But recently, it's gone a bit quiet.
Could it be because there was no double dip and the economy's now growing?
Well, I've got a gesture of my own for Ed Balls.
...and don't worry - it's not a rude one...
.jobs are up.
.construction is up.
...manufacturing is up...
.consumer confidence - all these things are up.
And to anyone who wants to talk our economy down, let me tell you this.
Since this conference began, over 100,000 jet planes have soared into the sky on wings made in Britain.
Every single day in this country, over 4,000 cars are coming off the production line - ready to be exported around the globe.
Last year, Britain overtook France as Germany's top trading partner...
...not bad for a nation of shop-keepers.
And that's the point.
Exports to China are up.
Exports to Brazil are up.
.exports to India, Russia, Thailand, South Korea, Australia - all up.
So let us never forget the cast-iron law of British politics...
Yes - the oceans can rise.
.and empires can fall.
.but one thing will never, ever change.
.it's Labour who wreck our economy and it's we Conservatives who clear it up.
A land of opportunity means educating our children - and I mean all our children.
It's OK for the children who have parents reading them stories every night - and that's great.
.but what about the ones at the back of the class, in the chaotic home, in the home of the drug addict or alcoholic?
We need these children - and frankly they need us.
That's why three and a half years ago, one man came into the Department of Education.
...Michael Gove, there he is...
...with a belief in excellence and massive energy...
...like a cross between Mr Chips and the Duracell bunny.
Let's look at the results.
More students studying proper science.
More children learning a foreign language.
We've ended the dumbing down in exams.
For the first time - children in our schools will learn the new language of computer coding.
And we're sending a clear message to children: if you fail English and maths GCSE, you're going to have to take and re-take them again until you pass.
Because as I tell my own children - there's not a job in the world where you don't need to spell and add up properly.
But ultimately - really raising standards means innovation, choice.
.it means giving passionate people the freedom to run our schools.
That's what Free Schools are all about.
I'll never forget sitting in the classroom at Perry Beeches III in Birmingham, on the first day of term this year.
I met a mum there who said to me - this is what I've dreamed of for my child...
...proper uniforms, high standards...
...this is going to give my child a good start in life.
When Michael Howard asked me what job I wanted in the Shadow cabinet I said education...
...because this is the kind of thing I came into politics to bring about.
You want to know something totally extraordinary about free schools?
Labour's official policy is to be against them...
...but - get this - Labour MPs are backing them in their local area.
And not just any Labour MPs.
I promise I'm not making this up..
...the Shadow Education Secretary - Stephen Twigg - has backed one in his own city.
And isn't that always the way with the Left?
They don't like privilege - unless of course it's for their own children.
Well we in this Party are ambitious for all our children...
...and we've got to finish the job we started.
We've already got technical colleges run by great companies like JCB...
...I say: let's have one of those colleges in every single major town.
We've had a million apprenticeships start with this Government...
...now we want a new expectation: as you leave school you have a choice - go to university or do an apprenticeship.
And while we've still got children leaving primary school not reading, writing and adding up properly...
...let us set this ambition for our country: let's eliminate illiteracy and give every one of those children a chance.
And friends as we do all this, we're remembering the most vulnerable children of all.
There are thousands of children every year who grow up in homes where nappies - and bedclothes - go unchanged...
...and where their cries of pain go unheard.
These children just need the most basic opportunity of all: a loving family.
Two years ago I told you about our determination to speed up adoption...
...and this past year, we saw record numbers finding permanent, loving homes.
4000 children adopted...
...that is 4000 more reasons to finish the job we've started.
And as we keep on with this, we remember who is on the front line.
I have to make some tough decisions in my job...
...but none as tough as whether to break up a family and rescue a child... or try and stitch that family back together.
Social work is a noble and vital calling.
I'll never forget how after my son Ivan was born, a social worker sat patiently in our kitchen and told us about the sort of help we might need.
This Government has helped get some of the brightest graduates into teaching...
...and we have pledged to do the same for social work...
...now let us, in this hall, hear it for Britain's social workers who are doing such an important job in our country today.
The land of opportunity needs one final thing: welfare that works.
We know how badly things went wrong.
Our fellow citizens working every hour of every day to put food on the table ask this: why should my taxes go to people who could work but don't?
Or to those who live in homes that hardworking people could never afford?
Or to people who have no right to be here in the first place?
I say this to the British people: you have every right to be angry about a system that is unfair and unjust - and that's why we are sorting it out.
We've capped welfare. We've capped housing benefit. We've insisted on new rules so that if you reject work, you lose benefits.
And let's be absolutely clear.
As Boris said in that great speech yesterday, the problems in our welfare system and the problems in our immigration system are inextricably linked.
If we don't get our people back to work - we shouldn't be surprised if millions want to come here to work.
But we must act on immigration directly too - and we are.
Capping immigration. Clamping down on the bogus colleges.
And when the Immigration Bill comes before Parliament, we will make sure some simple and fair things, that should have always been the case, are now set in stone.
If you are not entitled to our free National Health Service, you should pay for it.
If you have no right to be here, you cannot rent a flat or a house. Not off the council, not off anyone else.
When you are a foreign prisoner fighting deportation, you should pay your own legal bills.
If you appeal - you must do it from your own country, after you've been deported, not from here.
And on these huge, national problems we are making progress.
Immigration has come down.
On welfare: not only are there more people in work than ever before.
.the number of households where no one works is at its lowest rate since records began.
.and I want to thank the most determined champion for social justice this Party has ever had: Iain Duncan Smith.
Iain understands that this isn't about fixing systems, it's about saving lives.
.and that's why we've got to finish the job we've started.
There are still over a million young people not in education, employment, or training.
Today it is still possible to leave school, sign on, find a flat, start claiming housing benefit and opt for a life on benefits.
It's time for bold action here.
We should ask, as we write our next manifesto, if that option should really exist at all.
Instead we should give young people a clear, positive choice:
Go to school. Go to college. Do an apprenticeship. Get a job.
But just choose the dole? We've got to offer them something better than that.
And let no one paint ideas like this as callous.
Think about it: with your children, would you dream of just leaving them to their own devices, not getting a job, not training, nothing?
No - you'd nag and push and guide and do anything to get them on their way. and so must we.
So this is what we want to see: everyone under 25 - earning or learning.
And you know - on this, as on everything else, Labour will fight us...
.but remember: we are giving people real opportunities.
I've had people say to me "I'm back on my feet"... "I feel worthwhile."
One wrote to me saying: now I can tell my son his Dad really does something.
This is what our Party is all about.
We don't patronise people, put a benefit cheque in their hand and pat them on the head.
We look people in the eye as equals and say: yes, you've been down - but you're not out.
.you can do it, you have it in you, we will give you that chance.
And that's why we can say today that it's this Party that is fighting for all those who were written off by Labour...
.it's this Party that's for the many not the few.
.Yes - the land of despair was Labour...
.but the land of hope is Tory.
We have done some big things to transform Britain.
But we need to finish the job we've started.
We need to go further, do more for hardworking people...
...give more children a chance, back more businesses, help create more jobs.
And I'm clear about how that job will best get done.
It requires a strong Government, with a clear mandate, that is accountable for what it promises and yes, what it delivers.
And let me tell everyone here what that means.
When the election comes, we won't be campaigning for a coalition...
...we will be fighting heart and soul for a majority Conservative Government - because that is what our country needs.
You don't do this job to be popular.
You do it because you love your country.
I do the best I can. And for me, it comes back to some simple things.
Country first. Do what's decent. Think long-term.
There's an old story that's told about a great hall in Oxford, near my constituency.
For hundreds of years it's stood there - held up with vast oak beams.
In the 19th century, those beams needed replacing.
And you know what they found?
500 years before, someone had thought. those beams will need replacing one day.
.so they planted some oak trees.
Just think about that.
Centuries had passed. Columbus had reached America. Gravity had been discovered.
.and when those oaks were needed, they were ready.
Margaret Thatcher once said: "We are in the business of planting trees for our children and grandchildren or we have no business being in politics at all."
That is what we are doing today.
Not just making do and mending.
.but making something better.
Since I got to my feet, almost a hundred children have been born across this country.
Children of wealth - and children of none.
Children of parents in work - and children of parents out of work.
For every single one of those new-born babies let us pledge today that we will build something better.
.a land of opportunity.
A country built on that enduring principle, seared in our hearts, that if you work hard, save, play by the rules and do your fair share - then nothing should stand in your way.
A new economy.
A new welfare system.
A new set of values in our schools.
Not just fixing the mess we inherited - but building something better.
We've got a year and a half 'til that election...
.a year and a half until Britain makes a choice: move forward to something better or go back to something worse.
.but I believe that if this party fights with all we have, then this country will make the right choice.
Because we always have before.
Whenever we've had the choice of giving in to some shabby compromise or pushing forward to something better we've said: this is Great Britain.
.the improbable hero of history.
.the country that doesn't give in, that doesn't give up.
.that knows there's no such thing as destiny - only our determination to succeed.
So I look to our future and I'm confident.
There are battles to fight but beyond this hall are the millions of hardworking people who renew the great in Great Britain every day.
In the way they work and the way they give and raise their families.
These are the people we have alongside us.
...together we've made it this far...
...together we'll finish the job we've started...
...together we'll build that land of opportunity.
Leader's speech, Birmingham 2012
David Cameron (Conservative)
In May 2010, this party stood on the threshold of power for the first time in more than a decade. We knew then that it was not just the ordinary duties of office that we were assuming. We were entering into Government at a grave moment in the modern history of Britain.
At a time when people felt uncertainty, even fear. Here was the challenge: To make an insolvent nation solvent again. To set our country back on the path to prosperity that all can share in. To bring home our troops from danger while keeping our citizens safe from terror. To mend a broken society.
Two and a half years later of course I can't tell you that all is well, but I can say this: Britain is on the right track.
As Prime Minister it has fallen to me to say some hard things and to help our country face some hard truths. All of my adult life, whatever the difficulties, the British people have at least been confident about one thing. We have thought we can pay our way.
That we can earn our living as a major industrial country...
…and we will always remain one.
It has fallen to us to say - we cannot assume that any longer.
Unless we act, unless we take difficult, painful decisions, unless we show determination and imagination, Britain may not be in the future what it has been in the past.
Because the truth is this. We are in a global race today. And that means an hour of reckoning for countries like ours. Sink or swim. Do or decline.
To take office at such a moment is a duty and an honour…
…and we will rise to the challenge.
Today I’m going to set out a serious argument to this country about how we do that. How we compete and thrive in this world…
…how we can make sure in this century, like the ones before, Britain is on the rise.
Nothing matters more.
Every battle we fight, every plan we make, every decision we take is to achieve that end…
…Britain on the rise.
BRITAIN CAN DELIVER
Though the challenge before us is daunting, I have confidence in our country. Why? Because Britain can deliver. We can do big things.
We saw it this summer. The Jubilee, the Olympics, the Paralympics…
…the best country in the world…
…and let’s say it: with our Queen, the finest Head of State on earth.
I was trying to think of my favourite moment. Was it telling President Hollande that no, we hadn’t cheated at the cycling, we didn’t have rounder wheels, it was just that we peddled faster than the French?
No… for me it was seeing that young woman who swam her heart out for years…
…nine training sessions a week, two hours a time.
My best moment was putting that gold medal around the neck of Ellie Simmonds. And I am so grateful for what all those Paralympians did.
When I used to push my son Ivan around in his wheelchair, I always thought that some people saw the wheelchair, not the boy.
Today more people would see the boy and not the wheelchair – and that’s because of what happened here this summer.
And the Olympics showed us something else. Whether our athletes were English, Scottish, Welsh or from Northern Ireland …they draped themselves in one flag.
Now, there’s one person who didn’t like that …and he’s called Alex Salmond.
I’m going to see him on Monday to sort that referendum on independence by the end of 2014. There are many things I want this coalition to achieve but what could matter more than saving our United Kingdom …let’s say it: we’re better together and we’ll rise together – so let’s fight that referendum with everything we’ve got.
There are so many people to thank for this summer. Those that won the bid, those that built the stadia, that ran the Games …and of course: the man who put a smile on our faces…
…the zinger on the zip-wire…
…the Conservative Mayor of London: our Boris Johnson.
And those Games-Makers. You know, I’ve spent three years trying to explain the Big Society …they did it beautifully in just three weeks.
There is another group of people who stepped into the breach this summer – and we in this party never forget them. Our armed forces have been on the ground in Afghanistan for over ten years now. 433 men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice. Just last weekend there was a memorial service for one of the fallen, and the eulogy said this:
“All that they had they gave. All that they might have had. All that they had ever been. All that they might ever have become.”
For all those who serve, and their families, I repeat the commitment I made when this Government came to office. By the end of 2014, all UK combat operations in Afghanistan will have come to an end. Nearly all our troops will be home – their country proud, their duty done …and let everyone in this hall stand and show how profoundly grateful we are for everything they do.
CONSERVATIVES CAN DELIVER
To meet the challenges our country faces, we must have confidence in ourselves… confidence as a party. We’ve been in office two and a half years now – and we’ve done some big, life-changing things.
Just ask Clive Stone, who you saw in a film earlier. I met him years ago, when we were in Opposition. He had cancer and he said to me: the drug I need – it’s out there but they won’t give it to me because it’s too expensive …please, if you get in, do something about it.
And we have. A new cancer drugs fund that has got the latest drugs to more than 21,000 people and counting. There was a reason we could do that. It’s because we made a big decision to protect the NHS from spending cuts.
No other party made that commitment.
Not Labour. Not the Liberal Democrats. Just us – the Conservatives.
To all those people who said we’d bring the NHS down ... I say …well, yes, you’ve got a point.
I’ll tell you what is down.
Waiting lists – down. Mixed wards – down. The number of managers – down. Bureaucratic targets – down. Hospital infections – down.
And what’s up? The number of doctors, the number of dentists, the number of midwives, the number of operations carried out in our NHS.
So be in no doubt: this is the party of the NHS and that’s the way it’s going to stay.
We made a big decision to go on saving lives abroad too. I know some are sceptical about our aid budget. But picture the scene – you’re in a health centre in Kinshasa. See the child with a needle in her arm, being injected with a Yellow Fever vaccine …the difference between living and dying…
…how can anyone tell me that’s a waste of money.
Since we gathered here in Birmingham on Sunday, British aid money has vaccinated 130 thousand children around the world. One hundred and thirty thousand children.
You, the Conservative party helped do that, and you should be proud of what you’ve done.
Here’s something else this party’s done in government. Last December I was at a European Council in Brussels. It was three in the morning, there was a treaty on the table that was not in Britain’s interests…
…and twenty five people around that table were telling me to sign it.
But I did something that no other British leader has ever done before …I said no – Britain comes first – and I vetoed that EU treaty.
We’re doing big, Conservative things.
For years people said you’ll never reform public sector pensions, the trade unions won’t stand for it. Well, we’ve done it, and it’s going to cut the cost to the taxpayer almost in half.
For years people said benefits are out of control and there’s nothing you can do about it. Well, because of our welfare cap, no family will be getting more in benefits than the average family earns.
For years people asked why we couldn’t get rid of those radical preachers who spout hatred about Britain while living off the taxpayer…
…well, Theresa May – a great Home Secretary - has done it – and she’s got Abu Hamza on that plane and out of our country to face justice.
Be proud of what we’ve done already. Two million of the lowest-paid workers being taken out of income tax altogether. Over eighteen million households helped with a freeze in their council tax – and we’re freezing it all over again next year too.
BRITAIN ON THE RISE
Big, Conservative things - delivered by this government; made possible by this party. We can deliver. We can do big things.
The Olympics reminded us how great it feels to be successful. But we mustn’t let that warm glow give us a false sense of security. All around the world, countries are on the rise.
Yes, we’ve been hearing about China and India for years …but it’s hard to believe what’s happening in Brazil, in Indonesia, in Nigeria too.
Meanwhile, the old powers are on the slide. What do the countries on the rise have in common?
They are lean, fit, obsessed with enterprise, spending money on the future – on education, incredible infrastructure and technology.
And what do the countries on the slide have in common?
They’re fat, sclerotic, over-regulated, spending money on unaffordable welfare systems, huge pension bills, unreformed public services.
I sit in those European Council meetings where we talk endlessly about Greece…
…while on the other side of the world, China is moving so fast it’s creating a new economy the size of Greece every three months.
I am not going to stand here as Prime Minister and allow this country to join the slide. My job – our job - is to make sure that in this twenty first century, as in the centuries that came before, our country, Britain, is on the rise. And we here know how that is done.
It is the collective result of individual effort and aspiration…
… the ideas you have, the businesses you start, the hours you put in.
Aspiration is the engine of progress. Countries rise when they allow their people to rise. In this world where brains matter more, where technologies shape our lives, where no-one is owed a living …the most powerful natural resource we have is our people.
Not just the scientists, the entrepreneurs, the engineers ... not just the teachers, the parents, the nurses … but all our people: including the poorest, those who’ve never had a job, never had a chance, never had hope.
That’s why the mission for this government is to build an aspiration nation … to unleash and unlock the promise in all our people.
And for us Conservatives, this is not just an economic mission – it’s also a moral one. It’s not just about growth and GDP…
…it’s what’s always made our hearts beat faster – aspiration; people rising from the bottom to the top.
Line one, rule one of being a Conservative is that it’s not where you’ve come from that counts, it’s where you’re going.
We’ve been led by the daughter of a grocer, the son of a music hall performer ... by a Jew when Jews were marginalised, by a woman when women were sidelined. We don’t look at the label on the tin; we look at what’s in it.
Let me put that another way. We don’t preach about one nation but practise class war …we just get behind people who want to get on in life.
The doers. The risk takers. The young people who dream of their first pay-cheque, their first car, their first home – and are ready and willing to work hard to get those things.
While the intellectuals of other parties sneer at people who want to get on in life, we here salute you.
They call us the party of the better-off … no: we are the party of the want to be better-off, those who strive to make a better life for themselves and their families – and we should never, ever be ashamed of saying so.
THE RIGHT IDEAS
This party has a heart but we don’t like wearing it on our sleeve. Conservatives think: let’s just get on with the job and help people and not bang on about it. It’s not our style. But there’s a problem with that.
It leaves a space for others to twist our ideas and distort who we are: the cartoon Conservatives who don’t care. My mission from the day I became leader was to change that. Yes, to show the Conservative party is for everyone: North or South, black or white, straight or gay.
But above all - to show that Conservative methods are not just the way we grow a strong economy, but the way we build a big society.
That Conservative methods are not just good for the strong and the successful but the best way to help the poor, and the weak, and the vulnerable.
Because it’s not enough to know our ideas are right – we’ve got to explain why they are compassionate too. Because we know what we’re up against.
We say we’ve got to get the private sector bigger and the public sector smaller…our opponents call it ‘Tory cuts, slashing the state’. No: it’s the best way to create the sustainable jobs people need.
We say help people become independent from welfare…our opponents call it: ‘cruel Tories, leaving people to fend for themselves.’
No: there is only one real route out of poverty and it is work.
We say we’ve got to insist on a disciplined, rigorous education for our children … our opponents call it: ‘elitist Tories, old-fashioned and out of touch.’
No: a decent education is the only way to give all our children a proper start in this world.
The reason we want to reform schools, to cut welfare dependency, to reduce government spending is not because we’re the same old Tories who want to help the rich... it’s because we’re the Tories whose ideas help everyone - the poorest the most.
A strong private sector. Welfare that works. Schools that teach. These three things are essential to helping our people rise They are essential to our success in this world.
And you know what – Labour will fight them all the way. So these things are not just the battle-ground for Britain’s future … they are also the battle-lines for the next election – and it is a fight we’ve got to win, for our party and our country.
To help our people rise, then – number one – we need an economy that creates good jobs. We need businesses, of every size, in every type of industry, in every part of the country – investing and taking people on.
There are some basic things they need to do that. Low interest rates so they can afford to take out a loan.
And confidence that it’s worth investing - because the customers will be there, whether at home or abroad. Getting the deficit down is essential for both.
That’s why our deficit reduction plan is not an alternative to a growth plan: it’s the very foundation of our growth plan. It’s the only way we’ll get Britain on the rise.
Now I know you are asking whether the plan is working. And here’s the truth: the damage was worse than we thought, and it's taking longer than we hoped.
The world economy – especially in the Eurozone – has been much weaker than expected in the past two years. When some of our big trading partners like Ireland, Spain and Italy are suffering, they buy less from us. That hurts our growth and makes it harder to pay off our debts.
But here is the crucial thing you need to know.
Yes it’s worse than we thought, yes it’s taking longer, but we are making progress. Thanks to the grit and resolve of George Osborne, we have cut a quarter off the deficit in the past two years. 25 per cent. That’s helped to keep interest rates at record low levels...
...keeping mortgages low. Leaving more money in your pockets. Giving businesses more confidence to invest. Creating more jobs.
And if you don’t believe me, just look at the job creation figures. Since this government took office, over one million new jobs have been created in the private sector. That is more – net – in the last two years than Labour managed in ten years.
Now, the Labour politicians who got us into the mess say they have a different way out of it. They call it Plan B and it goes like this: We should stop worrying about deficit reduction, borrow more money and spend it to boost the economy.
It sounds so reasonable when you put it like that. Let me tell you why it’s not.
Right now, while we’ve got a deficit, the people we’re borrowing money from believe that we’ll pay it back - because we’ve set out a tough plan to cut spending and live within our means.
That’s why our interest rates are among the lowest in the world, even though the deficit left to us by Labour was one of the highest in the world.
If we did what Labour want, and watered down our plans, the risk is that the people we borrow money from would start to question our ability and resolve to pay off our debts.
Some may actually refuse to lend us that money. Others would only lend it to us at higher interest rates.
That would hurt the economy and hit people hard.
If you have a mortgage of £100,000, just a 1 per cent interest rate rise would mean an extra thousand pounds to pay each year. Labour’s plan to borrow more is actually a massive gamble with our economy and our future. And it would squander the sacrifices we’ve already made.
We’re here because they spent too much and borrowed too much. How can the answer be more spending and more borrowing? I honestly think Labour haven’t learned a single thing.
When they were in office, their answer was always: Borrow more money.
Now they’re out of office it’s: Borrow more money.
Whatever the day, whatever the question, whatever the weather it’s: borrow more money.
Borrow, borrow, borrow.
Labour: the party of one notion: more borrowing. I sometimes wonder if they know anything about the real economy at all.
Did you hear what Ed Miliband said last week about taxes? He described a tax cut as the government writing people a cheque.
Ed... Let me explain to you how it works. When people earn money, it’s their money. Not the government’s money: their money.
Then, the government takes some of it away in tax. So, if we cut taxes, we’re not giving them money - we’re taking less of it away. OK?
And while we’re on that - who suffers when the wealthy businessman goes off to live in Geneva? Not him – he’s paying about half the tax he would do here … it’s those who want to work who suffer because the jobs aren’t being created here.
We promised that those with the broadest shoulders would bear the biggest burden … and with us, the rich will pay a greater share of tax in every year of this Parliament than in any one of the thirteen years under Labour.
We haven’t forgotten, you know. We remember who spent our golden legacy, who sold our gold …who busted our banks, who smothered our businesses … who wracked up our debts, who wrecked our economy …who ruined our reputation, who risked our future …who did this? – Labour did this – and this country should never forget it.
To get Britain on the rise we need a whole new economy …more enterprising, more aspirational …and it’s taking shape already.
We’re getting our entrepreneurial streak back: last year the rate of new business creation was faster than any other year in our history.
Let me repeat that.
The rate at which new businesses started – faster than any year on record. We’re making things again. We had a trade surplus in cars last year for the first time in almost 40 years.
And it’s not just the old industries growing, it’s the new. We’re number one in the world for offshore wind. Number one in the world for tidal power. The world’s first green investment bank.
Britain leading; Britain on the rise. We’re showing we can do it. Look at the new investment coming in.
In the last two years, Google, Intel, Cisco – the big tech firms – they’ve all set up new bases here. And we are selling to the world again.
When I became Prime Minister I said to the Foreign Office: those embassies you’ve got …turn them into showrooms for our cars, department stores for our fashion, technology hubs for British start-ups.
Yes, you’re diplomats but you need to be our country’s salesforce too. And look what’s happening. In just two years, our exports to Brazil are up 25 per cent … to China – 40 per cent … to Russia – 80 per cent.
There are so many opportunities in this world. I want to tell you about one business that’s seizing them. It’s run by a guy called Alastair Lukies.
He and his business partner saw a world with almost 6 billion mobile phones and just 2 billion bank accounts. They saw the huge gap in the market– and they started a mobile banking firm … helping people in the poorest parts of the world manage their money and start new companies.
He’s been with me on trade missions all over the world – and his business is booming. Back in 2010, when we came to office, they employed about 100 people – now it’s more than 700.
Then they were nowhere in Africa, nowhere in Asia, now they are the global player, with one million new users every month. So don’t let anyone tell you Britain can’t make it in this world – we’re the most enterprising, buccaneering, creative, dynamic nation on earth.
And to those who question whether it’s right to load up a plane with businesspeople – whether we’re flying to Africa, Indonesia, to the Gulf or China …whether we’re taking people from energy, finance, technology or yes – defence … I say – there is a global battle out there to win jobs, orders, contracts … and in that battle I believe in leading from the front.
To get our economy on the rise there’s a lot more to do – and frankly a lot more fights to be had. Because there are too many of what I’d call the “yes-but-no” people. The ones who say “yes, our businesses need to expand …but no we can’t reform planning.”
It’s simple. For a business to expand, it needs places to build. If it takes too long, they’ll just build elsewhere.
I visited a business the other day that wanted to open a big factory just outside Liverpool. But the council was going to take so long to approve the decision that they’re now building that factory on the continent – and taking hundreds of jobs with them.
If we’re going to be a winner in this global race we’ve got to beat off this suffocating bureaucracy once and for all. And then there are those who say “yes of course we need more housing” … but “no” to every development – and not in my backyard.
Look - it's OK for my generation. Many of us have got on the ladder. But you know the average age that someone buys their first home today, without any help for their parents? 33 years old.
We are the party of home ownership – we cannot let this carry on.
So yes – we’re doubling the discount for buying your council house …we’re helping first-time buyers get a 95 per cent mortgage …but there’s something else we need to do – and that’s accept we need to build more houses in Britain.
There are young people who work hard year after year but are still living at home. They sit in their childhood bedroom, looking out of the window dreaming of a place of their own.
I want us to say to them – you are our people, we are on your side, we will help you reach your dreams.
If we want our people to rise so Britain can rise, we must tackle welfare. Here’s two facts for you.
Fact one. We spend £90 billion a year on welfare for working-age people. Not pensions. Just welfare for working age people – and that’s one pound in every eight the government spends.
Fact two. More of our children live in households where nobody works than almost any other nation in Europe. Let me put it simply. Welfare isn’t working. And this is a tragedy.
Our reforms are just as profound as those of Beveridge 60 years ago. He had his great evils to slay. Squalor. Ignorance. Want. Idleness. And Disease.
Here are mine.
What are hard-working people who travel long distances to get into work and pay their taxes meant to think when they see families – individual families – getting 40, 50, 60 thousand pounds of housing benefit to live in homes that these hard working people could never afford themselves?
It is an outrage. And we are ending it by capping housing benefit.
The second evil: injustice.
Here’s the choice we give our young people today.
Choice one: Work hard. Go to college. Get a job. Live at home. Save up for a flat. And as I’ve just said, that can feel like forever.
Or: Don’t get a job. Sign on. Don’t even need to produce a CV when you do sign on. Get housing benefit. Get a flat. And then don’t ever get a job or you’ll lose a load of housing benefit.
We must be crazy.
So this is what we’ve done.
Now you have to have to sign a contract that says: you do your bit and we’ll do ours.
It requires you to have a real CV and it makes clear: you have to seek work and take work – or you will lose your benefit. And we’re going to look at ending automatic access to housing benefit for people under 25 too.
If hard-working young people have to live at home while they work and save, why should it be any different for those who don’t?
The next evil: bureaucracy.
Sign on. Sign here. Come back in a fortnight. Repeat as required.
What does this do for the guy who’s been out of work for years, playing computer games all day, living out a fantasy because he hates real life?
For people like him we’re doing something new. The Work Programme takes the money we’re going to save from getting people off the dole …and uses it today to get them into work, with proper training.
We’re spending up to £14,000 on one individual to get them into work – and already almost 700,000 people have got onto the Work Programme.
So let’s be clear: in British politics today it is this party saying no-one is a write-off, no-one is hopeless …and with Iain Duncan Smith leading this revolution let this be the party that shows there is ability and promise in everyone.
And just one more thing on welfare.
You know our work experience programme, where we give young people the chance to work in a supermarket, a shop, an office?
Here’s what one union official said about it. I quote: “The scheme belongs back in the nineteenth century, along with Oliver Twist and the workhouse. It is nothing short of state sponsored slavery…”
Honestly. What an appalling, snobbish attitude to the idea of work. We’re not sending children up chimneys, we’re giving them a chance. What’s cruel isn’t asking something of people – it’s when we ask nothing of them. Work isn’t slavery, it’s poverty that is slavery…
…and again it’s us, the modern compassionate Conservative party, who are the real champions of fighting poverty in Britain today.
To help people to rise, to help Britain rise, there’s a third – crucial – thing we must do. Educate all our children.
And I mean really educate them, not just pump up the grades each year. In maths, in science, in reading, we’ve fallen behind …not just behind Germany and Canada but Estonia and Australia too.
This is Britain’s real school report and the verdict is clear: must try harder. You’ve heard of pushy parents, sharp-elbowing their way to a better education for their kids?
Well – this is a pushy government.
My approach is very simple. I’ve got two children in primary school, and I want for your children what I want for mine. To go to schools where discipline is strict, expectations are high and no excuses are accepted for failure.
I don’t want great schools to just be the preserve of those that can pay the fees, or buy the nice house in the right catchment area …I want those schools to be open to every child – in every neighbourhood.
And the reason I know that every child can go to a school like that is because with this Government, more and more new ones are opening.
We’ve heard from some of them this week … not just the 79 new free schools – with over a hundred more to come…
…but from some of the more than 2000 academies we’ve helped create – state schools given all the freedoms, and carrying all the high expectations, of private schools.
Yes – that’s my plan – millions of children sent to independent schools …independent schools, in the state sector.
That’s the genuine revolution that’s now underway.
The Harris Academy in Peckham has increased the number of students getting five good GCSEs – from 12 percent when it was under local authority control to almost 90 percent now.
The transformation has been astonishing – and the methods have been Conservative.
Smart uniforms, teachers in suits. Children taught physics, chemistry and biology not soft options. Children set by ability – with excellence applauded, extra resources for those most in need but no excuses for slacking.
When you see a school like that succeed it prompts the question: Why can’t every school be that way? Why can’t every child have those chances?
It’s not because parents aren’t ambitious enough – most of these schools are massively over-subscribed.
It’s because the old educational establishment – the left-wing local authorities, the leaders of the teachers unions, the Labour party theorists – stood in the way.
When we saw a badly failing school in Haringey and wanted to turn it into an Academy, the Labour authority, the Labour MP and the teaching unions said no.
When inspirational teachers and parents – in Hammersmith, in Norwich, in Bristol and in Wigan – wanted to open free schools, the left-wing establishment said no.
When we proposed: More pay for good teachers... Getting rid of bad teachers …Longer school days to help children learn… Flexible school hours to help parents work …More stretching exams for those who’re really able… Less nonsense about health and safety…the left-wing establishment have said just one thing: No.
When you ask them: why is a school failing? Why aren’t the children succeeding? You hear the same thing over and over again.
‘What can you expect with children like these?’ they say. ‘These children are disadvantaged.’
Of course we want to tackle every disadvantage. But isn’t the greatest disadvantage of all being written off by those so in hock to a culture of low expectations that they have forgotten what it’s like to be ambitious, to want to transcend your background, to overcome circumstance and succeed on your own terms?
It’s that toxic culture of low expectations – that lack of ambition for every child – which has held this country back.
Well, Michael Gove and I are not waiting for an outbreak of sanity in the headquarters of the NUT or an embrace of aspiration in the higher reaches of Labour before we act.
Because our children can’t wait.
So when people say we should slow down our education reforms – so adults can adjust to them, I say:
I want more free schools, more Academies, more rigorous exams in every school, more expected of every child.
And to all those people who say: he wants children to have the kind of education he had at his posh school …I say: yes – you’re absolutely right.
I went to a great school and I want every child to have a great education.
I’m not here to defend privilege, I’m here to spread it.
I don’t have a hard luck story. My dad was a stockbroker from Berkshire.
It’s only when your dad’s gone that you realise – not just how much you really miss them – but how much you really owe them.
My dad influenced me much more than I ever thought. He was born with no heels on his feet and legs about a foot shorter than they’re meant to be. But he never complained - even when he lost both those legs later in life.
Because disability in the 1930s was such a stigma, he was an only child. Probably a lonely child.
But Dad was the eternal optimist. To him the glass was always half full. Usually with something alcoholic in it.
When I was a boy I remember once going on a long walk with him in the village where we lived, passing the church he supported and the village hall where he took part in interminable parish council meetings.
He told me what he was most proud of. It was simple – working hard from the moment he left school and providing a good start in life for his family.
Not just all of us, but helping his mum too, when his father ran off. Not a hard luck story, but a hard work story.
Work hard. Family comes first. But put back in to the community too.
There is nothing complicated about me. I believe in working hard, caring for my family and serving my country. And there is nothing complicated about what we need today.
This is still the greatest country on earth. We showed that again this summer. 22nd in world population. 3rd in the medals table.
But it’s tough. These are difficult times. We’re being tested. How will we come through it? Again, it’s not complicated. Hard work. Strong families. Taking responsibility. Serving others.
As I said on the steps of No10 Downing Street before walking through that door: Those who can should, those who can’t we will always help.
The job of this party … of this government … is to help to bring out the best in this country. Because at our best we’re unbeatable.
We know Britain can deliver because we’ve seen it time and again.
This is the country that … invented the computer, defeated the Nazis, started the web, saw off the slave trade, unravelled DNA and fought off every invader for a thousand years.
We even persuaded the Queen to jump out of a helicopter to make the rest of the world smile …. there is absolutely nothing we cannot do.
Can we make Britain the best place in the world to start a business, grow a business and help that business take on the world and win? Yes.
Can we – the people who invented the welfare state in the first place – turn it into something that rewards effort, helps keep families together and really helps the poorest with a new start in life. Yes.
Can we take our schools and turn out students that will take on the brightest in the world? Yes. Of course we can.
Let us here in this hall, here in this government, together in this country make this pledge – let’s build an aspiration nation …let’s get Britain on the rise.
Deficit, paid down. Tough decisions, taJken. Growth, fired up. Aspiration, backed all the way.
We know what it takes to win … to win in the tough world of today … to win for all our people … to win for Britain.
So let’s get out there and do it.