Tory conference: Cameron's national pep talk

Media captionAn early draft of the speech, calling on the public to pay off their credit cards, was revised

When the news is bleak, when times are grim, what do we need from a leader? David Cameron's answer today was belief - in ourselves... in our country... in him.

Not long ago we thought this speech would be dominated by the riots, by Britain's long hot summer, but instead it was overshadowed by the economic storm still breaking around our heads.

The prime minister issued a warning more stark and more specific than any he has made to date.

The threat to the world economy and to Britain was as serious today as it was in 2008 when world recession loomed.

There was no new plan to tackle that threat. There was no call for families to pay off their own credit cards.

This morning's headlines and the reaction to them led to that part of the speech being re-written.

Growth would come, he said, by cutting business regulation here and in Brussels, by reforming welfare and by launching what he called a new Tory housing revolution.

This was less a conference speech and more a national pep talk - a call to reject pessimism and to embrace the British spirit.