David Cameron: We're building land of hope and opportunity


David Cameron mocks "Red Ed and Blue Peter polices"

David Cameron vowed to get behind business to create a "land of opportunity for all", in his big speech to close the Conservative conference.

His 50-minute address sought to set out dividing lines with "the 1970s-style socialism" he said Labour now offered.

He claimed the economy was "turning the corner" and the "land of hope is Tory", while "the land of despair was Labour".

Mr Cameron also hinted that benefits for under-25s could be cut in an effort to get more young people into work.

But Labour said the prime minister had failed to address the "cost-of-living crisis" and offered a land of opportunity "for just a privileged few".

'Nag and push'

During the 50-minute speech, Mr Cameron contrasted his own party's philosophy with that of the opposition, saying: "If Labour's plan for jobs is to attack business, ours is to back business."

He criticised Labour leader Ed Miliband, who promised in his end-of-conference address last week to freeze energy prices and increase corporate tax on big firms, telling Tory activists that "profits, tax cuts and enterprise... are not dirty, elitist words".

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What will stay in the memory from this conference is the Tories' laser-like focus on the threat from Ed Miliband which they once laughed off.”

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Mr Cameron argued that adding more state borrowing and spending to ease the "cost-of-living crisis" would risk putting the UK on the economic trajectory of Greece.

"It's all sticking plasters and quick fixes cobbled together for the TV cameras - Red Ed and his Blue Peter economy, " said the prime minister.

Earlier in the week, Chancellor George Osborne announced plans to make the long-term unemployed undertake work placements if they want to continue receiving benefits.

In his speech, Mr Cameron did not make any specific policy announcements, but suggested his party was looking at further changes to the welfare system to include in its manifesto for the 2015 general election.

It was wrong that young people could "choose the dole" and right to "offer them something better".

Mr Cameron added: "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."

'Stand tall'

Mr Cameron, who did not repeat previous no-notes speeches, often looked straight into the lens of the TV camera to address directly the audience outside the Manchester conference centre.

The BBC's chief political correspondent Norman Smith said it was a surprisingly sober speech in parts, with Mr Cameron stressing there was still much work to do to fix Britain's economy.

David Cameron says the HS2 rail line would be offered by the "party of the future"

It was not enough just to clean up Labour's "mess" and pay off the deficit, he wanted to "build something better in its place".

He added: "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."

Mr Cameron invoked the spirit of his predecessor Margaret Thatcher, the winner of three general elections, who died earlier this year, saying she had "made our country stand tall again, at home and abroad".

He also made efforts to distance his party, and himself, from the Liberal Democrats, with whom the Tories have ruled in coalition for more than three years.

He promised: "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...

"This party at its heart is about big people, strong communities, responsible businesses, a bigger society - not a bigger state."

'Strong message'

To cheers, Mr Cameron attacked the Lib Dems for "trying to take all the credit" for lowering the minimum earnings threshold at which people start paying income tax.

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Labour want the choice at the 2015 general election to be between which party can best help voters with the cost of living. Today the prime minister challenged that analysis”

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He joked: "Well, memo to the Lib Dems: you lecturing us on low taxes is like us lecturing you on pointless constitutional tinkering.

"We are Tories, we believe in low taxes and, believe me, we will keep on cutting the taxes of hard-working people in our country."

Mr Cameron received a standing ovation after the speech, his ninth to conference since becoming leader in 2005.

But, afterwards, Labour leader Ed Miliband said the prime minister had offered nothing to address "the cost-of-living crisis facing Britain's hard-working families".

The Lib Dems said they, not the Conservatives, had made a manifesto commitment in 2010 to raise the level at which people start paying tax to £10,000.

What impact will 'earn or learn' have?

And UKIP leader Nigel Farage said the pro-business message conflicted with the reality that membership of the EU was costing the UK "billions in red tape and direct payments from high taxes".

But there was a more favourable response from business groups, with CBI director-general John Cridland saying the prime minister had "sent out a strong message about how vital British business is to the future prosperity of people across the UK".

Simon Walker, director-general of the Institute of Directors also welcomed the speech, but warned that firms would "be looking for him to match the sentiment with action - if tax cuts aren't dirty, let's have a few more of them".


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  • rate this

    Comment number 109.

    "Anyone working hard in the Private sector will vote tory in the belief they will be better off financially."

    UTTER rubbish and deeply offensive - though doubtless the thicker Tories believe it.

    I pay top whack tax as a private sector techie and have done for most of the last quarter century.

    The idea that only public sector employees vote Labour shows how stupid the Stupid Party has got

  • rate this

    Comment number 108.

    If he was intent on making the UK the land of opportunity for ALL - he'd make sure that UK jobs were not exported abroad by UK companies but were kept in this country for UK workers and to bring down the tragedy of unemployment. He would also do something about forcing companies to repatriate jobs which have been outsourced overseas to assist unemployed UK workers to get jobs here

  • rate this

    Comment number 107.

    The irony of the Labour voters harping on about 'equality' and fair treatment for all. You say children are our future then you punish anyone who has done well in their life. You knew the benefits of getting a good education to get a successful career, don't complain when it didn't turn out well. Just get on with your life and stop expecting the gov to fuel your personal greed and bitterness.

  • rate this

    Comment number 106.

    Can we have the chance of a "Better Society" by calling an election.

    Ps. I wouldn't use the daily mail even in the smallest room in my house.

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    Liar Liar, the sooner Scotland kicks these people into touch the better.

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    A land of opportunity where David sells tickets in a lottery....Mmmmmm...Nice but old.David puts new spin on old dogma.

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    Is it just me or is anyone else having flash backs of Gordon Gecko's "Greed is good! " speech in Wall Street?

    Profits are only of use to communities if they are ploughed back into society, so if Cameron is serious... lets see just where these "profits" go, back to help those who need them most or into the off shore accounts of a few.

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    Pericles was a prominent Athenian politician in the 5th century BC. To stand in politics you had to be an Athenian citizen and he was once berated by a (non-citizen) who said "you couldn't have got where you are today if you hadn't been born an Athenian". To which he replied, "that may be true but could you have got to where I have got to if you HAD been born an Athenian?"

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.


    "...Mr Prime Minister you ...would sell yo're own granny if it gave you more power..."

    He can afford to, he's got grannies to spare: he just bought one off Ed Milliband and one off Nick Clegg!

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    The loan-sharks, both legal and illegal, must love the Tories.

    The race to the bottom starts here!

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    Go DC! Labour left us in right old mess - he is doing a good job with the Lib Dems - why all the moaning and Tory bashing - whatever government is in (why do people think suddenly it is because of the current government) there will always be heads of business and people earning more than some....way of the world

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    Cameron and the Tories: TINA - there is no alternative

    I thought it stood for Totally Incompetent Nihilistic Arse****s

    Learn something new every day on HYS

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    "people will be able to "make it" wherever they live, whatever their background".... as long as their background is harrow or eton

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    TAX CUTS & PROFITS HA! Million pound bankers bonuses, all designed for the elite 1% as for the rest of you ZERO HRS contracts 17th century SLAVE LABOUR for the unemployed utility & food costs RISING monthly & wages going down. HE'S QUITE CORRECT when he says it's the land of opportunity! MASS TAX EVASION/LOOPHOLES IN THE TAX FREE ISLAND OF THE UK FOR HIS CHUMS, CORRUPTION, MPS EXPENSES & BANKERS!

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    The benefits army and the red brigade trolls have their iphones out already , now that Jeremy Kyle's finished, criticising a speech they probably haven't heard and wouldn't understand anyway . As usual everyone is kicking them and keeping them down , maybe if they put the same energy into doing something for themselves,they would get to be the millionaires they think they deserve to be.

  • rate this

    Comment number 94.

    David , deal with tax evasion of large conglomerates , who are incidentally your buddies , and stop picking on the poor .
    You are an elitist , who most of the country apart from a select few despise - That's FACT , unlike your 'let me put it this way' manipulative chat

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.

    The idea that "We can all make a profit" is the Conservative equivalent of Labour's (usually spouted by a trades unionist) "We must not rest until everyone earns more than the average wage". How they manage to keep a straight face while they spout it can only be because (1) hours spent practicing (2) worse, they actually believe it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 92.

    There is nothing wrong with profit but there sure is something wrong with greed!
    The class divide has never been so stark, Bedroom taxes for the poorest, tax breaks for the super-rich and a middle class struggling and so turning to extremism in the form of UKIP.
    He bemoans national debt but has overseen a massive increase in personal indebtedness via student loans and welfare cuts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 91.

    David Cameron is about big people and if you ain't got £30 million you ain't big enough to survive in his future I'm afraid. Ed may come from another branch of the same but he's promised to put gasbills on hold. I'm sure you don't need to be a rocket scientist to workout which is the more interesting practical ideal?

  • rate this

    Comment number 90.

    It's called the American Dream, David. It didn't work over there and its even harder over here.
    The feeble growth wev've had in the last 30 years has been through importing goods and selling them, ie making one better off at the expense of others, and increasing debt.
    No credit for you in things picking up here when they're picking up faster in EU! Bottom ot the class again!


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