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.”

End Quote

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”

End Quote

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 129.

    A land of opportunity under Cameron, or a land of socialist oppression under Miliband... hmm, tough choice....

  • rate this

    Comment number 128.

    It sounds a bit like the guff which has been spewing from the mouths of American politicians for a generation.

    If we're going to aspire to follow in the footsteps of another country then perhaps we could choose one which isn't on the verge of bankruptcy with widespread ingrained inequality and where healthcare is prohibitively expensive for many.

  • rate this

    Comment number 127.

    There is only one question you need to ask when a politician promises something: "Why is this man lying to me?"

    As the US has just proved, party politics is built on a system of finger pointing and suckering the public into buying into your empty headed ideas.

    How long before the opportunity promised by Cameron is taken, rather than given? Are we so weak that we need him to give us hope?

  • rate this

    Comment number 126.

    David Cameron said today: "The country is moving in the right direction on the big issues."

    Yes David, you've got more people selling them than ever before.

  • rate this

    Comment number 125.

    Have we all succumbed to the 1D politic effect.?Auto tuned verbiage.

  • rate this

    Comment number 124.

    its such a shame that Cameron and his mates do not have the brains to see the problems or is it they just don't care? the ordinary person needs help and they are ignoring us and just living in their bubble and taking our last penny from our mouths to put in their and their mates pockets. I think its called corruption. To me they are all the same we need someone to stand for the people only.

  • rate this

    Comment number 123.

    Here's the real story, Dave:
    How harder do you want us all to work for your rich and greedy chums in the city, Dave?;
    I was young had apprenticeships, YTS schemes, and University opportunities for all; education was the most admired in the world Gove, please leave
    Now: No YTS schemes, no apprenticeships, education system is broken, and university is for the well off. Where r those opportunities.

  • rate this

    Comment number 122.

    Yeah: opportunities for your Eton mates :P

  • rate this

    Comment number 121.

    From these comments it is evident that the class warriors are really out in force today.Miliband pere would be salivating!

  • rate this

    Comment number 120.

    Opportunity for all ... he missed a few words ... my pals to get richer and richer by screwing everyone else.

  • rate this

    Comment number 119.

    10. Iamwrightyouarewrong
    "Thanks for coming Dave. Please close the door on your way out."
    And turn the light off, we can't afford the electricity bill.

  • rate this

    Comment number 118.

    Sounds like a pyramid marketing scheme.
    And like all multi-level scams those few that are already in will get richer and the rest will become cannon fodder.

  • rate this

    Comment number 117.

    The race to the bottom starts here!
    Really? Is this the same race to the bottom whose start you have announced most weeks on here? I guess that with no policies you have to make do with sound bites.

  • rate this

    Comment number 116.

    27Perpetual Sigh
    Opportunity is everyone getting a fair shot. ..//.. Capitalism isn't the problem; the way it's been bastardised in the last three decades is the problem.

    59Goves Silly Temper Tantrum
    I am a striver .//. I cannot think of a single thing the coalition have done to improve my life or help me in any way, since 2010.
    Both great posts! So true.

  • rate this

    Comment number 115.

    "A land of opportunity...."

    This sounds like the American Dream!

    Surely we British can come up with our own mission statement without nicking it off the Yanks!

    Britain is a land of mixed cultures that don't really interact, with different ideologies and different conflicting viewpoints, where the rich get richer and the lower classes endure constant cuts and lower living standards.

  • rate this

    Comment number 114.

    Is this promise opportunity for all, like his cast Iron referendum on the Lisbon treaty.. Hard to believe a man who makes a promise he does not keep. Fool us once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me! It's why I'll be voting UKIP!

  • rate this

    Comment number 113.

    Tax cuts for the rich & their enterprises
    More profits for the rich & their enterprises
    Wealth creation for the rich & their enterprises

    Meanwhile Joe Bloggs of 1 Working Class Street is paying more tax, working longer hours, and getting paid less

  • rate this

    Comment number 112.

    How about becoming a Conservative party that actually Conserves and stops behaving like a left wing liberal party.

  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    "profit, wealth creation, tax cuts, enterprise... are not dirty, elitist words"

    No they are not.

    A reasonable profit but we have something different. We have the rich getting ever richer and the poor ever poorer while the profits go from reasonable to insane!

    A 10% profit margin used to be considered good... now firms are looking for 30-40% And the rewards don't "trickle down"

  • rate this

    Comment number 110.

    Careful choice of words there by someone - " will promise " as usual this does'nt mean anything when said by a politician.


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