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”

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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 229.

    Let them eat (home made) bread.

  • Comment number 228.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 227.

    This Prime Minister is so out of touch with the poor people in our society. He has created a wider gap between those that are rich and those that are Poor. Since he came into office, all he has done is Cut Cut Cut. my new local conservative club which is still a building site and has not been delayed in finishing because the building contractor - this says it all of there failure !

  • rate this

    Comment number 226.

    Opportunity for all? Expect nothing of people? How patronising & condescending. After twenty five years of forced retirement & incapacitating chronic ill health, trying to make the best of my situation, come to terms with my limitations & not get too downhearted when my illness frustrates my attempts at living with some fulfilment, I'm told that I am fit to work. Reforms = no welfare. Simples.

  • rate this

    Comment number 225.

    Profit, Wealth creation, Tax Cuts and Enterprise.....not elitist words?

    I'm sorry Dave, but they ARE elitist words, because you are Prime Minister of a country that keeps all of those things from everyone but the elite.

    Who gets bigger tax cuts? The poor or the elite? Who makes a profit? Certainly not the working class I can tell you that.

    Welcome to England Dave, you live here, remember?

  • rate this

    Comment number 224.

    Land of Opportunity for him and his rich buddies he means.

    Remember, if you are poor, unemployed and struggling with health issues, you are scum and should be beaten down and labelled as something nasty. Teachers and unions are militant and slavery is to be brought back.

    So when will the Workhouses, Debt Prisons and Food Banks be brought in? Oh wait, the latter for the poor are already here.

  • rate this

    Comment number 223.

    While we have a one party media there is more than a good chance these clowns will get in again

    The people who support this lot have no interest in this country of ours only to strip it bare

    Our biggest fight is to get an unbiased media so when WE make a choice it is a well informed one

  • rate this

    Comment number 222.

    'Profit' isn't a dirty word? Tell that to the thousands of elderly Eon customers who have had their tariff withdrawn. No matter how you legislate against companies they will find their way around it to make profit.I have nothing against profit - but obscene profit is wrong. Especially when said companies are foreign, avoid tax, pay low wages and are unwilling to re-invest. What's in it for us?

  • rate this

    Comment number 221.

    I'm all for companies making money, by them making money they can hire more people which is only a good thing.
    But the biggest issue I have is that all these wars on unemployment, disability benefits etc are in the grand scheme of govt spend a drop in the ocean.
    Tax avoidance is the biggest cost both personal and business. If any party promises to close the tax loopholes, they will get my vote.

  • rate this

    Comment number 220.

    How simplistic trying to pitch socialism agains capitalism - its the balance that needs to be right. Another cheap polical scoring soundbite with no substance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 219.


    Thank you so much for your considered and 'intellectual' contribution. Its people like you that remind me why I despise the Tories and will never vote for them as long as I live. You think you are better than the "benefits army and the red brigade" when in fact the reverse is probably true. Take your own advice, put some energy into doing something positive and get an education.

  • Comment number 218.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 217.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 216.

    I think both labour and Tories are living a pipe dream if they expect enough jobs in the private sector to keep every body employed from the age of 18 to 70 unless they privatlse all public services which still has to paid for by tax and usually cost more in the long term

  • rate this

    Comment number 215.

    The ring of steel fencing them in highlights how isolated they really are from everyone.

  • rate this

    Comment number 214.

    I took my 4 year old daughter to A&E after she fell & cut her head at school. We waited over 4 hours to be seen, while the mite sat there with blood trickling down her forehead. There were hardly any staff and no trollies. One elderly lady had a detached shoulder and was crying, I tried to comfort her. One story in millions under the Tory wrecking crew. We will remember David. We will remember.

  • rate this

    Comment number 213.

    What has Cameron got to offer?

    More of what we've already had.
    More persecution and misery for the poor, the sick, the unemployed and the disabled.

    And more perks for the super-rich.

    Broken Britain?
    It sure is now.

    And Cameron will do his best to make sure it stays that way.

  • rate this

    Comment number 212.

    "A land of opportunity", within the M25 of course. Just empty fields beyond it anyhows.

  • Comment number 211.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 210.

    He will say that "at long last, and for the first time ever" people will be able to "make it" wherever they live, whatever their background.

    I would love nothing more than to slap some sense into David Cameron as words would mean nothing to him!!!
    Sloan-mouthed, poncy-faced buffoon!!!!


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