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".

Start Quote

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 429.

    Opportunity for all.

    As long as you are born into a family dynasty with a baronet as a father.

    Or manage to marry into nobility

    Or inherit several tens of millions of pounds from your family.

    So - oportunity for all of the cabinet then, the rest of us can just screw ourselves in the 4th most unequal developed country in the world.

  • rate this

    Comment number 428.

    We have always been a land of opportunity.

    The problem is that we have too many lazy people who can not be bothered to better themselves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 427.

    Motherhood, apple pie, the tooth fairy and jam tomorrow. Same old same old lightweight meaningless drivel.

  • rate this

    Comment number 426.

    I don't believe a word of any (S)Tories , they just keep babbling away .. they must think we are all daft. I pray they do not get back in .. if they do ... then the poor and disabled are doomed as will bw the lower classes, The Toff's will be alright they don't really give a hoot. Please do not vote for them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 425.

    What many people need is stable, reliable long term employment.

    The present UK business models do not offer this: short term or ZH contracts, and even then, thanks to our bankruptcy "law", it's probably run into the ground so the management can start up as something else and repeat the process, overpaying themselves as they go.

  • rate this

    Comment number 424.

    Whilst mass (and growing) EU immigration continues, our own people will be side lined, wages will keep falling and our living standards will worsen. At the same time our services are being continuously squeezed, when they should have been greatly expanded. In a few years time there will be a 100 million people in this country, too many for us to even to feed for ourselves! A time bomb in waiting!

  • rate this

    Comment number 423.

    Britain is a "Land of Opportunity" for immigrants who want to move here and keep their own culture.......councils bend over backwards to help them!

    Britain is a "Land of Opportunity" for terrorists who want to murder people on the streets in the name of a man-made imaginary friend.

    Britain is a "Land of Opportunity" for un-elected Eurocrats to dictate our laws to us.

  • rate this

    Comment number 422.

    Cameron and the Tories: TINA - there is no alternative.

    There are always alternatives - and not necessarily Team Milliband.

  • rate this

    Comment number 421.

    They said that they would sort out the Bankers within the first year of being in power. They dithered and then said that this would be sorted after the next election in 2015. They failed while President Obama took the Banks head on. Can they be trusted? No!

  • rate this

    Comment number 420.

    I though a "Conference" was a stage for delegates to "speak" and be heard.At EVERY other political conference delegates have been called from the Floor to give speeches they had written themselves.Over 4 days of very short sessions NOT ONE delegate at the Tory Party Conference has been called from the floor to speech. It is all pre-arranged and pre-written spin pap no doubt authorised by Crosbie

  • rate this

    Comment number 419.

    'We'll cut the deficit, not the NHS.' - A man of his word.

    Anybody got any figures on borrowing or the privatisation of our health service?
    50,000+ protested in Manchester on Sunday. The BBC joined in the news black out on this.

    Free country?

  • rate this

    Comment number 418.

    The usual soundbite rubbish -

    We all know what the Tory party stands for; sort out your friends and supporters and hell mend anyone else.

    Tax cuts for the rich, clobber the poor, there is nothing in this speech to convince me otherwise.

    The electorate want action on jobs, immigration and migration, prices, falling wages. What do we get? RHETORIC AND BROKEN PROMISES!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 417.

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

    Maybe not, but these are... Tax evasion, fraud, interest rate rigging, corruption, cartels, drug cartel money laundering, bonuses for failure, product mis-selling etc...
    All still not addressed

  • rate this

    Comment number 416.

    "... are not dirty, elitist words"

    Really Mr. Cameron. Then why do these wants come from the most corrupt part of the human psychology, the ego?

    Why is the void we are all trying to fill, which has been 'created' in us by education and propaganda, an unfillable void. Why are our intrinsic needs manipulated with fear to achieve this most deceptive of all decptions?

    Don't let him fool you people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 415.

    I left school at 17 with nothing and there were not many people looking to employ a dyslexic lad! However I worked hard and now have my own business, my own house, and by employing staff give opportunities to other people.
    Any government who helps people create wealth has my vote.

  • rate this

    Comment number 414.

    Dave wants to make the UK a tax haven so the crème of wealth can make more money whilst the rest of us make up the short fall.

  • rate this

    Comment number 413.

    292 "The claim was that mortgage rates were 18% in the 1970s. I published a link showing Building Society Association advisory rates never got above 12.5% and were in single figures for half the 1970"

    New mortgages maybe.

    Base rates hit the mid to high teens in 77 and 79,. Most floating rate mortgages were 0.5 to 3% above base. Many many people paid 18% & more for extended periods

  • rate this

    Comment number 412.

    surely quoting the slogan from the gates of a well known concentration camp and then comparing it to the tories conference slogan, does not constitute posting in a foreign language. It was even in quotation marks. Anyhow as I said previously, too similar not to be sinister.

  • rate this

    Comment number 411.

    Was all back hand before now he openly admits to the public he is in favour of tax cuts for businesses and stealing from the poor. I hope this guy is gone in 2015 along with his party.

  • Comment number 410.

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


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