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 989.

    Anyone who thinks they should be better off now than in 2010 must be living in a dream world. Go to Greece and decide who is better off.

  • rate this

    Comment number 988.

    I was looking at a job the other day that described their £6.19 p/h minimum wage as "competitive salary"

    That's Tory ideology right there.

  • rate this

    Comment number 987.

    Promoting the illusion that there is opportunity for all, when there is indeed not, is very dangerous. It instills the idea that everyone deserves what they get. Therefore people at the top deserve to be there, as do the people at the bottom.

  • rate this

    Comment number 986.

    937. YUG 'Vote me down you workshy lefties.'

    Typical senseless stereotyping beloved of Tory sympathisers and essential to the political campaign in which those lacking and in need are demonised to mask capitalist recklessness and inadequacy. Oh swallow swallow YUG .

  • rate this

    Comment number 985.

    941.Dun Geonson
    Just now
    Hope isn't good enough, Dave, I need certainties.
    Thats the attitude of Labour. Nothing is certain thats why we control our own lives. Labour want the certainty of cradle to grave state control. Get off your backside and get a job, that way you'll get more certainties out of life than an existance on benefits will ever give you

  • rate this

    Comment number 984.

    He claimed Britain's economy was finally "turning the corner"

    If this "corner" gets any longer we'll meet ourselves coming back! I think a more accurate term might be 'going around the bend!'

    "It's all sticking plasters and quick fixes cobbled together for the TV cameras" said Mr Cameron.

    Now there's a pot & kettle statement if ever I heard one!

  • rate this

    Comment number 983.

    It is shocking how the garbage that Labour caused the world wide crash in the financial markets is still being peddled. It was caused by bankers having dodgy practices where they loaned money to people who had no chance of repaying their mortgages - pure and simple. All world economies have been hit with soaring debts.
    Or is Cameron a superhero????

  • rate this

    Comment number 982.

    "Just people need to work Hard."

    Why should I work hard if I can make more working soft?
    I have a Banksman ticket that allows me to direct the operation of tower and mobile cranes, cost 5/8 of SFA to get.
    Why should I pay the £Ks for a licence to drive a crane when I can control the driver from a comfortable position?
    Anyone not spotting the metaphore can go ->

  • rate this

    Comment number 981.

    "land of opportunity for all" is not the same as "land of opportunity for fat cats, tax dodgers and MPs who abuse systems for personal gain through lobbying" Politics do not create policy to make Britain a better place, they do so to counter the argument of the position. Don't believe it, they will promise the world to get the vote and then digress as they wish!

  • rate this

    Comment number 980.

    As usual all promises AFTER the next election. Did he discuss
    immigration issues NO did he discuss lack of uk manufacturing that will create proper jobs NO Did he discuss getting out of EU No .
    If you really want to win the next election sort out all our concerns NOW !!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 979.

    Glad to see most people on here see through this latest guff from Lord Snooty. Alas, for the remaining minority, I feel sorry for you if you actually believe that he gives a hoot about you and your family especially if you are a public servant or unemployed. Actions speak louder than words - legal action for bankers bonuses in opposition to the whole EU says everything you need to know about him.

  • rate this

    Comment number 978.

    What's wrong with these politicians...the majority of us have absolutely no problem with the terms 'profits, tax cuts and enterprise'.

    The problem we have is when big businesses make profits in an illegal or immoral way that is detrimental to your average Jo i.e. the 2008 banking crisis. Also, 'wealth creation' doesn't do society much good when the top 1% want to keep it all to themselves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 977.

    Land of Nope is Tory.

  • Comment number 976.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 975.

    Profit shouldn't be a dirty word but profiteering should. This crisis has shown just how much of the latter has been going on with banks, politicians, BBC execs, company execs all profiteering at the expense of the their customers, taxpayers, license fee payers etc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 974.

    I never went to university and started stacking shelves back in good ol' Yorkshire. I worked my way up from there, earn a modest income and I'm better off today than I was under Labour.
    I agree with everything Cameron said, that's not easy for me to admit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 973.

    How he can stand there are say hes busy helping young people when they have done absolutely nothing for almost 1 million neets is beyond me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 972.

    886. David Bale "No UK Car Building - etc.etc."

    145,000+ people work in UK car manufacturing producing 1.58 million cars in 2012. 4 out of 5 cars made are exported.

    But lets not actual facts get in the way of a good rant eh?

  • rate this

    Comment number 971.

    At some point all this PR bluff will vanish and the damage to the global economy will turn to local hyperinflation. There is nothing they, you or I can do. The arguments about hope, opportunity and so forth are all bogus. You will reap what you have sown Dave, Ian and George. Despair, despair and despair.


  • rate this

    Comment number 970.

    What’s the difference between a pack of cards and the Tories? When you reshuffle a pack of cards you take the jokers out.

    David Cameron should be nominated to recieve a nobel prize for his commitment to recycling. The same lies since 2010.


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