Wednesday, October 01, 2008

That conference speech in full...(again, again)

[Check against delivery]

Thankyou. It is great to know that everybody in the party agrees with me. It is not often a party leader can be this smug, or a party this craven.

Today we face a financial crisis. But we will not allow what happened in America to happen here. We will work with the government to pretend that we don't have a parliamentary system in which our "help" is no use.

But we must not hold back in being critical of the mistakes that led to this crisis, except those made under Margaret Thatcher.

The test for a political party is whether it can rise to the challenge of what the Times demands. And the other Murdoch papers.

The reality of government is not something I know anything about, but I will talk as if I did.

Let us be clear why we are talking about Afghanistan, instead of Iraq. It is because we can back the troops mission in Afghanistan 100%. With regards to Iraq we could, at best, equivocate.

And now even we are on the side of the Gurkhas.

These are times of great crisis [extra serious voice]. And people want to know whether their politicians are up to it. It isn't really about policies - which is good for us! It is about values and instincts.

Some people believe the Conservative Party is about freedom. But freedom must be tempered by responsibility. So we Conservatives believe in freedom for the rich, tempered by resposibilities for everybody else.

I know that my party can get it wrong, and sometimes other parties get it right. I hold to some simple principles: strong defence, one rule for some, sound money. Trust your judgement and your colleagues, even Gideon Osborne.

Tony Blair spoke of the 24 hour media world. But this is a country not a television channel. We have some bad policies for our long term future, and I am ready for that.

What matters more than experience, is having the character, and the judgement of of a shallow PR man. Experience is the excuse of everyone who wants to stop change - it was our excuse in 92 and 97, except it was right then.

The risk is not speaking in platitudes, the risk is that people won't mistake platitutes for wisdom.

The tap marked borrowing has been left on for too long. There will be a day of reckoning, but today is not that day.  Cry God for Harry, England and St George.

Gordon Brown has borrowed during the good times, and now the cupboard is bare - just like Lamont and Clarke in the 90s.

We will rein in government borrowing, you know what that means, it means whatever George said on Monday, when nobody was listening (with any luck).

I will ask all my shadow ministers to find extra spending cuts, although we probably won't be in power for two years by when the recession will probably have ended.

I believe in low taxes for the rich. So let me say this to the call centre worker, the hairdresser and the electrician. I know it is your money, and I want to give some of it back to people richer than you. But the real test is whether we can get elected before too many people notice.

Sound money, low taxes for the rich, simple beliefs for simple people. I admire entrepreneurs in bed every night.

I will build a high speed rail network, linking 4 cities, by ending investment in the rest of the network.

Labour think there is no such thing as society. You cannot run a country like that. We should know.

Labour treat people like children - we believe in only treating fat people like children.

In the European elections we will fight to resurrect the long-dead European Constitution by demanding a referendum on it.

The institution I care most about (after my family, the family, the Union, the armed services, the Bullingdon club...) is the NHS. I will talk about it for ages to make that seem plausible.

Some say our society isn't broken. I wonder what world Boris is living in. But is not just the crime, it is angry harsh culture of incivility. Thatcher's generation seems to have abandoned society.

There are those who say that what is required is to be tough on crime. And they are right. But let us all recognise that this only deals with the symptoms. I'm searching here for the right soundbite - something to do with crime and its causes.

The family is the best welfare system there is. That is why we offer tax breaks to those married and childless at the expense of unmarried parents.

After the family comes school, and the chance to talk about my family more. We will allow new schools more freedom, and old schools less freedom.

I'm going to quote some guy representing a spelling reform campaign, as if reformed spelling were actually taught in schools.

Only by failing to reform English spelling are we going to staunch the tide of social breakdown.

And finally, on benefits, we will end the something-for-nothing benefits culture introduced by Margaret Thatcher's extension of incapacity benefit.

This party has changed. This is who we are today, and those who disagree don't understand the power of platitude.

We are not only changed, but united. This means every single member has changed. And if you don't believe that we have a chip to implant in your brain to make you believe it.

Leadership, character, judgement, that is what the country needs now, and I only wish I had them. Thankyou.

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