Helping young people buy their own home.
Getting the long-term unemployed back to work.
Freezing fuel duty.
Cutting the deficit.
Make no mistake: it is this Party with the verve, energy and ideas to take our country forward…
…and I want to thank everyone here for the great week we’ve had.
When we came to office, we faced a clear and daunting task: to turn our country around.
In May 2010, the needle on the gauge was at crisis point.
People were talking about this country in a way they had not done for decades.
But three and a half years later, we are beginning to turn the corner.
The deficit is falling.
Our economy is growing.
The numbers of our fellow countrymen and women in work are rising.
We are not there yet, not by a long way.
But, my friends, we are on our way.
I want to thank the people who have done the most to get us this far.
You. The British people.
Never giving up. Working those extra hours. Coping with those necessary cuts.
You. British business. You kept people on in the hard times. Invested before you knew for certain that things were getting better.
Together – we are clearing up the mess that Labour left.
But I have a simple question, to the people in this hall and beyond it.
Is that enough?
Is it enough that we just clear up Labour’s mess and think ‘job done’?
Is it enough to just fix what went wrong?
I say – no. Not for me.
This isn’t job done; it is job begun.
I didn’t come into politics just to fix what went wrong, but to build something right.
We in this party – we don’t dream of deficits and decimal points and dry fiscal plans
…our dreams are about helping people get on in life…
…these are our words, our dreams.
So today I want to talk about our one, abiding mission…
…I believe it is the great Conservative mission…
… that as our economy starts to recover…
…we build a land of opportunity in our country today.
Now, I know, it’ll be tough.
But I know we’ve got what it takes in this Party.
Some people say “can’t be done” – Conservatives say “what’s to stop us?”
They said we couldn’t get terrorists out of our own country.
Well – Theresa knew otherwise...
...and that’s why Abu Qatada had his very own May Day this year...
…didn’t it feel good seeing him get on that plane?
Some people said the NHS wasn’t safe in our hands.
Well – we knew otherwise.
Who protected spending on the NHS? Not Labour – us.
Who started the Cancer Drugs Fund? Not Labour – us.
And by the way – who presided over Mid Staffs…
…patients left for so long without water, they were drinking out of dirty vases...
...people’s grandparents lying filthy and unwashed for days.
Who allowed that to happen? Yes, it was Labour...
...and don’t you dare lecture anyone on the NHS again.
And some people say a lot of things on Europe.
You’ll never be able to veto an EU treaty.
You’ll never cut the Budget.
And if you did these things –you’d have no allies in Europe.
Well we’ve proved them wrong.
I vetoed that treaty…
…I got Britain out of the EU bail-out scheme…
…and yes – I cut that budget.
And in doing all this, we haven’t lost respect – we’ve won allies to get powers back from Europe.
That is what we will do...
...and at the end of it – yes – we will give the British people their say in a referendum.
That is our pledge. It will be your choice: in or out.
BRITAIN IN THE WORLD
And friends, you know what someone said about us recently?
Apparently some Russian official said: Britain is “just a small island that no-one pays any attention to.”
Let me just get this off my chest.
When the world wanted rights, who wrote Magna Carta?
When they wanted representation, who built the first Parliament?
When they looked for compassion, who led the abolition of slavery?
When they searched for equality, who gave women the vote?
When their freedom was in peril, who offered blood, toil, tears and sweat?
And today – whose music do they dance to?
Whose universities do they flock to?
Whose football league do they watch?
Whose example of tolerance…
…of people living together from every nation, every religion, young and old, straight and gay…
…whose example do they aspire to?
I haven’t even got on to the fact that this small island beat Russia in the Olympics last year…
…or that the biggest-selling vodka brand in the world isn’t Russian, it’s British – Smirnoff – made in Fife…
...so yes, we may be a small island…
…but I tell you what, we’re a great country.
But I want to make a serious point about our place in the world.
Following that vote on Syria in the House of Commons, some people said it was time for Britain to re-think our role.
I’m sorry – but I don’t agree.
If we shrunk from the world we would be less safe and less prosperous.
The role we play, the organisations we belong to...
... and yes – the fact our defence budget remains the 4th largest in the world...
...all this is not about national vanity – it’s about our national interest.
When British citizens –our fathers, mothers, daughters– are in danger...
...whether that’s in the deserts of Algeria or the city of Nairobi…
…then combatting international terrorism – it matters to us.
When five of the world’s fastest growing economies are African…
…then trading with Africa – and yes helping Africa to develop with aid – that matters to us.
And at the heart of all this work – the finest Foreign Secretary I could ask for: William Hague.
Around the world, we really do matter as a United Kingdom…
…England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
The date of the referendum has been set. The decision is for Scotland to make.
All the arguments about our economy, jobs, currency – I believe they make an unanswerable case for the UK.
But today I want a more simple message to go out to all the people of Scotland.
From us here in this hall, from me, from this party, from this country, from England, Wales, Northern Ireland…
…and it’s this:
We want you to stay.
We want to stick together.
Think of all we’ve achieved together – the things we can do together.
The nations – as one.
Our Kingdom – United.
For 12 years now, men and women from all parts of these islands have been serving their country in Afghanistan.
Next year, the last of our combat troops will be coming home...
...having trained up the Afghans to look after their own country.
More than a decade of war.
Sacrifice beyond measure – from the finest and bravest armed forces in the world.
And I want us to stand, to raise the roof in here, to show just how proud of those men and women we are.
We in this room are a team.
And this year, we said goodbye to one of our team.
Margaret Thatcher made our country stand tall again, at home and abroad.
Rescuing our economy. Giving power to our people. Spreading home ownership. Creating work. Winning the Cold War. Saving the Falklands.
I asked her about her record once.
I was sitting next to her at a dinner – and I was really nervous.
As ever she was totally charming, she put me at ease...
...but after a while I said: “Margaret, if you had your time in Government again, is there anything you’d do differently?”
And she turned to me and said: “You know, I think I did pretty well the first time around.”
Well we can all agree with that – and we can all agree on this...
...she was the greatest peace-time Prime Minister our country has ever had.
Margaret Thatcher had an almighty mess to clear up when she came to office…
…and so did we.
We will never forget what we found.
The biggest Budget deficit in our peace-time history.
The deepest recession since the Second World War.
But it wasn’t just the debt and deficit Labour left…
…it was who got hurt.
Millions coming here from overseas while millions of British people were left on welfare.
The richest paying lower tax rates than their cleaners.
Unsustainable, debt-fuelled banks booming – while manufacturing withered away.
The North falling further behind.
Towns where a quarter of people lived on benefits.
Schools where 8 out of 10 children didn’t get five decent GCSEs.
Yes, they were famously “intensely relaxed” about people getting filthy rich…
...but tragically, they were also “intensely relaxed” about people staying stuck on welfare year after year...
…“intensely relaxed” about children leaving school without proper qualifications so they couldn’t hope to get a job at the end of it.
That was it.
That was what they left.
The casino economy meets the welfare society meets the broken education system...
…a country for the few built by the so-called party of the many…
…and Labour: we will never let you forget it.
These past few years have been a real struggle.
But what people want to know now is: was the struggle worth it?
And here’s the honest answer.
The struggle will only be worth it if we as a country finish the job we’ve started.
Finishing the job means understanding this.
Our economy may be turning the corner – and of course that’s great.
But we still haven’t finished paying for Labour’s Debt Crisis.
If anyone thinks that’s over, done, dealt with - they’re living in a fantasy land.
This country’s debt crisis, created by Labour, is not over.
After three years of cuts, we still have one of the biggest deficits in the world.
We are still spending more than we earn.
We still need to earn more and yes, our Government still needs to spend less.
I see that Labour have stopped talking about the debt crisis and now they talk about the cost of living crisis.
As if one wasn’t directly related to the other.
If you want to know what happens if you don’t deal with a debt crisis...
...and how it affects the cost of living...
...just go and ask the Greeks.
So finishing the job means sticking to our course until we’ve paid off all of Labour’s deficit, not just some of it.
And yes – let’s run a surplus so that this time we fix the roof when the sun is shining...
...as George said in that brilliant speech on Monday.
To abandon deficit reduction now would throw away all the progress we’ve made.
It would put us back to square one.
Unbelievably, that’s exactly what Labour now want to do.
How did they get us into this mess?
Too much spending, too much borrowing, too much debt.
And what did they propose last week?
More spending, more borrowing, more debt.
They have learned nothing – literally nothing – from the crisis they created.
But finishing the job is about more than clearing up the mess we were left.
It means building something better in its place.
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.
Our economy, our society, welfare, schools…
...all reformed, all rebuilt - with one aim, one mission in mind:
To make this country, at long last and for the first time ever, a land of opportunity for all.
So it makes no difference whether you live in the North or in the South, whether you’re black or you’re white, a man or a woman, the school you went to, the background you have, who your parents were…
...what matters is the effort you put in, and if you put the effort in you’ll have the chance to make it.
That’s what the land of opportunity means.
That’s what finishing the job means.
Of course I know that others in politics may talk about these things.
But wishing for something, caring about something - that’s not enough.
You can’t conjure up a dynamic economy, a strong society, fantastic schools all with the stroke of a minister’s pen.
It takes a mixture of hard work, common sense and – above all – the right values.
When the left say: you can’t expect too much from the poorest kids; don’t ask too much from people on welfare; business is the problem, not the solution…
…Here in this party we say: that’s just wrong.
If you expect nothing of people that does nothing for them.
Yes, you must help people – but you help people by putting up ladders that they can climb through their own efforts.
You don’t help children succeed by dumbing down education…
...you help them by pushing them hard.
Good education is not about equality of outcomes but bringing the best out of every single child.
You don’t help people by leaving them stuck on welfare…
...but by helping them stand on their own two feet.
Why? Because the best way out of poverty is work – and the dignity that brings.
We know that profit, wealth creation, tax cuts, enterprise...
...these are not dirty, elitist words – they’re not the problem...
...they really are the solution because it’s not government that creates jobs, it’s businesses…
…it’s businesses that get wages in people’s pockets, food on their tables, hope for their families and success for our country.
There is no shortcut to a land of opportunity. No quick fix. No easy way to do it.
You build it business by business, school by school, person by person…
...patiently, practically, painstakingly.