Day 3

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Day 3

Post by Marty »

To be posted here before March 7th.
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Alex Cardigan
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Re: Day 3

Post by Alex Cardigan »

Alex Cardigan: Our party is one of innovation, and it needs a fresh start

Good afternoon Blackpool, and thank you all for being here. I am aware of my position as amidst the last here, so I shall keep my message sharpish - I wouldn’t wish anyone to miss their train!

And that talk of public transport brings me onto what I wish to talk about. Because our transit systems, our energy industry, and our renewable energy industry, and everything that fuels them is at risk.

Now, I have been a long-standing critic of fracking, of fossil fuel usage, and of environmentally damaging policies in that party. But that does not for one moment mean I am on board with this Government’s plans to introduce overnight bans on energy sources left, right, and centre - or, in this case, far-left, left, and the odd bit of the centre-left.

My vision for a British energy industry is a green one. It is one built on a bedrock of environmental entrepreneurs, who know their trade and know how to innovate. It is not one built on the same style of public industrial ownership that was commonplace when I entered Parliament in the 1970s.

Let me let the Labour Party in on a secret. Britain has changed. We are not that sort of society or economy any more, and it is for the best. That change has not just been the work of Thatcher, either - it is every bit as much the work of Blair, Brown, and Cameron. We are facing a radical fork in the road from the economic policies that have kept Britain solvent and boosted our national interest, with this latest slurry of energy nationalisations.

My pitch to those of you here is simple. Our party is one of innovation, and it needs a fresh start. We need to rally against these radical policies, but also promote a new vision. We should be a pro-environment party, that seeks to make Britain net zero by 2050 or before, and seeks to incentivise innovation to do so.

We should be a party which embraces public investment in private entrepreneurship, and understands our energy industries and the scientific expertise on all sides. There is a reason why experts oppose nationalisation - it is ideological and immensely damaging to our energy security. We should not let a Labour Party driven by ideology destroy our industries.

Finally, on that note of innovation, I think we should be brave. I want the Conservative Party to commit to the future. We should look at new ways of increasing and better using research & development spending, of making green industries even more of an economic boon, and, a long-standing interest of mine, we should invest in British & European space agencies more. Scientific development rarely fails to pay off for this country.

So, Conference, I will end on this. We are a party that is at its best when we appeal to the highest instincts of mankind. On protecting our planet, on bold innovation, and on making Britain a strong and forward-thinking nation. Let’s grasp the fresh start we have an opportunity to make and put that message across to the British people. Thank you!
The Rt Hon. Alexander Simon "Alex" Cardigan MP
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Secretary of State for International Development (2010 to 2015) | Shadow Secretary of State for International Development (2005 to 2010) | Shadow Secretary of State for Trade (1997 to 1999) | Chief Secretary to the Treasury (1995 to 1997) | Secretary of State for National Heritage (1992 to 1995) | Minister for Schools (1990 to 1992) | Minister for Foreign Affairs (1979 to 1981)
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Deborah Crowther
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Re: Day 3

Post by Deborah Crowther »

Ruth Davidson guest speech

Ruth Davidson addressed Conservative conference. She warned conference to not be complacent about the results of the independence referendum and stated that if the union was taken for granted it could be lost. She affirmed hers and Crowther’s unflinching commitment to the union and emphasised Labour could not be trusted to stand up to the SNP in defence of the union.

She said: “Conference, it’s easy to be complacent when we had won the referendum decisively. But we’ve seen the SNP’s support increase to an unprecedented level, and they continue to hold the keys of power in Holyrood. If we don’t listen to Scottish voters and make a passionate case for a union consisting of equal partners, the referendum may not symbolise the end but just the beginning of the nationalist fightback. We must deliver on our promises to the Scottish people, but we can’t end there. We must make the case for the union and the benefits it gives not just to Scotland, but to England too. Labour won’t even discuss the union – it is clear that only the Conservatives, led by me and Deborah, will make that case.”

She affirmed that as leader of the Scottish Conservatives, she has offered a fresh start for the Scottish Conservatives and for Scotland and that she’s confident that she Scottish Conservatives could become the Opposition, where they would hold the SNP to account on their dismal handling of public services, particularly the NHS and schools.

She stated: “When we put forward the case for a modern and vibrant Conservative Party, with clear proposals to support businesses, public services and the economy we can win not just voters that haven’t just voted for us last election but ensure voters who’d never considered us before will give us a second glance. If we offer the public a fresh start, we can ensure we’re not just back in power at Westminster, but that we’re holding the SNP to account at Holyrood where they’ve had a dismal record, making Scottish taxpayers the most squeezed in the UK while delivering the worst public services. We’ll present that alternative vision – one of both fair taxes and of strong public services.”

She stated that together, the UK and Scottish Conservatives could put forward a compassionate Conservative agenda that would create see every part of the union flourish and support businesses, individuals and public services.

She concluded “For too long, conference, compassionate Conservatism has felt like a buzzword to people across Britain and Scotland. I know we’ll lay out the roadmap for a vision that will address the issues of the day with compassionate answers that will support them, not offer the inefficient false solutions of more regulation, more tax and more bureaucracy. In doing that, we can create a more prosperous union and support businesses, public services and workers across the country. That starts today, and it starts with all of us getting behind the fresh start Deborah is offering.”
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Re: Day 3

Post by Deborah Crowther »

Thank you, conference.

It is an indescribable honour to address the Conservative and Unionist Party’s conference for the first time as leader. But it would be a lie if I told you I addressed you ideal circumstances. We are not meeting in the context of a victorious party which has found itself back in government, but as a party that has lost the trust of the electorate once again. That hurts. It can confuse us. It can set us back.

And it’s been a difficult time for the country, too. We know we made so many difficult but necessary choices in government. For all of Labour’s sanctimony, we need to remember it was their failure to regulate the banks and their failure to spend properly instead of wasting billions on white elephants like the Millennium Dome that led to our economy teetering on the brink of a debt crisis, much like what we’re seeing in Greece. It was the reckless actions of Labour which damaged our economy. We know that damaged economy damaged our health service, damaged our schools and cut the pay packets of workers. We were right to bring the country back from that brink, and to put the country in a place where it could once again begin to invest in our public services without risking our economic security.

But conference, we know that we were so focused on deficit figures we’d lost sight of our values. We didn’t hear the concerns of workers who had felt like their pay packet had shrunk unnecessarily. We didn’t hear the concerns of young people who were concerned about how they could be locked out of economic security for their lives, with home ownership changing from a dream to a fantasy. We didn’t listen to a generation of parents who felt they would be the first generation of parents whose children would be worse off than they were.

That is the very promise of our values and of conservative values. That is what defines us as Conservatives. We had been the party of government because the British people trusted us to deliver on that fundamentally British promise: in a property-owning democracy where we build living standards and ensure each generation grows more prosperous than the former. That we build that better country with stronger businesses and public services.

We took bold steps I’m proud of, conference whether it was taking millions of the very poorest out of tax, investing in pensions or trebling investment in renewable energy. But most importantly we can now say to the British public: the economy is back from the brink. The NHS is back from the brink. Schools are back from the brink. The welfare state is back from the brink. Our borders are back from the brink. Now, we can’t start talking about austerity but we can start to think about prosperity once again.

But it is not enough for us to rescue our economy and institutions from ruin. We must improve them for future generations. We didn’t, and we lost the trust of the British public because it felt like we’d not delivered on our side of the bargain.

Conference, it would’ve been easy for us to retreat into our shells. To just be adamant we were right. To say that if we continue to do more of the same, the British public would just wake up, smell the coffee and return us back to our rightful place in government when the time comes.

Conference, I’ll confess it even felt like my kneejerk instinct to do so. Media outlets have been quick to point out my closeness to David Cameron, who deserves recognition for bringing us back into government after a decade in the wilderness. The loss felt painful for me. It shook my expectations, and just like all of us I needed to reflect and listen to the message the voters were telling us - were telling me.

Not listening didn’t work in 2001. It didn’t work in 2005 either. Just like then, we have to change.

So yes conference, I was close with David Cameron. I even share his initials as some have pointed out. But I think we’ve shown the media and the government in the past few days that I am my own woman. They were in for a shock, conference, weren’t they?

So, I made it clear: we could feel sorry for ourselves – if we wanted to lose the next election. We could crawl into the bunker and tell ourselves we were right over and over again – if we wanted to lose the next election.

Or we could do what no Conservative leader has done in two decades: listen to the British public, respond accordingly and come back into government with a majority to deliver on that British promise and build living standards, prosperity and economic security across Britain.

That’s something I have every intention of doing, conference. I know it won’t just be me, but David himself who has the Conservatives’ best interests at the very centre of his heart, who will take great satisfaction when the press ask me, as always, what differentiates myself from David Cameron and I could tell them, firstly, I won a majority.

To do that though we need a fresh start. That is the theme of this conference, and I know it is one we have embraced wholeheartedly. I say we haven’t come here in the best of circumstances, conference, but looking at you all today I wouldn’t think it. I can see optimistic activists, councillors and individuals across our party who are confident in our values, but who are ready for us to bring new people into the fold, bring new ideas to the table and take the action necessary for us to have a fresh mandate in 2020. I see a party willing to listen, to learn and to grow. And I see a party that is taking those first steps necessary for us to be a party of government once again. That is something we can all be proud of.

Today, we’ll show the British public that there’s been a fresh start in the Conservative Party. But I know we are crafting a blueprint so that we can tell the British people that they have the option of a fresh start in 2020.

Because we already know that is what the country needs, conference. I’ve spoken that we’d become so preoccupied with Labour’s economic mess that we didn’t uphold our end of the bargain. But we’ve seen a Labour conference so flagrantly break their manifesto promises when they let 300 radicals, Britain hating Marxists force in a Prime Minister the British people didn’t vote for to implement ideas they didn’t vote for. And worse yet, they have the audacity to take the British people for fools and to tell them this is what they had actually voted for all along.

So conference, if you’ll forgive me, I want to also address the British public tonight.

If you’re an NHS bank nurse who can only work flexible hours, you may have voted Labour because you believed they would safeguard our NHS and public services. I know it would hurt that not long after we let you down, Labour have already let you down. They’ve created a work environment that places more strain on our health service, leaving it less able to respond to flexible and extreme demands.

If you’re a small businessman and voted for Labour expecting to be supported by them only to see a Labour Party that wants to bring back the industrial disputes of the 70s and the nationalisations too, I know that it hurts that not long after we’ve let you down, Labour has let you down. They’ve created an environment that’s harsh to businesses, that repels investment and leaves you wondering if you have a government that will support you through the next five years.

And if you’re a pensioner or single mother struggling to make ends meet and voted for Labour because you expected them to only raise taxes on the wealthiest while getting our debt down only to see Labour see the government fail to rule out a fuel duty hike or getting our national debt down, I know Labour has let you down. They’ve make it clear they’ll lump the tax burden on already struggling families who are trying to get by without even being able to get our debt down to pave the way for responsible investment in the future.

The past five years have been hard, and now the next five years are filled with uncertainty. I hear you.

But there is another way in the future, and a brighter path forward.

We’ll offer a path forward where we end the constant squabbles over Europe and forge a sensible consensus, we can all unite behind: where we recognise the European Union as a key strategic ally which we can trade with freely but refuse to be dragged into a federalist European project that takes our sovereignty.

We’ll offer a path forward where we can finally get our immigration system under control by implementing the controls the Conservatives had bargained hard for, ensuring EU nationals can no longer come here to enjoy the benefits Britain has to offer without contributing. And we can put forward an Australian points-based immigration system to ensure that we take in the best and brightest migrants who’ll strengthen our economy and our NHS.

We’ll offer a path forward where our union can take a priority, where we deliver on our promises to Scottish voters but make clear that British and Scottish businesses, public services and taxpayers benefit when we can support each other. The Labour Party will talk endlessly about Trade Unions, but there’s only one union that I prioritise: the Act of Union, which created the most successful and prosperous partnership the world has ever been. I want us to end the divisive language, the pettiness and the oneupmanship between nations and ensure we build on that partnership and utilise it to bring prosperity to Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

We’ll offer a path forward where we can build on important work to tackle climate change. We won’t use it to justify more red tape and more directives from Whitehall, but with investment, working with businesses and industry that hold the key to tackling climate change and by understanding that by working together we can all take the necessary action to fight climate change and build a cleaner, greener vision for Britain – all while supporting communities, households and businesses across the country who have already felt the effects of climate change by creating an ambitious insurance scheme that will protect them from devastation should their community be flooded. And, conference, we’ll put our money where our mouth is and legislate a net zero carbon target by 2050.

We’ll offer a path forward where we’ll not just say we’re pro-business in the hope that it’ll stop scathing write ups in financial broadsheets and tabloids, who are rightfully terrified that a man who built his political career with Marxists is now in Number 10, but show we’re pro-business in our policies. Where Labour sees business as a force to be regulated and taxed, we see enormous potential to create wealth, jobs and innovate to solve the social, economic and environmental problems of the day.

We won’t talk about workers getting a raw deal but then introduce regulations that lock them out of employment and prosperity, but ensure we lift businesses and workers up: neither can flourish unless we support the other, conference.

Low pay doesn’t just hurt workers – it takes spending power out of our economy that hurts businesses. The government’s flexible jobs ban doesn’t just hurt businesses, but it hurts parents, students and pensioners that benefit from flexible work.

We understand concerns around zero hours contracts. But instead of a blanket ban that damages the hospitality industry, flexible workers and our public services we’ll call for a compromise solution: that exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts will be banned, and that if an employee is employed at a company or organisation for more than six months, they must be offered a permanent contract. Conference, this solution is compassionate Conservatism in action: it ensures workers are safeguarded but that a million job and flexible working isn’t just taken into the equation.

And our Living Wage Incentive is proof of how we can support both workers and businesses. Instead of more regulations or using our welfare state to continue to subsidise poverty, we will create an incentive for work that pays. We would give businesses the funds to give their workers a real living wage – living so many out of poverty, cutting our welfare bill and boosting wages by between £2000 to £5000 for the lowest paid. It’s a bold solution but an inherently conservative one, conference, and it is just the beginning of where compassionate conservatism can take us. We don’t have to pick between ending low pay and supporting businesses – we can do both. We don’t have to pick between limiting welfare spending and helping the poorest – we can do both.

And we don’t have to pick between our conservative values and our NHS, conference. We can do both. And we will do both.

The NHS is a great British institution. One we, as conservatives, must aim to conserve.

I’ll make it clear that the National Health Service will be my number one priority if I were to become Prime Minister, conference. I will do everything to make it work for its staff and for its patients. I will work tirelessly around the clock to ensure we see lower waiting times, higher patient satisfaction and stronger health outcomes.

I already made it clear when the very first policy I unveiled as Conservative leader was to announce a 5% funding floor for our health service, to ensure we were being fiscally responsible but giving the NHS what it needed to thrive. While Labour implements regulations that costs our NHS hundreds of millions, I will lead a Conservative Party that promises to invest billions.

But it means nothing to throw money at our Health Service, conference. We have to ensure it is efficient and it delivers for patients. Our NHS offers a world class service we’re all immensely proud of, but on some statistics such as cancer deaths the United Kingdom falls shamefully behind. That doesn’t just shame our country – it shames our health service. We know it can be better. A Conservative government led by me will make it better.

I would first work to create an NHS that works not for Whitehall, but for the people it was created for: for its patients. That is why a Conservative government would create an independent Office for Patient Outcomes – OPO – which can be a single, authoritative source of information for patients and government and can assist the government and NHS trusts in establishing a strategy where patient outcomes are not satisfactory.

With this information, we can create clear strategies on areas that need to be prioritised, with the OPO setting out the cost and provisions necessary and the government obliged to meet those funding commitments.

Under a Conservative government, we’d lay down the groundwork to ensure that we can be honest with the British public where the NHS needs improvements and lay out the action necessary to address them. And my commitment is this: with the help of the OPO, the Conservative government I lead would turn around the ship so that we leave government not with the status quo, one of the worst cancer survival rates in the world. We’d make sure we leave with one of the best survival rates in the world.

All of these policies aren’t just policies that have come out of a thinktank or focus group. They are fundamental to our values: compassionate conservatism that knows the power of business, the power of work and the preciousness of our union and the institutions within it. The country has yet to see the power of a compassionate Conservative government with a majority – but I know that is the fresh start this country needs.

And conference, with the ideas we’ve laid out, and the vision we’ve laid out, accompanied with the brilliant speakers, thinkers and future Ministers you’ve seen, I know we can deliver that fresh start we’ve promised.

Thank you.
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