05/10/2011 Today at Conference


Andrew Neil presents highlights of the Conservative Party's annual conference in Manchester.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 05/10/2011. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Welcome to our final round up of the Conservative Party conference,


here in Manchester, indeed our final round up of the party season


2011. One year ago, David Cameron told the Conservative conference


that the British economy was out of the dangers are. Today, in the run-


up to his speech, we learnt that economic growth had slowed to zero,


that the recession was deeper than we had thought, and that the


eurozone crisis had just entered an even more dangerous phase. Mr


Cameron made his speech against the backdrop of the grimmest economic


outlook since the IMF bailed out of this country in the mid- 1970s.


Here are the highlights. I do not underestimate how worried people


feel. But the truth is, the Government now, we need to be


energised, not paralysed by gloom and fear. Half the world is booming.


Let's go and say to them, so many of our communities are thriving.


There is so much that is great about our country, so let us reject


the pessimism, let us and bring on the can-do optimism, and fight for


a better future for our country, Now, of course, that starts with


our economy. As we meet here in Manchester, the threat to the world


economy, and to Britain, is as serious as in 2008, when world


recession loomed. The eurozone is in crisis, the French and German


economies have slowed to a standstill. Even mighty America is


questioned about her debts. It is an anxious time. Prices and bills


keep going up - petrol, electricity, the weekly shop. On the news it is


job losses, cutbacks, closures. You think about tuition fees, house


prices, the cost of a deposit, you wonder how our children will manage.


Of course, government can help, and this one is. The answer is


straightforward but uncomfortable. This was not a normal recession, it


was a debt crisis. It was caused by too much borrowing, by individuals,


banks, businesses, and most of all, by governments. The only way out of


a debt crisis is to deal with your debts. That's why households are


peeing down the credit card and the store card bills. It means banks


getting the books in order, and it means governments all over the


world cutting spending and living within their means. Our whole


deficit reduction programme is really just one big bail-out of the


last Labour government. We have been subjected to a kind of


national apology Tour by Labour these last few months. Sorry for


sucking up to Gaddafi, for not regulating the banks, for crushing


civil liberties, for failing to go green, for not building enough


houses. But nothing, not a peep, on the thing they really need to say


sorry for, wasting billions and billions of your money. No apology


Do you know what the shadow Chancellor said last week? That


Labour did not spend any more money than they had available. Ed - use


spent �428 billion more than you had available. And there is only


one conclusion you can draw from this - we must never ever let these


people anywhere near a our economy ever again. So, to the unions


planning to strike over public sector pensions, I say this - you


have a very right to protest, but our population is ageing, our


public sector pension system is unaffordable, the only way to give


public sector workers a decent, sustainable pension system, which I


want to, and to do right by the taxpayer, is to ask public servants


to work a little longer and to pay a little more. That is fair. What


is not fair, what is not right, is going on strike and hitting the


very people that are helping to pay for your future pension. There is


too much can't-do sogginess around. We cannot go on with the rigid,


outdated employment legislation of the past. I know that people will


say, what about workers' rights? We must not forget the most important


right of all, the right to have a This government is providing


funding for an extra 250,000 apprenticeships across this


Parliament. But we're not getting enough back from big business. So,


here is a direct appeal - if you want skilled employees, we will


provide the funding, we will cut the red tape, but you have got to


show the leadership and give us the apprenticeships this country so


Our businesses need the space to grow, literally. And that is one of


the reasons we are reforming our planning system. It is hard to


blame local people for opposing developments, when they get so few


benefits. We are changing that. I know people are worried about what


this means for conservation. Let me tell you, I love our countryside, I


would never do anything to put it at risk. But we have got to get the


balance right. To those who oppose everything we do, my message is


this - take your arguments down to the JobCentre, because we're going


to get Britain back to work. In Britain today, we do have a group


of schools which are utterly intolerant of failure, where 90% of


pupils get five good GCSEs. Yes, private schools. You have heard me


talk about social responsibility. I want to see private schools and


academies in the state system. Wellington College does it, Dulwich


does it, others can, too. The apartheid between private and state


education is one of the biggest wasted opportunities in our country


today. Let it be us, the Conservative Party, who help to


I am incredibly fortunate in leading his party -- leading his


party. I have had incredible support from all of our previous


leaders. In this party, we do not boo our leaders. We are proud of


what they have done for our party and for our country. A few months


ago, we were all shocked by the scenes on the streets in London and


in other parts of the country. But perhaps almost the most shocking


thing is that people were not that surprised. There was no great call


for a public inquiry to find out what had gone wrong. Instead, I


think you could hear the angry, insistent, overwhelming cry of the


country shouting to its leaders - we know. One of the things that


people want his speedy justice. After the riots, those responsible


were put straight into court, and tough sentences were quickly handed


out. I have made it clear to the police, the prosecution services,


the Ministry of Justice, that if we can do that then, let us do it all


But we all know that the problems go deeper. That is why my driving


ambition in politics is to build that bigger, stronger society. I


stood before a Conservative conference once, and I said it


should not matter whether commitment was between a man and a


woman, or a man and a man, or a woman and a woman. You applauded me.


Five years on, we are consulting on legalising gay marriage. To anyone


who has reservations, I say this - yes, it is about equality, but it


is also about something else, commitment. Conservatives believe


in the ties that bind us, that society is stronger when we make


vows to each other and we support each other. I do not support gay


marriage in spite of being a Conservative, a support gay


marriage because I am are Conservative. -- I am a


Conservative. Next year we're going to welcome the world for the


Olympics and for the Queen's diamond Jubilee. These two events


so a lot about Britain - tradition and maternity all-in-one. Today, we


can choose to be a country that back on its feet and striding


forward, playing down our debt and earning a living, getting people


off welfare and into work, breaking new ground in education with


excellence for Everyone. Britain never had the biggest population,


the largest land mass, the richest resources, but we had the spirit.


It is not the size of the dog in the fight, it is the size of the


fight in the dock. Overcoming the challenge, reinventing ourselves,


confounding the sceptics! That is what we do. It is called leadership.


Let this time of challenge be turned into a time of opportunity.


Not sitting around watching things happen and wondering again, but


standing up, making things happen, and asking, why not? We have the


ideas, we have the people, and now we have a government which is


freeing those people, backing those ideas. Let us show the world some


fight, let us pull together and Most commentators did not regard it


as his finest conference speech, and many were surprised that he did


not dwell more on the precarious international financial situation,


which could turn out to be even more serious than the financial


meltdown of 2008. Perhaps the speech can best be summed up by the


old wartime slogan, keep calm and carry on. I spoke to the Foreign


Secretary, William Hague, after the speech and suggested to him that


Britain really was back in the I don't think it would be fair to


say that. The triple A credit rating was maintained when other


countries were being reduced. I think it is fair to say that the


global economic danger zone has been enlarged, if you like, but it


would be the wrong attitude to say we are back in the danger zone, and


the economy has been growing. defect is a disorderly default in


Greece -- but if there is a disorderly defaulting Greece and


there are no measures put in to stop the contagion, we will be


swept up in that. Virtually the entire western world would be


affected, very seriously. I often use the analogy of the Belding


building with no exit the we have to support the quenching of the


fire. George Osborne was there at the finance ministers' meeting in


Luxembourg last week and was producing some of the ideas as well


as urging them before the G20 summit to take the necessary action.


Of course it involves a recapitalising the banks and making


sure the euro-zone country work more closely together. The if there


is a burning building with no exits, had you put the fire out? You have


to use all your resources. How do you getting? That may be taking the


matter for a bit far. It is your metaphor. The serious point is


there is no clear exit. The Eurozone is a symptom of a wider


problem of debt and deficit in Western nations because the


Eurozone is not well designed it really shows the pressure. It


applies in the United States as well. It applies in this country


where the deficits have been too great and we are dealing with that


and we have seen the Prime Minister, the man who gives the necessary


leadership. But she cannot give the leadership to the Eurozone. We are


not part of it. Unlike the banking crisis in 2008 where because of


London's position we were a central part of this we are now spectators


or, at best, sensible critics from the sidelines. Hopefully we are


sensible critics. We are a bit more than spectators. It does involve us


and because we are one of the principal players in subscribing to


the International Monetary Fund... However when the IMF takes action,


Britain is part of it. We have increased our subscription


accordingly, so we are more than spectators. And as a big player in


the financial world I think what the Chancellor of Britain says he's


taken seriously. The throughout the conference people have told us


although growth is anaemic, growth has carried on, but that has turned


out not to be true. It is true the growth figures have changed. There


has been no growth. Over the last year the economy has grown. So when


ministers have told us the economy has growing, it turned out with


revision they were wrong. This economy is not growing. We don't


have the figures for now, of course. We have them for the nine months


until the summer. Do we expect things to be growing? I am not


going to forecast economic figures. Over the last year the economy has


not grown. It has not grown since the end of the third quarter of


last year. The figures have been revised but they're still has been


growth in the economy. Of course we won the economy to grow more


strongly and that is what so many of these measures are about. You


look at the housing figures and the announcement the Prime Minister


referred to, 200,000 more homes, but 400,000 new jobs. These are the


sort of announcement necessary to help growth, which is of causes low


or anaemic, whatever expression you want to use. It is zero at the


moment. We will see what the figures show when it comes to this


quarter. Why does the government says we should pay down credit card


debt and household debt when the government is adding half a


trillion pounds to its own debt? One of the things we are doing is


bringing government debt under control. It is going up because of


the inheritance we have. I think everyone agrees that what George


Osborne has announced in the Budget brings down the government deficit.


But debt is heading for almost 1.5 trillion. So wide you get tomorrow


-- borrow more and we have to pay off our credit cards? There are two


points in this. We are saving �85 billion over four years from


government spending so the stock of debt will not go over as quickly


over previous plans. The deficits are bring board down. We are not


telling people what to do with their credit cards. People have


been paying down a credit card bills. And an economy that is


vulnerable to high levels of debt, the bank level, the government


level, that is vulnerable in this situation. A subdued conference?


Are you a bit worried? I think this was a confident conference. The


fact we have had the biggest argument over CHC is a successful


conference. Realistic, but optimistic. Realistic but an


optimistic speech from the Prime Minister. We might be fighting the


quick -- economic equivalent of war, but we are still fighting real wars


in Afghanistan and Libya. So up popped the Defence Secretary Liam


Fox to explain away the defence cuts which so annoyed his party


faithful. This is a flavour of what he had to say. Not a day passes


without me thinking how lucky I am to work with the men and women in


uniform, or how humble die down by the great responsibility. That is


why I am determined to get the Ministry of Defence back into shape


after more than a decade of chaos and a Labour. We always knew it


would be hard, especially with a �38 billion black hole in the MoD


budget. But the national deficit left behind by Labour also has a


direct impact on our national security and our standing in the


world. You can be strong if you're broke. That is what Labour always


fails to understand. George Osborne has Binstead fast in his


determination to deal with the deficit -- has been that Stead fast


-- and he has my support. The nation lives within its means and


every department has to do its bit, but even after the MoD contribution


to deficit deduction -- reduction, we still have the 4th largest


defence budget in the world. And we continue to be one of only five


countries out of 28 in NATO meeting our 2% GDP obligation. Libya has


shown that Britain remains a global player. Our armed forces carried


out the evacuation of more than 1,400 UK and other nationals. The


RAF contributed 20 % of all coalition airstrikes. The Nato-led


mission will continue. That is until we are satisfied that the


people of Libya are no longer threatened by remnants of the


former regime. And although the campaign is not yet over, the


Libyan people can now shape their own destiny in a way that was


unthinkable to them even six months ago. There are those in Europe who


are calling for the EU to take a greater role in Europe's security.


Let me tell you, Europe already has a guarantor of its defence. It is


called NATO. It is nonsense to duplicate and diverge from NATO at


a time when resources are scarce, and the last thing we need is more


What really riles so many Tories is that while defences being cut, the


foreign aid budget is being increased will stop I asked the


International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell what it was like to


preside over the most unpopular policy at the conference. I think


it is getting better understood, and increasingly popular. Some of


the polling suggests it is the case. I had the chance to make a speech


at the conference on Sunday where I set out the reasons for this, that


even in these extremely difficult economic times we have a plan which


stands by our commitments on developments and we do this because


it is the right thing to do, and the national interest. Do you


accept there could be circumstances where you can keep to the


commitment? It is a commitment predicated on the size of the


national cake, not a fixed figure. That is the right commitment to


make and we have set out quite clearly, as George Osborne did


earlier this year, what our spending plans are and we have


every intention of sticking to the plans. But if the economy goes into


recession, which is now a possibility, because you don't have


to blame the government for that, and if the Eurozone goes into


meltdown and unemployment starts to soar and living standards collapse


even more, we will still continue with our commitment to spend


billions on oversee the -- overseas aid? We are clear on this, and it


is the right thing and you see the British support across this to the


disaster in the Horn of Africa where although times are more


straitened than the past, people asked -- are more general. It is


part of the British character, but it is part of national security.


The budget goes to ensure we are more secure. The security is not


only gain by guns and bullets but also by training the police in


Afghanistan, building up government structures in Middle East, getting


girls into school in the Horn of Africa. The youth except that if


the conference was a Democratic gathering -- do you accept that if


the conference was a Democratic gathering them about 70 % of the


people they would rather stop the collapse in police numbers and the


cuts in defence than finance your department's budget? Do you accept


that is the reality? They may be wrong or right, but that is the


reality? The I think the number of people in the Conservative Party


there have reservations about the development budget is falling all


the time, and the reason is we are getting across the point that it is


the right thing to do and in our national interest and we have made


our plans which clearly were set out by the government and have


secured international recognition and respect, which is why we have


German rates of interest although we have Greek levels of debt, and


those plans include giving strong support to the police and making


sure the front line is preserved and making sure we have strong


defence forces of the country, which was the result of the vote


last year, and standing by commitments and not Balancing books


on the back of the poorest people here in Britain or overseas. Sombre


and muted sum up the Dome -- mood in Manchester this week except from


a brief flap about a cat. We asked Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail for


his take. Leadership for a better future, that is the slogan in


Manchester. But it was a leader from the past to start to the


conference of. William Hague. Last year he had a streaky time with the


activists. There had been a row about him sharing a bedroom with a


special adviser, but this year the relationship between William Hague


and the activists is back on. Good speech. Now we are embarked on the


most difficult, challenging and urgent task of our lives. To take a


country that Gordon Brown and all of the people called Edu who ran


the Labour Party to make it strong and confident again, and that is


what we are determined to do. That is a magnificent sight. Real


tweak. Fantastic examples of the old-fashioned Tory. On the whole,


the activists here, if they are activists, have been suited chances,


the smell of Commerce, what happened to the Tory party of the


shires? The Tory conference is the only time we ever see Steve Hilton,


the Svengali like figure in Downing Street. Sometimes we spot the man.


And there he was, rare footage, showing him with an influential


backbencher. Was he leaning on him? Last week you said the government


policy was incoherent and inconsistent. What has changed?


you can see consistency in a speech and it is a huge step forward. It


will be widely welcomed by people in the country. You have not been


nobbled by Downing Street? You know me well enough. Talking to back


pensions is not the only arm bending it goes on. Look at this --


backbenchers. Look at this. That is the sort of thing the Treasury does


to statistics. Let's be honest, all politicians dream of standing here


at the door of Number Ten. One who dreams it more than those days


Boris Johnson. The Mayor of London gave his routine speech, so routine


that some of it were reheated from last year, but the delegates liked


him and he goes down very well. But is he really credible for this


place? I'm not convinced. We are also insisting on homes big enough


for families with children and rooms that are big enough for human


beings rather than whole bits. -- Hobbit. None of us are getting any


smaller, as you might have noticed. Boris lacks the seriousness of


George Osborne. The Chancellor gave a speech about deficit reduction


and did have the patina of gravity. Yet his speech did not somehow lift


off. The activists gave him respectable applause, but the


clapping was no stronger than you would find at a county cricket


match. We are in a debt crisis. It is not a normal recovery. You


So we reach the end of conference season and I cannot say on Surrey.


There has been a decadence here. It was the same as the Labour


conference and the Liberal Democrats. We have not been able to


take the cameras into the bars late at night but the drinking has been


sybaritic and the lobbying, I tell you, if the voters and viewers of


Britain knew what went on at these events they would be horrified.


That is it from Manchester, indeed for the party conference courante -


- coverage on 2011. The day the Prime Minister tried to convince us


there would be good times ahead but only after we got through the


horrendous economic outlook. The Tories left Manchester today


knowing that their political fate depends on how well Mr Cameron and


his team whether the gathering economic storms. I'll be back with


The Daily Politics on BBC Two tomorrow at noon and I'll be back


Download Subtitles