Thank you can I thank everyone for those endorsements, can I thank all those presentations you have just heard and as George said isn’t it great to have Ken Clarke back in the team. When I tried to persuade him to rejoin the shadow cabinet he was on a bird watching holiday in Central America but I’m glad he put down those binoculars and came ready to serve.
I’d like to thank James Dyson and Ken Baker. I used to work for Ken Baker. It’s great, he’s now working for me. Although I’m not sure that’s how he sees it.
But above all today I want to thank all of you, all of the people who work for our party and support our party. This year we have achieved a huge amount in those local elections, in those European elections.
We won in the West Country, beating the Liberals.
We won in the midlands, beating labour just about everywhere.
Nottinghamshire. Staffordshire. Even Derbyshire.
We won in Wales, the first party since the time of Lloyd George to beat Labour
And we won right here in the North West, taking Lancashire for the first time in 3 decades.
And there was something special, something we did last year in Crewe and something we did again this year. Winning a by-election in a seat Labour thought safe – winning in Norwich and let’s hear it for Chloe Smith.
My friends, this is such an important week for us.
We have been coming to these conferences the past 12 years and talking about our plans, talking about our policies, talking about the people we want to help – well this time we have a real chance of making a difference.
12 years gone, just 7 months to go. 60 million hopes resting on our shoulders.
We must not let Britain down.
So let’s make this the week
Let’s make this the week, not when we talk to ourselves, not when we spend all the time talking about our opponents.
Let this be the week we talk to the country
About our plans, about our vision, about our team about how we can bring change to this country
All Labour did last week was talk about us.
And do you know what, a lot of it all comes down to this.
Don’t risk youth and inexperience and change because after all we’ve been doing such a great job. What planet are these people living on?
And you know what, if the charge is youth, enthusiasm and energy …. I plead guilty.
Because you know what, there has never been a time when it was more necessary to take a bunch of tired, discredited, disunited, clapped out ministers and sweep them away with a new broom
Let this be the week when we address the immediate crisis facing our country.
A jobs crisis with 2.5 million people unemployed, 2.6 million people on incapacity benefit. One in five of our young people out of work.
What you have heard today is the biggest boldest programme to Get Britain Working that this country has ever seen.
And we do this as a changed party.
A party that knows the damage that unemployment can bring not just to our economy, but to our society.
A party that is not prepared as Labour seems to prepare to write off people who have been on welfare for year after year, but that offers them fresh hope.
A party that today is not just a party of the NHS, not just the party of the environment but the party of jobs of enterprise in Britain here in 2009.
And let this be the week that we confront the biggest crisis of all facing our country.
The crisis of our deficit and of our debt
Next year we are forecast to borrow 14 per cent of our national income. That is twice as much as Denis Healy was borrowing in 1976 when we virtually went bankrupt.
Last week the Prime Minister ignored this problem entirely. It was one of the most irresponsible displays I have seen by a British Prime Minsiter.
We will confront it. We know it is the first duty of a government to keep our country safe and strong and that deficit is a clear and present danger
We know that the first duty of a government is to keep our country safe and strong – and that deficit is a clear and present danger to all of us.
And let this be the week when you see not just a party leader, but a team – and a team that is ready to serve.
Now there are many things that unite the team I am proud to have in my shadow cabinet.
But above all it is a burning desire to prove out society and to help the very poorest and most vulnerable.
When Michael Gove talks about technical schools it is to help the most disadvantaged children in our country.
When Andrew Lansley talks about health inequalities it is to talk about those people who need out NHS most.
And when George Osborne stands up here tomorrow and talks about the deficit and how we’re going to confront it, it is because it is the deficit that threatens higher interest rates, that threatens higher taxes, threatens deeper cuts. It is the deficit and not dealing with it that is the most threatening thing to our public services and those who rely on them most.
Now some people said to me just come to Manchester, keep your head down and let Labour lose the next election.
My friends, let this be the week when we don’t just Labour lose the election but that we show that we deserve to go out and win it.
Not just because we cannot afford be complacent.
Not just because as you’ve been told to win the next election we have to win more seats at one election than we have done at any time in the last 70 years.
But because of this. Because the problems this country face are so severe, the crisis of our public finances are so deep that we need a strong and positive mandate for the changes we know our country needs and we know people are crying out for.
This is not some week of celebration.
Not some week of pointing out Labour’s failures.
It is the week we should square up and look at the British people in the eyes and say:
“we know how deep the problems are, we know how difficult some of the solutions will be but we are ready, together with you, to take this country through some tough times but to better days ahead.”
So with that let us go to work.