I wasn't in Manchester to listen to the Prime Minister's speech today. I really hurt my back on Monday so I'm at home in quite a bit of pain and feeling sorry for myself.
Rather than listen to his speech in the hall, I've just read it and it contains a really moving section that, for me, perfectly describes what modern Conservatives should stand for. I wanted to share it with you:
“I have a simple question to the people in this hall and beyond it...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…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…our dreams are about helping people get on in life…
“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.
“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...
“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…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...
“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.
“And underpinning it all is that deep, instinctive belief that if you trust people and give them the tools, they will succeed. This party at its heart is about big people, strong communities, responsible businesses, a bigger society - not a bigger state.
“It’s how we’ve been clearing up the mess. And it’s how we’re going to build something better in its place.”
If David Cameron can convince a sceptical public that he really means to create a society where what you achieve depends not on where you're from, your gender or the colour of your skin but on the talent you have and the effort you put in, that this is his passion and the test he will apply to every policy, then he'll win the next Election and what's more he'll deserve to.