Sayeeda Warsi Conference Speech 2011
Sunday 2nd October 2011
(Check against delivery)
A year ago we met as one party with one purpose.
To work together in the national interest.
Things were different.
We had a coalition government.
We were in uncharted territory and we faced uncertain times.
But our commitment to the British people was unbreakable.
And today, Conference, as we meet with stock markets falling, the US economy stalling,
And tough times in the Eurozone, we are giving Britain the leadership she needs.
This government – this coalition government – is showing determined, responsible, political will.
Making the tough calls. Rolling up our sleeves. And dealing with our debts.
So Conference, let me tell you: last year I promised we would get to grips with the deficit.
And this year: I promise you, we are sticking to it.
Now I know that up and down the country people are facing tough times.
Families are making sacrifices: not having holidays, doing extra shifts, switching from buying fresh to frozen and thinking twice before they take the car for that journey
And as winter approaches, families are thinking how high are those bills going to be?
I know how that feels.
My father lost his job, he too faced unemployment.
And yes, it was tough, yes life seemed difficult.
But ask every parent, every mother, every father, every family.
Give them the choice: the good life now…max out your credit cards…live beyond your means
Or a stable, secure future for your children.
They would choose children.
We would choose children.
And this government is building for tomorrow as well as today.
We’re protecting the NHS.
Lifting the poorest out of tax.
Reforming schools to give kids the best possible start in life.
And by getting people off benefits and into work
We’re restoring people’s dignity and hope.
But at the same time we’re doing something fundamental:
Making sure this generation does not bankrupt the next!
Not saddling them with our debts
Not maxing out the country’s credit card.
But building a better future for our children.
SOMETHING FOR NOTHING
That’s the leadership we are showing for Britain.
But Conference, we all know what leadership is not.
Ed Miliband and the Labour Party.
So let me read you my favourite bits from Ed Miliband’s speech last week.
“Over the last few years we’ve seen a series of crises hitting our country.”
I agree with that.
“We’ve seen decent people with the right values losing out to those with the wrong ones.”
I agree with that.
“An economy and a society too often rewarding not the right people with the right values, but the wrong people with the wrong values.”
I really agree with that.
And he goes on:
“A something for nothing culture.”
“Take what you can.
“Fill your boots”
“Who cares as long as you can get away it”
Well we all agree with all of that:
But I ask this:
Mr. Miliband if you truly believe what you say:
Where on earth have you been for the last thirteen years??
It’s your government that created the something for nothing culture!
It’s your Party that took out more than you put in!
And it’s you who gave us a welfare system where it doesn’t pay to work
So let me tell you what I think the something for nothing culture is:
Pensioners who need care being forced to sell their homes.
Hardworking people earning less than those who play the system.
Head teachers not being able to expel disruptive pupils.
A tax system that penalises single mothers for getting a part time job.
People on housing benefit living in houses that hardworking families cannot afford.
Bogus colleges being used for immigration scams.
Squatters getting legal aid.
And do you know what the worst example is?
Reckless, irresponsible, self-interested, politicians spending millions of pounds we do not have and saddling our kids with the bills.
That’s what I call an unfair, freeloading, something for nothing culture.
And it’s them, it’s Labour that created it!
The point about politics is it’s so easy to duck the difficult decisions.
It’s so tempting to say: “let’s leave this for the next lot to sort out”.
It would be the simplest thing in the world to say to all those protestors outside:
“You know what, let’s just carry on spending money we do not have”.
But that is not what I call Leadership.
That is the politics of convenience.
Leadership means doing the right thing even when it’s unpopular.
Leadership is being straight with people…not telling them what they want to hear.
And it means putting party politics aside….and working for the long-term good of the country.
Labour never got this in government
And they haven’t even learnt it in opposition
They play to the gallery.
Jump on every bandwagon.
Say one thing and do another
But let me tell them what the real irony is:
In the end, it just doesn’t wash.
The British people see right through it.
Look at the local elections.
Everyone said the voters would punish us.
The pundits said we’d lose a thousand seats.
But we didn’t
We made gains.
We increased our councillors.
We won new councils.
All because you went out and told it as it is.
Now I’m not saying things have always been easy for our Party.
Things didn’t look so rosy when Conservative HQ was under siege.
That November day when some students paid us a visit.
Surrounded our offices.
And kicked off their demo.
But it’s the job of the chairman to stay calm in a crisis.
So we locked down the office, we protected the picture of Her Majesty, we prepared to defend the statue of Lady T.
It was at that point I got a phone call from Korea.
It was the Prime Minister at the G20.
He said: “Hi Sayeeda, is everything ok?”
I said: “fine Prime Minister, everything is under control”.
He said: “That’s not how it looks on Korean TV!
“….I see protestors on the roof, and fires in the reception.”
I replied: “Oh no Prime Minister, that’s just propaganda, you know what Korean State TV is like”
“Sayeeda, cut the nonsense, I’m in South Korea.”
And as a Party, let me tell you what we delivered this year.
First, we defeated AV.
I knew it was wrong.
You knew it was wrong.
I said we would fight it.
I called it the mother of elections.
An election that would affect every single general election to come.
And Conference, this party delivered the mother of all results.
And do you know how we did it?
Because we were a strong, powerful, united Party.
We worked together as part of one team.
And in the last twelve months, whether it’s the Policy Forum; the Office of the Voluntary Party; better websites; a big membership drive; new support for sitting MPs – everything has been geared to bringing us together.
So when Vince Cable, Dr. Cable tells us that we are a “ruthless, tribal and calculating” campaign machine –
We know we are doing something right!
So let’s gets on to next year.
Now I believe in Boris.
I believe he is a great mayor for a great city.
On crime, on transport, on cutting waste in City Hall, Boris is delivering for London.
What’s more, I like working with him
I love campaigning with him
So we will do whatever it takes to make sure he wins!
Because, as the world descends on London next year
as we host the Olympics and celebrate the Jubilee
can you imagine if Red Ken is the face we present to the world?!
Plus, next year we’ve got another set of local elections.
So let’s get out there.
Win those Council seats.
Win those metropolitan councils
And let’s back Boris to win!
Now I know I sometimes say things that get me in trouble.
But let me let you in on something.
As proud as I am of the Coalition, as charming as Chris Huhne is to me –
I have a single driving ambition as Chairman of this Party:
To win an outright Conservative Majority in 2015.
Now if that didn’t ruffle a few feathers let me say something else.
Winning an outright majority in 2015 means we must win in all parts of Britain as it is today.
That means reaching out and connecting and attracting people from every corner of the country and every community.
It means broadening and widening and deepening our appeal.
It means we’ve got to speak to every kind of person from every kind of background.
That is the challenge David Cameron set when he became leader.
He said it’s not enough simply to say: the door is open.
We must walk out and welcome new people in.
Britain is changing and we must keep changing.
Adapting and reaching out.
Not in the way that the Left do.
Not by Labour’s cynical pandering.
But by saying loudly and proudly that our values are the values of Britain’s communities.
So today I make this appeal:
To every person in this land
To every Christian, Hindu, Jew, Sikh and Muslim…
To people of all faiths and of none
To every person, Black, White or Brown
Of every culture, every community, every sexuality, able or disabled
Every class and every creed
Join the Party that attracted me.
This is the modern, Compassionate Conservative Party.
A Party that’s open, that’s inclusive, that’s welcoming.
That believes in what you believe.
Hard work. Fair Play.
Respect for your Elders. Support for the family
Hand ups, not hand outs.
A belief in opportunity
Where every child has the chance to succeed.
A belief in fairness
Where those with the broadest shoulders share the biggest burden.
And a belief in responsibility
Where you reap what you sow.
If you share that vision
Sign up to our mission.
Because I want every community to make this Party its home.
So broadening our appeal.
Winning in the cities.
Growing our grassroots across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
All these things are vital for 2015.
And that starts now.
Every pound we raise.
Every pound we spend.
Every leaflet we deliver.
Every call we make.
Every candidate we select.
Every member we take.
It’s all about 2015.
Because if we truly want a Compassionate Conservative Britain governed by Compassionate Conservative Party
Then in 2015 you, me, we must deliver an outright Conservative majority.