The Conservative Conference that took place from the 4th to the 7th of October gave the party a chance to counter the Labour party’s conference, and it was a chance that Prime Minister David Cameron took with open arms as he lay into newly-elected Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn.
“We cannot let that man inflict his security-threatening, terrorist-sympathising, Britain-hating ideology on the country we love” he told his audience. Cameron was also very critical of Labour’s economic ideas, claiming they were not offering “any sensible, reasonable, rational arguments on the economy”, before later adding that “Labour ideas don’t help the poor, they hurt the poor”.
The Prime Minister’s speech wasn’t all anti-Labour though, as he declared “an all-out assault on poverty” and that he would strive to increase social mobility and take on social problems.
Cameron was also very passionate in wanting his time in power to be known as the “turnaround decade”, the decade people will look back on and say it was when people finally felt as though the current was with them not against them. “You cannot have true opportunity without equality”, Cameron stated during the portion of his speech aimed at eradicating discrimination towards ethnic minorities and the LGBTQAI+ community, much to the cheer of the audience.
Chancellor George Osborne took his speech as an opportunity to appeal towards Labour voters not impressed with the recent Labour leadership, by urging his fellow Conservatives to “extend our hand” to those who feel “abandoned” by the way in which Labour seems to be shifting,
He was also keen to stress the idea that the Conservatives have created a “new centre ground”, and that they were in fact “the true party of Labour”. Policy-wise, one of the biggest announcements was that councils in England would keep the proceeds from business rates raised in their areas in what Osborne called “the biggest transfer of power to local government in living memory”. Osborne also said that his party needs to increase investment in Northern England.
Iain Duncan Smith, work and pension secretary, took his opportunity to state that the current Government needs to “rededicate itself” to its shake up of welfare, and that it was the Conservative’s job to “restore people’s lives”.
Duncan Smith kept up the idea of criticising Labour, saying that his party would continue to fight the “something for nothing” benefit culture they inherited from the last Labour government. Conservative welfare policy is “rooted in human nature, not utopianism nor empty pity”, said the Work and Pension Secretary, as well as claiming that now that, now they were no longer in coalition with the Liberal Democrats, the party would continue its reshaping of the welfare state.
London Mayor Boris Johnson echoed his fellow party members by saying that the government needs to be supportive and encouraging towards the “hardest working and lowest paid” as “we reform welfare and we cut taxes”.