Sunday, 11 October 2015

Thoughts post Manchester conference: a younger, more socially liberal, more diverse Conservative Party

We need to like modern Britain more and be more like modern Britain.

So said a reformer from yesteryear and you could see it all around Manchester this last week, whether it was at the Women2Win event on Sunday night, which thronged with hundreds of female councillors, candidates, MPs and more who are eager and active in getting involved in modern politics and serving their country, or the changed audience attending events in the hall; Manchester saw an audience which are clearly younger, more ethnically diverse, more aspirational and more socially tolerant of modern Britain. But most of all you saw it in the PMs speech this week, which I have now had a chance to read in full. The full extract is below but savour these sentences from the PM, which spell out the change that is going on, for a second:

"The party of working people, the party for working people – today, tomorrow, always.
Ten years ago, I stood on a stage just like this one and said if we changed our party we could change our country.
We’ve done that – together.
I didn’t campaign on the NHS alone – you joined me.
It wasn’t just me who put social justice, equality for gay people, tackling climate change, and helping the world’s poorest at the centre of the Conservative Party’s mission – we all did.
And I didn’t select our candidates – it was you.
Look who was elected in May.
Nusrat Ghani, whose parents, just a generation ago, were living in a small village in Kashmir.
Seema Kennedy, who was five when she and her family were forced to flee revolutionary Iran.
Five years ago, Johnny Mercer was on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan. Caught in an ambush, he was left cradling a dear comrade as he lay fatally wounded.
Just days before the election, Scott Mann was doing his postal round in Cornwall – delivering not just his own campaign leaflets, but his rivals’ too.

Different journeys, often difficult journeys, all leading here.

So let us hear it for them now – the new generation of Conservative MPs.

Round the cabinet table, a third of my colleagues are women.

A few months ago, we were discussing childcare.

It was introduced by the Black British son of a single parent, Sam Gyimah.

He was backed up by the daughter of Gujarati immigrants who arrived in our country from East Africa with nothing except the clothes they stood up in, Priti Patel…

…and the first speaker was Sajid Javid, whose father came here from Pakistan to drive the buses.

This is what we’ve done together.

And now with couples married because of us…
…working people backed because of us…
…the NHS safe because of us…
…and children in the poorest parts of the world saved because of us…
…everyone in this hall can be incredibly proud of our journey – the journey of the modern, compassionate, One Nation Conservative Party."

Full speech is here: