Isabel Hardman Isabel Hardman

Conservative conference: David Cameron to warn that Britain must ‘do or decline’

David Cameron’s speech today to the Conservative party conference will be deeply personal, and deeply challenging. I understand that the Prime Minister is going to weave in stories from his own life: pushing his late son around in his wheelchair, and his late father’s own story. He will say:

‘It’s only when your dad’s gone that you realise – not just how much you really miss them – but how much you really owe them. My dad influenced me much more than I ever thought.’

These this-is-who-I-am details will help the Prime Minister talk about his vision for the Conservative party, and his vision for the country too. It’s not dissimilar to the approach Ed Miliband took in his own speech last week. But the vision this week is more stark: Cameron sees Britain and other countries at a terrifying crossroads:

‘Unless we act, unless we take difficult, painful decisions, unless we show determination and imagination, Britain may not be in the future what it has been in the past. Because the truth is this. We’re in a global race today. And that means an hour of reckoning for countries like ours. Sink or swim. Do or decline.’

It will be interesting to see what the Prime Minister says he still needs to do to ensure Britain swims. And whether he fleshes out what might happen as a result of other countries sinking, which he seems to paint as an inevitability.

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