The Spectator

Full text: Boris Johnson’s Conservative conference speech

Full text: Boris Johnson's Conservative conference speech
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Isn’t it amazing to be here in person? The first time we have met since you defied the sceptics by winning councils and communities that Conservatives have never won in before – such as Hartlepool. In fact it’s the first time since the general election of 2019 when we finally sent the corduroyed communist cosmonaut into orbit where he belongs.

And why are we back today? For a traditional Tory cheek by jowler? It is because for months we have had one of the most open economies and societies and on July 19 we decided to open every single theatre and every concert hall and night club in England and we knew that some people would still be anxious, so we sent top government representatives to our sweatiest boites de nuit to show that anyone could dance perfectly safely. And wasn’t he brilliant my friends? Let’s hear it for Jon Bon Govi. Living proof that we, you all represent the most jiving hip happening and generally funkapolitan party in the world.

And how have we managed to open up ahead of so many of our friends? You know the answer, its because of the roll-out of that vaccine, a UK phenomenon; the magic potion invented in Oxford university, and bottled in Wales, distributed at incredible speed to vaccination centres everywhere.

I saw the army in action in Glasgow, firing staple guns like carbines as they set up a huge vaccination centre. And in Fermanagh I saw the needles go in like a collective sewing machine. And they vaccinated so rapidly that we were able to do those crucial groups one to four; the oldest and most vulnerable faster than any other major economy in the world; and though the disease has sadly not gone away the impact on death rates has been astonishing.

And I urge you all to get your jabs because every day our vaccine defences are getting stronger and stronger; and you, all of you, and everybody watching made this roll-out possible.

You each made each other safer, so perhaps we should all thank each other; go on – try a cautious fist bump. Because it’s ok now. And we in turn thank the volunteers, the public health workers, the council workers, the pharmacists, but above all our untiring unbeatable unbelievable NHS.

And as a responsible Conservative government we must recognise the sheer scale of their achievement, but recognise also the scale of the challenge ahead.

When I was lying in St Thomas’s hospital last year l looked blearily out of my window at a hole in the ground, between my ICU and another much older Victorian section. And amid the rubble of brick they seemed to be digging a hole for something or indeed someone – possibly me - but the NHS saved me.

And our wonderful nurses pulled my chestnuts out of Tartarean pit. And the other day I went back on a visit, and I saw that the hole had been filled in with three or four gleaming storeys of a new paediatrics unit. And there you have the metaphor my friends for how to build back better now.

We have a huge hole in the public finances. We spent £407 billion on Covid support. And our debt now stands at over two trillion pounds; and waiting lists will almost certainly go up before they come down.

Covid pushed out a great bow wave of cases; people did not or could not seek help; and that wave is now coming back. A tide of anxiety washing into every A and E and every GP: your hip replacement; your mother’s surgery. And this is the priority of the British people

Does anyone seriously imagine that we should not now be raising the funding to sort this out? Is that really the view of responsible conservatives? I can tell you something. Margaret Thatcher would not have ignored this meteorite that has just crashed through the public finances. She would have wagged her finger and said more borrowing now is just higher interest rates and even higher taxes later.

When this country was sick our NHS was the nurse: frontline health care workers: battled against a new disease, selflessly, risking their lives, sacrificing their lives. And it is right that this Party, that has looked after the NHS for most of its history, should be the one to rise to the challenge. 48 new hospitals; 50,000 more nurses; 50m more GP appointments; 40 new diagnostic centres. And fixing those backlogs with real change, because the pandemic not only put colossal pressure on the NHS. It was a lightning flash illumination of a problem we have failed to address for decades.

In 1948, this country created the National Health Service but kept social care local. And though that made sense in many ways generations of older people have found themselves lost in the gap.

When covid broke there were 100,000 beds in the NHS – and 30,000 occupied by people who could have been cared for elsewhere, whether at home or in residential care. And we all know that this problem of delayed discharge is one of the major reasons why it takes too long to get the hospital treatment that your family desperately need and people worry that they will be the one in ten to suffer from the potentially catastrophic cost of dementia wiping out everything they have and preventing them from passing on anything to their families.

And we Conservatives stand by those who have shared our values, thrift and hard work, and who face total destitution in this brutal lottery of old age in which treatment for cancer is funded by the state and care for Alzheimer's is not – or only partly.

And to fix these twin problems of the NHS and social care we aren’t just going to siphon billions of new taxes into crucial services without improving performance. We will use new technology so that there is a single set of electronic records as patients pass between health and social care improving care and ensuring that cash goes to the frontline and not on needless bureaucracy.

When I stood on the steps of Downing Street I promised to fix this crisis and after decades of drift and dither this reforming government, this can do government, this government that got Brexit done, that is getting the vaccine rollout done is going to get social care done.

We are dealing with the biggest underlying issues of our economy and society – the problems that no government has had the guts to tackle before, and I mean the long term structural weaknesses in the UK economy. It is thanks to that vaccine roll-out that we now have the most open economy and the fastest growth in the G7. We have unemployment two million lower than forecast. We have demand surging. And I am pleased to say that after years of stagnation – more than a decade – wages are going up faster than before the pandemic began, and that matters deeply, because we are embarking now on a change of direction that has been long overdue in the UK economy.

We are not going back to the same old broken model with low wages, low growth, low skills, and low productivity, all of it enabled and assisted by uncontrolled immigration. And the answer to the present stresses and strains which are mainly a function of growth and economic revival is not to reach for that same old lever of uncontrolled immigration to keep wages low. The answer is to control immigration, to allow people of talent to come to this country, but not to use immigration as an excuse for failure to invest in people, in skills and in the equipment the facilities the machinery they need to do their jobs. The truckstops – to pick an example entirely at random – with basic facilities where you don’t have to urinate in the bushes.

And that is the direction in which this country is going now, towards a high wage, high skill, high productivity and yes, thereby low tax economy. That is what the people of this country need and deserve, in which everyone can take pride in their work and in the quality of their work.

And yes it will take time, and yes it will sometimes be difficult, but that was the change that people voted for in 2016, and that was the change they voted for again powerfully in 2019. And to deliver that change we will get on with our job of uniting and levelling up across the UK – the greatest project that any government can embark on. We have one of the most imbalanced societies and lop-sided economies of all the richer countries. It is not just that there is a gap between London and the South east and the rest of the country, there are aching gaps within the regions themselves.

What monkey glands are they applying in Ribble Valley? What royal jelly are they eating that they live seven years longer than the people of Blackpool only 33 miles away? Why does half of York’s population boast a degree and only a quarter of Doncaster’s?

This is not just a question of social justice, it is an appalling waste of potential and it is holding this country back because there is no reason why the inhabitants of one part of the country should be geographically fated to be poorer than others or why people should feel they have to move away from their loved ones, or communities to reach their potential.

When Thomas Gray stood in that country churchyard in 1750 and wrote his famous elegy as the curfew tolled the knell of parting day he lamented the wasted talents of those buried around him, the flowers born to blush unseen, the mute inglorious miltons who never wrote a poem because they never got to read, the simple folk who died illiterate and innumerate. And he knew that it was an injustice. Let me ask you, maybe you know, where was he standing when he chewed his pensive quill? Anybody know?

Correct, thank you, he was standing in Stoke Poges. My friends there may be underprivileged parts of this country but Stoke Poges is not now among them. In fact it was only recently determined by the Daily Telegraph – and if you can’t believe that, what can you believe my friends – to be the eighth richest village in England. Since Gray elegised, Buckinghamshire has levelled up to be among the most productive regions in the whole of Europe.

Stoke Poges may still of course have its problems but they are the overwhelmingly caused by the sheer lust of other people to live in or near Stoke Poges: overcrowded trains, endless commutes, too little time with the kids; the constant anxiety that your immemorial view of chalk downland is going to be desecrated by ugly new homes.

And that is why levelling up works for the whole country and is the right and responsible policy, because it helps to take the pressure off parts of the overheating South East while simultaneously offering hope and opportunity to those areas that have felt left behind.

And let us be clear that there is a huge philosophical difference between us and Labour because in their souls they don’t like levelling up, they like levelling down, they like decapitating the tall poppies and taxing the rich till the pips squeak. They dislike academic competition – Latin I hear – and in Islington – I kid you not I have seen it with my own eyes – they like kids to run races where nobody actually wins.

And I have to tell you I don’t believe that is a good preparation for life, let alone for the Olympic games. And if you insist on the economic theory behind levelling up, it is contained in the insight of Wilfredo Pareto – a 19th century Italian figre who floated from the cobwebbed attic of my memories. That there are all kinds of improvements you can make to people’s lives he said without diminishing anyone else.

Rishi will I am sure confirm this and we call these Pareto improvements. And they are the means of levelling up. And the idea in a nutshell it is that you will find talent genius flair imagination enthusiasm everywhere in this country all of them evenly distributed but opportunity is not. And it is our mission as Conservatives to promote opportunity with every tool we have and it is still a grim fact that in this country that some kids will grow up in neighbourhoods that are safer than others and some will be, as Priti was saying, some will be sucked into gangs and some will be at risk of stabbing and shooting, and some will get themselves caught in the one-way ratchet of the criminal justice system and many others will not.

That’s why levelling up means fighting crime, putting more police out on the beat, as we are, and toughening sentences and rolling up the county lines drugs networks as we are – 1100 gone already – and giving the police the powers they need to fight these dealers in death and misery. That’s what we want to do.

And what is Labour’s answer, by the way? To decriminalise hard drugs apparently, to let the gangsters off with a caution, an answer that is straight from the powder rooms of the North London dinner parties and nothing to do with the real needs of this country.

Crime has been falling, and not just by the way, because we took the precaution of locking up the public for much of the last 18 months. But because you have a Conservative government that understands the broken windows theory of crime.

I read a learned article by some lawyer saying we should not bother about pet theft. Well I say to Cruella de Vil QC – if you can steal a dog or a cat, then there is frankly no limit to your depravity. 

And you know those people gluing themselves to roads. I don’t call them legitimate protestors, like some Labour councillors do I, some Labour councillors actually glue themselves to roads. I say they are a confounded nuisance who are blocking ambulances, stopping people go about their daily lives and I am glad Priti is taking new powers to insulate them snugly in prison where they belong!

What I found most incredible of all was the decision by Labour, now led by lefty Islington lawyers, to vote against tougher sentences for serious sexual and violent offenders, and on behalf of the entire government I tell you we will not rest until we have increased the successful prosecutions for rape, because too many lying bullying cowardly men are using the law’s delay to get away with violence against women and we cannot and we will not stand for it.

And I know that there are some who now tell us that we are ungenerous and unfeeling in our attempts to control our borders and I say – don’t give me that. This is the government that stood up to China and announced that we would provide a haven for British overseas nationals in Hong Kong. 30,000 have already applied, and I am really proud to be part of a Conservative government that will welcome 20,000 Afghan people who risked their lives to guide us and translate for us. 

We are doing the right and responsible thing, and speaking as the great grandson of a Turk who fled in fear of his life, I know that this country is a beacon of light and hope for people around the world, provided they come here legally, provided we understand who they are and what they want to contribute, and that is why we took back control of our borders and will pass the borders bill. Because we believe there must be a distinction between someone who comes here legally and someone who doesn’t. And though I have every sympathy with people genuinely in fear of their lives, I have no sympathy whatever with the people traffickers who take thousands of pounds to send children to sea in frail and dangerous craft and we must end this lethal trade. 

We must break the gangsters’ business model and is it not a sublime irony that even in French politics there is now a leading centre right politician calling for a referendum on the EU? Who is now calling for France to reprendre le controle?? It’s good old Michel Barnier. That’s what happens if you spend a year trying to argue with Lord Frost, the greatest frost since the Great Frost of 1709.

And we will fight these gangs at home and abroad, because their victims are invariably the poorest and the neediest, and I will tell you what levelling up is. A few years ago they started a school not far from the Olympic park, a new school that anyone could send their kids to in an area that has for decades been one of the most disadvantaged in London. That school is Brampton Manor academy and it now sends more kids to Oxbridge than Eton. And if you want proof of what I mean by unleashing potential and by levelling up look at Brampton Manor.

And we can do it. There is absolutely no reason why the kids of this country should lag behind or why so many should be unable to read and write or do basic mathematics at the age of 11. And to level up – on top of the extra £ 14 billion we’re putting into education and on top of the increase that means every teacher starts with a salary of £30k. We are announcing a levelling up premium of up to £3000 to send the best maths and science teachers to the places that need them most, And above all we are investing in our skills, skills folks. 

Our universities are world beating, I owe everything to my tutors and they are one of the great glories of our economy, but we all know that some of the most brilliant and imaginative and creative people in Britain and some of the best paid people in Britain did not go to university. And to level up you need to give people the options, the skills that are right for them, and to make the most of those skills and knowledge, and to level up you need urgently to plug all the other the gaps in our infrastructure that are still holding people and communities back.

As I’ve been saying over this wonderful conference to you when I became leader of this party, there were only, can you remember, what percentage of households had gigabit broadband when you were so kind as to make me leader? 7 percent, only 7 percent. And by the new year that will be up to 68 per cent, thanks to Rishi’s superdeduction the pace is now accelerating massively as companies thrust the fibre-optic vermicelli in the most hard to reach places.

It's wonderful, for years SNP leader Ian Blackford has been telling the Commons that he is nothing but a humble crofter on the isle of Skye. Well now we have fibre optic broadband of very high quality that we can inspect the library or is it perhaps the billiard room of Ian Blackford’s croft?

And that is levelling up in action. My friends it is not good enough just to rely on zoom after decades of ducked decisions. Our national infrastructure is way behind some of our key competitors. It is a disgrace that you still can’t swiftly cross the Pennines by rail, a disgrace that Leeds is the largest city in Europe with no proper metro system, a waste of human potential that so many places are not served by decent bus routes.

Transport is one of the supreme leveller-uppers, and we are making the big generational changes shirked by previous governments. We will do Northern Powerhouse rail. We will link up the cities of the midlands and the north. We will restore those sinews of the union that have been allowed to atrophy: the A1 north of Berwick and on into Scotland, the A75 in Scotland that is so vital for the links with Northern Ireland and the rest of the country, the North Wales corridor.

And we will invest in our roads, unblocking those coagulated roundabouts and steering-wheel-bending traffic lights, putting on 4000 more clean green buses, made in this country – some of them running on hydrogen. And as we come out of Covid, our towns and cities are again going to be buzzing with life because we know that a productive workforce needs that spur that only comes with face to face meetings and water cooler gossip.

If young people are to learn on the job in the way that they always have and must, we will and must see people back in the office, and that is why we are building back better with a once in an a century £640bn pound programme of investment. And by making neighbourhoods safer, by putting in the gigabit broadband, by putting in the roads and the schools and the healthcare, we will enable more and more young people everywhere to share the dream of home ownership: the great ambition of the human race that the left always privately share, but publicly disparage. And we can do it

Look at this country from the air. Go on Google Maps. You see how our landscape has been plotted and pieced and jigsawed together by centuries of bequests and litigation, a vast testament to security of title, trust in the land. A confidence that is responsible for so much international investment. You see how rich this country is growing, the billions of loving and incremental improvements to homes and gardens. You can see how beautiful it is, vast untouched moorland and hills, broadleaf forests.

We are going to re-wild parts of the country and consecrate a total of 30 per cent to nature. We are planting tens of millions of trees, otters are returning to rivers from which they have been absent for decades, beavers that have not been seen on some rivers since Tudor times, massacred for their pelts and now back.

And if that isn’t conservatism, my friends, I don’t know what is. Build back beaver. And though the beavers may sometimes build without local authority permission, you can also see how much room there is to build the homes that young families need in this country. Not on green fields, not just jammed in the south east, but beautiful homes on brownfield sites in places where homes make sense.

And this government is helping young people to afford a home. It has been a scandal – a rebuke to all we stand for that over the last 20 years the dream of home ownership has receded and yet under this government we are turning the tide. We have not only built more homes than at any time in the last 30 years, we are helping young people on to the property ladder with our 95 per cent mortgages, and there is no happiness like taking a set of keys and knowing that the place is yours and you can paint the front door any colour you like. As it happens I am not allowed to paint my own front door, it has to be black, but I certainly don’t have far to go to work, and if you don’t have too far to go to work, and the commute is not too dreadful, and if the job suits your skills, and your wifi is fast and reliable, then I tell you something else. That housing, in the right place, at an affordable price will add massively not just to your general joie de vivre, but to your productivity. 

And that is how we solve the national productivity puzzle, by fixing the broken housing market, by plugging in the gigabit, by putting in decent safe bus routes and all other transport infrastructure and by investing in skills skills skills. And that by the way is how we help to cut the cost of living for everyone, because housing, energy, transport are now huge parts of our monthly bills. 

And it is by fixing our broken housing market, by sorting out our energy supply – more wind, more nuclear, becoming less dependent on hydrocarbons from abroad, by putting in those transport links. We will hold costs down and save you money and we will make this country an even more attractive destination for foreign direct investment

We are already the number one – look at the Nissan investment in Sunderland or the Pfizer vaccine manufacturing centre that’s coming to Swindon, and with these productivity gains we will turbo charge that advantage, and help businesses to start and grow everywhere, so let me come now to the punchline of my sermon on the vaccine.

It was not the government that made the wonder drug. It wasn’t brewed in the alembics of the Department of Health. It was, of course it was Oxford University, but it was the private sector that made it possible. Behind those vaccines are companies and shareholders and, yes, bankers. You need deep pools of liquidity that are to be found in the City of London. It was capitalism that ensured that we had a vaccine in less than a year, and the answer therefore is not to attack the wealth creators. It is to encourage them because they are responsible for the aggregate increase in the country’s wealth that enables us to make those Pareto improvements and to level up everywhere.

And to rub home my point, it is not just that vaccination has saved more than 120,000 lives. Vaccination has allowed us to meet like this, and blessed us with such rapid growth. With wages rising fastest for those on lowest incomes, and that levelling up in action. The vaccines have ensured that by a simple vowel mutation, jabs jabs jabs become jobs jobs jobs.

The world’s most effective vaccines have saved our open society and free market economy, and it is our open society and free market economy that have produced the world’s most effective vaccines, and that is the symmetry in the lesson of the Covid vaccines – science, innovation, capitalism – is vital now for the challenge we face, the challenge the whole humanity faces is even more existential for our way of life.

In just a few weeks time this country will host the summit of our generation in Glasgow, when the resolve of the world is put to the test, can we keep alive the ambition of Paris – to stop the planet heating by more than 1.5 degrees. Government can’t do it alone and taxpayers certainly can’t do it alone.

The other day I took a boat out into the Moray Firth, to see an aquatic forest of white turbines towering over the water like the redwoods of California. And you have no idea of their size until you see them up close, the deceptive speed of their wings, twice the diameter of the London eye, their tips slicing the air at more than 100 miles per hour, and I met the young men and women. Apprentices who had moved straight across from the world of oil and gas, and they had the same excitement at working amid winds and wave, and being able to see whales and dolphins from the office window, but they had the extra satisfaction that goes with knowing you are doing something to save the planet and get Britain to Net Zero by 2050.

And that is the symmetry represented by these giant windmills, massive and innovative private sector investment, and a government taking the tough decisions to make it possible. That’s the difference between this radical and optimistic Conservatism and a tired old Labour. Did you see them last week, did you watch them last week in Brighton? Hopelessly divided, I thought they looked. Their leader like a seriously rattled bus conductor, pushed this way and that by, not that they have bus conductors any more unfortunately, like a seriously rattled bus conductor pushed this way and that by a Corbynista mob of sellotape-spectacled sans-culottes. or the skipper of a cruise liner that has been captured by Somali pirates, desperately trying to negotiate a change of course and then changing his mind. 

And remember Labour’s performance during the pandemic. Flapping with all the conviction of a damp tea towel. They refused to say that schools were safe, they would have kept us in the European medicines agency and slammed the brakes on the vaccine roll out. The Labour leader attacked the vaccine task force for spending money on outreach to vaccine hesitant minority groups, when it is hard to think of any better use of public money. And let us try to forgive him on the basis that he probably didn’t know what he was talking about.

In previous national crises, Labour leaders have opted to minimise public anxiety and confusion by not trying to score cheap party political points. One thinks of Attlee or even Michael Foot in the Falklands crisis. Sadly that was not the approach taken by Captain Hindsight, attacking one week then rowing in behind when it seemed to be working: the human weathervane, the Starmer chameleon and in his final act of absurd opportunism he decided to oppose step four of the roadmap in July.

That’s right folks. If we had listened to Captain Hindsight, we would still be in lockdown. We wouldn’t have the fastest growth in the G7, if Columbus had listened to Captain Hindsight he’d be famous for having discovered Tenerife. And how utterly astonishing that in the last few weeks Labour should actually have voted against new funding we’re putting forward for the NHS. 

And we need to remember why and how we have been able to back people through this pandemic at all. It was because we Conservatives fixed the economy, we repaired the damage Labour left behind. Every Labour government has left office with unemployment higher than when it came in, every single one – ever since the party was invented, and today we are going to fix this economy and build back better than ever before.

And just as we used our new freedoms to accelerate the vaccine rollout, we are going to use our Brexit freedoms to do things differently. We are doing the borders bill, we have seen off the European super league and protected grassroots football, we are doing at least eight freeports, superfertilised loam in which business will plant new jobs across the UK. And now we are going further, not only jettisoning the EU rules we don’t need any more, but using new freedoms to improve the way we regulate in the great growth areas of the 21st century as we fulfil our ambition of becoming a science superpower: gene editing, data management, AI, Cyber, quantum – we are going to be ever more global in our outlook.

We have done 68 free trade deals including that great free trade deal with our friends in the EU that they all said was impossible. And after decades of bewildering refusal we have persuaded the Americans to import prime British beef, a market already worth £66 million – build back burger I say. 

And you ask yourself how, have the Americans been able to survive without British beef for so long? And if you want a supreme example of global Britain in action, of something daring and brilliant that would simply not have happened if we had remained in the EU, I give you AUKUS – an idea so transparently right that Labour conference voted overwhelmingly against it. And I know that there has been a certain raucus squaukus from the anti-Aukus caucus. But Aukus is simply a recognition of the reality that the world is tilting on its economic axis, and our trade and relations with the Indo-pacific region are becoming ever more vital than ever before, and that is why we have sent the amazing carrier strike group to the far east, been performing manoeuvres with 40 friendly countries. The HMS Queen Elizabeth – it has dozens of F35s on board, and 66 thousand sausages aboard, not because we want to threaten or be adversarial to anyone – either with the F35s or indeed the sausages – but because we want to stick up for the rule of law that is so vital for freedom of navigation and free trade and that is what brings AUKUS together.

Australia, UK, US – shared values, a shared belief in democracy and human rights and a shared belief in the equal dignity and worth of every human being.

Very few countries could have pulled off the Kabul airlift – an astonishing feat by our brave armed forces. Even fewer have the same moral priorities. No other government brokered a deal such as this government did with AstraZeneca so that the Oxford vaccine has been distributed at cost around the world, more than a billion low cost vaccines invented in Britain, saving millions of lives.

We are led by our values, by the things we stand for, and we should never forget that people around the world admire this country for its history and its traditions. They love the groovy new architecture and the fashion and the music and the chance of meeting Michael in the disco, but they like the way it emerges organically from a vast inherited conglomerate of culture and tradition. And we conservatives understand the need for both and how each nourishes the other.

And we attack and deny our history at our peril, and when they began to attack Churchill as a racist I was minded to ignore them. It is only 20 years ago since BBC audiences overwhelmingly voted him the greatest Briton of all time, because he helped defeat a regime after all that was defined by one of the most vicious racisms the world has ever seen. But as time has gone by, it has become clear to me that this isn’t just a joke. They really do want to re-write our national story, starting with Hereward the Woke. 

We really are at risk of a kind of know-nothing cancel culture know-nothing iconoclasm, and so we Conservatives will defend our history and cultural inheritance. Not because we are proud of everything, but because trying to edit it now is as dishonest as a celebrity trying furtively to change his entry in Wikipedia. And its a betrayal of our children’s education.

Churchill’s last words to his cabinet, actually his whole ministers but his cabinet were there were, 'Never be separated from the Americans' –pretty good advice I’m sure you’ll agree – and ended with the observation 'man is spirit'.

He was right there. I believe that through history and accident this country has a unique spirit, the spirit of the NHS nurses AND the entrepreneurs whose innovative flair means that there are three countries in the world that have produced more than 100 unicorns: not a mythical beast – tech companies worth more than a billion dollars each.

They are the US and China and the UK and those unicorns? They are now dispersed around the United Kingdom in a way that is new to our country, that is the spirit of levelling up. A

And we need the spirit of the NHS nurses and the entrepreneurs because each enables the other. I mean, the spirit of the footballers who took England into the final of a major knock out tournament for the first time in the lives of the vast majority of the people of this countryprobably, looking around at all you young thrusters, the majority of you in this room. The indomitable spirit of Emma Raducanu, her grace and her mental resilience when the game was going against her, because that is what counts, the spirit of our Olympians – it is an incredible thing to come yet again in the top four, a formidable effort for a country that has only 0.8 per cent of the world’s population in spite of the best efforts of some us, Jacob – but when we come second in the Paralympics as well – that shows our values, not only the achievement of those elite athletes, but a country that is proud to be a trailblazer. To judge people not by where they come from but by their spirit and by what is inside them.

That is the spirit that is the same across this country, in every town and village and city that can be found, that can be found in the hearts and minds of kids growing up everywhere, and that is the spirit we are going to unleash.