Better days ahead: Cameron in fight against ‘British decline’

By Ian Dunt

David Cameron capitalised on admiration of his leadership style today with a conference speech emphasising the need for confidence in halting British decline.

In an address which mentioned the word "leadership" 19 times, the prime minister sought to cement the impression that he is the party leader with the strongest personal ratings for competence.

"Britain never had the biggest population, the largest land mass, the richest resources, but we had the spirit," he said.

"Remember: it’s not the size of the dog in the fight – it’s the size of the fight in the dog.

"To those who just oppose everything we're doing, my message is this: Take your arguments down to the job centre," he added.

"Our plan is right. And our plan will work. I know you can't see it or feel it yet. But think of it like this: the new economy we're building: it's like building a house.

"The most important part is the part you can't see – the foundations that make it stable. Slowly, but surely, we're laying the foundations for a better future. But… it will only work if we stick with it."

The prime minister dedicated several passages to lambasting the Labour party in increasingly bruising terms.

"Who’s going to create a more equal society? No, not you, the self-righteous Labour party. It will be us, the Conservatives," he said.

"It’s the age-old irony of the liberal left: they practice oppression and call it equality."

Mr Cameron also mocked Labour for the outbreak of boos that occurred during Ed Miliband's conference speech last week.

"You know what? We don't boo our leaders," he told delegates, to rapturous applause.

In other moments, the prime minister appeared to steal some of the Labour leader's language however, promising to fight "vested interests" and that welfare recipients would only get "something if they give something".