Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Cameron upbeat on 'can-do' Britain

David Cameron vowed to give Britain the leadership it needs to get back on its feet
Prime Minister David Cameron acknowledges the applause as he begins his keynote speech to the Conservative conference
David Cameron arrives with wife Samantha at the Conservative Party conference to deliver his keynote speech

Britain can fight its way to a better future for its economy and its society with energy and a spirit of "can-do optimism", Prime Minister David Cameron has insisted.

In a speech to the Conservative conference in Manchester delivered against a backdrop of gloomy economic data, Mr Cameron acknowledged voters' anxieties about cuts, inflation and the prospects of recovery.

Amid continued growing concern over eurozone stability and just hours after official figures downgraded UK growth in the first two quarters of 2011, he warned that the threat to the British and global economy is "as serious today as it was in 2008 when world recession loomed".

But instead of being "paralysed by gloom and fear", he said that Britain must reject pessimism and "turn this time of challenge into a time of opportunity".

Mr Cameron promised he would offer the leadership needed to "turn this ship around". And he called on people across the country to show leadership too by working hard, building up innovative businesses and contributing to their communities.

He paid tribute to householders who went out to clear the streets following this summer's riots, teachers who have set up free schools in deprived areas and GPs who have taken control of their budgets.

And he said: "Let's reject the pessimism. Let's bring on the can-do optimism. Let's summon the energy and the appetite to fight for a better future for our country, Great Britain."

Invoking the "spirit of Britain", Mr Cameron said the UK needs to show the "hard-working, pioneering, independent, creative, adaptable, optimistic, can-do" qualities that had allowed it to make an out-sized impact on the world throughout its history.

"Remember: it's not the size of the dog in the fight - it's the size of the fight in the dog," he said. "Overcoming challenge, confounding the sceptics, reinventing ourselves, this is what we do. It's called leadership.

"We have the people, we have the ideas, and now we have a Government that's freeing those people, backing those ideas. So let's see an optimistic future. Let's show the world some fight. Let's pull together, work together. And together lead Britain to better days."

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