Oct 6, 2021
Boris Johnson UK Conservative Party Conference 2021 Speech Transcript
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave a speech at the Conservative Party Annual Conference in Manchester on October 6, 2021. Read the transcript of the speech here.
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Boris Johnson: (00:00)
Good morning. Good morning, everybody. Good morning, everyone. Fantastic to see you all here. Thank you. Thank you. Let’s get going. Let’s get on with the job. Good morning, everybody listening. So isn’t it amazing to be back here in person? And the first time since so many of you worked to defy the skeptics by winning councils and communities that Conservatives have never won in before, such as Hartlepool. And in fact, it’s the first time since the general election of 2019, when we finally sent that corduroy communist cosmonaut into orbit, where he belongs.
Boris Johnson: (00:47)
And why is it that we are back today for a traditional Conservative cheek by jowler? It’s because for months we have had one of the most open economies and societies. And on July the 19th, we decided to open every single theater and every concert hall and nightclub in England. And we knew that some people would still be anxious, so we sent top government representatives to our sweatiest [French 00:01:20] to show that anyone could dance perfectly safely. And wasn’t he brilliant, my friends? Let’s hear it. 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.
Boris Johnson: (01:50)
And how have we managed to open up ahead of so many of our friends? You know the answer, it’s because of the rollout of that vaccine. A UK phenomenon, the magic potion invented in Oxford University, bottled in Wales, distributed at incredible speed to vaccination centers everywhere. I saw The Army in action in Glasgow, firing staple guns like carbines as they set up a huge vaccination center. In Fermanagh I saw the needles go in like a collective sewing machine. 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.
Boris Johnson: (02:54)
I urge you all to get your jabs, because every day our vaccine defenses are getting stronger and stronger. And you, all of you and everybody watching, you made this roll out possible. You made each other safer. So perhaps we should all thank each other. Go on, try it. I mean, you can try a cautious fist bump, because it’s okay 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 recognize the sheer scale of their achievement, but also the scale of the challenge ahead.
Boris Johnson: (03:57)
When I was lying in St. Thomas’ Hospital last year, I looked blearily out of my window at a hole in the ground between the ICU and another much older Victorian section. And amid the rubble of brick, they seemed to be digging a hole for someone or something, or indeed someone, possibly me. But the NHS saved me and our wonderful nurses pulled my chestnuts out of that Tartarian pit. And I went back on a visit the other day, and I saw that the hole had been filled in with three or four gleaming stories of a new pediatrics unit. And there you have a metaphor my friends for how we must build back better now. We have a huge hole in the public finances. We spent 407 billion pounds on COVID support and our debt now stands at over 2 trillion pounds. And waiting lists will almost certainly go up before they come down.
Boris Johnson: (05:01)
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&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 the meteorite that has just crashed through the public finances. She would’ve wagged her finger and said, “More borrowing now is just higher interest rates and even higher taxes later.”
Boris Johnson: (05:49)
When this country was sick, our NHS was the nurse. Frontline 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, 50 million more GP appointments, 40 new diagnostic centers. 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.
Boris Johnson: (06:33)
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, the 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 1 in 10 to suffer from the potentially catastrophic cost of dementia, wiping out everything they have and preventing them from passing on anything to their families.
Boris Johnson: (07:23)
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 front line and not on needless bureaucracy.
Boris Johnson: (08:19)
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’s getting the COVID vaccine roll out done, is going to get social care done and we are going to deal with the biggest underlying issues of our economy and society. The problems no government has had the guts to tackle before. And I mean the long term, structural weaknesses in the UK economy. It’s thanks to the vaccine rollout that we now have the most open economy and the fastest growth in the GCEP. We have unemployment 2 million lower than forecast. We have demand surging, and I’m 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’re 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.
Boris Johnson: (09:52)
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. Or in the machinery, the facilities they need do their jobs. The truck stops, 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 a low tax economy, that that is what the people in this country need and deserve.
Boris Johnson: (10:46)
In which everyone can take pride in their work and in the quality of their work. And yes, it will take time and sometimes it will be difficult, but that was the change that people voted for in 2016. And that was the change that people voted for again, powerfully in 2019. And to deliver that change, we will get on with our job of uniting and leveling up across the UK, the greatest project that any government can embark on. We have one of the most imbalanced societies and lopsided economies of all the richer countries. It’s not just that there’s a gap between London and the Southeast and the rest of the country, there are aching gaps within the regions themselves.
Boris Johnson: (11:32)
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? That 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.
Boris Johnson: (12:24)
When Thomas Gray stood in that country churchyard in 1750 and wrote his famous elegy as the curfew toll 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 enumerate. And he knew that that was an injustice. Let me ask you, maybe you know, where was he standing when he chewed his pensive quill? Anybody know? Correct.
Boris Johnson: (13:03)
… Quill, anybody know?
Speaker 1: (13:03)
He was right in front of you.
Boris Johnson: (13:03)
Correct. Thank you. He was standing in Stoke Poges. My friends, there may be underprivileged parts of our country, but Stoke Poges is not now among them. In fact, it was only recently determined by the Daily Telegraph, if you can’t believe that, what can you believe, my friends, to be the eighth richest village in England. Since Gray eulogized, Buckinghamshire has leveled 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 overwhelmingly caused by the sheer lust of other people to live in or near Stoke Poges. Overcrowded trains, endless commutes, two little time with the kids, the constant anxiety that your immemorial view of chalk downland is going be desecrated by ugly new homes. That is why leveling up works for the whole country, and it is the right and responsible policy because it helps to take the pressure off parts of the overheating Southeast while simultaneously offering hope and opportunity to those areas that have felt left behind.
Boris Johnson: (14:11)
Let’s be clear that there is a huge philosophical difference between us and Labour, because in their souls, they don’t like leveling up. They don’t like leveling up. They like leveling down. They do. They like decapitating the tour poppies and [squi 00:14:38] and taxing the rich till the pips squeak, and they dislike academic competition. Latin, I hear. In Islington, I kid you not, I’ve seen it with my own eyes, they like kids to run races, I’ve seen this, where nobody actually wins. I have to tell you, I don’t think that is a good preparation for life, let alone for the Olympic games.
Boris Johnson: (14:57)
If you insist on the economic theory behind leveling up, it’s contained in the inside of Vilfredo Pareto, a 19th-century Italian figure who floated from the cobwebbed attic of my memories. “There are all kinds of improvements that you can make to people’s lives,” he said, “without diminishing everyone else.” Rishi will, I’m sure, confirm this. We call these “Pareto improvements,” right? They are the means of leveling up. The idea in a nutshell is that you will find talent, genius, flare, imagination, enthusiasm everywhere in this country, all of them evenly distributed, evenly distributed, but opportunity is not. And it is our mission as Conservatives to promote opportunity with every tool we have. It is still a grim fact that in this country … That’s right. It’s all about opportunity. But it’s still a grim fact that in this country, some kids will grow up in neighborhoods that are much safer than others, and some will be as, as [Pretty 00:16:20] was saying, some will be sucked into gangs, some will be at risk of stabbing and shooting, some will get themselves caught in the one-way ratchet of the criminal justice system. Many others will not. That’s why leveling up means fighting crime, putting more police out on the beat, as we are, toughening sentences, rolling up the county lines, drugs networks, as we are, 1,100 of them gone already, giving the police the power they need to fight these dealers in death and misery. That’s what we want to do. What’s labor’s answer, by the way? To decriminalize hard drugs, apparently, to let the gangsters off with a caution. An answer that is straight from the powder rooms of North London dinner parties and nothing to do with the real needs of this country.
Boris Johnson: (17:09)
Boris Johnson: (17:18)
Crime has been falling. 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 fighting crime. I read a learned article by some lawyer saying we shouldn’t bother about pet theft. Pet theft. Well, I say to Cruella Deville, QC, if you can steal a dog or a cat, then there is frankly no limit to your depravity. Those people gluing themselves to roads, I don’t call them legitimate protestors, like some Labour counselors do. I think that some Labour counselors actually glue themselves to roads. I say, they are a confounded nuisance who are blocking ambulances, stopping people going about their daily lives, and I’m glad Pretty is taking new powers to insulate them snugly in prison where they belong.
Boris Johnson: (18:40)
What I find 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. On behalf of the entire government, I tell you this, we will not rest until we have increased the successful prosecutions for rape, because too many lying, bullying, cowardly men are using the laws delay to get away with violence against women. And we cannot, and we will not stand for it.
Boris Johnson: (19:25)
I know that there are some who tell us that we’re being ungenerous and unfeeling in our attempts to control our borders. 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 from Hong Kong. 30,000 have already applied. I’m really proud to be part of a Conservative government that will welcome 20,000 Afghans, people who risked their lives to guide and translate for us. We are doing the right and responsible thing.
Boris Johnson: (20:11)
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. That’s 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.
Boris Johnson: (20:58)
Is it not a sublime irony that even in French politics there is now a leading center right politician calling for a referendum on the EU, who is now calling for France to [French 00:21:14]. 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. We will fight these gangs at home in abroad because their victims are invariably the poorest and the neediest.
Boris Johnson: (21:39)
I’ll tell you what leveling up is. A few years ago, they started a school not far from the Olympic Park. A new school anyone could send their kids to in an area that for decades has been one of the most disadvantaged in London. That school is Brampton Manor Academy, and it now sends more kids to Oxbridge than Eton. If you want proof of what I mean by unleashing potential and by leveling up, look at Brampton Manor. We can do it. There is absolutely no reason why the kids of this country should lag behind and why so many should be unable to read or write or do basic mathematics at 11. To level up, on top of the extra 14 billion we’re putting into education, on top of the increase that means every teacher starts with a salary of 30,000 pounds, we’re announcing today a leveling up premium of up to 3,000 pounds to send the best maths and science teachers to the places that need the most.
Boris Johnson: (22:33)
Above all, we’re investing in our skills. Skills, folks. Our universities are world beating. I owe everything to my tutors. They’re one of the great glories of our economy. But we all know that some of the most brilliant, imaginative and creative people in Britain, some of the best-paid people in Britain, did not go to university. To level up, you need to give people the options, the skills, that are right for them. To make the most of those skills and knowledge, you need urgently to plug all the other gaps in the infrastructure that are still holding people and communities back.
Boris Johnson: (23:19)
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?
Speaker 1: (23:32)
Boris Johnson: (23:32)
Seven. You’ve been paying attention [inaudible 00:23:34] this. 7%. Only 7%. They’re absolutely right. But what will it be by the new year?
Speaker 1: (23:41)
Boris Johnson: (23:41)
Actually, I’m told tonight it’s 68% by the new year. Thanks to Rishi’s super deduction, the pace is now accelerating massively as companies thrust the fiber optic vermicelli in the most hard-to-reach places. It’s wonderful for years, the SNP leader in Westminster, Ian Blackford has been telling the Commons that he is nothing but a humble crofter on the Isle of Skye. Well, now that we have fiber optic broadband of a very high quality, we can inspect the library, or is it perhaps the billiard room of Ian Blackford’s croft? And that is leveling up in action. My friends, it’s not good enough just to rely on Zoom. After decades of dark decisions, our national infrastructure is way behind some of our key competitors. It’s 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.
Boris Johnson: (24:57)
Transport is one of the supreme leveler 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 of 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. Yes. And we will invest in our roads, unblocking, those coagulated, roundabouts and steering wheel bending traffic lights. We’re putting on 4,000 more clean, green buses made in this country, some of them running on hydrogen.
Boris Johnson: (25:40)
As we come out of COVID, our towns and cities are going to be buzzing with life because we know that a productive workforce needs the 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. That is why-
Boris Johnson: (26:03)
… must see people back in the office and that is why… and that is why we are building back better. That is why we are building back better with a once in a century 640 billion pound program of investment. And by making neighborhoods safer, by putting in the gigabit broadband, by putting in the roads and the schools and the healthcare, we will enable more young people everywhere to share the dream of home ownership.
Boris Johnson: (26:27)
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 titled trust in the law. And it’s 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.
Boris Johnson: (27:00)
You can see how beautiful it is. Vast, untouched moorland, hills, and broad-leafed forests. We are going to re-wild parts of the country and consecrate a total of 30% to nature. We’re planting tens of millions of trees. Otters are returning to rivers from which they’ve been absent for decades, beavers that have not been seen on some rivers since Tudor times, massacred for their pelts, are now back. And if that isn’t conservatism, my friends, I don’t know what is.
Boris Johnson: (27:29)
Build back beaver, I say. Build back beaver. 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 Southeast, but beautiful homes on Brownfield sites in places where homes make sense.
Boris Johnson: (27:54)
And this government is helping young people to afford a home. It’s been a scandal and a rebuke to what 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, and we’ve not only built more homes than at any time in the last 30 years. We’re helping young people onto the property ladder with our 95% mortgages.
Boris Johnson: (28:19)
And there is no happiness like taking a set of keys and knowing the place is yours. And you can paint the front door any color you like. As it happens, I can’t paint my own front door any color I like. It has to be black, but I certainly don’t have to go very far to work. And if you don’t have to go far to work and your commute isn’t too dreadful, and if the job suits your skills and your wifi is fast and reliable, I’ll tell you something else, that housing in the right place and at an affordable price will add massively, not just to your general joie de vivre, but to your productivity.
Boris Johnson: (28:56)
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 the other transport infrastructure, and 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’s by fixing our broken housing market, 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.
Boris Johnson: (29:45)
And we will make this country an even more attractive destination for foreign direct investment. We’re already number one, look at the Nissan investment in Sunderland, the Pfizer vaccine manufacturing center that’s coming to Swindon, and with these productivity gains, we will turbocharge 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.
Boris Johnson: (30:19)
And 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 we had a vaccine in less than a year. And the answer therefore is not to attack the wealth creators, it’s to encourage them, because they are responsible for the aggregate increase in the country’s wealth that enables us to make those parieto improvements, and to level up everywhere, and to rub home my point, 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.
Boris Johnson: (31:15)
And that is leveling up in action. These vaccines have ensured that by a simple [inaudible 00:31:21] 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 vaccine. Science, innovation, capitalism is vital now for the challenge that we face. The challenge the whole of humanity faces is now even more existential for our way of life.
Boris Johnson: (31:57)
In just a few weeks, 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 one and a half degrees? Well, government can’t do it a alone and taxpayers certainly can’t do it alone. The other day, I took a boat out into the Moray Firth to see this aquatic forest of white turbines towering over the water, like the Redwoods of California.
Boris Johnson: (32:28)
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, and their tips slicing through the air at more than 100 miles an 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 waves, and be able to see whales and dolphins from the office window. But they had that extra satisfaction that goes with knowing you’re doing something to save the planet, and get Britain to net zero by 2050.
Boris Johnson: (33:06)
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. And 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 anymore, unfortunately. But like a seriously rattled bus conductor pushed this way, this way, and that by a Corbyn Easter mob of Sellotaped, spectacled sans-culottes, or the skipper of a cruise liner that’s been captured by Somali pirates, desperately trying to negotiate a change of course, and then changing his mind.
Boris Johnson: (33:56)
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’ve kept us and the European medicines agents and slammed the brakes on the vaccine rollout. The Labour leader attacked the Vaccine Task Force for spending money on outreach to vaccine-hesitant minority groups, when it’s hard to think of any better use of public money. And let’s forgive him, on the basis that he probably didn’t know what he was talking about.
Boris Johnson: (34:23)
But in previous national crises, Labour leaders have opted to minimize public anxiety and confusion by not trying to score cheap party political points, one thinks of Attlee, or even Michael Foote in the Falklands Crisis. And sadly, that was not the approach taken by Captain [Hindsight 00:34:49], attacking one week, rowing in behind when it seemed to be working, the human weather vein, the Starmer chameleon, and in his final absurd act of opportunism, he decided to oppose step four.
Boris Johnson: (35:00)
He opposed step four of the roadmap in July. Remember? That’s right, folks, if we listened to Captain Hindsight today, we’d 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. How utterly astonishing, how utterly astonishing. How utterly astonishing that in the last few weeks, Labour should actually have voted against the funding we’re putting forward for the NHS.
Boris Johnson: (35:33)
And we need to remember how and why we’ve been able to back people through this pandemic at all. It was because we conservatives fixed the economy. We repaired the damage that 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.
Boris Johnson: (35:55)
And just as we used our new freedoms to accelerate the vaccine rollout, we’re going to use Brexit freedoms to do things differently. We’re doing the Borders Bill. We’ve seen off the European Super League, and protected grassroots football. We’re doing at least eight free ports, super-fertilized loam, in which business will be able to plant new jobs across the UK. And now we’re going to go further, not only jettisoning EU rules we don’t need anymore, but using new freedoms to improve the way we regulate in the great growth areas of the 21st century, as we fulfill our ambition of becoming a science superpower.
Boris Johnson: (36:36)
Gene editing, data management, AI, cyber, quantum, and we’re going to be ever more global in our outlook. We’ve done already 68 free trade deals, including that great free trade deal with our friends in the EU, which they all say was impossible. And after decades of bewildering refusal, we have persuaded the Americans to import prime British beef, a market already worth 66 million pounds. Build back burger, I say. And you ask yourself, how have the Americans been able to survive without British beef for so long?
Boris Johnson: (37:14)
If you want a supreme example of global Britain in action, of something daring and brilliant, that would simply not have happened if we’d remained in the EU, I give you AUKUS. AUKUS, an idea so transparently right that Labour Conference voted overwhelmingly against it. And I know there has been a certain raucus caucus from the anti-AUKUS caucus, but AUKUS is simply a recognition of the reality that the world is tilting on its axis, on its economic axis.
Boris Johnson: (37:48)
Our trade and relations in the Indo-Pacific region are becoming more vital than ever before. That’s why we sent our amazing carrier strike group to the Far East, performing maneuvers with 40 friendly countries, HMS Queen Elizabeth, as long as the entire palace of Westminster, and rather more compelling as an argument than many of the speeches made in the House of Commons, it has dozens of F-35s on board, 66,000 sausages, and not because we want to threaten anyone or be adversarial to anyone, either with the F-35s 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’s what brings AUKUS together. Australia, UK, US, shared values, a shared belief in democracy and human rights, 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…
Boris Johnson: (39:04)
… 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.
Boris Johnson: (39:20)
We’re 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 traditions. And they love the groovy new architecture and the fashion and the music and all the rest of it. The chance of meeting the … Michael in the disco. But they like it for the way it emerges organically. The way all that emerges organically from a vast inherited conglomerate of culture and tradition.
Boris Johnson: (39:56)
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 because it’s only 20 years ago since BBC audiences overwhelmingly voted in the Greatest Britain of All Time, because he helped to defeat a regime after all. He helped to defeat a regime after all that was defined by one of the most vicious racisms the world has ever seen.
Boris Johnson: (40:34)
But as time has gone by, it’s become clear to me that this isn’t just a joke. They really do want to rewrite our national story, starting with [Herowood 00:40:44] the Woke. We really are at risk of a kind of no nothing cancel culture iconoclasm. And so we conservatives will defend our history and cultural inheritance. Not because we’re 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 it’s a betrayal of our children’s education.
Boris Johnson: (41:22)
Churchill’s last word to his cabinet … Actually, his whole ministers, but nevermind, his cabinet were there. Were, “Never be separated from the Americans.” Pretty good advice, I think you’ll agree. And he ended with the observation, “Man is spirit.” I think he was right there, don’t you?
Boris Johnson: (41:43)
I believe that through history and accident, this country has a unique spirit, the spirit of the NHS nurses, and the entrepreneurs whose innovative flare means that there are three countries in the world that have produced more than 100 unicorns. You know what I mean by a unicorn? It’s not a mythical beast. It’s a tech company worth more than a billion dollars each. And those three countries, have you been paying attention? They are the United States, China and the United Kingdom. And those unicorns are now dispersed around the United Kingdom in a way that is new to our country. It’s fantastic to see that leveling up.
Boris Johnson: (42:34)
And we need the spirit of the NHS nurses and the entrepreneurs, because each enables the other. And I mean, the spirit of the footballers who took England into the final of a major knockout tournament for the first time in the lives of the vast majority of the people of this country, and probably looking around at all you young thrusters, the majority of the people in this room. The indomitable spirit of Emma Raducanu, her grace and her mental resilience when the game was going against her.
Boris Johnson: (43:06)
Because that is what counts, the spirit of our Olympians. It’s an incredible thing, incredible thing to come, yet again, in the top four, a formidable effort for a country that has only 0.8% of the world’s population, in spite, Jacob, of all our best efforts, but we … of some of us. But when we come second, but when we come second, but the point is that when we come second in the Paralympics as well, that shows our values.
Boris Johnson: (43:43)
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 in the hearts and minds of kids growing up everywhere and that is the spirit we are going to unleash.
Boris Johnson: (44:12)
Thank you all. Thank you. Thank you. [Inaudible 00:44:16]
Boris Johnson: (44:19)
Okay, right, right, here we go. Okay. [inaudible 00:44:24]