Theresa May’s speech to Conservative conference

Missy reports from the UK:


Theresa May.

Theresa May gave her first speech to the party faithful as leader today, and by all accounts it was a success. It has generally been acknowledged that the speech was about making a play for the centre, and to try and win voters from both UKIP and from Labour, she has proclaimed the Conservatives as the party of the working class.

Theresa May referred to the vote in June as a quiet revolution in which millions of citizens said they would no longer be ignored. She hailed the vote as a once in a generation opportunity to change the direction of Britain for good, and she reiterated they will make a success of it.

Theresa May also managed to get some subtle attacks against those that oppose Brexit, starting with Nicola Sturgeon where she said that Britain’s success is because they are one United Kingdom, and she will not let divisive nationalists drive them apart. Next target was the wealthy elite, she said it was easy to dismiss the concerns of ordinary people if you are wealthy. She went on to criticise the way that some politicians and commentators talk about people, that they find their patriotism distasteful, their concerns about immigration parochial, their views about crime illiberal, their attachment to their job security inconvenient. She said they find the fact that more than seventeen million people voted to leave the European Union simply bewildering. She said a change has to come, and it is time to remember the good that Government can do. Theresa May said that it is time for a change to come, and to reject the ideological templates of the socialist left and libertarian right and to embrace the centre ground in which Government steps up – not back – to help people.

Theresa May defended British soldiers and said she will never again allow left wing lawyers harass and harangue British soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan through spurious trials.

Theresa May addressed some domestic issues in her speech as well, and said they were a party for all of Britain.

This speech shows that Theresa May does seem to have an understanding of the majority people in the country, their concerns and the issues that they think are important, this was a speech that will provide comfort to the man on the street, and make some worried.


The Telegraph: Theresa May’s conference speech in full

BBC: I’ll use power of state to build fairer Britain

The Conservatives will use the power of government to “restore fairness” in Britain and spread prosperity more widely, Theresa May has said.

The prime minister told the party’s conference the UK must change after the “quiet revolution” of the Brexit vote, urging people to “seize the day”.

The state should be a “force for good” to help working people, she argued.

“It was not the wealthy who made the biggest sacrifices after the financial crisis, it was ordinary working class families,” she said.

“If you’re one of those people who lost their job, who stayed in work but on reduced hours, took a pay cut as household bills rocketed, or – and I know a lot of people don’t like to admit this – someone who finds themselves out of work or on lower wages because of low-skilled immigration, life simply doesn’t seem fair.

“It feels like your dreams have been sacrificed in the service of others.”

Promising to build a “united Britain rooted in a centre ground”, she said her government would protect jobs and “repair” free markets when they did not work properly.

Al Jazeera describes it as Theresa May turns left in Conservative Party speech

Panel views from the Guardian: Will Theresa May’s speech appeal beyond Tory conference?

  • Jonathan Freedland: She brazenly sought to colonise territory that once belonged to Labour

What did John Key tell her when they met in New York recently?

  • Polly Toynbee: The Tories are brilliant at cognitive dissonance
  • Anne McElvoy: May understands the limits of the free-market worldview
  • Giles Fraser: Genuine Conservatives are so much better for the poor than slick liberals such as Cameron
  • Joseph Harker: Calling Labour the ‘nasty party’ ignores decades of history