David Cameron's speech this afternoon didn't quite reach the giddy heights of last year but that wasn't the purpose. He wanted to set out where he saw the Party going over the next twelve months. And he wanted to address the issue of policy formation and the 'substance' question head on.
This week, in our debates, we will lay the foundations of the house we are building together. The foundations must come first. How superficial, how insubstantial it would be, for us to make up policies to meet the pressures of the moment. Policy without principle is like a house without foundations. It will not stand the test of time. That is what our Policy Review is all about: getting it right for the long term. If we do this, we can help achieve so much for this country. In a few years' time, Britain could wake up to a bright new morning. We have everything to be optimistic about.
You could not design a country with better natural advantages than we have. We speak the language of the world. We have links of history and culture with every continent on earth. We have institutions - our legal system, our armed forces, the BBC, our great universities - which set the standard that all other countries measure themselves by. Our artists, writers and musicians inspire people the world over. We are inventive, creative, irreverent and daring. In this young century, these old advantages give us the edge we need.
What a prospect for a great Party - to guide our nation at this time of opportunity. So let us stick to the plan.
Let us build - carefully, thoughtfully and patiently, a new house together. Preparing the ground as we move to the centre, meeting the priorities of the modern world. Laying the foundations with our idea - social responsibility.And building on those foundations with the right policies for our long-term future.
The nation's hopes are in our hands. People's hopes. Your hopes. My hopes.
The peroration was a mixture of Kennedy-esque language with a pseudo-religious overtone about light triumphing over dark.
In eight days' time I will be forty years old. I have so much to look forward to. My young family. They have so much to look forward to. The world I want for them is the world I want for every family and every community. If you want to know what I'm all about, I can explain it one word. That word is optimism. I am optimistic about human nature. That's why I will trust people to do the right thing. Labour are pessimists. They think that without their guidance, people will do the wrong thing. That's why they want to regulate and control. So let us show clearly which side we are on. Let optimism beat pessimism. Let sunshine win the day. And let everyone know that the Conservative Party is ready. Ready to serve. Ready to fight. Ready to win.
Today has been a good day. The conference has got off to a good start, although if you were standing in the accreditation queue for six hours you might not agree. It's a bloody disgrace that this has happened. CCO Conferences blame the Police, but I suspect the real cause is closer to home. I know of three people now who were told by CCO Conferences that the Police hadn't security cleared them, yet when they rang Dorset Police they were told that they had been processed weeks ago. Someone is telling Porkies. I think a few heads will roll over this, and deservedly so.