Pamela Hall: Conservative Party Conference 2012 diary - Day Four
Exhausted but excited after an excellent conference, I went to the ICC in Birmingham at 8am for an early briefing for potential candidates on plans for the next general election. (I'm sure it was a test of our resilience as to whether we would make it so early on the last day!)
When everyone had finished their bacon butties, we heard that the general election campaign preparations had already started and that the Conservatives are looking to govern without the Liberal Democrats in 2015.
The speakers claimed that the tough decisions the government is taking now will lead to a brighter future ahead and that the prize of a majority Conservative government in 2015 is a prize worth campaigning for.
Next up was an "Atlantic Gateway" fringe event which was attended by members of the local Conservative team. We heard about how the speakers hoped that the project, which covers Wirral, Cheshire and all the area either side of the Mersey between Liverpool and Manchester, can bring investment, jobs and growth to our region.
The panel included local Conservative MP's, Graham Evans (Weaver Vale) and David Mowat (Warrington South), council leaders and private sector developers. As a Chester Councillor and a former PPC for Liverpool West Derby it was particularly heartening to hear about some of the exciting plans in our region.
We need to have so much more investment in the North West but there are clearly challenges remaining in terms of getting all the stakeholders to work together. Let's hope the ambitious plans can succeed as the regeneration, prosperity, investment and jobs could lead to a better future for our children. That has to be the aspiration of all of us.
After the fringe meeting we rushed to the main Symphony Hall where the Prime Minister was due to make his main speech. It was full! So we had to watch it in a smaller hall on a big screen - Grrrr!
That simply wouldn't happen if the Conservative Party Conference was held in Liverpool! Although it was disappointing not to be in the main hall for the speech, the silver lining is that this unfortunate incident will help our case for bringing the Conference to Liverpool in the next few years.
The last but one speech was from the radical and outstanding New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. After receiving a warm welcome, he congratulated our "most magnificent Olympic and Paralympic games".
He pointed out that the Prime Minister was showing true leadership by taking the difficult decisions rather than the popular ones and ended by saying that our country was incredibly lucky to have David Cameron. After seeing his compassion and resolve this week I completely agree!
And then it was time for the main event and what turned out to be a frank and emotional speech by the Prime Minister.
He started by giving an honest explanation of the economy's slow growth saying that the economy was even more damaged than originally thought and it is taking longer to head towards growth than hoped - but progress is being made.
Then he came out with an astonishing fact. In the past two years, one million jobs have been created in the UK private sector - more than Labour created (net) in 10 years! You never see lines like that in the Liverpool press!
David Cameron warmly reflected on our great Olympics and the Jubilee, the optimism and solidarity shown by us all over the summer and that feeling of being proud to be British.
He was overwhelmed with the great job the Olympic 'Gamesmakers' had done and how "they demonstrated in 3 weeks the 'Big Society' he'd been trying to describe for 3 years!"
Then the biggest applause of the day came when he thanked our troops for all their efforts around the globe and promised again that they would be home from Afghanistan before the end of 2014.
He talked about a topic closest to all our hearts - the NHS. Under the Conservatives the NHS has reduced waiting lists and lowered bureaucracy. The coalition has reduced the number of managers but increased the number of doctors. The Conservatives have kept their promise by not cutting NHS spending as Labour would. Cameron said once again that the Conservative Party is the Party of the NHS.
He outlined three key areas the Conservatives would focus on before the next election in order to enable Britain to grow and everyone to prosper: house building, welfare and education.
David Cameron acknowledged he went to a great school and his aspiration is for all children right across the country to have a privileged education - provided by the state.
The Prime Minister reminded Ed Miliband that cutting taxes wasn't about sending people a cheque, as the Labour leader had claimed in his conference speech.
Cameron decided to give Miliband a basic economics lesson saying that people earn money, it is their money and they pay tax! If the government cuts taxes it means that the people will have more of their money to spend!
He also went on to argue the mis-apprehension that the Tories helped the rich, by saying that the rich are paying a greater share of tax now than they were under Labour! - Who'd have thought!
After, a somewhat emotional speech where he talked with pride about his son and his dad, the Prime Minister's spoke of his vision of a country where people work hard, put their family first and put back into their communities.
Cameron also said that Britain was the greatest country on earth but we have to stand firm on our economic decisions to stay competitive in an increasingly competitive world.
We all have a lot of work to do to make our country grow and prosper - me as much as anyone else after three days off! I'm all for Cameron's "Aspiration Nation" and far from being a nervous party, as the press were trying to portray, the Conservative Party is confident with its leader and the job he will do for all of us.
Pamela Hall is a Councillor in Cheshire West and Chester and was the Conservative Party
Candidate for Liverpool West Derby in the General Election of 2010.