Boris Johnson – 2021 Speech to Conservative Party Conference

The speech made by Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, on 6 October 2021.

Isn’t it amazing to be here in person

the first time we have met since you defied the sceptics by winning councils and communities that Conservatives have never won in before – such as Hartlepool

in fact it’s the first time since the general election of 2019 when we finally sent the corduroyed communist cosmonaut into orbit where he belongs

and why are we back today

for a traditional Tory cheek by jowler?

It is because for months we have had one of the most open economies and societies

and on July 19 we decided to open every single

theatre and every concert hall and night club in England

and

we knew that some people would still be anxious

so we sent top government representatives to our sweatiest boites de nuit to show that anyone could dance

perfectly safely

and wasn’t he brilliant my friends?

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

and how have we managed to open up

ahead of so many of our friends?

You know the answer, its

because of the roll-out of that

vaccine

a UK phenomenon

the magic potion invented in oxford university

and bottled in wales

distributed at incredible speed to vaccination centres everywhere

I saw the army in action in Glasgow

firing staple guns like carbines as they set up a huge vaccination centre

and in Fermanagh I saw the needles go in like a collective sewing machine

and 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

and I urge you all to get your jabs because every day our vaccine defences are getting stronger and stronger

and you, all of you, and everybody watching made this roll-out possible

you each made each other safe

so perhaps we should all thank each other

go on – try a cautious fist bump

because it’s ok 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 recognise the sheer scale of their achievement

but recognise also the scale of the challenge ahead

The NHS
When I was lying in St Thomas’s hospital last year l looked blearily out of my window at a hole in the ground

between my ICU and another much older Victorian section

and amid the rubble of brick they seemed to be digging a hole for something or indeed someone – possibly me

but the NHS saved me

and our wonderful nurses pulled my chestnuts out of Tartarean pit

and the other day I went back on a visit

and I saw that the hole had been filled in

with three or four gleaming storeys

of a new paediatrics unit

and there you have the metaphor my friends for how to build back better now

we have a huge hole

in the public finances

We spent £407 bn on covid support

and our debt now stands at over two trillion pounds

and waiting lists will almost certainly go up before they come down

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 and 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 this meteorite that has just crashed through the public finances

she would have wagged her finger and said more borrowing now is just higher interest rates and even higher taxes later

when this country was sick our NHS was the nurse

frontline health 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

50m more GP appointments

40 new diagnostic centres

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

Fixing Social Care
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 there were 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 one in ten

to suffer from the potentially catastrophic cost of dementia

wiping out everything they have

and preventing them from passing on anything to their families

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 alzheimers 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 frontline

and not on needless bureaucracy

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 is getting the vaccine rollout done

is going to get social care done

and we are dealing with the biggest underlying issues of our economy and society

the problems that no government has had the guts to tackle before

and I mean the long term structural weaknesses

in the UK economy

It is thanks to that vaccine roll-out that we now have the most open economy and the fastest growth in the G7

we have unemployment two million lower than forecast

We have demand surging

and I am 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 are 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

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 they need to do their jobs

the truckstops – 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 low tax economy

that is what the people of this country need and deserve

in which everyone can take pride in their work and in the quality of their work

and yes it will take time

and yes it will sometimes be difficult

but that was the change that people voted for in 2016

and that was the change they voted for again powerfully in 2019

and to deliver that change we will get on with our job

of uniting and levelling up across the UK

the greatest project that any government can embark on

We have one of the most imbalanced societies and lop-sided economies

of all the richer countries

it is not just that there is a gap between London and the South east and the rest of the country

there are aching gaps within the regions themselves

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

This 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

When Thomas Gray stood in that country churchyard in 1750 and wrote his famous elegy

as the curfew tolled 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 innumerate

and he knew that it was an injustice

let me ask you, maybe you know

where was he standing when he chewed his pensive quill ? Anybody know

Correct, thank you, he was standing in Stoke poges

my friends there may be underprivileged parts of this country but stoke poges is not now among them

in fact it was only recently determined by the Daily Telegraph

and if you can’t believe that, what can you believe my friends

to be the 8th richest village in England

since gray elegised, Buckinghamshire has levelled 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 the overwhelmingly caused the sheer lust of other people to live in or near Stoke Poges

overcrowded trains

endless commutes

too little time with the kids

the constant anxiety that your immemorial view of chalk downland is going to be desecrated by ugly new homes

and that is why levelling up works for the whole country

and is the right and responsible policy, because it

helps to take the pressure off parts of the overheating South East

while simultaneously

offering hope and opportunity to those areas that have felt left behind

and let us be clear that there is a huge philosophical difference between us and labour

because in their souls they don’t like levelling up

they like levelling down they do

they like decapitating the tall poppies and taxing the rich till the pips squeak

they dislike academic competition latin I hear

and in Islington – I kid you not I have seen it with my own eyes – they like kids to run races where nobody actually wins

and I have to tell you I don’t believe that is a good preparation for life

let alone for the Olympic games

and if you insist on the economic theory behind levelling up

it is contained in the insight of Wilfredo Pareto

a 19th century Italian figre who floated from the cobwebbed attic of my memories

that there are all kinds of improvements

you can make to people’s lives he said

without diminishing anyone else

Rishi will I am sure confirm this

and we call these pareto improvements

and they are the means of levelling up

and the idea in a nutshell it is that you will find talent genius flair imagination enthusiasm everywhere in this country all of them evenly distributed

but opportunity is not

and it is our mission as conservatives to promote opportunity

with every tool we have

and it is still a grim fact that in this country

that some kids will grow up in neighbourhoods that are safer than others

and some will be, as Priti was saying, some will be sucked into gangs

and some will be at risk of stabbing and shooting

and some will get themselves caught in the one way ratchet of the criminal justice system

and many others will not

that’s why levelling up means fighting crime

putting more police out on the beat as we are

and toughening sentences

and rolling up the county lines drugs networks as we are

1100 gone already

and giving the police the powers they need

to fight these dealers in death and misery that’s what we want to do

– and what is Labour’s answer, by the way –

to decriminalise hard drugs apparently

to let the gangsters off with a caution

an answer that is straight from the powder rooms of the North London dinner parties

and nothing to do with the real needs of this country

crime has been falling

and 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 crime

I read a learned article by some lawyer saying we should not bother about pet theft

Well I say to Cruella de Vil QC – if you can steal a dog or a cat

then there is frankly no limit to your depravity

and you know those people gluing themselves to roads

I don’t call them legitimate protestors

like some Labour councillors do I, some Labour councillors actually glue themselves to roads

I say they are a confounded nuisance who are blocking ambulances, stopping people go about their daily lives

and I am glad Priti is taking new powers to insulate them snugly in prison where they belong

what I found 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

and on behalf of the entire government I tell you

we will not rest until we have increased the successful prosecutions for rape

because too many lying bullying cowardly men are using the law’s delay

to get away with violence against women

and we cannot and we will not stand for it

and I know that there are some who now tell us that we are ungenerous and unfeeling in our attempts to control our borders

and 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 in Hong Kong

30,000 have already applied

and I am really proud to be part of a Conservative government that will welcome 20,000 Afghans

people who risked their lives to guide us and translate for us

we are doing the right and responsible thing

and 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

and that is 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

and is it not a sublime irony that even in French politics there is now a leading centre right politician calling for a referendum on the EU

Who is now calling for France to reprendre le controle??

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

and we will fight these gangs at home and abroad

because their victims are invariably the poorest and the neediest

and I will tell you what levelling up is

a few years ago they started a school not far from the Olympic park

a new school that anyone could send their kids to

in an area that has for decades been one of the most disadvantaged in London

that school is Brampton Manor academy and it now sends more kids to Oxbridge than Eton

and if you want proof of what I mean by unleashing potential

and by levelling up

look at Brampton Manor

and we can do it

There is absolutely no reason why the kids of this country should lag behind

or why so many should be unable to read and write or do basic mathematics at the age of 11

and to level up

– on top of the extra 14 bn we’re putting into education

and on top of the increase that means every teacher starts with a salary of £30k

we are announcing a levelling up premium of up to £3000 to send the best maths and science teachers to the places that need them most

and above all we are investing in our skills, skills folks

our universities are world beating, I owe everything to my tutors and they are one of the great glories of our economy

but we all know that some of the most brilliant and imaginative and creative people in Britain

and some of the best paid people in Britain

did not go to university

and to level up you need to give people the options

the skills

that are right for them

and to make the most of those skills and knowledge

and to level up you need urgently to

plug all the other the gaps in our infrastructure that are still holding people and communities back

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? 7 percent, only 7 percent

and by the new year that will be up to 68 per cent

thanks to Rishi’s superdeduction the pace is now accelerating massively

as companies thrust the fibre-optic vermicelli in the most hard to reach places

it’s wonderful, for years SNP leader Ian Blackford has been telling the Commons that he is nothing but a humble crofter on the isle of Skye

well now we have fibre optic broadband of very high quality that we can inspect the library or is it perhaps the billiard room of Ian Blackford’s croft

and that is levelling up in action

and my friends it is not good enough just to rely on zoom

after decades of ducked decisions

our national infrastructure is way behind some of our key competitors

It is 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

transport is one of the supreme leveller-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 and 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 A 75 in Scotland that is so vital for the links with northern Ireland and the rest of the country

the north wales corridor

and we will invest in our roads

unblocking those coagulated roundabouts and steering-wheel-bending traffic lights

putting on 4000 more clean green buses

made in this country

some of them running on hydrogen

and as we come out of covid

our towns and cities are again going to be buzzing with life

because

we know

that a productive workforce

needs that 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

and that is why we are building back better with a once in an a century £640bn pound programme

of investment

and by making neighbourhoods safer

by putting in the gigabit broadband

by putting in the roads and the schools and the healthcare

we will enable more and more young people everywhere

to share the dream of home ownership

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 title

trust in the law

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

you can see how beautiful it is

vast untouched moorland

and hills

broadleaf forests

we are going to re-wild parts of the country and consecrate a total of 30 per cent to nature

we are planting tens of millions of trees

otters are returning to rivers from which they have 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

build back beaver

‍and 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 south east

but beautiful homes on brownfield sites

in places where homes make sense
Home ownership
And this government is helping young people to afford a home

It has been a scandal – a rebuke to all 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

we have not only built more homes than at any time in the last 30 years

we are helping young people on to the property ladder

with our 95 per cent mortgages

and there is no happiness like taking a set of keys

and knowing that the place is yours

and you can paint the front door any colour you like

as it happens I am not allowed to paint my own front door, it has to be black

but I certainly don’t have far to go to work

and if you don’t have too far to go to work

and the commute is not too dreadful

and if

the job suits your skills

and your wifi is fast and reliable

then I tell you something else

that housing

in the right place

at an affordable price

will add massively not just to your general joie de vivre

but to your productivity

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 other transport infrastructure

and by 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 is by fixing our broken housing market

by 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

and we will make this country an even more attractive destination for foreign direct investment

We are already the number one

– look at the Nissan investment in Sunderland

or the Pfizer vaccine manufacturing centre that’s coming to Swindon

and with these productivity gains we will turbo charge 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 alembicks of the department of health

It was, 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 that we had a vaccine in less than a year

and the answer therefore is not to attack the wealth creators

it is to encourage them because they are responsible for the aggregate increase in the country’s wealth

that enables us to make those pareto improvements

and to level up everywhere

and 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

and that levelling up in action

The vaccines have ensured that by a simple vowel 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 vaccines

– science, innovation, capitalism –

is vital now for the challenge we face

the challenge the whole humanity faces

is even more existential for our way of life

in just a few weeks time 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 1.5 degrees

government can’t do it alone

and taxpayers certainly can’t do it alone

the other day I took a boat out into the moray firth

to see an aquatic forest of white turbines towering over the water like the redwoods of california

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

their tips slicing the air at more than 100 miles per 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 wave

and being able to see whales and dolphins from the office window

but they had the extra satisfaction that goes with knowing you are doing something to save the planet

and get Britain to Net Zero by 2050

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

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 any more unfortunately, like a seriously rattled bus conductor pushed this way and that by a corbynista mob of sellotape-spectacled sans-culottes

or the skipper of a cruise liner that has been captured by Somali pirates

desperately trying to negotiate a change of course

and then changing his mind

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 have kept us in the European medicines agency

and slammed the brakes on the vaccine roll out

the Labour leader attacked the vaccine task force for spending money on outreach to vaccine hesitant minority groups

when it is hard to think of any better use of public money

and let us try to forgive him on the basis that he probably didn’t know what he was talking about

in previous national crises labour leaders have opted to minimise public anxiety and confusion by not trying to score cheap party political points

one thinks of Attlee or even Michael foot in the falklands crisis

sadly that was not the approach taken by captain hindsight

attacking one week

then rowing in behind when it seemed to be working

the human weathervane

the starmer chameleon

and in his final act of absurd opportunism he decided to oppose step four of the roadmap in July

that’s right folks

if we had listened to captain hindsight we would 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

and how utterly astonishing that in the last few weeks labour should actually have voted against new funding we’re putting frward for the NHS

and we need to remember why and how we have been able to back people through this pandemic at all

it was because we Conservatives fixed the economy

we repaired the damage 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

and just as we used our new freedoms to accelerate the vaccine rollout

we are going to use our brexit freedoms to

to do things differently

we are doing the borders bill

we have seen off the European superleague and protected grassroots football

we are doing at least eight freeports

superfertilised loam in which

business will plant new jobs across the UK

and now we are going further

not only jettisoning the EU rules we don’t need any more

but using new freedoms to

improve the way we regulate in the great growth areas of the 21st century

as we fulfil our ambition of becoming a science superpower

gene editing

data management

AI

Cyber quantum
we are going to be ever more global in our outlook

we have done 68 free trade deals including that great free trade deal with our friends in the EU that they all said was impossible

and after decades of bewildering refusal we have persuaded the Americans to import prime British beef

a market already worth £66 m

build back burger I say

‍and you ask yourself how have the americans been able to survive without British beef for so long?

and if you want a supreme example of global Britain in action

of something daring and brilliant that would simply not have happened if we had remained in the EU

I give you AUKUS – an idea so transparently right that Labour conference voted overwhelmingly against it

and I know that there has been a certain raucus squaukus from the anti-aukus caucus

But Aukus is simply a recognition of the reality that

the world is tilting on its economic axis

and our trade and relations with the Indo pacfific region are becoming ever more vital than ever before

and that is why we have

sent the amazing carrier strike group

to the far east

been performing manoeuvres with 40 friendly countries

HMS Queen Elizabeth

as long as the entire palace of Westminster

and rather more compelling as an argument

than many speeches made in the house of commons

it has dozens of F35s on board

and 66 thousand sausages aboard

not because want to threaten or be adversarial to anyone

either with the F35s 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 is what brings AUKUS together

Australia, UK, US

shared values

a shared belief in democracy and human rights

‍and 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 have the same moral priorities

No other government brokered a deal such as this government did with Astra Zeneca

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

we are 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 its traditions

they love the groovy new architecture and the fashion and the music and the chance of meeting Michael in the disco

but they like the way it emerges organically from a vast inherited conglomerate of culture and tradition

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

it is only 20 years ago since BBC audiences overwhelmingly voted him the greatest Briton of all time

because he helped defeat a regime after all that was defined by one of the most vicious racisms

the world has ever seen

but as time has gone by it has become clear to me that

this isn’t just a joke

they really do want to re-write our national story

starting with hereward the woke

we really are at risk of a kind of know nothing cancel culture know nothing iconoclasm

and so we Conservatives will defend our history and cultural inheritance

not because we are 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 its a betrayal of our children’s education

churchill’s last words to his cabinet, actually his whole ministers but his cabinet were there

were

Never be separated from the americans

pretty good advice I’m sure you’ll agree –

‍–

and ended with the observation

man is spirit

He was right there.

I believe that through history and accident this country has a unique spirit

the spirit of the NHS nurses AND the entrepreneurs

whose innovative flair means that there are three countries in the world that have produced more than 100 unicorns not a mythical beast

tech companies worth more than a billion dollars each

They are the US and China and the UK and those unicorns they are now dispersed around the United Kingdom in a way that is new to our country, that is the spirit of levelling up

and we need the spirit of the NHS nurses and the entrepreneurs because each enables the other

I mean

the spirit of the footballers who took England into the final of a major knock out tournament for the first time in the lives of the vast majority of the people of this country

probably, looking around at all you young thrusters, the majority of you in this room

the indomitable spirit of Emma Raducanu

her grace and her mental resilience when the game was going against her

because that is what counts

the spirit of our Olympians

it is an incredible thing to come yet again in the top four

a formidable effort for a country that has only 0.8 per cent of the world’s population

in spite of the best efforts of some us jacob

but when we come second in the Paralympics as well –

that shows our values

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

that can be found in the hearts and minds of kids growing up everywhere

and that is the spirit we are going to unleash