We Have to Reconcile Two Noble Sets of Instincts

"Between the deep desire for friendship and free trade ... And the simultaneous desire ... for democratic self-government."

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Thank you, Cheryl. Thank you, Charles. Thank you very much, Brandon, for a fantastic, well-organized campaign. I think it did a lot of credit, as Brandon has just said, to our party, to our values and to our ideals. But I want to begin by thanking my opponent, Jeremy. By common consent, an absolutely formidable campaigner and a great leader and a great politician.

Jeremy, in the course of 20 hustings… or hustings-style events – it was more than 3,000 miles by the way, it’s about 7,000 miles that we did criss-crossing the country. You’ve been friendly. You’ve been good natured. You’ve been a font of excellent ideas, all of which I propose to steal forthwith.

And above all, I want to thank our outgoing leader, Theresa May, for her extraordinary service to this party and to this country. It was a privilege to serve in her Cabinet and to see the passion and determination that she brought to the many causes that are her legacy, from equal pay for men and women to tackling the problems of mental health and racial discrimination in the criminal justice system. Thank you, Theresa. Thank you.

And I want to thank all of you, all of you here today, and obviously everybody in the Conservative party, for your hard work, for your campaigning, for your public spirit, and obviously for the extraordinary honor and privilege that you have just conferred on me.

And I know that there will be people around the place, who will question the wisdom of your decision. And there may even be some people here who still wonder what quite what they have done. And I would just point out to you that of course nobody, no one party, no one person has a monopoly of wisdom. But if you look at the history of the last 200 years of this party’s existence, you will see that it is we Conservatives who have had the best insights, I think, into human nature and in the best insights in how to manage the jostling sets of instincts in the human heart. And time and again, it is to us that the people of this country have turned to get that balance right between the instincts to own your own house, your own home, to earn and spend your own money, to look after your own family.

Good instincts, proper instincts, noble instincts. And the equally noble instinct to share and to give everyone a fair chance in life. And to look after the poorest and the neediest. And to build a great society. And on the whole, in the last 200 years, it is we Conservatives who have understood best how to encourage those instincts to work together in harmony, to promote the good of the whole country.

And today, at this pivotal moment in our history, we again have to reconcile two sets of instincts, two noble sets of instincts. Between the deep desire for friendship and free trade and mutual support in security and defense between Britain and our European partners. And the simultaneous desire, equally deep and heartfelt for democratic self-government in this country.

And of course, there are some people who say that they’re irreconcilable. And it just can’t be done. And indeed, I read in my Financial Times this morning, devoted reader that I am. Seriously, it’s a great, great, great, great British, great British brand.

I read in my Financial Times this morning that there is no incoming leader, no incoming leader has ever faced such a daunting set of circumstances, it said. Well, I look at you this morning and I ask myself, do you look daunted? Do you feel daunted? I don’t think you look remotely daunted to me. And I think that we know that we can do it and that the people of this country are trusting in us to do it. And we know that we will do it. And we know the mantra of the campaign that has just gone by in case you’ve forgotten it. You probably have. It is: deliver Brexit. Unite the country and defeat Jeremy Corbyn. And that is what we’re going to do. We’re going to defeat Jeremy Corbyn.

I know, I know, some wag has already pointed out that deliver, unite and defeat was not the perfect acronym for an election campaign, since unfortunately it spells ‘dud’. But they forgot the final ‘E’ my friends. ‘E’ for energize. And I say to all the doubters: dude, we are going to energize the country. We’re going to get Brexit done. On October 31, we are going to take advantage of all the opportunities that it will bring in a new spirit of can do.

And we are once again going to believe in ourselves and what we can achieve. And like some slumbering giant, we are going to rise and ping off the guy ropes of self-doubt and negativity with better education, better infrastructure, more police, fantastic full-fibre broadband sprouting in every household. We are going to unite this amazing country and we are going to take it forward. I thank you all very much for the incredible honor that you’ve just done me. I will work flat out from now on with my team that I will build.

I hope in the next few days to repay your confidence. But in the meantime, the campaign is over and the work begins. Thank you all very much.

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