This will be the year Britain sees the world and the world sees Britain. It must be the year we go for it – the year the coalition government I lead does everything it takes to get our country up to strength.
The coming months will bring the global drama of the Olympics and the glory of the Diamond Jubilee. Cameras and TV channels around the planet will be recording these magnificent events. It gives us an extraordinary incentive to look outward, look onwards and to look our best: to feel pride in who we are and what – even in these trying times – we can achieve.
Of course I know that there will be many people watching this who are worried about what else the year might bring. There are fears about jobs and paying the bills. The search for work has become difficult, particularly for young people. And rising prices have hit household budgets. I get that. We are taking action on both fronts. I know how difficult it will be to get through this. But I also know that we will.
We’ve got clear and strong plans to bring down our deficit, which gives us some protection from the worst of the debt storms now battering the Eurozone. We have gained security for now – and because of that, we must be bold, confident and decisive about building the future.
I know much needs to change. We’ve got to do more too to bring our economy back to health. So we’ve set out big plans for the transformation of our infrastructure, starting now – with better roads and railways, superfast broadband and new homes.
And while much of Europe’s economy is struggling, other parts of the world are growing. There are huge opportunities for our businesses all over the planet. I’m determined to get out there and seize them.
I am determined to do the bold things it will take to sort out public services, too. Too often our schools aren’t up to scratch, are hospitals aren’t always clean enough and our police don’t catch criminals. Brilliant and committed people work in public services – but somehow the system stops them doing their job. So we’ll change it.
And I will be bold about working to cure the problems of our society. While a few at the top get rewards that seem to have nothing to do with the risks they take or the effort they put in, many others are stuck on benefits, without hope or responsibility. So we will tackle excess in the City just as we’re reforming welfare to make work pay and support families.
I profoundly believe that we can turn these things around. That’s what I mean by the Big Society. The British people have got what it takes – and the government has got the ideas and policies we need.
As we welcome the world to the best Olympics ever – and as in the 60th year of her reign we honour our Queen as the finest and most famous example of British dedication, British duty, British steadiness, British tradition – let’s use these things as a mirror of ourselves too, a mirror of the nation.
Resilient. Realistic. Intelligent. Curious. Enterprising. Inventive. Unswerving. It’s the spirit that has made our universities among the best in the world, our scientists Nobel prize winners, our athletes gold medal winners, our culture, our music and our television famous everywhere, and our armed forces respected for their dedication and professionalism – as they showed last year in Libya, and as they continue to show in Afghanistan.
In every area of life we will find success by being honest with ourselves about the problems, and practical about what lies ahead. I know that if we lift our eyes to the other side we have it in our power to come through this stronger, better balanced, focused on what this fantastic country does best.
RT HON DAVID CAMERON MP