In his speech today, William Hague said:
“Our ability to undertake economic modernisation will be critical to Britain’s future influence. When capital, labour and technology are increasingly mobile we cannot stand still. That is why James Dyson’s report about how we can give more weight to science and technology in our economy is so welcome. That is why our proposals on business taxation are oriented towards attracting and maintaining investment, why our programme of education reform explicitly draws from best practice across the globe, from Alberta to Sweden to Singapore, to ensure we make the most of every young person’s talent in the future.
“But the change, the modernisation, our economy needs is not guaranteed. If our opponents’ mistaken arguments and mistaken principles prevailed Britain will move backwards towards a ’70s style model, with a bigger say for the trade unions who want to impose rigidity and unaffordable regulation across the public and private sector. The bridge will be drawn up against innovation and investment.
“The dominant current within Labour is no longer the outward-looking thinking of the late 1990s, but an explicitly old-fashioned Left approach. The clearest example is that the Labour Party candidates who are being selected are not the figures of distinction from outside the traditional Labour tent whom Tony Blair sought to win, but hardened union activists with a track record in resisting modernisation: Five more years of Gordon Brown would mean that this country would be associated across the world with risky and unaffordable debt, lack of discipline over spending and trade union power.
“The Prime Minister spoke this morning about the economy. Gordon Brown is right - the economy is at a crossroads. We could continue with five more years of his debt, waste and taxes. We know where that would lead - just yesterday an international credit rating agency warned that Labour's plans would result in the loss of our credit rating.
“That would be a catastrophe for our economy and for our reputation around the world. So the biggest risk for Britain is five more years of Gordon Brown. The alternative is to change direction, deal with our debts more quickly and restore confidence in our economy. A new Conservative Government will be a chance to send the signal far and wide that Britain is once again open for business.”