We Watched Theresa May’s Conservative Conference Speech So You Don’t Have To

Here are the important bits which you can read in five minutes

We Watched Theresa May's Conservative Conference Speech So You Don't Have To

by Debrief Staff |
Published on

Theresa May said some things at the weekend to a room full of Conservatives (otherwise known as the Prime Minister giving a speech at her party's annual conference). There was a lot of repetition: the word ‘change’ was said a million times, as though saying the word conjures it into being. Every sentence was basically a variation of the phrases ‘a government that works for everyone’, ‘a Britain of meritocracy not privilege’ and ‘free chocolate digestives for all...because...Britain’. Okay, maybe not that last one but you get the gist.

She was very motivational, and obviously Britain should be embracing change/working towards a fairer society/making the best of this shit storm called Brexit. But the issue is that it was kind of hard to pick out any actual plans from all the uplifting bumph. Then again, when does a politcian's speech ever actually mean anything?

So because you definitely have more important things to do than read through Theresa May’s speech in full, we’ve picked out the few concrete policies we could find. It was a little like finding a needle in a haystack.

(Warning: there will be sarcasm.)


No, you’ll never stop hearing about it. Ever. You’re probably saying it in your sleep by now. Near the beginning of the speech, May set out her super solid plans for Brexit. These included such clear and concise policies as triggering article 50 no later than the end of March (even though no one really knows what that will entail), dispensing with the European Communities Act and replacing it with a Great Repeal Bill (so replacing some random capitalised words with other capitalised words), laws and judges to be making decisions in the UK rather than abroad, and no more EU bossing us around. Bear in mind that this rosy plan is set out by a woman who campaigned to remain* in* the EU. May then went on to outline the beautiful relationship she wants us to have with the European Union, even though we basically just stuck our middle finger up at them…


I had to play it twice, but I’m pretty sure Theresa May implied that loads of people in the UK are quite xenophobic. She said we need to embrace ‘the spirit of citizenship’ and do things like training people from the UK before those from abroad. But also help others. Let’s be real, it all sounded a bit contradictory; we’re supposed to give special priority to UK citizens, and that’s not supposed to fuel division?

A ‘Global Britain’

May be translated as ‘conservatives can have morals too!’. The PM stressed that we will provide humanitarian support for refugees, crack down on slavery, tackle climate change, and support the Armed Forces. How exactly she plans to do this? Your guess is as good as ours.

The Economy

Here’s where we got some solid plans (finally). May wants to build more affordable homes, continue with High Speed 2 train link between London and Birmingham, expand airport capacity, and, as we already knew, go ahead with power station Hinkley Point. Other than that, there’s some vague stuff about ‘working on new industrial strategy’ and ‘identifying the industries that are of strategic value’.


‘If you’re a tax-dodger, we’re coming after you’. Is this a Conservative conference or Taken 4?


It sounds like Theresa May is in love with the NHS. Seriously, she sounds like she wants to marry and have children with it, which is great news really. She said her government will continue to support and invest in the National Health Service, which we’re sure is true, because all promises made about investing in the NHS are true, right?

Social Injustice

She really went to town with Education. Knowing that talking about how much she’s going to help kiddies pulls on the heartstrings of the nation, May said that access to good education should rely only on ‘the talent you have and how hard you’re prepared to work.’ She also said that it shouldn’t matter ‘where you were born’, but we’ll put that down to a verbal error considering she still isn’t letting child refugees into the country. May also said she wants private schools to take in more children from poorer backgrounds, more faith schools where they’re wanted, and most controversially, the reintroduction of grammar schools.

Overall, May struck a central ground in the tone of her speech. However, we can’t help but notice that some important issues - such as the refugee crisis, global warming, tuition fees, foodbanks - were skimmed over. While the PM certainly had style (let’s save the conversation about her dress for another lifetime), we’re waiting for a plan with a little more substance.

And let's finish in Theresa May's last few lines from the speech. Is it us, or is she that guy in the office who really wants someone to come for a drink with them on a Friday night, while everyone awkwardly shuffles away and mumbles something about having to catch the train?

*Come with me and we’ll write that brighter future. *

*Come with me and we’ll make that change. *

*Come with me as we rise to meet this moment. *

*Come with me and together let’s seize the day. *

You can watch the full spech here.

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Follow Bethan on Twitter @BethanMcGrath

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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