No substitute for hard work and perseverance

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This summer certainly showed the Great in Great Britain. Our athletes shone on the track, in the pool and on the court, and we should rightly be proud of their amazing achievements.

However we must take this national drive, so clearly displayed by our Olympians, and use it to ensure that Britain keeps winning in an increasingly competitive global race.

This was the most important message relayed by the Prime Minister in his conference speech. He warned of the ‘hour of reckoning’ faced by Britain as emerging economies like China, India and Brazil become bigger players in the economic world order.

The East in particular has risen rapidly by educating increasingly skilled workforces, investing in essential infrastructure and – very importantly – cultivating both governments and consumers who are savers rather than borrowers. By 2030, Asia’s GDP is expected to exceed the combined GDP of the United States and Europe combined.

So now is the time for Britain to once again rise to the challenge. Firms need to build on the skills base in order to compete with their international counterparts. We must endeavour to best use the resources and people available to us. And we must learn to live within our means.

We still have the faith of the international community that we are disciplined enough to pay off our loans. It is imperative that we do not return to the last government’s habit of continual borrowing.

Ed Miliband surprised many who underestimated him with his own conference speech in Manchester. But he didn’t recognise the massive challenges this country faces – and there was no mention of a plan to reduce the deficit.

The Prime Minister acknowledged that the economy was in worse shape than we had thought. But if we can learn anything from our athletes, it is that the greatest achievements come with hard work, perseverance and faith in our ability; success does not come overnight.