The Conservative Party has always been proud of Britain.
We have always been proud of our union flag, of our culture, of our Queen, of our United Kingdom. Under a Labour Government the British Spirit was dampened. Labour felt apologetic for being British.
Conference, this summer with Conservatives in Government, Britain has regained its pride.
We have always said that Britain has an embarrassment of riches. And this summer we have been, quite simply, the envy of the world. Her Majesty the Queen standing on the balcony at Buckingham Palace, the Mall jam-packed, the red arrows flying overhead...made us proud to be British.
The Olympic Stadium. A sea of Union Jacks. Hearing our national anthem. Pride in being British. Danny Boyles' Isles of Wonder Olympic Opening Ceremony was watched by 27 million people. 27 million people who saw the best of Britain: Kenneth Brannagh bringing to life Shakespeare's' Tempest made our spines tingle. James Bond, skydiving with the Queen, reminded us of our fantastic film industry. Our musical heritage, from Elgar, the Beatles to Arctic Monkey's spanned the decades. It is not an exaggeration to say that this year the eyes of the world have been on Britain.
And when the world turned its gaze on us, it saw a country confident of its unique cultural heritage. Our Olympic and Paralympic athletes won an unprecedented 185 medals. They truly inspired the nation.
And after the games were over, when our athletes took to the streets of London to celebrate, we turned up in our thousands to celebrate with them. The Olympics and Paralympics demonstrated real team work across Government, and great leadership from my colleagues Jeremy Hunt and Hugh Robertson. I must also pay tribute to both my department and the rest of my ministerial team who are so committed to the work that we do.
We didn't only exceed expectations on the track but the phenomenal global media coverage exceeded expectations too. The approach of the BBC and Channel 4 were ground breaking. You never had to miss a moment. The digital complexity behind that is astonishing and has set a new gold standard.
But Conference, we are ensuring that the summer of 2012 is more than just a footnote in the history books. I can tell you Conference, the legacy will be extensive and has already begun. The Olympic Canoe Slalom venue in Lee Valley, has already been handed over, and is being enjoyed by children and adults alike. Over the next few years we'll be hosting a further 19 major sporting events from the Commonwealth Games to the Rugby League World Cup.
The Games Makers, that army of volunteers, inspired a generation too. And through "Join In" the Games Makers Spirit will inspire more people to be volunteers in their communities. And, to add to that, I can announce that between them, our inspirational Olympic athletes, will dedicate 5000 days a year to teach, mentor and encourage young people in sport. In schools and clubs across the UK our Olympic athletes will be dedicated to helping the next generation shine as they themselves have shone this summer.
One undeniable legacy of the Games, is that it made us think about disability differently. Thinking about what individuals can do, not what they can't. Treating each other with respect. As a society we have to make sure that gender, sexuality, ethnicity and disability are no barrier to full and equal participation. Conference, 5 years ago I stood here and told you that I believed in marriage, and nothing's changed. I still believe in marriage. It's part of the bedrock of our society. The State should not stop 2 people from making the commitment to be married unless there's a good reason. I don't believe being gay is one of them.
Another of the biggest Olympic legacies has been the step change in the profile of women's sport. Who can forget Team GB's first gold medal of 2012 won by Helen Stanning and Helen Glover? The Olympics saw coverage increase in leaps and bounds. I want to see that continue. Because participation in women's sport is not where we need it to be. An important Olympic legacy will be to help drive up that participation.
This summer put Britain at the center of the international stage and we are capitalising on it. We are using this attention to drive growth and investment. The GREAT campaign, designed to promote Britain, has been seen across the world. Inspiring and imaginative, it is showcasing the best of Britain. Our artistic and cultural heritage are wonderful platforms from which to attract and to secure investment. To those that say it was just a summer of sport, just a jubilee. I would say realign your vision. Look beyond the moment and see what Britain at its best on the center of the world stage can mean. Think of the jobs it can and has created. The influence it can and has exerted. The investment it can and has brought. This will be the real legacy of the Olympics.
To attract investment and encourage growth we need the most up to date infrastructure to support it.
This Government is exceeding expectations. 4G is now on course to be rolled out 6 months ahead of schedule, bringing billions of pounds to Britain. By 2015, 90% of the UK will have superfast broadband, in both rural and urban areas. In a global market, our plans mean we can compete with the most advanced cities in the world, and win.
This summer has made us proud to be British. It has reminded us to be proud of the unique country we live in. If the riots of 2011 created divided communities, the summer of 2012 has provided harmony and healing. You only had to look at the thousands of Games Makers to see that in action. Collaboration in the national interest reaps incredible rewards. Britain is great when we work together.
And this is a lesson for politics, as much as a lesson for life. Summer 2012 brought communities together. It made us proud to be British and it gave us a great platform to build upon. Britain has shown that we can lead the way. Labour may have tried to stifle the British Spirit, but Conference, they have failed. Pride in being British is back.