William Hague delivered a powerful first day speech at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester today.
To download the full speech click here.
Mr Hague said Labour would run a "wholly negative" campaign characterised by smears and playing on people's fears.
He told the Conservative Party conference that if Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, won the election "the last traces of hope and optimism and confidence about our national future would drain away".
Despite the opinion poll leads and local election successes, senior Conservatives have been careful to avoid sounding as if the general election was already won.
Mr Hague, effectively the Tories' deputy leader, said: "Whatever our successes and however much the country cries out for change, we must never allow one morsel of complacency to creep in to our campaign.
"We must be conscious that the system is stacked against us - that Labour only have to draw to win a majority in the House of Commons but we have to win by some two million votes to do the same.
"We must be conscious too that this election, as we saw in Brighton last week, will bring forth from Gordon Brown's Labour a wholly negative campaign - barricaded in the Downing Street bunker they will fling any dirt, stoke any fear, spread any smear and peddle any distortion to scare people into thinking that change is dangerous, honesty frightening, and the fresh air of new leadership actually poisonous for the people of Britain.
"This campaign will have ups and downs, it will have moments of difficulty, when we will need to keep our nerve, calm our friends, and make sure that we always march in step towards the goal of a better government for our country."
After the Prime Minister's conference speech last week, in which he reeled off a list of Labour's achievements, Mr Hague gave his own version detailing the Government's failures on public finances, crime and health.
He mocked Mr Brown over the "goats" that joined - and subsequently left - the Government of All the Talents.
"The arrival of a string of ministers from outside politics - Lord Malloch-Brown, Lord Darzi, Lord Digby Jones, was hailed by Gordon Brown as showing it was a Government of All the Talents.
"It turned out they were so talented that after working with him for a short time they left, and so we now have a Government of All the Talents with all the talents taken out of it."
Mr Brown and his Government "do not possess the quality of honesty, directness, decision-making and leadership necessary to make this country great and successful again".
Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, who Mr Hague said had given "new meaning to the word chumps", was singled out during an attack on the Government's lack of accountability.
"The Prime Minister nobody ever elected has been kept in office by a deputy nobody in the country had voted for at all, making up a Government with the least moral or democratic authority to govern in our lifetime."
Very persuasive Mr Hague. The fear the British public will have is how long the commitment to transparency and honesty will last once in office. The country will be looking for the next Government to prove by their actions that they will deliver on their plan. We have read the Conservative Plan for Social Reform (see links opposite & previous posts). The proposals for change will be challenging and require a courageous and committed team to implement them.
The priciples are sound. Should the Conservatives be successful at election time, we only hope that they will not provide the opposition and the public with the same ammunition for doubt, suspicion and ridicule that Mr
Brown and co have evidenced diring their rule.
We look forward to Chris Graylings' speech on Law & Order at 11.15am on Wednesday 7th October. We hope to see that Messrs Cameron & Grayling have a firm grasp of what is needed to fix the broken Criminal Justice System in this country and evidence that they will deliver the transparent and honest solutions so badly needed.
Over the coming weeks and months, where gaps in the Law & Order strategy seem evident, reports and communications will be posted directly to Mr Grayling from this site.
To see the full agenda for the Conservative Conference click here
The Crime Analysis Team
Nice 1 Limited