Cameron still has much to do

Now you know what the headline is. Cameron gave the cautious speech of a potential Prime Minister who didn’t dare count his chickens, not a rouser on the eve of victory. The central argument of the Leader’s speech was that under Labour: It is not that Big Government has failed to solve some problems, it has helped to cause them” Meanwhile the latest YouGov poll taken before the speech shows a cut in the Conservartive lead of six per cent.Three main themes but lightheadedly light on policy. First, on tacking the debt crisis: “The longer we wait, the longer we waste.” Then in some Gordon bashing picked up big by the turncoat Sun, he eschewed old-style Tory dog whistling about tax and stirred himself to passion over the mother of 2 on £150 a week “who keeps only 4p in the £ for every extra pound she earns”. ( Is that quite so bad if she’s on high benefit and credits)?
“ I want to show anger for 96% tax for the poorest people in our country.” Come to think of it, was that standing ovation really for anger about tax rates as such, never mind the rest of the sentence?

Three, attacking the nanny state and Big Government, the best- sounding line of the speech:
The government have got to stop treating children as adults and adults like children” ( sounded great, whatever it meant precisely. And doesn’t it take Big Government to break Big Government?).

Policy headlines. Break the cycle of welfare dependency. We are giving the NHS back to the people
(fewer central targets.) Give the money to the head teacher and stop wasting it on Whitehall. (Wot with no supervision? How then do you prevent costs climbing?)

Then there was Britishness.

“People say they don’t know what it stands for. People in Scotland want to leave the UK and people in England want to let them go. I am passionate about the Union and will never do anything that puts it at risk… Because of our new Force with the Ulster Unionists, I am proud that we are the only party fighting in every single part of the UK.”
And that, really, seems to be the main point so far in the Union strategy so far – little more than including Northern Ireland in a name check of the component parts of the devolved UK, as I said earlier. In government, the Conservatives are right not to want to act as back seat drivers of devolution in general. But they are failing to register that the NI settlement is about much more than that. It’s about working through the complex, still edgy three strands of a very difficult relationship. There’s nothing wrong in making UK institutions work but in neglecting balance and seeming to ignore nationalists, the Conservatives risk being accused of trying to play a new, if much lower Orange card and repeating the ancient, fatal error of failing to address the whole of our society.
There was personal detail about the impact ofthe death of his five year old son that avoided any charge of exploitation. And a cheesy peroration I’ll leave you to read if you’re so inclined.
P.S Was Bono’s appearance in the warm-up video pro bono? (courtesy; the Times) Remember his likening Blair and Brown to Lennon and McCartney at a Labour conference?

  • percy

    pls show the 6% lead, as it’s not there
    how are you arriving at your figures Brian?

  • percy

    Brian, just trying to help you.
    Did you mean 5%, where -3 + 2 = 5
    and you simply forgot basic arithmetic.
    Like potatoe instead of potato?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    It was poor conference for the Tories – touch of stage fright perhaps and plus some costly individual mistakes – and of course thrown completely by Europe. They looked too posh, too nervous and too inexperienced.

    For those anti-Lisbonites they will have the satisfaction that the vote in favour has completely wrecked the Tory conference and hopefully holed them below the waterline.

  • DC

    I tend to agree with you Sammy and last year’s wasn’t great either but Cameron’s team knew little could really be said or gained by saying stuff of importance given the ongoing financial crashes Stateside.

    David Cameron isn’t a good enough actor like Blair was in that Blair was convincing and a genuine fighter, but thing is Blair also managed to capture the imagination and concentration with some useful takes on life and gave insights into his way of thinking that just might put things right. It was high on emotion but also high enough on relevance.

    Like when he staked out his case post 9/11 re fighting the terrorists that threaten us by fighting Afghan poverty and using western military intervention to free the people there to give them a life of opportunity etc; there were those people in Labour that cried and thought it a great chance and opportunity and that Labour under Blair must see it through. Others cried bullshit, quite rightly enough.

    The Cameron show seems a little shallow and I don’t find anything hard nor honest about having to make those austerity cuts, it’s clearly so simple to make claims of cuts and equally depressing. You make those cuts with a stroke of a pen and money stops, easy enough – you can do it. Cut the money off, great. But it is the effects on lives that follow, they must be mitigated by having the cuts at the right place and the right time in those relevant sectors.

    Is this here in the speech, tough job these cuts – not really, if at all. Not for the potential government likely those Tories. Tough for those that suffer from the cuts, perhaps.

    Building Britain by raising its drawbridge and offering out the receding state and all its benefits. Cameron blamed Labour in his speech whenever Labour wanted a Mondeo-man lifestyle for the many, not just the few.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    re. “ignore nationalists”

    There is considerable benefit to Nationalism in Ireland (and Scotland and Wales) of having a Tory Prime Minister and one that is easily parodied as representing the interests that Nationalists associate with historical wrongdoing.

    By aligning himself with the UU he has alienated that the vast majority of Norn Iron Nationalists before he assumes power and reinforces the popularity of the policy of ignoring Westminster and making Stormo work.

    And to round it off that he is probably going to cause Unionism no end of grief by splitting an already split Unionism even further and ensuring greater Nationlaist electoral success.

  • Jer

    sammyMc,

    but then I suspect he wont be bothered by that at all will he. Having taking the UU inoculation he is now protected from the charge that the tories are a threat to the union.

    Thats what matters most.

    Interesting to see that the charge that Cameron is too elitist to be able to relate to ordinary people is one that has traction in the poll. Cant help but thinking that if Labour did not have Brown that they might be able to build on that but as i believe most brits think Brown is too spaced to be able to relate to them its an unexploited weakness.

  • Jer

    sammyMc,

    but then I suspect he wont be bothered by that at all will he. Having taking the UU inoculation he is now protected from the charge that the tories are a threat to the union.

    Thats what matters most.

    Interesting to see that the charge that Cameron is too elitist to be able to relate to ordinary people is one that has traction in the poll. Cant help but thinking that if Labour did not have Brown that they might be able to build on that but as i believe most brits think Brown is too spaced to be able to relate to them its an unexploited weakness.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Jer,

    arguably he wouldnt be so far ahead either if Brown was not so unpopular – but I partly agree – I am still hoping that El Gordo will narrow the gap and the Tories will have their usual war over Europe and UKIP will split the mad-dog-little-englander vote and…. you just never know.

  • bob wilson

    Sammy and DC are both correct about how bad this conference was for the Tories – ONLY a 17% lead in the polls.
    Brian – I look forward to your post on that