Thursday, October 08, 2009

David Cameron's speech: a triumph of ZZZZZZ

  I'd love to give you a complete and comprehensive blow by blow account of David Cameron's Manchester speech - but I started to doze off in the middle of it, and I can't be sure I got it all.  It's the first time I've ever drifted off in the middle of a leader's confrerence speech, espcially in an election year.  Either I'm getting too old, or David Cameron has taken his foot off the gas.

   I sense the latter.  Looking around there were a lot of Tories who looked like they were flirting with the land of nod.  It was a very downbeat speech, almost somnolent at times.  The only reall standers - where Cameron got off his couch and gave it laldy - were for Afghanistan and poverty.    His inequality sound bite was a good one.  It really nailed Labour's failure to deliver the social justice that is supposed to be its mission statement.  For once he looked the camera in the eye and showed that he is capable of passion.

   But the rest of it?  Well, you tell me. There was stuff about the NHS - he repeated that it sums up his political philosophy "in three letters".   There was a lot about good old-fashioned competitive education, though wisely he avoided the Troops to Teachers initiative of Staff Sergeant Michael Gove. There was a lot about entrepreneurs being the people who will rebuild the economy.  All very well.  But how can small businesses get off the ground if the big monopoly banks, fattened on public funds, refuse to lend the capital necessary to get new businesses started?  There was no coherent economic philosophy here.

   We got alot about debt, of course, but not about the people who got us into the debt crisis - the banks with thier excessive leverage and predatory lending to home owners.  There was nothing on housing - unless I missed it -  and culture seems to begin and end with the world cup bid in 2018.  You don't expect poetry  a from a political leader, but he could have given us a bit of vision surely.  The sunny uplands, which was his peroration, didn't convince.  It wasn't clear to me where these uplands are.  He talked of everyone setting up a business, which is as unlikely as it would be undesirable,; about choice in schools and hospital .  But his view from the summit appears to be a bit like an M&S vision of consumer choice, like Samantha's dress.

   The main policy theme was big government being the cause all our problems - and big government is bad when it is intrusive and takes away our liberties. He promised to scrap ID cards and end the surveillance state.  But all politicians want to slim down the bureaucracies - it is a political cliche. Like the 'bonfire of the quangos' which fortunately Cameron didn't offer.  And really, it is ludicrous to blame the financial crisis on big government - it was the big banks wot done it.  Intriguingly, he hardly mentioned the free market - perhaps because we don't have one any more - only socialism for the City.

     Will it convince the nation?  Well, there was nothing too objectionalble.  It wasn't militarist or triumphalist.  He sounds like a decent guy with a decent wife who has decent ane  reasonable views.  He is much more agreeable than mad Gordon Brown, so maybe he has done enough.  Just wake me when he wins, will you.


Anonymous said...

It's been said before, but because it's so true I'll risk saying it again. Parties don't win elections here, they lose them. As there are only two (parties) in the London parliament that count, it has to be a matter of ping pong.

Cameron doesn't have to be spectacularly good because Brown was spectacularly bad. Simple, as the meerkat would say.

This week I've heard a lot about how Cameron will save money. Most of it seems to have been aimed at the poor. Skivers and cheats aside there are an awful lot of people on Incapacity Benefits who are too ill to get a job. Some of their illnesses may be their own fault, but since when did we disqualify people for that reason. They are now worried sick that he will take away their benefit, put them on a lower paid benefit and leave them to rot there. They can't work, there aren't any jobs, and if there were they would not be the people getting them.

The well off coming up to retirement age aren't going to go on working after 65 unless that's what they want to do. The state pension is so small as to be insignificant to them. It's the low paid people with little or no private or company pension scheme who will suffer as they are the ones who have to depend entirely or mainly on their state pittance (one of the lowest in Europe, I believe).

I remember nothing about him going after the bankers and city men who caused all this; I remember nothing about scaling down Britain's expensive and no longer deserved top table role in the world; nothing about reducing costs of overseas representation, surely one of the most expensive in the world.

No, in typical Tory style most of the cuts will hurt the little man (and woman).

It's such a pity that Brown was so completely hopeless. He's opened the door wide for more of the same served in a different bucket.

QuietReckoning said...

I agree completely with tris's statements.

Cameron needs to be boring when he's talking about things that can hurt him at this party conference.

He still has to say them for the sake of the Tories, but they'll vote for his party anyway. So what he does is say things passionately when they can help, and dispassionately when they're dangerous and necessary.

It's an excellent tactic, and proves something I've been saying for a while: Cameron will either be the last PM of the UK, or the man that saves the Union. I think, from the savvy he's shown as of late, that it will be the latter.

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