Sunday, 28 February 2010


The BBC today reports that David Cameron will declare in front of the Conservative Spring conference that it is his 'patriotic duty' to remove Gordon Brown as the country is 'a complete and utter mess'. This is a fascinating formulation and it will be interesting to see if he goes through with this.

It is fascinating because Mr Cameron has encapsulated in a single phrase the essence of Conservatism, which has in the past often tended towards an arrogant expectation to rule with little or no regard to the wishes or priorities of voters. If he does indeed deliver the trailed speech it will confirm to me that the Conservative Party under David Cameron has not changed one iota from previous incarnations.

The second aspect is a harking back to the 'Broken Britain' formulation of recent years. Now I would not for a second seek to defend the Labour government, which has singularly failed to address many of the ills of our society over 13 long years and which has settled into the political doldrums under Gordon Brown but I object very strongly to the assertion that the country - my country - is a 'complete and utter mess' as Mr Cameron would have us believe. It is not.

There are myriad problems in Britain which require urgent attention, such as the parlous state of the public finances, the complete failure of New Labour over 13 years to address the democratic deficit at the heart of our country, the 'car crash' which faces all local authorities as the hated Council Tax continues to spin out of control, causing them all budget problems and the issue of social care which is precisely the kind of thing we elect politicians to deal with but which the Conservatives in particular have simply walked away from.

The Conservatives' response to these issues is at best ill thought out, at worst dangerous. They would slash spending with an axe, most likely forcing us into a slump; they are content that our political system, with its unelected second chamber, its all-powerful Prime Minister and its crude, unrepreentative electoral system is working just fine; they invented and continue to support the Council Tax, planning a two year freeze to try to address the problem - a sticking plaster for a gaping wound if ever there was one; and they have simply and shamefully walked away from the discussion over social care.

Instead of his planned speech I would like to see David Cameron acknowledge that it is not his patrician 'duty' to become Prime Minister, it is the choice of millions of voters whom he must persuade that he is able to do the job and that he has the appropriate policies, which for many he has failed to do.

I would also like him to acknowledge that we don't live in a terrible, crime ridden country of single mums and drug addicts but that millions of people in this country do have urgent needs which an incoming government must address while accepting that life for many people is reasonable and should be maintained as far as possible. He should accept that there are major problems for an incoming government to address but damning the very people one seeks to help is not a good starting position for any potential leader.

Mr Cameron's prescription for the country is wrong and it appears that voters are recognising that in increasing numbers.

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