N.B. The author is Tim Hewish – my Parliamentary Researcher.
David Cameron’s conference speech was statesmanlike and honest, but above all it was sophisticated. In just under an hour, he dismantled the idea that we needed the State to do everything for us.
As Michael Gove has just said while commenting on Mr. Cameron’s speech: We are not an ATM society.
Labour has for too long accused conservatives of only caring about money and self-interest, underpinned by old-Thatcherite neo-liberalism, however it is the Marxist who is obsessed with money. Labour only looks towards the State as a solution. As a result we have a failing education system and a NHS weighted down by bureaucracy. This socialist blindness always takes the form of pouring more money in regardless of outcome.
I will not go into a line by line analysis, as Mr. Cameron has already succinctly set out his vision for governance. All I have done is highlighted four areas that the BBC or the Guardian may miss.
I urge you to take the time to read them.
What Labour did:
We inherited public finances that can only be described as catastrophic. This year, we will borrow more money than we spend on the NHS. Just think about that.
Every doctor’s salary. Every operation. Every heating bill in every hospital. Every appointment. Every MRI scan. Every drug. Every new stethoscope, scalpel, hospital gown.
Everything in our hospitals and surgeries – paid for with borrowed money, much of it from abroad. And then think about the interest.
This year, we’re going to spend £43bn on debt interest payments alone. £43bn – not to pay off the debt – just to stand still.
Do you know what we could do with that sort of money? We could take 11 million people out of paying income tax. We could take every business in the country out of corporation tax.
Yes you, Labour. You want us to spend more money on ourselves, today, to keep racking up the bills, today and leave it to our children – the ones who had nothing to do with all this – to pay our debts tomorrow?
That is selfish and irresponsible.
We’ll never let them forget it.
I tell you what: these Labour politicians, who nearly bankrupted our country, who left a legacy of debts and cuts, who are still in denial about the disaster they created. They must not be allowed anywhere near our economy, ever, ever again.
A generation had been duped by the ideology of the State:
Labour centralised too much and told people they could fix every problem. But it was the rest of us who swallowed it, hoping that if the government took care of things, perhaps we wouldn’t have to.
Too many people thought: “I’ve paid my taxes, the state will look after everything.
But citizenship isn’t a transaction in which you put your taxes in and get your services out. It’s a relationship – you’re part of something bigger than you, and it matters what you think and feel and do.
A rejection of the State:
At this year’s election, the result may not have been clear-cut when it came to the political parties. But it was clear enough when it came to political ideas.
The old way of doing things: the high-spending, all-controlling, heavy-handed state, those ideas were defeated. Statism lost … society won. That’s what happened at the last election and that’s the change we’re leading.
From state power to people power. From unchecked individualism to national unity and purpose. From big government to the big society.
The big society is not about creating cover for cuts. I was going on about it years before the cuts.
It’s not government abdicating its role, it is government changing its role.
British fairness, not socialist fairness:
You can’t measure fairness just by how much money we spend on welfare, as though the poor are products with a price tag, the more we spend on them the more we value them.
Fairness means supporting people out of poverty, not trapping them in dependency. So we will make a bold choice.
For too long, we have measured success in tackling poverty by the size of the cheque we give people. We say: let’s measure our success by the chance we give. Let’s support real routes out of poverty – a strong family, a good education, a job
We are the radicals now, breaking apart the old system with a massive transfer for power, from the state to citizens, politicians to people, government to society. That is the power shift this country needs today.
And let me tell you why we desperately need this change. It’s because the old way, of just pouring money into public services from on high, didn’t make the difference it promised to.