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Conservative conference: David Cameron to warn that Britain must ‘do or decline’

10 October 2012

David Cameron’s speech today to the Conservative party conference will be deeply personal, and deeply challenging. I understand that the Prime Minister is going to weave in stories from his own life: pushing his late son around in his wheelchair, and his late father’s own story. He will say:

‘It’s only when your dad’s gone that you realise – not just how much you really miss them – but how much you really owe them. My dad influenced me much more than I ever thought.’

These this-is-who-I-am details will help the Prime Minister talk about his vision for the Conservative party, and his vision for the country too. It’s not dissimilar to the approach Ed Miliband took in his own speech last week. But the vision this week is more stark: Cameron sees Britain and other countries at a terrifying crossroads:

‘Unless we act, unless we take difficult, painful decisions, unless we show determination and imagination, Britain may not be in the future what it has been in the past. Because the truth is this. We’re in a global race today. And that means an hour of reckoning for countries like ours. Sink or swim. Do or decline.’

It will be interesting to see what the Prime Minister says he still needs to do to ensure Britain swims. And whether he fleshes out what might happen as a result of other countries sinking, which he seems to paint as an inevitability.

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Show comments
  • james102

    We really need to consider what we mean by decline and whether it is the same for the political class and the majority of the electorate.

    Their seat at the ‘Top Table’ seems to interest them more
    than it does the ‘Man on the Clapham Omnibus’, just as GDP per capita,rather
    than GDP, has more impact on his life and the life of the woman in the car next to the omnibus.

    Rising levels of crime are considered more of an indicator
    of decline than being able to point to how punishment and deterrence has been
    replaced with an emphasis on rehabilitation.

    Increased population densities, causing shortages of housing
    and crowded and over stressed infrastructure seems more of an indicator of
    decline than opening our borders to immigration.

    Failing to treat members of our armed forces with the respect
    that would be taken for granted in the rest of the Anglosphere is seen as more of
    an indicator of decline than sending them to kill and die in wars that if
    anything are contrary to our national interest.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Did he give his dad any cast iron promises?

  • In2minds

    Any promises?

  • John Steed

    Why bother giving the speech if you’re going to leak it all to tame journalists the day before?

  • ToryOAP

    So far we have had good solid conservatism from the likes of: Gove, Pickles, Hunt, Grayling, Paterson, Boris and May. Now we can expect more of the same from the Prime Minister. For life-long conservatives like me, this is what I expect from the party of strivers and patriots, but underlying the hope and euphoria is the dread that this will be like before, all words. The Americans differentiate between walk the walk and walk the talk. For the sake of the future of this great nation, and the future of the Conservative party, let us hope it is the latter.

    • james102

      Live in hope: die in despair.

  • Heartless etc.,

    That’s rich – coming from the H2B! He who has never had a proper job, and done nothing of any use to anyone – ever, now exhorts decent folk to do more of what they were doing anyway!

    Away with him!

  • telemachus

    ‘It’s only when your dad’s gone that you realise – not just how much you really miss them – but how much you really owe them. My dad influenced me much more than I ever thought.’

    Now I wonder which Ed gave him that idea

    • Bert

      It really does’nt matter who had the idea.
      It is totally self indulgent and reflects really badly on anyone using this line of reasoning to deflect from a paucity of ideas and weakness of character.

    • james102

      I imagine Adolph was a great influence on his sons, which is
      what concerns many of us.

  • TomTom

    Another flim-flam speech from a boy who has never had to struggle or strive or really work. More waffle to cover up the fact he hasn’t a clue. There is no solution to the scale of mess the banks have left us with, the numbers don’t add up. You cannot service expoential growth in credit with arithmetic growth in output. It is simple and he should view the graph. Fundamental change has no place for Cameron – he is the problem together with the political cast of charlatans

    • telemachus

      So you are for Ed then?

    • HooksLaw

      Another knee-jerk post.

  • Madame MerleFranciscocastillo

    Deeply personal and deeply challenging ?
    Does he mean Boris ?

  • Hans

    Well I have seen Quantitative easing fail, about to see rates at 0.25% and the banks still charge 4%, and house prices fall, and when you have nothing left, its liberating, and like the rats I can now leave the ship, good luck to the rest of you,youll need it!

    • telemachus

      I copy from my post on the poverty thread yesterday
      Aye but has QE helped anyone but the bankers.
      We know that QE puts more money into the banks but they are likely to hang onto to it to rebuild their finances.
      Hence complaints by small businesses about their inability to raise loans
      Hence we are not growing

      • Just Bob

        Ask your mate Gordon – he started it in the first place pumping £300B in a desperate attempt to buy growth.

        • james102

          Inflate away the debt and let future generations deal with

      • james102

        It certainly does not help holders of annuities.

    • toni

      Hans. “and when you have nothing left…”
      To be fair to GO, when the $hit hits the fan I’ve never seen reported anywhere a speech from him that uses his family to gain the sympathy vote.

  • Daniel Maris

    Boris has already given that message – in a bullish, buoyant, confidence-imparting manner, albeit with an overlay of English eccentricity. I think most people would prefer to hear it from Boris, because then they can believe it.

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