Coffee House

David Cameron and the long election campaign

11 October 2012

Number 10 will be pleased with the press coverage this morning of David Cameron’s conference speech. It has received a good write-up in nearly every centre-right newspaper.

Cameron will today return to normal Number 10 work, addressing how to commemorate the centenary of World War One. Over the next few months, it’ll be intriguing to see how he strikes the balance between his party duties and his Prime Ministerial ones. Since the reshuffle in September, Cameron has been more political and his conference speech brought together his governing strategy and political strategy.

This conference speech has, in many ways, fired the gun on a two and a half year election campaign; we now know what pitch all three party leaders want to make to the electorate in 2015. The question is which party will be most disciplined in sticking to its strategy between now and the next election.

Give the perfect gift this Christmas. Buy a subscription for a friend for just £75 and you’ll receive a free gift too. Buy now.

Show comments
  • Iain Hill

    Will the Electoral Commission consider whether the Great War commemoration, a kind of national Wootton Bassett, may be a prejudicial intervention in the referendum for Scottish independence?

  • L’Arse

    Excuse the cut-and-paste job, but this
    is definitely worth reading…

    Last year, (Cameron) framed his speech with
    “Britannia didn’t rule the waves with her armbands on”. This year he says “it
    is time to sink or swim”. An elegant, if unwitting, indication of how his
    thinking has moved on; from foolhardy champion swimmer to panicked

    The UK economy is fast becoming a small
    makeshift raft, cobbled together from antiquated dogma, U-turns and fiascos,
    adrift in a sea of global uncertainty. Selling off the planks to passing sharks
    is not a solution. When the water is ankle-deep, crew and passengers look to
    the captain for action, not regurgitated rhetoric, however deftly delivered.

    All he can do is stand there and shout
    passionately “The Free Market will save us! Enterprise will save us! Aspiration
    will save us!” Abstract, deified, neoliberal concepts without a smidgeon of
    policy, detail or budget to back them up.

    I recognised his speech for what it was: A drowning
    man’s gurgling prayer.

  • Mynydd

    One point Mr Cameron hinted at, to see how it runs, so that it can be used in the run up to the next election; Labour took us to war but I’ll bring the boys home by 2014.

  • Jason Argonaut

    I’ve learned more about HMG’s policies & achievements from the PM, IDS, Gove and others than at any time in the past two years. Gaps apart I was impressed. They all outshone Milliband, Clegg and their acolytes. Why did I have to wait so long? Is this going to be maintained?

  • arnoldo87

    The best part of Cameron’s speech was his clear warning to the UK that we need to compete or decline. He was also right to emphasise the importance of education in maintaining our heritage in engineering excellence.
    I just wish he had spoken more about his determination to ensure that up and coming SME’s with growth potential received financial support when they most needed it. The biggest single disappointment of the first two years of Coalition has been the failure of Osborne’s various schemes to enable this key growth activity.
    And continued failure on this front is the biggest threat to re-election.

    • HooksLaw

      There is nothing new about the need to compete or decline. Blair was always banging on about it. The reality was Blair allowed brown to spend money that was not coming in from taxation. Its a sour inheritance.

      • ScaryBiscuits

        It may be a sour inheritance but Cameron is making it worse. He is *planning* to spend more in 5 years than Brown spent in 13. If the economy doesn’t grow as Osborne has recklessly predicted, it may be much worse.
        Spending more than your income is not so much an inheritance as a consensus.

        • ToryOAP

          I am not one to defend this inept coalition or our dithering Prime Minister but I am first and foremost a Tory and we must keep to the facts. Cameron will not ‘spend’ more in 5 years than Brown did in 13. What will happen is the debt will rise dispropartionately because Brown left the Tories with the poisoned chalice of a very high recurring deficit. Actual spending will increase only marginally – it is the interest that is the killer.

          • ScaryBiscuits

            I’m sorry, ToryOAP, but you are factually incorrect. If you don’t believe me, look at the government’s own numbers as published by the OBR.
            These show that spending has risen by 3% in the last 2 years in cash terms and by 0.3% after inflation. They call the latter ‘real terms’ but if you are on a fixed income the only real terms that matter are cash terms.
            The debt interest payments have in fact declined, due to quantitative easing, with the government effectively buying its own debt and forcing bond yields to historic lows. The ‘actual spending’ that has increased is foreign aid, the EU, benefit payments (which went up by 5% last year) etc. The appearance of cuts comes from disproportionate cuts particularly to defence and local government necessary to support all the other increases. Of all the government departments only Justice under Ken Clark made any real progress, most of the others are over budget. Meanwhile, tax receipts for the current year are well down on the previous year.
            Cameron is always boasting about having ‘cut the deficit by 25%’. He has done this almost entirely by raising taxes not by cutting spending. This is the reason why UK growth is amongst the lowest in the EU, meaning that the debt is now growing even faster than planned. Even if it was on target a deficit of 75% of what Brown was over-spending by is way too much and until we get a bit of honesty from the political class, I don’t expect matters to improve.

  • anyfool

    Cameron will probably win the election as most people will be aware of the lack of any coherent policies put forward by the puerile opposition,
    Even public sector workers will become aware that eventually more and more borrowing is not sustainable and that growth is not possible if your main market is in its death throes, there will be massive cut backs to public sector workers regardless of who is in power and it is just a matter of time before they will become aware that fighting for your own job as opposed to fighting for every job will be their only chance of staying employed,
    You will see unions fighting to keep any job and councils wanting to shed the non essential jobs which are basically a mainstay of the unions as they need unions and essential workers do not.

    • George_Arseborne

      If the economy was growing as a result of borrow, would have been ok. At the moment borrowing is high and we are in double dip recession. What do you think the electorate will mske out of this? We are not any fool any fool. Of course what do you expect from right wing press?

      • ToryOAP

        1. Opinion polls are a snapshot – we do not know where they will be in 2 years with an imroving economy.
        2. An economy growing on borrowing (debt) leads to Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and disaster. Brown’s legacy is debt to be paid off by our great grandchildren.
        3. We are not in recession.
        4. The electorate may not be fools but you and Mr Biscuits certainly are.

    • ScaryBiscuits

      ‘Cameron will probably win the election’… but not according to the opinion polls. Just because Mrs T had mid-term blues and went on to win, it doesn’t follow that Cameron will.
      ‘There will be massive cuts backs to public sector workers regardless of who is in power’… so why vote Conservative? To win the Tories need to offer the same positive vision that Reagan did, to make the positive case for a smaller state. The Cameroons can’t do this as their life-long TRG membership is an explicit rejection of Thatcherism and it’s moral case for a freer society, not to mention her belief in spending less than you earn and putting a little aside for a rainy day.
      The current president of the TRG is John Major, who was not only Cameron’s mentor but also spend money like water leading up to the 1992 election. The current crash was less the fault of the ERM than Major’s fiscal recklessness, something that Cameron is repeating.

  • HooksLaw

    Nearly 2 years to that centenary. 8th August 2018 will be a key date to celebrate, though I doubt many people will let it pass with any note.

    The other date of note of course for those who try to saw it was all pointless is 5 July 2014.

    • james102

      In 2000 the population of Europe from Iceland to Russia was
      728 million. Projection for 2050 is that it will be 600 million.

      23 million less Germans. The number of Germans under 15 years’
      old projected at 7.3 million. A third of the population will be over 65.

      Italy’s population projected to drop to 41 million from 57
      million.40% will be over 65.

      Spain’s population projected to fall by 25%.The proportion
      over 65 will increase by 117%

      In fact UN figures reveal only Albania has a birth-rate that
      exceeded replacement levels.

      Imagine if that had been the age profile in 1914.

      Image also what this means for the European social model.

      • HooksLaw

        By 2050 Italy’s population is indeed expected to decline – to about 56 million.

        This article says Germany will shed 12 million not 23.

        It also says the Italian population will stay the same and the Spanish population, far from decreasing by 25% will increase by about 4 million.

        • Vulture

          Whichever way you read it Europe is in terminal decline. The bullet that killed it was fired by Princip in Sarajevo in June 1914 and it has been bleeding to death ever since.
          It was good – very good – while it lasted, but nothing last forever, and as Cyril Connolly’s Horizon put it ( a little prematurely) in its last issue : ‘It is closing time in the gardens of the West’.
          Still, Such a shame that the Europe of Charlemagne, Alfred, Napoleon, Leonardo, Shakespeare, Churchill, Beethoven, Pasteur, Darwin and Einstein should have its last rites read by the likes of Barroso, Rumpy and Ashton. From the sublime to the obscenely ridiculous.

          • Daniel Maris

            Most of those remarkable people come from a time when Europe’s population was much smaller. We shouldn’t fear a smaller population as such – though of course in the UK we are heading for 100 million at a rate of knots thanks to the nature of our mass immigration.

            I think Europe can address its problems.

            Firstly, with North America and Japan it should form a trading bloc with higher tariff walls. Trying to compete with the Chinese is a nonsense. Global free trade is a recipe for economic suicide. Eventually people will see that and act accordingly.

            Secondly, defence – with our technological edge, we should develop robot-drone armies to defend ourselves.

            Thirdly, we don’t need mass immigration. We should follow Japan in developing robot technologies to meet our labour shortages such as they are. Within a few years we simply won’t need long distance lorry drivers, shelf pickers and stackers, agricultural workers, check out staff, reception desk staff, post office workers, waiters, taxi drivers, train drivers, bus drivers – millions of jobs are going to disappear. We need to plan now for a shorter working week.

            I think if we make the right decisions a golden age is coming for Europe.

            • james102

              It is not the overall size of the European population but
              the age profile and the social model now in place.

              At the same time as Europe’s population is crashing and
              ageing the Middle East and Africa are exploding.

              Britain and France are the only major European countries
              that have increasing populations and this is due to immigration largely,
              despite some churning from Eastern Europe, from the third world.

              Germany will not wake up on the 1st January 2050
              and suddenly have a third of its population over 65.It will start to decline
              decade by decade and its social model will not be able to survive as there
              simply won’t be the numbers of workers available.

              The obvious response will be immigration, in their case from
              Turkey as they already have a Turkish community.

              The same will occur in the rest of Europe which will
              culturally then not really be European.

              The USA has a similar situation with its Hispanic population
              increasing and its ethnic European population relatively declining.

              There is a tendency to see the model we have had in Europe since
              the Second World War continue to dominate the world, this is not really very

Can't find your Web ID? Click here