Coffee House

A clear message for the second half of this Parliament

8 November 2012

Yesterday in the House, both parties welcomed the re-election of Barack Obama. An incumbent leader has been returned to the White House. Incumbency is of course a massive factor in US politics – an incumbent has been unseated only a handful of times in history.

The reason for this is clear. For all the bumps and knocks you get along the way as a government, getting your message out is much easier when you’re already standing on the podium. For the four years of his first term, Obama’s grassroots and digital campaigns never ceased.

It’s an important lesson for UK politics. This week, as we enter the second half of this parliament, there won’t be any fireworks to mark the midterm. Yet on the ground, the campaign has already begun. This time it isn’t about gaining political capital – it’s about real lives and real people.

As the Obama campaign demonstrates, it’s not about a rush to the finish, but a steady and determined campaign that demonstrates what we’ve been doing in government to get this country back on her feet – and our messages must be crystal clear.


First, we needed the private sector to grow sustainably and create jobs – two years in and we’re on the right track. We’re rebalancing the economy and when people hear that we’ve already cut the deficit by a quarter, people are reassured to know that the pain is generating results.

That’s matched by our reduction of borrowing in the public sector. Net borrowing has fallen by 29 per cent since we took office – something that’s key to keeping our finances in check and mortgage rates low. Working to balance the books will remain our number one priority during the second half of this parliament.

Supporting employment is our third measure. Nearly 1.2 million private sector jobs have been created since the last election. There are now nearly 30 million people in work – that’s more people in work than ever before and there are more women in work. But we can and must go further still.

Fourth, our reforms to the welfare system are also putting hard-working people on the right side of the equation. Thanks to Iain Duncan Smith’s Universal Credit, work will always pay from now on. So we’re firmly on the side of people who do the right thing and want to get on in life.

And finally, we’re protecting our communities.  Crime has fallen by 10 per cent since the general election. But we haven’t just cut crime, we’ve also unashamedly put ourselves on the side of the homeowner. When people work hard and build something for their family, they should know that the government isn’t trying to take it all away from them again.

Standing at the midpoint of this parliament it’s becoming apparent that the difficult decisions we’ve faced are just starting to pay dividends for Britain’s hard-working families. In 2015 the choice for voters will be this: throw away these hard-earned gains by trusting the very people who placed this country at peril in the first place, or to allow the time to finish the job and help the natural aspiration and ambition of this country shine. We have an incredibly important message and 910 days to the next election to deliver it.

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  • MC

    The following is how the tories are “making work pay”: They are simply cutting welfare down to poverty levels and in many cases outright denial, without doing anything about the scandal of the working-poor and chronic underemployed in this country. People on the breadline even though they have a job. So on a technicality, work will “pay” more than welfare so that they can get away with claiming as such in the media, but for millions the choice is work and be dirt poor anyway, or dont work (or more likely be unable to find work) and be utterly destitute. Not much of a choice is it!

    Lying, scheming, nasty party which lives on its ability to propagandise and bide its time until enough people have forgotten or were too young to remember how horrid they were the last time they got voted in. Remember the 80? Theyre doing it again because we let them again.

    If you are not already well off, a vote for tories is a vote against your own interests. Its that simple.

  • barbie

    He’s forgot to tell you they’ve cut from the elderly in several areas while agreeing to accept a salary rise plus tax cuts. Attendance Allowance cannot be claimed now if you have no had any condition for a prior six months. Even if you have an accident, stroke, or heart attack. Its fact. My friend fell downstairs and was told exactly that. How can you have an accident six months before you claim. He may sound optimistic but he’s not hearing how the country is feeling at all. We like fairness and the above is not fair at all. In fact is down right nasty cutting from the most vunrable in our society. I hope he reads this forum so he can see my point, and digest it. Come the next election I shall remind many of their decisions and how it made life difficult for elderly people.

  • FrederickForeskin

    The nonce scandal is going to destroy mainstream politics in this country anyway. So every word written above is even more pointless than it was already.
    Anyone here want to start naming names?…

  • L’Arse

    Since we can’t post elsewhere for ‘legal reasons’, let’s leave this here

  • BenM_Kent

    Rebalancing the economy? Manufacturing is in the doldrums while Tories still cosy up to the banks which caused the crisis.

    Deficit down 29pc? Only because the Tories have slashed investment. Current spending is down only marginally because unemployment remains stubbornly high.

    The deficit is much higher than the Tories said it would be at this point, because Shapps party pitched us into a double dip recession.

    Last quarter’s reasonable GDP number – inflated by government stimulus aka The Olympics – only sets us up for a tripe dip recession. And you can be the clueless Tories will deliver on that.

    Cutting welfare just sets the economy up for an even more massive fall next time the Tory banker pals wreck the economy. They do nothing for working families who pay their taxes and may rely on that safety net if bankers stiff the economy again.

    And let’s leave unmentioned the catastrophic NHS meddling, number one priority for repeal when Labour win in 2015.

    • 2trueblue

      13yrs of Blair, Brown, Balls and the Millibands and what did we get?

      The gap between rich and poor grew, child poverty grew, youth unemployment grew, national and personal debt grew, immigration grew, and that is progress?

      Our infrastructure actually shrank, our housing stock shrank in relation to population, our manufacturing shrank, the number of children in our schools who spoke English shrank, our NHS shrank in relation to a growing population and we had to provide interpreters.
      All that happened in 13yrs. when the media were asleep and we still have our national media in denial of the facts.

  • stiffit

    But we haven’t just cut crime, we’ve also unashamedly put ourselves on the side of the homeowner. When people work hard and build something for their family, they should know that the government isn’t trying to take it all away from them again.

    For more and more people where the homeowner is the landlord this news will not be rapturously greeted.

  • L’Arse


  • jaydeepee

    Is this Michael Green or that lying wanker Grant Schapps. Please don’t tell me the Spectator paid this man for this drivel?

  • Daniel Maris

    Even the most bland and superficially reasonable observations sound absurd and annoying when one imagines them being uttered in Mr Shapps’ oleaginous tones.

    1. This is a very smug and self-satisfied account. Anyone would think that with the rebalancing of the economy industrial production would have gone up in 2011. It went down in fact.

    2. We are moving into a post-affluent society where the lower middle classes are having the fun squeezed out of their lives. Thanks to the continued policy of mass immigration being followed by this government, this trend of middle class pauperisation is bound to accelerate.

    3. Taking credit for the crime reduction is implausible I think. It was actually Labour who put in place a lot of the policies which got some control over crime.

    The universal credit is the only worthwhile and plausibly radical measure that this government has introduced and even then only over Osborne’s prostrate if not dead body.

  • Mr Creosote

    He did a good job talking the talk as Housing Minister but acheived didley squat in terms of increasing the numbers of houses actually built – let’s hope Boles/Prisk are more successful and maybe we can build our way out of the current predicament.

    • barbie

      He did nothing abour rogue landlords and squalid houses for rent. He allowed them to continue to rip people off while they are desperate for somewhere decent to live without paying large rents. He did nothing for householders who live by noisy neighbours and degernerate neighbouring properties, he was hopeless and towed the party line. What does that tell you?

  • TomTom

    Which persona is Grant Shapps today ?

    • Illi Cook

      Yes. It’s about ‘real people’, he says. Meaning not made-up ones, though he does like to make them up, Scum

  • Bluesman

    You heard it right here folks. Straight from the horse’s arse.

    • EndOfTrolls

      Which is no doubt yourself you refer to Mr Arse. Mr Shapps is an outstanding conservative and is proving to be a very good chairman. If your only contribution is this sort of puerile abuse I suggest you move to the Sun, the Mail, the Guardian or Viz.

  • In2minds

    So then a quick switch from H2B to JLB, just like Barack?

  • LB

    What about the 4.7 trillion in debts that the state pension system has?

    Ah yes, contingent liabilities – for the rest of us – that means they won’t be paid because they can’t be paid.

    • HooksLaw

      The pension age is rising, So the govt have been taking action where as the last labour govt fudged it.

  • Bob Dixon

    So everything is going swimmingly well at GB Ltd ?
    Barack Obama & the American voters are on the right track?
    What is clear to me is that GB Ltd,USA Ltd and the EU Ltd are all heading in the wrong direction.
    Is there anyone out there who can change our direction?

    • iviv44

      Turning round economies as large as the US, EU or even the UK is like trying to do a U-turn in a supertanker. To me, the UK is still heading in the wrong direction, but its bearing is better than two years ago which is pretty much all a government can realistically aim to achieve. It will take a couple of terms of Conservative government to actually get back on track.

      • HooksLaw

        I would agree with that.

        In fact if we are to pursues the correct policies which would put us back on an even and sustainable keel without slipping back into the morass of 2 years ago I would say it would take a generation at least. 2 decades not 2 terms.

        • trevor21

          Meanwhile back on planet earth…………..

      • trevor21

        Looks like you ain’t going to get back on track then,buddy.

        • iviv44

          That may well be true. And the tragic thing is that it ain’t going to be the rich that loose out most, but the lower to middle earners; in fact the very people that Labour pretend to befriend.

  • wrinkledweasel

    This is a party political broadcast. Do the two other main parties, Labour and UKIP get one?

    • Ian Walker

      Yes, Labour get one on Radio 4 every morning, Radio Five Live pretty much all day long, and several television broadcasts per day.

    • HooksLaw

      oh do shut up – or better still go and read the Guardian. Since when was the Spectator supposed to be objective?. What is wrong with the Spectator doing what it ought to be doing day in and day out?

    • EndOfTrolls

      Well, Will Straw was on the other day and Mz Hardman writes daily and the Spectator is more left than right these days. So what’s your point?

    • Charlie the Chump


    • trevor21

      This is a pile of shite !

    • EJ

      Grant Shapps – no one is listening. You – as a party – have NO message. You have no principle. You have no patriotism. You have no courage. You have alienated conservatives across the land by allowing the H2B to drive you to the left and by failing to tackle any of the problems that people really care about: immigration, crime, the EU. You have given us windmills and gay marriage. You have handed over control to a loud but tiny minority of anti-British liberals. You have lied to us. You have let us down. You have lost our votes. And you won’t be getting them back by regurgitating the same old meaningless cliches. To use the phrase so beloved of your vacuous leader: “Let me be perfectly clear…” I will not be voting Tory again.

    • D B

      Why should they?

  • Vulture

    Oh dear…James Forsyth seems to have lost his job as Downing Street’s cheerleader on the Speccie. They’ve decided to cut out the monkey and gone for the organ grinder himself to churn out a few cheery tunes.

    Whatever your message is, Mr Shapps, Britain ain’t listening. You haven’t a hope in hell of winning the next election and you know it.
    (As Corby will prove the week after next).

  • Hexhamgeezer

    The clear message from the US is; “It’s the Client Economy Stupid”
    The question is; are you strong enough to ignore this?

    • dorothy wilson


    • Curnonsky

      The contest will be over which party can promise to fill the trough more often.

  • Lynda

    What a load of self deluded piffle. It is very inaccurate as Full Fact has shown repeatedly. Just another reason to vote LABOUR

    • LB

      Vote for more debt.

      So Lynda, your share of the debt is 250,000 pounds. Same debt as someone on median wage of 26K a year.

      How are you going to do your bit and pay that?

      Or is it that there is a fairy godfather who has lots of money you can get your hands on? Take all of Branson’s cash today for example, and it will have been spent by Saturday morning.

      Some pot of gold at the end of the rainbow in a Swiss bank account? As if there is 13 times government taxes salted away. Who are the trillionaires?

      • Stiffit

        I’ve no intention of paying off the national debt, I’d rather let you service it.

        As it happens a good slice of it is owed to me and the interest on it pays my pension as it has for several generations. So thanks for that.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Ah yes, Full Fact. That “independent” charity funded outfit whose trustees include a serial trustee and director, an ex-Treasury Eurocrat, a Labour peer, a LibDem peer and a BBCrat and whose staff include a feminist, another BBCrat, a Guardianista and various other doyens of the metropolitan elite. And whose output is suspiciously and consistently left wing. Your last sentence says it all.

    • Bluesman

      Labour – every, repeat, every time they get into government they leave the public finances in ruins. Let me repeat that every Labour Government that has ever been. Every single one.

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