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The Conservatives’ moral mission: jobs, jobs, jobs

1 April 2014

Remember Labour’s defining mission: ‘education, education, education’? Yesterday we had the Conservative equivalent ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’.

In what some might see as an important day in the development of the mission of the Conservative Party, the Chancellor pledged the goal of Full Employment:

‘Today I’m making a new commitment. A commitment to fight for Full Employment in Britain, making jobs a central goal of our economic plan.’

What does this mean in practice? It suggests that cutting taxation and cutting the deficit is all about creating the conditions for work, not that tax cuts, and balancing the books are ends in themselves. It creates a moral imperative for economic reform which is not just about rolling back the size of the state. It means that when Conservatives are knocking on doors, we are in a powerful position to explain why the Government has had to take tough decisions – because of a passion to create jobs and get people back into work. Above all, it ensures that Conservatives cement their position as the Workers Party, bit by bit pulling away the opportunities for Labour (so concentrated on the welfare safety net) to claim that mantle.


Of course, stating that the main goal of Government is Full Employment, wouldn’t work without a record of credibility.

With 1.7 million new private sector jobs, 350,000 fewer JSA claimants since October 2011, 1.5 million new apprenticeships, with significant tax cuts for 27 million lower earners and real tax cuts for small and big business, it is possible for Conservatives to set out a narrative of work, jobs and the objective of Full Employment. Economic reforms, combined with Iain Duncan Smith’s deep changes to welfare are the two sides of the same coin. Getting rid of welfare dependency is all about getting people back into work – i.e. the goal of Full Employment.

Some purists might worry that ‘Full Employment’ is a departure from Thatcherite fundamentals, that it is a throwback to the mists of time, when Government owned industries and picked so-called winners, or as the Chancellor stated, spent billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on the public sector hoping that this would create jobs in the long-term. The result of this was clear to see – unemployment under Labour reaching 2.5 million by 2010, rising even before the economic crash.

Far from being un-Conservative, real Full Employment is about Government creating the conditions for jobs, through welfare changes, ending the poverty trap, achieving a living wage by cutting taxes for low income earners, and lowering costs and red tape for businesses.

We Conservatives can’t allow the left to have a monopoly on moral mission, even if it is just about the safety net. Let’s use our aspiration of Full Employment to really communicate to the public that voting Conservative isn’t just about necessity when times are tough but is about jobs for all those who want them.

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  • andagain

    Anyone would think that employment was the one bright spot in their economic record, and they had retrospectively decided to make it their “moral mission”…

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Judging by the income and purchasing power numbers, those “bright spot” employment figures must arise from people delivering pizzas to each other .

  • Mynydd

    Just more meaningless talk, from a meaningless government. This is just another attempt to hide its failures. We have had, maintaining our AAA status is at the centre of our plan, failure. Balancing the books by 2015 is at the centre of our plan, failure. Universal Benefit during this parliament, failure. HS2 on the statute book before general election, up coming failure. Now we have full employment is at the centre of our plan, failed at the first hurdle, when Mr Osborne was unable to define full employment.

    • andagain

      Emploment has gone up by quite a bit, as a matter of fact.

      In the meantime, it is a bit difficult for the other lot to complain about the deficit being too high when they have spent the last four years complaining that the government isn’t spending enough money.

      • Mynydd

        What is your definition of full employment? Mr Osborne would like to know because he hasn’t a clue.
        It was Mr Cameron/Osborne who said they would clear the deficit during the life of one parliament and have failed to do so.

  • SpookySpook

    This is a really positive development. And it’s a simple, powerful message on the doorstep too, plus it capitalises on the perception of Labour as the party of welfare. Very good news.

  • LadyDingDong

    I am not easily impressed, least of all by a Conservative party which has subsumed its instincts under a Social Democrat Prime Minister tethered to the worst sort of political incompetents, the Lib Dems, however…when I heard Osborne’s words I instantly thought, this is the game changer the Tories need. Having secured the pensioners and savers, Osborne has now positioned the Conservatives as the party for strivers and the future, leaving a bereft Labour party championing only their shrinking core vote – public sector employees and the welfare class. Why wouldn’t a one-nation Conservative party create the conditions where all citizens can find work? This is sheer genius and the ramifications will become apparent in the narrative we will hear until the general election. Labour are wrong footed again and hope springs once again in this jaded Tory breast.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …you sly devil, it’s April the first. You almost had us.

  • Denis_Cooper

    Perhaps Mr Halfon could give us projected figures for the UK workforce which would be fully employed under Osborne’s scenario. I recall that the Bank of England once said that thanks to mass immigration, both legal and illegal, it was no longer sure how big the available workforce was, and that this was a new problem it was having when trying to make economic forecasts. I am sure that Mr Halfon wlll have considered this and will be able to produce the figures showing how the UK workforce will expand as a result of the continuing policy of allowing and encouraging mass immigration, which allegedly makes us all richer even though the evidence is to the contrary when it is considered on the basis of per capita GDP rather than total GDP. There are now over 7 billion people in the world, so the scope for enlarging the population of the UK and therefore the available labour force is effectively unlimited, so perhaps he could tell us how big he expects the population and that fully employed workforce to be in, say, another twenty years.

  • Alexsandr

    what is the point of generating jobs (if even the government do that -I think many things happen in spite of the government, not because of it) if they just go to immigrants. The recovery in employment needs to benefit those already here, especially the young.

    • Count Dooku

      He said the “conditions” to create jobs. And the govt is abolishing employer NI for young people from next year.

      Why are you so worried about migrants who are willing to work taking jobs that are available? Surely a free-marketer would want the jobs to go to the best employee available?

      • Alexsandr

        but it isn’t a free market, cos the rest of us have to pick up the tab for benefits for those who fail to get a job.
        If the EU want free movement then they should take over paying out of work benefits.

        • Denis_Cooper

          Never suggest that the EU should “take over” anything, it will just encourage them to do so.

          • Alexsandr

            of course. I stand corrected!

            Just hate the way they pass edicts with no thought of who pays.

        • Count Dooku

          Then that’s an argument to cut benefits, which is what the govt is doing.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …and if you believe that, I have several bridges for sale for you. Take your pick.

            • Count Dooku

              I perhaps should have prefaced that with “attempting”.

  • Frank

    “Moral Mission”???? Do you understand morality? Do you see how it might strike a large number of voters as a bit rich for the tories to claim any moral high ground when a significant number of their MPs behave in an immoral fashion.
    I am glad if this “mission” gives the tories some sense of purpose!

    • HookesLaw

      Significant? Get real.
      I grow tired of the regular maoning anti politics garbage from a dissolute non-achieving load of numpties. Do something try it out for yourself if its so important to you.
      If ‘morality’ were so important then Wellington would not have been at Waterloo to beat Napoleon and Nelson would not have been at Trafalgar.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Wellington and Nelson weren’t trying to censor the internet.

    • Ian Walker

      It’s a common mistake to conflate hypocrisy and being wrong.

      I don’t care where my MP dips his wick, so long as he’s getting my kids educated, cutting red tape for my business, trimming down the tax bill, defending the country and making sure there’s an economic future.

    • Kitty MLB

      Yes old fellow. Conservatives have a moral mission, as they are the
      only moral party in this country. Labour and the Lib Dems are not fit for purpose.
      Hopefully UKIP will be the new party for old Labour, as for ‘ Rich Tories’
      the hypocrisy, were the champagne socialists who spent all our money
      and make people unfit for work actually Moral.

    • andagain

      So who are these perfect, sinless people who are allowed to have a moral mission? They are not human beings, obviously…

  • simmo70


    When have you sat down and thought that a Government Policy
    was a Good Idea ,was of Benefit and served the Majority of the Population
    .Never we do not unfortunately live in Utopia .How many MP’s now are fully
    committed to their Job Remit of representing the Population they serve .None.They
    may occasionally sort the Local Spat out between a constituent and Local
    Council but their hands are tied to be able to even promote the idea that a
    Policy is bad never mind change it .

    How many of Today’s jobs are safe not many with the
    exception of MP’s they can commit a crime ,steal from the Public purse
    ,constantly Lie with Impunity and sill live a Comfortable Life without their
    Salary being affected .Why are MP’S less accountable ,because so many are have
    followed the path of impartiality ,whereby Debate is virtually non-existent and
    an easy option is to “go with the Flow” or be Whipped into Party Policy .

    So why do any of us vote for any Deceitful Liars within
    Politics ,because we are fed up of the present and put our ‘Hope in the Future’
    . Haven’t we been deluded enough ,yes but where there is no hope all is Lost .The
    one Exception is Common Law the only True Law of the Land ,we should Practice
    it and Disregard Parliamentary Corporate Law .

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