Cameron pushes message of aspiration


Nick Robinson reviews David Cameron speech

Who are you really? What is your government for? Why are you doing what you're doing?

It is curious that almost seven years after he became his party's leader and more than two years after he became Prime Minister, David Cameron felt that those were the questions he had to answer today.

In part that's because the circumstances he now faces are not just a long long way from the sunny optimistic rhetoric which preceded the economic crisis, but also a long long way from the economic recovery he once believed would be well under way by now.

So, Mr Cameron used his speech to admit that the job of tackling the deficit had proved tougher and was taking longer than he'd expected. He drew on his experience travelling the globe, witnessing the rise not just of China and India but Mexico, Brazil and Indonesia too, to warn that Britain faced a "sink or swim, do or decline" choice about the future.

He insisted that was not simply about cutting the deficit but also about reforming the welfare and education system.

Above all, though, the man who's heard himself branded as posh and out of touch and his party as that of the rich and the privileged fought back. The Tories were, he said, not the party of the better off but the party of the "want to be better off". He was a man who didn't defend privilege but wanted to spread it.

Mr Cameron knew he could not stand on a stage and claim that the economy had been repaired. So, instead, he sought to convince that it still could be. He knew he could not pretend to have a hard luck story, so he presented himself as the lucky beneficiary of a hard work story.

He knew Ed Miliband had moved to steal his party's claim to be the party of One Nation, so he responded with a claim to be the party of aspiration.

Every speech of every leader is described by every spin doctor as personal. The tearful tribute to his son Ivan and to his father ensured that. However, it was the ideas that were spelt out today, and the way that they were, which sounded authentically like David Cameron.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    Cameron pushes message of "aspiration"; that's a curious choice of word & loaded. It means both to aspire to achieve something, anything; but it also means to take a deep breath. Cameron knows; he lectures; he appeals that what The Coalition has to do is mandatory to get to where the country needs to be. But one senses that The Coalition is barely breathing & cannot take a long inspired breath.

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    #43 "and taken us deeper in debt"

    All parties promised (though they said it quietly) that they would take the British people further into debt during this Parliament.

    Debt was promised, debt was voted for, and debt is being delivered.

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    #38 "the spiral of decline begun with the initial round of draconian cuts"

    Total expenditure (current and capital) increased in the 1st year of the coalition government, even when adjusted by inflation (from 705 to 706 billion).

    It seems that neither Labour nor Conservatives want the electorate to know this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    Agree it's ridiculous but the problem is that costs have been allowed to get out of control and the tax system out of kilter. Labour did it just as much but they then thoughtlessy upped the Benefits without considering the consequences.

    Dave demonstrated yesterday that he just doesn't have a clue. Some of us suspected it was true seven years ago. Now we are being proved right.

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    He spoke out of his backside, as do all politicians.
    Most of my income goes on taxes, fuel to get to work, home, food and clothes. I aspire to have only a marginally larger overdraft each month. I can't be a banker (I don't know the right people) or a politician (ditto) or the CEO of a company (ditto again) and despite not screwing up my job (as many CEO's do) I don't get paid millions


Comments 5 of 63


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