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Ruth Lea: Expose the underlying weaknesses of Brown’s economy and champion Euroscepticism

Lea_ruth Ruth Lea is Director of the Centre for Policy Studies and Director of Global Vision.  She writes the sixth contribution to ConservativeHome's What David Cameron Should Do Next series.

In one of his leadership campaign speeches David Cameron said:

“Britain will do best if we apply our trusted Conservative principles of limited government, personal responsibility, sound money and national self-government”.

I, for one, would not disagree. And whilst I perfectly well understand the reasons for David’s re-branding of the party image – it was a necessary exercise - these basic principles behind Conservatism should surely drive his agenda forward in forthcoming months. It is only by using principles as the foundation for sound policies can any coherent strategy be developed and be understood by the electorate. 

Indeed I would suggest that it is already happening. Iain Duncan Smith’s report, warmly welcomed by the leadership, contained some long overdue truths about Britain’s social problems. David’s unqualified support for family and marriage is a breath of fresh air. Similarly, there are encouraging signs that John Redwood’s report on economic competitiveness, which promotes lower taxes and less onerous business regulation, will inform the leadership’s approach to economic policy. Gordon Brown’s 10 years of damage to the economy’s underlying health needs to be robustly challenged.

And then there is the EU – arguably the biggest issue of all. The Party’s recent insistence on the need for a referendum on the Reform Treaty is absolutely right. Gordon Brown’s claim that the Treaty is materially different from the Constitution is of course complete piffle. It cannot be emphasised enough that this Treaty is the final power grab by the EU in its determination to build economic and political union in Europe.

Polls show that the majority of British people, while liking Europe, are deeply suspicious, if not hostile, to the EU. David should not be embarrassed or deflected by the Party’s Federalist dinosaurs to drive forward a healthily sceptical European agenda which is in tune with the people.



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