Draft #1 of a speech for David Cameron to give at the Party Conference
Throughout this week, 31st August to 6th September, ConservativeHome is reaffirming some of our core themes. We started yesterday with our hope that the next Conservative government will act to renew a sense of British history and pride. Jeremy Hunt MP explores that theme today - examining sport's contribution to national identity.
Today in a very draft set of suggestions for the speech that David Cameron will give in a month's time - at the Manchester Party Conference - I've put together other topics that are regular concerns of this blog. It is not a 'wordsmithed' speech but underlines the themes we hope the Tory leader might address.
I want to start by thanking every person in this hall and members of the Conservative Party listening or watching at home for all you do. Most of you do not get paid. Supporting the Conservative Party actually costs a lot of you a lot of money. You do it because you believe that the country you love can be better. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you. No Conservative MP would be elected if it wasn’t for you. I promise that I’ll never forget that. I’ll never forget that it is a privilege to be the leader of this great party.
QUICKLY INTO> In recent times some MPs did forget their privileged position. They were a minority but they brought disgrace to every politician. Saying sorry is not going to be enough to put things right. So let me offer some concrete steps that will start us on the long, hard road back to the point where the British people might begin to respect their Parliament again:
- Every MP will publish their expenses online so that every voter can see how their taxes are used.
- We don’t
need as many politicians and that is why I’ll cut the number of MPs by
- I’ll cut ministers’ pay by
10% and I’ll cut the number of ministers by 20%. We now have more ministers than when the British Empire
stretched all around the world [CHECK FACT].
- [NEW POLICY] Most ministers will lose their government car. It is time for politicians to share in the sacrifices being made by every family in the land.
- [NEW POLICY] And like every person in a normal job, MPs who do wrong must be sackable. Conservatives will introduce the right for constituents to replace MPs that misbehave even when it’s not election time.
- We’ll cut quango pay. We’ll scrap regional assemblies. Councils who want to make big increases in council tax will have to ask voters for permission. It’s time for voters to have more power over politicians.
Another step forward for democracy will come from a little more honesty from politicians. So let me say this to every person in this country who is thinking of voting Conservative. The party of the red flag has left Britain in the red again. Deep, deep red.
Britain is in debt on a scale unprecedented in our history. With the money that Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling are borrowing this year we could build a new secondary school, a new primary school and a new hospital in every town in the UK and still have money left over. Alternatively we could feed everyone in the country for three years. Or we could pay all the household bills, mortgage and rent for every household in the country.
[H/T TO CHARLIE ELPHICKE FOR DOING THE NUMBER CRUNCHING]
If we do not change course this island nation will drown in a sea of debt.
I could tell you that we have the ideas to get out of this mess painlessly. I could tell you that everything will be immediately okay if you elect a Conservative government. But that wouldn’t be true. [Gordon Brown wants you to believe the unbelievable. The man who created this mess says he won’t cut spending. He is the only person in the country who believes that.]
The next few years are going to be tough. We need to cut spending and we are going to have to increase taxes. Every person in this country will feel the pinch. But let me be clear: We will travel together through this dark tunnel. Together. Every MP and every minister will share in the pain. I’ll make sure of that. But there will be light at the end of the tunnel if we do the right things.
So let me spell it out because I want your trust as well as your vote:
- For the time being all but emergency recruitment to the public sector must stop.
- We need to find a cheaper replacement for Trident.
- We must pause the expansion of higher education.
- Regional Development Agencies will be scrapped.
And then there is the issue of taxes...
- VAT will have to go up to 20%.
- My pledge to cut inheritance tax will be delayed.
- Charges for university and for roads will need to rise.
But this is the crucial pledge I make: We are raising taxes to bring the deficit under control. We do not want a permanent increase in taxes. These are tax rises that we will abolish in three years time. They will get us through these difficulties and we will then scrap them.
> THEN MOVE ON TO POSITIVE STUFF. MENTION NHS SPENDING PLEDGE.
We can start to rebuild one nation. In our first year of a Conservative government we will launch a social justice agenda. We will take action to protect the poorest people from loan sharks. We will invest in voluntary groups that save marriages and other relationships. We will introduce a right-to-move for housing tenants. We will introduce a one stop application process for parents of disabled children. We will stop the closure of schools for special needs children. We will reform divorce law so that there is a cooling off period for the benefit of children... [TALK TO IDS/CSJ FOR MORE]
[FIT THIS IN SOMEWHERE:] Conservatives have not wasted our years in opposition. What we offer the British people is a programme of action based on what has worked in the past and is working now in local government or overseas. We do not offer a leap in the dark but progress built on the rock of proven success.
[SOMETHING LIKE} This country has given me so much and over the next few years I hope to give something back...
Commentators are always setting up false choices. They are always saying you can't be modern and believe in tradition. That the right of this party is not progressive. You know the stuff that fills newspapers.
We will show as a government that we are not going to live within the limits set up by others. We will support the institution of marriage and offer full respect and protection to gay people. We will put a limit on immigration from outside the EU and we will open our heart to the people of Africa who this very day are hungry and dying of treatable disease. We can be the party of the NHS free at the point of use for everyone and the party of NHS reform.
This truly is the age of possibility. This is a great time to be alive. Technology has given us enormous if not complete power over disease and ill health. No generation has had so much opportunity to travel. The internet gives the poorest person with a computer as much access to information as the richest of people.
Britain faces great challenges in the near term but we are strong enough to meet them. If Britain gives this party the honour of governing again we are ready to lead the country through the years of austerity and into the age of possibility. I cannot wait to start the great work that lies ahead of all of us.