Last month Angela Merkel noted that Europe might only represent 7% of the world’s population and 25% of global GDP but that it accounted for 50% of social spending. Moreover, Europe’s share of world commerce is declining at the same as the continent’s population is ageing and therefore becoming more needy. The growing pension and welfare bills have huge implications for the future tax burden on Europe’s wealth creating businesses and entrepreneurs. Germany’s Chancellor knows that every European economy – as well as the European Union itself - needs to modernise to survive in what David Cameron has rightly called “the global race”. The increasingly competitive international economy, the continuing implications of the seemingly now chronic Eurozone crisis and widening demographic imbalances are only three of the biggest reasons why our continent must change significantly in the years ahead. This, more than domestic politics, is the context for David Cameron’s much anticipated speech on Europe, to be delivered, earlier than expected, in the Netherlands on Friday.
By Tim Montgomerie
The NHS may deliver relatively poor healthcare by international standards but Britons still, understandably love it because of its commitment to treat every patient equally, regardless of ability to pay.
The United Nations may have failed to stop genocide in Rwanda and Darfur but it is still revered because of the soaring moral ambitions of its founding charter.
The European Court of Human Rights may no longer be about fundamental rights (see today's PX report) but politicians are frightened to leave an institution with such a moralistic title.
Many NGOs may be undemocratic, unaccountable and wasteful but they are more trusted than other institrutions because they proclaim their good intentions in everything they do.
The Labour Party may have left the British economy in terrible debt but it’s already riding high in the polls again. It’s liked more than the Conservative Party (according to Ipsos MORI) because it’s the party that presents itself as the champion of the poor and the unemployed.
Eventually, poor performance catches up with institutions (as it did with Labour, last May) but clearly communicated moral purpose gives institutions the benefit of the doubt. A clear moral purpose is one of the easiest ways to communicate to voters, consumers and citizens. And a clear moral vision is something the Conservative Party neglects at its peril.
Vote Conservative because of David Cameron's tough response to expenses-gate.
Vote Conservative because the Tory MEPs are set to leave the EPP and form the largest centre right grouping in the European Parliament opposed to ever closer union.
Vote Conservative because Tory MEPs will vote against the EU's ambitions to spend our way out of recession.
Vote Conservative because it's the surest way of getting a referendum on Lisbon.
Vote Conservative because David Cameron is the only UK party leader fit to be Prime Minister.