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David Cameron promises to take on "enemies of enterprise" in speech to the Cardiff Spring Forum

Tim Montgomerie

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Against AV: "So people tell me lots of things. There’s never a shortage of advice in this job. But I tell you – I’ve never heard anyone say this: “What I really want – what would really restore my faith in politics – is the Alternative Vote system.” We’re amongst friends, so let’s be clear what the campaigners for AV want us to do. They want us to ditch a voting system that has served our democracy for centuries… that is used by almost half the electors on the planet… and that, yes – is simple, it’s clear, it’s decisive, which time and again has given people the power to kick out tired governments. And for what? Do you realise that under the system they propose, candidates who come third can actually end up winning?  Just think about that. Just imagine it’s the Olympics, London 2012. We’re all watching the 100 metres. Usain Bolt powers first over the line. But then he gets to the podium, it’s the guy who comes third who gets the gold. We wouldn’t put up this in the Olympics what on earth are we doing thinking about it for our politics. Let me ask everyone in this room a couple of questions: Do you want a system so undemocratic that your vote for a mainstream party counts once, while someone who supports a fringe party like the BNP gets their votes counted several times? Do you want that? Do you want a system so obscure it’s only used by three countries in the whole world – Australia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea? Do you want that? So - no to AV. Let us take our argument to the British people… let’s give it everything we’ve got."

Labour should never be trusted with our money again: "We were spending - this country was spending £120 million a day – that is each and every day – just on paying the interest on our debt. And yet even with these bills piling up, Labour were still signing blank cheques and giving the green light to multi-million pound projects we couldn’t afford. And we’re still uncovering them today. Because of those PFI contracts, in one hospital it cost £333 to change a light-bulb. What on earth did they think they were doing? I say, let’s make this a light-bulb moment for the country: never, ever trust Labour with your money ever ever again."

We can be proud of our aid programme: "It means that in four years’ time, we won’t just have paid down our deficit. This country will also have vaccinated more of the world’s poorest children than there are people in the whole of England. We’ll have provided access to safe drinking water to more of the world’s poor than there are people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined. Because of what we’re doing, mothers who otherwise would have died agonising deaths in childbirth will actually see their babies go on to be children and grownups. With your hard-earned money, we are saving lives – and everyone in this country should be deeply proud of that."


Attacking the enemies of enterprise: "So I can announce today that we are taking on the enemies of enterprise. The bureaucrats in government departments who concoct those ridiculous rules and regulations that make life impossible, particularly for small firms. The town hall officials who take forever with those planning decisions that can be make or break for a business - and the investment and jobs that go with it. The public sector procurement managers who think that the answer to everything is a big contract with a big business and who shut out millions of Britain’s small and medium sized companies from a massive potential market. So you want to know my strategy for growth? When people say ‘spend lots more money’ I say forget it – Labour spent it all. There’s only one strategy for growth we can have now… and that is rolling up our sleeves and doing everything possible to make it easier for people to start a business to grow a businesses."

Selling Britain abroad: "And here’s another thing I’ve personally been doing. And that is selling Britain to the world. I know some people are disdainful about that. They see me loading up a plane with businesspeople and say – that’s not statesmanship, that’s salesmanship. I say this: attack all you want but do you think the Germans and the French and the Americans are all sitting at home waiting for business to fall into their lap? ...So let me tell you: while there are contracts to be won, jobs to be created, markets to be defended – I will be there. If it’s making sure Rolls Royce engines are in the world’s planes, I’ll be there. If it’s making sure skyscrapers in the Gulf are designed by British architects, I’ll be there. I’ll be there not just because it’s my job, not just because it’s my duty, - because I but because I passionately believe – no, I know that this country can out-compete, out-perform, out-hustle the best in the world… and I’m going to make sure I use every last drop of my energy to make sure that happens for our country."


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