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The great idea of "the nation of the second chance"

Tim Montgomerie

IDS has just addressed Tory Conference and ended his speech by promising to build the nation of the second chance. I've always loved the idea behind that soundbite. Being the party of aspiration must include the aspiration to start again after a difficult life. David Cameron first used the phrase five years ago:

"I want to build a nation that never writes any one off. A nation that says that it's never ever too late to start again. Never too late to realise those dreams you once had.

And so the fifth of our Social Justice working groups will examine ways to make Britain a nation of the second chance. For the mum who got pregnant as a teenager the nation of the second chance will enable her to study when she's 35.

The nation of the second chance will offer rehab to the man who has frittered away his twenties on drugs. The nation of the second chance will find a warm home and a job for the man who has slept rough since he ran away from the father that abused him.

The nation of the second chance is a different world to Gordon Brown's decommissioned Britain. We will never fulfil our potential as a nation by giving up on our fellow citizens, abandoning them to long-term unemployment, educational failure or addiction."

It is a great prize for the Conservative Party if we can be the party of upwards mobility and of the second chance. Aspiration and compassion united.


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