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Tim, I agree with every word of what you say.

Can I add hug-a-hoodie to the list of undeserved harshness?

Poverty is something for Conservatives to care about. But whereas Gordon Brown tackles poverty with redistributive handouts, our approach will be one of enabling. It's fundamentally different and fundamentally important.

A magnificent comment in every regard. I'm also glad of the gentle chastisment in respect of some of the comments that were made - diplomatically put, but making (I believe) and intelligent and important editorial nudge. Well done!


This thread is in danger of becoming rather too over-regarding. But I agree with Matthew & Michael - an excellent post. As I have said on one of the other threads, it is an impoverished conservatism indeed that shys away from poverty fighting.

I agree with all you said on poverty Tim.

But the problem is that by quoting Toynbee, Clark gave her a platform. That created the backlash and also lead to Newsnight and her attacks on Thatcher, which Clark did not rebut. Clark created the whole mess.

Does our head spin master at CCHQ not have any control on people like Clark?

Our message on poverty has been lost through sloppy PR.

Excellent piece. I suspect that this might be DC's Clause 4 moment.

It is also worth rereading the interview in which Mrs Thatcher made the "no such thing as society" comment.



Agree with what Cameron is saying - it bears out hopes I had yesterday that he would be talking about solutions rather than the simplistic analysis that concerned many.

Problem is that many of us connservatives are swtiched off by the language that is being used in Change agenda - Denis I think has bought this up - so its hard to hear what is actually being said. Rather than spin speech was to trash Churchill's safety net - at the time Churchill was a social progressive and his support of Beveridge showed his Liberal roots - and adopt Toynbee language why not stick with DCs own allusions to a "hand up" to "climbing the ladder" etc.

Recognise we need to be talking a language that addresses todays problems and demonstrates that this Party has moved forward but there needs to be more care in bringing current supporters along on the journey.

"The real causes of poverty are as diverse as the circumstances of the people who find themselves in poverty. There's drug abuse, alcoholism, family breakdown, serious indedtedness, skills deficits and many other lifeshocks."

True, but to what extent do any of the causes on that list reflect "social injustice", which cries out to be rectified by a "social justice", aka "egalitarian", agenda?

Tim, I think the comments in your first paragraph were unfair. I was one of the many people who over the last day or so have been expressing our concern over Cameron’s approach to poverty both at home and abroad. Does that mean we don’t care? Well I can’t speak for the other posters, but I can tell you that I DO care. What I am opposed to is the woolly language Cameron use and the soft approach he takes to dealing with the problem of poverty.

Yes there is real poverty out there in Great Britain but “hugging a hoodie” won’t deal with it. Nor will more drug rehabilitation centres. The problems of crime and deprivation in many of our big cities are no so bad that radical action needs to be taken.

Since 1945 generations of people have been brought up in a system that allows them to opt out of working life, to have children and to take no responsibility for them and to die having never done a days work.

What we need to do is to roll back the layers of the welfare state and to make life really tough for people. That means that the state ONLY helps the deserving poor and that means people who through no fault of their own cannot work (due to disability or similar). There are many who will call me uncaring, but until people are put in the situation where they have to make some really hard choices nothing will ever change. This means that those who can work and choose not to should get no help from the state what so ever. My grandfather lived in Scotland and was once out of work. He had a wife and child to support but could not get a job locally. Did he sit back and ask the state to help him? No he took a job in the South of England and sent money home and he stayed there until he was able to find a job in his home town.

I care about the deserving poor and I want to help them, what I do not want to do is to help those who are perfectly cable of helping themselves. It is time we sent out a clear message to those who live off the state that enough is enough.


I agree with your editorial.

Like Ted, I feel that the pre-spinning of some of these speeches is counterproductive and many conservatives switch off.

We always need to remember that election winning is about building a large enough coalition of support. Any re-positioning should be about widening our support base, not simply shifting it. Our use of language needs to be carefully thought out.

Dominic Lawson in the Independent:


"This poverty debate is fuelled by anger at the rich, not sympathy for the poor"

comes close to the truth.

"The Government's definition of a household in poverty is one that lives on an income below 60 per cent of the national median. Any family at that level could be certainly described as "hard up". But suppose in the next few years there were to be a doubling of all incomes in real terms. Many of those below 60 per cent of the median could no longer then be described as hard up. The Government, however, would say that they were exactly as poor as they had been before their income had doubled. The relatively poor are always with us."

"... when an American government says that it plans to reduce poverty, it really does mean that it intends to make the poorest families better off. When a British Government, such as this one, says that it plans to reduce poverty, it could fulfill that commitment simply by organising a recession in the City of London."

This ideological capitulation will haunt Cameron, and the Tory party, and will be gradually, insidiously, damaging for everybody, rich and poor, in this country.


My concern about the use of relative poverty by Greg Smith has nothing to do with believing we shouldn't be addressing poverty - absolutely the reverse. Relative poverty is simply to easy to address. It has always been easier for left-wing policians to highlight relative poverty and then set about making either the rich poorer, or the on focusing only on those people on the edges of poverty and enriching them. If anything this is what our research showing that Labour has made the poorest poorer proves. We need to address this central issue - the rump of very poor - real, absoulte poverty. That is why I am concerned to see us beginning to talk about relative poverty - the weasel words of the left to disguise their failure. To me it seems like a cop out from our real job - which you rightly highlight.

There is one thing that stops someone being poor: A JOB. So, i'm confused are we talking about poverty or are we talking about unemployment? Any scheme whereby the people of Britain are got working and contributing and self-respecting is welcome of course.

The idea of seeing welfare as any more than a safety net, as something that should remove the shame of relative poverty and deter efforts to find work is quite simply socialism, and has been proved wrong many times over in many countries.

And everyone here knows it.

It does not surprise me that there has been harshness in the comments. For nearly a decade we have watched Gordon Brown stuff the pockets of the less well off. All the while we’ve known this to be counterproductive and idiotic, so it is unsurprising that feeling run high and people are ready to ‘have a go’.

The way I see it if what DC is saying is that he will help give opportunities to the less well off instead of hand-outs then I’m certain he’ll have the backing of the vast majority of people in this country. If however DC is saying he will continue to stuff the pockets of the least well off with £50 notes and expect nothing in return then he can be assured of being given a very hard time… and here’s the real problem … I’ve read the newspapers and the blogs over the last few days and I still have no idea which of those methods DC is supporting.

Many of you will recall I’m a DC supporter and feel he’s done the right thing in not giving policy detail out too long before an election but in this case I feel he’s being vague not only on the detail but also on the ‘ideals and aspirations’.

"Mrs Thatcher redistributed - Conservatives have always redistributed."

I wouldn't call it that, but OK then let us "redistribute" a way Mrs. Thatcher would accept. Let us help the deserving poor and make it easier for them to move up rather than just give them handouts.

Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition" does not exist any more in the UK.

One of the biggest causes of poverty and misery is crime, the most frequent victims are some of the poorest and frequently most vulnerable in society.

I don't think redistribution in itself has merit, attempting to provide a bare minimum and in as simple a form as possible is the best way.

The state can provide information, but other than where people become criminal, or a nuisance to society in general, or have come to a point where they are completely non-functional - otherwise it is best for the state to avoid any intervention at a personal level in society.

The state can provide a minimal benefit level, some social services for the severely disabled and elderly and children; good transport links are important including public transport, good air & water quality, vigorous policing and an efficent fast judicial system with strict punishments for transgressors, waste disposal is important, having housing is important and that communities have availability of internet access - I think if everyone in the world was to be got online and feed them information (as the bible says "Know Ye the Truth that the Truth Shall Make you Free", many especially in this country mainly have the problem of lacking imagination) it would be far better for the well being including health and wealth of the world than massed legions of Social Workers or Drug Rehabilitation Workers.

If there is harshness in these comments, it is because many people are aghast that the Tory Party at its highest level is buying into left-wing thinking on poverty, and then trying to pretend otherwise. A Labour-lite Tory Party is about as useful as a desk-bound policeman.

If poverty is a relative concept, then the surest way to alter the situation is to knock the top off the income distribution bell curve. At a stroke inequality stats would look much better. Who exactly would this benefit?

I had the privilege of having Polly Toynbee as a constituent at the last election, her house was a blaze of Vote Labour posters. Fair enough, but we are never going to get her to vote for us, and to be quite frank, we are not going to appeal to people who put egalitarianism before merit either. That is fine, it is a clear policy differential that I think the voters want and understand.

That of course does not mean we don’t talk about how to tackle poverty, indeed we have a moral duty to do so. But if we fall into the trap of defining poverty as a relative, we not only endorse envy as legitimate political motive, we are in danger of trying to solve the problem through the tried and test disaster of high marginal taxes.

So here’s a question, would you rather be poor in the UK or middle class in Cuba?

A pure fallacy to think that those of us who do not subscribe to agendas with the word "social" (as in "-ist") are not concerned about the poor. I am slightly surprised at the Editor who has always seemed in all other respects most genial and, indeed, admirable.

Others have addressed the poverty arguments well enough. As far as Darfur goes, the cynicism being mistaken for coldness is born of acknowledgement that what we can practically do is extremely constrained and that words are very cheap.

I can't believe there are people who actually think the way to deal with poverty is to make people's lives even harder so that they pull themselves up by their bootstaps.

That's like sending Andrew Flintoff out to bat with a child's cricket set just so that we'll know whether or not he's really trying.

"I can't believe there are people who actually think the way to deal with poverty is to make people's lives even harder so that they pull themselves up by their bootstaps."

And you would be right. Noone said that.

Cameron is right the thing that the causes of poverty have in common is that they can't be solved by the state.

He omitted to say that the thing that the causes of poverty also have in common is that they are CAUSED by the state.

Now that would really have been a step forward in our thinking and given us hope that a future Conservative government might get round to addressing those issues.

"The last few days on ConservativeHome - the reaction to David Cameron's Darfur visit and to Greg Clark's poverty message - have really disappointed me. There's been a harshness in the threads and a coldness to the suffering of some of the poorest and most desperate people in the world."

This is the Tory party........

There were one or two hard-hearted posts on this thread over the last 48 hours, editor, but the overwhelming majority aimed their fire not at the poor but at Clark and Cameron.

Part of the problem is Cameronian language and insinuation - it SOUNDS like big state welfare programmes, and the key words or soundbites (Toynbee-not-Churchill, Thatcher-was-the-answer-to-the-70s;-this-is-the-2000s) are designed to appeal to the (hitherto) non-Tory voter in such a way as to apologise for past Tory misdeeds. As such, they outrage much of the Tory core vote.

Another part of the problem is that this is just so much verbiage when not backed up by policy. Had Clark and Cameron not pre-spun, but had they a framework of solutions to announce, we could debate policy plans on this site and in general political discourse. Instead we discuss background noise.

The mood music of Project Cameron has, it seems to me, had more of a negative effect on the rump of Tory support than a positive effect on the soft Left of LabLib which it is clearly aimed at.

This will continue until policy - ANY policy - is formulated. The problem with the clean-slate approach adopted by Cameron is that, right now, the core vote cannot rely upon any of their long-held beliefs as being sacrosanct.


I am with Richard on this and the others who have explained more eloquently than I can why we reject the line that is being thrown out at the moment.

As this debate begins to unfold it is worth pointing out that nobody has a monopoly on compassion, neither you Tim, nor IDS, nor Cameron. We all experience life with its ups and downs. And I am sure we all cope with it (post tax income allowing) as best we can including doing as much for our family, friends neighbours and the deserving as we can. So there is no need (and I am sure that is not the intention) to create a false dichotomy between those who do and those who do not agree with Cameron and Clark in terms of compassion. I have always believed that conservatism is essentially compassionate but in a pragmatic non-ideological way. It may simply be a matter of taste but I prefer not to wear my compassion sanctimoniously on my sleeve.

I am sorry Tim if you think some of us have acted a bit like t****** but we hold our views as Cameron purports to hold his.

Well said, esbonio.

It would be better if Cameron fought the t***** within him when it came to spending other people's money.

No one here seriously wants the poor to become poorer. We all instinctively want to improve the lot of all. However the language used in what we have read gives us an indication of what is planned. I am seriously concerned about how this fits in with the other parts of the Cameron Project. Weve already said we will not cut spending and that we are reluctant to promise immediate tax cuts. Our comments in relation to Kirklees really didnt help his explanation as it suggests that we will use the State, and the publics money in order to fund it.

This speech is starting to link the various threads of policy together and we can now see what a Conservative government could do. Of course lets not forget, the Policy Groups report back next year but we know they wont have that much control over which policy emerges from the process. Its up to the Shadow Cabinet...

Dominic Lawsons article in the Indy today was brilliant in explaining the objections many of us have. "relative poverty" as a term doesnt sound bad, but when you look at the implications of dealing with it with regard to society as it is, it seems clear that the Conservatives are being pulled too far to the left.

Its getting to a point where Party members will start to wonder whether they are in the right party. This is a seriously bad policy and we need to come out and say that we want to help people to help themselves instead of just helping them without them taking responsibility for themselves, a policy Labour has taken under Blair and will do under Brown. That is the essence of conservatism.

For the love of God Cameron, please, listen to the members and the readers of Conservative Home. You are over-balancing policy.

Very eloquent - as usual - esbonio. I am also glad that you avoid spelling out the ugly and unpleasant t-word!

Quite so James.

Tim, I think the majority of comments here over the past two days have been quite apt. Once you accept the basic assumption of the Left (an increase in inequality is an increase in poverty, even if the incomes of the poorer members of society are rising) as Greg Clark does in his paper, then it's not surprising that Conservatives react strongly.


I think you're normally far too harsh on the leadership of the Conservative Party and criticise you for that. So I am glad that you're taking a much more constructive line on this issue.

Dominic Lawson doesn't understand what a median average is. Oh dear.

Imagine you had a country of only 100 people. Put them in a line of highest to lowest income. The 50th person in the line is the median. Imagine there are 12 people below the poverty line (ie their income is 40% of that of the median person). Now, imagine that there are 5 people at the other end of the line who are CEOs of large international banks all on £3m a year.

Let's do what Lawson says and organise a recession in the City. The CEOs' income falls to £2m (still well above the median). Has poverty as measured by being 40% income of the median changed? No.

Finally managed to see the Cameron speech and it seems to be pretty reasonable to me. I notice that a number of the more virulent posters of yesterday are absent this afternoon . It seems that some were getting very nervous about the prospect that really doesn't exist ie Big increases in social welfare spending and therefore big tax rises to pay for them.
I am particularly interested in James Maskell and Esbonio in particular which part of the speech you specifically disagree with.

"There's been a harshness in the threads and a coldness to the suffering of some of the poorest and most desperate people in the world."

I'm probably someone who could be accused of seeming 'harsh and cold'. I remember being in ("relative") poverty, it's fine as a single student, but being married in a one-income family and struggling to afford the fuel bills, it wasn't very nice. The worst thing though about living on £900 a month was that so much of what we earned went on taxes. Then the rent, and there was just about enough left for food at Netto or Aldis. Certainly no foreign holidays, satellite TV, eating out at restaurants, etc. We didn't expect to be going on luxury holidays, but that over a third of our income was going on tax didn't seem very fair. And what we were living on was a pretty normal family income for Radford, Coventry in 1998. Many working people are trying to support a spouse and two or more children on that.

Re Darfur, if I'm harsh, I think Iraq has shown how good intentions (accepting that intentions were good) is not the same thing as good results. Al Qaeda & co want as many battlefronts with us as they can get. If we send troops there, Darfur, with the Islamist government in Khartoum, looks like a perfect opportunity for another Jihad. If we can help the people of Darfur at an acceptable cost, we should. But we also have to consider the likely consequences of our actions, and what that cost might be.

Cameron needs to come clean on this "relative poverty" debate and tell us whether or not he believes "relative poverty" needs alleviating through increased public exppenditure and if so which taxpayers (if any) will pay for it. If he will not answer that question we are entitled to think the worst. The tax burden already falls unfairly on the poorer and middling sections of our community and any increase would IMO be a massive vote loser. So no dissimulating please Mr Cameron.

If Cameron does want to increase the tax burden to alleviate relative poverty we should not forget that increased taxation (Laffer curve) is likely to reduce the size of the overall tax take. In addition it should not be forgotten that simply throwing money at some of our more complex and worst problems associated with poverty will not necessarily solve them. For example with drug dependancy, the taxpayer pays a fortune in terms of treatment with little prospect of a positive net result. So salving our consciences is not guaranteed to leave us better off financially or otherwise.

And whilst you are contemplating that don't forget he and Osborne want your green taxes as well.

As far as I am concerned if Cameron wants more money, he and his mates should pay for it and leave the rest of us alone.

I agree with what the other Richard said.

And at first I thought the first line of this article said Scatman Trust!

PS One way to encourage charitable giving, social enterprise, mutual insurance societies etc would be to cut taxes...

So which parts of his speech did you disagree with Esbonio?


I would like to have watched the speech but was overcome with a spot of mal de mer.

If you don't like the social justice angle on the whole poverty thing, jsut consider this ... middle class people won't tend to stab you, rob you, beat you or burn your house down with anything like the regularity people from poorer backgrounds do.

So, think of it as a security issue ... its cheaper than a bodyguard each.

So Esbonio,you have been bitterly critical of DC over the past two days and you didn't even listen to what he had to say?!!

Adam may be wrong

Depends on the exact numbers, but by a recession cutting incomes presumably many more than just the CEOs would get lower pay. 40% of a lower number is a lower number and the poorest have nothing to lose already. So the 12 people below the median line could conceivably reduce to 11 or 10.

Nice - crash the economy, reduce income disparity and reduce relative poverty. Everyone's happy as money is the root of all eveil and now we all have less of it.

Double everyone's income and you will increase income disparity, increase relative poverty but everyone is still earning twivce as much.

I do like a good debate about relative poverty from my 5 star hotel room overlooking some of the slums in Bombay.

Doesn't sound very Tory.

"So, think of it as a security issue ... its cheaper than a bodyguard each."

That is a pretty weird comment, Matt. What is cheaper than a bodyguard each? Is there more than one alternative to a bodyguard each? How much would a bodyguard be, come to think of it?


Sorry but it is Friday afternoon and I simply could not resist getting you going. I must reassure you that I have been a serious student of Chairman Dave since he first appeared on my radar a couple of years ago.

Not serious enough to listen to what he's saying.I'm far from a 100% committed Cameroon but he's the only leader we've got and as a Conservative I want him to succeed. Unless he does something with which I violently disagree I will refrain from attacking him unjustly.


I can assure you that where the future of my country is concerned I am very serious.

That is why, much as I prefer not to, I do listen to David Cameron. And yes he does make me metaphorically sick.


And another thing.

Since Cameron and his mates have been on my radar the message I and most of the people I meet have got is that he cares not about traditional Tories and their values and has no desire to represent them. If you are happy with that, so be it.

I can see both sides here. I approve entirely of DC's visit to Darfur - statesmanlike and assured, and I believe IDS is doing very good work in the area of poverty and social justice.


www.sort-it.co.uk is ridiculous in my honest opinion - it looks like an absolute joke. Does anyone think it will win us even one vote? And the Toynbee comment has lost Greg Clark an awful lot of credibility, as has the attack on Churchill's policies - which is a shame, as what he has to say is constructive.

Matt, that's a point I've been trying to make. Large material disparities across society can threaten "social cohesion", with undesirable consequences. But unless it can be shown that the disparities are not only de-stabilising but also "unjust" I don't see where "social justice" comes into it. What Cameron has done is to accept the pernicious doctrine that anyone getting less than say 60% of median income is by definition being treated unjustly, irrespective of the nature and quality of their work and the level of effort they put into it. The corollary must be that it's also unjust for anybody to get substantially more than the median, irrespective of the nature and quality of their work and the level of effort they put into it.

Cameron has not defined poverty in monetary terms, either relative or absolute. He's managed to communicate the message that Conservative policies help the poor. He's managed to bring a raft of social issues onto the political agenda - which are already to be found in Built To last.

He's conceded no commitment to spend money. He's defined poverty in social terms, not monetary ones. Brilliant. A good day's work. It's the same theme as GWB not GDP. Human values are not all about money.

I am delighted that your editorial has provoked such a lively post; very healthy.
I haven't seen or heard DC's speech, so I can't comment on the detail but I agree fully with your comments and I hope that DC's government will prove to be much more effective in the real alleviation of poverty than Nulab has been.
One aspect of all the policies that are proposed on ConHome is virtually never addressed: how to deliver the goods.
We do not want to do exactly the same as Nulab: pour huge extra dollops of taxpayers' money into education, health etc without then obtaining value for money.
I had hoped that we would hear about partnerships between government and charities and particularly the CofE. They have people on the ground caring for those who actually need help.
Cannot the government actually empower them to do much more of the good work that they already do?

This adds nothing to what we heard previously about the ideological gymnastics of Dave and his sidekick.

Conservatives have been active in fighting poverty for centuries and now Johnnie-come-lately Cameron has the nerve to suggest that he is the first "Caring Conservative" to come along after years of supposed oppression by The Nasty Party.

Basically it's a load more empty waffle from this champagne socialist who has lived in a cossetted world of privilege ever since his first silver spoon was popped into his mouth.

Is there a link to the full text of the speech anywhere?

There is absolutely no reason why we voters should have to second guess Cameron and Osborne.

Labour have wasted billions yet neither Osborne nor Cameron will commit to tax cuts. However Cameron wants green taxes and a reduction in relative poverty. If Osborne cannot promise tax cuts from reductions in public spending why should we believe these Charlies can be expected to achieve a reduction in "relative poverty" any other way. Some of you may remember similar rubbish from John Major's government which almost single handedly invented stealth taxes leaving the Tories emasculated and unable to complain when Gordon Brown copied them.

So you haven't heard the speech either James. I do think it is difficult to take people seriously who launch the most vitriolic attacks on our party leader without any knowledge of what he's been saying.

"If you don't like the social justice angle on the whole poverty thing, jsut consider this ... middle class people won't tend to stab you, rob you, beat you or burn your house down with anything like the regularity people from poorer backgrounds do.

So, think of it as a security issue ... its cheaper than a bodyguard each."

That is effectively a form of blackmail though - give us money or we'll rob you, beat you etc. I do not want to give money to people with that sort of attitude. I want to give money to those who are genuinely decent people who want to succeed in life and would not consider taking out their anger on others.

malcolm, I have read the summary above: the speech is shallow twaddle - the same kind of "we must eliminate the root causes of poverty" as the socialists have been saying for decades + it moves the discussion to where the socialists like to discussed it: as *relative* poverty. It is dangerous to discuss topics using the opponents terminology.

If Cameron can't find tax-cuts after 10 years of Brown, he is high-spending.


Nice try at moving the goal posts.

Your feeling for "our leader" would be touching if it did not strike me as sad.

I listened to him as much as I can bear to to, so I suggest you shove your attempts to rubbish the criticism which is entirely valid based on what was released.

If you want to add value to the argument of the last 48 odd hours I suggest you address it.

On Today this morning Cameron stated quite clearly that he was only interested in closing the gap between the poorest and the middle. Of course, he didn't say how he was going to do this, but it seems that those at the top of society have little to worry about. Those in the middle, however ...


You arr to polite.

Wow, what an honour. "The most vitriolic attacks on our party leader"! Do I have to do an acceptance speech at a ceremony? If I do theres one problem. I dont have any tux. Does Cameron have one to spare since hes making such a thing of sharing and responsibility and all that jazz? Im suffering from "relative poverty" you see...

If I can see the full speech (give us a link for example) then Ill happilly tear it apart, but without it I have to do what I can, and that means the excepts that CCO has been happy to let go...


There has been an exponential increase in the earnings of directors over the least 20 years compared with the average employee. Even I as a free marketeer am reluctant and find it hard to justify the difference and find it a wee bit unpleasant.

Accordingly if Citizen Dave's guillotine were to fall on someone it would not upset me too much if it fell on the super rich.

And before anyone criticises me, I have a wee bit of experience myself. I seem to remember people paying tax over 90% in the 60s/70s. I certainly remember paying 60% tax myself under the Tories. So from a selfish perspective I might be more than happy to see taxes at no more than 50% (it stikes me as immoral for the state to get more than you do as well as a disincentive)as long as it only fell on the rich which of course is where the rub lies. Are we talking £50k pa, I do not think so. Are we talking £100k, that was what the LibDems used to want and average earnings have moved on. And then do not forgot all the tax free perks which the rich and not so rich benefit from already including off-shore trusts and share options.

Difficult aint it? Still I am sure George and Dave can work it out without afffecting
ordinary people; not.

Well said, James.

The problem with all these soundbites is that no one will know where the party stands on anything. Maybe that's what we are supposed to think. Then when we unveil some new policies everyone will want to see them.

A very fair and important post Tim. I wish I had more time to devote to commenting and have missed most of the discussion on this subject but my quick reading of comments on the issue has made me despair at times. Some conservatives seem to have forgotten what conservative governments actually do, once freed from the sterile purity of opposition.

It is also notable how these same people don't even bother listening to, or reading, the speeches they are purporting to attack.

One can only imagine that their first port of call is the letters page in 'The Guardian'.

Derek could be onto something. It would be such a suprize that the Tories believe in something that the public would pay attention. Still wouldnt mean they would vote for us but we got their attention for a while, and ladies and gentlemen, thats ALL that matters!

Cardinal, we all read the summary above. Is there anything missing? Otherwise my comment is here: http://conservativehome.blogs.com/torydiary/2006/11/a_conservative_.html#comment-25733919

Don't flatter yourself James, your 'we're all f******' post yesterday was in a crowded field the most moronic to have appeared on Conservative Home to date I think.

But, malcolm, it was concise and clear.

On a more positive note: The best answer was the one to you:

">>Why has my comment been deleted? Was saying 'wait for the speech' really so unpalatable?<<

And that's the one in which you called everybody else "hysterical"

Calm down, Malcolm dear. Your post is in exactly the same place as it's been ever since you posted it."

Good article Tim. I have gradually warmed to the DC agenda since he became leader (not all of it but do we ever agree with everything someones says). Sometimes the messages might be better crafted by the Pr team but his desire to pursue social responsibility and tackle poverty is spot on. Labour does not have a monopoly on caring and often practical Conservative ideas are much better at solving problems. We have to keep our powder dry as we want to show people we care and have ideas but not let Labour steal policies and then de-value them by applying them poorly. Some people seem to take what DC says and exaggerate it until arguments rage about things he never said. Hug a Hoodie was a classic example but he was absolutely right to address causes as well as punishments,


>>Don't flatter yourself James, your 'we're all f******' post yesterday was in a crowded field the most moronic to have appeared on Conservative Home to date I think.<<

What, even more moronic than your bleat about your post being deleted when it was there staring you in the face all the time?

Talk about paranoia...

"Some people seem to take what DC says and exaggerate it until arguments rage about things he never said. Hug a Hoodie was a classic example"

Really? Well who was it said "Love a Lout" and "Hug a Thug"? I've always understood it was Cameron.

If it wasn't him it must have been somebody very close to him.

Bob T -

And you appear to be a classic case of someone who listened to the labour spin and not the conservative message.

Why any honest contributor to this site would seek to believe anything coming from the labour spin machine after all that we've suffered really beggars belief.

David Cameron didnt say "Hug a Hoodie". He said to give "love and understanding" to hoodies. It was Labour who came up with the tag which has stuck like peerages to Labour Party doners...

As for my moronic post, You'll notice that more than one person agrees with the sentiment.

"David Cameron didnt say "Hug a Hoodie". He said to give "love and understanding" to hoodies."

So what's the difference? "Give 'love and understanding' to hoodies" is the Etonian way of saying "Hug a Hoodie".

Ah, finally tracked down the speech. Why in God's name is it under press releases and not the speeches section of the Tory website?!

Anything missed out in the summary above?

Having read the speech I have nothing further to add to my objections based on the excerpt. Relative poverty cannot be solved unless we become Communist.

The text of the speech can be read here:


Jorgen, there is no difference at all between giving love and understanding and hugging a hoodie, it means practically the same thing. In fact, giving love and understanding goes slightly further than just a hug.

In other words: since the LibDems needs a socialist leader and we need a Conservative leader, why not deport Cameron to the LibDems and find a Conservative leader to lead the Conservative party?

The number at the end of the web-link to the speech has been cut off and should be 133756.

"So poverty is relative – and those who pretend otherwise are wrong. This has consequences for Conservative thinking."

"In 1997, when New Labour came to power, their approach to poverty combined two essential elements. Their phrase "economic efficiency and social justice" summed up an important truth. That you need to grow the cake – which means economic efficiency. And you need to divide it fairly – which means social justice. As part of this, Labour recognised the fact of relative poverty."

"Relative poverty", "social justice" - what next, "from each according to his ability, to each to according to his need"?

"To start with, we have to recognise that poverty is about more than income. The sixty-per-cent-of-median-income definition of the poverty line is useful, but it is only useful in its own terms - at measuring relative income. The fact is that assets matter as much as income. For the poor, what matters is often the absence of positive assets and the presence of negative assets – in other words, debt."

So presumably not only income, but assets, need to be divided more fairly.

Watched the speech. I was surprised that whilst the language was from a different perspective the delivery was less than assured. Watching the speech I was surprised by how much referencing to the paper in front of him there actually was. At times it was almost like he was reading the text and for me it lost some of it sincerity.

Like many comments on this post I am surprised by the direction we appear to be taking through our the absorption of the language of the left and wonder if it is a sign that at the highest levels in the party we have decided to accept defeat in the culture war with the left. Morever, I wonder was the conceptualisation of GWB will actually look like. We live in a globalised environment and one of the stark realities of this is that we need to become more not less competitive. However, from this speech I wonder how much competitiveness will continue to be lost in the pursuit of GWB and where the boundaries will be drawn in the definition.

I have now skimmed the speech with my biased eyes and I still find it shallow: no real solutions apart from stuff like he would like to support marriage (oh, really, who won't?), avoid that people go into debt but luckily his new website will take care of that (ok, just kidding!), is for flexible working (that costs money for the businesses so who is to pay for that?) and he hopes private charities *eventually* will be able to solve local (relative?) poverty problems if they receive enough funding and the state doesn't interfere much; I think he is off his rocker!

His critique of the benefit trap is good but somewhat theoretical.

The relative poverty he talks about is socialist nonsense.

I don't think he claims that there is absolute poverty in the UK.

Thanks for that jorgen.

James - you appear not to appreciate the difference that the word 'understanding' gives to the phrase, an ability to dissect the English language would help you know.

To change something you have to understand it first, given this you can point out a positive direction. Without understanding there is nothing, no hope for change.

Cardinal, how about the 'love' part, then? Kindly teach me how to dissect the English language.

I am BTW curious as to your choice of name. Do you know the story about Cardinal Pirelli?

Simon Heffer has an excellent article on Cameron's speech.

Love is open to numerous interpretations, in this instance I tend towards the view that love is the overarching feeling that justifies the means. In this case, the hurt and pain that is necessary needs love to ameliorate the pain. It's akin to getting someone off hard drugs, to do so with callousness is counter-productive when to do so with care brings more effective results.

As for the name, I just like Ronald Firbank's writing, his floridity of language always raises a smile. His stories are also often the very essence of political incorrectness. Regarding the proclivities of my 'nom de plume' I am, thankfully, not at all similar!

Well said, Cardinal, on both topics!

However, with regards to 'love and understanding', I have heard it all before - even said it myself in court when I as a young lawyer had the misfortune to have stand in for a colleague to do a criminal case - but usually only from lefties.

Whichever way you want to look at it, talking about 'love and understanding' sends the wrong message to criminals. Like also those less well-off, we should certainly give them opportunity to get on their feet again, but they must first understand where they are and show some effort.

Cameron's words - like also the tasteless debt web-site he established - shows that Cameron doesn't really understand what is going on in real life.

"To change something you have to understand it first, given this you can point out a positive direction. Without understanding there is nothing, no hope for change"

It depends very much on how deep an understanding you mean. Also, you can change something without understanding it. Irrational change doesnt require understanding, but can occur anyway.

Nice try Cardinal. Better luck next time.

I have to laugh at those accusations at Cameron hinging on his Eton background or being 'born with a silver spoon'.
Those expressing such sentiments must clearly have betrayed the truth that they are not members of the Conservative Party; such sentiments of class envy are surely those of the Labour Party, not the party of Macmillan or Douglas-Home.

I think a lot of the complaints back up the point of Cameron et al. The left have cornered the market in issues concerning poverty such that when a Conservative starts speaking about those issues, critics immediately assume that, if he is taking up 'Left' issues, he must be advocating 'Left' solutions. Of course the substance does not show that at all. The Toynbee 'caravan' analogy is merely an update of Disraeli's 'Two Nations'. Thus focussing on such issues can be done from a Conservative angle. (It may be useful to point out that in his own approach to solve the problem, Disraeli implemented what was then a huge level of government action, in slum clearances, waste systems etc.).

"Like also those less well-off, we should certainly give them opportunity to get on their feet again, but they must first understand where they are and show some effort.

Cameron's words - like also the tasteless debt web-site he established - shows that Cameron doesn't really understand what is going on in real life."

On the contrary, the website does precisely what you are suggesting. Unmanageable and unsustainable debt is a problem; the web campaign is an attempt to get people to realise if they are in such a situation, and what they, not anyone else, what they can do to help themselves.

"Irrational change doesnt require understanding, but can occur anyway.

Nice try Cardinal. Better luck next time."

Which is nothing to do with our political decisions and which should have no bearing on them. We have to address those things that we can change.

Nioce try James, better luck next time.....

I think that should have been 'Nice try' rather than 'Nioce', a word that doesn't appear to exist...

DavidDPB, youngsters overspending may of course be a problem (I simply don't know), but I doubt very much this particular video will make them change their lives.

However, I do find the video a slap in the face of families who are in debt because they cannot pay all their bills due to rising direct and indirect taxes. The 't*****' they want to fight are the overtaxing politicians, i.e. now all the main parties.

Some of the extreme language about David Camerons speech doesn`t surprise me as those right-wingers who are forever attacking him on this site are still stuck in the past when it was all about me. me, me and not about we and us.
Some seem to think that you tackle poverty by tax cuts alone, what nonsense. You tackle poverty by making our education system better and giving everyone opportunities to fulfill there potential. Like DC I don`t think this just as to be tackled by the government but businesses and the volunteer sector as well needs to become involved.
I also agree with those that poverty is not just about money. In my opinion its about bad housing,crime, poor leisure facilkies, bad environment. Its a whole life issue not just a money issue.
Some seem to think that we as a party should not propose anything on a social issue that involves the government taking action and using taxpayers cash to help tackle poverty. I totally disagree. If it is used in the right way I think it can be money well spent and an investment not an hand out.
We must get away from this old mind set that everything the state does is bad and everything the private sector does is good.
As Conservatives we should be in favour of preserving the best in our country and changing the worse. I think David Cameron deserves our support because it is increasingly looking like he is trying to do just that.

I have to correct you again, Cardinal!

1. nioce
noi-sh , Meaning more then nice , nice squared.

Metal Gear Solid 3 is freakin nioce !
by Leto the Craig Florida Sep 17, 2005 email it



Hmm, I'll stick to my OED I think.....

"DavidDPB, youngsters overspending may of course be a problem (I simply don't know), but I doubt very much this particular video will make them change their lives. "

Oh, well let's not bother at all then. But seriously, it's a perfectly Conservative measure-encouraging people to take responsibility for themselves. If you aren't going to have any more active government action, which I presume as Conservatives would be the last resort, you are going to have to get the message and means of help out there.

"I do find the video a slap in the face of families who are in debt because they cannot pay all their bills due to rising direct and indirect taxes. "

I find it rather patronising that with a message clearly aimed at those who have unmangeable and unsustainable debt, you automatically assume that poor families will fall into that category. And those that do will surely benefit from knowing that there are organisations out there that can help them help themselves in sorting out their debt.

I presume though that from your concern about the effect of taxes on the least well off, you would be happy for any reduction in taxation at that level to be countered by the raising of taxes on those who are better off?

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