'I want to be the Prime Minister of this country, not president'
The following is an edited version of David Cameron’s speech:
'It’s been a great week. This week we’ve shown we are back in the centre ground of British politics. A stable economy. Fighting crime. Backing the NHS and our state schools. Childcare and flexible working. Improving our environment and quality of life. Those are people’s priorities; those are our priorities today.
Everyone in this hall, me included, knows that a low-tax economy is a strong economy. But some people want me to flash up some pie-in-the-sky tax cuts to show what we stand for. Let me tell you straight: that is not substance and that is not what we stand for. We have laid it out clearly at this conference: we will not take risks with the economy. We will not make promises we can’t keep.
As our economy grows, one of the most important calls on the proceeds of that growth is the NHS. The NHS is vitally important to every family in this country, it certainly is to my family. When your family relies on the NHS all the time, day after day, night after night, you really know just how precious it is.
Tony Blair once explained his priority in three words: education, education, education. I can do it in three letters: NHS.
We will serve and support the National Health Service. We will always support the NHS with the funding it needs, but we will make sure that money is well spent. So I make this commitment to the NHS and all who work in it: no more pointless reorganisations.
TRUST IN POLITICS
We have to show, day by day, week by week, month by month, that we deserve our country’s trust. For too long, the big political decisions in this country have been made in the wrong place. Not round the Cabinet table, where they should be, but on the sofa in Tony Blair’s office. No notes are taken. No one takes the blame when things go wrong. That arrogant style of government must come to an end. I will restore the proper processes of government.
I want to be Prime Minister of this country, not a president.
There is a price for progress in tackling climate change. Yes, of course low-energy lightbulbs, hybrid cars, even a windmill on your roof, can make a difference and also save money, but these things are not enough.
Government must show leadership by setting the right framework. Binding targets for carbon reduction, year on year, that would create a price for carbon in our economy.
We have asked Tony Blair to put a climate change Bill in the Queen’s Speech. If he does, we will back it.
But the environment isn’t the only priority. We are the party of aspiration and opportunity, always have been, always will be. A profound part of that is owning your own home. If we are to be the party of aspiration, we must be on the side of aspiration, and that means building more houses and flats for young people.
Our mission in Afghanistan is not just a moral responsibility, it is vital to keep Britain safe. A lawless, broken Afghanistan was the cradle for the terrorist attacks of September 11.
Our Armed Forces are doing important work in Afghanistan and Iraq, so let the message go out from this conference, to the best Armed Forces in the world: you are fighting in our name, and we are proud of what you do.
THE THREAT OF TERRORISM
Our missions in Iraq and Afghanistan remind us of the great dangers of our times. We are dealing with people who are prepared to do anything, kill any number and use suicide attacks to further their aims. Defeating them will be a battle of hearts and minds, as well as force, but this threat cannot be negotiated away or appeased: it has to be confronted and overcome.
People who threaten our security should be arrested, charged, put in front of a court, tried and imprisoned. That is the British way. When I ask myself why they haven’t done some of the things they should have, I keep coming back to one thing: the Human Rights Act.
I believe that yes, the British people need a clear definition of their rights in this complex world. But I also believe we need a legal framework for those rights that does not hamper the fight against terrorism. That is why we will abolish the Human Rights Act and put a new British Bill of Rights in its place.
Protecting our security is not just about terrorism. Gun crime is up, knife crime is up, there is violence and disorder on too many of our streets. But all we get from Labour are endless get-tough headlines and thousands of new criminal offences. They are not building the prisons. They are not reforming the police. They are not cancelling the early-release schemes. Those are the things that need to be done. With David Davis as Home Secretary, this party, the Conservative Party, is the only party in Britain that will be tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime.
Last week the Prime Minister criticised me for wanting a foreign policy which was more independent of the White House. I don’t need lessons in the importance of Britain’s relationship with America. William Hague and I have said we must be steadfast, not slavish, in how we approach the special relationship. Apparently Tony Blair disagrees. Well, if he’s accusing me of wanting to be a British prime minister pursuing a British foreign policy, then I plead guilty.
Questioning the approach of the US Administration, trying to learn the lessons of the past five years, does not make you “anti-American”. Ask John McCain.
I’m not a neoconservative, I’m a liberal Conservative. But Conservative, because I also recognise the complexities of human nature, and will always be sceptical of grand schemes to remake the world.
Although we agree with Labour about trust schools, there is still a profound divide between our approach to education and Labour’s. They think equality means treating every child the same, including kids with learning difficulties in the same classes as the brightest.
We think equality means something else. Individual children have individual needs, individual abilities and individual interests. That should mean more setting and streaming within schools so each child can develop at the speed that works for them.
Families matter because almost every social problem that we face comes down to family stability. And so I will set a simple test for each and every one of our policies: does it help families? Imagine looking after children all on your own all the time. And trying to get a job; trying to hold down a job with an employer who isn’t understanding about the fact that you might have to disappear at a moment’s notice because there’s no one else in your child’s life, and you are responsible.
Britain has got the most expensive childcare in Europe. So we support the Government’s efforts to put more money into childcare.
There’s something special about marriage. When you stand up there, in front of your friends and your family, in front of the world, whether it’s in a church or anywhere else, what you are doing really means something.
And by the way, it means something whether you are a man and a woman, a woman and a woman or a man and another man. That’s why we were right to support civil partnerships.
Family. Community. Society. The NHS. The environment. Our quality of life. These are the things that drive me in politics and I want us here to be optimistic about their future. Tony Blair said Britain is a young country. He is wrong. This is an old country, with a proud past and a bright future. We must not be the party that says the world and our country is going to the dogs. We must be the party that lifts people’s sights and raises their hopes. We are getting ready to serve again, standing up for what we believe, reaching out for what we can achieve. Let us be confident as we say, together, here today: the best is yet to come.'
From The Times of Oct.5, 2006
1. What does the cartoonist want to suggest with his cartoon?
2. Do you think he is right in respect of Cameron's speech?