Wednesday, October 04, 2006

That conference speech in full...

Well it's been a great week. Now Boris is often saying things that I don't agree with - but I can hardly complain. I don't say much that you lot can agree with.

This week, we have said that we are back in the centre ground of British politics. We've made comforting noises about childcare and that sort of thing.

We've seen some fantastic new candidates, one third of them totty.

Substance isn't producing policy, it is deeper than that. It is knowing what you ought to be saying. It is having a clear idea of how much you want to be in government. I don't think announcing policy is substance. Real substance is sticking to your guns, consistency, not having policy in the long term.

That's why I asked Oliver Leftwing to lead our policy review - because the party will never have the stomach to adopt any of it.

Let's talk about tax. We all know that talking about low taxes is good for votes. But that isn't substance. We're not going to take risks with the economy. We're not going to make promises. Let's face it, we're not going to do anything.

George has also discovered that there is more to the economy than talking about tax. There is also talking about India and China and talking about flying the flag.

Health spending has doubled under Labour. 24 ways to reorganise the NHS. They abolished the Regional Strategic Health Primary Care Trusts, replacing them with Strategic Primary Care Regional Health Executives. And then changed them all back again. Well I say that was wrong. So I will bring back the Regional Strategic Health Primary Care Trusts, I think, but that's not a policy.

As we live longer and we grow older we need all sorts of other rubbish. We need to back Social Services which are something to do with meals on wheels I think.

Standing up for your brand, that's what real substance is all about. Not everything Labour has done has been a mistake. Bank of England independence, the Minimum Wage, spin over substance.

12 years ago, there was this energetic young party leader promising to change his party and his country. But he let people down. There's a lesson there.

For too long the big political decisions in this country have been made in the wrong place. On the sofa in Tony Blair's office. We have got to end this arrogant style of government. I want to see policy made in my kitchen in front of the webcam.

I am passionate about the environment. I love the outdoors. Trees. Ahhhh. But we are reaching a tipping point with climate change. But we have the potential within us to keep the SUVs and cheap flights. Well maybe not cheap flights, but cheap enough for the sort of people whose interests we represent.

Government has got to show leadership by setting the right framework. Binding targets for carbon reduction. Tackling climate change is our social responsibility. And we know how serious Conservatives are about social responsibility (wink).

In July I went to Afghanistan to meet the troops and try the local produce. Our mission in Afghanistan is not just morally important, but gives me the opportunity to big up the troops. We love you guys.

The threat we face from terrorism is terrible. I am against it. We won't always play politics with this issue, it is too important. I believe terrorists should be tried for their crimes. And we will ensure this by abolishing the Human Rights Act.

Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime. Remember that one? Hug a hoodie.

My grandfather fought on the beaches of Normandy, so there.

When I say we shouldn't have a foreign policy slavish to the US, Tony Blair doesn't agree. He thinks we should have a foreign policy, and I disagree.

Ultimately it is an emotional connection that binds people together. Although our origins and cultures may vary we all share common values. One of the most important ways we make connections is through school. So it would be reasonable to face the issue of faith schools head on. But instead I will continue to support faith schools. And Islam is really great. Maybe we need to keep an eye on muslim faith schools.

The church has said it will admit non-Christians to 20% of places in new faith schools. Well that's 20% at intake, it should be less by the time they graduate obviously. We want muslims schools to do the same, although I wouldn't send my kids there obviously.

We are all in this together. For years we conservatives have talked about rolling back the state, although we never actually did it. We trashed it a bit, if that counts. But that was the past. Now we should talk about rolling forward the frontiers of social conservatism.

Now I'm so bad at looking after my kids that I can empathise with all those useless single parents. But I believe in backing marriage. I'm not naive in thinking the state can actually do anything useful to back marriage. But I do know there's votes in saying you want to back it.

And I support civil partnerships too. Come on clap you buggers, haven't you been briefed on this?

Look at the forces shaping our world. Global trade, economic growth, investment, technology. We must somehow associate all this stuff with ourselves in the minds of voters. We have got to put together one mother of a marketing campaign. The best is yet to come.

1 comment:

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