Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Cameron's Speech

 He stood behind a lectern, he used notes, but how did it fare and what  did it contain?

The speech itself started slowly and I was wondering when it was going to get going but as he revved it up he proceeded to demolish Miliband's vacuous rebranding attempt from last week.

Content-wise was a good speech and spoke to what most conservatives (and most of the country) believe in...making the most of your opportunities in life for yourself, your family and the country at large.But almost as important as the content was the manner and the gravity in which he delivered it.

He took on the attacks on his upbringing which Labour love to use. What is so shameful about being the son of a stockbroker whose parents decided to pay to send him to the most renowned  public school in the country? It's not as if he had a say in the matter anyway so it's a daft attack. He didn't pretend he didn't have a privileged upbringing but instead aspired that every child should recieve as high a quality education. He rightly backed Michael Gove's reform to the hilt and gave tacit approval for Gove to step on the accelerator. He also lauded IDS's work on welfare reform. Most importantly he reaffirmed his commitment to dealing with the deficit, not from a wish to slash the state or break the public sector but instead to free up the private sector. He was also unapologetically beating the drum for our exports in a changing world (We're all Bucanneers together!) and highlighted the drastic growth we're seeing in exports to the BRIC countries and other developing nations.

Some people would have liked more on Europe, me included but with the changes coming in the EU a referendum is all but inevitable so it's pointless throwing your toys out of the pram about it. In fact, the public strength for a referendum does strengthen the UK's hand when it comes to clawing back powers and loosening our ties with the continent. It's Britain's trump card, to be used at the right moment.

On balance he did well, he reminded the audience in the hall why they liked him in the first place and spoke to the television viewer (or internet browser) in a manner that was candid, positive and straightforward...and not at all like a Policy Wonk (Miliband's greatest failing). I'm not  sure about the 'Aspiration-Nation' tag though...sounds a bit like the Thick of It. But a lot of what he was saying will chime with the public and it progressed into an upbeat blueprint for the country with a dash of Churchillian bulldog in the message to fight through and work hard to achieve. It wasn't the best speech he's ever made (His 2005 pitch to become Tory Leader was) but it was pretty damn close.

All three Leader's speeches were viewed as successes by the media but of the three it's Cameron who is still streets ahead as a leader. And in light of recent events across the pond can you see Cam freezing in the headlights of a TV debate? I can't...but Miliband? I'm not so sure.

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