James Forsyth

Cameron and Miliband’s differences

Cameron and Miliband's differences
Text settings

David Cameron and Ed Miliband both gave speeches on the riots this morning and the political dividing lines between the two are becoming more and more apparent. Cameron argues that these riots were about culture not poverty, Miliband thinks you can’t ignore inequality. Cameron believes that society needs two parent families, Miliband that it is about parental responsibility. Cameron doesn’t want an enquiry, Miliband does.

The challenge for Cameron now is to turn the social analysis in his speech, which I think was broadly correct, into actual policy. Already in Conservative circles, people are saying that if Cameron really does want to support two parent families then surely he must use the tax system to both encourage marriage and help those who are married. Cameron also needs to have a hopeful narrative, a tale of how the broken society can be mended. This has to contain within it an agenda to help young people get on in life. My colleague Martin Bright’s enthusiasm for the enterprise allowance scheme that allowed people to carry on collecting benefits while they tried to get a business off the ground could offer some kind of solution to this problem.