Peter Hoskin

Cameron creates cover for cuts

Cameron creates cover for cuts
Text settings

David Cameron's speech today was, in many respects, the one he needed to make: the clean-break speech, which trashed Labour's record on the economy while also outlining how the coalition would deliver us to the sunny uplands. As it happens, it was also quite effective: a blend of policy specifics and punchy rhetoric.  And while we'd heard many of those specifics before – corporation tax cuts, reduced regulation, carbon capture, etc. – they cohered here as they rarely have done before.

The most earcatching apsect of the speech, though, was the emphasis Cameron placed on government intervention.  Yes, there was a solid core of small state fundamentals.  But the PM went out of his way to say things like "we should never be limited in our aspirations for government," and "government cannot be a bystander".  

I imagine these points were made not just because – in the areas that Cameron was talking about, such as public infrastructure – there's some sense to them, but also because they limit Labour's opportunity for attack.  Point is, whoever Labour's next leader is, they will find it difficult to caricature this prospectus as an "agenda for abandonment".  And that should give the coalition more space to swing the axe.