Peter Hoskin

Cameron gets his message spot-on

Cameron gets his message spot-on
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Just a quick post to encourage CoffeeHousers to read David Cameron's speech to his party's Welsh conference today. It's not just the clearest, and most sensible, exposition of the Tories' economic message that I've come across so far – it's also the finest overall speech that I can remember Cameron giving for some time.  Plenty of hard-hitting passages, both attacking Labour's record and – crucially – setting out a positive alternative.

What really makes it so impressive is the simplicity of its central message: that you can achieve better government, and better services, for less money.  The Tories have been feeling their way around this theme for a while now – with their "more for less" slogan; with George Osborne's progressive politics speech last year; and with their general transparency agenda.  But here it all coalesces, and is delivered with greater evangelical fervour than ever before. Indeed, Cameron even pushes the fiscal case for public service reform, as I recently suggested he should. And he reheats the effective supermarket analogies which he first used last summer:

"More for less is not some pie-in-the-sky political promise.  It’s something that businesses up and down the country do day-in, day-out.  They think: how can I deliver more for my customers while reducing my costs?  Imagine if they took the Labour approach, believing that every reduction in spending and costs was automatically a calamity for their customers.

 

Think of the advertising.  Good food costs more at Sainsburys.  Not 'Every little helps; from Tesco, but “Every little Hurts”.  Businesses are constantly looking for creative ways to get more bang for their buck.  Reforming work practices. Buying wholesale when they can. Eradicating duplication. Innovating new delivery systems. Cutting out waste.  We need to bring that business sense and imagination to government."

Sure, it's still not perfect.  Talk of deficit-reduction, "more for less", and cutting waste still jars with the Tories' spend, spend, spend approach to the NHS.  But this is a considerable step in the right direction from Cameron.  After all the stumbles of the past few weeks, the Tory campaign may finally have found its feet.

P.S. Here's the WebCameron video which accompanies the speech today: