James Forsyth

Talking the talk while walking the walk

Talking the talk while walking the walk
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David Cameron’s piece in The Sunday Telegraph this morning is a neat example of how he tries to position himself politically. On the one hand, the article is about what could be considered a classically right-wing cause: getting those on incapacity benefit who, physically, can work off the welfare roll and into paying employment. But rather than concentrating on the tough side of this message—for instance, the Tory’s plans for independent medical check for all incapacity benefit claimants—Cameron focuses on the children, worrying about the “half a million children who are dependent on their parents' incapacity benefit. That's half a million kids trapped in poverty with parents who, increasingly, are more likely to die or retire than to get off incapacity benefit and back into work. No decent society should accept this.” 

This approach means that Cameron wins the right to be heard from many who would normally dismiss any Tory talking about incapacity benefit as a cold-hearted ideologue with no idea how the other half lives. Cameron does pay a cost for this approach, though, as it makes many traditional Tories far more suspicious of him than they should be. 

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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