Yesterday in the House, both parties welcomed the re-election of Barack Obama. An incumbent leader has been returned to the White House. Incumbency is of course a massive factor in US politics – an incumbent has been unseated only a handful of times in history.
The reason for this is clear. For all the bumps and knocks you get along the way as a government, getting your message out is much easier when you’re already standing on the podium. For the four years of his first term, Obama’s grassroots and digital campaigns never ceased.
It’s an important lesson for UK politics. This week, as we enter the second half of this parliament, there won’t be any fireworks to mark the midterm. Yet on the ground, the campaign has already begun. This time it isn’t about gaining political capital – it’s about real lives and real people.
As the Obama campaign demonstrates, it’s not about a rush to the finish, but a steady and determined campaign that demonstrates what we’ve been doing in government to get this country back on her feet – and our messages must be crystal clear.
First, we needed the private sector to grow sustainably and create jobs – two years in and we’re on the right track. We’re rebalancing the economy and when people hear that we’ve already cut the deficit by a quarter, people are reassured to know that the pain is generating results.
That’s matched by our reduction of borrowing in the public sector. Net borrowing has fallen by 29 per cent since we took office – something that’s key to keeping our finances in check and mortgage rates low. Working to balance the books will remain our number one priority during the second half of this parliament.
Supporting employment is our third measure. Nearly 1.2 million private sector jobs have been created since the last election. There are now nearly 30 million people in work – that’s more people in work than ever before and there are more women in work. But we can and must go further still.
Fourth, our reforms to the welfare system are also putting hard-working people on the right side of the equation. Thanks to Iain Duncan Smith’s Universal Credit, work will always pay from now on. So we’re firmly on the side of people who do the right thing and want to get on in life.
And finally, we’re protecting our communities. Crime has fallen by 10 per cent since the general election. But we haven’t just cut crime, we’ve also unashamedly put ourselves on the side of the homeowner. When people work hard and build something for their family, they should know that the government isn’t trying to take it all away from them again.
Standing at the midpoint of this parliament it’s becoming apparent that the difficult decisions we’ve faced are just starting to pay dividends for Britain’s hard-working families. In 2015 the choice for voters will be this: throw away these hard-earned gains by trusting the very people who placed this country at peril in the first place, or to allow the time to finish the job and help the natural aspiration and ambition of this country shine. We have an incredibly important message and 910 days to the next election to deliver it.
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