One of the striking things about the extracts of David Cameron’s speech that have been briefed so far is that the Conservative Prime Minister is having to respond to a number of key themes of Ed Miliband’s conference last week. Labour should be pleased that it has set the agenda for this conference season, not just spooking ministers on the cost of living, but also forcing a defence of business and profit from the Prime Minister. Ed Miliband’s row with the Mail has also overshadowed the conference.
The Prime Minister will say:
‘We know that profit, wealth creation, tax cuts, enterprise… these are not dirty, elitist words – they’re not the problem. They really are the solution because it’s not government that creates jobs, it’s businesses. It’s businesses that gets wages in people’s pockets, food on their tables, hope for their families and success for our country. There is no shortcut to a land of opportunity. No quick fix. No easy way to do it. You build it business by business, school by school, person by person, patiently, practically, painstakingly.’
This ‘land of opportunity’ does sound like something from Enid Blyton’s The Faraway Tree, but it is an attempt by the Prime Minister to rebut Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg’s suggestion that the Tories can’t engineer a fair recovery without having their Coalition partners. But largely this is the Prime Minister warning voters not to be seduced by Labour’s quick fixes that won’t work. He will ask for the Conservative party to be allowed to ‘stick with it and finish the job we’ve started’. The PM and colleagues believe this is not a difficult message to sell to voters because voters already trust them on the economy, and therefore the electorate would have to make a leap to trusting the Labour party on the cost of living. So while Labour might have set some of the questions that the Prime Minister is answering in his speech today, he sees these questions as an opportunity for his party to show how pragmatic and pro-aspiration it is, rather than a genuine threat.Tags: Conservative conference 2013, David Cameron, UK politics