Normally when a Prime Minister gives a speech to a party conference, the ‘line’ for the next day’s newspapers is pretty clear. A policy announcement means it’s easy to write the introduction to the story, which is supposed to sum up what happened in under 25 words. But David Cameron’s speech today could only really be summed up as ‘Today the Prime Minister gave a speech on all the things he’s done and asked for time to finish the job’. His speech had no policy announcements in it, other than a hint that under-25s could lose their benefits unless they were ‘earning or learning’.
This is an impressive bet by the Conservatives: that the speech will still get written up by the press with a list of achievements in it rather than trying to tempt voters with a new policy. That under-25s benefits policy isn’t new by any means. And they haven’t gone for any gimmick-style policies.
The Conservative conference has been themed around the party’s achievements in government. There were the placards in the hall saying ‘benefits capped’, ‘the deficit down’, ‘crime down’ and the like. Ministers have repeatedly told activists that they need to finish the job and that their work in government has proved that you can make progress while spending less money. Cameron’s speech today continued that, thanking the British people for their support during the hard times, and asking them to stick with him to the end.Tags: Conservative conference 2013, David Cameron, UK politics