David Cameron’s New Year message (and his accompanying Times op-ed) is an upbeat call to stick with the Tories to get the job done. He writes of his desire to ‘turn Britain into the flagship post-Great Recession success story. A country that is on the rise’. And in his video message he focuses on the signs that the country is already rising.
Downing Street is keen to stress that this message is no Blair/Brown-style relaunch of the government with a shiny new logo and a plan. It is the Prime Minister trying to encourage optimism about Britain’s best days lying ahead of it, but that ‘recovery is real, but it’s also fragile’.
All three party leaders face challenges this year, but the challenge that Cameron sets for Ed Miliband in this message, and particularly his Times piece, where he refers to ‘increasing unemployment, industrial stagnation and enterprise in free fall’ in countries that are following Labour’s line of economic thinking, is who can offer voters the most upbeat vision for after 2015. Those who argue that Ed Miliband had a good 2013 use his effective work as leader of the opposition in disrupting and unsettling the current government as evidence. But he knows that while the Tories will spend the next year and five months asking voters to let them finish the job, Labour needs to offer an encouraging vision of the sort of job it could do as a government, rather than as an effective troublesome opposition.
It’s a New Year – and for Britain there can only be one New Year’s resolution…
…to stick to the long-term plan that is turning our country around.
When we came to office, our economy was on its knees.
Three and a half years later, we are turning a corner.
We see it in the businesses that are opening up, the people who are getting decent jobs, the factories that are making British goods and selling them to the world again.
The plan is working.
That’s why this year, 2014, we are not just going to stick to the plan – we are going to re-double our efforts to deliver every part of it, to benefit the whole country and secure a better future for everyone.
We’ll continue with the vital work on the deficit.
We’ve reduced it by a third already…
…and this year we will continue that difficult work, to safeguard our economy for the long-term, keep mortgage rates low and help families across Britain.
We’re going to keep on doing everything possible to help hardworking people feel financially secure…
…cutting income taxes and freezing fuel duty.
We’ll keep on working even harder to create more jobs, whether that’s through investment in our roads and railways, lower jobs taxes, or more help for Britain’s amazing small businesses.
Those who run our small businesses are heroes and heroines, they are the backbone of our economy and we are supporting them every step of the way.
We are going to keep on with our vital work on welfare and immigration too.
We’ve already capped welfare and cut immigration…
…and this year, we’ll carry on building an economy for people who work hard and play by the rules.
And last but not least – we’re going to keep on delivering the best schools and skills for our children and young people…
…so that when they leave education they have a real chance to get on in life.
So this is a vital year for our economy.
And 2014 is also an important date in the history of the United Kingdom.
The referendum vote will be the biggest decision Scotland has ever been asked to make.
The outcome matters to all of us, wherever we live in the UK.
This is not a vote for the next few years, but a vote that could change our country forever.
Our family of nations is at its best when we work together with shared interest and common purpose.
This year, let the message go out from England, Wales and Northern Ireland to everyone in Scotland…
…we want you to stay – and together we can build an even stronger United Kingdom for our children and grandchildren.
That’s what our long-term plan is about…
…and we will stick to that plan this year.
I’d like to wish everyone a happy New Year – and best wishes for 2014.