Rhetoric v Reality

Like the majority of people in Britain I didn’t intend to listen to the Prime Minister’s speech to the Party faithful in Manchester yesterday. However, I got my timing wrong and my car journey to a Sports Chaplaincy Board meeting meant it was live on my favourite radio5 station!

Likewise I was not going to blog about it because I found myself shouting at the radio. Mr angry should never reply online or write a blog. My anger would not read well I thought. So I have compromised. I listened and I will keep this very short – maybe a few bullet points.

  • This was hailed as a great speech and one that made claim to the Centre ground – or Common ground as they now like to call it in the spin room. Indeed, Cameron can deliver a speech, there is no doubting this. I find his voice deeply irritating but I am biased. I have never really liked the guy since early days on the back benches in the House together. But it was a well constructed, spun and delivered speech which reached beyond the conference hall. In fact I am surprised so many in the hall enjoyed it as it cleary was a challenge to them & their priorities. They had cheered the awful right wing plea by Theresa May the day before!! This was in contrast to Corbyn who seemed only to speak to the party faithful in his speech.
  • Nice bits over. Why was I shouting at the radio? It was simple. The rhetoric was a million miles away from the reality of what Cameron, Osborne, May, & IDS are impelmenting every day. They are creating the very poverty and inequality that Cameron in his address claimed to want to tackle. I shouted loudest at the passage about helping hard working families IN work when he failed to mention his Tax Credit cuts coming their way – making millions of them £1000 a year worse off. Time after  time he sailed through passages bemoaning the world he is creating. After years of declein Child poverty is set to rise again because of HIS policies. 

Indeed his speech, while full of pious aspiration, had nothing intelligent to say about any of the great issues he will face in the coming months as Prime Minister”(Peter Oborne today in the Mail)

This was a tactical speech to ‘position’ the Tories at the centre ground of politics whilst ironically carrying out one of the most right wing agendas we have seen in a generation. The Tories are doing things even Mrs Thatcher dare not do. By 2020 they may well have smashed both the NHS and the BBC. We will have the smallest State for generations. Marketing, the media and a weak Labour opposition,  because of Corbyn perceptions in the centre ground voters, will allow them to get away with this for the next 5 years.  

The Prime Minister is of course a diminished figure since he set out that he would be gone by the next election. As we have seen this week his potential successors have been making their early pitches to replace him. It means whatever the amazing delivery of his speech there is unlikely to be much delivery of anything significant he wants to do. There is goodwill to him because he won them the election but power is draining from him every day of this Parliament. 

There will be lots of positive media coverage. Let’s be thankful most voters take no notice of PM speeches to conference, but the commentariat have set the tone of the debate for the next few years, and although Corbyn hates the media and commentariat our reality is that this ‘tone’ will dominate. 

The only hope is that this speech is quickly forgotten as the daily cuts amd misery caused by their inadequate policies bite voters in the coming years. They vote on their world view – not the Pious aspirational speeches none of them heard anyway!

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