Monday, March 19, 2007

"Money Isn't Everything" (especially if you're rich!)

I should confess that I was once a "Tory Boy" -one of those youths with an unusual interest in politics and support of the Conservative Party. I haven't been to an event in 3 years mainly due to other distractions and other interests. So this was a chance to see for myself afresh what the Conservative Party is really like as it gets into position to form the Government of this Country.

"Money isn't everything" was the phrase David Cameron used in his speech to the Conservatives this weekend to sum up the shift in position by his party.

This was the finale to the Spring Forum of the Conservatives in Nottingham this weekend.

If the opinion polls are too be believed, David Cameron will be the next Prime Minister of Britain, after the unelected Gordon Brown loses the next general election.

David Cameron represents a fresh face for the Conservative Party although ironically his Eton-educated background make him the sort of Conservative Leader who hasn't been seen for over 40 years.

David Cameron speaks about the environment as often as he breaths. This weekend he mentioned as a positive the fact that Al Gore (or Saint Al Gore) approved of his efforts in the field of the environment. In reality this means more taxes on air travel. There is currently little more substance than that.

The leadership of the Conservative Party is new although the make up of delegates was more traditional. Plump County Councillors, gritty Northern Mayors, Tory Boys and "ladies" still make up the majority of the Party's grass roots.

The one thing that is still lacking is concrete policies. There are a lot of themes, words and noises but nothing substantive. The party is strong in marketing and spin but still underdeveloped in tangible proposals. Maybe this will change in time.

In the meantime, David Cameron (or "Dave" as he likes to be known), compared himself to a social Margaret Thatcher. In the 1970s the country had faced economic ruin and only Margaret Thatcher had the insight and policies to address this. Today the economy is not really a problem but the country is socially poor. Fatal stabbings occur frequently on the streets of big cities as gangs fight for territory. A generation of hoodies and feral children have no aspiration or vision to escape their circumstances. Family breakdown is rife and Britain is the worst developed country in the world for children to grow up according to a UNICEF report Intriguingly Holland is the best !

Against this David Cameron can be seen as justified in saying "Money isn't everything". It isn't, but as my friend immediately pointed out, a wealthy Eton-educated politician can more easily say that than the majority who have to work for a living. Working for a living is not something Dave needs to do.

"Money isn't everything" means that there will not be a traditional tax cutting agenda by the next Conservative government. Instead the main focus will be public services. One of the key themes of the weekend's conference was the NHS. David Cameron addressed a "Medics Revolt" of 12,000 Junior Doctors who marched in London. See the Webcameron propaganda video below:

(don't be put off by David Cameron- he only talks a short while- the doctors street protest is quite entertaining with a few rather scary characters I wouldn't want to be treated by!)

This is Cameron's modern Conservative party. The points he raises are huge. He may not have the answers but if he does, or someone else does, they could go down in history as a great leader of the nation. That remains to be seen..........................................

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