Cameron pushes message of aspiration


Nick Robinson reviews David Cameron speech

Who are you really? What is your government for? Why are you doing what you're doing?

It is curious that almost seven years after he became his party's leader and more than two years after he became Prime Minister, David Cameron felt that those were the questions he had to answer today.

In part that's because the circumstances he now faces are not just a long long way from the sunny optimistic rhetoric which preceded the economic crisis, but also a long long way from the economic recovery he once believed would be well under way by now.

So, Mr Cameron used his speech to admit that the job of tackling the deficit had proved tougher and was taking longer than he'd expected. He drew on his experience travelling the globe, witnessing the rise not just of China and India but Mexico, Brazil and Indonesia too, to warn that Britain faced a "sink or swim, do or decline" choice about the future.

He insisted that was not simply about cutting the deficit but also about reforming the welfare and education system.

Above all, though, the man who's heard himself branded as posh and out of touch and his party as that of the rich and the privileged fought back. The Tories were, he said, not the party of the better off but the party of the "want to be better off". He was a man who didn't defend privilege but wanted to spread it.

Mr Cameron knew he could not stand on a stage and claim that the economy had been repaired. So, instead, he sought to convince that it still could be. He knew he could not pretend to have a hard luck story, so he presented himself as the lucky beneficiary of a hard work story.

He knew Ed Miliband had moved to steal his party's claim to be the party of One Nation, so he responded with a claim to be the party of aspiration.

Every speech of every leader is described by every spin doctor as personal. The tearful tribute to his son Ivan and to his father ensured that. However, it was the ideas that were spelt out today, and the way that they were, which sounded authentically like David Cameron.

Nick Robinson, Political editor Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    Cameron pushes message of "aspiration"; that's a curious choice of word & loaded. It means both to aspire to achieve something, anything; but it also means to take a deep breath. Cameron knows; he lectures; he appeals that what The Coalition has to do is mandatory to get to where the country needs to be. But one senses that The Coalition is barely breathing & cannot take a long inspired breath.

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    #43 "and taken us deeper in debt"

    All parties promised (though they said it quietly) that they would take the British people further into debt during this Parliament.

    Debt was promised, debt was voted for, and debt is being delivered.

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    #38 "the spiral of decline begun with the initial round of draconian cuts"

    Total expenditure (current and capital) increased in the 1st year of the coalition government, even when adjusted by inflation (from 705 to 706 billion).

    It seems that neither Labour nor Conservatives want the electorate to know this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    Agree it's ridiculous but the problem is that costs have been allowed to get out of control and the tax system out of kilter. Labour did it just as much but they then thoughtlessy upped the Benefits without considering the consequences.

    Dave demonstrated yesterday that he just doesn't have a clue. Some of us suspected it was true seven years ago. Now we are being proved right.

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    He spoke out of his backside, as do all politicians.
    Most of my income goes on taxes, fuel to get to work, home, food and clothes. I aspire to have only a marginally larger overdraft each month. I can't be a banker (I don't know the right people) or a politician (ditto) or the CEO of a company (ditto again) and despite not screwing up my job (as many CEO's do) I don't get paid millions

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    Hopefully the sort of aspiring Dave was on about is not the sort followed by expiring.
    Secondly at what point does the spreading of privilege become so thin that it stops being a privilege? Extraordinary thing to say. Could be seen as a Freudian slip although true blue tories would never detect it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    Cameron is weak and has no a bloody clue as to what he is doing, he is weak and the job of PM is well out of his league.

    He's just trying to bluff his way through all our problems while hoping it will some how work out, while most of us are paying the price for his incompetence, the mans a plum.

    He needs a good kick up the arse and may just may be it would do him some good.

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    If Mr Cameron and his Millionaire’s Cabinet wish to spread privilege perhaps they could live on £18k.average income after tax to pay Housing, Heating and Food for their family and donate the rest of their unearned income to pay off the national deficit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    Its pretty worrying that we haven't noticed the massive hole in Cameron's policies. So, we want to reduce the welfare bill? A fine aim, but hardly a policy in itself, especially in a shrinking economy that is shedding jobs. If the tories really wanted what's best for the nation, they would be creating jobs, not accepting losses as a by product of their policies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    Sorry if you work hard at your job and pay your full taxes as this party clearly are not interested in you.

    Their polices created a larger benefit bill and their only idea is to cut it again.

    I also look forward to Eton having a larger non paying intake next year; there again we may as well hope to get some proper tax avoidance legislation.


  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    Simon @7
    Earning 'Minus 5', for "deficit explained"!

    Irony never appreciated here

    Especially understated: "A good speech"!

    Well I laughed - not at the speech of course - Savile-class

    Just think: Merrie England, Great Britain, United Kingdom

    As if Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Shaw taken prisoner

    No surprise Nationalists flee for honesty

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    I think you are getting a little taken in by The Rt Hon David Cameron,
    Has he not had a privileged upbringing and education Ie Eton etc,
    do,es he not have considerable private wealth,
    perhaps not all of the Condem Government have this background but many of his inner circle do.
    Is he Posh No that take a touch of class which he do,es not have.

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    I have aspirations. I aspire to leave the country whilst this lot is in office.

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    Ed Milliband and co can’t be beaten they are far to skilled at public speeches, They certainly can thank the Tony Blair dream team for this.
    However if you want a party to stand for ALL people and not just the working class, then it’s the Conservatives that really is the ‘One Nation’ party.

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    I'm not inclined too far towards the conservative party, and never have been.
    Honestly though, aspiration, it's all you can sell and quite frankly it's all the Lady that closed the mines, stole the milk and invaded the Falklands could sell.
    Belief is a powerful thing, but it needs a base stronger than a wannabe commoner standing on stage praying his speech works.

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    27. AndyC555
    You will be pleased to know things are getting worse and I will probably have to let my employee go. His wages over the last month have been more than mine. Can't see an upturn.
    On the upside been thinking about another career and I see they are recruiting again for bus conductors in London. Do you think this is a good aspiration Andy?

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    It's a good time we need strong leadership

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    A good PM will put popularity aside for belief in what is right

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    Every politician & family no matter what their background should be required to live on a 'sink' estate and be required to live ONLY on benefits for a year with their kids going to run down schools as part of the criteria of their selection requirement for high office.Intellectualised sympathy doesn't put bread on the table. we don't want pity. we want respect and the right to make our own lives

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    Yes I'm younger than you and I can see the pattern. But lets be honest, what an unlucky time to be prime minister. Damned if you do damned if you dont. And Tony Blair had good timing didn't he. Along with a never ending line of credit for anything and everything.


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