Who won the battle of values?


This conference season has scarcely featured a significant new policy. It has, though, revealed some important new political positioning.

The Liberal Democrats branded themselves as one of what were now three - and not two - parties of government. Nick Clegg insisted they could be trusted more with the economy than Labour and more with society than the Conservatives.

Labour made the boldest move - with Ed Miliband's snatching of the old Tory slogan of One Nation and his claim to be the only leader capable of holding the country together as it confronted its problems.

David Cameron offered his response, presenting himself as a leader wrestling to head off national decline, frank about the scale of the challenge and willing to admit that confronting it was taking longer and proving harder than he'd promised. It's a candour which, the pollsters tell him, many voters like.

It was striking, however, that his speech contained a mention of neither his coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats (attack or praise), nor their leader and his own deputy, Nick Clegg, nor even a reference to the coalition itself.

Also striking was an altogether more personal choice - to stop sounding like the man from Notting Hill - modern, liberal and metropolitan - and instead to highlight the values of a boy from Berkshire who believes in hard work, aspiration and in spreading the privilege which his upbringing gave him.

Where Mr Miliband drew his inspiration from Benjamin Disraeli, Mr Cameron seemed to draw his from Harold Macmillan.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    I thought it was a Music Hall act, I laughed all the way through it

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    I'm pretty surprised that anyone believes any of them. Labour have screwed us, Conservatives have screwed us, and Lib Dems have screwed us.

    No doubt given the chance, the other fringe parties would screw us too, given the chance.

    "Anyone with the desire to become a politician should automatically be barred from ever being one"

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    Alot of rhetoric from the leaders on their life and up bringing but very little about policy. Getting very American, Everybody has a story to tell but thats not what I want to hear. Give me some solutions. Still think if I was on the Titantic I wouldn't be up there in First Class.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    well Dave you can spread the privilege my way a bit but you and George and the other legal tax avoiders in the Tory party will find that hard whilst you hide 10s millions of in off shore trust funds in switzerland and the Cayman islands whilst millions of ordinary disabled people have their DLA taken away hypocrite you were happy to take it for your family dave remember like your expences

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    Cutting the public sector drastically in a downturn is never a good idea as it simply pushes up unemployment and risks turning recession into depression. Coupling this with an astonishing attack on the dedication of teachers and the police amongst others, has led me to the conclusion that I could not vote for the Conservatives.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    apparently the conservative party is the party for "risk takers" & "go Getters" like bankers
    which we all knew anyhow

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    So cameron thinks we can rise again, with him and ozzy at the helm, we can only sink.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Ah, Nicky Robinson judging his old mate 'Dodgy' Dave. How riveting.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    Highly inaccurate comment by Voxpop

    Take all polls from the last few months and they would indicate a Labour landslide. Tories buried and the Lie Dems exterminated. Seems like the populace are beginning to see the light.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    same old conservatives, hit the poorest the hardest, let there rich friends
    hide there wealth so the lower classes bail out our economy.
    hint at a referendum to keep his backbencher's onside so he can keep there support until the next election, all supported by clegg.
    well it won't wash .
    bring on 2015 so we can give the conservatives the bashing they deserve

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Given the depth of the hole that Brown, Blair and King dug us into all that winning elections does is set you up as a fall guy for a fickle public with a short memory and a media obsessed with how people 'feel'.
    The western democratic model created this crisis; it needs reform. Democracy struggles with the tyranny of the majority- the public is like a child, it shouldn't just get what it wants.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    With ref to ron(No4) I agree he must be related to the Titanic's Captain. We can sink or if you are first class may be able to swim or at least grab a life boat! Typical Tory nauseating clap trap which sets the hearts of the twin set and pearls brigade fluttering.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    If there was a general election tomorrow( and there won't be till 2015)-then the worst that could happen to the Conservative Party is that they would only just lose it.
    2015 is still a long way away--and much can happen

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    Cameron talks a load of rubbish! Backing those who want to get on in life, trying to help those who want to better themselves. What a pack of lies. This government will forever stunt this generation for people who want to get on in life! There are no jobs, no way of buying houses, no easy ways of getting on your chosen career path. Sorry but it doesn't cut the mustard.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    Miliband form the heart, Cameron utterly vacuous as usual

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    Cameron from the heart, Miliband utterly vacuous as usual.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    I'm just glad Britain is the best place on earth and is no longer broken or bankrupt. A place where one can hug a hoodie and batter a burglar. I personally think the PM had a huge advantage when he honed his clear vision back in the week when he was an environmentalist in the Arctic.
    Are there any winners in all this?

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    I prefer a leader who believes Britain can improve and do something good rather than a leader who thinks the government can only ever do bad.

    Hope is essential in bad times. Milliband only ever talks the country down.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Tories. Absolutely nothing to say. They got the economy wrong and are giving a good impession of an ostrich in terror. I just wonder if Cameron is a direct descendant of the captain of the Titanic? Weak spineless leader, vindictive innumerate Chancellor and pathetically incompetent Home secretary. This shower have to go. Lie Dems can only recover anything by dissolving this unholy alliance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Ahhhh, conference season over, no more vacuous speeches, no more policy non-announcements. Gently release the ever so tight sphincter and begin to breathe normally again. Look at opinion polls in the next few days and see that precious little has changed.


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