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

Debates - on or off?

David Cameron says he wants to take part in TV election debates and that he thinks a deal can be done but he's also setting new conditions for taking part.

Read full article

More on This Story

More from Nick


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    Mr Cameron's message:

    Bankers should keep taking risks with our economy and the rest of us should work longer, harder and for worse pay and conditions. For which we should be grateful.

    In it together.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    "It's a candour which, the pollsters tell him, many voters like."

    And they are right. Cameron says what he thinks. Miliband says what his latest spin doctor has told him to say.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    At least DC has had a top education, I wish education was levelled up and not levelled down like the left wing educationists have achieved with our state education. The looney left plebs on here are clearly lacking in that education with no aspiration other than to throw insults at any one and everyone they disaggree with.

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    "David Cameron offered his response.......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."

    What? Really? Do they mean 'like' as in clicking a Facebook thumbs up? Or something even more substantial than that? I think he needs new pollsters.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    It is a dangerous policy to pin your re-election campaign on: "sink or swim". Not least because we have undoubtedly been sinking for the past two and a half years.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    So - based on the track record of DC's inspirational mentor Macmillan, can we expect sex scandals a la Profumo, a night of the long knives as DC struggles with 2nd rate Eton educated ministers incapable of tying their own shoelaces, motivational speeches telling us "you've never had it so good"- all followed by a dramatic exit after a health scare & the installation of some gentrified idiot as PM!

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    An aspirational nation, it was until you got hold of it cameron now its an expiring nation, dragged down by you, your divisive policies and your greedy spiv friends. For God's sake go and take the motley crew masquerading as a government with you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    Never forget the definition of an honest politician is a man who takes a bribe and honours it!
    NEVER forget that every Labour government left office has left a mess. It saddens me that Gordon Brown with all the benefits of his Scottish education left the biggest mess. My ILP grandfather , a coal miner, will be turning in his grave at the thought of Milliband running our country (into the mire).

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    Mr Cameron your buddies the banks destroyed the economy, not the last government, using their privileged position to get better off at our expense. I do not want privilege extented I want it removed, along with your failing policies. Only you could manage to borrow MORE money than Labour while slashing public services and inherit a recovery but start a recession. Our decline seems certain with you

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    Oh dear. Clegg, Millibnd,Cameron...Surely that is not going to be the choice in two years time. Not exactly inspiring is it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    From Cameron's speech, and his backing of risk takers! Are these the same risk takers and entrepreneurs who caused the worldwide financial /banking crisis, and national debt's that have been incurred propping up these institution's, stopping them from going under or taking us with them?? Yes David, your wonderful privileged friends who put us in this mess in the first place!

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    The message seemed to be: it's our fault, work harder, work longer, get paid less *and* be grateful. As long as the rich keep getting richer, it's all okay.

    In common with many people I am paid to work 4 days a week, but regularly put in a 60-70h week. I'm a dreaded public sector worker, so it' all my fault. Yep, I'm a teacher, and Dave's plan to save us all is to get us to WEAR A SUIT! Genius

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    Cameron utterly vacuous, Milliband utterly vacuous...as usual.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    Who won the battle of values?

    Who cares? At least none of them promised anything which means they won't be accused of failing to deliver them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Cameron sounded like he was talking about his own future. Which is desperate. He will have to put up with becoming an EU commissioner after he looses the next election.
    Scrap HS2, Scrap Trident.
    Cap public sector saleries and pensions.
    Stop public sector first class travel on expenses.
    Stop giving money to countries with space programs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    If anyone knows where I can get a water resistant transfer of camerons head, would you please let me know. I want to put it at the bottom of my toilet, so I can say hi to him every morning.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    Do ordinary people care about the professed 'values' of lying politicians?

    Snooty has created a disaster.

    He is locked into a cycle of cuts - stagnation - more cuts - more stagnation.

    This is what he will be judged on, not nonsense about his 'values'

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    The only credible party is labour - under Cameron we face a bleak future - now is the winter of our discontent

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    A truly sickening performance from the top toff. He is presiding over the worst economic meltdown in living memory yet wants us all to work harder and longer to preserve the wealth of his milllionaire backers. He has created divisions between public & private sector workers & is blamimg the poor, the unemployed and others suffering hardship for being welfare scroungers. How much lower can he sink?

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    DC is so out of touch that he thinks Briton is fat and sluggish!!! The only thing fat and sluggish is his government. Apart from Eric Pickels, his own bank accounts and that of his cabinet. What a desperate attempt to reclaim the centre ground. So now we know, nothing new, just more of the same...


Page 26 of 28



Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.