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 62.

    How can Cameron have the nerve to claim his party wants everyone to be better off? Since coming into power they have cut my benefits, frozen my pay, put up VAT, tripled my children's university fees, pushed back my pension date, etc. Over my lifetime his policies will make me and my family over £200,000 worse off. And as I don't earn the top rate of tax I won't benefit from that being lowered.

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    A plague on all their houses. In the case of Cameron I suspect that's quite a few

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    Since Ed Milliband didn't declare any values David Cameron won by the length of a street.

    Only on the BBC would that not be obvious.

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    #18 "an astonishing attack on the dedication of teachers"

    There was no such attack. Cameron attacked the left-wing ideology of the educational establishment and much of the Labour Party.

    Although you are a teacher are you intelligent enough to understand the difference?

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    Well - looks like Dave is missing Coulson. Perhaps Michael Green is his new script writer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    Well thats it then all 3 stage managed,spin doctored,mandaciuos, haven't a clue what to do party conferences are now over my sphincter has finally relaxed.
    If the apes had known that the result of leaving the trees & walking upright would have resulted in POLITICIANS they would have given it up as a bad idea.
    The only success from DC&Clegg is the DIVISION of the population thats all they wanted.

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    the usual high quality debate and insight from labour ostriches, I mean supporters. The critique of policies extends to toffs,bankers, posh, millionaires ... but then he could espouse every Labour policy going and they wouldn't even notice because they're not actually listening. Tax the rich and the bankers and all our problems would be solved. With respect to Mickey that's Mickey mouse economics

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    Typical Brit,

    Ignore all the facts, Bankers spending money they didn't have, Governments spending what they didn't have (including this one)

    Blame it on Johnny Foreigner, easy get of jail card, blame the ery small minority, as they don't have a voice, because it couldn't be our fault!! (including you!)

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    "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."

    Was 'disaggree' your attempt at being cunningly ironic?

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    Cameron and his chums haven't got a clue.

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    “Where knowledge ends, religion begins.”
    Benjamin Disraeli

    Looks like rED doesn't get anywhere on that one

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    His values the Berk from Berkshire, I know people in Berkshire who cringe every time Cameron's name is mentioned, and they were once Tory supporters.

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    #24 "He [Cameron] is presiding over the worst economic meltdown in living memory"

    Are you three years old?

    GDP declined by nearly 5% between 2008 and 2009.

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    Amazing to see Camerons audacity today. Masquerading as a caring leader and party. But how on earth could he ever empathise with hundreds of thousands of low paid workers living through his austerity. Can he relate to the devastation and misery through his own life experiences. Pain for the poorest and a tax cut for millionaires. How disgusting.

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    Stop any further aid to any countries.Stop any further immigration.Invest in UK manufacturing.Reveal the true cost of membersip of the EU including benefit costs.Pursue an Anglophile policy.Stop any further public sector pay-offs ,makes no economical sense when the savings go abroad????

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    The longer the country is governed by DC et al I fear the greater the chances of Scotland voting for independence from the rest of the UK - can one blame them?

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    We're all doomed Mr Mainwairing Sir

    Not a credible plan between any of the parties to get us out of this mess. We can look forward to zero growth, a hun parliament in 2015 where Labour and The Conservatives join forces. They seem to be stealing each others clothes .............

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    DC should stop politicising the Olympics and stop using the memories of his son and father for political gain. Also, he keeps mentioning that there are more doctors in the NHS and this is somehow a conservative triumph - despite it taking 5 years to train a doctor. I also don't think he should take credit for raising the tax threshold to £10000 which was a (kept) Lib Dem (and not con) pledge.

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    A really intersting point was the reference to the clever theories Labour like to promote as opposed to the let's deliver message. This mirros very much the spin around the reshuffle.

    Without doubt though the passsion was back in Cameron's voice and I think the party liked it. Milliband can claim One Nation but the Labour faithful won't get it let alone the broader electorate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    Didn't see much of thrasher Mitchell or Micheal (Shaaps) Green.

    LOL (Lot's of love)


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