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 542.

    It really is frightening they way that some of you dismiss war as some game played on the fields of Eton.

    When we say 'we will remember them' - we remember all of the fallen not just 'our' fallen. That is absolutely central and critical to the process of preventing war.

    If you do not subscribe to this view than you are moving dangerously close to being like Cameron a nationalist warmonger!

  • rate this

    Comment number 541.

    525. John_Bull

    You and your ultras have learned nothing from history so are condemning us all to relive it only worse.

    You have no right to do so. How dare you condemn your fellow citizens to be punished because of your bigotry!

    All recorded history shows us that the best outcomes come from working with our friends and neighbours - not to do so is insane - so you are insane!

  • rate this

    Comment number 540.

    Self defence issue seems to be putting the burden of proof on the intruder & not on the home owner. Law is not changing much in terms of right of self defence? - Is just the burden of proof to be shifted so that assumption is for home-owner defending themself (& property?) but may still not clear whether I can hit a suspected thief with a hammer at bottom of my garden for threatening my property?

  • rate this

    Comment number 539.


    “However the attempts to paint left wingers as generically emotive ...”

    Fair enough, that’s true (apology despatched) but many that come on here are, as evidenced by...

    “...(As are attempts to paint the right as generically toffs, rich, out of touch and nasty). ..”

    You have to admit there’s a lot of that, Ginge...

    See you on the next blog.

  • rate this

    Comment number 538.

    529. John_Bull
    Some Lawyers have already pointed out that the Law – as it stands – already gives protection to self defence situations.
    The Tories seemed to be suggesting a Law change, but that won’t be possible due to insufficient Parliamentary time, so it’s really a case of Political grand standing.
    I’m glad the Conference season’s over because nobody had anything new to say.

  • rate this

    Comment number 537.

    John_Bull @534
    "Price & Quality"

    If only 'business focus' allowed to be centre of your concern here, serving the market rather than forever seeking to justify inequality of access to what we all in fact 'make together' (with the help of 'God', universe, forebears, capital inheritance including all 'drivers', hunger, family, civic, humanitarian etc)

    Can we never rise above "Left & Right"?

  • rate this

    Comment number 536.

    I respect your views and indeed all other similarly intelligently argued right of centre views out there.

    However the attempts to paint left wingers as generically emotive, scaremongering, etc etc, as some sort of negative contrast to right wing views is simply partisan and plain wrong. (As are attempts to paint the right as generically toffs, rich, out of touch and nasty).

  • rate this

    Comment number 535.

    139. eddie442
    "It's very sad what happened to the PM's son but isn't it a bit unseemly to use his memory to score political points"?

    One big positive for me during the Election Campaign was that DC kept his Family at arm’s length from the Circus & didn’t use them to promote his politics.
    If what you say is true, it’s a sad development.

  • rate this

    Comment number 534.

    “Your point on Europe below is another example...”
    ....of my own opinions on Europe & arguments for leaving it.

    The left do scare people here, & as someone who runs a business that exports goods I have no fear at all about our exit. Individuals & businesses don’t buy products & services because they’re European; they buy on the basis of price & quality. That will not change

  • rate this

    Comment number 533.

    I don't have a problem with clarifying the law, but did this really need a conference speech moment and all the guaranteed headlines given the ridiculously low materiality of the problem?

    Your point on Europe below is another example of blue-tinted spectacles. The right-wing of the Tories & UKIP are guilty of far more European hyperbole than any Europhiles.

  • rate this

    Comment number 532.


    'Laffer Curve' hardly "an economic model", merely family of descriptive or predictive graphic representations of actual or theoretical relation between tax-rates & tax-takes, fovever of historical interest, currently 'political' in context of 'the economic model' of chaotic & corrupting 'predistribution', chaotic & vain 'redistribution', & poorly 'representative' tax & spend

  • rate this

    Comment number 531.


    Well done DC - putting most other 'British' politicians to shame with your real 'Respect' agenda - that is leading and & winning a battle on values - the value of respect for Britain & its service-men & women

  • rate this

    Comment number 530.

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

    Yes Nick, and Cameron is about as inspiring!

  • rate this

    Comment number 529.

    “So what about a law and order policy that aims to reduce the amount of burglary self-defence prosecutions from 11 out of 10 million (1990-2005 according to BBC figures) - purely political”

    Didn’t Blair consider the same thing in 2006? But was dissuaded from acting?

    I see no problem at all in clarifying what constitutes disproportionate force, why do you?

  • rate this

    Comment number 528.

    So what about a law and order policy that aims to reduce the amount of burglary self-defence prosecutions from 11 out of 10 million (1990-2005 according to BBC figures) - purely political.

    John, emotive language and partly/purely political policies exist equally on both sides of the political fence. I agreed with Labour policy to introduce a higher tax rate but not with how they did it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 527.


    Not to support deniers of common humanity, but should we not concede that if federation were 'with the Devil', we might look askance at even 'real' current short-term economic interest, let alone at 'jam tomorrow'?

    The question points to need always of focus on individual rights, the freedom upon which even Global Federation could be - would be - wonderful, truly democratic

  • rate this

    Comment number 526.

    No, you must accept that all economic models are inherently flawed for the same reason; it’s impossible to model accurately for all variables - it’s more akin to chaos theory. If not, then the solutions would be easy, wouldn’t they?

    As such, you cannot reject one because it’s flawed, but then accept another which is similarly flawed, just because it suits

  • rate this

    Comment number 525.

    Evening Ginge, - Yes, guilty of emotive language at times (when deliberately baiting)...but not there surely, that was just demonstrating a point

    So I was right then? – European Federalism

    The centre left exaggerate out of all proportion the risks of leaving the EU - simply not based in fact.

  • rate this

    Comment number 524.

    May be 'in flight' or 'expansionist'
    JfH rightly wary of opportunism
    All need true democracy
    Borders then no issue

    "The Laffer Point"
    Sharper than the curve!
    It is that we should have ZERO 'income tax'
    Democracy will see equal means in market
    'The market' of both goods and power
    Laffer, like cat-of-nine-tails, museum piece?

    'Left & Right' brush off...!

  • rate this

    Comment number 523.

    JB @ 519

    " what’s the point of working if Govt steals most of your money"

    Evenin John - that's not you using emotive language there is it? Thought that was the left's turf..... ;-)


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