Fri 9 October 2009, The Mirror

David Cameron's big Tory speech is exposed as an elaborate con

By Bob Robert
Dishonest David Cameron yesterday tried to con voters into believing Britain is a country destroyed by debt, broken families, failing schools and rampant crime. In a sham of a speech that offered no policies or solutions to the problems he outlined, the Tory leader spent 56 minutes slagging off the nation he claims has “dark side”. But he then set about telling delegates how he would savagely slash public services, forcing millions more out of jobs, while cutting benefits to the unemployed in a bid to get them back to work. With a general election just nine months away, Mr Cameron never provided one policy which would help Britain become a better land. He spoke as the polls showed the Labour party closing the gap on the Tories with some Conservatives fearing the cutbacks plans were turning voters off in droves. Mr Cameron said his first job if he got into Number 10 would be to cut public spending in a bid to reduce the national deficit – a proposal that economic experts warned would lead the country into a 30s-style depression. In his address to the party conference in Manchester – given to a sombre audience – he said: “If we win this election, we will have to confront Labour’s debt crisis, deal with it and take the country with us. I want everyone to understand the gravity of the situation “We must pay down this deficit. The longer we leave it, the worse it will be for all of us. “We won’t help anyone unless we face up to some big problems. The highest budget deficit since the war. The deepest recession since the war. Big problems for the next government to address.” But former bank adviser Danny Blanchflower branded the move the “most wildly dangerous thing I have seen in a hundred years of economic policy in Britain ”. He added: “To cut public spending is like a return to 1937, it could drive the economy into depression.” Looking nervous and with his voice croaking, Mr Cameron said once the economy was dealt with the Tories would then turn to fixing what he called “broken society”. He added: “In Britain today there is a dark side. After 12 years of big government, we still have those stubborn social problems. Poverty, crime, addiction, failing schools, sink estates, broken homes.” He then vowed to reform welfare, slashing the £25 a week benefit for half a million people. Mr Cameron said: “In welfare, big government has failed people in a big way. There are two million children in Britain growing up in homes where no one works. “We have to break this cycle of welfare dependency.” But employment minister Jim Knight said last night: “Tory cuts will actually force more people on to benefits and into long-term unemployment.” Mr Cameron also addressed the situation in Afghanistan , and pledged to send more troops to end the war quickly – which experts believe could pile more pressure on battle-weary soldiers. Ministry of Defence insiders warned that sending extra personnel may force troops to serve longer tours or miss out on breaks between deployments. And they pointed out his plans to train Afghans to provide security was already the Army’s strategy. When it came to education, Mr Cameron said he wants to let parents, charities and even private firms educate pupils. The Tory leader claimed competition would raise standards. Parent power would mean more discipline, setting by ability, and regular sport. He said: “These are all thing you find in a private school. Because it’s what parents want. “Why can’t parents in state schools always get what they want?” But education chiefs warned the proposal would plunge schools into chaos – with more choice for the wealthy at the cost of less for children from poorer homes. The NUT’s Christine Blower said: “David Cameron fails to understand that the framework of local authorities enables schools to work together in an educational community which places the achievements of pupils, not profit, first.” On a more personal note, Mr Cameron told of his and wife Samantha’s heartbreak at the death of their young disabled son Ivan. He said: “For me and Samantha, this year will only ever mean one thing. When such a big part of your life suddenly ends nothing else, nothing outside, matters. “It’s like the world has stopped turning and the clocks have stopped ticking.” Mr Cameron’s speech was not greeted by the frenzy, exultation, whooping and banner-waving normally seen at a Tory party conference. Home Secretary Alan Johnson attacked the Tory boss’s demolition job on the country. He said: “The Tories’ determination to run Britain down is matched only by the emptiness of their policies . “Our country is not broken and anyone but the Tories can see it.” Labour MP Liam Byrne added: “This was an emotive but deceptive speech. He attacked the recession but opposed every decision we have taken to speed recovery. “He feigned concern for the poor but made no mention of his tax giveaway of £200,000 to the wealthiest few.” Lib Dem MP Danny Alexander added: “His speech demonstrates the huge gulf between the sunny rhetoric of David Cameron and the grim reality of Tory policy.”
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