I have been watching David Cameron’s speech to the Conservative party conference. He spoke about the failures of Big Government. He delivered a withering attack on Labour’s record on eradicating poverty. He looked beyond the current difficulties: the need to mend the broken economy, to fix our broken society and to sort out our broken political system, and focussed on the kind of country we might enjoy after the Conservatives have been in power for a while.
He set out a vision of a world where achievements are credited to policemen, doctors, teachers and indeed every one of us, rather than to “the Government” or “the Minister”. A world where the individual’s efforts are rewarded and where the Government assists the individual rather than prescribing what he or she could do. “If you save money your whole life, you’ll be rewarded. If you start your own business, we’ll be right behind you. If you want to raise a family, we’ll support you. If you’re frightened, we’ll protect you.If you risk your safety to stop a crime, we’ll stand by you. If you risk your life to fight for your country, we will honour you. Ask me what a Conservative government stands for and the answer is this, we will reward those who take responsibility, and care for those who can’t.”
That is a Government which I would like to serve as a Member of Parliament.
Perhaps the most memorable passage of the speech though was when he referred to the loss of his son Ivan. With an audibly breaking voice he said this:
“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. And as they slowly start again, weeks later, you ask yourself all over again: do I really want to do this? You think about what you really believe and what sustains you. I know what sustains me the most. She is sitting right there and I’m incredibly proud to call her my wife.”
This man will be a great Prime Minister. Not least because he is a human being who has experienced the greatest pain and loss. Today he demonstrated beyond doubt why he deserves his chance to lead the nation.