Few Tories question David Cameron’s much-needed attempts to put environmentalism and social justice at the heart of the Tory mission. Much more questionable has been his decision to stop talking about some of the issues most associated with the Tories in recent years. 46% of Tory members recently surveyed by ConservativeHome agreed that "David Cameron’s decision to downplay issues like tax, crime, Europe and immigration is demotivating some of the Conservative Party’s traditional voters and he needs to change quite soon." His timing has certainly been unfortunate:
- The decision to stop talking about lower taxation*, for example, coincided with Britain’s economy-hurting tax burden rising past that of Germany;
- The unwillingness to talk about Europe just as – today – an ICM/ Open Europe survey of 1,000 CEOs "found that a majority wanted Britain to renegotiate its membership of the European Union and regain powers from Brussels" (Reuters);
- And the downplaying of immigration policy although it has become the issue dominating the front pages of newspapers.
Today, however, the Tory leader is set to begin to address the immigration issue during a visit to Scotland. According to The Scotsman, Mr Cameron will tell Disability Scotland that our society’s failure to bring many sick and disabled people into society has caused the hunger for overseas workers:
"[There are] five million people, many of them disabled, who could work but are not working. As we write off our fellow citizens from participating in the workforce, other countries’ citizens come to take their place… The gaps in the labour market are, very naturally, being filled by migrant workers… Our response to the numbers of disabled people who are not working is straightforward. For the sake of the people who are locked into welfare, for the sake of taxpayers, and for the sake of our economy, we have to bring them back into the mainstream – into work."
* It appears that Cameron-loyalist Bruce Anderson has sympathy with this position. In today ‘s Independent he writes: "While sticking to the line he has taken on fiscal responsibility, [Cameron] must do more to offer the hope of tax cuts. Above all, he should tell the voters what they all know already: that this government is wasting a great deal of their money, because it never took any interest in obtaining value for money. There is nothing wrong with spending a lot on health and education, as long as the result is world-class services, not world-class waste."