CCHQ has released two extracts from David Cameron’s big conference speech later today. Extract one is clearly informed by his experience of the NHS and its care for his son, Ivan. Mr Cameron commits to protect the NHS’ funding, avoid further disruptive reorganisations and ensure professional freedom:
"And I want to give you another reason why I’m not prepared to make irresponsible tax cut promises. It’s a vital reason, because the NHS is vitally important to every family in this country. It certainly is to mine. I believe that the creation of the NHS is one of the greatest achievements of the 20th century. I always believed this. When your family relies on the NHS all the time – day after day, night after night – you know how precious it is. So for me, it’s not just a question of saying the NHS is safe in my hands. My family is so often in the hands of the NHS. So I want them to be safe there.
Tony Blair explained his priorities in three words: education, education, education. I can do it in three letters. NHS. We will serve and support the National Health Service. We will never jeopardise the NHS by cutting its funding. But we will make sure the money is well spent.
So I make this commitment to the NHS and all who work in it. No more pointless and disruptive reorganisations. Yes, change is necessary in the NHS. But that change must come from the bottom up: driven by the wishes and needs of NHS professionals and patients."
In extract two the Tory leader attempts to address criticisms that he his insubstantial because of his failure to develop specific policies:
"Facing up to difficult questions, and making clear where you stand,
is what leadership is all about. I want to deal directly with this
issue about substance. Substance is not about a ten point plan. It is
about deeper things than that. It is about knowing what you believe.
It is about sticking to your guns. It is about taking time to think things through, not trotting out
the easy answers that people want to hear. It is about character, and
judgment, and consistency. It’s about policy, yes: but it’s about developing policy for the long-term."