A tear or two appeared in Iain Duncan Smith’s eye this afternoon during a sustained standing ovation. He had addressed the Conference without notes on the cause that has come to define his politics – the mending of Britain’s broken society. I have to say I was a bit tearful, too, as I stood watching at the back. Earlier today I’d spent over an hour with Iain and Betsy and he then only had a sketchy idea of what he was going to say. He spoke from the heart this afternoon on a subject he has come to understand so well. Don’t just think it was me – Ben Brogan describes Conference’s response as "huge".
After describing the nature of Britain’s broken society he recommended support for marriage, ending the couple penalty, pioneer schools inspired by the USA’s Charter model, premium pay for inner city headteachers, a massive increase in drug rehab, encouragement of credit unions and support for a more independent voluntary sector. He ended by saying that the Conservative Party couldn’t be a truly patriotic party if it didn’t love all of Britain’s people.
I am so proud of the Centre for Social Justice and all that it has achieved under Philippa Stroud and Cameron Watt. Even in the BC period (Before Coulson), David Cameron’s enthusiasm for this social justice project made the election of a Conservative government worthwhile. With this week’s announcements on tax its doubly worthwhile. I hope David Cameron can capture some of IDS’ passion for his speech tomorrow.