Tomorrow morning David Cameron will deliver a big speech on the economy. The very fact of it was subject to an embargo but Iain Martin has now reported it and so, now, can we.
Iain Martin predicts that there’ll be a big attack on Labour’s record and an indication that the bipartisanship on the banks’ bailout will not characterise other economic policy issues. That’s good but it isn’t enough.
David Cameron’s Plan for a Responsible Economy speech needs to do two other things:
- It needs to show that the Tories understand that their cautious economic policy of the last two years has been overtaken by events. As ConservativeHome noted this morning, "Noone will blame [the Conservatives] for reviewing policies given the severity of the new situation." Boris Johnson is calling for substantial infrastructure spending. John Redwood is calling for big interest rate cuts. Mr Cameron must offer his own boldness.
- The speech’s second objective should be to tell the British people the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. ConservativeHome has long argued that the politician that levels with the British people about the gravity of the situation will make a deep connection with them. The British people aren’t fools. They know the next few years are going to be tough – possibly very tough. It’s true that Mr Osborne has said that "the cupboard is bare" but what does he mean by that? A reminder of our recommendation from March:
"It’s time for David Cameron to tell the British people that Britain is going in the wrong direction. He needs to say that we’re living beyond our means. We’re spending too much and borrowing too much. We have surrendered our streets to yobbery and incivility. Britain’s schools are failing the poorest members of society. He needs to promise a government that will put things right and he should tell the British people that it won’t be easy or painless. We need to forget the focus groups and the polling for just one minute and tell the truth about a nation that is in trouble. Mr Cameron might be surprised at voters’ reaction. Our hunch is that the first politician to tell the British people ‘how it really is’ will form a bond with many millions of them. It doesn’t need to be a message that is soaked in gloom. Mr Cameron can be optimistic about the future but only, he should say, if Britain has the courage to elect a new government with a different agenda."