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  Rhetoric isn't that important: the right values are, says David Davis
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Bono
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« on: October 11, 2005, 03:06:51 pm »

Daily Telegraph

 Rhetoric isn't that important: the right values are
By David Davis
(Filed: 11/10/2005)

After last week in Blackpool, people will have gathered that flamboyant platform oratory isn't my style. But, much as I admire great rhetoric, it's not what ultimately counts.

I'd rather learn from John Howard, Australia's prime minister, whose no-nonsense style of government and clear mission to change his country have won him four elections in a row. The public have had their fill of spin. In the post-Blair era, I believe they will be looking for substance.

A change of management will not be enough to repair the broken trust between the people and politicians. In today's Britain there's a hunger for serious, innovative policies that will improve people's lives. The modern Conservative Party needs to commit itself to radical reform to turn Britain in the right direction. It also needs the strength of character to see change through when the going gets tough.

I was born into Britain's largest class - those who rely on public services. Millions of voters want their local schools, hospitals and police to deliver a high quality of provision. Anyone who aspires to be prime minister has to be able to offer a coherent programme to deliver excellence in health and education to the majority who can't buy their way to a better deal.

One of the things that continue to hurt Tories is the false perception that we are a party for the rich. The party needs the credibility to reach out to the cities and the suburbs where the Tory vote has shrunk in recent years and convince people that our solutions will help them. Unless the party offers hope to the hard-working urban majority, it won't deserve to win power.

So I want to build an Opportunity Society in which every citizen has the chance to claim a stake in Britain's success. We should empower people through increased ownership of property, shares and capital. We should reverse welfare dependency through brave reform that supports the weak but rewards those who work hard. And without judging anyone, we should recognise the central position of the family in underpinning strong and stable communities. The tax-and-benefit system should help this aim, not hinder it.

The precondition of changing Britain will be to rebuild a strong economy. Our tax burden will soon be at a 25-year high and growth is at a 12-year low. So we need an unequivocal commitment to lower and simplify taxes. In place of Gordon Brown's spending agenda, we need a dynamic growth agenda, ensuring that we generate the wealth to raise living standards and fund public services.

We have much to learn from other countries. For example, Sweden funds parents to exercise school choice. France and Germany provide first-class healthcare even for the least well-off through mixing private and public provision.

In New York, the accountability of the mayor and police chief to local voters, combined with no-nonsense "zero tolerance" and "broken windows" policing, has reduced crime. A new British localism - radically devolving power to individuals and communities - is an idea whose time has come. And it will reinvigorate our democracy.

Restoring democracy also requires fundamental change in our relations with Europe. The rejection of the European Constitution by the people of France and Holland marks a turning point. The EU has overreached itself, appropriating too many powers that should properly reside with governments. I want to see an open Europe, with a lightly regulated single market at its core, in which other powers are returned to Parliament. And let me be absolutely clear: as prime minister, I would insist on powers being returned.

Ideas shape politics. We should, for instance, harness new thinking and technology that could improve Britain's roads or drive real progress in tackling climate change. But we cannot steer a course to improve Britain if we borrow transient opinions from focus groups. We need to build lasting new solutions and a new consensus, using centre-Right ideas to achieve social justice. That means re-energising the party's policy-making, opening it up to the think tanks, academia and public service professionals, spreading our ideas among Britain's opinion-formers.

This is an exciting time to be a Tory. There is a palpable buzz of optimism about the party. Our conference gave the electorate the chance to see that we have a wealth of talent and a team that can take us into government. I want to lead a united party, clear in its mission to change Britain and improve lives, and absolutely determined to succeed. As a party, we've done great things in the past - but I truly believe the best is yet to come.
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Filuwaúrdjan
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« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2005, 03:17:28 pm »

The man is sinking like the Titanic
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Joe Republic
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« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2005, 03:18:28 pm »

Sure sounds a lot of rhetoric to me.
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Democratic Hawk
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« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2005, 08:04:29 am »

The man is sinking like the Titanic

Unfortunately Sad

Dave
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Alcon
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« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2005, 09:38:28 am »

"I won't bring you generic, ambiguous campaign promises!  I will bring you values!"
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afleitch
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« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2005, 09:40:41 am »

Sadly rhetoric is important in this soundbite age!
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