David Cameron has called on voters to judge him on his character and values rather than on specific policies.
The Conservative leader told conference delegates in his speech to them as leader that voters cared more about the character and values he holds rather than the individual policy proposals he has to make. And he warned he was: “A man with a plan not a miracle cure”.
“These are times of great anxiety. I know how worried people are. They want to know whether our politics and, let’s be frank, our politicians are really up to it,” he said.
Mr Cameron said people were more interested in who he was and the values he hel than on the level of experience he had in a direct swipe at Gordon Brown’s “no time for a novice” speech last week.
He said: “What matters more than experience is character and judgement and what you believe needs to happen to make things right. I believe that to repair our broken society we don’t need more of the same, we need change.”
“Just think about it. If we really listened to this argument about experience we’d never have a change in government. Gordon Brown, what for it, would be prime minister forever”
The Conservative leader allowed himself a joke at Mr Brown’s expense at this point saying: “I’m not going to go on there’s people on balconies up there”.
Mr Cameron said it was time to be honest about the things that Labour had done wrong in government and that: “We experienced the folly that boom and bust had been abolished”.
He said: “There is a simply truth when you’ve taken the wrong road you’ve got to change direction”.
But Mr Cameron then listed a number of policy proposals that a Conervative government would implement if elected.
The Conservative leader said the John Lewis list and MPs voting to give themselves pay rises “had to go”.
He also promised to cut corporation tax by three per cent.
And he promised to hold a referndumn on the European Constitution that “Labour promised but have never delivered”.
Mr Cameron also criticised buearcracy in the NHS saying Labour had ripped out to soul of the NHS and replaced it with targets and objectives.
And he promised to provide 4,000 extra health ministers and promised to back marriage in the tax system. adding: “I don’t want to aggravate anyone but I believe in commitment….and commitment is something we should cherish as a country”.
The Tory leader also promised to review government spending to see how much of it was really necessary. “I know it’s your money. I know you want some of it back,” he said.
And he added: “We will only cut taxes once it’s responsible to do so once we’ve made government live within its means.”
The test of whether the Conservative party was ready for government was not whether it could come up with exciting shadow budgets, he said.
“It is whether we have the grit and determination to impose discipline on government spending, keep our nerve, and say ‘no’ – even in the teeth of hostility and protest. That is the responsible party we are and that is the responsible government I will lead”.
Mr Cameron also attacked David Miliband for saying that “unless government is on your side you end up on your own”.
“I thought it was one of the most arrogant things I’ve heard a politician say,” he said. Accursing Labour of believing there is nothing between the individual and the state.
“No such thing as society – just them, their laws, their rules and their arrogance. You cannot run our country like that,” he added.
For the full speech click here.