Cameron and his "Aspiration Nation" take centre stage

10 Oct 2012

Following Ed Miliband's surprisingly influential speech at the Labour Party conference in Manchester, David Cameron swiftly called for an emergency meeting at Chequers with his team of faithful advisors. Their aim? Win in 2015. How? Write a new script. A week later, "aspiration nation" was born.

Speaking sincerely at the Conservative Party conference, Mr Cameron stated that we are currently in a "grave moment in the history of modern Britain", and that the only way forwards is to "sink or swim, do or decline". Worrying words for the nation to hear, but stay with me, it gets better.


Britain, according to Cameron, is now "on the rise" following a number of painful decisions taken by the government. Despite the absence of a growth strategy, the Prime Minister called for the nation to stick with the Conservatives rather than to follow the glow of Labour who, according to the Tories, do not have a safe and reliable strategy in which to tackle the deficit. 

As expected, Cameron's speech today was more serious and formal than that of Boris Johnson's on Tuesday, where an aura of fun and optimism was brought to the conference. One could see that although Mr Johnson certainly has the entertainment factor, Cameron currently holds the trump card. Indeed it was do or die for the Prime Minister today, and overall he succeeded in coming across as a confident and assertive leader in control of his party's objectives. 

Today, Cameron stressed that the Conservatives were taking Britain on the "road to recovery" and, indeed, this needs to be true if the Tories are going to be in power after 2015. In deciding who will win the next general election, the economy is evidently a crucial factor. If our financial situation eases in the next two years then the Conservatives may stand a chance.

Where policy detail was absent in Ed Miliband's speech to conference, the Prime Minister today hinted of some potential changes. Mr Cameron stated that he had benefitted from a privileged education and expressed his desire for all students to experience the same. Whilst one might think that it would be extremely costly for everyone to go to Eton, it is clear that education plans are boldly on the Tory agenda. Trying to escape from the preconception that the Conservatives are a party for the rich, Cameron emphasised that "it is not where you come from but where you are going", demonstrating that he still stands firmly in the centre ground, dismissing views that he has swayed towards the Right. 

Other factors present in Cameron's speech included considerable praise for Britain's successful summer which included the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympic and Paralympic Games - no surprises there. In addition, the "zinger on the zip wire", Boris Johnson was credited for his Mayoral role, and a standing ovation was taken by the audience in praise of the British troops serving in Afghanistan. 

Articulate and confidently executed, Cameron's speech today proved that he is the Prime Minister, not Boris. There is certainly a place for Mr Johnson in the Conservative Party; however, the top job seems firmly in the hands of Cameron at present. It should be noted that Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg as well as David Cameron have stepped up their game throughout the conference season, and all intend to be leading their party into the next general election. Now the question is who will begin the election campaign? Game, set and match.

By Emily Stacey

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