Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The big speech-the verdict-Bulldog or tired hound?

So what did we all make of the big speech this afternoon.

The consensus seems to be that it was a bit of a damp squib but here is some of the reaction.

Polly Toynbee

Most of this speech could be made by any party – same pieties, same promises to protect the vulnerable, promote enterprise and return Britain to greatness. How is anyone to tell parties apart, except by actions? The gap between Cameron's words and what's happening is growing

Martin Kettle

It may be clever, but it could also be too clever by half. It's the smartness of the political consultant and the professional adviser winning out over the reality and fear of the lives that most people live in potentially double-dip recessionary times.

Peter Hoskin

As for hard policy, there was little of that — but that's how it has been this week. In the end, Cameron's speech today was more about mood. It merged realism about the grey mire of the present with optimism about the future. It contained a healthy sprinkling of crowd-pleasers. It was celebratory and buoyant. Yes, this conference has been flat on the whole. But, so far as it matters, Cameron has just injected some bounce into its final step.

Tim Montgomorie

was this the time to remind people of Cameron's broader, gentler conservatism? A Belgian bank has gone bust. Italy's being downgraded. American politics is in gridlock. I hoped this Conference would give us much more on growth.

Samira Shackle

Cameron looked tired and sounded hoarse, which was unfortunate given his emphasis on "can-do optimism". There wasn't much here in the way of policy, simply an attempt to encourage positivity - a tough call in the face of inconvenient facts, such as the news today that growth figures are being revised down.

Ann Treneman

“This was the speech that put the Great back into Great Britain. It was a bulldog speech, a stand against sogginess and people who would rather sit down than stand up. It was a pep talk with so much energy that it was practically sprinting around the convention hall. It was marvellously upbeat and, probably, just a little bit bonkers.”

Rachel Sylvester

“This wasn’t a game changer speech but it didn’t have to be - the game will be won or lost in the eurozone, on the financial markets and on the shop floor. It was a successful balancing act - between optimism and pessimism, social and economic priorities, modernity and tradition, heart and head. No more “let sunshine win the day” the storm has broken and now the tory leader is promising to turn around the ship. That’s fine as rhetoric but what matters is reality. The fate of the prime minister and his party will be determined elsewhere.”

Peter Kirkup

The keynote of the speech is, of course, leadership. Mr Cameron is pitching himself as the man to lead us into the battle to come. Quietly, he’s recasting himself, changing his role from sunshine kid to economic war leader. As ever, Mr Cameron doesn’t want for self-belief. But he’s betting ever greater sums on himself. Voters first warmed to him and his optimism during sunnier days. Now, under darkening skies, will they think him tough enough for the struggle that lies ahead?

Christine Blower

"Yet again we see the myth being peddled that the academies and Free Schools programmes are the answer to a good education in this country. The Prime Minister knows just as well as his education secretary that it is good leadership, teaching and proper funding which makes a difference in schools, not its status.

James Forsyth

Cameron’s delivery wasn’t his best but it was still enough to best the other two leaders. He did, though, occasionally move up a gear, like when he explained why what the coalition was doing with the economy was the equivalent of laying foundations.
Overall, it wasn’t a great speech or a vintage performance. But it did, broadly, what it needed to do.

Whilst political scrapbook point out that

The only British company to be namechecked in David Cameron’s conference speech has donated more than £4 million pounds to the Conservative Party in the last ten years, figures reveal. After citing a string of American firms based in the UK and alluding to manufacturing sectors, the only UK company to be mentioned by name was heavy vehicle manufacturer JCB.

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