David Cameron – 2012 Speech at Olympics Press Conference

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Below is the text of the speech made by David Cameron, the Prime Minister, at a press conference at the Olympics on 26th July 2012.

It gives me great pride to welcome you all to London on this truly momentous day for our country. Seven years of waiting, planning, building and dreaming are almost over.

Tomorrow the curtain comes up, the spectators arrive and the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012 can officially begin. I want to set out three things you’re going to see over the coming weeks.

Number one: you’re going to see beyond doubt that Britain can deliver. We’ve delivered this incredible Olympic Park on time, on budget and in real style. 46,000 people have turned a wasteland the size of Hyde Park into an extraordinary city town within one of the world’s most exciting cities.

Millions of cubic metres of soil have been excavated. Eight kilometres of waterways have been laid. A stadium, an aquatics centre, a velodrome have been built. According to Jacques Rogge, the athletes are ecstatic with the training venues – and he likes the facilities so much he’s staying here.

All around the park a new transport network has taken shape. Dozens of underground stations have been upgraded, capacity has massively increased and all of it is being overseen by a state-of-the-art Transport Co-ordination Centre.

And what’s so great about these Games is that we’ve built not just for the coming weeks – but the coming decades. When all the fireworks have died down and the athletes have gone home there is going to be a genuine legacy.

A physical legacy – with a new quarter of London for people to live and work in. An economic legacy – with businesses getting a big international boost to trade. And a sporting legacy – with people all over the country inspired to get active and get into sport.

So we’re delivering a world-class Games, a well-connected Games – and above all a secure Games. Our absolute top priority is keeping people safe. I have personally chaired regular security meetings in the run-up to this and I’m pleased to tell you that all plans – including detailed contingency plans – are in place.

There are extra police on the streets of London, in the skies above and in the waters of the Thames. We’ve got our intelligence services working round the clock. And I am proud too that we have some of our finest men and women – our armed forces – guarding the Olympics venues.

This is the biggest security operation in our peacetime history, bar none, and we are leaving nothing to chance. All of this goes to show what we can achieve as a country.

And it sends out this powerful message to the world: If you’re looking for a great place to do business, to invest, to work, to study, to visit – then look no further than Great Britain.

The second thing you’re going to see here is a real sense of community. We always said the success of these Games wasn’t just about what Government does or what business does – it’s about our people and the welcome they give to the world.

We want this to be the friendly Games – and already we’re seeing that. When the call went out for Olympics volunteers, a quarter of a million people came forward. 70,000 of them were chosen.

On top of that, 8000 Londoners are acting as Ambassadors for this city. Between them they are volunteering for 8 million hours. So this is not a state-run Games, it’s a people-run Games. It’s about the people of the UK showing a really warm welcome – and showing respect to all the teams and nationalities who come here.

On that note, it’s right that in 2012 – 40 years on from the Munich Olympics – we remember the Israeli team members who were killed there. We will be properly marking the anniversary of that tragedy with a special commemoration and every day of these Games we’ll be demonstrating that there is no more diverse, more open, more tolerant city in the world than this one.

The third – and most important – thing you’re going to see and feel over these coming weeks is that infectious spirit of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Beyond all the grand ceremonies and great displays, we’ve got to remember what this is all about.

The athletes up at dawn to train. The swimmers in the pool day-in, day-out for years. The children who dream and make it big. The people who come from nothing to represent their nation. Their efforts are the heart of this Games.

Right at the heart of the Village, the words of the British poet Tennyson have been engraved. They read: ‘To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.’ It’s about never giving up, pushing yourself to the limits, relentlessly pursuing glory and greatness – the best of human endeavour. And it’s this spirit that is going to shine out from London.

We want this to be the Games that lifts up a city, that lifts up our country and that lifts up our world, bringing people together. So we are delighted to host you here in London today and I hope you have a fantastic Games over the coming weeks.

David Cameron – 2012 Transcript of Q&A at Zayed University, Abu Dhabi

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Question

Good afternoon, Prime Minister.  My question is, you mentioned about the long-term relationship that England has with the UAE and the investments that the UAE has had with the United Kingdom.  What are some examples of future endeavours that the United Kingdom might participate  in with  the UAE in the near future?

Prime Minister

Thank you.  Well I think we are standing in a good example of one.  You obviously are going to be building fantastic universities like this one, to provide great education for future students.  I think one of the strengths that Britain has is a very strong university sector, not just Oxford and Cambridge and University College London, London School of Economics, but also all of the universities in Britain: Newcastle, Durham, Edinburgh; these are all excellent institutions.

And I think we need to do more, not only to encourage students from the Emirates to study in Britain and let me just make the point that there is no limit on the number of people who can study at a British university; as long as you have a basic English language qualification and a place at a British university, there is no limit on the numbers.

But I think also we should be smarter in making sure that our universities and your universities are co-operating, collaborating, setting up campuses in each other’s countries, and actually using the internet as well to have a distance learning programme.  So I think that there are all the traditional things our countries have done together, obviously in the oil and gas industries, in infrastructure and building, but I think we now need to go to the next level, looking at cooperation in things like education, the creative industries, there is obviously a lot more to do in financial services.  But I think we need to be more creative about the partnerships we can form for the future.

Question

So you were talking about how strong our countries are and the relationship between them.  Can you please comment on the EU resolution and why Britain is sort of putting pressure on the UAE in terms of human rights and, in specific, women’s rights?

Prime Minister

Well thank you very much for that question.  First can I compliment you on the fact that it seems to me from looking around that almost more than three quarters of the students at this university are women?  And I think many countries could learn a lot from how well you are doing at making sure there are good education programmes and good equality of access.

Let me directly answer the question about human rights.  My country very strongly believes that giving people both a job and a voice is vital for creating stable, prosperous societies, and we have a history of supporting human rights around the world.  Now that does not mean that we preach or lecture; different countries take different pathways to becoming more open societies.  We should be respectful of the different journey that countries are taking.  We should be respectful of different traditions, different cultures.

But I do think that standing up for human rights and standing up for the right of people to have a job and a voice around the world is important, and I think this is a discussion that our countries can have.  Nothing is off-limits in the relationship that we have.  When you are close friends, close partners, it is quite like a family; you have to be able to discuss the difficult things as well as the easy things.  And that is the sort of relationship that we have.  But as I say, it is one that is based on mutual respect and understanding, and it is not a relationship based on lecturing or hectoring.

Question

My question is that both the NATO and the UN have been under a lot of criticism lately, so you as a prime minister, what do you think they should do to re-evaluate their role as peacekeepers or guardians [in Syria]?

Prime Minister

I think it is a very important point.  The United Nations plays a vital role in our world.  Of course, it is not perfect, and of course one can make criticisms of it.  But it is the only thing we have at a global level that can actually try to lay down some rules and some resolutions and stand up for oppressed people around the world.

And what saddens me is that when it comes to Syria, I think the United Nations has failed the world.  Because in the case of Libya, countries saw what Colonel Gaddafi was doing, that he was murdering and brutalising his own people.  And at the United Nations, we were able to pass a very strong resolution condemning that appalling brutality, and then an alliance of like-minded countries was able to act and to help the people of Libya get rid of this brutal dictator.

And that alliance of countries around the world included countries in the Gulf such as the United Arab Emirates, such as Qatar, and it was also fully endorsed by the Gulf Cooperation Council; it was fully endorsed by the League of Arab Nations.  I think this was an important moment for the world when we saw that if there is political will, then the United Nations can do a good and vital job.

But I think in the case of Syria, I am afraid that the United Nations has let the world down, and that is really because two of the permanent members, China and Russia, have not been prepared to see a really strong resolution that condemns what Assad has done to his own people, and that supports proper political transition in Syria.  Because that is what is required.

I worry that when the history books are written and maybe not in many years from now people will look back and say, ‘Why could we not do more when we see 20,000, 30,000, 40,000 people losing their lives?’  So I am determined that we go on pushing at the United Nations for tougher resolutions, for tougher action against Syria.  And like-minded countries like our two countries should go on working together, trying to see what more can we do to help the Syrian people to throw off this brutal dictator who is murdering so many of his fellow countrymen.

When you watch the television now and you see helicopters, aeroplanes, bombing from the air whole districts of whole towns and cities, you know that Bashar Assad cannot possibly stay running his country.  There are no circumstances in which he could be part of a transition for a peaceful Syria.  So he has to go.  But it is sad that the United Nations has not been able to play as leading a role as I would have liked over this vital issue.

Question

Prime Minister, I would like to ask you, given the current economic status of the UK, how do you see the relationship with the UAE going further?

Prime Minister

Well I would argue that the thing about our two countries is that we need each other.  We are actually quite complementary economies.  Clearly, this year, you have very successful growth here in the UAE; you have bounced back from the global problems of 2008, and it is hugely impressive.  And in Britain, we are finding it harder going; we had a very big banking sector that suffered very badly at that collapse, we had a big budget deficit which we are having to pay down.  We paid down a quarter of that deficit in two years, but our growth is not as fast as yours.

But where I think our economies are so complementary is that because you are a big oil-producing nation, you have a surplus to invest I think countries like Britain that are very open, very welcoming of countries like yours to come and invest, I think that is a good output for your investment.  And likewise, Britain needs to trade its way out of recession.  It needs to link up with the fastest-growing economies of the world.  50% of our exports go to Europe, and clearly those are going to have a difficult time, as the European economies are struggling.  But 50% of our exports go to the rest of the world, and if you think of our exports to your country, in the last six months in the first six months of this year they are up 16%.  We are well on course to double our trade and investment, as we promised some years ago.

So I think our two economies are very complementary.  We are making a lot of goods and services that people in the UAE want to buy.  We are a great home for investment from your country.  And as I am going to be arguing, debating this week with your government, I think there is a lot more collaboration that we can do over, for instance, projects like defence, where it should not anymore be a question of one country simply selling items to another country, but two countries collaborating, working together, transferring technology, setting up joint projects, investing together for the future.  And it is that sort of relationship that I think we can have between Britain and the United Arab Emirates.

Question

Good afternoon, Prime Minister.  My question is on energy sustainability.  I would like to know, what is Britain’s strategic direction in collaborating with the United Arab Emirates in that field?

Prime Minister 

Well I think this is a really vital question for all economies around the world, as after a while, we will see hydrocarbons, oil and gas begin to peak and then to turn down.  But I think it is a particularly important question for the United Kingdom, because we have been quite a substantial producer of oil and gas from the North Sea, but that is now past its peak and beginning to decline.

And so our energy policy is to make sure that we have a diversity of supply, so we have a nuclear industry, and we are re-investing in that nuclear industry, civil nuclear power, with new nuclear power stations.  We have the largest amounts of renewable energy in Europe in terms of tidal power and offshore wind power, and we are harnessing that through a system of subsidies which is going to build offshore wind farms and wave energy projects.

So our vision is one where there is a balanced energy policy: some nuclear, some renewables, and then also obviously gas which we will be producing some ourselves, but we now are major importers of gas from particularly Qatar, but also elsewhere.  And so we think we will have a balanced energy policy.  But I think what all countries have to understand is that as we move to electric vehicles from petrol vehicles we are going to see a big increase in electricity demand.  And so if we want to meet targets for reducing carbon emissions, we have to recognise that as electricity demand grows, we must try and meet more of that demand, either from nuclear or renewable sources, or, where necessary, from gas.  But where possible, we should be looking at carbon capture and storage projects.

And I think what is interesting about this is we must not see this as only a cost and an obligation.  We should see it as an opportunity.  All countries will have to move to greener forms of energy, so the first countries that can produce new batteries for cars, the first countries that can harness wave and wind power, the first countries that do better at storing electricity: these countries will have a massive competitive advantage as the world moves towards more renewable forms of electricity.

And I would like to pay tribute to your government and your country, because as far as I can see, you are not just resting on the laurels of having a very successful oil and gas industry; you are also big investors into renewable technologies, into the green technologies of the future.

Question

What is your next step in Arab Spring countries?

Prime Minister 

It is a short question but it will have to be a long answer, I am afraid: what is your next step in Arab Spring countries?  I mean, let me be frank.  I am a supporter of the Arab Spring.  I think that the opportunity of moving towards more open societies, more open democracies, I think is good for the Middle East, for North Africa.  I say this as someone who is a liberal conservative: I think we should respect the different traditions and pathways that countries take, we should not think that all countries are the same, and we should not also think that just being an open society means just holding election and that is it.

What I think is important in these countries is what I call the building blocks of democracy: the rule of law, rights for women, a free press.  Putting in place these building blocks and moving towards more open societies I think is good for these, good for countries, particularly in countries like Libya, where there was a particularly brutal dictatorship.  So their need for change was all the greater.

Now I know that a lot of people will say, ‘Look at the results of the Arab Spring’.  They will worry, have we replaced one form of tyranny and dictatorship with the problems of extremism?  And my answer to that is, we must judge these new governments by what they do.  If these new governments take sensible steps to reform their economies, to open their societies, to guarantee people a job and a voice, we should support them.  But if they take steps towards political or religious extremism, then we should say that is not the right path.

So we should not be naïve: the Arab Spring is not just going to lead to instant transformation, but I think it gives people an opportunity, particularly in countries where they were completely denied it, it gives people an opportunity of a better prospect of a job and a voice.  So I think it will be a difficult period.  There will be ups and downs: sometimes countries will take two steps forward and one step back.  But the idea of more open societies, more open economies, I think is a good one.

Question

My question is, the European Union has been under a lot of critical threats lately, and Britain, although it is protected from these threats, it is still vulnerable.  How much latitude does your government have in protecting itself from the economic crisis?

Prime Minister

It is a very good question.  The short answer is that all the European economies, whether they are part of the euro single currency, like France and Germany and Spain and Italy, or whether they have their own currencies, like Britain, all of us will be affected by what is happening in the eurozone.  Because, as I said, about 50% of our trade goes to the European Union; about 40% goes to eurozone countries.  So if Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece – if those economies are suffering, that will have an effect on the UK.

But I think what lies behind your question is important, that does it advantage Britain having our own currency?  Yes, I think it does.  Because at least in responding to the economic difficulties of recent years, we have seen our own currency depreciate, which has meant that we have had a greater opportunity to try and trade our way out of difficulty. And that is why my government spends so much time trying to link up with the fastest growing countries in the world.  I have led trade missions to Brazil, to Russia, Indonesia, China, India, Malaysia, and now the United Arab Emirates, although I would hasten to add this was the first country I visited as Prime Minister, and I am back already in two and a half years.

So we have that opportunity to do that, and we are also members of the single market.  So we have the whole of the European market open to us, but clearly, the problems in the eurozone are going to take time to resolve.  And because they take time to resolve, every country that trades with Europe is going to notice that effect.  Why does this take so long?  Well it is because if you put 17 countries with 17 different histories and 17 different economies into one single currency, that does create tensions and pressures.  That would be the same if you attempted a single currency across the Gulf, you would find tensions and pressures.

And that is what the eurozone is going through at the moment.  On the one hand, they know that they have to transfer more sovereignty and power towards some central authority, to make their single currency work.  But they know that is very difficult, because that is asking people to give up an element of their sovereignty and their democracy.

So there is a struggle going on at the heart of the eurozone which will create tensions and pressures.  Britain is better off outside the eurozone, but we will be affected by what happens there.

Question

What is the greatest challenge you face as Prime Minister?

Prime Minister

The greatest challenge?  Thank you.  I think the greatest challenge for a prime minister probably for me definitely the greatest responsibility I feel is for our armed services who are serving in Afghanistan.  And I feel very acutely the challenge that there are 9,000 mostly British men, but some British women, serving in a very difficult country and very difficult conditions, and I am responsible for their safety.

I think what we are doing in Afghanistan is right and I am very proud of the fact that Emiratis are serving alongside British soldiers in Afghanistan.  Because we have to remember that that country, when it was so badly broken that the Taliban took over, it became a haven for the training of terrorists.  It became part of the world centre for extremism and terrorism.  And the whole world has suffered from that.

And so it is important the work that we are doing, to try and build up the Afghan government, the Afghan army, the Afghan police, Afghan society, so it is a country capable of running itself.  But that is probably the biggest single challenge, because that is the biggest single responsibility.

Question

My question is, what can we do as university students?  Because we still face stereotypes against us, especially as women.  So what can we do to build these bridges between two nations and cultures?

Prime Minister

Well I think it is a very good question.  I think probably the best thing is more exchanges between universities.  I mean, to me, the point of university is to open your mind, to open your mind to fresh thinking, to fresh ideas, to challenge some of the ideas that you start with.  And if that is the point of university, then the greatest amount of exchange with different universities, different students, different cultures, seems to me a thoroughly good thing.  And I think you are so well placed to do that here in the UAE.  Your country is a hub where people come and travel here from all over the globe.  And so I think there is a great opportunity for student exchanges.

I was in Nottinghamshire; Nottingham, a city in my country, has opened a university in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, and it is a remarkable campus.  I did an event a bit like this at this university, and I think only 50% of the students are from Malaysia; the rest are from India, from China, from Brazil, from the Philippines, and then many students from Britain.  Lots of people at Nottingham university go and spend a whole year at this campus in Malaysia.

And I remember speaking to these students and answering their questions, and thinking that this was a brilliant institution that is going to connect up East and West.  And I think the challenge in our world; as I said, we are in this global race, this global competition, and if we are going to succeed as countries, we need to take the best of everyone.  And so I think opening up universities to those sorts of exchanges will make a difference, and then I think you can challenge those stereotypes yourselves.

Question

My question is regarding security.  Recently Iran, I should say, has been on a big move, causing an uproar in the Gulf regions, especially in the nuclear department.  And my question is, how much of a threat do you think Iran could possibly be?  Also I would like to get your opinion on foreign policies, taking part in other countries’ affairs.

Prime Minister

Well let us start with Iran, that is a big enough question to deal with.  I think to answer your question directly, I think Iran does pose a threat.  In two ways: first of all, if Iran is embarked on trying to acquire a nuclear weapon, as I believe it is, that is a threat in itself, particularly given what Iran has said about other countries in the region, and in particular, about Israel, about wanting to wipe it off the map.

So I think in itself, it is a hugely concerning development, a desperately bad development for our world, and that is why we should do everything we can to stop it happening.  But I think there is a second reason why it is so concerning, and that is, I think it could trigger a nuclear arms race across the whole region, and that would consume a huge amount of resources in energy, but also I think make the Middle East a more unstable, more dangerous part of the world.

So I think for all those reasons, it is right for like-minded countries to do everything they can to try and persuade the Iranians to take a different course.  And I pay tribute to your country here, particularly the emirate of Dubai, who I believe 25% of their trade was with Iran, and that has now gone to almost zero.  So Dubai has, and the Emirates have played their part in the very tough sanctions that we put in place on Iran.  My country has played its part, the European Union has an oil embargo, this is having, I think, a big effect on the Iranian economy, they have noticed the damage that it is doing.

But really the message to Iran should be this: it is not acceptable for you to have a military nuclear path, but we are quite prepared for you to have a civilian nuclear path; if you want access to civilian nuclear power in order to diversify your supplies of energy, that is perfectly acceptable.  And the message we need to say to Iran is there is a peaceful path; there is a path that you can take that will remove the pariah status from your nation, and that is to accept that you can have civil nuclear power but not military nuclear power.  And then we can have a proper discussion about how to normalise relations between Iran and the rest of the world.  But while they keep pursuing this nuclear path, I think it is very important that countries like ours keep up the pressure, keep up the sanctions and keep up the work in persuading Iran to take a different path.

Now the last point of your question, what about what we do in other countries.  This is a huge issue of debate and controversy, and fundamentally, we should respect countries’ national sovereignty, we should respect each other’s choices.  I do believe in a world of nation states, a world of nation states, though, cooperating with each other.

But there are occasions when something happens within a country of such huge consequences for its people that the world has to sit up and, I believe, act.  And I think Libya was such a case.  Colonel Gaddafi was – his forces were bearing down on Benghazi, he said he was going to shoot those people like rats, and I think it is right that the world acted.  And I think the world does need, as I have said about Syria, to do more, particularly at the United Nations.

So I do not believe you can draw an absolute rule.  But the basic presumption is that we are world of nation states, a world where we should respect each other’s sovereignty and a world where damaging that sovereignty is not right.

Question

What is your message for us students of Zayed University?

Prime Minister

Well I suppose my message ought to be work hard; that is part of it, obviously.  I think you have an enormous opportunity to be a student in your country at this time.  Your country has travelled this extraordinary path from the 1970s to today.  You are not just an oil-producing nation with oil-related wealth; you have created a diverse economy which has got incredible connections to the rest of the world.

And I think the challenge for the next generation is what do you do with that inheritance?  How do you further diversify your economy?  How do you go on, I believe in your interests, having very strong relations with Western countries like the United Kingdom, but also, how do you grow all your relationships with some of the emerging countries of the South and the East?

You can be quite a pivotal, influential country, both in this region, and in the wider world, and I think you should obviously work hard and study hard while you are here, but think about what you can contribute to the future of this extraordinary country.  But I hope a big part of that will be in partnership with countries like the United Kingdom, for all the reasons that I have given.

Question

I have a question regarding democracy.  In terms of the need of good government, is democracy the only answer?

Prime Minister

I that I think that all countries benefit if they give their people the chance of a job and a voice and a way of participating in their country.

And I believe all countries are on a path; we should respect the different paths that countries are on, and the different traditions as I have said.  But I think countries that put in place what I call the building blocks of democracy and open societies, I think in the end will be the most successful countries, because then you harness all the abilities, all the enthusiasms, of your people, and also you give them a way of making decisions and being consulted over decisions that can actually allow them to speak out and to make that clear.

Where I think people can make a mistake, and perhaps in the West, some have made a mistake in the past, is the idea that the very act of holding an election, that is enough.  I think that is completely wrong.  You know, democracy is not just about every five years having a vote and then nothing else.  What matters for, I think, the long-term success of a country is all of the building blocks that you put in place.

Do you have the access of women to university?  Do you have equal treatment under the law?  Do you have courts and a rule of law that work properly?  Is there a proper place for the military in your country?  All of these are important questions, as well as the issue of elections.  And I think we need to explain that, because otherwise we can sound a little naïve by just saying, all that matters is an election.

Clearly there are lots of countries in the world that have elections that are not very free countries.  So I think it is looking at all of the aspects of what I call the building blocks of open societies.  And I think that is a very important part of all countries’ progress, because as I say, different paths, different timetables, different tracks, and we should show respect for different countries, particularly when it so clearly is the case in, for instance, the country we are in today, where there is clearly a government that takes very seriously the consent and concerns of its people.

I gave a speech to the United Nations about this issue saying that it is the building blocks that matter most of all.  And that is what I think can build genuinely open societies and open economies, which I think are in the interests of both governments and people.

David Cameron – 2012 Speech on Crime and Justice

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Below is the text of a speech made by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, on crime and justice on Monday 22nd October 2012.

Two weeks ago, I spoke about this Government’s mission: to build an aspiration nation, where those who work hard can get on – and no one gets left behind. A stronger private sector. Welfare that works. Schools that teach.

Today I want to talk about another, critical, part of helping people to rise up and that is confronting the crime and bad behaviour that holds so many people down.

Go to some neighbourhoods in our country and you can feel that aspiration is dead. Children learning from a young age that life is about surviving, not thriving. Gang leaders as role models, drug dealers as career advisors. This doesn’t just matter to the elderly lady with five bolts on her door or the woman terrified to walk home in the dark. It matters to all of us.We will not rise as a country if we leave millions behind and write off whole communities.

So today I want to tell you about our approach to crime and justice – and the bold, unprecedented action we’re taking.

For many people, when it comes to crime I’m the person associated with those three words, two of which begin with ‘H’, and one of which is ‘hoodie’; even though I never actually said it. For others, I’m the politician who has argued frequently for tough punishment. So do I take a tough line on crime – or a touchy-feely one?

In no other public debate do the issues get as polarised as this. On climate change you don’t have to be in denial on the one hand or campaigning to get every car off the road on the other. Life isn’t that simple – so government policy isn’t that simple. And yet with the crime debate, people seem to want it black or white.

Lock ‘em up or let ‘em out. Blame the criminal or blame society. ‘Be tough’ or ‘act soft’.

We’re so busy going backwards and forwards we never move the debate on.

What I have been trying to do – in opposition and now in government – is break out of this sterile debate and show a new way forward: tough, but intelligent. We need to be tough because the foundation of effective criminal justice is personal responsibility.

Committing a crime is always a choice. That’s why the primary, proper response to crime is not explanations or excuses, it is punishment – proportionate, meaningful punishment.

And when a crime is serious enough, the only thinkable punishment is a long prison sentence. This is what victims – and society – deserve.

Victims need to know the criminal will be held to account and dealt with. And the ‘society’ bit really matters: retribution is not a dirty word, it is important to society that revulsion we all feel against crime is properly recognised. But punishment is what offenders both deserve and need, too. It says to them: “You are adults. Your actions have consequences.”

To treat criminals as victims – to say they had no choice – is to treat them like children. I firmly believe in their right to be treated as adults, with the responsibility to carry the consequences of their actions. But that’s not the whole story.

Just being tough isn’t a successful strategy in itself. Come with me to any prison in this country. There you’ll meet muggers, robbers, and burglars. But you’ll also meet young people who can’t read, teenagers addicted to drugs, people who’ve never worked a day in their whole lives.

These people need help so they can become part of the solution and not remain part of the problem. Recognising this isn’t soft, or liberal. It’s common sense.

We’ll never create a safer society unless we give people, especially young people, opportunities and chances away from crime. Prevention is the cheapest and most effective way to deal with crime – everything else is simply picking up the pieces of failure that has gone before. That’s part of what I mean by being intelligent as well as tough.

Not just saying what people want to hear, not playing to the gallery, but thinking hard about dealing with the causes of crime as well as the fall-out. And today, being intelligent has got to mean something else too. Achieving our ambitions when there is much less money than there used to be. The politics of the blank cheque are well and truly over.

The only way to achieve our ambitions is reform – radical, intelligent reform. So much of what went wrong in public services previously wasn’t because the money was missing, it was because the methods were wrong.

Top-down, bureaucratic, centralising. Judging every service by the money you put in rather than by the service you got out.

Our whole reform agenda is about turning this on its head.

Going from big government to big society; more choice, more competition, more openness. You see it in welfare providers paid by results and hospitals publishing their results online.

Some say, this is fine in welfare, fine with hospitals or fine with schools, but it won’t work in criminal justice. They think when it comes to keeping people safe, we’ve got to stick with the old, state-heavy approach. I believe that’s wrong.

It was the old approach that gave us police stuck behind desks filling in forms. It left us with the criminal justice system chasing ridiculous, unhelpful targets. And it left us with sky-high re-offending rates.

So we are bringing the logic of our public service reform agenda – transparency, payment by results, accountability – to transform criminal justice too. Because every part of that system needs change. Every part needs tough, but intelligent reform.And today, I want to explain how that’s working, right through the criminal justice system.

Let’s start with the police. I am profoundly grateful for the job our police officers do.

Years ago I used to run near Wormwood Scrubs every morning, and on my route there was a small stone monument. It said: ‘Here fell PS Christopher Head; PC Geoffrey Fox; PC David Wombwell, 12th August 1966’; and it was a daily reminder of this single truth: Police officers put on their uniform in the morning, kiss their children goodbye, and leave home having no idea about the dangers they might face.

Just a few weeks ago, Police Constables Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone answered a 999 call without knowing where it would lead. And though PC Ian Dibell was off-duty, he too could not have imagined what he would come up against. These people were professional, brave, instinctively selfless. The same can be said of thousands of police officers who work on our streets, protecting our families day-in, day-out.

All of us owe them our thanks. All of us owe them our respect. And for all those who wear the uniform, it’s essential we get policing right. For years police officers were held back from doing the job they signed up for. We had targets like the ‘Offences Brought to Justice Target’ which encouraged police to chase easy wins.

I remember being out on the beat with a police officer in South Wales and he felt he had to book a boy for taking some money from his mum’s purse – rather than just a stiff talking to down at the nick. That’s what the culture and targets demanded. He knew it was ridiculous. Everyone knew it was ridiculous. But the targets forced his hand. And then there was the out-of-control bureaucracy.

Police officers spending almost half their shift on paperwork. So Theresa May is doing what so many Home Secretaries before her shied away from; fundamentally reforming the police and allowing them to get on with the tough, no-nonsense policing that they want and we want.

We’ve scrapped all the targets and given them a single, core objective – to cut crime.We’ve ended micro-management from Whitehall and returned professional discretion to local forces.

The notion that you had to fill out a form every time you stopped someone on the street – it’s gone.The endless looking up for instruction from some official in the Home Office – it’s over. And we’re going further; reforming police pay so it rewards crime-fighting, not just time served; and changing the leadership of the police too.

Our reforms are comprehensive, they are sophisticated – and they are working.

HMIC – the independent regulator – found that even at a time of tight budgets, the frontline is being protected. The number of neighbourhood police officers is up. Public satisfaction is up and crime is down. And if you like official figures, here they are.

Even though in real terms, central police spending cuts are around 20 per cent over four years, the latest figures – out at the end of last week – show that crime is down 6 per cent in the last year.

We can have tough policing when money is tight. And we’re bringing intelligent reform too. More accountability and transparency to put people in charge of policing. That’s what Police and Crime Commissioners are all about.

These are big, important elections coming up. It’s the first time they are being held. People are going to be voting in their own law and order champion: One person who sets the budgets; sets the priorities; hires and fires and Chief Constable; bangs heads together to get things done.

Some people are saying that no one’s bothered, that people aren’t interested in how we fight crime in their area. I don’t agree. I say look at crime maps and you come to a conclusion.

They said no one would care about transparency – but this website has had 500 million hits and counting.

The more high profile Police and Crime Commissioners get, the more engaged people will be – and the more pressure they’ll put on them to deliver tough local policing.

So my message for these elections is clear: If you want more tough policing, you can get it.If you want coppers who are on the beat, on your street, cracking down on anti-social behaviour, focussing on the things you care about, then don’t just talk about it, get out on November 15th and vote for it.Intelligent reform is happening at the national level too, with the National Crime Agency.

This is, if you like, Britain’s version of the FBI; recognising that there are some highly serious and organised crimes – human trafficking, money laundering, drug rings – that need the very best in terms of national co-ordination.

The next part of the criminal justice chain is prosecution and here again we need tough, but intelligent reform.

Too often the story’s the same. Someone gets arrested in the middle of the night. They’re bailed. It takes months before they appear in court. Then the day dawns and they’ve disappeared.

It’s why you get whole walls of police stations papered with pictures of people missing on bail. But we saw with the riots last summer it doesn’t have to be like that. Justice was swift and it was tough – and we want that all the time.

So we’re opening our courts earlier in the morning, in the evenings and weekends; because crime doesn’t keep normal working hours and neither should our criminal justice system. Already this is happening in 48 courts across the country.

Another innovation is video links between police stations and courts. If someone is arrested, the police can flick the switch on a monitor and get them in front of a magistrate in hours rather than months. So no bail to jump and no cracks to slip through.

And we need to toughen up the process in court too.

Today, once the verdict is passed, the defendant can stand in the witness box and make their case for a more lenient sentence; but too often the victim doesn’t get a say. The one person whose life has been torn apart is kept silent.

We want to give more victims the chance to be heard – to say how their life has been affected by the crime. And to back that up we will be appointing a new Victims’ Commissioner to make sure that victims’ voices are heard not just in court but right at the heart of government.

We need intelligent reform, too, to open up our whole justice system. Today it’s all too closed, opaque, unaccountable.

We hear second hand what sentence a criminal is getting. Wouldn’t it be better if we could hear and watch the result and the reasoning – directly?

So we are legislating to start televising the sentences that Judges deliver, so that people can hear why a decision has been reached directly from the Judge.

This will start in the Court of Appeal next year, and in the long-term we want to see this happening in the Crown Court too.

When those criminals are convicted, we need to make sure the punishment fits the crime. At every single level of sentence this Government is getting tougher.

Where fines used to be limited, with us magistrates will be able to impose unlimited fines. While the maximum compensation that criminals used to be liable for was £5000, we are uncapping it. If you cost someone £10,000 or £20,000, you should potentially have to pay that back.

And we are toughening up community sentences too.

Having a monthly meeting with your probation officer is hardly a punishment – so tomorrow in Parliament, something important is happening. We are laying amendments to the Crime and Courts Bill, making sure that every community sentence contains an element of punishment.

And this tough change is aligned with an intelligent reform.

We’re introducing new GPS satellite tagging that can pin-point exactly where offenders are. Making it literally impossible to duck under the radar.

If you’re on a community sentence, you will be supervised. You will be properly punished. And you will be forced to complete that sentence.Of course, for many crimes, only one form of punishment will do – and that is prison.

I want to be clear. I want to see people who ruin the lives of others – rapists, murderers, muggers – behind bars, and kept there for a long time.

I’ve always supported the principle of the life sentence.

You do something heinous – and for the rest of your life you are either in prison or on licence and subject to recall if you step out of line. I don’t believe that’s old-fashioned, it is vital, so we are increasing life sentences.

A new two strikes and you’re out rule means that if you commit two serious sexual or violent offences, you get life. Not at the Judge’s discretion – but mandatory life.

We are creating a new maximum sentence of life for those who import guns and death onto our streets. And we are looking too at toughening up knife sentences, because to me a caution for carrying a knife just does not seem enough.And for anyone sentenced to a spell in prison, there will be space in prison. There will be no arbitrary targets for our prison population.

The number of people behind bars will not be about bunks available, it will be about how many people have committed serious crimes.

Once they are inside prison, we’re toughening up the regime.

Too many prisoners see out their time by just lying on their beds for hours and hours, watching TV, doing nothing, learning nothing. So we are turning those prisons from places of idleness into places of work.

Like HMP Manchester, where prisoners work in the laundry or printing workshop for up to 40 hours a week. I saw myself today a number of programmes where it is possible for prisoners to work and earn.

This is about fit and able people getting out of their cells, having a structured day, earning respect and earning privileges. And when they earn money, we’ll be making them pay a chunk of it back to their victims too.

So on the punishment of criminals – I don’t want there to be any doubt that we will be tougher. But it’s not good enough just being tough, locking people up and thinking: that’s it.

We need to be intelligent too, about what happens to these people during and after their punishment. And here’s why.At the moment, six out of ten of those leaving jail are reconvicted within two years. If you think that figure’s depressing, try this.

While those in the care system account for just one per cent of children, a quarter of those in prison were in care as children.

Half the prison population say they have no qualifications. We have got to give these people a chance. Not just for their sake, but for ours. To stop that revolving door that sucks millions of pounds of public money in and spits thousands of unreformed offenders out.

We’ve tried just banging people up and it’s failed.

We’ve tried letting people out with £46 in their pocket and no help on the outside and guess what? They’ve gone back to their old ways.

So I’m not going to try and out-bid any other politician on toughness, saying “let’s just bang them up for longer, let’s have more isolation, and once they’re out they’re on their own.”

I say: let’s use that time we’ve got these people inside to have a proper positive impact on them, for all our sakes.

It’s not a case of ‘prison works’ or ‘prison doesn’t work’ – we need to make prison work. And once people are on the outside, we’ve got to stick with them, and give them proper support, because it’s not outer space we’re releasing these people into – it’s our streets, our towns, among our families and our children.

That’s why this Government is engaged in what can only be described as a rehabilitation revolution – led by the new Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.

His main, driving mission is this: to see more people properly punished, but fewer offenders returning to the system.

To achieve that, we’re saying to charities, companies and voluntary organisations – come and help us rehabilitate our prisoners. Give offenders new skills. Educate them.

If they’ve been in a gang, send a reformed gang member to meet them at the prison gates and take them under their wing. If they’re on drugs, try the latest techniques to get them clean.

Do whatever it takes to get these people back living decent, productive lives. We will pay you for that; but – and it is a major but – once again the payments will depend on results.

We’re going to pay people by the lives they turn around. Just think of what this means for the taxpayer.

When this Government came to power we were spending £40,000 a year (per person) just on banging people up. With payment by results, your money goes into what works: prisoners going straight, crime coming down, our country getting safer.

It’s such a good idea I want to put rocket boosters under it; indeed today I have an announcement to make.

By the end of 2015, I want to see payment by results spread right across rehabilitation. Of course, there will be some high-risk offenders for whom this is not appropriate but this approach should be the norm rather than the exception. And I want to see rehabilitation reach more of those who would benefit from it.

Today, rehab just goes to those who have been inside for a year or more. But that misses all those who go in for shorter sentences yet re-offend time and time again. So I want to look at making them part of the rehabilitation revolution too.

I’ve touched on all the parts of the criminal justice chain, from policing to prison but where we need the most intelligent reform is prevention: stopping all this happening in the first place.

The riots last summer were a stark warning that parts of our society are broken. They told us we need to intervene much earlier in the story, before the jail cell, before the robbery, before the petty theft.

As the CSJ has argued so passionately, having a strong family is absolutely vital to people’s life chances and we believe that too. Strengthening families, strengthening partnerships, strengthening marriages, encouraging commitment are all part of our agenda.It’s why we’re shaking up fostering and adoption, ending the scandal that left children languishing in the care system for years.

It’s why we’ve re-focussed Sure Start centres – with more parenting classes, reaching out to the parents who really need support. And it’s why we’re bringing new help for the most 120,000 troubled families, the ones that live in a constant cycle of poverty, addiction and hopelessness.

For these families we’re bringing in professional, targeted help to get them into work, get the kids in school, help bring some order to their chaotic lives. And prevention means something else.

Some of those rioters last summer showed a complete indifference to the rules. We need to make clear to young people that respect is not something you can just expect, it’s something you earn.

So we’re bringing real discipline to schools – with teachers having more power to use reasonable force and take control of their classroom. And crucially, we’re focusing on those children who have been excluded from school.

Some Pupil Referral Units have been little more than a nursery class before the juvenile detention centre. So we’re turning failing PRUs into Academies, just as we are with failing schools, so that powerful, effective sponsors can bring the same radical improvements to them, as to some of the most challenged schools in the country.

On the other side of the coin we’re doing more to encourage good behaviour. National Citizen Service is about showing young people that they have responsibilities as well as rights, that they have a stake in our society.

Tens of thousands took part this year, and it is a personal passion of mine that in the coming years this should become a permanent part of the landscape in our country, a rite of passage that every teenager in every school goes through.

And all this fits into the bigger, broader picture of what this Government’s doing.

Whether it’s changing welfare so there’s no more something for nothing or putting the law on the side of victims and not criminals, we are re-scoring that line between right and wrong; between good behaviour and bad.

So I don’t want there to be any doubt how serious this Government is about law and order. Yes, we are tough – but we’re being intelligent too.

Not just giving police more power but giving people more power.

Not just speeding up our courts but opening them up.

Not just punishing but rehabilitating too.

By taking this approach we can cut crime even while cutting budgets. We can show law-abiding people that finally, the system is on your side.

And we can go to all those communities where life felt like a dead-end. Where crime felt inevitable; and we can restore hope and opportunity there too.

This is our goal. An aspiration nation. Where no one is left behind. And we are absolutely determined to achieve it.

David Cameron – Speech on the European Council

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Below is the text of a Parliamentary statement made by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, to the House of Commons on Monday 22nd October 2012.

With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement on last week’s European Council.

The European Union faces difficult choices in the coming months to meet tough economic challenges and to deal with the problems in the Eurozone.

There were no landmark decisions at this Council but there was some limited progress on both issues.

Mr Speaker, we are in a global economic race.

All European economies need to become more competitive, expanding the private sector, reforming welfare and improving education.

In terms of action at the EU level, that means: lifting the burdens on businesses, completing the single market and taking forward trade deals with the biggest economies and the fastest growing countries in the world.

I have consistently promoted these solutions and will continue to do so.

And at the Council we made some good progress.

On deregulation, I joined with others to secure a new agreement that specifically refers to withdrawing legislative proposals from Brussels that stifle our businesses.

Of course, we now need to see specific actions, but it is worth noting that the conclusions refer to the “intention to withdraw a number of pending proposals and to identify possible areas where the regulatory burden could be lightened”

On completion of the single market, as I reported in June there is a proper plan with dates and actions for completing the market in energy, services and digital.

These are reflected in both the Conclusions’ text and in the document issued with the Growth Compact.

Again it is vital that this plan is followed through to secure jobs and growth.

On trade, the Council agreed an ambitious agenda to create 2 million jobs across Europe.

This includes completing free trade deals with Canada and Singapore in the coming months and starting negotiations with the US next year on a comprehensive transatlantic trade and investment agreement.

And we made some new progress on launching negotiations with Japan “in the coming months.”

This deal could increase EU GDP by 42 billion euros.

Let me turn to the Eurozone.

Britain is not in the Eurozone – and we’re not going to be joining the Eurozone.

But it is in our national interest that the uncertainty surrounding the Eurozone comes to an end.

I have argued for some time that a working Eurozone needs a working banking union.

It is one of the features a successful single currency needs.

You don’t need a banking union because you have a single market you need it because you have a single currency.

So Britain should not – and will not – be part of it.

Britain’s banks will be supervised by the Bank of England, not the ECB.

And British taxpayers will not be guaranteeing or rescuing any Eurozone banks.

But we do need Eurozone members to get on and form a banking union.

And at this Council I joined those arguing for progress to be made on the plan announced in June.

Put simply, it is not enough having a banking union stripped of the very elements like mutualised deposit guarantees, a common fiscal backstop and a framework for rescuing banks that are needed to break the dangerous link in the Eurozone between sovereign debt problems and the stability of Eurozone banks.

But because not all countries outside the Eurozone will want to join such a banking union it’s also essential that the unity and integrity of the single market is fully respected.

The organisation that currently ensures a level playing field for banking within the single market is the European Banking Authority.

We need to make sure that it will continue to function properly, ensuring fair and effective decision making.

And this is specifically recognised in the Conclusions.

More broadly, as Eurozone countries take steps to deepen their economic and monetary union, I also secured an explicit commitment in the Conclusions that the final report and roadmap in December will include concrete proposals to ensure that the integrity of the single market is respected.

Finally, the next Council in November will discuss the financial framework for Europe between 2014 and 2020.

Mr Speaker, I have not put in place tough settlements in Britain in order to go to Brussels and sign up to big increases in European spending.

I don’t believe that German voters want that any more than British voters and that’s why our governments have led the argument in Europe for fiscal restraint.

So I put down a marker that we need a rigorous settlement.

As the letter signed in December 2010 by a number of European leaders said given the tough spending settlements that all Member States have had to pursue in their own countries -and I quote – “payment appropriations should increase, at most, by no more than inflation over the next financial perspectives.”

On foreign affairs, this Council, led by Britain, once again discussed further restrictive measures on the Syrian regime and made clear to Iran that we will increase the pressure if there isn’t progress on the nuclear dossier.

So Mr Speaker, making our economies competitive, dealing with uncertainty in the Eurozone, keeping the EU budget under proper control and making sure the EU speaks with a strong and united voice on the key international challenges – this is our agenda.

And I commend this statement to the House.

David Cameron – Speech at Britannia Naval College

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Below is the text of a speech made by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, at Britannia Naval College on Wednesday 17th October 2012.

It is a huge privilege to be here with you today. I have spoken at passing out parades at Sandhurst, and at Cranwell so I suppose you could say I’ve left the senior service and the best till last.

As Prime Minister, I get to spend quite a lot of time with our Armed  Forces. From visiting bases at home and abroad to meeting our top officers for briefings as part of our National Security Council. And I can just tell you this, there is nothing that makes me more proud of our country, of what we stand for in the world or what we’re capable of doing, than our Armed Forces.

You are the pride of Britain and to share this moment of celebration with you today is very  special.  The 68 of you passing out today come from nine countries; not just from Britain, but from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates, from Barbados, the Bahamas, Kuwait and Jordan.  And we are very proud that you’ve all chosen to come here for your training.

There will of course be huge challenges ahead, but as you leave here today I hope that you will take three things with you. First, pride in what you’ve achieved. Second, pride in the navy you are going to join. And third, pride in those things you are going to do in the future.

Let me take each in turn. You’ve been through 30 weeks of the toughest and best training that anyone could have.  You’ve done fitness training, weapons training, navigation, seamanship, leadership, boat handling. You’ve proved yourselves in challenging environments, from braving the elements of Dartmoor to deployment at sea in HMS Illustrious and HMS York.

Outwardly, you are fitter, leaner and stronger. Inwardly, more confident, more sure of your abilities and your own limits.  You have succeeded where other could not.  A third of those who sit the Admiralty interview board don’t get accepted in the first place.  Nearly a tenth of those who pass in, don’t pass out.  So your success is a great testament to your strength and to your endurance.  And you should take great pride in that.

The second thing I want you to take away is pride in the navy you’re going to join. For the Brits amongst you, you are quite simply becoming part of the navy with the greatest history in the world.  The Royal Navy is absolutely fundamental to our security as an island nation, and it is a vital part of our heritage. As Viscount Cunningham famously said at the Battle of Crete in 1941, ‘It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition.’

You will stand on the shoulders of those that have come before you, those who saved Britain from invasion, who swept the evil of slavery off the high seas, who’ve won great victories in every corner of the globe, and those who defeated Hitler and preserved our freedom. Our ships, submarines and naval air squadrons carry battle honours that literally span every part of the planet.  In my generation alone we have sent the Navy to the Falklands, to the Gulf twice, and recently to Libya, and not forgetting the constant patrolling of the nuclear deterrent, the South Atlantic patrols, the countering of Somali piracy, and capacity building across the world.

A shell casing from HMS Liverpool sits in my office in Number 10 Downing Street. It was the last fired in anger in the Libya campaign, and it is a permanent reminder to me of the Royal Navy and its work to defend freedom.  Put simply, the words carved into the front of this imposing building remain as meaningful today as they were 350 years ago.  It is on the Navy, under the providence of God, that our wealth, prosperity and peace depend.

Now that leads me to the third thing I want you to take away,  pride in what you’re going to do.  The challenges you face over the coming years may place demands on you experienced by few others of your age in the world today. Because, despite the technology of today, being in the armed forces is an intensely human business.  It is based on personal relationships and the ability of people like you to lead your fellow men and women, even in the face of danger. And there is no greater honour that a nation can bestow than the trust to lead your fellow men and women.  That is the task that you will have. Your training here has given you the best possible start.  You will need to continue to develop all these skills and more.  But I want you to be proud of the difference that you can make.  Quite simply, you will be helping to defend our way of life, and there is no greater calling than that.

In return for all you will give to your country, I want your country to have pride in you. As a Government, we will do everything we can to support you, to look after your families, and to rebuild the  Military Covenant that is so important to this country and, I believe, everyone who lives in it.  People expect us to do the right thing by you, and we must.

But today is about you and what you will do, about your service and your leadership. So let me finish with the words of His Majesty King George VI, engraved on a plaque in the college next to his statue: ‘Nobody can lead unless he has the gift of vision and the desire in his soul to leave things in the world a little better than he found them. He will strive for something which may appear unattainable but which he believes in his heart can one day be reached, if not by him, by his successors if he can help to pave the way.’

What you will do is not just important for our country today but for generations to come. I wish you all the very best for the future and, once again, congratulations on this very, very special day.  Thank you.

David Cameron – 2012 Address to the United Nations General Assembly

davidcameron

Below is the text made by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday 26th September 2012.

Mr President, Deputy Secretary General, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am proud that this year Britain welcomed the world to the Olympic and Paralympic games and put on a great display showing that while we may only have the 22nd largest population, we can roll out one of the warmest welcomes in the world.

I am honoured too that in this coming year I have been asked to co-chair the High Level Panel to build one of our greatest achievements with the Millennium Development Goals.

Britain takes this very seriously.

I am convinced that we need to focus more than ever on the building blocks that take countries from poverty to prosperity. The absence of conflict and corruption. The presence of property rights and the rule of law. We should never forget that for many in the world the closest relative of poverty is injustice. Development has never been just about aid or money, but I am proud that Britain is a country that keeps its promises to the poorest in the world.

Mr President, a year ago I stood here and argued that the Arab Spring represented an unprecedented opportunity to advance peace, prosperity and security.

One year on, some believe that the Arab Spring is in danger of becoming an Arab Winter.

They point to the riots on the streets, Syria’s descent into a bloody civil war, the frustration at the lack of economic progress and the emergence of newly elected Islamist-led governments across the region.

But they are in danger of drawing the wrong conclusion.

Today is not the time to turn back – but to keep the faith and redouble our support for open societies, and for people’s demands for a job and a voice.

Yes, the path is challenging. But democracy is not – and never has been – just about simply holding an election. It is not one person, one vote, once. It’s about establishing the building blocks of democracy, the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law, with the majority prepared to defend the rights of the minority, the freedom of the media, a proper place for the army in society and the development of effective state institutions, political parties and wider civil society.

I am not naive in believing that democracy alone has some magical healing power. I am a Liberal Conservative, not a Neo-Conservative. I respect the different histories and traditions that each country has. I welcome the steps taken in countries where reform is happening with the consent of the people.  I know that every country takes its own path. And that progress will sometimes be slow.

Some countries have achieved stability and success based on tradition and consent. Others have endured decades in which the institutions of civil society were deliberately destroyed.

Political parties banned. The free media abolished. The rule of law twisted for the benefit of the few. We cannot expect the damage of decades to be put right in a matter of months.  But the drive for opportunity, justice and the rule of law and the hunger for a job and a voice are not responsible for the problems in the region. Quite the opposite.

The building blocks of democracy, fair economies and open societies are part of the solution, not part of the problem. And we in the United Nations must step up our efforts to support the people of these countries as they build their own democratic future. Let me take the key arguments in turn.

First of all, there are those who say there has been too little progress, that the Arab Spring has produced few tangible improvements in people’s lives. This isn’t right. Look at Libya since the fall of Gaddafi. We have seen elections to create a new Congress.

And now plans to integrate armed groups into the national police and army. None of this is to ignore the huge and sobering challenges that remain.  The murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens was a despicable act of terrorism. But the right response is to finish the work Chris Stevens gave his life to. And that’s what the vast majority of Libyans want too.

As we saw so inspiringly in Benghazi last weekend, they are taking to the streets in their thousands, refusing to allow extremists to hijack their chance for democracy. The Arab Spring has also brought progress in Egypt where the democratically elected President has asserted civilian control over the military, in Yemen and Tunisia where elections have also brought new governments to power and in Morocco where there’s a new constitution – and a Prime Minister appointed on the basis of a popular vote for the first time. And even further afield, Somalia has also taken a vital step forward by electing a new President.

So there has been progress. And none of it would have come about without people standing up last year and demanding change and this United Nations having the courage to respond.

Second, there is the argument that the removal of dictators has started to unleash a new wave of violence, extremism and instability. Some argue that in a volatile region only an authoritarian strong man can maintain stability and security. Or even that recent events prove that democracy in the Middle East brings terrorism not security and sectarian conflict not peace. Again I believe we should reject this argument.

I have no illusions about the danger that political transition can be exploited by violent extremists. I understand the importance of protecting people and defending national security.

And Britain is determined to work with our allies to do this. But democracy and open societies are not the problem.

The fact is that for decades, too many were prepared to tolerate dictators like Gaddafi and Assad on the basis that they would both keep their people safe at home .and promote stability in the region and the wider world. In fact, neither was true. Not only were these dictators repressing their people, ruling by control not by consent, plundering the national wealth and denying people their basic rights and freedoms, they were funding terrorism overseas as well.

Brutal dictatorship made the region more dangerous not less. More dangerous because these regimes dealt with frustration at home by whipping up anger against their neighbours, the West and Israel. And more dangerous too, because people denied a job and a voice were given no alternative but a dead end choice between dictatorship or extremism.

What was heartening about the events of Tahrir Square was that the Egyptian people found their voice and rejected this false choice. They withheld their consent from a government that had lost all legitimacy. And they chose instead the road to a more open and fair society. The road is not easy – but it is the right one and it can make countries safer in the end.  Next, there are those who say that, whatever may have been achieved elsewhere, in Syria, the Arab Spring has unleashed a vortex of sectarian violence and hatred with the potential to destroy the region.

Syria does present profound challenges. But those who look at Syria today and blame the Arab Spring have got it the wrong way round. You can not blame the people for the behaviour of a brutal dictator. The responsibility lies with the brutal dictator himself. Assad is today inflaming Syria’s sectarian tensions, just as his father did as far back as the slaughter in Hama 30 years ago.

And not only in Syria.  Assad has colluded with those in Iran who are set on dragging the region in to wider conflict. The only way out of Syria’s nightmare is to move forward towards political transition and not to give up the cause of freedom.The future for Syria is a future without Assad. It has to be based on mutual consent as was clearly agreed in Geneva in June.

But if anyone was in any doubt about the horrors that Assad has inflicted on his people, just look at the evidence published by Save the Children this week; schools used as torture centres, children as target practice.  A 16 year old Syrian called Wael who was detained in a police station in Dera’a said: “I have seen children slaughtered. No, I do not think I will ever be ok again…If there was even 1% of humanity in the world, this would not happen”.

The blood of these young children is a terrible stain on the reputation of this United Nations. And in particular, a stain on those who have failed to stand up to these atrocities and in some cases aided and abetted Assad’s regime of terror. If the United Nations Charter is to have any value in the 21st Century we must now join together to support a rapid political transition. And at the same time no-one of conscience can turn a deaf ear to the voices of suffering.  Security Council Members have a particular responsibility to support for the UN appeal for Syria.

Britain, already the third biggest donor, is today announcing a further $12 million in humanitarian support, including new support for UNICEF’s work helping Syrian children. And we look to our international partners to do more, as well.

Of course the Arab Spring hasn’t removed overnight the profound economic challenges these countries face. Too many countries face falling investment, rising food prices and bigger trade deficits. But it’s completely wrong to suggest the Arab Spring has created these economic problems.  It’s a challenging time for the world economy as a whole.  And there was never going to be an economic transformation overnight, not least because far from being successful, open, market-based economies, many of these countries were beset by vested interests and corruption, with unaccountable institutions.  And this created a double problem.

Not just fragile economies, but worse, people were told they had experienced free enterprise and open markets – when they had experienced nothing of the sort.
We must help them unwind this legacy of endemic corruption, military expenditure they can’t afford, natural resources unfairly exploited – in short, mass kleptocracy that they suffered under for so long.

And while I’m on the subject of stolen assets, we also have a responsibility to help these countries get back the stolen assets that are rightfully theirs, just as we have returned billions of dollars of assets to Libya.  It is simply not good enough that the Egyptian people continue to be denied these assets long after Mubarak has gone.

Today I am announcing a new British Task Force to work with the Egyptian government to gather evidence, trace assets, work to change EU law and pursue the legal cases that will return this stolen money to its rightful owners the Egyptian people.

Finally, and perhaps most challenging of all for Western countries like mine, is the argument that elections have simply opened the door to Islamist parties whose values are incompatible with truly open societies. My response to this is clear.  We should respect the outcome of elections. But we should not compromise on our definition of what makes an open society. We should judge these Islamists by what they do. The test is this.

Will you entrust the rights of citizenship to your countrymen and women who do not share your specific political or religious views? Do you accept that – unlike the dictators you replaced – you should never pervert the democratic process to hold onto power if you lose the consent of the people you serve? Will you live up to your commitments to protect the rule of law for all citizens, to defend the rights of Christians and minorities and to allow women a full role in society, in the economy and in politics? Because the truth is this: you can not build strong economies, open societies and inclusive political systems if you lock out women. The eyes of the world may be on the Brothers, but the future is as much in the hands of their mothers, sisters and daughters.

Holding Islamists to account must also mean that if they attempt to undermine the stability of other countries or if they encourage terrorism instead of peace and conflict instead of partnership, then we will oppose them. That is why, Iran will continue to face the full force of sanctions and scrutiny from this United Nations until it gives up its ambitions to spread a nuclear shadow over the world.  And it is also why we will not waver from our insistence that Hamas gives up violence.  Hamas must not be allowed to dictate the way forward.

Palestinians should have the chance to fulfil the same aspirations for a job and a voice as others in region and we support their right to have a State and a home.  And Israelis should be able to fulfil their own aspirations to live in peace and security with their neighbours.

So, of course there are challenges working with governments that have different views and cultural traditions. But there’s a fundamental difference between Islam and extremism.

Islam is a great religion observed peacefully and devoutly by over a billion people. Islamist extremism is a warped political ideology supported by a minority that seeks to hijack a great religion to gain respectability for its violent objectives. It’s vital that we make this distinction. In Turkey, we see a government with roots in Islamic values, but one with democratic politics, an open economy and a responsible attitude to supporting change in Libya, Syria and elsewhere in the region. I profoundly believe the same path is open to Egypt, Tunisia and their neighbours.  And we must help them take it. Democracy and Islam can flourish alongside each other. So let us judge governments not by their religion – but by how they act and what they do. And let us engage with the new democratic governments in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya so that their success can strengthen democracy not undermine it.

Mr President, there is no doubt that we are in the midst of profound change and that many uncertainties lie ahead. But the building blocks of democracy, fair economies and open societies are part of the solution not part of the problem. Indeed, nothing in the last year has changed my fundamental conviction.

The Arab Spring represents a precious opportunity for people to realise their aspirations for a job, a voice and a stake in their own future.

And we, in this United Nations, must do everything we can to support them.

David Cameron – 2012 Speech on Railway Investment

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Below is the transcript of the speech made by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, in Birmingham on 16th July 2012.

PRIME MINISTER

Good morning everyone, and welcome. We got you here to help the headline writers with sharing platforms, minding gaps, trains on track and I am sure you will think of some others; no, the real reason for being here is that this is the next stage in the biggest investment in our rail network since Victorian times.

Already as a government, we have put in place £18 billion of investment by March 2015. Today we are announcing accelerated investment by network rail beyond that, with over £9 billion of investment between 2014 and 2019. We are creating a fast, modern, reliable railway with more capacity and cleaner electric trains. It is about getting people, and of course freight, off the roads and onto the railways.

While just ten miles of track were electrified in the last 13 years, we can commit to over 850 more miles of electric railway by 2019. By the time this is complete, around three quarters of all rail journeys in England and Wales will be made on electric trains. Here in Birmingham, we are already transforming New Street station with High Speed 2 to come as well. Today we are announcing more capacity and electric lines for the region.

There is good news for Wales, where we are committing to electrify the line all the way to Swansea and into the Welsh valleys. In the Midlands I can announce that we are electrifying the midland main line, from Sheffield to London. This has been talked about for years, actually decades, but it is this government that has got the finance and is really getting things moving.

In the North, we are committed to delivering the Northern Hub transformation, which will see a massive improvement in services between Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield.

In the South East, as well as Crossrail – which is of course the biggest construction project anywhere in Europe – London and the South East will receive an extra £700 million to support the capital’s economy and allow an extra 120,000 commuter journeys every day.

Heathrow airport will get a much needed direct connection to the West – again something that has been talked about a lot, which is now being delivered – so that trains from the West Country and Wales can reach the airport directly.

There is more to come this week, with the Chancellor and Chief Secretary setting out plans to use the strength of the government’s balance sheet to support further investment in the country’s infrastructure. We can do this only because we have a credible deficit reduction plan that is trusted and allows us to invest for the long-term.

I would argue that this is just one aspect of the long-term mission of this coalition government. Of course the coalition has come into question, some asking whether it has real momentum for the rest of this Parliament; others even asking whether it should end. I just want to say I am even more committed to making this coalition government work today than I was in May 2010 when Nick Clegg and I formed this government. I believe it has real purpose, a real mission.

I do not just believe this because the world has become even more dangerous and difficult than 2010, although it undoubtedly has; switch on your television sets and you can see weak governments being buffeted by events and economic difficulties. It is vital that this government has the majority, has the decisiveness, and has the strength to keep our economy safe, to cut our deficit – which we have done by a quarter in two years – and to have all the drive that we need for economic growth in the years ahead.

I would argue that as well as that clear justification, because of economic difficulties and uncertainties, there is also, I think, a huge momentum in this government behind the agendas that the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives share.

We are both absolutely committed to rebalancing our economy; it became too dependent on finance, on the South East, on the public sector and we need jobs and growth from the private sector that I think is absolutely vital. 800,000 new jobs in the private sector since May 2010; last year the best ever year for establishing new businesses in Britain, but frankly there is much more we need to do to rebalance. Both parties are committed to that.

Both parties are also absolutely committed to driving aspiration and giving people life chances in our country by reforming education. We announced last Friday an extra 100 free schools; something governments of one party have never done, breaking open the state monopoly of education, providing great new schools, great new education for children, real rigour in terms of discipline, exam standards, helping people to achieve their potential.

Another absolutely shared mission is what the Deputy Prime Minister calls ‘alarm clock Britain’, what I call being on the side of people who work hard and want to get on, is reforming welfare so that it actually pays to work rather than not to work. We have capped welfare; we are introducing universal credit so you are always better off in working and always better off if you work more.

I also believe there is a shared agenda on making sure that Britain stands tall in the world. We will complete the united [indistinct] over the mission that we carried out with allies in Libya, which has resulted in the first free elections in that country for over four decades. We stand together for freedom and democracy in Syria. We back Britain’s expanded aid budget, to make sure that Britain has a moral purpose in the world but also to safeguard our interests.

Those are just some of the areas I would mention where there is a great common interest, a driving mission, for this government. I would argue that we have achieved some things in two years that have eluded single party governments that have been in office for over a decade.

We were always told, ‘You can’t reform public sector pensions’; we have, and we have cut that cost by almost a half. We are always told, ‘You can’t reform welfare’; we are well down that track. We have also grappled with difficult subjects like higher education reform, to make sure we can go on having well-funded universities that will serve our economy and young people in the future.

There is much more to come on all of these agendas; we will be publishing a midterm review at the end of the summer, as we go into autumn, looking at the things we have achieved so far and also setting out the next goals and objectives of things this coalition government wants to achieve in the remainder of this Parliamentary term.

I say this Parliamentary term, because that is what this government is for. I think it is important we have that fixed term, we have that fixed government; people know, the markets know, businesses know there is strong decisive government throughout this term.

What has driven this government is a view that we need to get things done, a view that we need to safeguard the British economy in difficult times but above all that what we do is about the national interest. That is what drives the Deputy Prime Minister and me; that is what this government is all about; that is its foundation.

I think today, with this big rail announcement, is yet another example of a long-term decision that will strengthen the British economy and also strengthen our society too.

David Cameron – Speech with Romanian President Băsescu

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Below is the text of a statement given by Prime Minister David Cameron and Romanian President Traian Băsescu on Monday 6 June 2011.

PRIME MINISTER:

Good afternoon and I warmly welcome the Romanian President here to Number 10 Downing Street. We have just had an important and productive meeting. Britain and Romania are natural partners, with shared interests on many of the most important issues that we face. We agreed today that it is time we realise the full potential of this partnership.

First, we agree on getting our economies growing, by freeing businesses to create jobs – less regulation, more innovation. This is an urgent task for Europe, but if we together take the bold actions needed, both in the EU and at home, we can build the more dynamic economy that Europe needs. We agreed to discuss these issues at the European Council. So, in the EU, Britain and Romania will work together, with our partners, to complete the single market in services, energy and the digital economy. We will push hard to reduce the burden of red tape that stifles those doing business, and especially the smaller businesses that should be driving innovation and growth. We will be looking for some immediate steps at the European Council in two weeks’ time.

Second, we both believe that the offer of an EU future is vital for stability and reform in Europe’s neighbourhood. We want to see the countries of the Western Balkans, Turkey and Moldova move towards EU membership, in a way that makes those countries stronger, and the European Union stronger. I welcome the important role Romania can play, sharing their experience of transition, and I have been pleased to see the efforts that the President has made to reform the judiciary and tackle corruption in Romania.

Third, Britain and Romania are standing side by side in Afghanistan and Libya. In Afghanistan we are proud of the record of our troops fighting together, and we will get the job done together – building up the Afghan security forces to take full security control from 2014. In Libya, Romania took on an important early role, providing some naval power to stop arms getting to Gaddafi’s forces. We agreed today that there has been real progress in recent weeks, helping to protect the people in Benghazi, in Misrata and elsewhere, but we cannot rest while civilians remain daily under fire. We will see this job through, building up the pressure on this murderous regime until the killing stops. The unity and resolution of the coalition in meeting this challenge has been a tremendous achievement and I am grateful to the President for his friendship and solidarity in recent months and I am very glad to have him alongside me in London here today.

PRESIDENT TRAIAN BASESCU

Thank you. With your permission I will use the Romanian language with translation. I would like to thank Prime Minister Cameron for inviting me here to London. Our discussion occasioned an excellent and fruitful exchange of points of view, particularly on our common evolution within the EU. In our discussion we established that for our countries our priority should be the fact that the EU should be stronger and united, more competitive and should consider research and development as a priority.

I have also discussed with the Prime Minister the recent positive developments related to the mechanism for cooperation and verification that Romania is now undergoing in its relation with its European partners and the Commission. I informed the Prime Minister that Romania will fulfil all its obligations in terms of military commitments, whether we speak of the Western Balkans, Afghanistan or Libya.

I have also informed the Prime Minister that for Romania the Europe 2020 strategy is of crucial importance, and the government of Romania is committed to fulfilling the objectives within this strategy. And last, but not least, another issue we discussed was the cooperation between Romania and the UK and the future continuation of the modernisation project that we began regarding the two frigates that Romania bought from Britain.

Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER:

Thank you.

David Cameron – 2011 Speech at the Local Government Association

davidcameron

Below is the text of the speech made by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, at the LGA Conference on 28th June 2011.

It’s great to be back at the LGA conference.

And I want to congratulate Sir Merrick Cockell on his appointment as Chair of the Local Government Association.

Today, I want to talk about the big issue of the week – the reform of public service pensions.

But before I do that, let me say something about local government.

I want it put on record: I think you are doing a brilliant job in challenging circumstances.

I know it was a tough financial settlement.

And I know you are all grappling with some really difficult decisions.

When your budget is being cut, freezing council tax isn’t easy.

But because of the action that’s been taken, by everyone in this room, a typical family in a Band D home will save up to £72 over the next year.

You did that – and it’s something you should be proud of.

But there will be many more tough decisions in the weeks and months ahead.

And my job is to make your job less difficult, not more.

And I believe, as a government, we’re going some way to doing that.

So much of that bureaucracy that drove you mad and cost you so much time and money in administration – it’s going.

The Comprehensive Area Assessments, the Place Surveys and Local Area Agreements – we’ve got rid of them.

Quangos like the Audit Commission and Standards Board – we’re scrapping them.

And regional Spatial Strategies, Regional Fire Control Rooms, Government Offices for the Regions – they’re going too.

We don’t need regional government. The public want – you want, I want – local government.

What’s more, we’re also phasing out that ring-fencing that made you spend money with one hand behind your back.

In every way we can, we’re rooting out the red tape and regulation and freeing your hands from the grip of central government control.

At the same time as this, we’re actively giving you new powers and freedoms – trusting you to get on with the job.

I believe that our agenda of localism is one the most exciting things we are doing in government.

For years, the default position of government has been to see a problem and suck more power to the centre.

We want to be different. Very different.

When we see a problem, we don’t ask what central government can do – we ask what can local people do, what can councils do?

It’s by asking those questions that you arrive at so many of our reforms.

Our new general power of competence means councils can develop property, run new services and own assets.

Our new Health and Wellbeing Boards mean you can take a leading role in developing a public health strategy for your local residents.

And our new Local Enterprise Partnerships has seen many of you take control of your local area’s economic destiny.

These are already gathering real momentum.

Like in Tees Valley, where local councils have pooled their budgets and got together with business to draw up a plan to make that place a hub for green industry.

This is what you do when you get more power – you get things done.

Another way you’re doing this is through community budgets.

We’re saying to local authorities and local public services: here is the freedom to put all your different strands of cash in one pot – go and tackle some of most stubborn social problems the way you think is best.

It’s already having an impact.

In Islington, the council, NHS, Job Centre Plus, Probation, Police, housing and voluntary sector have pooled staff and over £6 million worth of resources to give the most hard-to-reach families the most intensive and personalized support possible.

Again, we’re giving you the power – and you’re getting things done.

So for me, it’s not a question of: should we give councils more power?

It’s: how far and how fast can we go?

And we are not stopping this power shift at the Town Hall.

We are going even further, taking people power to the next level – from councils to neighbourhoods, communities and individuals.

Whether it’s letting people set up new schools: take over the running of playgrounds, parks and post offices, hold beat meetings so they can ask police officers what they’re doing or plan the look, size, shape and feel of local developments – we believe in changing the way our country is run.

But let me say this.

Yes, we’re giving you this power. And yes, we’re doing that because we trust you.

But no, that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be a frank exchange of views between us.

Of course, the only people you have to answer to are your voters.

The same is true for us in Central government.

But I’m happy for you to turn round and say so when you think we in central government have the wrong priorities.

And if I see things you’re doing that I don’t like, I think you should be comfortable if I make my opinions known too.

That doesn’t mean I want us locking horns on an ongoing basis.

In fact quite the opposite.

I hope our relationship can be as constructive and co-operative as possible

But we live in a new world of council power and it’s time for a new relationship between central and local government, based on our new responsibilities.

Public Service Pensions

So I’ve said something about the great job you’re doing.

I now want to turn to a job we’ve got to do together – and that is reforming public service pensions.

Over the past few months, I believe we have been acting in good faith on this issue.

We asked Lord Hutton, a Labour peer – and a former Work and Pensions Secretary with a brilliant understanding of the detail – to conduct the Review.

We wanted him to build proposals that would be well thought through and maximise the chance cross-party consensus.

And we have met with union leaders regularly to discuss the issues in a good, open, frank and respectful fashion – and will continue to do so.

Of course, because it is a funded scheme, the Local Government Pension Scheme is different from other public sector pension schemes.

That’s why we will have a more in-depth discussion with local government unions and the TUC about how we take this into account.

But the broad thrust of the wider reforms we are proposing will affect people in this room and your workforces.

So it’s right that I speak about this issue here – and it’s right that I speak about it now.

In two days time, a minority of unions will go on strike in opposition to our proposals.

Of course, in a democracy, people can go out and protest.

But the people marching should know what they’re objecting to, and I believe there are some misconceptions flying around.

So today, I want to tell you the three things people need to know.

One – reform is essential.

Two – our proposals are fair on the taxpayer.

Three – our proposals are fair on public sector workers.

Let me take each in turn.

Essential

First, reform is essential because we just can’t go on as we are.

That’s not because, as some people say, public service pensions are ridiculously generous.

In fact, around half of public service pensioners receive less than £6,000 a year.

No. The reason we can’t go on as we are is because as the baby boomers retire – and thankfully live longer – the pension system is in danger of going broke.

Here’s a key fact.

In the 1970s, when a civil servant say retired at sixty, they could expect to claim a pension for around twenty years.

Today, when they retire at sixty, they can expect to claim a pension for nearly thirty years – about a fifty percent increase on before.

Now, obviously, more people living for longer is a great development for society.

But more people claiming their pension for longer has a real life impact on our ability to pay for pensions.

Indeed, we are already seeing the impact.

In 2009, total payments to public service pensioners and their dependents were almost £32 billion – an increase of a third, even after allowing for inflation, compared to 1999.

So what are we going to do?

In the words of Lord Hutton, “the responsible thing to do is to accept that because we are living longer we should work for longer”.

That’s why we are proposing to increase the age when public sector employees can take their pension.

Now, I know some people say this change should only affect new entrants to the pension scheme.

But I’m sorry, I just don’t think that’s right.

It’s not just the people who are joining the workforce now who are living longer.

We’re all living longer – so we must all play our part in dealing with this problem.

Fair for taxpayer

The second thing people need to know is that our proposals are fair on other taxpayers.

Under the current system, the balance between what public sector employees pay in to their pensions and what the taxpayer contributes is getting massively out of kilter.

Take, for example, the Civil Service Pensions Scheme.

Today, employees contribute around 1.5 and 3.5 percent towards their own pension.

The taxpayer, however, contributes nineteen percent.

Indeed, in total, the taxpayer currently contributes over two-thirds of the costs of maintaining public sector pensions.

That’s the equivalent of £1,000 a household.

That figure is only expected to rise.

Is that a fair?

I don’t believe it is, especially when people in the private sector are seeing the value of their own pensions falling, their own pension age rise – and when, according to the Office for National Statistics, the average gross pay in the public sector is now higher than in the private sector.

So we need to rebalance the system.

That’s why from April next year, we are proposing to increase the contributions public sector workers have to make to their pension.

And because we really want to protect the lower paid, we propose not to increase contributions at all for those earning £15,000 or less a year.

Fair on public sector workers

Third, our proposals are also fair on public sector workers.

Now I know a lot of people are hearing scare stories about our proposals – about how we are closing defined benefit schemes and replacing them with defined contribution schemes.

Well, here is the plain, irreducible truth: public service pension schemes will remain defined benefit.

This means every public sector worker will receive a guaranteed amount in retirement – not an uncertain amount based on the value of an investment fund like most people in the private sector.

Any suggestion otherwise is completely untrue.

And any suggestion that we are stripping workers of the benefits they have already accumulated is untrue too.

With our proposals, what you have already earned, you will keep.

We will protect, in full, the pension you have already built up, and we will maintain the final salary link for these benefits.

What would this mean in practice?

It means the ‘final salary’ which is used to calculate your pension will not be the salary you’re on now, will not be the salary you have when the new scheme comes in – it will be the one you have when you eventually decide to retire or leave the scheme altogether.

And for what you have already built up, the age at which you can claim those benefits is not changing.

That part of your pension, those past entitlements – what they allow you to have, are yours and they will not change.

So those people who are claiming otherwise are not just getting their facts wrong, they are giving really bad advice to teachers, nurses and the police officers who are wondering whether to continue with their pension.

Let me tell you how it is.

Anyone with a public service career ahead of them who carries on contributing to their pension will be better off for doing so. Fact

Defined benefit is staying. Fact.

Your pre-reform entitlements are being fully protected. What you have earned you will keep. Fact.

That’s why I can look you in the eye and say public service pensions will remain among the very best, much better, indeed, than for many private sector workers.

And it’s because we are determined to do what’s fair by people who work in the public sector that we are suggesting other changes.

The public service pensions system today is inherently biased against some of the lowest paid workers.

That’s because, under a final salary scheme, it’s the people who reach very high salaries at the end of their careers who benefit the most.

Yes, these are talented people. And yes, they are hugely important to the running of our public services.

But the way the system works, it’s not the community nurse who retires on a final salary of £28,000 who gets the benefit…

…but the hospital consultant who leaves on a final salary of £110,000.

Indeed, in some instances, for every £100 they put in their pension, higher earners can get twice as much out.

Is this fair?

No. It’s not.

So again, in accordance with the recommendations of Lord Hutton, we are proposing to replace the final salary scheme with a Career Average scheme.

This would mean that the lowest-paid do not subsidise those individuals who jump to higher salaries in the last few years of their career.

And it would mean that everyone will get broadly the same amount for every pound they put in.

This is not about saving money. It’s about doing what’s right and fair by you.

As Danny Alexander recently set out, our proposals mean that low and middle income workers will receive a pension that is at least as good as what they have now.

Conclusion

Let me end by saying this.

I know why people care so much about this issue.

The provision of good, high quality public service pensions goes to the heart of the kind of society we are.

It’s a vital part of the contract between all those who work in our schools and hospitals, fire stations and police stations, councils and prisons, and the rest of the country.

It’s about saying: you’ve spent your career serving others; so we will look after you in old age.

And I am determined to not just meet that contract, but to strengthen it.

But here’s the truth.

That won’t happen if we delay action, or even worse refuse to act.

All that will mean is a worse pension system in five, ten, fifteen years time as the obligations become unaffordable.

The fact is we will only meet and strengthen that contract through change.

And the changes we propose are a good deal.

They are fair for the lower paid and fair on the taxpayer.

They secure affordable pensions not just now, but for decades to come.

And they mean public service pensions will remain among the very best available.

So to those considering strike action, at a time when discussions are ongoing, I would say to you: these strikes are wrong – for you, for the people you serve, for the good of the country.

It’s the changes we propose that are right.

Right for the long-term.

Right by the taxpayer.

And most crucially of all, right by you.

David Cameron – 2011 Speech on the National Health Service

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Below is the text of a speech made by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, on the future of the NHS, made on the 7th June 2011.

Three weeks ago, I made the case for change in our NHS.

I said we would be kidding ourselves if we thought we could simply stick with the status quo.

We need to change the NHS to make it work better today.

Yes, in many ways the NHS is providing some of the best service it ever has.

But we have to be honest.

We’re wasting too much money on empty bureaucracy when it could be spent on the frontline.

In the past two decades, NHS spending has more than doubled in real terms from £38bn to £103bn.

That injection of money has been right – but can we really say that the improvement in service has reflected that increase?

Can we really say we’re getting value for every pound that we spend?

We’re also getting too much difference in the quality of services people receive – a great gap between the best and the rest.

We’re seeing a deep divide between health and social care that is causing serious problems for vulnerable, often elderly, people and their families.

We’re hearing too many stories about patients being moved from pillar to post…

  • getting lost in a labyrinth of letters and appointments and referrals…
  • when what they really want is to be in the driving seat.

We’re still behind some of our European neighbours on treating the big killers like cancer and respiratory disease.

And we’re also – and let’s not deny it – seeing damning reports which found the standard of care in some of hospitals was appalling, with elderly patients left unfed and unwashed.

That’s why we need change today.

But just as importantly, we have to change the NHS to avoid a crisis tomorrow too.

This is what will happen if we don’t.

More over-stretch, more over-crowding, the NHS buckling under the pressure of an ageing population and the rising cost of treatments.

  • and the principle we all hold dear, and we all want to keep
  • of free healthcare for all who need it, when they need it
  • that precious principle coming under threat.

We cannot let that happen, and we will not let that happen.

So that’s why we need change.

Today, I want to focus my remarks on what that change should be.

I want us to make sure we pursue the right change, and deliver it in the right way.

That means taking people with us – the public who use the NHS, and the professionals who make it what it is.

We recognise that many people have had concerns about what we were doing.

That’s why for the past two months, Andrew Lansley, Nick Clegg and I have been taking time to pause, listen, reflect on and improve our plans for NHS modernisation.

This has been a genuine chance for people to get involved and make a difference.

  • to have their voice heard and opinions known
  • and to work together to strengthen the institution we all love and hold dear – our National Health Service.

As a result, I think we’ve seen an important debate around our country.

  • whether it’s the searching analysis that some newspapers have carried out
  • or all the different television or radio programmes that have been devoted to the future of our NHS.

And a whole range of people are changing their view.

Before the pause, many were claiming the NHS is fine, and telling us not to touch it.

Now – whatever their views about how to do it, most agree that change is needed.

What’s more, a significant number are now more clearly on board with the thrust of what we are proposing.

In recent weeks, GPs representing 1,100 practices across England, the Association of Surgeons from Great Britain and Ireland and the Royal College of Surgeons have all written letters to national newspapers expressing support for the basis of our plans.

Patients groups like Saga and Age UK have also backed key parts of our plans.

And when I speak to patients and tell them about what drives our plans, there is a huge amount of support.

People want patients to be at the heart of the NHS, they want more choice and better value for money, they want us to focus on outcomes, and they want us to devolve responsibility to frontline clinicians…

…and I’m determined that we should not let them down.

The details of the reforms we’re bringing may be on the table…

…but our vision of an NHS that is more productive, more patient-friendly, more professionally-driven and more diverse is clear.

But at the same time we’ve learnt a lot about how to make our plans better.

Now, of course some people ask why didn’t we get everything right at the beginning?

I don’t see any point in being too defensive on this.

I know other governments would announce reforms, and just plough on regardless of the concerns people had…

…for fear of appearing indecisive or worrying about admitting something could be improved.

And I know that the media with their deadlines want everything fixed in 24 hours.

But this is too important to get wrong.

So I think it is right that we took some time.

The whole listening exercise has been overseen by the NHS Future Forum – an independent group of the country’s leading NHS professionals and patient representatives, led by the eminent Professor Steve Field.

I’m hugely grateful to Steve and the whole team for all the work they are doing.

They will report their conclusions next week.

I don’t know what they will recommend. And I don’t want to try to pre-empt or second guess that here today.

But I do want to talk about what I am learning from the listening exercise.

I’ve heard the passion of our nurses and doctors, radiographers and radiotherapists, physios and pharmacists, so today, let me tell you what needs to change in our plans.

Competition

First, I’ve heard doctors tell me they want more choice on behalf of their patients, but they want to be sure that competition is introduced in a properly managed and orderly way.

And I’ve heard our hospital doctors say they are incredibly proud of what they do and quite prepared to be judged one hospital against another, one team against another, but fear the situation where a new operator can come in without any of the NHS overheads, costs and pensions and cherry pick their simplest cases.

Now I do believe competition is a good thing. But not as an end in itself.

It is a means to give doctors more choice to get the best possible care for their patients, and for patients to have that choice too.

It is a means of bringing in fresh thinking, new ideas, different ways of doing things that deliver better and better value for money.

Put simply: competition is one way we can make things work better for patients.

This isn’t ideological theory.

A study published by the London School of Economics found hospitals in areas with more choice had lower death rates.

And there’s now real evidence that England is delivering more for its money than any of the devolved nations, in part because of the competitive reforms initiated by Tony Blair and Alan Milburn.

And allowing new organisations in isn’t anything particularly new either.

If you go abroad, to Sweden, to Germany, to Spain, you will see lots of different healthcare organisations providing care paid for by the state.

And our NHS too has always benefited from a mixed economy of providers.

Indeed, £1 in every £20 currently spent by the NHS goes to a private or voluntary sector provider.

Providers like the independent Horder Centre in East Sussex, which delivers orthopaedic care, and has high patient satisfaction, low rates of readmission, and excellent outcomes.

So new providers, more choice and competition raises standards and delivers values for money.

But people want to know what this does and does not mean.

So let me be clear: as long as I’m Prime Minister, yes, there will be, as there are now, private providers and voluntary providers.

But let me also be clear, no: we will not be selling off the NHS, we will not be moving towards an insurance scheme, we will not introduce an American-style private system.

In this country, we have this most wonderful, precious institution and idea.

That whenever you’re ill, however rich you are, you can walk into a hospital or surgery and get treated for free. No questions asked. No cash asked.

I will never put that at risk.

Now, as our legislation currently stands, Monitor, the health regulator, has a duty to promote competition.

This could be misinterpreted and we don’t want any doubt in anyone’s mind.

Monitor’s main duty is to protect and promote the interests of people who use health care services, and it will use competition as a means to that end. Not simply to promote it or prevent it, but to secure the services patients need.

It will be tasked with creating a genuine level playing field, so the best providers flourish and patients get a real choice.

And when I say that, I mean it.

I mean a genuine level playing field.

That’s why we will look to make sure private companies are only paid for the services they provide and that they contribute to the costs of training NHS staff.

I mean only the ‘best’ providers.

Every provider will need to meet the highest quality standards.

And I mean a real choice for patients.

This is absolutely central to my vision for the NHS.

This is a National Health Service, and I take the service part seriously.

Taxpayers put a lot of money into the NHS, it’s only right that when they use it, they should have the power to shape and design the healthcare they receive.

But there’s another argument to be made for real patient power.

When patients do have their say, and are able to make choices, it makes a massive difference.

When they get involved in their care they get better results, and they manage long-term conditions more successfully too.

I remember talking to a woman who injured her neck – but didn’t want to go through an operation and the long period of recuperation that would entail.

She was given a choice – so she opted for physio instead, and today she is leading a much better quality of life as a result.

So we are going to spread more of these choices and chances.

We’re saying that for the first time in the history of the NHS, you will be able to decide what will be the best service, best package of care that will allow you to lead independent lives, as long as that service meets NHS standards and NHS costs.

No decision about me, without me.

So be in no doubt, our changes will now secure:

Fair competition, not cherry picking.

Access to the best possible care in all cases, not just some.

Choice for patients, not competition for its own sake.

National Health Service

Second, I’ve heard the anger of our local authorities, our doctors and our patients about the current system, about how quality of care you receive depends too much on where you live, and they want to know if we will make things better.

Be in no doubt: we designed our changes to help reverse the great gap that currently exists between the best and the rest and ensure high-quality care for all.

If we’ve learnt anything these past years, it’s this: one-size-fits all monolithic state provision can actually entrench disadvantage and deepen the disparities in service between regions, classes and racial groups in our society.

With our plans, people will have the power to drive change in the NHS in their area through transparency, choice and competition.

When people – all people, not just rich people – have a real choice between providers, they can hold their local hospital to account.

When doctors see health outcome measures across the country in a full and open way, they can learn from each other.

A real race for excellence.

And when GPs are in control of their budgets, they can decide the best possible care for their patients and design health strategies that suit their local area.

But I’ve heard the concern that the direction is right but the pace is too fast.

What if some places, some practices aren’t ready?

Will we just let them flounder as others prosper?

No.

We will make sure local commissioning only goes ahead when groups of GPs are good and ready, and we will give them the help they need to get there.

And the NHS Commissioning Board will oversee commissioning on behalf of the Secretary of State.

One organisation, working to one mandate, and responsible for delivering a clear set of outcomes across the country, providing the support to local commissioners, and carrying out commissioning themselves where necessary.

So that is why our plans will now mean:

A genuine National Health Service, underpinned by clear, national quality standards, which delivers high quality care for all.

Integrated care

Third, I’ve listened to patients who are keen to make sure that whatever happens their care is joined up, that they don’t have to put up with the frustrations they have today – with different appointments in different places, with different people, all to discuss the same thing.

And I’ve sat in hospitals and heard professionals who have dedicated their lives to the NHS, who are desperate that clinical decision making should replace bureaucratic decision making, but worry that only GPs will have responsibility and that will lead to a fundamental break and juncture between primary and secondary care.

That’s a message we’ve heard clearly from the Royal College of Nursing.

So let me be clear: we will not break up or hinder efficient and integrated care, we will improve it.

And that means making changes to our current proposals.

Hospital doctors and nurses will be involved in clinical commissioning.

We will also introduce clinical senates where groups of doctors and healthcare professionals come together to take an overview of the integration of care across a wide area.

And of course, where effective networks of clinicians already exist, we will support them, not reinvent the wheel.

And that’s not all.

Monitor will now have a new duty to support the integration of services – whether that’s between primary and secondary care, mental and physical care, or health and social care.

And health and well-being boards will help this further.

They will bring together everyone from NHS commissioning groups to adult social care specialists, children’s trusts and public health professionals to design local strategies for improving health and social care integration.

Integration is really important for our vision of the NHS.

If you’ve hurt your back, we want your GP and physio to talk to each other to find the best course of rehab.

And if you’ve got a longer term condition and need social care, we want local services to be actively involved in supporting you to stay as well as possible.

And when you come to the end of your life, we want your local hospital to work with you and your relatives to help co-ordinate your care in your final weeks and months.

That’s what we want. That’s what patients want.

So our changes will now secure:

Clinically led commissioning, not just GP commissioning.

And integration wherever appropriate.

Waiting times

Fourth, I’ve heard patients tell me just how big an impact the time they wait for their healthcare can have on their well-being, and how they worry that by scrapping the old targets we might lose control of waiting times.

I get that concern. I understand it.

Waiting times really matter.

If your mum or dad needs an operation, you want it done quickly and effectively.

I refuse to go back to the days when people had to wait for hours on end to be seen in A&E, or months and months to have surgery done.

So let me be absolutely clear: we won’t.

In fact, the whole point of our changes, the whole reason why transparency and choice are so important, is so that patients can hold the health service to account and get the care they demand, where they want, when they want.

That’s why we’re releasing a whole raft of information so you can compare and contrast different providers within the NHS – and make your decisions based no real solid evidence.

And that includes evidence and information on waiting times.

But we’re not going to leave anything to chance, especially as our changes are working their way through the system.

So we’re keeping the 18 week limit.

That’s in the NHS contract and constitution. And it’s staying.

And we’re not going to lose control of waiting times in A&E either.

The problem with the four hour waiting time target wasn’t that four hours is somehow not that long to wait, but rather that it was the only measure of what happened in A&E.

And this led to bizarre decision making, with people being admitted into hospital in order to avoid breaking the maximum waiting time when actually they just needed to be stabilised before being sent home, or people leaving without being seen and having to come back the next day.

I know that from my own experience.

So let me tell what we’re going to do.

Yes, we’ll continue to measure how long people are kept waiting in A&E.

Nurses and doctors said we should – and that’s what we’re doing.

But the difference is that we’re going to measure outcomes too, like re-attendance rates for the same problem.

A rigorous, relentless focus on the things that people really care about and that a good health service is all about – great outcomes and a great service.

So that’s what our changes will now secure:

Waiting times kept low.

A focus on outcomes.

A rounded view of what good healthcare means.

NHS spending

Finally, I’ve heard something else loud and clear, from patients and professionals, who are hearing talk about savings and efficiencies and think it is all smoke and mirrors and what we’re actually doing is making cuts.

Because other departments are making spending cuts, people assume these changes are about spending cuts too.

They’re not.

There will be no cuts in NHS spending.

Let me be absolutely clear.

This year, and the year after, and the year after that, the money going into the NHS will actually increase in real terms, with £11.5 billion more in cash for the NHS in 2015 than in 2010.

I repeat: we are not cutting the NHS. In fact, we are spending more on it.

That is the promise we made. That is the promise we have kept.

And it’s why every penny we save in eliminating waste and bureaucracy is going straight back on to the frontline. No ifs or buts.

But there’s a more important point I want to make about money and our NHS.

Every year without modernisation the costs escalate.

Demand pressures increase, driven by an ageing population and drug and alcohol abuse.

At the same time, there are supply-side pressures too, driven by new and expensive drugs and technologies.

We can’t pretend that the extra money we are putting in will be enough to meet the challenges.

We need modernization of the NHS to do that.

We need to reduce the demand for healthcare – which is why we are prioritising public health.

And we need to make the supply of healthcare more efficient –which is why we are opening up the system to new providers and putting clinicians in control.

So that’s what the broad thrust of our changes are about.

Conclusion

So I can guarantee you today:

We will not endanger universal coverage – we will make sure it remains a National Health Service.

We will not break up or hinder efficient and integrated care – we will improve it.

We will not lose control of waiting times– we will ensure they are kept low.

We will not cut spending on the NHS – we will increase it.

And if you’re worried that we are going to sell-off the NHS and create some American-style private system – we will not.

We will ensure competition benefits patients.

These are my five guarantees.

Guarantees you can hold me to and that I will be personally accountable for.

Yes, we will modernise the NHS – because changing the NHS today is the only way to protect the NHS for tomorrow.

And yes, we will stick by our core principles of an NHS that is more efficient, more transparent, and more diverse – principles we will extend across our public services through our upcoming White Paper so we improve them for everyone.

But I will make sure at all times that any of the changes we make to the NHS will always be consistent with upholding these five guarantees.

There can be no compromise on this.

It’s what patients expect.

It’s what doctors and nurses want. And it’s what this government will deliver.