Michael Gove – 2007 Speech on Integration and Cohesion


Below is the text of the speech made by Michael Gove, the Conservative MP for Surrey Heath, in Westminster Hall on 17 April 2007.

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr. Olner.

I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Wycombe (Mr. Goodman) on securing the debate. As the hon. Member for Hazel Grove (Andrew Stunell) pointed out, my hon. Friend made a brilliant speech in the debate on the Queen’s Speech, in which he outlined the scale of the challenge that our society faces. That challenge is not one of religious separatism, but one of ideological division, and here I must take issue with what the hon. Member for Hazel Grove said in his fascinating, wide-ranging, but in some respects misconceived remarks. He was right to stress the importance of community initiatives. He was, as ever, right to stress the importance of pluralism and to recognise that one size does not fit all when we are dealing with the various problems that we have all had an opportunity to analyse in the debate. However, he was wrong to suggest that the problem is an explicitly religious one, and to draw the historical comparisons that he did.

I should point out that, when the hon. Gentleman said that we no longer believed in one version of British history that saw us moving towards a golden future, he was disavowing a grand Liberal tradition. That version of history, which saw us moving towards a more liberal future, which used to be known as Whig history, and was the product of Macaulay and Trevelyan, used to be the guiding light of his party. It is a pity that it is no longer. One of the insights of Macaulay, Trevelyan and other Whig historians is that what has made Britain great is not just our respect for pluralism and tolerance, but a belief in liberty, rooted in our historic institutions. Those institutions are challenged by the specific ideology outlined by my hon. Friend the Member for Wycombe.

Islamism is distinct from Islam. Islam is a great faith that has nourished millions for hundreds of years. To this day it contributes intellectually and spiritually across the globe to enriching the lives of a great many people. No one on the Conservative Benches would want to criticise Islam as a faith. Indeed, it has enriched this country. Islamic scholars and tens of thousands of British Muslim citizens make Britain a better and more tolerant place today, but the best of those—in fact, the majority of them—also recognise that those who call themselves, sometimes, Islamists or jihadists, or who use another name, such as Salafists, and who follow the specific Islamist ideology are following a 20th-century totalitarian aberration that is intended to undermine the very tolerance that makes Britain both a safe and a warm house not just for its Muslim citizens but for all citizens. If we are to ensure that toleration will survive in this country, and protect pluralism and liberty, we need to be aware of the precise nature of the threat. That is why my hon. Friend the Member for Wycombe deserves praise for drawing attention to that challenge in this House and elsewhere.

Andrew Stunell: The hon. Gentleman was kind enough to address his remarks to me, and of course I acknowledge the points that he was making about the hon. Member for Wycombe, who has rightly set out his stall on the matter. I hope that I conveyed the point that I wanted to make, which is that confronting the extremists is not the major job that we have. We must address the society.

Michael Gove: Both go hand in hand, and we cannot effectively champion the interests of moderate Muslims and of our pluralist, tolerant and liberal society, unless we show a determination to tackle extremism. It is the extremists who, in the past, have crowded out from the debate the moderate voices in the Muslim world. I am thinking particularly of the voices of female British Muslim citizens, which have been stilled and silenced as a result of extremists operating not just in mosques but more broadly in our society.

I want to say a word of appreciation about my hon. Friend the Member for Newark (Patrick Mercer) and congratulate him on his speech. He brings huge expertise and great integrity to the debate. In his professional career before he joined us in this House he spent many distinguished years serving this country and defending its interests. While he has been in the House he has proved himself a dedicated public servant, and whenever he speaks on such issues it behoves all of us to pay close attention to the expertise and integrity that he brings to bear on them, as he did so effectively today.

I also congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Cities of London and Westminster (Mr. Field) on his speech. Rather than inhabiting a constitutional Never Land, all that he did was stick up for those Enlightenment values that are the best protection for all minorities. In that respect I am delighted that his comments found a ready answering call in all my hon. Friends’ speeches.

When we are talking about integration and cohesion it is important for all of us to choose our words carefully and to tread with care. With your permission, Mr. Olner, I want to make a brief apology to the House. On a previous occasion, in December 2005, I had an opportunity to question the Home Secretary about his strategy for preventing extremism. I believe that several individuals whom the Government had asked to work with them on preventing extremism were themselves linked to extremist groups. I took the opportunity to raise in the House the names of some of those individuals. One of them, a gentleman called Ahmad Thomson, is a Muslim convert who was involved in holocaust denial, and I believe that it was right to draw attention to his involvement and that of several others whose enlistment by the Government in their fight against extremism seemed to be mistaken.

However, even as I was pointing out that the Government had made a mistake, I myself made a mistake. One of the individuals to whom I drew attention was Mr. Khurshid Ahmed. I remind the House that the gentleman to whom I drew attention has exactly the same name as another Khurshid Ahmed who is indeed linked with extremist activity, and who operates primarily in Pakistani politics but also has a link with institutions in this country. The Khurshid Ahmed who served on the preventing extremism together group is an admirable individual. I have now had the opportunity of meeting and working with him on several occasions.

When I discovered my mistake, I immediately wrote to Mr. Ahmed and to the Home Secretary to apologise and to put the record straight, but I have received representations from Mr. Ahmed’s Member of Parliament, the hon. Member for Dudley, North (Mr. Austin), who asked me to use any opportunity to place on the record in Hansard an acknowledgment of my mistake and to underline what I said in my letter, which was that Mr. Ahmed has done considerable work to further integration and cohesion in our society, and that he deserves nothing but the highest praise for his many years in public life. I am happy to use this opportunity to state on the record, for the benefit of Hansard and those outside, my appreciation of Mr. Ahmed’s work and of the calm, diligent way in which the mistake was brought to my attention by the hon. Member for Dudley, North, whose own contribution to fighting extremism in his area of the west midlands also deserves to be noted with credit by the House. I placed copies of the letters that I wrote in December 2005 to the Home Secretary and to Mr. Khurshid Ahmed in the Library earlier today.

I mentioned that it is important to acknowledge our mistakes, and I believe that the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, in her conduct since taking on responsibility for integration and cohesion matters, has acknowledged that the Government made errors in the past. She did that not in a breast-beating way, but in an appropriately respectful fashion. Before sitting down and allowing the Minister to reply to the many questions that have been put by my hon. Friends,

I would like to acknowledge that the Government have moved but also to indicate that there is still some way to go.

I believe that the Government have accepted that, before the fateful events of 7 July 2005, they had fallen down on the job when it came to questions of integration and cohesion, and of extremism, specifically within the Muslim community. They have acknowledged that the principle of the covenant of security—that unless someone is actively engaged in violence against the state, their activities would be tolerated, no matter how extreme their preaching—was a mistake. More than that, I believe that the Government have acknowledged that some of their chosen partners in the Muslim community and elsewhere were not as well chosen as they might have been.

The Secretary of State was absolutely right to point out recently that Muslim organisations that boycott holocaust memorial day should no longer receive public money. I also note with approval that recently she has been showing a willingness to work with the Sufi Muslim Council, the British Muslim Forum and especially the Fatima Women’s Network, all of which are more moderate Muslim organisations.

The Government’s greater openness to working with moderate, mainstream organisations is to be welcomed, but it provokes a couple of questions. First, as my hon. Friend the Member for Wycombe pointed out, the Government still seem to be taking a disjointed and far from synoptic approach. I mention one area that he did not, which comes under the rubric of the Department for Education and Skills. Why is it that the Government’s adviser on the teaching of Islam in higher and further education, Dr. Ataullah Siddiqui, is linked with the Islamic Foundation and the Markfield Institute of Higher Education, both of which are institutions that were set up by the Jamaat-e-Islami party, an explicitly Islamist organisation, and its supporters? In other words, why is the man who is charged with checking extremism on Britain’s campuses in fact linked with a body that was set up by a separatist Islamist organisation?

Secondly and more broadly, I welcome again what the Secretary of State said about seeking to encourage mosques to register with the Charity Commission and, as a result, receive not only help with fundraising, but a higher level of oversight and help with governance. What, however, do we do with mosques that explicitly reject that kind offer because they wish to carry on with extremist preaching and teaching? How do we ensure, as my hon. Friend the Member for Wycombe said, that the flood of extremist Wahabi literature and, indeed, Saudi money into certain mosques is effectively checked so that the process of indoctrination in an extremist ideology is scrutinised and we deal effectively with teaching that might encourage a new generation of people who believe in separatism and division?

In that regard, I am very interested in my hon. Friend’s question about the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board. Why is the Muslim Association of Britain—the UK branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist organisation—on an equal footing with the British Muslim Forum and the Muslim Council of Britain? Why is Finsbury Park mosque, which used to be the haunt of Abu Hamza, now run by the Muslim Association of Britain’s Dr. Azzam Tamimi? Why, having got rid of one extremist, do we have another version of extremism in control?

I have a final request for the Minister. I appreciate that time is pressing and that she has a limited amount of time in which to answer all our questions, but can she prevail on the Secretary of State and the Cabinet to ensure that we have a full-day debate on this issue in Government time? Given the setting-up of the commission, the Secretary of State’s announcements and, crucially, the prospect of significant changes in the Government machinery for dealing with this most sensitive of issues, as well as the Government’s fitful record of implementation, to which my hon. Friend the Member for Newark referred, we need the Government to give a clear statement in their own time on precisely what the new strategy is. That will give those Opposition Members who wish to see them and our multi-ethnic society succeed an opportunity to make an effective contribution to this ongoing process.

Michael Gove – 2007 Speech on Home Information Packs


Below is the text of the speech made by Michael Gove, the Conservative MP for Surrey Heath, in the House of Commons on 22 May 2007.

thank the Secretary of State for her grace and courage in coming to the House to make the statement today. It cannot have been easy announcing a retreat on a policy that she had no part in implementing originally. It is big of her to take the flak.

I also thank the Secretary of State for allowing me sight of her announcement, which I received just 25 minutes ago—clearly this is a day for doing everything at the last minute.

May I ask why, after being warned more than a year ago that they were comprehensively mishandling this issue, Ministers have seen fit to retreat only now with eight days to go before home information packs were due to be implemented? Why did Ministers not take the opportunity that we offered last week to think again? Was it stubborn vanity or sheer incompetence? The Secretary of State may argue that this humiliating climbdown was precipitated by the judgment issued in the High Court today, but that prompts the question that goes to the heart of the matter: why did Ministers find themselves in court in the first place? Why did they press ahead with a scheme that everyone who knows anything about the housing market told them was flawed at the heart?

Those warnings, unlike this climbdown, did not come at the eleventh hour. In this House at this Dispatch Box a year ago, we told the Government that their scheme was flawed. The Government told us that we were scaremongering, but 11 months ago they were compelled to execute the first in a truly embarrassing series of U-turns by dropping the mandatory home condition report, which was the keystone of the original home information pack, just hours after the Minister for Housing and Planning had defended it in this House. However, they were still determined to press ahead after that U-turn. Why did they not take the opportunity to work with us and others to put the stability of the housing market first? Why did Ministers decide to ignore the growing chorus of concern, shut out expert advice and carry on regardless?

On 21 February, all the key stakeholders who were originally invited to help the Government set up the scheme issued a warning letter to the Minister for Housing and Planning asking for an emergency meeting to address fundamental concerns with the scheme. They were not granted the meeting for which they asked: why? In desperation, the same group wrote to the Secretary of State on 2 March asking for a collective emergency meeting. Again, they were snubbed and no collective meeting was granted: why? What explains that refusal to listen to the experts, who were once charged with setting up the policy and whose involvement would be key to implementing it? Was it because this Government could not bear to be told that they were in the wrong, or did they not realise what a mess they were presiding over? Was it deadly arrogance or fatal ignorance? After today’s announcement, we know that this lady is for turning.

There are still many unanswered questions. The Government were warned that there were not enough qualified, accredited and certificated home inspectors in place. Over a year ago, I warned that getting those people in place was crucial. Only last week, the Minister for Housing and Planning told us that we had enough people to ensure the smooth operation of the scheme—she told us that everything would be all right on the night. Why did she offer that cavalier assurance, when the Secretary of State has told us that there will not be enough people in place after all? We know that relations between these Ministers are bad, but did the Secretary of State find out only in the past few days how few qualified people are in place? When did she know the real numbers? And why was not the House informed about the truth last week?

How can Ministers ever again ask to be taken seriously on the environment, when they have comprehensively mismanaged a measure that they argued throughout was vital to fighting climate change? Will the Secretary of State also confirm that today’s judgment in the High Court underlines what we have argued all along and what best practice in the European Union shows—you do not need home information packs for energy performance certificates? Will she agree to meet me, my colleagues, the Liberal Democrats and everyone with an interest in getting the housing market right to ensure that there is at last some expertise in this process?

Is this not a desperate, last-minute retreat designed to ensure that the Minister for Housing and Planning is airlifted out of this Department by her friends in the Treasury in a future reshuffle, so she does not have to cope with the chaos that she has created? And is it not truly tragic that confidence in the industry, the stability of the housing market and the battle against climate change have all been damaged by this Government’s arrogance and incompetence?

David Cameron – 2007 Speech on the Economy


Below is the text of the speech made by David Cameron, the then Leader of the Opposition, at the LSE on 10 September 2007.


When I studied economics, twenty years ago, arguments raged about the most basic principles of how to run the economy.

There may have been some agreement about aims: to save Britain from being the sick man of Europe, and raise living standards throughout the country.

But there was a vast gulf between left and right as to how this could best be achieved.

The left advocated more intervention and government ownership.

Those on the right argued for monetary discipline and free enterprise.

That debate is now settled.

Over the past fifteen years, governments across the world have put into practice the principles of monetary discipline and free enterprise.

The result?

A vast increase in global wealth.

The world economy more stable than for a generation.

Global income doubled.

Two billion people have escaped subsistence poverty, and joined the world economy.

So the conclusion appears…well, conclusive.

Francis Fukuyama argued in the early 1990s that, if we see human history as the acting-out of intellectual disputes, then history was over.

On the political battlefield, democracy had emerged the victor; in economics, liberalism had prevailed.

Thus in 1990 the “post-Cold War consensus” began: the idea that, as Fukuyama put it, history had ended in the triumph of liberal democracy and market economics.

Today, Fukuyama’s political thesis – the victory of liberal democracy – has been qualified, shall we say, by events since 2001.

And in this lecture I want to ask what has happened to his thesis in the economic sphere – the consensus on free markets.

Have we really seen the end of economic history?


Here in Britain, it is tempting to answer that the consensus is intact.

The principles put forward by Nigel Lawson in his 1984 Mais lecture have become standard practice:

Use macroeconomic policy to ensure stability and control inflation.

Use microeconomic policy to promote supply side growth.

Less intervention; more competition; an increasingly open economy.

Added to this, the monetary framework that we developed in the early 1990s – a combination of inflation targeting and a floating exchange rate – brought to an end decades of argument in Britain, and academic debate.

I’m proud that this is one of the few countries in the world where all serious candidates for high office support the principles of free trade and monetary discipline.Other countries – even America or Germany – have senior politicians who disagree with economic liberalism.

Not us.

Indeed the whole New Labour project was built on recognising, and accepting, the free market consensus.

When I visited India last year everyone – from the Prime Minister to the chief executive of Tata Steel – told me that Britain’s political consensus on free markets is one of our most important selling points as a destination for trade and investment.

So I will not exaggerate the differences between myself and Gordon Brown on the overall economic framework.

And yet my argument today is that we have in fact reached the limits of the post-Cold War consensus.

We have reached its limits because the post-Cold War consensus was actually a consensus on how to manage Cold War-era economies.

It does not provide answers to the questions that have emerged since 1990.


Of course, in many ways the times we have been living through in the past decade have been remarkably benign.

Indeed, the recent turbulence in the credit markets has reminded us of just that fact…

…as well as the reality that the very success of a competitive and innovative economy can lead to new challenges.

Our hugely sophisticated financial markets match funds with ideas better than ever before.

They have facilitated cheap credit that has helped companies expand, helped families achieve their dreams, and helped entrepreneurs put their ideas into practice.

Yet that same cheap credit has also increased the social problems associated with over-indebtedness, and potentially has made us more vulnerable to global shocks.

And it leaves central banks grappling with the question of whether providing help now will increase the danger in future.

It is still too soon to know what impact this latest bout of financial turbulence will have on the real economy of jobs and investment.

But it is clear that our economy has not been best prepared.

Gordon Brown’s reckless strategy of excessive borrowing, leaving our economy with the largest structural deficit in Europe, has left us ill-prepared to respond if the turbulence spreads more widely.

That is why we are determined to create a more secure framework for economic stability in this country.

In terms of monetary policy, by enhancing the independence of the Monetary Policy Committee.

And in fiscal policy, by giving control over monitoring of the fiscal rules to an independent body.

These measures will strengthen monetary policy, and ensure that fiscal policy supports rather than undermines it.

But while these differences on the execution of macroeconomic policy are important, they are not as great as the difference between the approaches of right and left on the big questions that will determine the course of economic history in this century.

Our distinct responses to these big questions about the future give the lie to the idea that we have reached the end of economic history.

There are three questions in particular that the modern world demands answers to – and I would like to address these questions today.

First, the best way to stimulate economic growth in the face of globalisation.

Second, the best way to stimulate green growth in the face of climate change.

And third, the best way to stimulate social growth in the face of inequality and social breakdown.


It is globalisation that most insistently prompts us to consider afresh the question of economic growth, and whether there really is consensus about the right way to stimulate that growth in the post-Cold War era.

History did not stop in 1990, any more than the church clock stopped at 10 to 3 one summer day in 1914.

John Maynard Keynes’ famous description of the pre-World War One Londoner, “sipping his morning tea in bed” and ordering by telephone “the various products of the whole earth” is famous because that world abruptly ended in the guns of August.

Many years of economic nationalism followed, until a new era of globalisation began in our own time.

So we must not assume, like Keynes’s Edwardian Londoner, that the age of Amazon, eBay and Google is here to stay forever.

The thousands of people who demonstrated against the WTO in Seattle, or against the G8 recently in Germany, certainly don’t think that globalisation is a necessary or inevitable process.

As George Osborne has put it, every generation has to make the case for free markets.

And every generation has to develop the mechanisms to make free markets work better.

Nearly two years ago I asked our economic competitiveness policy group to set out proposals for the way Britain should meet the challenges of globalisation.

Its findings were very clear.

To stimulate economic growth in the new global economy, dramatic supply side reform is required.

Government must regulate and tax enterprises less.

But Britain’s competitiveness is not simply a matter of government getting out of the way.

It must also do more to secure the skills, energy and transport infrastructure that help us compete.

For example, we need a radical simplification of business taxes, to lower the rate and broaden the base.

But we must also ensure that we remain at the cutting edge of science and technology.

Government funding of science and technology may look to some like old-fashioned interventionism.

Yet because the findings of primary research can be too far from the market to be commercially viable, there is a strong case for direct government intervention.

Some of the most successful free market economies, like the United States, spend the highest proportions of their income on government-funded scientific research.

Our taskforce on Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics has set out an ambitious agenda for promoting science and innovation…

…including proposals to promote scientific research in our universities, and make it easier for innovative start-up businesses to win government contracts.

While we bring forward supply-side reform proposals that are imaginative and appropriate to the scale of the challenges we face, the Labour government is in my view moving in the wrong direction.

And so I do not believe there is consensus on the best way to stimulate economic growth in Britain today.

Our economy is labouring under the highest tax burden in our peacetime history, the longest tax code in the world, and an explosion of new regulations that cost us more than £50 billion a year.

Just last week we heard that the latest version of Tolley’s tax handbook is more than twice as long as it was in 1997.

The publishers even had to change the formatting just to stop it going to five volumes.

The result of all this is that Britain has fallen from 4th to 10th in league tables of economic competitiveness.

Indeed, last week the Institute of Directors concluded from its annual survey that Britain’s competitiveness was “remarkable by its mediocrity.”

This is not an abstract concern.

Research done here at LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance shows that on average a British worker has to work an extra day each week, just to produce the same as an equivalent worker in France.

Our average rate of productivity growth – what Gordon Brown himself has called the “fundamental yardstick” of economic performance – has actually fallen over the last decade.

Meanwhile in America it has almost doubled.

Both a symptom and a cause of Britain’s falling overall productivity is the productivity of our public services, for which the Government is responsible.

Perhaps the biggest mystery in British politics is how Labour can have spent so much and achieved so little.

I believe the answer is a top-down system of central control and targets that takes power away from the professionals who deliver public services and the citizens who use them.

And at the centre of it all a Treasury that, under Gordon Brown, was so busy trying to do everything that it lost sight of its single most important role – delivering value for money.

We believe that it’s time for change…that it’s time for modern Conservative supply-side reform to stimulate higher economic growth.

The agenda is clear.

We need deregulation to promote commercial competitiveness.
We need decentralisation to promote public sector productivity.

And overall, we need to share the proceeds of economic growth between higher investment in our public services and lower taxes.

George Osborne and I have made clear that we will put economic stability before promises of up-front, un-funded tax cuts.

As George Osborne has set out, we will match Labour’s spending totals, and by growing the economy more quickly than public spending over an economic cycle, we will deliver a lower tax economy over time.

Sharing the proceeds of growth is a significant policy choice.

There are clear dividing lines here, and I believe that in time economic history will show that once again those on the political right, and not those on the left, have the correct analysis and the most productive policy solutions.


Just as the pressing need for supply-side reform in the face of globalisation should enable us to challenge the notion of a post-Cold War consensus on economic growth…

…and the accompanying fiction that we have reached the end of economic history…

…the threat of imminent, irreversible, and catastrophic change to the climate of our planet should prompt us to challenge any perceived consensus on green growth…

…the vital need to protect our environment through policy that enhances, rather than impedes, wealth creation.

I won’t rehearse here the arguments in favour of action to halt climate change.

Let me simply ask the big question to which economics must provide a modern answer:

How can we make economic growth sustainable for our planet?

This is not a question many people were asking at the end of the Cold War, but they are certainly asking it now.

The pollution that leads to global warming is one of the greatest market failures of all time.

Some argue that to save the planet we must stop growing altogether.

Capitalism has brought this threat upon us, they say, and we must reduce consumption now.

Others argue that whether or not climate change is man-made, there is nothing we can realistically do to stop it, so we should simply prepare for the consequences.

I think both are wrong.

As Nicholas Stern’s authoritative report showed, the likely economic cost of inaction is greater than the cost of action.

So what is the action we need to take?

I believe that if we blame capitalism for climate change, we should also look to capitalism for the solution.

Jonathan Porritt, in his important book Capitalism as if the world matters, argues explicitly that we must harness the power of the market to deliver progress on the environment.

Of course we must look at all the tools at our disposal, including green taxes, trading, regulation and technology.

But in designing and using those tools, we must understand their limitations.

Consider for example the choice between green taxes and carbon trading.

In theory, the argument for trading schemes is compelling.

Government sets the limit, and the market puts a price on carbon.

The result is that carbon is reduced at the lowest marginal cost.

But a growing body of evidence shows that the reality can be very different.

Consider the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, the largest scheme of its kind.

Partly due to government backsliding on national emissions quotas, the first phase of the scheme has suffered from low and variable carbon prices that have failed to provide the long term incentives needed to affect investment decisions.

I support the scheme and I hope that the second and third phases will be more successful.

But time is running out.

More generally, trading schemes may seem the obvious free market solution, based as they are on market transactions.

But crucially they are artificial markets dependent on government regulation and monitoring for their existence.

A growing strand of opinion on the right argues that green taxes provide both better environmental outcomes and make more economic sense.

In a paper for the free market think tank the American Enterprise Institute, Kenneth Green and others have gone so far as to argue that because of the cost in terms of bureaucracy, the opportunities for fraud, and the inherent incentive “to push the legality at all stages of the process”, carbon trading systems are bound to suffer limitations.

Instead, they argue for environmental tax reform.

I believe that to confront the challenge of climate change and to stimulate the green growth we need, we must use a combination of the tools available to us.

Trading schemes will play an important role, but they depend crucially on real government leadership in setting quotas and ensuring they are kept to.

Environmental taxes must also play a role.

As taxes will always have an incentive effect – discouraging whatever they are levied on – why not use them to discourage bad things rather than good things?

To mitigate market failure, rather than pervert good decision-making?

Environmental tax reform can have economic benefits too – the so called “double dividend” of lower pollution and lower taxes on jobs and investment.

But in this country, that is not what we have seen.

By using green taxes as extra stealth taxes, Gordon Brown has given them a bad name.

I’m determined that the Conservative approach will be different.

With my Government, any new green taxes will be replacement taxes, not new stealth taxes.

In a few days, our Quality of Life Policy Group will publish its report.

It will contain many recommendations on tackling climate change, at home and abroad, including recommendations on green taxes.

As with all the reports in our Policy Review, we will study its proposals carefully.

But let me be clear.

We will raise green taxes, and use the proceeds to reduce taxes elsewhere.

That is the right direction for the environment and it’s the right direction for our economy.

It is the best way to deliver the green growth that must be our aim.


Let me turn now to the last great counter-argument to the post Cold War consensus.

The case for the end of economic history is based on the observation that everyone now agrees on the need for economic growth and the way to achieve it – even if sometimes they don’t always practice what they preach.

But there is an area of profound disagreement beyond this consensus.

It concerns the need to stimulate the social growth that people demand in the face of inequality and social breakdown.

How shall we help, firstly, those left behind by economic growth – and secondly, those for whom economic growth is not enough?

This matters, for the simple reason that everyone is in one or other of these groups.

First let me talk about those left behind.

If we are to enjoy all the potential benefits of the modern economic era, we need to understand why so many people are deeply anxious about it.

For a start, we have to be honest and admit that when the winds of globalisation are unleashed, our societies become more prosperous overall but people can get left behind.

There are towns in Britain where the retreat of traditional industries has helped to leave a quarter of older working men on disability benefit year after year.

Where the winds of globalisation feel like a chilling blast, not an invigorating breeze.

As is often pointed out, globalisation tends to decrease inequalities between countries, but it can also increase inequalities within countries.

So we should celebrate the benefits of globalisation.

But we must also recognise our moral obligation to the people and the places left behind.

For government that means preparing our economy to make the most of globalisation, and preparing our society to cope with the disruption it can bring.

The tragedy is that for all their rhetoric – and for all their undoubted sincerity and effort – our present Labour government has failed in these vital tasks.

I have already noted Labour’s economic failure, in particular with respect to supply-side reform.

This is a record that is, I think, increasingly well-understood in the economics community and beyond.

Perhaps less well understood is Labour’s failure to prepare our society.

Too many people in our country are not sharing in the new global prosperity.

There is a poverty of ambition, of capability, and of hope – increasingly passed down through generations – which the world’s rising prosperity has failed to dent.

It is a startling fact that despite the vast rises in wealth across the world, in Britain, the poorest in our society have got poorer in the past ten years.

Social mobility is falling.

Some estates in Britain have a lower life expectancy than the Gaza Strip.

But the old solutions are not working.

Over the past decade the degree of redistribution between regions of the UK has reached unprecedented levels.

Yet still, as the IPPR has demonstrated, regional inequality has actually risen.

They warn that the north-east remains at the lower end of achievement in education, health and welfare-to-work despite receiving some of England’s highest total spending on public services per head over the last decade.

And of course it is not just inequality between regions that is growing, but inequality between communities and people within regions.

Areas of entrenched poverty sit alongside pockets of vast wealth.

We have known for years that the old responses of the old left – hostility to markets and enterprise – were spectacularly ill-suited to the task of overcoming these challenges.

But now we can see that the new responses of the new left – targets and transfers – have failed too.

Child poverty is rising, despite a huge increase in means-tested benefits.

On Government figures, 600,000 more people are in extreme poverty than in 1997.

Massive payments from one region to another have not halted the growing disparity.

It is clear that social growth – enabling everyone to share in growing global prosperity – requires new solutions.

We know that high taxation and over-regulation can stifle the enterprising spirit.

We know that without a decent education, success is ever harder.

And we know that the greatest force for social progress is the force of people’s determination to build a better life for themselves and their family.

So let us take those lessons and apply them across Britain.

Our approach reflects the modern Conservative freedom agenda, aiming to give people more power and control over their lives…an approach built around enterprise, education and aspiration.

Enterprise – where we learn from countries where radical benefits reform, with tough incentives combined with patient, personalised support from the voluntary sector, has moved people from welfare to work.

Education – where we learn from countries where radical schools reform, enabling the creation of new schools that give parents a real choice within the state sector, has helped increase standards, discipline and achievement – particularly in poor neighbourhoods

And aspiration – where we understand that none of this will work without a renewed drive to create a can-do culture of opportunity.

Over the past year, across Britain the average family has seen their take home pay actually fall in real terms.

Thanks to a rising cost of living and extra stealth taxes, families are finding their budgets increasingly squeezed.

And when young families look to take their first steps onto the housing ladder, they find that even the bottom rung is unattainable.

Half of all families now rely on their parents for help in buying their first home.

Yet because the threshold has not kept up with the rise in house prices, more than a third of families now find that aspiration hampered as they fall into the inheritance tax net.

There are so many ways in which those striving to reach their aspirations for a decent life are being hit.

Because of the complex tax and benefits system, millions of people on low and middle incomes find that if they earn a little extra, or move from part time to full time work, the taxman takes away more than two thirds of every extra pound they earn.

So any revenue raised from new green taxes will be used to reduce the burden on those striving hard for a better life.


I grew up in a home that was materially privileged.

But as I have often said, the real privilege of my upbringing was a strong family.

And that is the point I want to end on today.

If a significant, unacceptably large minority of our fellow countrymen and women are trapped in poverty, in all the horrors of multiple deprivation and social injustice, the majority of us are also trapped in an economic system which can be destructive of family and community life – destructive of all the elements which contribute to well-being.

Let me explain clearly what I mean when I talk about well-being.

I do not mean some woolly, new-age, anti-capitalist agenda which favours downshifting rather than ambition, or a hair-shirt Puritanism rather than the legitimate pursuit of happiness.

Capitalism is clearly the greatest agent of human fulfilment that human ingenuity has ever contrived.

But capitalism on its own is not enough: an approach that ignores the rest of life is one that is badly misguided.

For me, well-being is simply the opposite of the social breakdown that we see all around us in countless daily manifestations…

…crime and anti-social behaviour, rudeness and incivility, litter on the streets and a transport system which makes it such a hassle to get around.

For me, well-being means a determination to improve the quality of life for everyone in our country.

Let me demonstrate my point with a quotation I am fond of from Robert Kennedy:

“Our gross national product… if we should judge America by that – counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage.

It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for those who break them.

It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead, and armored cars for police who fight riots in our streets.

It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.

Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play.

It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials.

It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”

Those words have a special relevance for Britain today.

Over the last ten years we have fallen in the league tables of quality of life.

For example, the UN’s Human Development Index, devised by Amartya Sen and Mahbub ul Haq, found that quality of life in the UK has fallen from 10th in the world a decade ago to 18th in the world today.

That is a terrible finding.

How do we increase well-being alongside wealth?

How do we stimulate the social growth that people so badly want?

Economists are now fully engaged in this debate.

On one side of the argument, Lord Layard has pointed out that once out of poverty, happiness doesn’t seem to rise with income, and more equal societies are happier.

From this he draws a simple policy conclusion: more redistribution is needed.

Yet this simple analysis only gives part of the picture.

Recent work by Paul Ormerod and Helen Johns shows that redistribution does not increase happiness either.

In fact, as Ormerod and Johns show, the few things that do consistently correlate with well-being are the sense of trustfulness in the society we live in, our health, and the strength of our marriages.

And this points me to a central insight of Conservatism – central to the Conservative philosophy throughout our Party’s history.

The value of institutions.

Abstract national wealth – a high rate of GDP – is necessary, but not sufficient, to deliver higher GWB, or general well-being.

We need to tackle poverty, and we need to tackle inequality – particularly the gap between the mainstream and those left behind.

But we need more than that.

We need above all an agenda which puts not the individual, not the state, but society at the centre of national life:

… society in all its forms: families and local councils, trade unions and churches, small shops and great universities, charities and clubs and protest groups …

…all the institutions and associations that in Bobby Kennedy’s words, “make life worthwhile.”

That’s what I call a richer society.

That, to me, is the real object of economic policy.


So far from this being the end of economic history, far from there being a consensus on economic matters today…

I believe there are still great battles to fight.

But these are different battles, on different terrain.

The fight for supply-side reform that will deliver economic growth in the face of globalisation.

The fight for environmental protection that will deliver green growth in the face of climate change.

And the fight for well-being that will deliver social growth in the face of inequality and social breakdown.

Economic growth; green growth; social growth.

These are the big questions in the economic debates of the modern age.

This is the new economic history that it falls to this generation to write.

And these are the battles that the centre-right of politics is once again uniquely equipped to fight.

David Cameron – 2007 Speech on ‘Time for Change’


Below is the text of the speech made by David Cameron, the then Leader of the Opposition, on 7 September 2007.

I’ve brought you here as we face a great fight for the future of our country.

I don’t know whether the general election will be in weeks, months or years.

But we will be ready…

Ready with a plan to change Britain for good, a plan that is as bold and ambitious as the one on which we fought Labour the last time we came from opposition to win.

Ready with policies that meet the great challenges and opportunities of our times and which are the product of the most serious, comprehensive policy review ever conducted by an opposition party.

And ready with a message that reaches every part of this country and inspires every person in this country – a message of change, optimism and hope.

Today I want to talk about the things that drive me, why I want to put this forward and why I want to win.


Two years ago I said we had to change to win and I’ve led those changes.

We changed our Party, the way we selected candidates, and now almost a third are women, but still we must go further.

We changed the issues we talked about: NHS as well as crime, the environment as well as Europe, well-being as well as wealth creation.

But we changed something more fundamental – our whole approach to the great challenges and opportunities Britain faces.

We have been doing the long-term thinking we need to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future.

I want to thank all of you for the work you’ve done with our Policy Groups.

As a result of that work, we’re leading the argument on the big challenges …

….social breakdown … improving the quality of life for everyone…

… sharpening our economic competitiveness …

… international security … improving public services and fighting global poverty.

Since I became leader of this Party, all the new thinking and all the new argument has come from our side of the political divide.

While we have a fully worked up NHS white paper … the PM has an 11 month long meandering review with no idea what to do next.

While we are making the running on discipline and standards in schools and promoting small schools, he’s wandering round the country holding focus groups to ask people what on earth he should do.

But still we have further to go.

Britain, and the world, are changing faster than ever before in front of our eyes.

There will be new challenges and new opportunities.

We need to be ready for them, ready to lead the world in shaping the future as we did in the 1980s.


But these things are not enough. People want to know something even more profound and even more simple.

And they want to know it of their leader more than anyone else.

What are the beliefs that really drive you?

What are the values that, when you’re faced with a tough choice, help you make that choice?

They don’t just want to know about the policies in your manifesto.

They know that leaders will be confronted with unpredictable dilemmas and difficulties …

… so they want to know how a leader would make those decisions.

And linked to that, there’s something else…

What will the country look like after five or ten years of leadership and commitment, consistently putting those values into effect?

Those are the two things I want to talk about today.


The first and most important of my values is my belief in family.

When I think of my own life and experience it was a strong family more than anything else that gave me a good start in life.

That was the real privilege.

A Mum and Dad who were always there for you, brothers and sisters who always looked out for you, with help and advice about school, home, jobs…

And today my own family shows me how there is nothing more important than your family responsibilities…and when disaster strikes, it’s your family that gives you the strength and the resources to cope.

Anyone who says that the family is an old-fashioned idea and not relevant to the modern world and its challenges is just completely, 100% wrong.

It’s precisely because the modern world can move so quickly, has so many varied temptations and opportunities and choices that you need the rock of the family to be a secure base.

Just ask yourself…who is best at bringing up children with the right values, helping with the elderly, sick and disabled…Who’s picks us up when we fall, or puts us back on track when go astray…. It’s the family.

It’s because the family is such a vital part of society that communists and socialists hate it so much.

They always want to undermine the family, because they don’t want anything to come between the individual and the state.

Well I do.

And so when it comes to making choices, facing up to tough dilemmas, I think politics should begin and end with a simple question and a simple test: does this help families and the work they do?

That’s how I will lead.


The second belief at the heart of everything for me is my belief in responsibility.

We are not atomised and passive individual units. We are all part of society, we have responsibilities to each other and to our neighbours.

I think of my mother who was a magistrate for almost three decades. She believed she had a social responsibility to serve her community and do her bit.

If that sounds idealistic or even paternalistic, I don’t care.

I believe we all have an active responsibility to do things for each other and we’ll never have a strong society unless we make it happen.

That’s why I go on and on about social responsibility and will not stop going on and on about social responsibility until the day I die because social responsibility is what I believe in.

Ask Amir Khan and the youth workers I was with yesterday what social responsibility means and they will tell you.

He doesn’t just want to be the best boxer in Britain and the world – he wants to put something back, building the gym I spoke in yesterday to get teenagers off the streets, to give them the chances and the choices that he’s made for himself.

That is social responsibility.

Ask doctors, nurses, teachers who went into public service through a sense of vocation what social responsibility means and they will tell you …

… and they will tell you what it means to have that sense of social responsibility and their vocation questioned and undermined with targets and second-guessing from a government that doesn’t believe in social responsibility because it just doesn’t have faith in human nature and is fundamentally pessimistic about people’s motivations and values.


And the third belief that drives me is my belief in opportunity.

I’ve always believed that life is what you make it, that of course life isn’t fair, you make your own luck but that there’s nothing you can’t achieve if you strive and try hard.

I learnt from my father’s irrepressible optimism that opportunity is always there if you go for it with passion and courage.

And so the role of the state is to clear away any and every obstacle to opportunity so that individuals really can make the most of their lives.

That’s the real difference between left and right: they believe in equality of outcome, we believe in equality of opportunity.

We as the government, we have to tear down the barriers to opportunity.

You as an individual, you have to do your best, make your own luck and go for it with everything you have.

And what makes me angry is that we’ve got a world where there have never been opportunities like this, and yet there are so many barriers still in the way of so many people …

… poor education, bad housing, no assets…that’s the job of government, to unleash opportunity by taking down the barriers.


So if you believe in family, responsibility and opportunity, if you know that those are your values, what is the political agenda that flows from that?

As night follows day it means that the most important driving force of everything you do, the principle and purpose of your politics, is to give people more freedom and control over their lives.


Because freedom is the real benefit of a strong family – it’s the security it gives you to get on and get out and get up, with a strong family behind you if you fall.

It’s because if you believe in responsibility, you have to give people freedom. You literally cannot be responsible for something unless you have power and control over it.

And it’s because opportunity means the freedom to be a doer not a done-for, taking down the barriers so that everybody can make the most of their life.

So that will be the central test for the decisions I make: will it give people more freedom and control over their lives?

That is the overriding aim of the government I will lead.


So what is the political programme that flows from this political agenda of freedom and control?

I want to paint a picture of the kind of country Britain will be if we consistently apply these values and principles, and drive forward this political agenda.

Conservatives, with our traditional suspicion of utopias and state-manufactured solutions, have not always been good at describing the kind of country we want to see.

But I want you to imagine an education system where parents have a real choice of strong, independent schools within the state sector that set their own rules on discipline …

… where the teachers are happy and proud to do their jobs without interference from on high …

… where the kids are well behaved because the parents have made a commitment to that school and a real emotional investment in it.

You don’t need a Citizens Jury for that, you just need a Conservative Government.

Imagine an NHS …

… where you can go to your GP and they have the freedom to get the best care for your needs instead of being bogged down in rules and regulations …

… where the local hospital is being saved and improved instead of being closed down …

… and where the doctors and nurses have the time and the energy to treat you like a king instead of having to give you the brush-off because of all the red tape and targets they’re drowning in.

You don’t need a Citizens Jury for that, you just need a Conservative government.

Think of those families that are caring for disabled or special needs kids …

We don’t need Citizens Juries to work out how to improve the services they use, there are a hundred thousand experts out there already – they’re the parents of those kids.

We just need to give them the freedom and control to get what they want, with individual budgets and direct payments so that they have the cash and they can make the choices about care, about respite, about the help and support they need.

We don’t need Citizens Juries to work out what to do about social breakdown – everyone knows what needs to happen.

You start with strong families, and then you need discipline in schools, active policing on the streets, strong communities with things for young people to do.

You need welfare reform to get people off benefits and into work, tough punishments when people break the law, and every citizen to play their part in delivering it.

Imagine a world where you know your local police officer and they know you because they’re out there in the community, free of all the ridiculous targets and paperwork and accountable to you because you voted for their boss.

You don’t need a Citizens Jury for that, you just need a Conservative government.

Imagine local councils that are free to respond to the needs of the local area because they have real power instead of being second-guessed by Whitehall the whole time.

They know their areas, the problems, the opportunities … give them the money, let them get on with the job and let the local population use the ballot box to reward the good and chuck out the bad.

Imagine a world where more people can buy their own home because the right to buy has been extended, rent to mortgage schemes are available to all and the perverse rules that stop affordable houses being built have been swept away.

Imagine a Britain where a government says to its people we want you to keep more of the money you earn to spend as you choose … because we will share the proceeds of economic growth instead of spending all the money ourselves.

Imagine a country where the government doesn’t change the way we’re governed without asking the people.

Not a Prime Minister who lamely says you are the master, I am the servant and then denies you a referendum that he had previously promised.

But one that gives this guarantee – no passing power away from Westminster without asking you in a referendum – and let’s start now with a referendum on the European constitution.

Imagine a world where, yes, we give priority to tackling environmental degradation but with a government that says we will meet this challenge by making it easier for people to take green choices in their daily lives.

That’s the world we’re fighting for, and it’s a world away from the ‘he knows best’ Britain of Gordon Brown.

When I heard him talking this week about his Citizens Juries it said everything about the difference between his vision and mine, between his worldview and the way I see things.

We don’t want people to sit on Citizens Juries and talk about what they want, we want to give them the power and the freedom and the control to get what they want.

They shouldn’t have to ask Gordon Brown if he’d be so kind as to listen to them for once.


That’s the political programme I will follow, based on my values of family, responsibility and opportunity, and driving forward our political agenda of giving people more freedom and control over their lives.

And we need to apply this with renewed rigour to every issue, not just some issues.

That is the essence of the modern compassionate Conservatism I believe in.

Forget about those on the left who say I shouldn’t talk about Europe, crime or lower taxes …

… or those on the right who say I shouldn’t talk about the NHS, the environment or well-being.

That is a false choice and I will not make it.

All these areas of policy matter to people in Britain today and they are all long overdue for the modern Conservative freedom and control agenda.

It is the only way we will meet the challenges and make sure of the opportunities of our time.

It’s what Conservative leaders have always done.

Churchill with his bonfire of war time controls to set people free.

Macmillan with his house-building programme to deliver a property owning democracy.

Margaret Thatcher with her great economic liberalisation, stripping power and control from trade union leaders and giving it to their members.

We have always applied our freedom and control agenda to the challenges of the day, and that’s what I will do.

That’s what modern compassionate Conservatism means.

Meeting all of the challenges of the modern world all of the time, not just some of them some of the time.

What are these people saying who think the Conservative party shouldn’t be at the forefront of the green revolution – that we should ignore the fact that we face a great environmental challenge and that people care about their quality of life as well as the money they earn?

That would be a betrayal of the Conservative party and its values.

And crime isn’t a right wing issue or a left wing issue – it is a daily threat that people – rich, poor, black, white, urban and rural – face in their daily lives.

That is why I will not ignore the rising tide of crime, but meet it with a proper three dimensional approach to liberate the Police, punish the guilty and strengthen our society and our families.

That’s modern Conservatism.

And to those who think, even in 21st century Britain that commitment and responsibility cannot be embraced by all, I say: you will not find a stronger supporter of marriage but why not also recognise the commitment that gay couples make to each other in civil partnerships?

That’s modern Conservatism.

And responsibility doesn’t end at the front door of your home, it encompasses businesses as well.

Someone who believes in responsibility should not exclude big business from the obligation to be a good neighbour and good citizen.

That’s modern Conservatism.

And if we believe in opportunity for all – that must really mean for all – and that’s why we must condemn racism and help to create role models within our own party that British black and asian people can aspire to.

That is modern Conservatism.


We will give the leadership we need on the issues that matter.

We will drive forward our freedom agenda, based on our values of family, responsibility and opportunity.

This is an agenda that is right for our times and right for the next generation, who above all know the power and the joy of having freedom and control over their life.

The internet generation, who are growing up in a world of amazing choice and control …and who expect that to be extended, not limited by government and politics.

Gordon Brown just doesn’t get it. When I look at him one phrase comes into my mind: “Oh ye of little faith.”

He has little faith in anyone but himself…

… little faith in the people of this country …

… little faith in the doctors, the nurses, the teachers, the police officers, any of us at all.

I do have faith, faith in the men and women of Britain who make this country great and will make it greater still if we give them more power and control over their lives.

Those are our values, that is our agenda, and this is our time.

It’s time for change.

This will be the choice at the election.

State control from Labour. Freedom with the Conservatives. And we will say to the British people – choose freedom.

David Cameron – 2007 Speech on Youth Crime


Below is the text of the speech made by David Cameron, the then Leader of the Opposition, in Darwen, Lancashire, on 22 August 2007.

Thank you for coming here to listen to me today. I hope that together we can address some of the serious issues that are affecting your community. Two weekends ago, not far from here in Bacup, a young couple were viciously attacked in a skate park, leaving both unconscious. Last weekend a man was stabbed to death here in Darwen, and a 16 year-old was murdered, also with a knife, down the road in Farnworth. These terrible events are part of a national trend – a crisis of order on Britain’s streets.

A dead father in Warrington, Gary Newlove, who went outside to confront a gang of youths and ended up bleeding to death on his doorstep. 17 dead children in London this year alone. This year Tony Blair suggested that this spate of murders in our cities is a “specific problem within a specific criminal culture” – that is, not part of a wider social problem.

To me that betrays a deep complacency. In the last 10 years violent crime has doubled. Here in Lancashire, it’s up 140 per cent. Knife crime – mostly robberies committed at knife point – has doubled in the last two years. What Mr Blair’s remark failed to recognise is that violence grows in the fertile soil of anti-social behaviour. And here we have a real and growing problem throughout society.

The Chief Constable of Cheshire said earlier this week that anti-social behaviour in Britain is “out of control”. And most people agree. A recent poll showed that half of British people feel more frightened on the streets than they did a decade ago. And it’s not just the fear that matters – it’s the damage to our quality of life. Vomit and broken glass in the town centres. Graffiti and litter and urine in the stairways of blocks of flats. Fly-tipping in country lanes.

Aggression and foul language on the train and the bus … general disrespect… all the little acts of aggression and ugliness that people have to put up with in the course of a day. Is all this an inevitable feature of life? I don’t believe so. Other cities, other countries, have fought the battle with anti-social behaviour, and won.

New York halved its murder rate between 1992 and 1996 – and it did so by a fixed concentration on low-level disorder. Litter. Fare-dodgers on public transport. Petty vandalism. Aggressive begging.
The police targeted the minor crimes which cause the community to retreat, and thus cede the ground to more serious criminals. Helped by the police, the community advanced back, and crime retreated.
Government approach

So if that is what can be done, how is the British Government tackling the problem? I am often reminded of Robert Peel’s remark: “The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.”

The same can be said of Government efficiency. In the last 10 years we have seen a lot of visible evidence of activity – but there is no absence of crime and disorder. Labour confuse activity with action, and initiatives with results.

They have taken a one dimensional approach to the problem – relying on criminal justice legislation. There has been wave upon wave of legislation. Over 30 criminal justice Bills since 1997. Over 3000 new criminal offences created – one for every day Labour have been in office. Yet in all this, no real steps to reform the police, to build enough prison places, or to reverse the social breakdown which lies at the root of our crime rate. And even on Labour’s own terms – the legislative approach – they have failed.

Their legislation has been inconsistent, contradictory, and not properly implemented. Take the 2003 Criminal Justice Act. This was presented as the centrepiece of Labour’s attack on crime. Yet one in five of the sections of this Act, and half the schedules, have been repealed in whole or in part or not implemented at all.

If we are to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour we need a resolute and comprehensive response. Instead of a one dimensional approach – just looking at criminal justice – we need a three dimensional approach. First, the response of the courts. Second, the response of the police. And third, the response of society at large.

Criminal Justice

Let me deal with the courts first. Our system of criminal justice is an essential defence against disorder. People need to know that crime is punished – victims need to know it and potential criminals need to know it.

But at the moment, this basic knowledge is missing. Detection rates are down. Conviction rates are down. And too many convicted criminals either escape prison or are let out too soon.

The Human Rights Act simply adds insult to injury. The recent judgement in the case of Philip Lawrence’s murderer flies in the face of common sense.

We believe there is a better way – and that is why we will replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights that can better balance rights and responsibilities in a way that chimes with British traditions and common sense.

My party is currently reviewing sentencing policy and our prison and probation system. Today I want to mention two proposals which we will consult upon as part of this review.

First, I would like to see magistrates have greater powers over sentencing. One of the many provisions of the 2003 Criminal Justice Act was the power for magistrates to sentence an offender to a maximum of a year’s imprisonment, not the current maximum of six months.

This power was never actually enacted. Instead Ministers brought forward the point at which prisoners become eligible for parole. Prisoners sentenced to less than 12 months only serve a maximum of 13 weeks. Take off the extra 18 days from the early release scheme, and magistrates’ powers are really limited to little more than two months.

We need to scrap the early release scheme. And I suggest the Government should activate the 2003 measure, and allow magistrates to hand down sentences of up to 12 months. A 12 month sentencing power would enable the community-based lower courts to get real criminals off their streets.

The second issue I would like our review to examine is designed to target offenders and potential offenders a little lower down the scale – to stop them before they become the sort of criminal that deserves a prison sentence. The sad fact is that the penalties available to magistrates and judges – even the power of custody – often don’t have the deterrent effect we would wish.

Common sense suggests that with young people you need to hit them where it hurts: in their lifestyle and their aspirations. In 2000 the Government passed a law allowing judges to disqualify a young offender from holding or obtaining a driver’s license. Characteristically, this power was not actually enacted until 2004 – four years when a law lay on the statute books without being used.

I want to see this measure more widely used – and I don’t believe it should only be targeted at driving-related offences, as the Government guidance suggests. I’d like to see judges and magistrates tell a 15 year old boy, convicted of buying alcohol or causing a disturbance, that the next time he appears in court he’ll have his driving licence delayed. And then I’d like that boy to tell his friends what the judge said.


Let me move on to the second dimension of a proper response to anti-social behaviour – the policing response. At the moment police officers spend more time on paperwork than they do on patrol. That’s utterly wrong. With its targets and audits and inspections the Government is guilty of wasting police time.

Only a fifth of an officer’s time is spent on the beat. They have to fill in a form a foot long every time they stop someone. And making an arrest usually involves four hours back at the station. This has to change.

Earlier this year we published proposals for ending the remote control of policing from Whitehall, freeing forces up to respond to local need and making the police forces of England and Wales directly accountable to local people.

This agenda is acutely necessary when it comes to anti-social behaviour. For this is a local problem if ever there was one. It simply happens because too many young people in a particular place feel they can get away with it. And because of the way that policing is organised, too often they can get away with it.

I quoted Cheshire’s Chief Constable earlier. He also said this:

“The obsession with statistics makes the criminal justice system less effective in tackling anti-social behaviour… They give less room for local police officers to take into account local priorities”

For “obsession with statistics” read the whole range of central performance management which the police are subject to. I want to see a general bonfire of the targets and measurements which the police have to comply with. I want them accountable to the communities they serve, not to officials in London.

Finally, let me outline the third element of the proper response to anti-social behaviour: the response of society itself.

Some people say that trying to understand the causes of crime betrays weakness. I say that failing to understand the causes of crime is simple stupidity. Those fifteen year old boys who are causing such mayhem in our towns and cities, were five years old when Labour came to power. They mostly had problems even then – but they weren’t criminal, there was nothing that the police or the courts could do. But now they are very much involved with the police and courts, and it’s often too late to stop them.
Labour failed to address the problems those five year olds had. Let us not do the same to the next generation.

That’s why a comprehensive approach to crime and disorder must include radical action to restore families and communities, to build up the natural networks which – far more than laws and regulations – stop crime before it starts. How do we restore families and communities?

As I said recently we can start with schools

– giving head teachers the power to exclude unruly pupils
– stopping the closure of special schools, including those that address behavioural problems
– intervening early and empowering the social enterprises that specialise in turning around children with behavioural problems.

But as well as policy changes, we need cultural changes.

We need to make men realise that having children is an 18-year commitment – not a one-night stand.

We need to make mothers realise that it’s work, not welfare, that offers their family the best future.

We need to help couples stay together, not drive them apart with the tax and benefits system.

And we need to make society as a whole – that’s you and me – realise that we all have duties to our neighbours.

These are duties as compelling as the taxes we pay and the laws we obey. They represent a social responsibility.

For me the most exciting development that is happening in Britain today is the growth of social enterprises and other voluntary bodies dedicated to social justice. They’re tackling the hardest problems, the things which agencies of the state find it so difficult to get at – debt and addiction, unemployment and family breakdown.

They are independent organisations, locally based, often amateur in their beginnings but soon highly expert. They are fired by compassion and the spirit of innovation. They work.

I would like to make a new deal with the voluntary sector. Longer contracts. Less red tape. Full cost recovery. These are the organisations in the front line of the war against crime and exclusion, and we need to give them the weapons to do the job.

Tough action on criminal justice.

A radical programme for reforming the police, freeing them from paperwork and making them locally accountable.

And concerted action to tackle social and family breakdown in Britain.

This is the programme we need to tackle crime and lawlessness.

This is the approach to replace disorder and fear on our streets with hope and respect.

This is way that the modern Conservative party will help to mend our broken society.

David Cameron – 2007 Speech on Families


Below is the text of the speech made by David Cameron, the then Leader of the Opposition, on 10 July 2007.

The report published by Iain [Duncan Smith] and his team today is a landmark in British social policy.

And I believe it is a clear vindication of this Party’s approach to policy-making.

Iain’s Policy Group has held over 3,000 hours of public hearings.

Over 2,000 organisations – most of them non-political – from all over the country, have contributed ideas.

50,000 people have been surveyed.

That’s people from broken homes…

…people who are drug addicts today…

…and they were asked how they wish they’d been treated by society and by government policy.

We have engaged the people on the front line, the people who know most about the complex human and emotional challenges of social policy.

People like Camila Batmanghelidj, whose remarkable work we celebrate with our event here today.

What a contrast to Labour’s approach.

We’ve had ten years of government by short term initiative – and as today’s announcement from Ed Balls shows that’s not going to change under Gordon Brown.

We said we would be different.

That we wouldn’t rush out policy initiatives to get headlines.

That we would take the time to understand the big long-term challenges Britain faces.

And that we would go back to first principles, applying our Conservative values to the problems of today and tomorrow, rather than the preoccupations of the past.


Let’s be clear about what most concerns people today.

This is a great country to live in, but we all know life could be a lot better.

That’s not just about our economy, though of course a growing economy is vital.

It’s about our society – the level of crime, the state of the neighbourhood, our relationships.

I think there’s a real sense of unease about what’s happening to our society.

I spoke about it right at the start of my campaign for the leadership of this Party.

Six year olds wandering the streets of some of our cities looking for a hot meal and an adult who will take them to school.

Eleven year olds beating each other up and filming it on their mobile phones.

Fourteen year olds getting pregnant…children having children.

Gangs. Guns. Graffiti.

It’s all part of the same story.

And above all, the sense of social unease is reflected in the breakdown of the family, which is for me the most important institution in our society.

The family has always been the starting point for everything I want to achieve in politics.

And with my leadership, the Conservative Party will not shy away from saying the things that need to be said if we’re to mend our broken society.

Well now we have all the evidence we need.

As Iain’s report comprehensively demonstrates…

…millions of people in Britain today still suffer from the complex and connected problems of poverty, poor education, unemployment, drug and alcohol addiction and debt.

And at the heart of it all is family breakdown, the highest in Europe.

As I argued in my speech to our Party’s spring conference earlier this year, the widely-held sense of social breakdown is the biggest challenge Britain faces.

In the 1970s, as she prepared for government, Mrs Thatcher focused her energy on fixing our broken economy.

She did that by applying Conservative principles like freedom and enterprise.

Today, I will focus my energy on fixing our broken society.

And just as before, Conservative values will help us through.


Those values are represented by my belief in social responsibility, not state control, as the best way to solve problems.

That means trusting people, families and communities…

…not thinking that government has the answer to every problem.

I believe that we’re all in this together…

…that there is such a thing as society, it’s just not the same thing as the state.

And as I said in my party conference speech last year, this belief in social responsibility, not state control, is the foundation of everything we do and all we hope to achieve.

It is the big dividing line in British politics today and it is the reason we can confidently offer people change, optimism and hope.

Because we know there is a positive alternative to Gordon Brown’s top-down, centralizing state control.


These ideas – the importance of family; the challenge of fixing our broken society; the vital need for more social responsibility and less state control…

…these ideas are what I am all about.

And they are what Iain’s report is all about.

That’s why I’m so delighted and proud that his report is the first of our main Policy Group reports to be published.

The report of the Social Justice Policy Group does two vital things.

It outlines, in forensic detail, the scale and the nature of Gordon Brown’s social failure.

And it presents, in substantive and robust terms, a long-term programme for reversing that failure and fixing our broken society.


Gordon Brown’s social failure is costing this country over a hundred billion pounds a year.

But it is not just the financial cost that should concern us.

It is the cost in wasted lives, dashed hopes and disappointment.

And the scandal is, this was what the Labour government was supposed to fix.

Gordon Brown said he wanted to get Britain back to work.

But after ten years of his policies, five million people of working age – over one in ten adults – are out of work and on benefits.

Gordon Brown said he wanted to give young people the best start in life.

But after ten years of his policies, there are over a million young people not in work, education or training – more than in 1997.

Gordon Brown said he wanted to tackle poverty.

Yet after ten years of his policies, the poorest people in our society have got poorer – and there are more of them.

What on earth was it all about, these last ten years, if it wasn’t about this?

With this report as our evidence we will take Gordon Brown to pieces for his devastating social failure.

These Labour politicians, they talk about being progressive; they pose as the champions of the poor and the vulnerable…

…and all the while preside over a Britain where the poorest and most vulnerable sink further and further behind.

We’ve got among the worst rates of teenage pregnancy, drug addiction and personal debt in Europe.

It’s often said that over the past ten years Britain has become a more tolerant country, and I welcome that.

It’s good that we’re more tolerant of social change.

But I believe we have become far too tolerant of social failure.

Indeed this government has all too often indulged it.

Failing to take the tough decisions that address the fundamental causes of social breakdown.

Clinging to an outdated view of society and relationships.

And unable to break free from a simplistic, short-term, top-down, centralizing, mechanistic approach.

That is what we intend to change.


This report provides a rich and constructive menu of options.

There are around two hundred specific policy recommendations.

Some would make a bigger difference than others.

Some of them would cost a lot of money; some would save money.

Some ideas could be implemented quickly and easily; others are more complex and would take more time and effort.

The reality of government is that you can’t “have it all.”

You have to make hard choices between different, sometimes competing priorities.

I won’t pretend that I can wave a magic wand and solve all our problems overnight.

I think people have had enough of that kind of politics.

That’s why I will not make the mistake of instantly picking and choosing policies from this report.

I want to lead a full and serious debate with the whole country about what the priorities should be.

I want people to get involved in debating these ideas over the next few months.

Politics – especially Conservative politics – should be about practical, grass-roots common sense, not top-down ideology.

That is why we will be asking the British people to get involved in shaping our next manifesto through our Stand Up Speak Up campaign.

But politics is also about giving a lead, and I can tell you today the elements of this report that I welcome.


I welcome the fact that this report does not shirk the big challenges and confronts the issues head on.

I welcome the emphasis on trusting charities and community groups.

As the proposals in the report show, we now have the chance to make a decisive break with the Labour approach, where the government gives charities money, tells them what to do, and calls it “partnership.”

I welcome the report’s thoughtful approach to drugs, and the emphasis on turning addicts’ lives around so they can lead drug-free lives, rather than keeping them hooked on methadone.


But above all, I welcome this report’s emphasis on the family, and on marriage, as the basis for the social progress we all want to see.

My family, and my marriage, are the most important things in my life.

They matter more than anything to me, and I believe that families matter more than anything else to our society.

If we get the family right, we can fix our broken society.

Britain is almost the only country in Europe that doesn’t recognise marriage in the tax system.

And the benefits system actively discourages parents from living together.

We have the highest rate of family breakdown in Europe.

And we have the worst social problems in Europe.

Don’t tell me these things aren’t connected.

If Gordon Brown wants to play political games with this, let him.

If he wants to defend the anti-marriage bias in our tax and benefits system, good luck to him.

He’s on the side of the past, and on the side of social failure.


This report shows that only the Conservative Party is serious about tackling Britain’s long-term challenges.

Gordon Brown has poured billions of pounds into the fight against poverty but the nation’s deepest social problems remain untouched.

We are the only Party willing to face up to the root causes.

We understand that unless we do this, we limit not just the opportunities of those trapped in poverty, but the opportunities of everyone else too.

No-one can isolate themselves from what’s going on in our society.

Individual opportunity depends on collective security.

Our society, your life.

Our support for families and for marriage puts us…

… on the side of the mainstream majority…

…on the side of a progressive politics…

…on the side of change that says…

We can stop our social decline.

We can fix our broken society.

We can and will make this a better place to live for everyone.

David Cameron – 2007 Speech on Music


Below is the text of the speech made by David Cameron, the then Leader of the Opposition, on 6 July 2007.


It’s a great pleasure to be here.

Let me start by congratulating Geoff Taylor, who was recently made Chief Executive of the BPI, and thanking him for inviting me here to speak today.

I am sure he did so with some trepidation.

After all, politicians and music rarely mix well.

I had a reminder of that the first time I went to the BRIT Awards.
It was the year when Chumbawamba threw a bucket of water over John Prescott.

Music Industry Today

A flourishing music scene plays a huge role in bolstering the vibrancy of our culture and the strength of our identity.

It plays a huge part in most peoples’ lives.

This was brought home to me when I went on Desert Island Discs…

And the agony of trying to condense your love of music into just eight tracks.

We are a nation of music lovers, buying more music per head than any other country.

Take any time in recent history, and the music of that period has come to define a generation.

Punk in the ’70s.

New Romantics in the early ’80s.

Britpop in the ’90s.

Today, British music is undergoing another renaissance.

Last year, six out of every ten albums bought in this country were by UK artists.

That’s the best result since 1997.

And let’s not forget that a flourishing music scene also helps extend our identity and culture abroad.

We should be proud of the international success newer artists like Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen are having, carrying on the global traditions set by the likes of The Rolling Stones and Elton John.

Indeed, the UK now accounts for one in every twelve albums sold in the United States.

When you look at the – albeit rain-sodden – success of Glastonbury, with so many British artists performing to hundreds of thousands of fans in the flesh and more than a million people watching back home….

….it goes to show that when it comes to fostering national self-confidence and a sense of belonging, not much compares to music.

But the music industry deserves its seat at the top table of our national life for another important reason too.

It’s the reason why I am here today.

The music industry is a serious and pioneering business.

It generates billions of pounds for our economy and nurtures some of the most creative talent in our country.

The facts speak for themselves.

There are nearly 100,000 people working in the music industry today.

Retail spending on music was around £1.8 billion in 2006.

And at a time of technological revolution, you have adapted to changes in consumer behaviour with great ingenuity, launching online and mobile services.

Matching business acumen with creative instinct, you have shown you have the dynamism necessary to succeed in the 21st century.

But just as this new world offers exciting new opportunities…

It also presents incredible challenges.

And it is two of those challenges that I want to speak about today.

First, how do we prevent the massive fraud that is carried out against your industry every day through copyright theft.

And second, how do we protect your investments in the long-term by looking at the issue of copyright extension in the digital age.

The British music industry is one of the best in the world.

I want to address these issues to make sure it continues to be so.

But I also want to talk about a bigger challenge that we all face together.

That of the broken society of crime, of guns and knives, of broken families, of entrenched poverty…

And how I expect the music industry, like everyone else, to recognise their responsibility in helping to fix it.


Very few people would go into a shop, lift a CD from the shelves and just walk out with it.

But for some reason, many are happy to buy pirate CDs or illegally download music.

Look at the figures:

Around seven percent of the population buys pirate CDs.

And each year, an estimated 20 billion – that’s right, 20 billion – music files are downloaded illegally.

This alone has cost the music industry as much as £1.1 billion in lost retail sales since 2004.

We wouldn’t tolerate fraud on such a massive scale in any other industry….

….. so why is there such little will on the part of government, businesses and individuals to confront it in the music industry?

Copyright matters because it is the way artists are rewarded and businesses makes its money and invests in the future.

So copyright theft has to be treated like other theft.

If you cannot get protection from illegal activity, where is the incentive to continue innovating?

So what should be done?

The right approach means understanding that like any other crime, this will only be beaten if we all realise the part we have to play.
By that I mean government, industry leaders like yourselves, businesses, internet service providers and the general public.

I think government has three important responsibilities.

First, to establish a more robust intellectual property framework.

The Gowers Review into the UK Intellectual Property Framework rightly disappointed many in the creative industries by failing to do much more than suggest tinkering at the edges.

Changes at the margins will not be good enough.

If we are serious about protecting intellectual property, we need to build a framework that is both flexible and accessible.

It has to be flexible so it reflects the changing way in which people listen to their music for personal use.

That means decriminalising the millions of people in this country for copying their CDs onto music players for personal use, and focusing all our attention on the genuine fraudsters.

And it has to be accessible so smaller companies, who currently find it so expensive to register their intellectual property, have the resources to do so.

That means working at a Europe-wide level to end the need to translate all documents and applications into all the EU languages.

The second thing the government should do to fight copyright theft is vigorously bringing offenders to book.

There have been some recent progress here that we should welcome.

As a result of the Gowers Review, Trading Standards Officers will now have the power to seize pirate and bootleg CDs that breach copyright law, even if they do not bear infringing trademarks.

The key is now to make sure we actively find the perpetrators and prosecute them.

This is a vital step towards the third thing the government should be doing in the fight against copyright theft…

….. and that is confronting the blasé attitude that many people have towards piracy and illegal downloading.

Too many people think it is a victimless crime.

But they conveniently ignore the links between CD piracy and serious and organised crime.

I strongly believe that if people really knew the kind of criminality they were funding, sales of pirate CDs in this country would plummet.

I want to work with figures in the music industry to get the message out that piracy and illegal file-sharing is wrong.

I know that you already go into schools and educate young kids about this.

This is something I wholly support.

So when it comes to combating copyright theft, there are three things that the Conservatives will do:

Establish a proper framework of intellectual property rights

Enforce laws more strongly so perpetrators are brought to book.

And work in partnership with industry leaders to get the message out there that buying pirate CDs and illegal downloading of music is wrong.

But when in government, we alone cannot do everything.

We need you in the music industry itself to continue to innovate and make the sort of technological progress that makes pirating CDs more and more difficult.

We need businesses and individuals to report the sale of pirate CDs or the existence of illegal file-sharing websites whenever they see them.

Let me also speak about one final responsibility too: that of Internet Service Providers.

They are the gatekeepers of the internet.

Some ISPs claim there is nothing they can do to stop illegal downloading of music.

But last month alone, there were eight sites that hosted more than 25,000 illegal downloads.

That is clear and visible internet traffic.

You should know.

In 2006, the BPI took down 60,000 illegal files from some 720 websites.

Since 2004, you have brought 139 actions against peer-to-peer filesharing.

But we cannot expect you to do all the work.

ISPs can block access and indeed close down offending file-sharing sites.

They have already established the Internet Watch Foundation to monitor child abuse and incitement to racial hatred on the internet.

They should be doing the same when it comes to digital piracy.

Copyright Extension

So there is much that we could all be doing in terms of taking the fight to copyright theft.

The second challenge I want to talk today is how we can protect your investments in the long-term.

In the digital age, whole back catalogues from any decade are available at the click of a button.

Previously, if you wanted to buy an old album, you would have to trawl through any number of record shops, before, in all likelihood, giving up.

Now, there is no shop floor.

The music industry has done so much in making all manner of music from any decade available to everyone.

And if we expect you to keep investing, keep innovating, keep creating….

… it is only right that you are given greater protection on your investments by the extension of copyright term.

After all, PWC found that extending copyright term could boost the music industry by £3.3 billion over the next fifty years.

But extending copyright term is good for musicians and consumers too.

It’s good for musicians because it would reduce the disparity between the length given to composers and that granted to producers and performers.

That’s only fair.

In the UK alone, over 7000 musicians will lose rights to their recordings over the next ten years.

Most people think these are all multi-millionaires living in some penthouse flat.

The reality is that many of these are low-earning session musicians who will be losing a vital pension.

And extending copyright term will also be good for consumers.

If we increase the copyright term, so the incentive is there for you working in the industry to digitise both older and niche repertoire which more people can enjoy at no extra cost.

That’s why, as we move on forward into the new digital age of the 21st century, I am pleased to announce today that it is Conservative Party policy to support the extension of the copyright term for sound recordings from 50 to 70 years.

A Conservative Government will argue for this in Europe for this change to happen in order to protect investment in the future of the industry, reward our creative artists and generate more choice for consumers.

Social Responsibility

So I want to give you real help in the future.

In the fight against copyright theft.

By extending copyright term.

But in return, you’ve got to help me too.

The single biggest challenge facing this country today is that of the broken society.

A few months ago, UNICEF released a report on the material, educational and emotional state of childhood in 21 developed nations.

Britain came bottom.

It was a wake-up call to us all.

Take any indicator on childhood welfare, and Britain is among the worst in the developed world:

Family breakdown…

Rates of teenage pregnancy…

Rates of substance abuse….

Rates of criminal activity.

How did we get into this mess?

And more importantly, how will we get out?

I believe that there has been a failure of leadership at every level.

Put simply, we all helped break our society…

…Now we’ve all got to help fix it.

Of course, that must mean politicians.

Government can’t bring up children.

But government decisions have an influence on how children are brought up.

For too long governments have neglected families, who do so much to bring up children with the right values and with the opportunities that everyone deserves in life.

That’s why, in Government, we will do all we can to put families first, to back them, and give them the support they need.

But our broken society is not just about government and politics.

It’s about our culture too.

Popular culture is a massive influence on our children.

A culture, in which of course, music plays an important part.

That’s why I need your help if we’re going to fix our broken society.

Many of you sitting here today already do so much to use the power of music to give young kids the opportunity to fulfil their dreams and feel a part of something.

The BRIT School is a great example of what can be achieved.

There are other examples across the industry too.

One is the Nordoff-Robbins Trust, which does great work in providing music therapy for children with disabilities.

Last year, I made some remarks about rap music.

I got a letter from one of SongBMG’s artists, Rhymefest.

He wrote to me saying that not all rappers were responsible for negative messages – some, like him, understood their responsibilities.

So we met for a cup of tea and what turned out to be a very positive chat.

An idea called ‘Music for Good’ was born, and it’s already providing opportunities for kids to forge a career in the music industry.

The simple truth is that music and musicians can influence young people much more than politicians can.

Our message does not resonate half as much as the messages they hear from their.

Music is what kids listen to, understand and draw inspiration from.
So let’s ask ourselves, honestly, what inspiration are they getting from some music today?

I don’t just mean hip hop and I don’t just mean lyrics.

Music culture today extends beyond what people listen to on the radio to what they see online, on their televisions and in magazines.

And in these places, we can often see the celebration of macho-materialism, a hedonistic lifestyle and the portrayal of women as nothing but sex objects.

We’ve got a real cultural problem in our country; and it’s affecting the way young people grow up.

It’s an anti-learning culture where it’s cool to bunk off, it’s cool to be bad, and it’s cool not to try.

This affects what’s happening on our streets and with our kids.

Educational achievement and aspiration is pushed aside by the dream of instant material gain.

Now I know this is difficult territory for a politician.

People could argue that music is just a portrayal of life today, not a cause of the way we live.

And they argue that other, perhaps older, genres of music are also provocative, including ones that I personally have said I am a fan of.

After all, it’s not as if Morrissey, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash have ever shied away from violence in their lyrics.

And there are those that will go on to say, yes, music can be violent and overtly sexual, but so are movies, video games and television.

Of course, there is some truth in these arguments.

But let’s ask ourselves some simple questions:

Does music help create, rather than just reflect, a culture?


Is some music, are some lyrics, are some videos and are some artists, helping to create a culture in which an anti-learning culture, truancy, promiscuousness, knifes, violence, guns, misogyny are glorified?


Can we see the effects of this on our young people, in our schools and on our streets?


Do we think we can combat this culture by government policies, policing and criminal justice alone?


If change in our culture is necessary…and it is.

If we are all responsible…. and we are….

Then we all need to take our responsibilities seriously.

Put simply, we have to acknowledge that all of us – as politicians, as teachers, as parents, as television producers, video game manufacturers and yes, as record industry executives – need to understand our specific responsibility in not promoting a culture of low academic aspiration or violence but instead to inspire young kids with a positive vision of how to lead their life.

That’s why I am not calling for censorship, legislation or the banning of content.

I am calling on you to show leadership, exercise your power responsibly and to use your judgement.

I know music plays a small part in all this.

But I also know, unless we all fulfil our responsibilities, however small, we cannot hope to confront the challenge of our broken society.

Already, schemes like rhyme4respect, which encourages positive lyrics in music, is leading the way, showing that the music industry recognises its responsibility and takes this issue seriously…

I really do welcome that…

… but I think we all know we need more.

So when it comes to helping fix our broken society, it is not enough for the music industry to sponsor community projects….

You can make a difference by providing positive role models for young kids to look up to, draw inspiration from and aspire to be.

Let me put it another way.

Would it make any sense to say to media companies that you can simply meet your obligations for social responsibility – to be a responsible corporate citizen – through community projects which had nothing to do with your actual product?

I know such projects are vital and companies like those here today do so much to channel your charitable energy towards giving opportunities to the young.

But imagine if we took this approach with McDonalds or a mining company.

Is it really enough to say that you can put anything you like in your burgers, or do anything you want to the environment when digging for precious metals…. “That’s ok, as long as you are doing some other charitable things at the same time” ?

Of course not.

Social responsibility is not just about community projects where you use your profits to do good, it’s about how you make those profits in the first place too.


I began by showing what I wanted to do to help make sure that the music industry in this country continues to be one of the world’s greatest.

That’s why I want to work with you to combat piracy and illegal downloading.

That’s why I want to extend the copyright term to 70 years.

But in return, I want to see more from you….

… using the influence you have over young children to help fix our broken society.

Britain’s music scene has had an incredibly proud past.

Together, we can ensure it has an even brighter future.

David Cameron – 2007 Speech on Security


Below is the text of the speech made by David Cameron, the then Leader of the Opposition, in Tooting on 18 June 2007.

Very soon, the real battle in British politics will begin.

Tony’s going, and the phoney war will be over.

The British people will have a clear choice.

A choice between two different visions of society.

A choice between two different approaches to running the country.

And a choice between the old and the new politics.

Us against Gordon Brown.

That’s the choice at the next election, and today I want to spell out exactly what it means.


At our party conference last year I said that getting ready for the responsibility of government is like building a house together.

First you prepare the ground.

Then you lay the foundations.

And then, brick by brick, you build your house.

That is the plan I laid out when I became leader of this Party and that is exactly the plan we’ve been following.


We started by preparing the ground.

We stopped fooling ourselves that we played the same old tunes we’d somehow get a different result.

We remembered the importance of rebuilding that broad Conservative coalition without which we’ve never won in the past.

And we moved this Party back to the ground on which our success has always been built, the centre ground of British politics.

That meant addressing the issues that matter to people today…

…so we became the party of the environment and well-being as well as the nation state.

It meant understanding the real priorities of people today…

…so we put economic stability before up-front tax cuts.

And, vitally, it meant standing up for all of the people all of the time, not just some of the people some of the time…

…so we pledged to improve public services for everyone, not give opt-outs to a chosen few.

Today we’re back in the mainstream of political debate, we’re setting the agenda, we’re winning the arguments – and we’re winning elections.

Nine hundred more councillors this year.

Breaking through in the north of England.

A forty per cent Party once again.

Our party is once again a force that can change our country.


The second stage in building our house was laying the foundations.

As I said at our conference last year, that’s not about detailed policies.

It’s about the idea on which all our policies will be built.

Policies without intellectual foundations don’t stand the test of time.

We’ve had ten years of short-term initiatives announced to get headlines in the papers.

People have had enough of Labour’s fast-food politics: they want something more serious and more substantial.

That’s why we’ve spent the last few months setting out, patiently and consistently, the big idea on which we’ll build our plan for government.

That idea is social responsibility.

It’s the idea that there is such a thing as society, it’s just not the same thing as the state.

Social responsibility means that every time we see a problem, we don’t just ask what government can do.

We ask what people can do, what society can do.

That’s the big difference between us and Gordon Brown.

His answer to crime, his answer to education, his answer to everything – is a top-down government scheme.

Whatever the issue, whatever the challenge, whatever the circumstances… it’s always the same.

Under Gordon Brown all we’ll get is “he knows best” politics, as he sits as his desk expecting a grateful nation to wait with bated breath for the latest master-plan to emerge.

He won’t even commit to giving the British people a say over the EU constitution.

I profoundly believe that it’s wrong to change the way in which we are governed without giving people the right to say “yes” or “no”.

Gordon, the top-down days are over.

It’s the twenty-first century.

It’s the age of “people know best.”

Parents know best what works for their kids.

Doctors and nurses know best how to improve the NHS and give patients great healthcare.

Residents know best how to make their neighbourhoods better places to live.

We’re living in an age where people want to control their government, not have their government control them.

Every day in countless ways, people are getting together to work out new solutions to old problems.

They’re getting together online, in community groups, in their workplaces, as friends and neighbours and collaborators.

They want and need a government that’s on their side, that trusts them, that positively wants to put power and control in their hands.

That’s the big difference between us and Gordon Brown.

We get the modern world, he doesn’t.

We trust people, he’s suspicious of them.

We believe in social responsibility, he believes in state control.


So we’ve prepared the ground by moving to the centre.

We’ve laid the foundations with our big idea, social responsibility.

And now, with our Policy Groups set to publish their reports, we can move forward to the next stage – showing what we will build for Britain.

This is my vision.

A Britain that combines collective security with individual opportunity.

A Britain that achieves these things through social responsibility, not state control.

And a Britain where a strong society gives everyone the chance to shape their own life, making the most of all that this amazing country, in this amazing century, has to offer.

Our Society. Your Life.

Collective security and individual opportunity.

That’s the combination that’s right for our times and right for the future.

And it’s a combination that only we in this Party can offer.

First, because we understand that social responsibility, not state control, is the best way to provide security and opportunity.

And second because we understand the deep and important connection between them.


This Party has always understood the importance of security, including a strong role for the state where it has a duty to protect its citizens.

Social responsibility means a strong society where possible; a strong state where necessary.

Today we need strong defences to protect our country – from threats old and new.

That’s why we’re committed to setting up a national border police, with Lord Stevens leading a task force to produce a plan for making it happen.

In the months ahead, our Security Policy Group, led by Pauline Neville-Jones and Tom King, will publish their recommendations.

They will advise us on the steps we must take to protect our country from terrorism, and from the new risks of an increasingly unstable world.

We also understand the need for a strong response to the everyday threat to people’s security that comes from crime and anti-social behaviour.

I believe that Tony Blair’s pledge to be tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime is his biggest broken promise.

Being tough on crime is not about soundbites and headlines.

It’s about serious long-term thinking: analysing what’s gone wrong with our criminal justice system, and developing serious plans to put it right.

That’s why I’ve placed such emphasis on the need for police reform.

David Davis and his team have produced a detailed and impressive set of proposals.

We’re working on them with the police, trusting in their professionalism…

…asking them to make the changes that are necessary in return for tearing up the pointless targets and paperwork and giving them the freedom to do the job they desperately want to do.

Security is vital in the economy too.

Conservatives instinctively understand the importance of sound money and sensible economic management.

That’s why it is the absolute expression of our traditions, not the denial of them, when we say that we will put economic stability first.

And that’s why we feel so strongly about the way Gordon Brown has wrecked our pensions system, destroying millions of people’s economic security without a word of apology or remorse.

But our collective security is not just about the economy, or crime, or terrorism.

It is also about the fabric of our society. About wanting people to feel a real sense of belonging.

We believe in building a cohesive society, where Britishness means inspiring people with a love of country…

…not bullying them with instructions to integrate, or insulting them with cheap ‘flags-on-the-lawn’ gimmicks.

And above all, our collective security is about the one institution in our society which matters to me more than any other.

That is the family.

Why do I focus on the family?

Why am I so proud of the magnificent work that Iain Duncan Smith is leading in our Social Justice Policy Group, with his final report soon to be published?

Because I believe, as I said in my speech to our Spring Forum in March, that the greatest challenge this country faces today is reversing the social breakdown we see all around us.

And strengthening families is the best way to do it.

Let’s be clear about this.

It is simply no use talking about opportunity for all unless we give every child in our country the secure start in life that comes from a stable, loving home.

We are far from that position in Britain today, and turning it around will be the greatest challenge – and I hope the greatest achievement – of the next Conservative government.

That’s because ensuring our collective security – whether protecting people from physical harm, providing economic stability, or giving children emotional stability – is not just an end in itself.

It is about creating the platform for the great driving force of Conservatism through the ages – the promotion of individual opportunity.

But I will not allow this Party, or this country, to overlook the connection between security and opportunity.

Only by meeting our collective obligations to each other, and building a strong society, will we create the conditions for every individual to enjoy real opportunity.

Our Society. Your Life.


And what a life it can be if we enable people to make the most of the modern world.

I suppose every generation thinks their time is the most exciting there’s been.

But truly, no generation has ever faced such an extraordinary range of possibilities as we do today.

Of course we can look at the future negatively – the threats of new weapons, of new and dangerous ideologies; the looming catastrophe of climate change; the fracturing of traditional communities and the growing sense of atomisation.

But I am a determined optimist.

I want us to look at the future positively.

Every year we get closer to curing the great diseases.

There are technologies that will give us the energy to power the world without wrecking the planet.

We have communications which overcome every obstacle not just of distance but of culture – making one world.

We see the potential of the future in places like South Korea.

Britain took four hundred years to move from an agricultural to a high-tech economy – Korea has done it in just forty.

There’s no reason why similar miracles can’t happen elsewhere in Asia – and in Africa.

Peter Lilley’s Policy Group on Globalisation and Global Poverty will have many recommendations for what needs to be done to make that a reality.

The task for this Party is to match our determination to build a strong and secure society with a policy programme that extends opportunity ever more widely…

…with no-one excluded from the possibilities of the modern world.

Here’s how we’ll go about it.

If we in Britain want to be in the fast lane of global progress, we need to improve our own dynamism, our own competitiveness.

That’s the thinking behind Michael Heseltine’s radical proposals for devolving power from Whitehall, so our great cities can get the strong leadership they need to compete on the world stage.

In our economy, we must lead the world in innovation, and stimulate the creation of new businesses and new jobs.

That’s the thinking behind the work of John Redwood’s Economic Competitiveness Policy Group.

But above all, extending opportunity means liberating the potential of our young people, with world-class education at every level.

That’s why we’re developing a robust and radical plan for reforming state schools, addressing both standards and structures.

Bringing rigour to the curriculum and testing.

More setting and streaming, with a ‘grammar stream’ in every subject in every school, so bright pupils are stretched and all pupils are taught at the right level.

Tackling disruptive behaviour by giving head teachers control over discipline.

And making it easier to set up new schools so we get genuine diversity and parents have a real choice.

Stephen Dorrell and Pauline Perry will show in their Public Services report how in schools, just as in the NHS…

…we will replace Labour’s culture of top-down targets and centralisation…

…with a relationship of trust and accountability between those who use public services and the professionals who provide them.

Last week we unveiled proposals to transform young people’s skills…

… not trusting in the bureaucracy of the Learning and Skills Council, but with new professional apprenticeships that engage employers and match the future needs of the economy.

Next week David Davis will launch a taskforce to examine the recent fall in social mobility – and find ways to reverse it.

For us, expanding opportunity means not the backward-looking plans of Labour’s Deputy Leadership candidates – who only see a future for more state-owned and run housing – but helping young people onto the housing ladder through a massive extension of shared ownership and the right to buy.

Expanding opportunity means not leaving up to thirty per cent of men in some of our towns and cities languishing on Incapacity Benefit, as has happened under Labour …

… but our plans to harness the expertise of the voluntary sector in helping people off welfare and into work.

And expanding opportunity means not wasting the proceeds of growth as Gordon Brown has done, but sharing the proceeds of economic growth between better public services and lower taxes.

In all these ways, we will show how we are the Party with the new ideas – the serious ideas – to expand individual opportunity in our country.

And we will show we understand that individual opportunity is not something that can or should be defined by politicians in Westminster.

Your life is just that – yours, not mine.

For many people today, opportunity is not just about more money, it’s about more time with the kids.

It’s about the journey to work, the food the family eats, the state of the neighbourhood.

This is the new politics, a world away from the preoccupations of old Westminster and the political elite.

We’re making this new politics our own, just as we’re setting the agenda on the environment and climate change.

And soon the report of our Quality of Life Policy Group will make another significant contribution to that whole debate.


Right across the range of issues, our policy debate is about to start in earnest.

We will soon be launching Stand Up, Speak Up – a chance for everyone in this country to get involved in shaping the next Conservative manifesto.

We hear a lot about political apathy these days.

Well I want all of you here and all our Conservative friends around the country to stand up and lead the way in getting people involved in a massive grass-roots debate on the future of our country.

Let’s show the cynics some energy, not apathy.


So as we start this great policy debate, we can be clear about the shape of the house we’re building.

It’s designed to deliver collective security, as the platform for individual opportunity.

Security for our society; opportunity in your life.

Not copying New Labour, but learning from its mistakes.

Not abandoning Conservative principles, but applying them in new ways to new challenges.

And in the process making this Party the true force for progressive politics in Britain today.

Our foundations are strong, while Gordon Brown’s are shaky.

Our vision is built on the truth that no politician, no bureaucrat, no government official, can ever achieve as much as a strong society working together.

Social responsibility, not state control.

That’s what we believe, and that’s why we’ll win.

David Cameron – 2007 Speech on Islam and Muslims


Below is the text of the speech made by David Cameron, the then Leader of the Opposition, on 5 June 2007.

I was unable to attend yesterday, but Sayeeda Warsi, Dominic Grieve and the chair of one of my policy group’s, Pauline Neville-Jones, were, and have relayed to me some the key issues that were raised.

The need to define our common values.

The impact of modernity on traditional Islamic societies.

And the need to build greater understanding of Islam by others – and of Western society and culture by Muslims.

These are questions that fall under the wide-ranging disciplines of political science, theology, and sociology, but what underpins them all is a question as old as humanity itself: how do we live together?

In this country, there have been times when this question has been uppermost.

While conflict between Catholics and Protestant in Britain was bloody, we were spared the worst excesses witnessed on the continent.

The Glorious Revolution and the two Jacobite rebellions were periods of crisis for the coherence of our country.

Subsequent Catholic emancipation was a long and slow process, but ultimately successful.

The incorporation of East European Jewish immigrants, particularly a 100 years ago, and the Ugandan Asians 30 years ago can also be regarded as successes in integration into a British identity.

Each time, Britain has been able to rise to the challenge and sustain our coherence and unity.

We have done so through a combination of a steadfast faith in our institutions and values, such as freedom under the rule of law, pluralism and tolerance….

……and because society – not only the majority community but the minority community too – were prepared to stand together as one.

There is no reason to think we cannot do the same today.

Security Threat

The evil terrorist campaign we have witnessed in recent years has revealed the existence of a murderous ideology which distorts Islam and plays on a range of grievances to turn a small number of young men into revolutionaries.

As the Grand Mufti of Egypt said yesterday, “there is nothing in Islam that could ever justify these blatant acts of aggression”.

Confronting the false basis of this perversion of Islam is one part of what needs to be done.

Ensuring an appropriate security response is another.

But today I want to talk about the third element: community cohesion.

Promoting community cohesion should indeed be part of our response to terrorism.

But cohesion is not just about terrorism and it is certainly not just about Muslims.

Promoting integration will help protect our security.

But too mechanistic a connection between these objectives will make it harder to achieve both, by giving the impression that the state considers all Muslims to be a security risk.

After all, it is a tiny minority of British Muslims who support terrorism.

And fewer still who are likely to plan or commit terrorist atrocities.

Cultural Separation

That’s why, in discussing community cohesion today, I want to focus on another significant trend: cultural separation.

There has been a rise in what the French scholar Olivier Roy calls ‘religiosity’ among second or third generation Muslims of immigrant origin.

Of course we should welcome, not condemn, people who choose in a free society to express their religious belief.

But what should most definitely concern us is when heightened religious observation is accompanied by a rise in cultural separatism.

As the Grand Mufti said yesterday, “Islam calls on Muslims to be productive members of whatever society they find themselves in. Islam embodies a flexibility that allows Muslims to do so without any internal or external conflict.”

Therefore, cultural separatism is something we must all work hard to resist and reverse.

Again, not just because it relates to our security concerns.

Although all terrorists are cultural separatists, not all cultural separatists are terrorists.

But though cultural separatists eschew violence, many find it hard to accept what has happened with 7/7 and other plots. In short, they seem to be in denial.

I recently visited a mosque in Birmingham and got some depressing questions about who was really responsible for 9/11 and even 7/7.

That it was a CIA plot.

That Jews had been told to leave the twin towers.

When it comes to 7/7, there was real scepticism about the suicide bomber videos being fake or not.

Indeed, the poll by Channel 4 news out today suggests that one in four Muslims in this country think Government agents staged the July 7th bombings.

This is a real problem which we have all got to get to grips with.

And some recent opinion polls have suggested that we may have a growing problem of cultural separatism: in other words, the next generation of British Muslims are more separate from mainstream opinion than their parents.

For example, in a recent survey of 16-24 year old Muslims in this country, 36 percent believed if someone converts from Islam they should be punished by death.

Now, in a free society, we are all allowed our own opinions.

What’s more, as individuals, we can legitimately challenge the status quo as long as it is done within the rule of law.

But I think we should be able to say confidently, and without wanting to cause offence, that some of these views are contrary to the principles of freedom and equality that we hold dear in this country.

In that respect, they must be challenged.

And I do not want to shy away from my responsibility of making this clear.

But perhaps a much more telling statistic, and alarming indictment on the cultural separation in our society, is that 31% of all Muslims in this country feel they have more in common with Muslims in other countries than they do with non-Muslims in Britain.

This cannot be explained simply in terms of the bonds of kinship which anyone will feel to the homeland of their ancestors.

There is something much deeper at work here:

A feeling of alienation.

A disillusionment with life in this country.

And an ambiguity over what it is to be both Muslim and British.

It is now absolutely vital that we address this trend.

After all, we should acknowledge that those who feel simply disillusioned and disaffected today can turn to something much more sinister, and much more subversive, tomorrow.

Indeed, as Peter Clarke, Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police recently said, “one of the most worrying” things he has come across in his job “has been the speed and apparent ease with which young men can be turned into suicidal terrorists, prepared to kill themselves and hundreds of others.”

What’s more, it is these people who are the first line of defence in the battle against those extremists who are actually planning attacks.

They are their cousins, brothers and sisters, and it will harder for them not only to apply the social pressure, but also indeed to recognise particularly radical philosophies contrary to the British way of life, if they themselves remain divorced from life here.

In a moment, I will explain how I think we can reverse this trend.

But first, I want to explain why I think it has happened.

Politics of Identity

Of course, there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration.

First, and not least, the impact that poverty and poor life chances have on someone’s sense of isolation and belonging.

Second, racism and bigotry has done much to harm community relations.

You can’t even start to talk about a truly integrated society while people are suffering racist insults and abuse, as many still are in our country on a daily basis.

Third, we have to recognise that for some young Muslims, their sense of belonging to a global Muslim community is heightened by the perception that Islam, around the world, is under attack.

They see the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

And the continued failure to settle the Palestinian question.

We have to explain patiently and carefully that in Iraq and Afghanistan we are supporting democratically elected Muslim leaders.

And that in a democracy, disagreement with foreign policy can never justify violence or terrorism.

We must explain that in the Middle East we are pushing hard to get the peace process restarted.

At the same time, we must be careful not to link these issues together.

Some of the rhetoric about the ‘War on Terror’ has helped to give this impression.

As I’ve said before, this can play into the hands of those – like al-Qaeda – who want to divide the world in two.

The reality is that we should disaggregate these issues and deal with them one by one, with the humility and patience.

And a fourth factor which has helped foster this lack of belonging for many young Muslims in the UK today is the influence of a number of Muslim preachers that actively encourage cultural separatism.

One such preacher is Yusuf al’Qaradawi, who though he encourages Muslim participation in political life in the UK, says he wants to create an ‘Islamic Movement’ which he defined as “the organised, collective work undertaken by all the people to restore Islam to the leadership of society and the helm of life [in] all walks of life”.

What’s more, there are some Muslim organisations that advocate complete non-participation, especially in political life, as part of being a good Muslim.

Such encouragement is nothing short of passive resistance to our values deliberately designed to keep the Muslim community detached and separate- as outsiders in their own country.

This is helpful to no one.

It helps serve as a recruiting sergeant for the BNP, who can play up to the politics of fear by demonising an ‘other’ which refuses to play its part in wider society.

And those Muslim communities that choose to hold themselves apart will struggle to prosper and thrive in this country.

This was a point raised by Mufti H.E. Mustafa Ceric yesterday : the need for Muslims and the host nation to go forward on a shared, not independent, basis.

So poverty, racism, the perception that Islam is under attack and the influence of preachers that encourage separation all have a part to play in explaining why some Muslims hold views contrary to values we hold dear in this country and seem so disillusioned with life in Britain.

But I want to focus on a fifth reason in particular: the question of identity.

There are two, mutually reinforcing, factors at work here.

First, what we are witnessing is a rise in Muslim identity and consciousness.

Olivier Roy explains that this is a result of Islam becoming ‘de-territorialised’ – that is, established beyond its customary geographical and social backdrop.

In traditional Muslim societies, one’s identity is everywhere: local schools, music, arts, family, and the legal system.

But as Roy goes on to say, once Muslims leave these traditional societies through emigration, their identity is no longer supported by society at large.

Within this framework, many first generation immigrants happily fit in with the norms and customs of their new homeland.

But they do so while not making a full break with their place of birth, bringing with them traditional habits and beliefs.

But it is their children who can feel more rootless: unable to identify fully with neither the traditional practices of their home life nor the cultural norms of modern Britain.

It is their search for an identity which makes them associate more readily with the global ummah – the worldwide Islamic community.

It is this which can lead to a depressing sense of isolation from their country of birth.

At its very worst, it can lead to extremism and violence.

This process of rising Muslim consciousness has been accelerated by the creed of multiculturalism, which despite intending to allow diversity flourish under a common banner of unity, has instead fostered difference by treating faith communities as monolithic blocks rather than individual citizens.

The result has been what Amartya Sen calls ‘plural monoculturalism’: a system in which people are constantly herded into different pens, with respective grievances and rights.

As a result, Bangladeshis, who have their own distinctive language and culture, are now grouped together with people from Iran to Indonesia….

….. reinforcing their sense of separateness on strength of their religious belief alone.

This rise in Muslim consciousness has been reinforced by a second, parallel, factor at work: the deliberate weakening of our collective identity in Britain.

Again, multiculturalism has its part to play.

By concentrating on defining the various cultures that have come to call Britain home, we have forgotten to define the most important one: our own.

We hear it more and more: what does it mean to be British?

We are less sure how to articulate an answer to that question than we ever have been in history.

Just recently, I stayed for a couple of nights with Abdullah and Shahida Rehman in Birmingham.

I spent a lot of time talking to them and their family, and also the wider Muslim community in the area.

Time after time I heard people talk about the uncivilised behaviour and values they see all around them.

Drugs, crime, incivility are – we have to admit – an all too common part of life in modern Britain.

We have to understand that integration is a two-way street. It is about more than immigrant communities, ‘their’ responsibilities and ‘their’ duties.

It has to be about the majority population too- the quality of life we offer, our society and our values.

Building a Positive Society

The challenge now is to create a positive vision of a British society that really stands for something and makes people want to be a part of it.

A society in which we are held together by a strong sense of shared identity and common values.

A society which encourages active citizenship, not a passive standing on the sidelines.

A society which people are not bullied to join, but are actively inspired to join.

It is about creating a framework of values in which people – all people – in our country feel they are part of a shared national endeavour, a positive purpose.

And I believe there are two key priorities in making this happen.

First, we need a clear sense of our British identity and ensure it is open to everyone.

Second, we need to build a society where people really feel they have the power to shape their own destiny.

Building Identity

Let me take each in turn.

First, a society that has the ability to inspire its citizens is one with a strong sense of history and values.

That’s because history and values together shape our identity.

History revolves around institutions, buildings, symbols; a sense of where you have come from and where you are going to.

Think of America.

Of course America is not perfect.

But it does succeed in creating, to an extent far more evident that we have achieved here, a real sense of common identity – about what it means to be an American.

Freedom. Family. Opportunity and community.

Now, this is not to say we in Britain have neither history nor values. We have plenty of the former and a keen sense of the latter.

The difference is that in America, this identity is positively and actively embraced by nearly everyone, regardless of his or her ethnic background and religious affiliation.

You can see it in daily rituals like the Pledge of Allegiance.

In the strong sense of emotional attachment and reverence towards Mount Rushmore and Arlington Cemetery.

And you can see it in America’s coming together on Independence Day and Thanksgiving.

It is this strong sense of inclusive identity that has helped make so many people feel part of American society.

In Britain, we have to be honest: we have failed to do the same.

We have not opened up our sense of citizenship to all those that have come to live here.

Of course the vast majority of families of recent immigrant origin do feel a strong sense of citizenship and what it is to be British.

Indeed, my time in Birmingham with the Rehmans showed that if we want to remind ourselves of British values – hospitality, tolerance and generosity to name just three – there are plenty of British Muslims ready to show us what those things really mean.

The problem is some do not.

That’s because much of this transmission of our identity is unspoken and instinctive.

‘Unspoken’ English, as it were, can be the most difficult language to learn if you come from elsewhere.

Now this does not mean we have to adopt flag-raising ceremonies or ritualistic pledges of allegiance to the monarchy.

But we can start by ensuring history is taught properly in schools.

This does not mean we have to gloss over all the things we are not entirely proud of, but we should at least celebrate the many positive things Britain has achieved both at home and abroad.

After all, you do not earn respect by constantly denigrating and repudiating your own culture

This must include teaching our children about concepts like the rule of law, free speech, freedom of the individual and parliamentary democracy.

We can also help foster a shared sense of identity by making sure immigrants can speak English.

Today, we have communities where people from different ethnic origins never meet, never talk, never go into each others’ homes.

Ultimately, it is an emotional connection that binds a country together. It is by contact that we overcome our differences – and realise that though our origins and our cultures may vary, we all share common values.

The most basic contact comes from talking to each other: and if people cannot speak the English this becomes near-impossibe.

And let’s be clear: when we say a common citizenship must be open to everyone in this country, we must mean everyone.

That must include women.

Now, I know there’s a myth in this country about Muslim women.

The idea that somehow all Muslim women are subservient observers of, rather than active participants in, British society.

Many are well educated and many play a vital role at the heart of their communities.

But we must not be naïve.

In certain sections of the community women are being denied access to education, work, and involvement in the political process.

These are all vital aspects of being a British citizen.

I’m told time and time again by women that the denial of these opportunities is not because of their Islamic faith but because of current cultural interpretations in Britain.

We must therefore be bold, and not hide behind the screen of cultural sensitivity…

…to say publicly that no woman should be denied rights which their country support, and, as we have learned from some speaker over the past couple of days, that some interpretations of Islam support too.

Empowering State

So bolstering our sense of identity and extending it to everyone is the first thing we need to do if we are to inspire people to feel British.

The second thing we have to do is build a society in which people really – and I mean really – have the power to shape their destinies.

These two things are mutually re-enforcing.

After all, common values, common identity and a common purpose can never be derived from the state alone.

They come from within society.

It’s a question of social responsibility: the attitudes, decisions and daily actions of every single person and every single organisation in society.

After all, it will be the many millions of individual acts between human beings that will determine the success of community cohesion.

And more people will assume their social responsibility and feel part of their community if they feel real control over its future.

Look at the Gallup World Poll.

It showed that what they dub as ‘involved’ citizens – that is, people who have donated money or volunteered time to an organisation, helped a stranger or voiced an opinion to a public official – are much more likely to think that people from minority ethnic groups enrich cultural life in Britain than those that are not involved.

The problem in Britain today is that the avenues and channels by which people are able to take control of their life and shape their own destiny have been eroded.

This is not just the case for minority ethnic populations. It is as true for the majority population too.

Britain is now one of the most centralised states in the developed world. People no longer feel they have the means or ability to change things.

When it comes to our schools, our health service, our neighbourhoods, people feel powerless to do anything.

Again, America can teach us a lesson.

It is one of the most decentralised countries in the world.

As a result, there exists a real sense of civic responsibility and engagement, as people look to their own community, not to central government, for solutions to the problems they face.

Just as importantly, they have a belief that no matter who they are or where they come from, if they work hard enough they can achieve their goals.

Afshin Ellian, an Iranian teaching Law in the Dutch town of Leiden, summed up the difference between this approach, and the one exercised in Europe:

“Five years ago, my Afghan sister-in-law emigrated to the United States, where she now works, pays taxes and takes part in public life. If she had turned up in Europe, she would still be undergoing treatment for her trauma – and she still wouldn’t have got a job or won acceptance as a citizen”.

What he is saying is obvious enough: a society that gives people the chance to get on in life, to fulfil their ambitions and feel that their contribution is part of a national effort is one that will inspire affection and loyalty.

So before we can offer real hope of changing society, we have to change the way we think and do politics in this country.

We need a radical re-distribution of power in our society from the centre to the local, so we can empower people and build the responsible society we all want to see.

The power to shape their communities.

The power to shape their public services.

The power to shape their futures.

In short, more power to the people.

I want to give everyone in our country, particularly in our great cities where immigrant communities are most concentrated, much greater control over what happens in their lives, with meaningful local participation, engagement and civic responsibility.

I know what you’ll say: Muslim communities already have a sense of civic responsibility that puts the rest of us to shame…

…and so the onus should be on the host population to step up to the plate and assume their responsibilities, by actively getting involved and reaching out to minority ethnic communities.

I agree with both sentiments entirely.

But the onus also lies with Muslim community and faith leaders, many of which are here today and whose work is an inspiration, to actively lead the communities they represent in the direction of involvement with the wider local community.

By that I mean extending their sense of civic responsibility and social work beyond places of worship or local community centres to people from other faith groups and backgrounds.

So let me be clear: we will not build a cohesive society if people do not assume their responsibilities.

And people will not assume their responsibilities if they do not have the power to control their lives.

“Power to the people” is one of the most deeply held Conservative ideas and in the weeks ahead we will start to show how we plan to extend it.

I began by saying that through a steadfast faith in our values and because society wanted to stand together as one, Britain has managed to answer the question of how we live together before.

And I said I believe we can do so again today.

It will require us to strengthen our identity and make it inspiring to many more people than is the case at the moment.

And it will require us to build the sort of responsible society that will make people want to play their part and stand together.

I am optimistic about our chances of doing this, because deep down, I believe the majority of us want the same.

A Britain proud of its past, and confident in its future.

A Britain built on a strong cultural identity but with the freedom to allow communities to practice their traditions.

And a Britain where if you want to play your part, there’s a place for you.

David Cameron – 2007 Speech on the Union


Below is the text of the speech made by David Cameron, the then Leader of the Opposition, on 19 April 2007.

United we are Safer

I support the union not only for what it has achieved in the past but for what it can achieve in the future. The labour party’s approach is to cow and bully Scotland into remaining part of the union. I believe this is the wrong approach – instead of threatening the people of Scotland we must inspire them.

Over the centuries, Scots have made an outstanding contribution to the UK’s military successes, from Waterloo to D-Day, from the Falklands to Afghanistan. Scotland punches above its weight in Britain’s Armed Forces and Britain punches above its weight in the world because of the expertise and bravery of those Armed Forces.

Scotland benefits from the expertise of the Metropolitan Police and MI5 in fighting both terrorism and organised crime.

United we are Stronger

Britain is one of only five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. We have a seat at the top table and are listened to in a way that other countries can only dream of.

Our ability to influence the European Union derives from our size within it. Smaller countries frequently complain that the EU is dominated by the bigger countries. Certainly, the UK would never have achieved its rebate without the institutional muscle that comes from a population of 60 million people.

United we are Richer

Britain has the fourth largest economy in the world. The City of London is overtaking New York as a global powerhouse. Edinburgh’s role as a major financial centre is built on the expertise of its workforce and underpinned by its position in the UK.

United we are Fairer

The NHS is one of the greatest institutions created in 20th century Europe. It is the best of British, created by a Welshman and benefiting enormously from the skill of doctors trained in Scotland’s great medical schools, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.

For all the talk of how we’re becoming a more selfish society, the principle of solidarity and the sense that we’re all in this together still burns brightly among the British people, and nowhere more so than in Scotland.

United we are More Civilized

Another institution we can all be proud of is the BBC. The British Broadcasting Corporation was founded by a Scotsman and is the most prestigious broadcaster on earth. People around the world tune into the BBC for news they can trust. The BBC also reminds us of our common culture. Programmes like Doctor Who and Mastermind aren’t English or Scottish – they’re British.

The English language is possibly the greatest export that Britain has ever produced. It was spoken here in the borders and in Edinburgh before it reached many parts of England. Thanks to the Empire it spread around the globe – in no small measure due the endeavour of Scots – and is now the world’s lingua franca.