David Cameron’s speech open thread

David Cameron makes his 10th speech to Conservative Party Conference. His ministers have already sickened many with comments on immigration, young people’s productivity and justifying cutting benefits for poor people by suggesting that they need to work harder. Let’s not forget that the Tories have already given a massive cut in Inheritance Tax for the very wealthy.

It’s almost as if the Tories think they are off the hook. They can say what they like because they feel no threat from Jeremy Corbyn. They feel that their election campaign for 2020 is written. All they have to do, they think, is put out leaflets with his “nuclear button” comments. Will there come a point, though, when that just can’t help them? I certainly hope so.

And before he even gets up, I’m annoyed. The BBC’s Jo Coburn gave us some commentary on Samantha Cameron’s outfit as she and Dave walked over to the Conference Centre. Why?

I guess the question is whether the world will actually last through the speech – a Christian group has predicted its demise today, although that would be unfortunate given that it’s the Bake Off final tonight.

Likely to be the line of the day:

But then neither are Britain and the wishes of the vested interests of the Conservative Party the same thing.

He talks about a one nation compassionate Conservative party. How can you be compassionate when you refer to a “swarm” of vulnerable human beings?

Cameron justifies extra-judicial drone killings and condemns Corbyn. But he misrepresents what Corbyn actually said about Bin Laden’s death. He also referred to him as “that man.” We’ll hear lots more of this while Corbyn’s leader. It’s the equivalent of a defuse button on that compelling new card game “Exploding Kittens.”

“A child studying for GCSEs is more likely to have a smartphone than have a dad live with them.” What a meaningless comparison, and one desperate for the fact checkers to have a look at.

Although others have done nasty stuff for him.

Fine outline of the problems of discrimination and he says Tories want to end it – but gives no details of how they would do that.

He went off on a great thing talking about tackling extremism and how something had to be done about forced marriages and FGM. You mean like Lynne Featherstone did during the Coalition years? And see Lynne’s comment copied from below:

Caron – not only FGM does Cameron reference and infer came from him – also same-sex marriage and name-blank employment i.e. the work I did on proving foreign sounding name applications get rejected far more often than British sounding names. Shameless!

In fact it’s not like he said “Hey, fab, we’ve got rid of these pesky Lib Dems.” It’s like we were never there at all:

But just because someone keeps going on about things that might appeal to the people in that “moderate centre ground” that we all seem to be fighting over, it doesn’t mean that they are actually embedded in it. The people who have been saying the nasty stuff over the past few days aren’t on the lunatic fringes of the party. They are in the Cabinet. By their deeds shall you know them and all that.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Tempting as it may be….. they’d be daft to underestimate Jeremy Corbyn…………..

  • Lynne Featherstone 7th Oct '15 - 12:45pm

    Caron – not only FGM does Cameron reference and infer came from him – also same-sex marriage and name-blank employment i.e. the work I did on proving foreign sounding name applications get rejected far more often than British sounding names. Shameless!

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 7th Oct '15 - 12:49pm

    Cheers, Lynne. I’ve copied that and put it in the main piece.

  • ……………………………Lynne Featherstone 7th Oct ’15 – 12:45pm………Caron– not only FGM does Cameron reference and infer came from him – also same-sex marriage and name-blank employment i.e. the work I did on proving foreign sounding name applications get rejected far more often than British sounding names. Shameless!

    I’m sorry, but what did we expect; praise? …From this conference we’ve learned that the Conservative party are responsible for everything from the ‘abolition of slavery’, ‘rescuing children from factories’, FGM, etc…

    If it ran a little longer I’m sure we’d discover that it was the Conservative party who let God have his “Sunday-Off”…

  • @David Raw

    True, but everyone else would be even more foolish to underestimate the Conservatives.

    This conference was made to appeal to both the crazies on the right and the centrists in the party. If things continue like this we can kiss goodbye to that wide open centre that we were supposedly going to occupy and it won’t matter how hard we scream “they’re not really centrists!” because at the moment, nobody is listening to us.

  • Helen Tedcastle 7th Oct '15 - 2:03pm

    I think Miranda Green’s tweet has it about right. It’s clever politics. This is why Tim is right to prioritise real bread and butter issues that resonate with the majority of the electorate. That way we have a chance of being taken seriously again.

  • Eddie Sammon 7th Oct '15 - 2:24pm

    It looks like a very good speech, but policies need to match words. Tory toxicity is not going to go down much after this parliament’s austerity. I think I can vote for them in a locals or European without feeling much shame, but to vote for them in a general election and endorsing most of the things they’ve done is another matter.

    When it comes to extra-judicial killings: the people who died were plotting extra-judicial killings against Britons.

  • To be brutally honest I can’t take Cameron seriously since piggate. It’s the comedy elephant in the room. Unfair, I I know but it stands there all big and obvious and you have to pretend that you haven’t noticed as you walk gingerly round it pretending to be more focused on serious matters. Also when someone announce they are not going to stand next time you’re sort of more interested in who the replacement is and what they have to say., With Cameron it comes across like the beginning of a four year final tour by a fundamentally insubstantial politician that no one outside of Conservative circles is that interested in really.

  • “The BBC’s Jo Coburn gave us some commentary on Samantha Cameron’s outfit as she and Dave walked over to the Conference Centre. Why?”

    Perhaps because ‘the PM is wearing a bespoke suit made by X on Savile Row costing £Y,000 and handmade shoes by Z costing £Q,00/0’ doesn’t give a ‘man of the people image…’

    “His ministers have already sickened many with comments on […] young people’s productivity[…]”

    In fairness the point about under 25’s being less productive is true (for a significant number), the less experienced tend to be less productive. The problem for the Tories is that the solution to that is to ensure that there is a good top up system while people build their productivity like say… errr, Tax Credits! Oh, wait… hmmm.

  • PHIL THOMAS 7th Oct '15 - 7:18pm

    Why not give credit where credit is due ? You guys were happy to be in bed with the Tories only a few months ago. Since then every thing has gone sour ? Blaming the Tories for the Election wipe out does not wear. Cameron did lead on Gay marriage where Tim Farron hid in the cupboard hoping no one would ask him to vote either way ?

  • Peter Watson 7th Oct '15 - 9:07pm

    I’ve only heard snippets, but the reporting on BBC news made it sound like a pitch for the “Orange Book” vote and it did leave me wondering about the future of the Lib Dems if it does signify a sincere (or even an insincerely spun) land grab for the centre-ground by compassionate or one-nation conservatism.

  • Eddie Sammon 7th Oct '15 - 9:18pm

    Peter Watson is right that it was a pitch for “Orange bookers”, but the big problem with the Tories are not their morals but the fact they don’t look after communities properly.

    It doesn’t matter how much you spend on international aid if public sector workers are subjected to pay-freezes, tax credit cuts, job losses and then possibly benefit cuts. People look out for their family and friends and too often that means “don’t vote Tory”. That’s what I think anyway.

  • Cameron’s personal attack on Corbyn on the ‘tragedy’ issue was completely ruthless and unprincipled. They sure have sharp claws in the Tory Party and never seem to trouble themselves about inexactitudes of the actualite.

    On a lesser point,……. as the grandson of the largest landowner (and High Sheriff) in Berkshire and a multimillionaire grain futures trader from Chicago who retired to a large estate on the banks of the Dee in Aberdeenshire……. it really does take the biscuit when Dave says ‘we have a standard of living our grandparents could only dream of’……

    If that attracts the Orange Bookers – good luck to them – no great loss there then.

  • This sort of stuff really won’t be going down well with the blue-rinsers. We should be damning him with faint praise.

  • Andrew McCaig 7th Oct '15 - 10:11pm

    Peter Watson,

    I don’t think there is any such thing as an “orange book vote”. 2010 Lib Dem voters who were inclined towards the Tories already jumped ship in 2015, for the most part (balanced almost exactly by Tories who went to UKIP). However it happened disproportionately in Lab-Con marginals like Pudsey, whereas where we had some credibility we actually held onto ur vote better (in proportional terms). What Cameron is doing is trying to get the right wing of the Labour Party to jump straight to the Tories. In Tory-Labour marginals that is what they may do. Where we have some credibility still they are more likely to jump to us.

    Meanwhile what Cameron says is rather undone by what he is actually DOING – taking £1200 from a family getting tax credits while giving £140,000 to the children of a couple passing on a £1 million home, for example.

  • Having finally actually listened to his speech. It actually sounded like a lot soundbites strung together to present hard right personal debt increasing economic policies as innocuous, It’s was very much in line with the kind of speeches he made in the run up to 2010, complete with his random anecdote generator and peculiar, some might even suggest, amoral, inversions of concepts like fairness where threats are presented as encouragement and equality only really means equality of poverty for the vulnerable. It wasn’t a good speech. It was shallow, full of tricks and all rang a bit hollow.

  • Eddie Sammon 8th Oct '15 - 1:01am

    Changed my mind about voting Conservative in the locals and Europeans. If I can’t vote Conservative without saying “but” then I don’t want to vote for them.

    Cameron needs more than a good speech.

  • The ramblings of a vacuous unprincipled man. An irreligious man who preaches about intolerance and this is dangerous. Are we all going to be enslaved by Conformity once again?

  • Alex Macfie 8th Oct '15 - 6:41am

    Eddie Sammon: Would you vote Conserative in European elections given the company they keep? Let’s just remind ourselves of some of the Tories’ sister parties in the ECR group: the Dutch party that wants to deny women the vote; the party of the Kaczynski twins; the Lithuanian holocaust deniers; the Danish People’s Party. Clegg once described the European party group to which the Tories belong using three words beginning with N, A and H.

  • Alex Macfie 8th Oct '15 - 9:30am

    @jedibeeftrix : Sinn Fein and the ex-communists belong to GUE-NGL, not to S&D (the mainstream centre-left group to which our Labour party belongs, formerly called PES). Lega Nord was in the former UEN group, which could be thought of as a spiritual ancestor of ECR (it had many of the same parties); it is now in UKIP’s group. ECR consists almost entirely of crazy parties.
    There is a difference between several parties with different ideologies agreeing to work together to form a stable majority government out of necessity, and parties forming alliances voluntarily due to perceived common ideological outlook. The latter is what happens in the European Parliament. There are no governing “coalitions” in the European Parliament, as it doesn’t work like that (instead, party groups form ‘dynamic coalitions’ to win votes on an issue-by-issue basis). If Tory MEPs have formed a bond with Christian fundamentalists and holocaust-deniers, it is because they see themselves as having a similar political outlook to these people.

  • David Raw 7th Oct ’15 – 9:26pm……………..Cameron’s personal attack on Corbyn on the ‘tragedy’ issue was completely ruthless and unprincipled. They sure have sharp claws in the Tory Party and never seem to trouble themselves about inexactitudes of the actualite…………

    No change there…Reminiscent of the Mail’s attack on Milliband’s father.. An even more outrageous thing was to watch the media (including the ‘neutral’ BBC) repeating the edited version of Corbyn’s ‘tragedy’ speech…
    Mind you, some on here have done the same…. Sadly, A lie repeated often enough becomes the truth…

  • Psi yes that could be why, although I actually thought she was commenting on the fact that Sam Cam was wearing a SLEEVELESS dress in mid-October brrrrr

  • @ Andrew McCaig. “Meanwhile what Cameron says is rather undone by what he is actually DOING – taking £1200 from a family getting tax credits while giving £140,000 to the children of a couple passing on a £1 million home, for example.”

    Flashman rules !!

  • Nick Collins 8th Oct '15 - 11:05am

    The gulf between what he says and the effects of his governments’ policies would be laughable if it were not so contemptible..

    As for his comments on Corbyn: to call them OTT would be excessively polite to a man (Cameron) who deserves no such courtesy.

  • Charles Rothwell 8th Oct '15 - 12:11pm

    I hope Dave enjoyed the applause, as I think we have just seen the zenith/high point of the Cameron Number Ten years (majority Tory government for the first time since 1997 which was not foreseen by anyone (including, as he virtually admitted, DC himself!) (all due thanks to Ms Sturgeon and her Tartan Army!)) It will all be downhill from here onwards: benefit cuts (which are only a very small part of the overall cuts which are on the way), the succession wars really getting going (i.e. “How can we ditch BoJo so as to ensure George has a safe home run?”) (probably by talking up May and (even) Nicky Morgan’s chances in order to split the vote), NHS totally on the edge of break-down, an ever darkening foreign policy situation (Russia, Ukraine, Syria), an even darker possible economic constellation/threat of new recession (China, commodity prices, world trade and, above all, US interest rates ((literally!) what price “homes for all!” then?!) and, of course, the one which has been a generation in gestation and is going to do to them precisely what the Corn Laws did to Peel’s government: Europe! Good bye, Dave.

  • Eddie Sammon 8th Oct '15 - 1:19pm

    Hi Alex Macfie, I would have to look into that, but my main problem is I think Cameron is the only one who can be trusted to seriously damage ISIS.

    The more I think about ISIS the more I want to vote Conservative, so I think it is best we don’t speak about it.


  • Eddie,
    Cameron has had four years to deal with ISIS during which time they expanded there territory. Not one hostage saved, a huge refugee crisis , silent about his Libya disaster, unable eve to stop school girls joining IS, supine in the face of Saudi duplicity and on and on. The last person you should trust with ISIS is David Cameron, And lets be realistic here at best he’s going to add a couple more jets to look like he’s doing something and then refocus his rhetoric on Russia because the millions wasted on pretending there are moderate “rebel” forces have been comprehensively laid bare. An utter waste of space and an international laughing stock because porcine accusations to boot.

  • Eddie,

    I recognise why the security situation would drive you towards the conservatives, all the other parties sound remarkably close to pacifists right now (which can be a principled stance but looks more like political opportunism).

    My concern is that I don’t see that there is a wider plan, bombing is not a solution on its own there needs to be a (realistic) vision of what will exist afterwards and how to achieve that. I don’t see the Tories have any idea in that area.

    Personally I think we need to get Turkey on side with a Kurdish state in the north of Iraq and Syria, by giving them soma assurances over the resistance of that state to any separatist moves in turkey itself, we will them need to start dealing with Russia and Assad about how he will exit. The problem is that the last intervention was a “bomb and hope” campaign and the lack of planning showed, we need a better idea next time.

    I’m not a fan of either the opportunistic pacifisms or the “bomb and this time it will be different” approach. I can understand the security situation driving you away from many parties I can’t see why it would drive any one towards any parties position.

  • Richard Underhill 8th Oct '15 - 2:01pm

    On FGM DC was right to say who the perpetrators are and the Tory audience in the hall needed to be told.
    During the coalition the Minister for Crime Prevention, Norman Baker, put out a joint statement with Lynne Featherstone about FGM. DC repeated it at PMQ, correctly saying that it is torture. Partially this may because FGM meets the definition of torture which had been announced in the Commons by an earlier government.
    Let us not be too tribal about this, it is happening because of deep-seated traditional cultures in some countries abroad and it is happening in the UK now. All political parties should be horrified by FGM and all political parties should act against it, whoever is in power at whatever level.
    A claimed fear of FGM is the basis of some asylum claims, causing deep anguish among staff. The refugee convention does, of course, deal with perceptions as well as facts. If FGM is reported as widespread in, say, Mali, there may be very litle relaible information available, even from F&CO.
    If a convicted criminal is detained, claims asylum at a late stage and refuses to see a female doctor in the prison or detention centre, another problem arises. A specially trained female asylum caseworker should be allocated to do the interview. There may be cultural shyness. There may be distress comparable to rape victims. If recognition as a refugee is not appropriate, humaritarian protection under the ECHR may be.

  • …..” Russia proposed more than three years ago that Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, could step down as part of a peace deal, according to a senior negotiator involved in back-channel discussions at the time. Former Finnish president and Nobel peace prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari said western powers failed to seize on the proposal. Ahtisaari held talks with envoys from the five permanent members of the UN security council in February 2012. He said that during those discussions, the Russian ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, laid out a three-point plan, which included a proposal for Assad to cede power at some point after peace talks had started between the regime and the opposition…..But he said that the US, Britain and France were so convinced that the Syrian dictator was about to fall, they ignored the proposal…….

    Sadly, things have moved on and, NOW, there are only two alternatives; Assad or ISIS….For those decrying Putin; take YOUR pick!


  • Peter Watson 8th Oct '15 - 2:11pm

    @Charles Rothwell “all due thanks to Ms Sturgeon and her Tartan Army!”
    No, all due thanks to an irrational fear of an SNP-controlled coalition with Labour that Nick Clegg did more than his fare share to promote.

  • Actually, I thought that it was the best speech that I have ever heard from a Tory leader, and I say this as a Farronista no way a Cleggon! We are being pressed from both sides – Corbyn takes idealism, Cameron takes most of the policy field. we are in deep trouble!

  • Matthew Huntbach 8th Oct '15 - 3:49pm


    Cameron’s speech was filled with free market libertarian – liberal, even – rhetoric dressed up as New Labour and interspersed with defiant tub-thumping soundbites such as the one about Corbyn. A couple of stand-up jokes too. Well-crafted but really quite light.

    Indeed. The coverage of it is a continuation of the coverage of Cameron throughout – so much of what is outright propaganda, based on very dubious right-wing assumptions, is reported as if it is fact. We had this in 2010: because Cameron waved his hands around about “Big Society” (which turned out to mean nothing at all), and shifted on a few old-style small-c conservative issues that have no connection with what is now the core of what the Conservative Party is about – extreme right-wing economics – he was reported as being “moderate”, whereas he’s taking the Conservatives ever further to the right. The Liberal Democrats lost out on this, because the Conservatives have moved so far to the right that hard-fought compromises achieved with them in the coalition still ended up to the right of how the Conservative Party was when it was last in government, and so the LibDems were quite wrongly accused of having just given in to the Tories.

    An obvious example of this is the way the Tory approach to housing was sold from 1979 onwards as building a home-owning democracy or some such stuff, but the long term effect is now evident: cutting off the opportunity to own homes and forcing people into rip-off private renting. Yet still policies which carry on with this and do nothing to deal with the real reason people are shut out of home ownership are written up as being about expanding home ownership. Because it still seems this way if you’re very rich and have no idea what life is like at the bottom of the pile – as applies to most media commentators.

  • Peter Watson 8th Oct '15 - 4:30pm

    @John Innes “We are being pressed from both sides – Corbyn takes idealism, Cameron takes most of the policy field. we are in deep trouble!”
    Excellent summary.
    I’m sure that somebody could pop up and say that neither of them is doing liberalism, but one problem with that is that starting with “liberal” principles seems to lead some people to policies that are indistinguishable from the Tories’ while others are lead to policies that are indistinguishable from Labour’s (and each group then accuses the other of being in the wrong party). Somebody here recently referred to the distinction between “freedom to” and “freedom from” which seems appropriate in this context.

  • Eddie Sammon 8th Oct '15 - 5:07pm

    Thanks Glenn and Psi. All things considered I still think the Tories are strongest in this area. I was strongly against bombing Syria in 2013 and most of the UK public were against it too, but recently I think Cameron has been right.

    Tim needs to strengthen the party’s position. Pointing out the flaws of the Tories might stop me voting for them, but it isn’t going to make me vote Lib Dem.

  • Russia’s air force hit 27 Daesh targets overnight in the Syrian provinces of Homs, Hama and Raqqa.
    So who is voting for Putin?

  • Manfarang 8th Oct ’15 – 5:45pm ………………..Russia’s air force hit 27 Daesh targets overnight in the Syrian provinces of Homs, Hama and Raqqa………………

    And the US response is…”Moscow will soon start paying the price for its escalating military intervention in Syria in the form of reprisal attacks and casualties, the US defence secretary has warned, amid signs that Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies are preparing to counter the Russian move.”

    Remind me; are we the ‘good guys’?

  • Andrew McCaig 8th Oct '15 - 8:23pm


    Concerning Syria, Cameron has been right about what, exactly? I have not noticed him say anything of substance tbh. Extending the bombing to Syria? That will make no difference whatsoever!

    Encouraging the “moderate rebels” to make peace with Assad before they get swallowed by Isis and al-Quaeda and bombed to pieces by Russia would be my pragmatic suggestion… That is if there are any “moderate rebels” left…

    Or perhaps you think Cameron is doing something about the refugee crisis? – my feeling is that he has kicked his promise of 20,000 refugees into the long grass where he hopes no-one will find it. After all, the policy of taking deserving refugees direct from the camps has been in place since 2014, and only a tiny handful have arrived by that route.. What Cameron is doing about the refugee crisis is letting other people try and solve it, just as he did with Ukraine and other foreign policy issues… It is not his strong suit..

  • Eddie Sammon 8th Oct '15 - 8:58pm

    Hi Andrew, I don’t want to talk about it much more under this article. I just think Cameron seems to have a sense of urgency in defeating ISIS that the other parties lack.

    If you want a specific example then I support the principle of drone strikes. I want civilians and soldiers protected and I don’t think you can negotiate with these people.

  • Andrew McCaig ” …It is not his strong suit..”

    I think he has been very clever. The Tories cannot be seen to be “lax on immigration” and Cameron is not going to let tens of thousands of Syrians and others into the UK, knowing what opening up our borders to Eastern Europeans has done to Labour’s reputation. No, he has stopped the influx and very soon people will forget about Syrians and the people in Calais. I don’t agree with this by the way but The Tories are nothing if not single-mindedly ruthless.

  • expats
    A Chinese aircraft carrier, the Liaoning-CV-16, has already been spotted at the Syrian port of Tartus on the Mediterranean coast. It was said to be accompanied by a guided missile cruiser.

  • Eddie
    There are some in the American military who say that the British army in southern Iraq was defeated.
    No one is going to send British troops to Syria.(airstrikes will make little difference) Cameron is full of empty words.

  • Richard Underhill 9th Oct '15 - 8:49pm

    Jayne Mansfield 7th Oct ’15 – 4:11pm Yes, he was a supporter of Michael Howard (something of the night about him?) who is loyal to his protegee, but a split is developing. No. 10 seems to have briefed The Times that the PM did not agree with the Home Secretary using the easiest methods of getting removals, namely foreign graduates. Business Secretary Vince Cable said the same in government. The PM attended the speeches of the Chancellor and the Myor of London but not the Home Secretary. Maybe he sees her as a threat to his authority.

  • Phyllis 9th Oct ’15 – 10:17pm ………………..If Cameron thought it was expedient to sound as right-wing as May, he would do it like a shot…………

    That sums up the Tory conference.. Their rhetoric changes but their actions reveal their true colours… Sadly, we have a media (and I include the current BBC) that asks few real questions….A week ago Andrew Marr ‘interviewed’ Cameron, who ‘waffled’ on about ‘welfare cuts’ being needed to protect the NHS. The breaking news was about the ‘black hole’ in NHS funding, did Marr raise the issue… No chance

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