Cameron's speech: Has he saved his leadership?

David Cameron addresses the nation and his party on the final day of the Conservative party conference

Cameron_at_conference
Last chance in the Cameroon saloon? Not yet.
On 10 October 2012 10:49

Cameron's speech to Tory conference was about the 'rise of Britain'.

"Yes it's taking longer" he argued, but the Prime Minister's insistence that the Conservative party was making the responsible choices for the country was the core message from his speech.

There will be no media moment for Cameron, as Miliband had when he co-opted One Nation Conservatism - but as far as charming the base was concerned, Cameron's speech was just about enough.

He wasn't speaking as a cold and distant chief executive as so many have recently felt, this speech was made as an understanding boss on the factory floor. As the workers of the party, the grassroots, continued at the coal face, Cameron insisted he was there with them.

His tone was explanatory and somber, almost pleading but oddly, with authority. Instead of Clegg's impression of the orphan Oliver, Cameron insisted that more of him is necessary, more of him is responsible, more of him is the only way for Britain to grow again.

As we suggested on our podcast last week, Cameron deflected Miliband's criticisms from last week with rapier wit. He went on to 'explain' to Ed how tax works, to great applause from the crowded hall. "When people earn money, it's THEIR money!" insisted Cameron, as he defended the idea of lower taxes.

Describing Britain as 'buccaneering', Cameron told of how he would get Britain's economy moving again. He approached the 'Yes but no' people who approve of growth but discourage the means such as planning reform and axing red tape. 

But the pivotal moment for me was in Cameron's insistence that job seekers should not receive money indefinitely. He attacked people who "play computer games all day" in an attempt to escape a loathed reality - a bold statement which will risk many young votes, but a necessary one to set out the government's zero-tolerance on benefit abuse.

Another key moment was his encouragement towards how Great Britain could be. Positivity was important to get right at the end of a tough and at times emotional speech, and Cameron closed on the excellent "let us get out there and do it" message.

In short, the Prime Minister's speech to his party conference will buy him some time. At least until sometime next year, when Cameron will have European elections looming, when he will have the withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan to point to, when more noise will be made and countered over Scottish independence and importantly, when the idea of a European referendum will loom largest.

Earlier this week, we asked, is it the last chance in the Cameroon saloon? It's not. But moving the clocks back will only fool the landlord for so long.

Unless Cameron wins major battles against the Lib Dems, against the SNP and against the Europhiles in his own party over the next year, the bell will almost certainly ring for last orders, and Cameron will be out on his ear.

Raheem Kassam is the Executive Editor of The Commentator and tweets at @RaheemJKassam

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