Cameron: “I will lead you to the Promised Land"
There will be war and rumours of war; gloom, suffering, trial and tribulation. But David Cameron will lead us to the Promised Land: he will build the New Jerusalem and guide us to a time of plenty in a land flowing with milk and honey.
That was the essential thrust of the Prime Minister’s speech to the Conservative Party Conference and the nation. Cats and credit cards aside, it was an inspirational feel-good speech of the sort a leader has to make when the going is tough. And, boy, is it tough. It’s not quite Armageddon, but there’s just about every other apocalyptic disaster scenario present or immanent: alien terrorism; earthquake and tremors in the economy; famine in our homes; infection and plague in our political system; triffids are gathering in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Italy and Spain. All that’s missing is a collision with a comet and an extinction level biotic crisis.
But David Cameron will lead us out of this mess. And as he does so, he promises to build something worthwhile for us and our children. And so he talked of courage, sacrifice and moral strength. These are the only antidote to failure, pessimism, social problems and decline. The British, he said, are hard-working, pioneering, independent, creative, adaptable, optimistic, and ‘can-do’: “That’s the spirit that has made this United Kingdom what it is: a small country that does great things; one of the most incredible success stories in the history of the world.”
With appeals to Macmillan’s property-owning democracy, it was the speech of a one-nation ‘compassionate Conservative’. He brings us the ‘one-nation deficit reduction plan’ of a ‘one-nation party’. And he laid his compassionate credentials (very heavily) before us, talking of social projects in Rwanda, of women cuddling their babies, of the life-saving aid Britain gives to help the world’s poorest and most vulnerable. It got applause in the hall, but more than a few outside will question why we’re spending billions on overseas aid while our own bills keep going up – petrol, the weekly shop, gas, electricity; while the news is of job losses, cutbacks, closures; while we’re introducing tuition fees, and wondering how our children will ever cope. There’s no point preaching care and compassion when people want jobs and security.
But we are asked to trust: “Our plan is right. And our plan will work,” he said. And with allusions to biblical themes, he asks who but the Conservatives will lift the poorest up. It is only the wise Conservatives who build their house on rock: “The new economy we’re building: it’s like building a house. The most important part is the part you can’t see – the foundations that make it stable. Slowly, but surely, we’re laying the foundations for a better future. But this is the vital point: it will only work if we stick with it.”
Of course, sand is ubiquitous and cheaper to get to. It’s what Labour chose to build on. And it looks great and feels good – for a while.
There was a liberal smattering of feel-good verbiage - start, grow, build, thrive, succeed. And the Prime Minister is the very embodiment of hope and optimism. But there was an awful lot of hot air and waffle. “Unlocking growth and rebalancing our economy also requires change in Brussels,” he explained. You don’t say. So what are you doing about it? “The EU...isn’t working properly,” he opined. Well, what an earth-shattering revelation that is. What are you doing to change it? He talked of children growing up in a system that ‘keeps fudging the difference between right and wrong’. So, you’re abolishing moral relativism? He bemoaned that only 60 children out of 3660 under the age of one were adopted last year. You think forcing the closure of Roman Catholic adoption agencies helps?
But his ‘driving mission in politics is to build a Big Society, a stronger society’.
Ah, so it’s not the New Jerusalem.
We can safely leave that to Labour.
He explained that he supports ‘gay marriage’ because he’s a Conservative.
His Grace opposes ‘gay marriage’ because he’s a Conservative.
Mr Cameron explained some months back that ‘Christians should be tolerant and welcoming and broad-minded’.
So it really comes as no surprise to His Grace that he is intolerant, unwelcoming and narrow-minded, which amounts to being unloving, inhospitable and bigoted. Yes, His Grace opposes ‘gay marriage’, so in the Cameron theo-political paradigm he can be neither Conservative nor Christian; just a noisy gong and a clanging cymbal.
A bit like the Prime Minister’s speech.