The speaker talked of dreams. He communicated a compelling personal narrative, including a description of profound pain. He also told his enthusiastic audience, “It’s time to shake things up!” A 43-year old rising political star clearly made a connection with the crowd - further cementing his leadership role over a party poised to bring change they believe in to the nation they all love.
His name is David Cameron and the moment described is his appearance and speech at the Tory (Conservative) Party Conference in Manchester, England this past Thursday. Most polls in the U.K. indicate a trend toward the Tories as the realm moves toward its next national election, which will most likely be held by the first week of June 2010.
The Conservatives have been out of power since 1997, when Tony Blair and the Labour Party gained control. These have been wilderness years. But the party is now re-energized and poised to pull off an electoral repudiation of many of the big-government trends of the past decade.
Consider these nuggets from Cameron’s Manchester speech – and see if you don’t find yourself scratching your head and wishing America had a singular conservative voice to articulate a compelling vision for the future:
“We will need to confront Britain’s culture of irresponsibility and that will be hard to take for many people. And we will have to tear down Labour’s big government bureaucracy, ripping up its time-wasting, money-draining, responsibility-sapping nonsense.”
“It is government that has gotten us into this mess. Why is our economy broken?” he asked, “Because government got too big, spent too much and doubled the national debt.”
“Why is our society broken? Because government got too big, did too much and undermined responsibility. Why are our politics broken? Because government got too big, promised too much and pretended it had all the answers.”
He ridiculed “this idea that for every problem there’s a government solution for every issue, for every situation a czar…”
And – my favorite line of all: “Do you know the worst thing about their big government? It’s not the cost, though that’s bad enough. It’s the steady erosion of responsibility…we are not going to solve our problems with bigger government. We are going to solve our problems with a stronger society. Stronger families. Stronger communities. A stronger country. All by building responsibility.”