Cameron shamelessly compares himself to Obama

Tory leader compares his vision with the US President's.

Nick Clegg may have been accused of sounding rather like a certain US politician recently (all those references to "hope" and "change") but David Cameron has just taken Obama mimicry to a whole new level.

Here's how he ended his speech on the "broken society" today:

Inspired by the Big Society, not crushed by the effects of big government. Based on hope, optimism and faith in each other. Not rules, regulations and fear of each other. This is what Barack Obama called the audacity of hope. Now it is our turn to dare to believe that we can change our world. Together. All of us. So let's do it.

I think it's safe to assume that Obama, who opposed the Iraq war, supports "spreading the wealth" and believes in the power of government, does not believe that Cameron, who backed the war, plans to cut tax for the rich and believes, absurdly, that "big government" caused the financial crisis, is fit to claim his mantle.

Indeed, on policy areas from Lords reform ("a third-term issue" for Cameron) to the voting system, the Tory leader is not the candidate of change but the candidate of the status quo.

In any case, is it not an indictment of the right that Cameron now attempts to improve his image by comparing himself to a left-liberal politician? It's as good a reminder as any that this is a progressive, not a conservative moment.

 

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George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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The 5 things the Tories aren't telling you about their manifesto

Turns out the NHS is something you really have to pay for after all. 

When Theresa May launched the Conservative 2017 manifesto, she borrowed the most popular policies from across the political spectrum. Some anti-immigrant rhetoric? Some strong action on rip-off energy firms? The message is clear - you can have it all if you vote Tory.

But can you? The respected thinktank the Institute for Fiscal Studies has now been through the manifesto with a fine tooth comb, and it turns out there are some things the Tory manifesto just doesn't mention...

1. How budgeting works

They say: "a balanced budget by the middle of the next decade"

What they don't say: The Conservatives don't talk very much about new taxes or spending commitments in the manifesto. But the IFS argues that balancing the budget "would likely require more spending cuts or tax rises even beyond the end of the next parliament."

2. How this isn't the end of austerity

They say: "We will always be guided by what matters to the ordinary, working families of this nation."

What they don't say: The manifesto does not backtrack on existing planned cuts to working-age welfare benefits. According to the IFS, these cuts will "reduce the incomes of the lowest income working age households significantly – and by more than the cuts seen since 2010".

3. Why some policies don't make a difference

They say: "The Triple Lock has worked: it is now time to set pensions on an even course."

What they don't say: The argument behind scrapping the "triple lock" on pensions is that it provides an unneccessarily generous subsidy to pensioners (including superbly wealthy ones) at the expense of the taxpayer.

However, the IFS found that the Conservatives' proposed solution - a "double lock" which rises with earnings or inflation - will cost the taxpayer just as much over the coming Parliament. After all, Brexit has caused a drop in the value of sterling, which is now causing price inflation...

4. That healthcare can't be done cheap

They say: "The next Conservative government will give the NHS the resources it needs."

What they don't say: The £8bn more promised for the NHS over the next five years is a continuation of underinvestment in the NHS. The IFS says: "Conservative plans for NHS spending look very tight indeed and may well be undeliverable."

5. Cutting immigration costs us

They say: "We will therefore establish an immigration policy that allows us to reduce and control the number of people who come to Britain from the European Union, while still allowing us to attract the skilled workers our economy needs." 

What they don't say: The Office for Budget Responsibility has already calculated that lower immigration as a result of the Brexit vote could reduce tax revenues by £6bn a year in four years' time. The IFS calculates that getting net immigration down to the tens of thousands, as the Tories pledge, could double that loss.

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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