Cameron: 'a man with a plan'

PRIME Minister presumptive David Cameron told delegates on the closing day of the Tory conference that they could trust him to rebuild Britain broken society and broken economy because he was “a man with a plan.

Graham Dines

PRIME Minister presumptive David Cameron told delegates on the closing day of the Tory conference that they could trust him to rebuild Britain broken society and broken economy because he was “a man with a plan.”

There would be no miracle cure, taxes would not be cut although his administration's first priority would be to rein in Government borrowing and spending.

In his crucial keynote speech on the final day of a conference which has been overshadowed by turmoil in the banking sector, Mr Cameron insisted that Britain needs "judgment and character”, not experience, from its leader in difficult economic times.

In a direct challenge to Prime Minister Gordon Brown's claim that in the current crisis it is “no time for a novice,” Mr Cameron said that Britain needed an immediate change of direction

"The risk is not in making a change,” he said. "The risk is sticking with what you've got and expecting a different result.

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“Experience means you are implicated in the old system that's failed. You can't admit that change is needed, because that would mean admitting you've got it wrong.'”

Although the country was going through "difficult times', Mr Cameron said he was optimistic Britain will come through to "better times ahead'.

Mr Cameron said: “We know that our task is to take people with us. Rebuilding our battered economy. Renewing our bureaucratised NHS. Repairing our broken society. That is our plan for change. "But in these difficult times we promise no new dawns, no overnight transformations.

“I'm a man with a plan, not a miracle cure.”

“I know we are living in difficult times, but I am still optimistic because I have faith in human nature in our remarkable capacity to innovate, to experiment, to overcome obstacles and to find a way through difficulties whether those problems are created by man or nature.

"We can and will come through. We always do. Not because of our government. But because of the people of Britain..”

He restated his offer to work with the Government on action to restore stability to the financial sector, but insisted that this did not mean that Conservatives would hold back from criticising Mr Brown and the mistakes which they believe have contributed to the credit crunch.

He promised he would reverse Mr Brown's decision to strip the Bank of England of the power to regulate financial markets and would end the Government's "spendaholic' approach to the public finances.

“We understand the gravity of the situation our country is in,” he said. "And our response is measured, proportionate and reasonable. The test of a political party is whether it can rise to the challenge of what the country requires and what the times demand. I believe we have passed that test this week.'

Mr Cameron was scathing in his rebuttal of Labour claims that he lacks the experience to run the country at a time of economic crisis.

Mr Cameron added: “If we listened to this argument about experience, we'd never change a government, ever. We'd have - wait for it - Gordon Brown as Prime Minister for ever.

"Gordon Brown talks about his economic experience. The problem is we have actually experienced his experience. We've experienced the massive increase in debt. We have experienced the huge rise in taxes. We experienced the folly of pretending that boom and bust could be ended.

"This is the argument we will make when the election comes. The risk is not in making a change. The risk is sticking with what you've got and expecting a different result.

"There is a simple truth for times like this. When you've taken the wrong road, you don't just keep going. You change direction - and that is what we need to do.'

Mr Cameron's 64-minute speech was rewarded by a lengthy standing ovation from delegates in Birmingham as he was joined on stage by his wife.

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