The public narrative of the coalition over the past 18 months has been dominated by cuts, inflation, sluggish growth, scandals, rioting, international sovereign debt crises, parliamentary rebellions and more cuts. Is it any wonder that David Cameron has gotten his inner circle in Downing Street to put together a new strategy for the new year?
After the debris of the Autumn Statement and the EU veto there has certainly been a shift in emphasis away from the economy and Europe towards David Cameron's social mission.
David Cameron's social mission is to revitalise the social bonds which have been gradually superseded by an impersonal and oppressive state bureaucracy. He wants to see organic social institutions like marriage, family, community, and religion as fundamental parts of our lives but with a 21st century twist. This is a more liberal conservatism which embraces homosexuality, feminine independence and cultural diversity. Underpinning this whole vision is a robust belief in moral responsibility. David Cameron does not just want to reform public services. He wants to reform public manners as well.
We saw this reorientation start last week. First came the announcement to introduce a new Troubled Families Team which will provide 'Trouble Shooters' as a single point of contact for 120,000 dysfunctional families which currently cost the British taxpayer £9 billion every year. Then there was David Cameron's first major speech on religion where he said:
"Shying away from speaking the truth about behaviour, about morality, has actually helped to cause some of the social problems that lie at the heart of the lawlessness we saw with the riots."
Nick Clegg has also inadvertently reinforced David Cameron's social mission by attacking the Conservatives' proposal for tax breaks on married couples by dismissing them as supporting an "outdated" and "1950's model" of marriage. However, this is rather difficult to argue when the tax breaks would also cover gay couples who are able to adopt children.
This reorientation has finally come after momentum was lost in the aftermath of the August 2011 riots and after months of the Liberal Democrats monopolising 'compassion' and sustaining the false perception of the 'nasty' Conservatives.
Admittedly, David Cameron has been blown off course by events which have had the beneficial effect of reinforcing his credibility as a statesman, such as the Libyan intervention or his EU veto, but he cannot allow his government to be held hostage by events. It is of course essential that the budget deficit is eliminated, the economy is made more competitive and the Eurozone crisis is resolved but people have to see that the Conservatives have a positive and lasting vision for prosperity.
The gaping wounds from the August 2011 riots are still fresh and the deprived communities of 'Broken Britain' are still with us. It is these people who are suffering the most during these tough economic times and need the most help.
That is why it is so important that David Cameron continues to push on with his social mission to make moral responsibility an integral part of our lives. Only then can we begin to rebuild 'Broken Britain'.
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