David Cameron today pledged to defend “family, community, country” as he set out his vision for “a responsible society” under the Conservatives.
Promising he had the character, temperament and judgment to lead Britain, he described “how good things could be” if Government was cut back to help “put Britain back on her feet”.
He started with "I want to get straight to the point.We all know how bad things are: massive debt, social breakdown, political disenchantment. But what I want to talk about today is how good things could be. Don't get me wrong, I have no illusions. If win this election, it is going to be tough. There will have to be cutbacks in public spending, and that will be painful. 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.
"Why is our society broken? Because government got too big, did too much and undermined responsibility.
Recognising that what holds society together is responsibility, and that the good society is a responsible society – that’s what I’m about, that’s what any government I lead will be about,” Mr Cameron told the Conservative party conference in Manchester.
On Law and Order . . . .
The instinct to protect the people we love is so strong. Nearly two years ago it was that instinct – that love – that drove Fiona Pilkington to do something desperate.
When I first read her story in the paper I found it difficult to finish the article – it's one of the saddest things I've ever read.
Fiona was so driven to despair by the vile thugs that bullied her and her lovely disabled daughter Francecca and by the police that didn't answer her cries for help that she could only see one way out. She put her daughter in her car, drove to a layby, and set it on fire.
If no one would protect them then by ending their lives, she was keeping them safe.
No one could hurt them anymore. Just think about what we allowed to happen here in our country. This goes deep and it's been going on for years.
It is about a breakdown of all the things that are meant to keep us safe … a complete breakdown of responsibility.
A breakdown of morality in the minds of those thugs a total absence of feeling or conscience. A breakdown in community where a neighbour is left to reach a pitch of utter misery. And a breakdown of our criminal justice system.
Every part of it, the police, the prosecution services, the prisons … is failing under the weight of big government targets and bureaucracy. The police aren't on the streets because they're busy complying with ten different inspection regimes. The police say the CPS isn't charging people because they have to hit targets to reduce the number of unsuccessful trials.
And the prisons aren't rehabilitating offenders because they're focused on meeting thirty-three different performance indicators.
This all needs to change. I'm not going to stand here and promise you a country where nothing bad ever happens. I do not underestimate how difficult it will be to deal with this problem of crime and disorder.
We cannot rebuild social responsibility from on high. But the least we can do the least we can do is pledge to all the people who are scared, who live their lives in fear and who can't protect themselves, that a Conservative government, with Chris Grayling, with Dominic Grieve, will reform the police, reform the courts, reform prisons. We will be there to protect you.
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.
Of course it was done with the best intentions. And let's be clear: not everything Labour did was wrong.
Devolution; the minimum wage; civil partnerships, these are good things that we will we keep.
But this idea that for every problem there's a government solution for every issue an initiative, for every situation a czar …
It ends with them making you register with the government to help out your child's football team. With police officers punished for babysitting each other's children. With laws so bureaucratic and complicated even their own attorney general can't obey them.
To read the full speech transcript click here