Big words: George Osborne's "trust" and "honesty" speech

By David Bartlett on Oct 7, 09 11:38 AM in

I feel a bit detached from politics in the UK at the moment what with being in Brussels.

But I watched a good section of George Osborne's speech to the Conservative Party Conference last night in my hotel room.

I did a double take when he said "trust us". Trust and honest are big words that should not be bandied about lightly.

The Tories have still got to make up ground on in the "trust" stakes, but trust ebbs away from Labour every time the party choses to disguise the real challenges facing the country.

People are not embracing the Conservatives with open arms, but they are turning their backs on Labour.

It is unpalatable for many people to consider voting Tory, but unless Labour start getting a grip I suspect many will grit their teeth and put a tick next to a Conservative candidate at the next election.

Raising the age of retirement may not be popular, but it is necessary. Bringing it in earlier than previously expected is also a good idea.

Restoring the link between earnings and the state pension (broken of course in the first place by Margaret Thatcher) is a much needed measure and one that Labour should have done years ago.

Pensions is also a clever issue to pick up on because it says to voters that the Tories are not just thinking short term, but also looking after the interests of the country in the long term.

As for the freeze on public sector pay. Again not going to be popular, but in saying they want to protect the pay of the those earning £18K they are attempting to position themselves as a progressive party.

Where were the bold announcements from Labour last week? Where was the honesty that the country's finances are in a perilous state?

Most of the country accepts that the public finances are in a mess.

Right now people want to know how each party's ideas post General Election 2010 is going to translate to their everyday lives. Sadly for Labour the Conservatives are starting to talk to people in a language they understand, they may not like what they are hearing but at least the Conservatives are talking about real issues.

Meanwhile last week Gordon Brown chose to crow about the party's successes in office (of which they have been many). But there have also been too many ill thought through reforms, NHS dentistry anyone? (That's just one of a number).

He also threw in a referendum on electoral reform. Anoraks might have liked it, but how exactly does that effect the lives of ordinary people trying to make ends meet?

Brown also said there will be free care for the elderly, why now? Why was this not done before? Too little too late.

The fact is Labour have had 12 years in which they have achieved some great things, but now they are out of ideas and out of touch.

Maybe, just maybe if Labour started being a bit more honest they could stand a chance of clinging on to power at next election.

Or maybe Lord Mandelson et al have decided that we can't handle the truth. Time will tell.

Dale Street Associates

David Bartlett

David Bartlett

City editor of the Post and Echo covering politics, regeneration, and urban affairs.
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