What this election is all about - that was the theme when Michael Howard launched the Conservatives' election campaign.
"The choice before voters on May the fifth is very clear. They can either reward Mr. Blair for eight years of broken promises and vote for another five years of talk. Blair's Government has lost the plot
Or they can vote Conservative, to support a party that’s taken a stand and is committed to action on the issues that matter to hard working Britons."
"Mr. Blair’s Labour Government has lost the plot" said Michael. "Hardworking families – honest people who do the right thing, who respect others, who provide for their children, who look after their homes and contribute to their local communities are being taken for granted by Mr. Blair."
"People are fed up that their hard work is not recognised or rewarded. A better way
Patients worry they’ll pick up an infection in hospitals which are dirty when they should be clean.
Pensioners worry not just about going out at night but during the day because crime is out of control.
And parents worry that their kids can’t learn in class because there’s too little school discipline.
And all this despite Mr. Blair’s huge, stealthy tax increases. Imagine another five years of it. If you’re thinking: "We shouldn’t have to settle for this", then I say to you today: don’t.
Britain is the fourth richest country in the world. We can afford world class public services – the good, local schools and clean hospitals that hard working Britons deserve."
"There is a better way", he told his audience. "By rewarding people who do the right thing – who play by the rules - we will build a brighter, better future for our country. That’s why, six months ago, my Party published a Timetable for Action - a bold public commitment to get a grip on the tough issues facing Britain today. We will reward hardworking Britons who do the right thing by giving them value for money and lower taxes."
"We will restore discipline in our classrooms by giving head teachers control over their schools. Let's have open debate about the difficult issues
We will clean up our hospitals by giving matrons the power to close wards that are infected with MRSA.
We will cut crime by each year putting 5000 more police officers – real police officers – on our streets and introducing tougher sentences for burglars and drug dealers.
We will reduce immigration by setting an annual limit on the number of people who can come and settle in Britain."
Mr Howard challenged those who avoid straight talking on "difficult" issues:
"Some people say I shouldn’t talk about difficult issues like the abuse of our asylum system and those travellers who stick two fingers up to the law", he said. "But we cannot make Britain a better place if we sweep difficult issues under the carpet. Everyone knows you won’t fix a problem if you aren’t even prepared to discuss it. I’m not prepared to appease special interest groups because I believe passionately in fair play. We are all British and we should all have to play by the same rules.
"Nor will I be distracted from doing what I believe is best for Britain by the smirking politics of Mr Blair or the woolly thinking of the Liberal Democrats."
So on each of these issues - on rewarding those who work hard and have contributed to our country, on schools, on hospitals, on crime and on immigration – we have a detailed, published Timetable for Action so you can hold us to account.Hold me to my commitments
"Look for this commitment in your paper, check it on the net, put it up on your fridge door – hold me to it.
"And beware yet another election where Mr Blair says one thing to get your vote on polling day and does something quite different afterwards.
"Mr. Blair is already secretly grinning about the prospect of his third victory. Well you don’t have to settle for that."
If you’re thinking what we’re thinking, it’s time for urgent action on the things that really matter:
- Reward for hardworking Britons;
- School discipline;
- Cleaner hospitals;
- More police; and
- Controlled immigration.
They can either reward Mr. Blair for eight years of broken promises and vote for another five years of talk.
Or they can vote Conservative, to support a party that’s taken a stand and is committed to action on the issues that matter to hard working Britons.
Use this link for more details on The Choice in 2005: