Guest Speaker at Esseborne Manor for the NWHCA Annual Dinner was Andrew Mitchell, MP for Sutton Coldfield and Shadow Secretary of State for International Development. Andrew is also the son of Sir David Mitcell, former MP for NW Hants and President of the local Conservative Association.
Speaking to a capacity audience, he contrasted the task that confronted Margaret Thatcher in 1979, with the one that confronted Tony Blair in 1997. "Margaret Thatcher had to fight every inch of the way to make the changes that were needed at the time; Tony Blair was handed everything on a plate and missed his opportunity. He will be remembered for Iraq and little else"
Turning to his brief in ther Shadow Cabinet, Andrew criticised the protectionism of the European Union and the USA "Cottongrowers in Africa would be better off if they did not have to overcome the tariff barriers that the developed world has put up."
He emphasised the importance of conflict resolution
if the situation in Dafur - from which he had just returned with David Cameron - was to be improved. In Government, he said that the Conservatives would shift the emphasis from inputs to outputs. "The government boast about how much they have spent; we will focus more on what has been achieved."