Cameron lays out vision of Tory Britain

DAVID Cameron upped the ante ahead of what is set to be a hard-fought election campaign yesterday, telling the Conservative party conference that he was ready to be Prime Minister.<br /><br />In a speech that sounded a more upbeat note than that of his shadow chancellor George Osborne on Tuesday, the Tory leader promised that he could lead the country out of the financial doldrums.<br /><br />&ldquo;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,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />&ldquo;Yes it will be a steep climb. But the view from the summit will be worth it.&rdquo;<br /><br />Rather than running through a list of policies, Cameron instead sought to paint a picture of Conservative values, saying that he stood for &ldquo;family, community, country&rdquo;.<br /><br />He said the state would be less intrusive under his stewardship and pledged to scrap the &ldquo;rotten edifice&rdquo; of the ID card scheme.<br /><br />And he also claimed that the Tories had &ldquo;won the argument on the economy and debt&rdquo;, addressing Prime Minister Gordon Brown directly on the issue of financial regulation.<br /><br />&ldquo;A quick word for the man who said he&rsquo;d abolished boom and bust. We want to bring back the Bank of England to regulate the City once more,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />Earlier, shadow foreign secretary William Hague criticised Brown&rsquo;s &ldquo;catastrophic&rdquo; management of the UK&rsquo;s finances, saying he had damaged Britain&rsquo;s global standing.<br /><br />There was also a surprise appearance from U2 singer Bono, who urged Cameron not to cut international aid in a video address, a call the Tory leader later pledged to heed.<br /><br />&ldquo;To be British is to be generous... I am proud to say... we will ringfence the budget for international development,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br /><strong>AT-A-GLANCE</strong><br /><br /><strong>Economic revival</strong><br />&ldquo;I get enterprise. I worked in business for seven years. Complicated taxes, excessive regulations &ndash; they make life tough for entrepreneurs.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>The deficit</strong><br />&ldquo;We will have to confront the debt crisis... It is a massive risk to our economy. We must pay down this deficit.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>Education</strong><br />&ldquo;Our reforms will create more good schools, and increase competition, and no, I don't think that's a dirty word.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>The NHS</strong><br />&ldquo;We will give the NHS back to people. Choice about where you're treated, information about how good hospitals are, how good doctors are. This party is the party of the NHS, today, tomorrow, now, always.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>The expenses scandal</strong><br />&ldquo;Our House of Commons used to be a beacon to the world. But the expenses scandal made it a laughing stock. This is not over. We are just starting the job of building the new politics we need.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>Smaller government</strong><br />&ldquo;Labour say that to solve the country's problems, we need more government. Don't they see? It is government that got us into this trouble.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>Social decay</strong><br />&ldquo;Labour has failed, and it falls to the Tories to help our country today. We have to break the cycle of welfare dependency. If you can work, you should work. You should not live off the hard work of others.&rdquo;<br />