PM's 'aspiration nation' fails to impress his own faithful as he keeps quiet on double-dip disaster
David Cameron's wooden speech read straight off an idiot board was lambasted by unions and campaigners today.
In a feeble address which was a far cry from Labour leader Ed Miliband's 70-minute speech with no notes, the best the PM could come up with at the Tory Party conference was to drone on about building an "aspiration nation."
Reading from an autocue at the back of the conference hall, Mr Cameron said: "What do the countries on the slide have in common? They're fat, sclerotic, overregulated, spending money on unaffordable welfare systems, huge pension bills, unreformed public services."
Rightwingers cheered him on when he refered to the "great evils" of the welfare system and backing massive reforms that will see benefits capped and more disabled people forced into work.
But Mr Cameron only managed to encourage awkward, hesitant claps when he said: "We promised that those with the broadest shoulders would bear the biggest burden and with us the rich will pay a greater share of tax in every year of this Parliament than in any one of the 13 years under Labour."
He echoed Thatcher by saying that growth can only be achieved through "individual effort and aspiration" and said: "They call us the party of the better off. No, we are the party of the wantto- be better off."
He went on: "I'm not here to defend privilege. I'm here to spread it."
Yet Child Poverty Action Group spokeswoman Alison Garnham said: "Work certainly ought to be a sure way out of poverty, but the terrible truth is it's not and Britain has two million children in working families living below the poverty line.
"A pat on the back today for striving families hardly compensates for the steep cuts to their tax credits, which have pushed them into deeper hardship.
"These parents are the true wealth creators, working hard and trying to do the best by their children, but where's the compassion when they're left out of pocket by raids on tax credits, child benefit and child-care support?"
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis called it "typical Tory knockabout rhetoric" where Mr Cameron arrogantly blamed everyone but his own party.
And Unite leader Len McCluskey said Mr Cameron used the "politics of fear" to hide his own failings.
He said: "Cameron says that we must sink or swim as a country - yet he has cut the life belt for the millions of Britons struggling to find work and juggling to make ends meet with squeezed household incomes."
Mr Cameron also claimed the party has "protected the NHS from spending cuts" and he defended academies and free schools.
But NUT general secretary Christine Blower said he was "wrong" that adults need time to adjust to educational reforms.
"They just do not want or need them," she said.
Labour noticed the absence of any reference to the double-dip recession in the speech and said it showed Mr Cameron was "clearly rattled."
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