In his first outing on the hustings, Mr. Cameron took issue with the claim that Conservative rule would mean large cuts in health, education and welfare, further burdening Britain’s poor. He pressed voters to accept that he had recast the Conservatives from the “nasty party” that one leading Conservative said it had become before Mr. Cameron took the helm in 2005. The Conservatives, Mr. Cameron said in prepared remarks, were now a party open to “young, old, rich, poor, black, white, gay and straight.”
The Conservative leader also touched obliquely on the growing power of the state in British life, where more than half of all those in employment have government jobs, and just over half of the economy is accounted for by government activity. Urging the dismantling of the state’s expanding power too directly, in Lady Thatcher’s style, is seen by Conservative strategists as political suicide.