Political positions of David Cameron
- 1 Overview
- 2 Economic policy
- 3 Crime and justice
- 4 Social policy
- 4.1 Media
- 4.2 Abortion
- 4.3 Three-parent babies
- 4.4 Succession to the Throne
- 4.5 Forced marriage
- 4.6 LGBT rights and the Marriage question
- 4.7 Health
- 4.8 Education
- 4.9 Disability
- 4.10 Alcohol and other drugs
- 4.11 ID cards
- 4.12 British Hindus
- 4.13 Fox hunting
- 4.14 Immigration, asylum and integration
- 4.15 Welfare
- 5 Foreign policy
- 6 Constitutional issues
- 7 Criticism of other parties and politicians
- 8 Linux and Open source
- 9 References
Cameron describes himself as a "modern compassionate conservative" and has said that he is "fed up with the Punch and Judy politics of Westminster". He has stated that he is "certainly a big Thatcher fan, but I don't know whether that makes me a Thatcherite." He has also claimed to be a "Liberal Conservative", and "not a deeply ideological person". Cameron stated in 2005 that he did not intend to oppose the Labour government as a matter of course, and will offer his support in areas of agreement. He also wants to move the Conservatives focus away from purely fiscal matters, saying "It's time we admitted that there's more to life than money, and it's time we focused not just on GDP, but on GWB - general well-being". There have been claims that he described himself to Journalists at a dinner during the leadership contest as the "Heir to Blair".
He and others in the 'Notting Hill Set' have sought to focus on issues such as the environment, work-life balance and international development—issues not seen as priorities for the post-Thatcher Conservative party. In a speech to the Conservative annual conference in October 2006, he identified the concept of "social responsibility" as the essence of his political philosophy.
In 2008, Cameron organized a seminar for senior Conservatives with the economist Richard Thaler and began discussing the influence of Thaler's ideas on Conservative policy. Thaler is the co-author with Cass Sunstein of Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, and the pair are informal policy advisors to Barack Obama. Cameron included the book in a 2008 reading list for Conservative MPs.
Cameron has said that it is "essential to reduce taxes on employment and wealth creation in order to enhance our economy's competitiveness. But I don't think it's sensible today to write a Conservative budget for 2009 or 2010, with specific pledges on tax reduction." He has stated that he hoped to cut taxes and raise public spending, "as the economy grows". He has referred to this approach as "sharing the proceeds of growth".
Cameron intends to increase the period of copyright from 50 to 70 years, bring copyright infringing downloads under stronger legal control and require Internet Service Providers to "block access and indeed close down offending file-sharing sites". He supports music industry representatives going into schools to teach children about copyright, technology hindering copyright infringement (DRM), and encourages the music industry to exercise self-censorship on its material in return for the above music industry friendly measures.
Cameron made up a quote about how the existing copyright laws of the UK would have prevented the foundation of Google in his country.
Cameron has regularly stressed his green credentials since becoming leader, describing himself as "passionate about our environment." He has argued that "there is a price... for tackling climate change" but it is a "social responsibility to the next generation". He has stated he is committed to achieving the 2010 emissions limit and has announced he would change the current Climate Change Levy to a carbon tax in order to counter global warming. Cameron proposed a Climate Change Bill which would include committing to binding annual carbon reduction targets. However, a memo that was leaked to the Labour Party suggested the binding targets proposal may be dropped, and these do not form part of the proposed Bill as of November 2006.
He has also pledged to introduce a fair fuel stabilizer if elected, whereby tax on oil is cut as the price of oil goes up, and tax on oil is raised as the price of oil goes down. The policy is designed to make the price of oil consistent throughout the year.
It has been widely publicized that Cameron on occasion cycles to work. However, an official car that followed him carrying his clothes and official documents was photographed by the media, leading to accusations that his bicycling image was "spin". Cameron has since stated that this happened only "once or twice" and has vowed that it will not happen again, now that he has a pannier to carry documents. In the same interview he admitted that since becoming leader of the Conservative Party he is now only able to cycle to work once a week.
David Cameron has expressed his opposition to Green Taxes on Prime Minister's Questions on the 23 October 2013, stating that, in order to cut taxes generally, he would 'roll back' the Green Tax. The 'Big Six' energy companies are advocates of this, according to the Express online newspaper, in order to avoid Labour's plans for an energy price freeze, which would 'deter much-needed investment' from the energy industry (according to the Telegraph Online). Labour - on the other hand - implied that Cameron was being hypocritical, because even though he was proposing reducing renewable investment, he had said previously in the 2010 election campaign, '...vote blue to go green...' (i.e. vote conservative to ensure money is put into the renewable industry.).
The prospect of large-scale solar energy farms being built in the British countryside was discarded by Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, on 8 June 2014. At the time, the solar energy industry received £600mn per annum in subsidy. Pickles killed a project because it would have had “major ... adverse impact on the landscape... The loss of a substantial area of productive agricultural land for at least 25 years is another negative factor”.
Despite initial strong opposition, Cameron has since declared his support for the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 introduced by the Labour Party. More generally though, he has strongly supported deregulation of the private sector, promising an immediate deregulation bill upon election. He has also pledged to remove Britain from the European Union's social chapter and to withdraw unilaterally from certain directives stemming from the European Union. He has said that Britain must not be a "soft touch" and has called for a crackdown on "access to justice".
In November 2013 at London, the World Islamic Economic Forum, Cameron said it was important for the UK to promote and boost Islamic finance: “I don’t just want London to be a great capital of Islamic finance in the western world, I want London to stand alongside Dubai and Kuala Lumpur as one of the great capitals of Islamic finance anywhere in the world.” During his speech at the forum, which was entitled ‘Changing Worlds, New Relationships’, Cameron told more than 18 global leaders and 2,700 chief executives, experts and academics that the UK would become the first sovereign state outside the Islamic world to issue an Islamic 'sukuk' bond. On 25 June 2014, HM Treasury, under direction of HM Chancellor George Osborne, became the first country outside of the Islamic world to issue a Sakk. This £200 million issue was 11.5 times oversubscribed. It was priced at the same level as the equivalent UK Gilts at 2.036% pa and was linked to the rental income of UK government property.
Despite showing caution with regard to promising big cuts in taxation, landmark Conservative pledges include increasing the inheritance tax exemption to £1 million and the stamp duty threshold to £250,000 to help first-time buyers. Other proposals include lower tax on alcohol, resistance to rises in vehicle excise duty, the fair fuel stabilizer described earlier, which cuts tax on oil as the price of it increases, a reduction in corporate tax to 25% and to 20% for small businesses, freezing council tax rates for 2 years and reforming child tax credits in order to encourage marriage.
In the wake of the 2008-9 recession, the Conservatives have not ruled out raising taxes, and have said it will be difficult to scrap the 50% top rate of income tax. They have said how they would prefer to cut a recent rise in national insurance
Crime and justice
Cameron has pledged to scrap the early release of prisoners, toughen prison regimes, make them compensate victims through a special fund paid into by work in prison, and withdraw welfare payments from those who fail to attend community service. Uniforms would be introduced for those completing community service. He has also proposed a big prison-building program and introducing mandatory custodial sentences for all convicted of carrying a knife. His proposal to abolish the Human Rights Act 1998 would enable some of his measures.
In 2007, Cameron wrote a piece about his experiences in a national newspaper about his visit with a Muslim family in Birmingham. It turns out he has been leery since before that time of the adjective "Islamist" used to describe the type of terrorism seen in some Muslims:
|“||...many Muslims I've talked to about these issues are deeply offended by the use of the word 'Islamic' or 'Islamist' to describe the terrorist threat we face today. We do need greater understanding of the true nature of the terrorist threat. There's too much complacency about it among non-Muslims, and too much denial of it in the Muslim community. But our efforts are not helped by lazy use of language. Indeed, by using the word 'Islamist' to describe the threat, we actually help do the terrorist ideologues' work for them, confirming to many impressionable young Muslim men that to be a 'good Muslim', you have to support their evil campaign.||”|
In July 2014, emergency laws were brought in to force phone and internet companies to hold records of customers’ calls, texts and visits to websites, purportedly to defend national security against the terrorist threat from Iraq and Syria in light of the civil war in that part of the world. The legislation brought to domestic shores the Five Eyes program revealed in 2012 by former Booz-Allen contractor Edward Snowden, and were a response to a ruling by the European Court of Justice which struck down mere regulations that forced communications companies to retain metadata for police use for 12 months. MI5 investigations had employed this data over the past decade to catch drug dealers, paedophiles and fraudsters and prevent miscarriages of justice. The legislation carries a 2-year sunset clause.
Deportation and the ECHR
In the context of the successful conviction at trial, which occurred in the state of New York after a lengthy extradition battle in the UK, of Egyptian-born Finsbury Park Mosque hate preacher Abu Hamza Cameron said that "Obviously, we also need to look, as I've said many times, at the European Convention on Human Rights and the position that we have got to get into where, if someone threatens our country, we should be able to deport them if they have no right to be here and that is absolutely essential that we restore that. We have taken some big steps but I plan to take more steps if I'm elected as a Conservative prime minister after the next election."
Abu Hamza al-Masr, formerly known as Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, had preached at the Finsbury Park mosque after having been jailed for seven years for inciting murder and racial hatred. Hamza was on trial in New York accused of conspiring to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon and helping abduct two American tourists and 14 other people in Yemen in 1998. More terrorists could be kicked out of the country if it were not for the Liberal Democrat party of Nick Clegg with whom the Conservatives were allied in coalition government between 2010 and 2015, suggested Cameron on 20 May 2014. The Government needed to 'restore' Britain's ability to deport extremists, said Cameron, but it was crucial to overhaul the European Convention of Human Rights to do this. Nick Clegg has blocked any move to curtail the power of the Strasbourg ECHR court.
Cameron had expressed previously his joy at the hate preacher's extradition, and said the Government must consider ways of stopping similar cases reoccurring: "I'm absolutely delighted that Abu Hamza is now out of this country. Like the rest of the public I'm sick to the back teeth of people who come here, threaten our country, who stay at vast expense to the taxpayer and we can't get rid of them. I'm delighted on this occasion we've managed to send this person off to a country where he will face justice. Now we should learn every lesson.How do we stop these people coming in? How do we get rid of them more quickly? How do we make sure they don't spend so long at taxpayers' expense? I'm as frustrated as the rest of the country when these things happen. I'm delighted that this man at least is on an airplane and on his way to face justice."
Cameron had said previously in April 2012 on the occasion of the ECHR decision that facilitated Hamza's extradition: "I am very pleased with the news. It is quite right that we have proper legal processes, although sometimes one can get frustrated with how long they take. I think it is very important that the deportation and expulsion arrangements (work) promptly and properly, particularly when people are accused of very serious crimes."
Youth justice and ASBOs
In July 2006 Cameron spoke to the Centre for Social Justice in which he highlighted the problem of young offenders and called for more understanding. At the time, the News of the World headlined its report of the speech "Hug a hoodie, says Cameron", coining a phrase which came into popular use, although Cameron never actually used the phrase. Cameron afterwards stated that he never advocated hugging 'hoodies'. On 17 May 2007, Cameron labeled the speech as the "most misrepresented thing he had ever said" and reiterated that he didn't ask anyone to hug hoodies.
Cameron has criticised ASBOs as "reacting" to crime, rather than reducing it, and argued that they should be replaced with "challenging community punishments." In the same speech he also argued that young offenders should be shown "a lot more love" and more understanding into why youths commit crime, specifically calling for more youth counselling, education and training. Cameron was mocked by many Labour MPs for the speech, but he received unexpected backing from right-wing peer Norman Tebbit. Cameron has repeatedly defended his argument, saying that although "I understand, you break the law, you get punished" it was important "to understand what's gone wrong in these children's lives."
In a July 2005 speech to the Centre for Social Justice (before becoming party leader) he stated, "the biggest challenge our country faces today is not economic decline, but social decline", stating that in life in Britain "there is a complex web of interconnected problem... Family breakdown. Persistent unemployment among some groups. Low expectations. Chaotic home environments. Drugs. Crime. Poor quality public space." Upon becoming leader, Cameron set up a number of committees, such as the Social Justice Policy Group chaired by Iain Duncan Smith, to generate policy ideas on these issues.
He describes The Big Society as his "great passion"; it is a policy 'to create a climate that empowers local people and communities, building a big society that will “take power away from politicians and give it to people”.'. Upon its relaunch on 19 July 2010 it was deemed damaging and/or unworkable by the Labour Party, the national press, and the country's two largest unions.
|“||Indeed, by using the word 'Islamist' to describe the threat, we actually help do the terrorist ideologues' work for them, confirming to many impressionable young Muslim men that to be a 'good Muslim', you have to support their evil campaign. There's no easy answer. I don't think this is something that can or should be addressed through a government edict, but the BBC, as our national broadcaster, has both the responsibility and the opportunity to give a lead.||”|
David Cameron suggest to see the current time limit cut from 24 weeks after conception to 20 weeks.
The question of three-parent embryos or three-person IVF was proposed on 17 December 2014 in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Mitochondrial Donation) Regulations 2015, and passed the House of Commons on 3 February 2015. It passed the House of Lords on 24 February 2015, and so the Statutory Instrument was agreed. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Jane Ellison) obtained the support of 382 of her colleagues in this free vote, including David Cameron.
The Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Dame Sally Davies, encouraged the vote, calling it "an historic day for the future of modern medicine" and remarked that the UK would "become the first country in the world to allow mitochondrial donation techniques to be used in IVF treatment." Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Bishop of Rochester, was very troubled by the technique, and instead urged members to support the negative motion of Fiona Bruce, because "No other country has legalised this procedure for ethical reasons. The procedure would cause the germ-line to be interfered with and changed and human embryos could be destroyed in the process. It is unclear whether the UK would be violating international agreements on germ-line interventions and there has been no informed debate on the issue." In the event, the Bruce motion was un-voteable.
Succession to the Throne
Female members of the Royal Family will be given equality with men in the rules of succession to the throne, under a new law first proposed in October 2011 by David Cameron. This meant that if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's first child were a girl, she could become Queen even if subsequent children are sons. This was not the case prior to passage of the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, and the changes herald an end to more than 300 years of English constitutional tradition under which the Crown passed to the oldest and Anglican male heir. Marriage of the heirs to Roman Catholics would also be permitted. The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, welcomed the changes, saying “This will eliminate a point of unjust discrimination against Catholics and will be welcomed not only by Catholics but far more widely.” The announcement came at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, attended by the Queen, in Perth, Australia, because the laws (at the time) would need uniformly to change in 16 Realms. A more detailed agreement was reached at the following year's Commonwealth meeting in December 2012, days after the Duchess's pregnancy was announced.
Changes to the law of succession are good for the monarchy because they make the rules fairer, a former adviser to the Queen said. Lord Janvrin who, as private secretary to the Queen between 1999 and 2007, had been the main conduit of communication with the Government, said the proposals would help modernise the monarchy. Speaking in a debate on the reforms in the House of Lords, the cross-bencher said the Bill “will strengthen the monarchy” without undermining the constitution. “It will also strengthen one of our fundamental national values — that sense of fairness,” he said. “It does so in a way that takes account of the change in modern realities without prejudicing some of the other important parts of our constitutional framework.” Lord Luce, the former Lord Chamberlain of the Queen’s Household, urged ministers to hold talks with the Vatican to ensure that there was no “misunderstanding” over the special status of the monarch as head of the Established Anglican Church.
The potential failure by Commonwealth states to change the primogeniture rule led to concerns in July 2013 that a first-born daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge becoming monarch in the UK – but a later son being king in other countries. This would have entailed fissure of the Crown. To avoid the prospect of disunity of the Commonwealth, with different sovereigns in different countries, the Succession to the Crown Act had to be accepted in each of the 15 Commonwealth realms where Queen Elizabeth II is head of state. The delay to the new rules caused such concern that Lord Tankerness, a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords and a barrister, was sent in May 2013 on a tour of some of the realms to urge them to bring in the change and offer advice on how they might do so. The various Acts were to come into force only once the law is altered, but would be backdated to include any children born after October 2011, the date when Commonwealth leaders first agreed to end the primogeniture rule.
The Duchess of Cambridge's baby would be a future monarch regardless of its gender after changes to the laws of succession were finalised with Royal Assent on 25 April 2013. The changes swept away hundreds of years of convention and will be free to marry a Roman Catholic, a choice which would have required their abdication in years gone by. The new law was still being ratified as of July 2013 in the 15 other countries that have the Queen as their head of state, as they, too, must pass laws in their own parliaments which confirm Baby Cambridge will be accepted as their future monarch. Ending the tradition of male primogeniture, or male precedence, required a complex set of amendments to some of the country's most important constitutional documents, including the Bill of Rights 1689 and Coronation Oath Act 1688, the Act of Settlement 1701 and the Acts of Union 1707 between Scotland and England. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg thrashed out the details of the new law, said at the time that it would "bring to an end centuries of discrimination against women". Still, the changes went not far enough for one unnamed Scottish Cardinal, to whom it seemed the bar was "state sponsored sectarianism".
Before the election David Cameron promised to make forced marriage a criminal offence and they had not even got around to it by June 2011. In June 2012, Cameron promised that forced marriage was to become a criminal offence, and that a package of measures would be put in place to ensure criminalisation does not drive the problem underground. Cameron stated that "Forced marriage is abhorrent and little more than slavery. To force anyone into marriage against their will is simply wrong and that is why we have taken decisive action to make it illegal."
The provisions in the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 were enacted in Part 10. These make forced marriage and the breach of a Forced Marriage Order criminal offences. The statutory changes came into force on 16 June 2014. Breach of an FMPO is punishable in the Crown Court by five years’ imprisonment and/or a fine. In the magistrates’ court, the maximum prison sentence would be six months.
LGBT rights and the Marriage question
In his speech at the 2011 Conservative Party Conference, Cameron endorsed same-sex marriage:
I stood before a Conservative conference once and I said it shouldn’t matter whether commitment was between a man and a woman, a man and another man or a woman and a woman. You applauded me for that. Five years on, we’re consulting on legalising gay marriage. And to anyone who has reservations, I say this: Yes, it’s about equality, but it’s also about something else: commitment. Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other. So I don’t support gay marriage in spite of being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I am a Conservative.
The coalition government began a consultation on same-sex marriage. The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 was subsequently passed in 2013 and legalised same-sex marriage in England and Wales.
Cameron had previously opposed the repeal of the Section 28 legislation, which banned local authorities from promoting the acceptability of homosexuality. In 2000, Cameron accused Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair of being against family values and of pursuing the "promotion of homosexuality in schools". In 2003, once Cameron had been elected as Conservative MP for Witney, he voted against the repeal of Section 28 in 2003. Shortly after becoming leader of the Conservatives, he distanced himself from this stance, saying "I'm glad that it's gone". In 2009, he apologised for previously supporting Section 28.
In 2002, Cameron voted in favor of a bill that would allow unmarried heterosexual couples to adopt children, but which would specifically ban gay couples from adopting. He later voted in favor of civil partnerships for gay men and lesbians in 2004. In 2008, he opposed giving lesbians the right to in vitro fertilisation treatment. In March 2010, Cameron was interviewed by Gay Times, and was filmed struggling to explain his party's voting record on the issue of gay rights, at one point asking for the interview to be stopped while he gathered his thoughts.
Cameron has pledged to develop policies to make the NHS a "more efficient, more effective and more patient-centered service." He wishes to grant the NHS much greater independence from the Department of Health in order to prevent it being used as a "political football" and to create "greater professional responsibility". He has stated the Conservative party will propose an NHS Independence Bill to this effect in January 2007, and has publicly asked the Labour leadership to support the bill, after he supported Blair's education reforms.
David Cameron has endorsed Labour's creation of city academies, as a way of improving standards in deprived areas. He has called on the government to go "further and faster" with the policy, and says that academies should be given even more freedom from central control. The scheme would be greatly extended by Cameron if elected.
He has pledged to give schools much greater independence from government, promising to give them control over admission policy and increase the use of specialist statuses.
Before his election in 2010, Cameron had spoken of busting the public monopoly on education to let new schools be set up, although has not specified what exactly that means.
Under David Cameron's leadership the university student fees were increased from £3,000 to £9,000 per year which has led to the famous student protests nationwide. In fact on 9 December 2010, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall came under attack from student protesters as their car was caught up in riots over the rise in tuition fees. Despite much action being taken against this reform the bill was still passed and is speculated to deter young people from higher education.
Cameron has also promised to increase the teaching-by-ability of pupils if elected. He has also made clear his stance on the social discrepancies within education and has encouraged young adults and children to help "beat the bad man" with him in one of his most recent campaigns.
Cameron has stated that the government needs to change social attitudes towards disability by setting an example for the private sector. Under a Conservative government the state would prioritize increasing the number of disabled people employed at Whitehall. Cameron has asked the disability charity Scope to advise on employment policy, claiming it is "morally wrong and economically stupid for five million on incapacity benefit who could work to be left on the scrap-heap." He has called for tougher medical tests and cutting the welfare benefits of those who fail them and refuse to join a return-to-work scheme.
Alcohol and other drugs
Cameron has been accused of drug-taking as a youth, accusations that he has neither confirmed nor denied. He opposes drug legalization, supports more drug rehabilitation places and wants cannabis to remain a class B drug.
The Conservatives under Cameron have opposed increases in tax on alcohol, claiming that high excise taxes should be limited to drinks associated with crime and binge-drinking.
Cameron has spoken out against mandatory identity cards on a number of occasions, saying that they will not reduce crime and illegal immigration, will be a waste of money and are a violation of human rights.
David Cameron supports referring to British Hindus as a separate ethnic group, refining definition of "Asian" to separate ethnic groups, saying "And if you prefer to be referred to as British Hindus or British Indians rather than as simply Asians, we should welcome that as a positive thing." Cameron's comments are significant because the British Hindu community prefer terms "Hindu" or "Indian" to the ethnic grouping Asian due to the negative attitudes towards other parts of the "Asian" community, the current description does not recognize any distinction between these groups.
Cameron is in favor of overturning the ban on fox-hunting and has stated that a Conservative government under his leadership would give Parliament time for a free vote on the issue. He himself has been fox-hunting on several occasions. He has described the ban on fox-hunting in Britain as one of the issues that made him "furious".
Immigration, asylum and integration
Cameron has championed the introduction of an upper annual limit of immigration and an increase in the minimum age for foreign nationals to join spouses in the UK to 21. He has called for the introduction of a British Border Control Police, quotas for asylum seekers and all asylum claims to be assessed in overseas centers. Cameron favors British withdrawal from the 1951 Geneva Convention on refugees.
In January 2010, prior to the election that brought him to power in May 2010, Cameron said in response to George Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, who worried about strain on the British tradition of hospitality: "In the last decade, net immigration in some years has been sort of 200,000, so implying a 2 million increase over a decade, which I think is too much. We would like to see net immigration in the tens of thousands rather than the hundreds of thousands. I don’t think that’s unrealistic. That’s the sort of figure it was in the 1990s and I think we should see that again.”
In February 2011, Cameron said in response to a question in the House of Commons that too many children from immigrant families are not able to speak English when they start at school, that the parents of immigrant children had "a responsibility and an obligation" to ensure it, and that the UK must go further to ensure those settling learn English "so they can be more integrated into our country". He agreed parents should be responsible for making sure children speak English. Cameron also said: "If you look at the figures for the number of people who are brought over as husbands and wives, particularly from the Indian sub-continent, we should be putting in place - and we will be putting in place - tougher rules to make sure they do learn English and so when they come, if they come, they can be more integrated into our country."
Also in February 2011, the UK Border Agency was upbraided by an independent Government inspector because immigration staff were failing to take action against hundreds of migrant workers who have no right to stay in Britain. Chief Inspector John Vine reported that the visas of migrants whose jobs had ended were not being cancelled, and found that insufficient checks were being carried out on companies which sponsor overseas workers.
On 14 April 2011, Cameron delivered a speech on the government's immigration policy, which sparked a row with coalition partner Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable, and which he concluded as follows: "But with us, our borders will be under control and immigration will be at levels our country can manage. No ifs. No buts. That's a promise we made to the British people. And it's a promise we are keeping."
It was reported by the Office for National Statistics in August 2013 that the net number of immigrants arriving in Britain was 176,000 in the 12 months to the end of December 2012. The previous published figure was 153,000 for the 12 months ending September 2012, which meant that the net influx of immigrants had increased. The top nationality for live births with foreign-born mothers in this period was Poland with 21,156, followed by Pakistan with 19,091.
Cameron delivered in October 2013 to a car manufacture facility near Oxford a campaign-style speech, during which he said inter alia, that schools must produce young people who are 'fully capable' of doing work in a manufacturing facility, a cap on the number of migrants from outside the EU was part of the government's attempt to substantially reduce levels of net migration, and:
|“||You can go round factories in the country where half of the people in the factory have come from Poland, Lithuania or Latvia. You can't blame them. They have got to work hard. They see the jobs, they come over and they do them. But as a country, what we ought to be saying is no. Let's get our education system right so we are producing people out of our schools and colleges who are fully capable of doing those jobs which are being made available. Second, let's reform the welfare system so it does not pay to be out of work and it pays you to be in work. And thirdly, let's have the sensible controls on immigration.||”|
It was reported in October 2013 that official figures show that between April and June 2013, a total of 683,000 people working in Britain were from Eastern European Union members: the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia.
In her May 2014 appearance on the Andrew Marr show, Home Secretary Theresa May blamed the Liberal Democrats coalition partners for the immigration target failure, when it was reported by the Office for National Statistics that the net influx of immigrants had risen to 212,000 in the year to December 2013, from 177,000 the previous year.
On 10 November 2014, Home Secretary Theresa May made clear government is preparing for public admission of failure to cut net migration to tens of thousands. The pledge made by Cameron to reduce annual net migration to below 100,000 during this parliament had "begun to publicly unravel"; May said that Cameron's "no ifs, no buts" passage in April 2011 was just a “comment” while another spokesman described it as an “objective".
As the General Election of 2015 drew near, the ONS revealed an increase from 210,000 to 298,000 in the net number of immigrants taken in over the course of the year to September. The immigrant influx had risen in a "statistically significant" way to 624,000 in the year to September from 530,000 in the previous 12 months. There were significant increases in immigration of non-EU citizens, for whom a visa is required and over whom control is domestic, up 49,000 to 292,000. A journalist commented that "Today's figures are the final nail in the coffin for the promise made by Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May to slash net migration to below 100,000 by the end of the current parliamentary term." An opposition politician said Mr Cameron's immigration target was "now in tatters".
As early as 2007 Cameron saw the Muslim community as a solution to family breakdown, crime and incivility, and proposed a type of reverse-takeover of the UK, seeing this as a panacea to offset social ills:
|“||And the third step in promoting integration is to ensure there's something worth integrating into. 'To make men love their country,' said Edmund Burke, 'their country ought to be lovable.' Integration has to be about more than immigrant communities, 'their' responsibilities and 'their' duties. It has to be about 'us' too - the quality of life that we offer, our society and our values.
Here [in the UK] the picture is bleak: family breakdown, drugs, crime and incivility are part of the normal experience of modern Britain. Many British Asians see a society that hardly inspires them to integrate. Indeed, they see aspects of modern Britain which are a threat to the values they hold dear - values which we should all hold dear. Asian families and communities are incredibly strong and cohesive, and have a sense of civic responsibility which puts the rest of us to shame. Not for the first time, I found myself thinking that it is mainstream Britain which needs to integrate more with the British Asian way of life, not the other way around.
Cameron has argued passionately for limits in welfare payments and in favour of individual initiative. Alongside the tougher medical tests, he proposes requiring all people receiving Jobseeker's Allowance to join a return to work programme and prevent people who refuse a job offer while on benefits from claiming for three years. People who claim benefits for two out of three years would be required to join a community work scheme.
Cameron has stated that he believes in "spreading freedom and democracy, and supporting humanitarian intervention" in cases such as the genocide in Darfur, Sudan. However, he claims to not be a neo-conservative because, as a conservative, he recognizes "the complexities of human nature, and will always be skeptical of grand schemes to remake the world." He supports multilateralism stating "a country may act alone - but it cannot always succeed alone." He believes multilateralism can take the form of acting through "NATO, the UN, the G8, the EU and other institutions", or through international alliances. Cameron has also argued that "If the West is to help other countries, we must do so from a position of genuine moral authority" and "we must strive above all for legitimacy in what we do."
Cameron has supported the alliance with the United States, viewing it as highly important. He has praised its role in the Second World War and the Cold War, about which he has said "Unlike some, I never had any doubts about whose side I was on". This was interpreted as a knock at sections of the Labour Party, some members of which had expressed support for the former Soviet Union. He has also claimed "we must be steadfast not slavish in how we approach the special relationship", arguing that "questioning the approach of the U.S. administration, trying to learn the lessons of the past five years, does not make you anti-American." Cameron also supports Israel and has described the state as being "a lone democracy in a region that currently boasts no others." He is a member of and has spoken for the Conservative Friends of Israel group. However he criticized the country's 2006 missile attacks on Lebanon, describing the force used as "disproportionate."
In February 2010, the Argentine government announced that ships traversing Argentine territorial waters en route to the Falklands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands would require a permit, as part of a dispute over British oil exploration near the Falklands. The British and Falkland governments stated that Falklands-controlled waters were unaffected.
There have been several disputes between the British Prime Minister David Cameron and the Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner since 2011. President Cristina demanded several times to talk and asked the Prime Minister accept the 40 ONU resolutions. Prime Minister Cameron has always refused to talk and never accept a conversation with the president face to face. Beginning in 2012 the President of Argentina Cristina began to mention the case of the Falkland Islands in several of his public acts claiming the sovereignty of the islands. On 12 June 2012, the Falkland Islands government announced it would hold a referendum on the political status of the Islands in the first half of 2013. On 14 June 2012 President Cristina attended the Decolonization Committee of the United Nations and strongly claim sovereignty of the Falkland Islands. The British Prime Minister David Cameron was absent on that committee.
In one part of his speech, Cristina said:
"We ask nothing more and nothing less to sit at a table to talk, she said Cristina Kirchner in the speech he gave before the committee, a space that has never before appeared on a head of state. He also questioned the plebiscite to ratify the islanders await their British status. Why the English do not do the referendum in Iraq or Afghanistan? He joked and said she had embarrassed to see yesterday waving the flag of the islands at the residence of British Prime Minister in memory by the anniversary of the end of the war".
In the 2012 G-20 Mexico summit, David Cameron approached Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner while working on a bench. He thanked President Argentina to support the creation of a Unified European Bank as lender of last resort. Cristina started talking about the versions "pessimistic" that the press offered on the outcome of the G20 summit, when the prime minister interrupted to bring up the Falklands. He asked Argentina to respect the referendum to which the islanders called for, to be held in the following year. At that point, when Kirchner tried to hand Cameron the envelope with the UN resolutions contained within it, Cameron said:
"I am not proposing a full discussion of the Falklands (sic) now, but I hope you have noticed that they (the islanders) will be granted a referendum, and you should respect their views. We believe in self-determination and to act as democracies we here at the G-20".
The Argentine President replied:
"What really must be respected are the forty resolutions of the Decolonization Committee of the United Nations". Kirchner also has made it clear that this was not the place to talk about the Falklands, but it was the week before in the Decolonization Committee of the United Nations.
David Cameron said however that he was "not going to talk about sovereignty", refused to receive the envelope and walked away. The following year, a Falkland Islands sovereignty referendum was held among all residents of the Falkland Islands, with 99.8 of the population voting for it to remain a British territory.
Iraq and the War on terror
Before becoming leader, he voted in favor of the Iraq War, confirming this stance during an interview on the British TV show Friday Night with Jonathan Ross. In defense of the Iraq situation, he stated, "You've got to do what you think is right even if it's unpopular, that's the only thing you can do". Subsequently he supported a motion brought by the SNP and Plaid Cymru on 31 October 2006, calling for an inquiry into the government's conduct of the Iraq war. This was after the government informed the Conservatives that an inquiry would not be accepted in 2007, the initial policy call of the party. The motion was defeated by a margin 25 votes, 273 MPs voting in favor and 298 against. He was criticized for this in editorials in The Sun and The Times newspapers. He was also criticized by some Conservative MPs who claimed it was irresponsible to support an inquiry while British troops were still involved.
Cameron supports the War on Terror. He has praised it for the removal of "two of the world's most repressive regimes", Libya's abandonment of nuclear weapons procurement, and Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon. He has argued "it must be a battle of hearts and minds, as well as force" and that "the threat cannot be negotiated away or appeased - it has to be confronted and overcome".
Cameron's government was critical of Bashar al-Assad's government in the Syrian Civil War stating it had "forfeited the right to lead" by "miring itself in the blood of innocent people", and backed the rebels. On 21 August 2013, immediately following a chemical-weapons attack at Ghouta, Cameron urged U.S. President Barack Obama to respond with a military intervention. However a motion to participate in military strikes against the Syrian regime was defeated in parliament on 29 August 2013. This was the first time that a British government was blocked from taking a military action by parliament. After the vote Cameron said:
"I strongly believe in the need for a tough response to the use of chemical weapons but I also believe in respecting the will of this House of Commons ... It is clear to me that the British Parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action. I get that and the Government will act accordingly."
Ultimately a negotiated agreement was reached to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons.
Immediately after his election as leader, he restated his pledge to withdraw the party's MEPs from cooperation with the European People's Party (EPP) within the European Parliament, viewing the EPP as excessively federalist. The British Conservative Party is part of the anti-federalist European Democrats, a sub-group of the EPP-ED Group in the European Parliament, but Cameron plans for the ED to break away in order to form a new, independent grouping. Cameron aims to set up a group more focused on the Conservative Party's views, a move that has been resisted by some Conservative MEPs and all mainstream Conservative member-parties of the EPP. After much speculation, he announced in July 2006 that Conservative MEPs would withdraw from the EPP in 2009. The stated reason for the delay was that the Conservatives' proposed future alliance partners, the Czech Civic Democratic Party, needed time to form a new domestic coalition in order to form a "eurorealist" grouping in the European Parliament.
Cameron is currently against unilaterally withdrawing from the European Union's Common Fisheries Policy, as some on the Conservative Right have proposed. In fact Mr. Cameron's very first policy change as leader was to scrap the party's pledge to withdraw from Common Fisheries Policy as his legal aides advised him it would mean complete withdrawal from the EU would be necessary to facilitate this.
In an April 2013 interview with a Spanish daily, Cameron stated his reformation plans for the EU as follows below. However, in a February 2014 interview, EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said that Cameron had to that date made no proposals.
Pregunta. En caso de una victoria del sí en el referéndum que tiene previsto organizar sobre la salida de la UE, ¿estaría dispuesto a retirarse de la Unión?
Respuesta. No me gustaría. Lo que me gustaría es conseguir una reforma de la Unión Europea. Ese es el sentido de mi discurso. La UE está madura para sufrir una reforma. Nos encontramos en una carrera planetaria en la que debemos competir con países como China, India, Indonesia, Malasia. Es necesaria una Europa más abierta, más competitiva, más flexible. Ese es nuestro objetivo....
P. ¿Desea permanecer en la UE pese a que el Partido Conservador y la opinión pública británica son partidarios de lo contrario?
R. La mejor solución para Gran Bretaña es quedarse en una Unión Europea reformada. Pero hay que ser consciente de que el apoyo a nuestra adhesión a la UE y a los cambios que ha sufrido esta última es escaso. Los políticos dignos de tal nombre deben reconocerlo y no ocultar los problemas.
On 1 July 2013, Cameron outlined his “vision of the EU is that it should be a large trading and co-operating organisation that effectively stretches, as it were, from the Atlantic to the Urals. We have a wide vision of Europe and have always encouraged countries that want to join,” as he welcomed the 28th member of the union (Croatia) to the fold while he spoke to Kazakh university students. The speech was characterised as a "hugely provocative pro-EU" one by some observers. Cameron "hailed the power of the EU to transform divided societies," whereas President of Russia Vladimir Putin "may regard Cameron's remarks as hostile. Putin believes that the EU should extend no further into the former USSR than the Baltic states."
The Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement (UkEUAA) was rejected by President Viktor Yanukovich at a summit in Vilnius on 21 November 2013. This sparked months of protest and turmoil, and culminated with regime change in Kiev on 21 February 2014. Cameron spoke after the European Council meeting of 21 March 2014, at which the UkEUAA was finally signed by PM pro-tem Arseniy Yatseniuk, of the EU plans, under the Eastern Partnership, to "further strengthen the political association and economic integration with Republic of Georgia and the Republic of Moldova, (and) to sign the association agreements, including the deep and comprehensive free trade areas (DCFTAs) ... no later than June 2014."
On 27 June 2014, new President of the Ukraine, Poroshenko, signed in Brussels the remainder of the UkEUAA (see below for the DCFTA), while Georgia and Moldova both signed onto the Eastern Partnership.
2014 Ukrainian-Crimean crisis
On 16 March in the 2014 Crimean crisis, a referendum was held in Crimea, which resulted in a vote to join Russia. This elicited, two days later, a formal response from the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, to set in motion the machinery that had been prepared in the Russian Parliament. On 21 March, the UK government issued an unbidden rebuttal, that rehashed the Western point of view.
President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted from power on 21 February by the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and replaced by Oleksandr Turchynov, the screenwriter and economist, and the Yatsenyuk Government was endorsed by the Rada. At a European Council summit in Brussels on 21 March 2014, new Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk and European Union leaders Herman Van Rompuy and José Manuel Barroso, along with the 27 national political leaders or heads of state on the Council, which included Cameron, signed the political provisions of the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement. The Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area was to be signed after the presidential election in May 2014.
Cameron is a Unionist although he supports devolution, admitting that the Conservatives, "fought against the idea of a Scottish Parliament long after it became clear that it was the settled will of the people." He has also defended the Barnett formula as "Other areas within the UK are subsidized more than Scotland is." He also believes "unionists have to develop better arguments against independence", and that "the case for the Union isn't just economic." Cameron has stated that he wants to address anti-Scottishness in England, "Scotland has certainly not been an occupied or oppressed country these past three hundred years but I recognize that it has not all been a triumphal procession either", and that, "the ignorance of English people about Scots and Scotland", has sometimes meant that Scotland does not get "the respect it deserves."
On the West Lothian question, he has criticized the ability of Scottish MPs to vote on English matters, "We need to make devolution work... one part of devolution that doesn't work is that Scottish MPs can vote on matters that don't affect their own constituents", and has asked the party's Commission on Democracy, led by Kenneth Clarke, to look at possible solutions.
Cameron has announced that he would scrap the Human Rights Act 1998 which came into force in 2000. Instead, it would be replaced with a Bill of Rights, based on "British needs and traditions". However, he has said that the country would remain a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights, upon which the Human Rights Act is based.
He has also called for investigations into ministerial misconduct to be a "genuinely independent mechanism" after cabinet minister Tessa Jowell's husband was part of an alleged fraud inquiry. Additionally, in order to "clean up", he says ministers should not be allowed to set their expenses or salaries. Cameron has also called for a reduction in the number of Members of Parliament in the House of Commons.
Cameron declared on 26 May 2009 that his party does not support the AV+ system, or any other form of proportional representation, as it would create "weak governments". However, he pledged to hold a referendum on changing the method of electing MPs from First Past the Post to Alternative Vote upon forming government in 2010.
As part of the Conservative No Campaign in the lead up to the referendum, he claimed, that AV would unfairly allow supporters of unpopular parties more votes than supporters of popular ones, thereby undermining the fundamental principle of 1 Person 1 Vote.
Criticism of other parties and politicians
Upon his election as leader of the Conservative Party, Cameron declared that he was "fed up with the Punch and Judy politics of Westminster, the name calling, backbiting, point scoring, finger pointing."
However, in a war of words with the UK Independence Party (UKIP), Cameron accused its members of being "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists, mostly," leading UKIP leader Nigel Farage to demand an apology for the remarks. Right-wing Conservative MP Bob Spink also criticized the remarks, as did The Daily Telegraph.
Cameron has also criticized ex-Prime Minister Gordon Brown (Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time) for being "an analogue politician in a digital age" and repeatedly refers to him as "the roadblock to reform". He has also said that John Prescott "clearly looks a fool" in light of allegations of ministerial misconduct. During a speech to the Ethnic Media Conference on 29 November 2006 Cameron also described Ken Livingstone, then Mayor of London, as an "ageing far left politician" in reference to Livingstone's views on multiculturalism.
However, Cameron encouraged Conservative MPs to join the unprecedented standing ovation to Tony Blair at the end of his last Prime Minister's Question Time; he had paid tribute to the "huge efforts" Blair had made and said Blair had "considerable achievements to his credit, whether it is peace in Northern Ireland or his work in the developing world, which will endure".
Linux and Open source
Cameron has praised Linux, and open source software and data formats, stating "We ... want to see how open source methods can help overcome the massive problems in government IT programs". In 2009, Cameron promised that a Conservative government would publish all details of government expenditure over £25,000 and "all parliamentary information online in an open source format".
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icowas invoked but never defined (see the help page).
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