Conservative Manifesto 2010 Change Society Introduction
Mend our broken society
our society is broken, but together we can mend it: we can build the Big society. a conservative government will make Britain the most family-friendly country in Europe. We will back the NHS, which matters more to families than anything. We will reform education, with new schools – and higher standards and improved discipline for all. We will tackle welfare dependency and the causes of poverty, and fight back against crime.
Despite Labour’s massive expansion of the state, many people’s quality of life is getting worse, not better. the number of people living in poverty has risen in the last three years, and inequality is at a record high. We have some of the worst rates of family breakdown in the world. in some of the most deprived parts of the country, life expectancy has actually fallen. The achievement gap at school between the richest and poorest is growing.
this terrible record of failure is not just a problem that affects our society and ruins people’s lives. it affects our economy too, costing billions and wasting potential. it is the result of a political approach that addresses the symptoms, rather than the underlying causes, of social breakdown; one that relies on top-down government intervention and bureaucratic micro-management.
So we need a new approach: social responsibility, not state control; the big Society, not big government. only in this way will we tackle the causes of poverty and inequality, rather than just the symptoms. only in this way will we transform the quality of our public services. and only in this way will we rebuild shattered communities and repair the torn fabric of society.
So we will redistribute power from the central state to individuals, families and local communities. We will give public sector workers back their professional autonomy. they will be accountable to the people they serve and the results they achieve will be made transparent. if people don’t like the service they receive they will be able to choose better alternatives. in this way, we will create opportunities for people to take power and control over their lives. our approach is absolutely in line with the spirit of the age: the post-bureaucratic age.
this vision demands a cultural change across the country. our success will depend not just on the actions we take but on society’s response. by promoting equality and tackling discrimination, our policies, like recognising civil partnerships as well as marriage in the tax system and helping disabled people live independently, will give everybody the chance to play their part. this way, we can make britain fairer and safer; a country where opportunity is more equal.
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