Photos: Jaume Morey
WHEN Britons go to the polls at the next General Election, they are going to be faced with two clear choices. One, to vote for a political party which looks like the future or two, vote for a party which is obsessed with the past and the Conservative Party is confident that the country will vote for the first option and elect David Cameron prime minister.
The Conservative MP responsible for not only persuading Cameron to run for party leader but also the party's environmental planning for a better future of Britain, the man next to Cameron in the famous photographs of the Tory leader in the Arctic Circle, Gregory Barker, arrived in Palma yesterday to address Conservatives Abroad. But before he told the Bulletin that the Conservative Party is back in business and preparing to govern. As Shadow Environment Minister, Barker is key to Cameron's green agenda and admits that, while it has taken two years, the message is getting through and has changed the political agenda at Westminster. We believe in creating a low carbon economy and setting an example to the rest of the world and, apart from Gordon Brown, the City is sitting up and taking note, he said. The Tory green agenda is no gimmick, Barker explained that Cameron is determined to introduce sound green policies for the UK and beyond. We need to be setting an example to the rest of the world, in particular countries like India and China which are not going to change to low carbon economies unless we in the West can prove that economies can still flourish and grow on sustainable alternative fuels. People in Britain are starting to understand the dangers of climate change and the potential global implications such as massive population displacement from areas either hit by famine and drought or flooded by melting mountain ranges. The Conservatives are concerned about the global picture of climate change, it's a serious issue and will very much determine the future we live in, he said.
However, the first hurdle the Tories have to overcome before being in a position to start shaping Britain's future is Gordon Brown.
But, Barker really does think it is going to need a giant leap for Cameron to clear Blair's successor. The country is in limbo at the moment and somewhat confused over Blairism and Blair. Most people are releaved Blair's gone because they were fed up with the spin, the stealth taxes, the Iraq War, his failture to deliver on public services and his failure to tackle rising crime but, some people are already missing a Labour leader and PM who they can relate to, who they understand and is charismatic. Brown's values are to the far left of the party and most British families are not going to connect with him. Blair appealed and connected with middle England and the centre ground but that is where Brown is going to fail and where Cameron is going to win, said Barker. Just look at the local election results: we now control three times the number of councils Labour and the Liberals do put together and we've returned to areas where the Conservatives haven't governed for over a century. Some people may snigger about our green issues and hoodies, but we're connecting with Britain and the country is be warming to Cameron's message of building a better Britain and securing a prosperous future for forthcoming generations. Brown is a 1980*s Labour Socialist with a 20th century view, Cameron is forward looking, optimistic and is tackling the challenges of the 21st century,said Barker. The hug a hoody was taken out of context, in fact it was never said but the message is very serious. Labour has failed on education and crime. We're not concerned about the top 20 percent and whether they are getting firsts at university, we're concerned about the bottom 20 to 25 percent, the education under-class which has been failed by the government. We want to restore discipline, allow parents and pupils to chose their school and restore trust and respect in our teachers. Allow them to use initiative, let them and the public sector as a whole think for themselves again. No more towing the line. We want to give public sector employees across the board a sense of vocation, a sense of purpose, professional freedom - restore some excitement to the work place and reward those who deliver, Barker explained. But, while we're doing that, we need to tackle education and crime which go hand-in-hand. Labour's Draconian respons to crime has failed to tackle the grass root reasons for the rise in young offenders and there are no quick fixes to this problem. We need to be looking at family break down, lack of education, natural changes in society, the impact of drugs, he added. Cameron offers hope, change and optimism. We're not saying Britain's gone to the dogs under Blair, don't get me wrong, but what we're saying is that Britain is failing to reach its full potential. Britain has so much more to offer and the quality of life in the country could be so much higher with a much better work/life balance. We know what the challenges are and so does the public hence why we are taking our time in drawing up policy - we want to get it right because we are preparing to govern. It may be a while yet though as we expect Brown to enjoy his stint as PM for as long as possible, it's the only chance he's going to get.