My reaction to last week’s local election results is straightforward: I get the message, loud and clear. I know that the familiar excuses – low turnout, mid-term blues – aren’t enough. Even the difficulties of our economic situation and the tough but necessary decisions the Government has had to take cannot fully explain the results. The message people are sending is this: focus on what matters, deliver what you promise – and prove yourself in the process. I get it.
So let me spell this out. I am sceptical of those who claim to draw the answer to every problem from a loud ideology, but I am fierce in my commitment to a fair society in which effort is rewarded, work pays, and the state is there to help people but not shape every part of their lives. I am on the side of people who work hard, want to get on and play by the rules. I loathe with a passion the bankrupt, high-taxing, something for nothing society left behind by Labour, and I am in politics to change it.