Cameron aiming to 'spread' not 'defend' privilege in UK
David Cameron has taken on those who criticise him for being out of touch with ordinary people by declaring that he wants everyone to enjoy the kind of privileged upbringing he experienced.
In his keynote address to the Conservative Party's conference in Birmingham, Mr Cameron admitted that he had no "hard luck story" and had been fortunate to grow up as the son of a wealthy stockbroker.
But he insisted that rather than alienating him from average voters, the comfortable background provided by his father had instilled in him the values of hard work, family and community spirit that could help Britain recover from the current economic crisis.
Mr Cameron said his aim was not to defend "privilege" but "spread it" by giving everyone the help he has enjoyed in life.
He sought to define his governing principles, pledging to "get behind people who want to get on in life" and adding that "rule one" of being a Conservative was that a person's background did not matter.
He said he was not "ashamed" of backing those who wanted to "make a better life for themselves" and accused Ed Miliband, who last week attempted to claim the Tories' "One Nation" mantle, of attempting to stoke a class war.
"Line one, rule one of being a Conservative is that it's not where you've come from that counts, it's where you're going," he said.
"While the intellectuals of other parties sneer at people who want to get on in life, we are here to salute you," he said.
Mr Cameron admitted that he had been lucky in attending a Berkshire prep school and then Eton College. But this did not mean he could not help ordinary people. "I'm not here to defend privilege, I'm hear to spread it," he said.
His speech, which was nearly an hour long, was also used to set out the three key battle-lines for the next general election -- reforming the education and welfare systems while addressing the economic crisis. No mention was made of the Liberal Democrats or the coalition.
Notably, Mr Cameron made virtually no mention of same-sex marriage, the environment, immigration or a potential referendum on Europe -- all controversial issues within his party.
Instead, he spoke strongly about his belief that Britain can recover and become "unbeatable" again, drawing on the inspiration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"This is the country that invented the computer, defeated the Nazis, started the web, saw off the slave trade, unravelled DNA and fought off every invader for a thousand years. There is nothing we cannot do."
The upbeat message came after Mr Cameron warned Britons that the country faced an "hour of reckoning" and was threatened with terminal decline without radical reform and action.
However, he drew on Britain's historic achievements to warn against defeatism and said he wanted to make a "serious argument" about how the country could recover.
He insisted that "Britain is on the rise" amid recent suggestions from other senior government figures that the economy is healing. "There is a global battle out there to win jobs, orders, contracts and in that battle I believe in leading from the front," he said.
Watched by his wife, Samantha, who later embraced her husband on the stage, Mr Cameron appeared close to tears during a section of the speech about his late son, Ivan. He also talked at length about his late father, Ian. (© Daily Telegraph, London)