David Cameron was right to talk of one nation after his re election as MP for Witney. The new Parliament has much to do to reassure the nation and to bring it together after a long election campaign that stresses the differences and accentuates the disagreements.
One nation is one of the phrases that means several things. Today it has something to tell us about our economic policy, about the stresses on our union within the UK, and about our relationship with the European Union.
Some interviewers and commentators are already trying to pit Conservative against Conservative in the new Parliament. They should not underestimate the wish of all Conservatives to provide leadership that can reduce tensions and strengthen our nation. The Conservative party is at its best when it does seek the national interest.
There will be no disagreement about the need for an economic policy which generates more jobs, more better paid jobs, and continues the recovery. There is no disagreement that the rich and successful should pay more, and those in need should receive help from the state. Conservatives also believe it is no crime to be successful , that people at all income levels should keep a good reward for their hard work and enterprise, that tax cuts for all can fuel more growth. Many voters in England did reject parties that proposed various tax rises and new taxes.
Nor is there any disagreement that we need to find a new settlement for the union of the UK that meets the aspirations of many Scots, and of the rest of the UK. Only the Conservatives of the major parties spoke of England. As the new Parliament goes about the task of honouring pledges to Scotland, and enters discussion with the SNP about what they want for Scotland, so we will need to look after England,Wales and Northern Ireland as well. Devolution has to be fair.
Conservatives also strongly believe that Europe is our continent, not our country. The EU should be a set of agreements with other European countries, not an override on our democratic government. We do not wish the EU to have the power to prevent the will of the British people being implemented by a UK government on matters as diverse as borders, migration,tax, benefits and the other important issues which the EU increasingly controls or influences.
I would sum up the huge task of this new Parliament in one simple phrase. The new Parliament has to do no less than establish the primacy and good working of UK democracy. To do so it needs to continue a recovery to bring rising living standards for the many, to find a new settlement for our Union, and to work out a new relationship with the EU which ensures the important issues are settled here in our one nation, the United Kingdom.
Doubtless there will be many arguments on the way, within parties as well as between parties. That is healthy. It is called democracy.