McGuire, Stryker, Newsweek
Byline: Stryker McGuire
The 43-year-old leader of Britain's Conservative Party is on track to become the first Tory prime minister since 1997. Then the real work begins.
McGuire: What decisions would you take at the outset that would distinguish you from 13 years under Labour? Cameron: The war in Afghanistan has got to be fought, has got to be won. I would have a war cabinet from day one. The second thing is the deficit. Very rapidly, we [in a new government] will have an emergency deficit-reduction and growth budget. We cannot go on spending the way we are. I think the third area I'd pick out is what we believe is a more responsible country. We've covered our police, our teachers, our doctors, our nurses, our social workers in so much red tape and bureaucracy that they're incapable of fulfilling the vocation that drove them into their professions in the first place.
If elected, you will inherit one of the heaviest debt burdens in the world. How do you propose to reduce the deficit and still improve public services like schools and hospitals? We've got to break this idea that the only way of improving things is to spend money on them. You can actually get more for less. [But] we're not claiming that you can reduce the budget just by efficiencies. We've said there will be a public-sector pay freeze from 2011, excluding the million lowest-paid workers. We've said that the retirement age will rise.
You've said you want a relationship with America that is "solid but not slavish," which was interpreted as a dig at [former prime minister] Tony Blair. How did the Blair-Bush relationship harm the United Kingdom? Tony Blair wasn't positive enough in raising questions and issues [about the invasion of Iraq and postwar planning]. …