Tim Cavanaugh: What's the bright line difference between the Conservative position and the liberal position on Iraq?
David Cameron: Conservative position and the Labor position?
Tim Cavanaugh: Yes, yes, sorry.
David Cameron: We have a small Liberal party that was opposed to the war. Uh, I don't think there is, there is... There are differences of emphasis. I've been emphasizing for the last few years the importance of prioritizing buildup of the army. We think that should be a higher priority. But there's been fairly bipartisan approach, and as I say I think in issues of foreign affairs where British troops are involved, a bipartisan approach is often the right one.
Jim Newton: How about domestically? What are the defining issues that distinguish the two parties?
David Cameron: I think the Labor view is much more a top-down, state-control big-government knows best. And the Conservative position is much more bottom-up, trust people, devolve power, devolve responsibility, let people have more power and control over their own life. I think that's still, the parties are much closer together than twenty years ago when I first got interested in politics, but I still think that's quite a difference in approach. And I think that applies in, whether you're looking at the economy or education, or law and order. There's just a belief in big-government activism on the other side particularly Gordon Brown, who is different in that respect.
Nick Goldberg: What are the big differences between Blair and Brown in your view?
David Cameron: Well they worked, I mean Brown was very much involved in the Blair government. I mean, he was the man who wrote the checks for the last ten years. I think though, he's instinctively more, he's more instinctively and tribally a Labor politicians... I think he's more of a believer in top-down, big-government approach than Blair was. I mean Blair was pushing through some reforms, which we supported. In fact he only got them through the House of Commons because we supported them. Allowing new schools to set up in the state sector. And there are signs that Brown is backpedaling. In public service reform, I think he's a little less enthusiastic. But we'll see. I mean, I think one of the reasons the election was called off was not just because we had a good conference and came up with good ideas, but I don't think Gordon Brown has yet set out what his position is. He's sent out a laundry list of ideas but no explanation of how they will be achieved, and no story about how, what Labor is now for. And in my view you win in politics when you've got the answers to the big questions.
Jim Newton: On the environment, you mentioned a certain identification with Gov. Schwarzenegger. Is there an evolving sort of center-right position internationally on the environment? What would distinguish your position from the Labor position?
David Cameron: I think one is a sort of values approach, which is that center-right parties belief in stewardship, you know, passing on to the next generation. So you know, conservation should be part of conservatism. So there's a values piece of that.
But I think there's also something about the tools we use to get environmental changes. I think a lot of that should be market based. Incentive-based. Using green taxes, using carbon-trading systems. These are all things that the right, the center-right is very comfortable with. And one of the points I make to my party is you shouldn't leave these issues to the left, because they will bring back taxation and regulation and an ever-growing state. We need to get hold of this issue, and show how market-driven mechanisms and incentives can actually help people to lead cleaner and greener lives. And there's an argument, for instance in Britain we're saying let's put taxes on pollution, but let's put taxes on families down. Now the Labor party agrees with us that green taxes are a good thing although the green tax as a share of total taxes has actually fallen over the last decade but they just want to take the money and make the state larger.
Jim Newton: What's a green tax? A carbon tax?
David Cameron: Yeah I mean, the chancellor, in his budget Monday, just swiped one of our great ideas, which is to switch the tax that we have on people who buy airline tickets. We said switch that and make it on the flight, and make it a flight tax that relieves the pollution an airplane actually causes. Um, and so that is a green tax because it's targeting the pollution of an airplane, rather than passenger traveling on it.
Tim Cavanaugh: Does it have any effect on the amount of...particulate that's actually released into the atmosphere?
David Cameron: Yes, it'll do two things. It'll encourage fuller planes, because at the moment in Britain the full plane and the empty plane are taxed the full plane pays a lot of tax and the empty plane pays nothing. So we encourage fuller planes. It will encourage cleaner engines because we'll put in place the incentives that will encourage the manufacturers to ever-increase the greenness of the technology that they use. But it's absolutely clear that airline travel is going to increase, but if we're really serious about climate change we have to recognize every area has to make its contribution to reducing carbon emissions. And air travel at the moment in Britain 4.5% of greenhouse gases, but by 2050 will be 25%. So making sure it makes a contribution to the reduction is important.
David Cameron: We need to encourage the Iraqi politicians to come together, to make a compact, to...
Marjorie Miller: How do we do that? It seems we've been trying that for five years.