As the Tory front-runners stake their leadership claims, David Davis explains his vision for the future of the Conservative Party...
A month on from the General Election, people across the West Midlands will have returned to going about their daily lives and facing up to the struggles and challenges that involves.
Most of them won't worry about politics until the next General Election comes around. But can it be right that one cross on a ballot paper last month was their last chance to decide the course of their life for the next four or five years?
I don't think so. That's why my approach to politics is based on giving people real control over their own lives, their loved ones and their communities.
I am convinced that this is the way to improve the quality of life for everyone.
And that has to be the central aim of a modern Conservative Party.
Since the days of Shaftesbury back in the 19th Century, the Conservative Party has been the party of social justice, committed to spreading opportunity to the many and not just the few.
By contrast, Labour's approach to Government - an approach that centralises power and traps people in dependency - only lets down the people who need our help the most.
The rich few may be doing okay under this Government, but those at the other end of the scale are being left behind.
If we are to realise my vision of a Britain in which, to use Churchill's memorable phrase, we achieve 'a limit beneath which no man may fall, but no limit to which any man might rise' we must give people more opportunities to run their own lives.
People will always make better decisions for themselves than any politician ever will.
This core Conservative belief has stood the test of time and made us the most successful political party of the last century. We must hold true to it now but also extend it and show people in a very real way how it offers them a better life.
Take tax and spending. We must let people keep more of the money they earn because low tax economies encourage initiative and hard- work which create the wealth on which we all depend, but we must also focus on ensuring people get value for money for the taxes they do pay.
Britain's public services are now among the best funded in Europe, but how many people believe we are getting value for the money we are putting in?
Certainly, many would say their personal experience of their local hospital or their child's school is good. They would also say that the people that work in them are trying their best. They're right and we should celebrate that of course.
But we must also ask how we can make those millions of positive personal experiences apply to everyone across the country. Good, or even very good, public services are not enough. The British people deserve the very best.
The answer to this question, I believe, is to make the system more flexible so that it responds to the individual needs and circumstances of local people.
The way we choose a school for our child is too rigid and forces too many young people to go to poor or failing schools. Those parents who are rich enough can buy a more expensive house in a better catchment area, but they are the lucky few.
So let's transfer to all parents the Government's power and resources to choose the school that suits their child. It doesn't matter whether it's run by the local authority or anyone else. What matters is that children learn in environments that inspire them to achieve their best.
The British people are rightly proud of the NHS, but too many people are let down by the system every year. Those who can afford to go private don't have to worry. But what about those who are left behind?
So let's fund and empower all patients to choose where they are treated, irrespective of their means, whether it's in a hospital run by the NHS or the independent sector. That way people will get the treatment they need when they need it.
The same principle applies to my own area of Home Affairs. I accept that it's more difficult to give people day-to-day choice in policing, but the next best thing is to let them elect the people who run their local police service. They would then be able to force their local police to focus on the things they want like tackling yobs in crime hotspots.
We must change so that dedicated local servants are able to make important decisions closer to the people they effect.
To enact such an approach, which involves taking power away from Westminster and putting it into the hands of local people, we need a Government of courage that truly believes in trusting the British people.
The Conservative Party must be that Government, but to do so we must learn from the mistakes of the past. We have too often been guilty of pursuing radical change as an end in itself rather than showing how that change is, in fact, the means to a better end - the best possible public services for everyone in Britain.
We must make it clear that our hope for Britain is nothing less.
Empowering people to run their own lives is the right way to achieve it.