Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Leadership Contest - 2.
Sat and watched Newsnight last night with rising frustration. Of course Ken Clarke is picked by most people - he is the most familiar. Follow that line of thought and Ford would still be making the model T.
They ramble on about left wing and right wing contenders taking no account of the fact that modern politics is so much more complex. The old battleground of Left vs Right has long been blurred to obscurity.
But an interesting fact is being missed by all the main politcial commentators.
All of the expected candidates are echoing a step-change in our thinking that has already occurred. They are all campaigning -in one form or another- on the platform which we can call "Compassionate Conservativism".
There has been a quiet revolution amongst Conservatives who now accept that we are not just the Party that celebrates enterprise and economic success but also that we have obligations to the most vulnerable members of society.
Most Tories now accept the fact that a 'good society' is not just about creating wealth; tax cuts and free markets, it's about creating a successful civic community. This means finding answers to many of today's social problems such as youth crime, the breakdown of families, poor educational achievement, inter-cultural and religious tensions and above all the so-called 'dependancy culture' - as Governments have done more and more, individuals have had to do less and less and the result has been a massive loss of personal responsibility.
We believe that many of the solutions to these problems will not be found by ever more Government initiatives and new laws but by empowering the institutions of civil society: family, local community (including local councils, schools etc.), church and charity, which we believe have been progressively eroded by the State.
We want to restore a sense of civic duty and pride create a more 'neighbourly society’ in Britain, so that we can tackle our problems together and not just by leaving it to 'them' ('Them' being the Police, Social Services or indeed, the Government).
Often evolutionary change is only visible in retrospect. I think that the Conservative Party has already changed, we have found a new ethos and a new destiny.
All we need to do is choose the leader who can convey it best.