Monday, January 30, 2006
Real change? - Or is he simply playing to the press?
This is the question I get asked the most about David Cameron by our members and supporters.
Is he really changing our Party or is he merely trying to make us look and sound more moderate to keep the press on side?
The Conservative Party has always been the home of pragmatic politics. Since the days of Disreali the party has been kept in power by a survival instinct based on remaining up to date with public opinion and keeping our underlying philosphy simple.
In the 1970's the country was sliding into an abyss and the Party required a much more determined and strident set of solutions to combat trade union power and economic decline; but even under Thatcher real spending on the NHS went up, Grammar Schools were replaced by Comprehensives, major pieces of race relation and sex discrimination legislation were introduced and the level of overall tax in the economy stayed at historically high levels - hardly an extreme 'right wing' administration.
But since then the Thatcher Tories have been portrayed by our opponents as 'extremists' hell-bent on distroying the NHS and returning British society to some kind of Victorian class-ridden nightmare.
At last the Party has recognised that this parody of our politics has become the image of us that most non Tories have and are doing something about it.
Cameron has done nothing to change our basic philosophy - keep Government small.
What he has done is ruthlessly drop any policy that offers ammunition to those who would wish to mislead the public about our goals and to beef up the policies -always there but overlooked by the press and public- that stress our belief in a fair society.
A society where people have equal opportunity to make the best of the talents and abilities that they have; where we look after those for whom circumstances have made life difficult; and where we have a society that shows consideration for each other and for the environment we share.
Not new Conservatives, in fact just reminding people of long held priorities we have always had.