Thursday, 4 February 2010

Fraser Nelson on Cameron and the Conservative Party

Fraser Nelson hits the nail on the head with this article in the Times (as a follow-up to his Keith Joseph Lecture, readable here - I recommend it).

Truly to take power, he said, one had to set the terms of debate. He had a phrase for it: the “verbal snares” that Labour sets for Conservatives. If a Tory party takes power yet uses Labour’s language, judges success by Labour’s yardsticks and confines itself to Labour’s ambitions, that’s not change. It’s more of the same.

He's got it right - Cameron seems to shudder every time a criticism of conservative values comes in (generally in defunct New Labour newspeak) and I'm not totally sure what the Party currently stands for. The Conservative Party needs to embrace conservative ideology and conservative values, not Labour values. The schools reform is a start, but this needs to be our attitude to governing.

One thing I found interesting was his link to Ted Heath, who got booted out but whose manifesto was then delivered by Thatcher. I might just be speculating, but could Cameron be a Heath, who then gets replaced by a 'proper' conservative after a one-term government? Daniel Hannan comes to mind, but I doubt it (he's more of a libertarian anyway). On second thoughts, even David Davis?

Cameron needs to start being a radical conservative (however much that phrase sounds like an oxymoron). Stop using Labour's language, Labour's ideas, Labour's values, and give a real change, a conservative change, a change that supports people and really transfers power to them, not just some words that actually create more state power.

Read Fraser Nelson's speech. He's got it spot on.

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