Monday, 28 September 2009

Cameron acclaimed as true Tory (if polls allow)

"Will the real David Cameron please stand up" is the question we hope that our Fabian fringe with Tim Montgomerie of ConservativeHome, 'Red Tory' Phillip Blond and new Spectator editor Fraser Nelson, along with Tim Horton of the Fabians, with Polly Toynbee as circus master.

Tim Montgomerie is clear that David Cameron is committed to Conservative values - "a lot of nonsense is written about how David Cameron is not a true Conservative".

He is an economic conservative. He has put debt and public spending at the centre of public debate. He is a social conservative, on backing marriage. He is a hawkish conservative, on backing the military interventions. He is a Unionist. He is a Eurosceptic. He is comfortable with all of the great Conservative traditions.

Tim Horton agrees with this. He suggests there is a difference between the right-wing pledges that David Cameron made - leaving the European People's Party in the EU and the inheritance tax cuts (which were kept), and those which faced left - such as on spending, criticising grammar schools, where there was a retreat.

And Fraser Nelson is cheered up by that

There's nothing better than hearing how secretly right-wing the Conservatives are ... it really cheers me up

Though he isn't sure it will be true.

David Cameron has an opportunity to be as radical as Margaret Thatcher. I hope he has the stomach.

But Montgomerie suggested that the public politics of Cameronism are profoundly shaped by years of defeat, which create an obsession with "a desire never to get too far ahead or too far behind it".

Cameron and Osborne have been used to defeat for twenty years. They have been on the back foot. Only recently people were talking about the Conservatives never being in government again. So every Conservative activist will forgive that focus on the electoral challenge. My question, to which I don't know the answer, is whether that is a tactic, and if they are in Downing Street they will become bolder, or whether that obsession with has entered the DNA of the Conservative party.

But Montgomerie suggests that the emerging generation of candidates will shape the Tory agenda "long after the manifesto has been written".

The Tory candidates are not thoroughbred Cameroons. They will guard a lot of the Thatcherite inheritance as well.

And Montgomerie is enjoying himself at Labour conference - says he has only had one argument at the Labour conference - with Peter Hitchens late last night - and he thanked Labour members for their warm welcome.

1 comment:

Michael said...

I think it remains to be seen with Cameron. Montgomerie well be right - on the other hand, it might be suggested that Cameron is throwing a bone to every interest in his party (much like Blair did pre-'97) and backing his skills, and the Party's longing for power, on keeping everything hanging together. Watch this space - it could go brilliantly, or else fantastically wrong.