Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Built To Last

Nothing particularly interesting about David Cameron's new vision for the Conservative Party, so a bit of a let-down for anyone who was thinking this may be some sort of Clause-4 moment for a party on the verge of a comeback.

To be honest, it's pretty boring stuff. New Labour-esque soundbites such as
Security and freedom must go hand in hand.
There is such a thing as society, it's just not the same thing as the state
sound rather good, but tell us squat about what the Tories actually intend to do about them. The title too is obviously chosen for its vagueness - what exactly is Built to Last supposed to instil in me other than reminding me of such other catchphrases as 'common sense' and 'back to basics'.

It's definitely a 'softer' Conservatism though - mention of the environment and sustainability is noted, as well as a much reduced emphasis on big business and private investment. Other than that though, it's really not revolutionary or controversial in the slightest. Die-Hard Tories might be spluttering a bit, but if the Tories want to regain power any time soon, they'll be ignoring that wing of the party altogether. That being said, I'd have thought trying to differentiate themselves from Labour might have been a good idea right about now, and that's really not the impression that I'm getting when I read this release.

At the end of the day, it will be actions rather than words that convince anyone as to the worthiness of Cameron's new party. Which is a good thing, because this release does little to fill me with confidence in terms of the depth of ideas possessed by Dave and co.


Biodun said...

this release does little to fill me with confidence in terms of the depth of ideas possessed by Dave and co

Aaaah, that's because you weren't there, Paul. Trust me.
You can watch the "Built To Last" video here

He was very strident against ID cards, (towards the end of the video if you watch it) and spoke against this government's "ineffective authoritarianism".

I've had people walk away from me abruptly in bars and parties, when I tell them I'm a conservative.
The reason why there's so much froth right now, is because the party has to clean up it's image.

Once this is done, the good and sound policies will come out. Trust Me -I'm a Tory!

PaulJ said...

If the action follows the words, I might be converted. I like a lot of what Cameron is saying, it's just coming across as very new-labour, very soundbite, very policy review lets-have-a-big-lurch-and-get-it-over-with.

Lots has been said about the lack of hard policy in Cameron's new agenda. I thought that maybe this release would give us some ideas. When the new ideas start turning into new policies, bare to the world, then I'll reassess. Right now it's nothing special.

The Tories moving is no bad thing, hell, Labour wouldn't be where they are now if it wasn't for the policy review and Kinnock ruining himself to better the party. And that paid off, didn't it? But the Tories have to cause those wounds gently, so that they're well healed over before the next election. Otherwise they inherit Labour's tag of all things to all people.

Tory Convert said...


I think that is totally fair enough. We've given ourselves this luxury of a long time to take a good look at our policies. I think that is more sensible then rushing in where angels fear to tread if we are serious about forming the next government. It's also a lot better than the "we know what the answers are and other people are too stupid to vote Conservative" attitude of some on the Conservative right.

If you're interested, there are already some interesting policy ideas coming out of the policy groups. See for example this on decentralising energy.

Built to Last is more of a vision thing - it isn't supposed to be about details. Details - and time to think about them - are good.

MatGB said...

TC, you're right, that is a very interesting policy idea. Not exactly original (c'mon, I had to get a dig in somewhere), but interesting.

Vision thing. I've heard that before somewhere. Have to say though, following what Ken's up to, impressed overall. Paradigm shift at last?