Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Will Cameron be a neocon in "compassionate Conservative" clothing?

While David Cameron has emphasised his caring, sharing side during his Tory leadership campaign, some of his public policy positions look worryingly Dubya-like:
Cameron too is surrounded by ideological neoconservatives, his campaign manager and shadow chancellor George Osborne chief among them. Cameron strongly backed the Iraq war while his allies, Michael Gove and Ed Vaizey, last month founded the Henry Jackson Society, named after the late US senator who is the patron saint of neoconservatism.
Simon Jenkins doesn't think policy is hugely important at this point:
Substance will come in time. For the present, Cameron's team has digested Philip Gould's advice to Blair in opposition: fight in the centre ground for that is where the enemy must be engaged. Hence the vague talk of social justice, urban renewal and "society, not state". But avoid specifics. Take the cue from Classic FM's manic incantation, "Just relax". Make the voters trust you, believe in you, share your faith. Do not hit them with 12 things wrong with the economy. Show vision in general, not policy in particular. Winning elections these days is an evangelical, quasi-religious exercise.
As long as all of this emoting doesn't distract Cameron from vital battles such as on ID cards, which need fighting now...

1 comment:

Ian Brown said...

Camilla Cavendish thinks Cameron is a classic liberal:

Do not assume that Mr Cameron is “wet” on economics because he is socially liberal — George Osborne, his Shadow Chancellor, has thought his way through flat taxes, after all. Do not assume that he doesn’t understand the voluntary sector — his campaign manager, Steve Hilton, has spent years working in the field of social action. And do not assume that his opposition to 90-day detention of terror suspects was a one-off piece of opportunism. We may yet see a party emerge in the true tradition of Tory liberalism, nurturing both civil society and civil liberties. If that is what David Cameron is trying to reinvent, all power to him.