In Defence of the Cameroons
This was written as a response this outrageous article by One London leader Damian Hockney
David Cameron represents the best chance for a conservative government in the UK since Thatcher. He has given the Tories a consistent and not insignificant poll lead, broadened the general appeal of the party, and acted as an effective opposition leader, consistently challenging the government where he disagrees with them and working with the government when it behoves him to do so.
So why has he come under so much fire recently from right-wing activists who should be delighted?
To many so-called ‘traditional’ Tories, Cameron’s regime represents a step too far from the neo-liberalism of Thatcher. However, these fears are ill-conceived.
Cameron has not abandoned the key conservative values of individualism, small-government and responsibility, but has merely broadened the number of policies on which his party campaigns. In doing so he has taken a major political gamble. By embracing environmentalism Cameron has attracted new voters from the earnest Middle England set but alienated some core Tory voters.
But many of these alienated supporters actually believe that Cameron has shifted the conservative ideology significantly to the left. This is not true. Environmentalism need not be a left wing issue, indeed enterprise can be encouraged through reducing or eliminating taxes for ‘green business’ and alternative fuel sources. Cameron’s (or perhaps the media’s) emphasis on green taxes has, I believe, been damaging to the environmental cause. Much more could be achieved through market solutions.
On Europe, Cameron has taken the gamble of losing significant power in the European Parliament by quitting the Europhile EPP group. He has maintained an anti-Europe line, firmly rejecting the Euro and the EU constitution, as well as maintaining calls for reform of the CAP (an initiative that has failed under Blair). Despite all this Cameron has been attacked by Tories for being to pro-Europe. These criticisms come not as a result of true Europhilia in the party but because of the limited air time that Cameron has given to Euro-issues.
Indeed, one need only look at the names of the shadow cabinet members to find reassurance that a Cameron government will be truly conservative in its outlook. Hague, the great defender of the pound, Davis, the defender of civil liberties, leading the anti-ID card campaign, and Dr. Liam Fox, head of The Atlantic Bridge, an organisation dedicated to strengthening the “special relationship”.
To those truly angered at “hug a hoody” and Cameron’s other PR gaffes, I say wait and see. Big tent politics can be frustrating, but it wins elections. As Disraeli said, the Tories must represent “one nation”.