Thursday, April 1, 2010

They're all Christian Democrats now...

From The Economist:
Those looking for the Big Idea from Mr Cameron will be disappointed. He has a very English scepticism about grand theories. His identity lies somewhere between liberal London, where he has spent his adult life, and the conservative Home Counties, where he grew up. Ironically for a man whose Euroscepticism has irked Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, he may at heart be what continental Europeans would recognise as a Christian Democrat. He espouses a social conservatism that dwells on broad issues, such as the cultural causes of poverty, not on the narrow lifestyle questions such as gay rights (on which he is anyway tolerant) that obsess some on the American right. He is an Atlanticist, though not a passionate one, and a gentle free-marketeer.
Big Ideas are not that important, core distinguising principles are.
Christian Democracy, as practised by Merkel's CDU (as opposed to the pseudo-version on offer from the statist and quasi national-socialist, Sarkozy), is conservativism on cultural, social and moral issues and progressiveness on fiscal and economic issues.
Kind of describes New Labour under the reign of Tony, doesn't it?
In which case, what makes Cameronian Conservativism different and better than what's on offer from Tony's heirs?
That's what is needed to be firstly isolated and then, hopefully, sold.


thedissenter said...

Blair probably far more Conservative than the Christian Democrats - much more than the one I know. Though Merkel has moved slightly more towards reform, she has to date only scratched the surface of what Germany requires. You're right, Cameron is not even a CD.

shane said...

O'Neill, sorry to go slightly off-topic, but may I ask for your opinion on what the ramifications would be for unionism if Britain were to withdraw from the EU. I've always thought that if the UK left the European Union, left-liberal defenders of the union in Scotland would become alienated from the British union and could easily be won over by Nationalist promises of an 'independent Scotland in the EU' - as opposed to the then status quo: an independent Britain [probably with closer American ties] outside the EU. An Franco-German establishment in Brussels might be tempted by the prospect of reviving the 'Auld Alliance' (for strategic purposes, against an Amerocophile England) and actively court Scotland with lavish promises. An 'independent' Britain might also cause everyone in the Home Countries, particularly England, to be a bit more nationally introspective.

The DUP, the TUV, and probably most in the UUP want Britain to leave the European Union. Perhaps, paradoxically, such a move could imperil the other union. Any thoughts?

O'Neill said...

It's a fair question and one which deserves a longer answer probably in a full post, sometime this week.