The Conservative Party has to renew itself, but without discarding its traditional commitment to doing “the right thing”— a Cameronian expression that means so much and so little. It has to connect to a new generation of Britons whose Britishness is a shade too cosmopolitan and who have acquired a sense of entitlement that is dependent on an unaffordable welfare State. Cameron’s concordat with the Liberal Democrats may have struck many die-hard Conservatives as a reckless sell-out. However, it has given the party an invaluable entry point into a Britain that is unmoved by traditional Toryism.
Throughout its history, the Conservative Party has reinvigorated itself by drawing defectors from other political traditions. The grafting of Joseph Chamberlain’s municipal activism to the high Toryism of Lord Salisbury and the accretion of the self-made Essex man to the party vote bank by Thatcher are just two recent examples. The addition of the social compassion of the Liberal Democrats to the Conservative kitty has the potential of undermining the “progressive majority” that the Labour Party believes will secure its recovery. A coalition government is a novelty for Britain, but it offers British Conservatism the best chance for a long innings in government.
The Lib-Dems have both a Liberal and a Labour pedigree. To reinforce the May 6 gains, Cameron has to absorb the Gladstonian inheritance of his coalition partner.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Quote of the day
There's a fair part of the article that I'd take issue with, but I think Swapan Dasgupta has got it just about right with these 2 paragraphs: