By Tim Montgomerie
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Welcome to this new section of ConservativeHome – FutureConservatism.com – where I'll be setting out the kind of electoral manifesto and machine that can help give David Cameron a majority at the next election. There'll be ten big themes to this manifesto and I'll start setting them out later this week.
Some of the ideas will be mine but I hope that, over time, they'll mainly come from Britain's think tanks, Conservative MPs and from you.
The discussion about the future of the Conservative Party has begun in earnest today. As Cameron jets off to Russia for one day of economic diplomacy he gets a triple whammy of advice from leading Conservatives.
First off is Boris Johnson with an argument for "neo-Victorian boldness" to ensure Britain's ageing infrastructure can keep pace with demand. As Osborne considers how to supercharge his growth agenda Boris' message is Obama-esque: infrastructure, infrastructure and infrastructure:
"Commuter networks are jammed; Heathrow is running at 99 per cent capacity. We need Crossrail 2, and a new airport. We can’t afford to keep muddling along and relying on historic investment. On sewers, rail, river crossings, ports and airports it is time for neo-Victorian boldness. It is the right thing for jobs now, and the right thing for this country’s long-term competitiveness."
The second offering comes from David Davis. The former Shadow Home Secretary has teamed up with Tory MPs Brian Binley and John Baron to edit a 26 chapter book entitled 'The Future of Conservatism'. Other contributors include Philip Blond, Graham Brady, Therese Coffey and John Redwood. The book will be published by ConservativeHome and will be launched during our party conference programme (Monday, 2pm) is trailed in today's Daily Mail. Davis puts lower taxation and opposition to expensive green policies at the heart of his message:
"We cannot afford taxes that penalise effort, energy, and innovation, and which drive away entrepreneurs and capital. The argument over the 50 per cent tax rate, which punishes talent and effort, is just the tip of the iceberg. Capital gains tax and corporation taxes have similarly depressive effects on savings and investment. Neither can we afford massively expensive environmental policies which have serious consequences for economic growth but uncertain impact on global greenhouse gases."
He calls for more boldness on schools and a referendum on Britain's relationship with the EU. Other themes in the book are previewed by the Mail's Political Editor, James Chapman.
If the Mail has the first bite of the Davis book the Telegraph has exclusive insight into the second of two books about the future of the Coalition…
Written by five new Tory MPs – Kwasi Kwarteng, Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Chris Skidmore and Elizabeth Truss – After The Coalition published by Biteback will also be available in time for the Tory Conference.
Throughout this week each of this Gang of Five will be writing preview pieces for The Telegraph. The first piece from Liz Truss is not yet online but ConHome has seen a preview. Liz sets out an agenda for personal and corporate responsibility:
"Our message must be that the state cannot do everything: while the government can help, it can never fully solve any individual’s problems. The NHS can’t keep you healthy if you don’t eat or exercise properly. A teacher can’t get you the grades if you aren’t prepared to work. The job centre can’t find you work if you aren’t prepared to write up a CV. But Conservatives should not just challenge this entitlement state. We should also be prepared to break up monopolies in the private sector, and deal with the regulatory rent-seekers who float around the corporate world. Our fundamental sense of justice is affronted when the economic order turns out to be a game of snakes and ladders, with unexpected windfalls for a lucky few, and years of graft and saving by the majority taxed into oblivion. Such perverse incentives have played a large part in our current predicament: whereas a Victorian railway investor whose project failed would have lost his shirt, too often corporate managers receive large rewards with no risk. The most obscene examples were in the banking sector, whose huge losses had to be bailed out at enormous cost."
Graham Brady, Chairman of the 1922 Committee, will be breaking cover tomorrow night to make his own contribution to this debate about the party. He'll be delivering the Nick Ridley Memorial lecture to Conservative Way Forward tomorrow night.