By Matthew Barrett
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The current edition of the FT's Weekend Magazine has a special feature, in which leading Tories – big beasts like Lord Tebbit, John Redwood, and David Davis, new intake MPs like Jo Johnson, Sajid Javid and Nick Boles, and perhaps less conventional Conservative figures like the artist, Tracey Emin – give their "Five Ideas For David".
I've selected the best "Idea For David" from each leading Conservative:
- David Davis: "Turbo-charge our free schools policy to raise education standards standards in poorer regions. Allow the private sector to act directly in schooling. Possibly allow more selection."
- Former Tory MP Archie Norman: "Recognise that the greatest problem in the NHS is management. The biggest enterprise in Europe needs the best talent flow. Why not create the world's greatest School of Healthcare Management."
- Artist Tracey Emin: "School pupils should be told how much plumbers, electricians, carpenters and seamstresses earn, so they know that by doing an apprenticeship subject, they can be in a high-earning category, lead a good lifestyle and be their own boss."
- Baroness Warsi: "Stick to the course on the economy: our deficit is bigger than that of Spain, Italy and Portugal, and if we deviate from our path, we could face the same sovereign debt problems that those countries face."
- Lord Tebbit: "Distinguish between the middle ground and the common ground. Moving towards the middle ground moves the middle itself towards your opponent, adding to his credibility whilst leaving a tranche of your supporters deserted. An election won on your opponent's policies would not be worth winning. The common ground is defined by the opinions across a wide political spectrum, e.g. immigration is out of control, or foreigners should not make our laws."
- Tim Montgomerie: "Recruit a lot more northern candidates. Take holidays in the Lake District or Yorkshire Dales. Invest in northern infrastructure. In summary: start worrying that the north might go the way of Scotland, if Conservatives are seen as the "southern" party."
- Claire Perry MP: "Show how taxes are spent. Include a simple pie chart on every tax return showing how much of each tax pound was spent on the NHS, defence, schools and so on."
- John Redwood: "Press ahead with a bold programme of repeal and amendment to cut the cost, ineffectiveness and intrusiveness of regulation."
- Historian Andrew Roberts: "Tear up the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review and ordain that all future defence reviews be threat-driven and not budget-driven."
- Stand-up comic Tom Greeves: "Be meaner to the Lib Dems. They shouldn't be in government – they lost five seats in 2010. You can't do without them yet, but you can undermine their confidence. Make Clegg, Cable or Huhne cry at every cabinet meeting."
- Sajid Javid MP: "Put a legal cap on net national debt. A debt cap, restricting net government borrowing to a given percentage of GDP, would make it harder for politicians to rely on their old "buy now, pay later" ruse."
- Nick Boles MP: "Ask new migrants given leave to remain to pay a surety deposit, refundable after five years if they have paid income tax, not claimed benefits or had a criminal conviction."
- Former Party treasurer Michael Spencer: "Youth unemployment is dangerously high. Give a "tax holiday" with zero-rate employer's National Insurance for all employees under the age of 23."
- (Lord) Jeffrey Archer: "Don't ask people to save, and then tax their savings."
- Chief executive of Next, Lord Wolfson: "Attack energy costs. Rising household energy costs threaten to derail consumer recovery, so act to reduce energy bills. The renewables target does little to reduce emissions, yet Citigroup estimates it will lead to a 52 per cent rise in electricity prices this decade."
- Edwina Currie: "Abolish bonuses in the public sector. They get fair salaries and great pensions (even after the latest changes)."
- Jo Johnson MP: "Make Britain's tax system an asset again: George Osborne has made our business tax regime more competitive. Lowering personal tax – not least the Harold Wilson-esque 50p top rate – must be a priority."
- Mark Pritchard MP: "Ensure family courts allow more equal access for both parents to children. The courts need to play their part in reversing a fatherless generation."