A couple of weeks ago Iain Dale decided to take a pot shot at the Bow Group on these pages. His motive was unclear, but his comments suggest that he hasn’t spoken to a Conservative Party member outside of SW1 for quite some time. In one particularly revealing segment, he notes that our chairman, Ben Harris-Quinney, is also the director of Conservative Grassroots, a campaign which he “would have thought, [would] have very different aims”. If he means to infer that the CCHQ policy unit has fallen completely out of step with the grassroots, I guess he would be right. I suspect that’s not what he meant to infer though.
The Bow Group has always tried to embrace the full range of Tory thought from the left to the right of the party. But in order for all these strands to be woven into one coherent party, every Tory should be able to point to key underlying themes. On our website, we suggest support for a market economy, and for social responsibility. I might have added a respect for social conservatism as being indicative of an understanding of, and respect for, Britain’s history and values.
Certainly, my experience of ‘ordinary’ party members up and down the country, working class and landed gentry alike is that this sketch of conservatism is their instinctive understanding of what the party is all about. It’s also what we in the Bow Group are in the business of promoting.
Today we are having our Summer Reception at the Spanish Embassy at 7pm. I would like to extend an open invitation to the readers of Conservative Home: if you would like to know what the Bow Group is all about and what we plan to achieve in the next twelve months, come along and find out for yourself. Tickets are £15 on the door.