Over the last few days there have been signs of restlessness amongst the Conservative and right-of-centre press. Concerns were first expressed by The Business but have been more recently taken up by The Telegraph (on redistribution and the delayed exit from the EPP) and today by The Spectator.
This week’s edition of The Spectator is the first after Boris Johnson’s reign. The weekly magazine prospered during that time as it moved to the centre and it often echoed the establishment views on such big issues as Iraq. The interim team running the newspaper – no doubt influenced by Andrew Neil – have penned a leader that encourages the ‘amiable’ and ‘skillful’ new Tory leader to become more substantial. Noting that Mr Cameron seems to be "enjoying his political ambiguity" it warns that he will not be able to"duck questions of policy for long". It highlights Mr Cameron’s consensual approach to Labour’s Education White Paper and his Kyoto environmentalism as causes for concern:
Education: "Disturbingly, Mr Cameron already appears to be ditching his belief in allowing schools a free policy on selection: ‘Representing, as I do, small towns with one or two schools, the last thing you want is for one to be a selective school and the other not to be.’ But why would that be such a bad thing? And if it is, does Mr Cameron also now oppose the policy of his alma mater, Eton College, also to select its pupils on academic merit on the grounds that the only other school in the neighbourhood is a comprehensive? Mr Cameron must make it clear that he is a meritocratic Tory who wants to offer bright children from ordinary homes the chance to excel academically; otherwise he will be seen, however unfairly, as a patrician Tory who sees the needs of his own class to be different from those of lowlier birth."
Environment: "Kyoto will not stop global warming, but it will make the poor more vulnerable to climate change by restricting economic growth. For the cost of Kyoto to global development in a year, the world’s poor could be provided with clean running water and there would still be some money left over for flood defences."
All of the above titles are owned by the Barclay brothers but this morning’s Murdoch-owned Sun has also fired a warning shot in Mr Cameron’s direction this morning. It warned against "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" on immigration policy. Its ‘Sun Says‘ column warns:
"Reminding voters they are not the Nasty Party is crucial to their re-election chances. But is it true that ALL immigration has been “fantastic” for Britain, as their chairman says? Not if you’re being shunted down the NHS waiting list because of benefit “tourists” who aren’t legally here. Or if you’ve suffered crime at the hands of illegal immigrants."
The Sun was reacting to yesterday’s call from Damian Green for the EU Worker Registration Scheme to be scrapped. Download Damian_Green’s_press_release here.