Another Tory donor has attacked David Cameron today. This attack follows the press hoopla about yesterday’s defection of an unknown 26-year-old to Labour. It’s a good time to remind ourselves of some of David Cameron’s achievements. In a series of articles over the next few days ConservativeHome will be doing just that.
Writing for today’s Guardian David Cameron underlines his continuing commitment to social justice. It is one of the outstanding successes of his time as leader that the Conservative Party has renewed what once would have been called its one nation tradition – its commitment to govern for all Britons.
In his article the Conservative leader notes the relative fall in living standards for what Ann Widdecombe called “the forgotten decent” – people “trapped in deprivation through no immediate fault of their own, unable to climb into the middle classes because of a series of barriers that completely block the route.”
The party will today be outlining plans for Social Enterprise Zones. “SEZs,” Mr Cameron writes “will give councils the power to create a radically deregulated environment for social enterprises and voluntary bodies.” Practical proposals will include tax relief in SEZs and “the creation of a community bank, a sort of central bank for the social enterprise sector.”
David Cameron writes that “the social enterprise is the great
institutional innovation of our times.” He is right and I hope the
Conservatives will do much more to ensure that the sector does not
become like the establishment voluntary sector which, in its personnel
and methods of operation, is often little different from local and
central government. Cameron Watt used his Satrurday column to explain
how Conservatives might build a more independent-minded third sector.
Today’s new announcements – associated with social enterprise spokesman
Greg Clark MP – builds on the work of Iain Duncan Smith’s social
justice policy group. That group produced – for our party – the most
important statement in a generation on the broken nature of British
Not only is the Conservative Party talking about social justice again
it is doing so in a distinctively conservative way. The emphasis isn’t
on a crude expansion of the state but on using the government to help
people to build families, stay off drugs and gain the skills they need
to live independently. Iain Duncan Smith put it this way a few weeks
"The traditional laissez-faire approach understands poverty as a product of wrong choices – wrong choices about family, drugs, crime and schooling. That view says that poverty is always the fault of the person who makes the wrong choices. On the other side of the political divide the elimination of poverty is seen as the job of government. Government is blamed for poverty. The approach outlined in the Breakthrough Britain report is based on the belief that individual people must be responsible for their choices but that government has a big responsibility to help people make the right choices. Government should therefore support marriage and support initiatives that encourage debt-free and drug-free behaviours. ‘Shared responsibility’ is the name that David Cameron gives to the approach."
It’s true that ConservativeHome wants a more balanced Conservative
strategy and that is beginning to happen. Recent interventions on
Europe and security come to mind. But the Conservatives do not deserve
to be in Government again if we are not determined to improve the lives
of every Briton and to restarting social mobility. Project Cameron’s
emphasis on social responsibility is its greatest plus point.
TOMORROW WE WILL BE LOOKING AT A SECOND ACHIEVEMENT: THE UNITY OF THE REAL ‘TOP TORIES’.
Email us with your own thoughts on what should be included in this series on Project Cameron’s greatest achievements.