Thinking For The Individual

Formerly known as 'Thinking For The People', this site offers some reflections on the state of British society and her people from the perspective of a libertarian Conservative with a passionate belief in the pillars of freedom and responsibility.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

And The Weeks Go By...

At the end of a fairly promising and optimistic Conservative Party conference, things have changed.

David Cameron is pressing ahead. There are still doubts from the right about what he really believes in, but it appears that activists don't think of principle as such an important issue as power. And they feel that Mr. Cameron is the man who will give them power. I still feel that Cameron is a victim of what commentators have called 'initiativitis' - the desire to solve profound social problems with a media-friendly quick-fix and a misdirected but attractive cash injection. His speech several months ago about how the left goes on about resources in public services and how the right bangs on about changing the structures was rather insulting to Conservatives like me who do not necessarily favour his Blairite managerialist attitude to public policy. And whilst his belief in social entrepreneurship is impressive, it must be made to sound like something more serious than he has made it sound so far.

Ken Clarke, meanwhile, is becoming a part of Conservative Party folklore. He is without a doubt a great man, with the power to inspire, but the leadership may be the wrong place for him.

David Davis is slipping. The huge momentum he had built up without saying anything over the last few months since the election is starting to ebb away now that he's opened his mouth.

Malcolm Rifkind is well-liked, and even admired. But few see him as a potential leader.

Liam Fox certainly has plenty of valuble things to say and, as far as I'm concerned, has been the only candidate to put forward a cohesive agenda on which the Conservative Party can run, with his pursuit of traditional conservative ideas based on patriotism, the family and building a stronger and more confident society. But he clearly needs to work on his ability to rouse and inspire. A friend of mine who attended the conference spoke of how his speech was overshadowed by that of William Hague. Liam Fox has impressed me, but I don't think he has done enough to convince me that the leadership is right for him.

David Davis still takes most support from members of parliament who have officially declared their voting intentions. Of course, these official declarers should not be taken with absolute certainty. I can well imagine that some who have promised support to Mr. Davis (or other candidates) are now questioning his ability and hoping that they might vote for somebody else, under the radar, without him noticing. It could be highly amusing to the impartial observer for some of the 65 MPs planning to vote for Davis to move away from him.

Assuming that the two Davids go through to the final round of voting, it will be interesting to see how it turns out. For activists, the safe choice is David Davis. He is the man who they can be sure of as far as his beliefs are concerned. But perhaps the thirst for power is coming back to us so much that we are ready and willing to shift our position to make the party more attractive to voters throughout the country - voters we've lost in the past, and even voters we've never won before.

What a difference a week makes!


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