The think tank Demos was considered critical to the development of Blairism. Now, reflecting an altered political landscape, it is often mentioned in conjunction with David Cameron and his ‘progressive conservatism’ project. This afternoon, George Osborne will deliver a speech on the topic, at Demos, which has been extensively trailed in the media this morning.
The shadow chancellor will stress Conservative commitment to social values, communitarianism, localism and green issues, and contrast it with Labour’s woeful record on civil liberties and centralism. This blog has consistently advocated strong emphasis of these aspects of the Tory agenda. I have argued that David Cameron should, on no account, capitulate to the wing of his party which views the economic crisis as a pretext to drop policies aimed at building a fairer, happier society.
To his credit, the Conservative leader has resisted this temptation, whilst delivering a strong message on fiscal accountability. Steve Hilton’s return to the heart of the Cameron team may have stiffened sinews in this regard, but Cameron’s conservatism does appear to have deep and genuine communitarian, ‘one nation’ roots. The route to an impressive election result remains this consensus building, centrist path.