Tim Montgomerie on what Conservatives stand for
Tim Montgomerie of Conservative Home had an interesting piece at the weekend which summarised in three bullet points what Conservatives should stand for in the 21st century. His three key points are
(1) We should not be resigned to the persistence of poverty in our rich and technologically-sophisticated age. The Left have run out of steam in the war on poverty. An alternative - conservative - approach to mending broken societies, rooted in the renewal of the Burkean small platoons of family, charity and strong local institutions, notably the school, is the morally right thing to do for the millions let down by state poverty-fighting efforts.
(2) Only a stronger society will produce a sustainably smaller state. Small state conservatives have long tried to cut the supply for government services but have done little about the demand for them. You cannot have a small state unless a large majority of citizens have the skills and values to live independently of the taxpayer. That means a good education, a stable family life, a respect for the law and a concern for neighbours in need.
(3) The old conservative tunes aren't electorally sufficient when centre left parties are also attempting to play them. Conservatives need to offer a broad prospectus if they are to reach the growing number of 'values voters' who want to vote for a party that isn't just good for them but also good for their neighbour.
Tim added that
On school choice, prisons reform, voluntary sector funding and welfare policy Britain's Conservatives are beginning to devise the policy responses that are equal to the challenge. Recession must not be used as an excuse to retreat from the task of going still deeper and broader.