This week the rivals are making more of the noise, and today is the turn of Malcom Rifkind. In reply to Davis’s call to take the common ground, he has called for the opposite.
The Conservatives must recapture the "centre ground" if they are to avoid a fourth successive general election defeat.The Moderates have been increasingly upset with Davis’s momentum and are trying to claw back some territory.
His intervention comes amid increasing frustration among Tory moderates at the way Mr Davis is getting his message across before a full debate on the future of the party has taken place.The point is perhaps that Davis has a message to get across whereas many of his rivals are defined by what they are against rather than any kind of vision. Which makes it very useful that Malcolm Rifkind has chosen to lay out his vision for the party and the country.
- First, we must proclaim our belief in liberty.
- Second, we must proclaim our belief in smaller government.
- Third, we must unambiguously embrace tax reform.
- Fourth, we are a one-nation party and that means we must make the elimination of deprivation and poverty a prime objective.
Not a bad set of policies, it looks like David Davis is already shifting the debate towards his territory.
My only question is with the fourth target. Deprivation and poverty are relative concepts, and as the good book says the poor will always be with us. I have always believed that the role of Conservatism is to offer opportunity, not to equalise outcomes.
I think that our man’s version, as borrowed from Winston Churchill is better.
A Britain in which "there is a limit beneath which no man may fall, but no limit to which any man might rise".