Sunday, September 25, 2005

True Grit

An argument you sometimes hear is that Davis is yet another in a dismal sequence of failed right-wing leaders. They start out promising to pursue a "modernising" aganda, but as soon as the going gets rough they revert to their "default settings", holed up back in that right-wing redboubt taking poorly aimed shots at the real world outside.

We've never believed DD fits that pantomime caricature, but it's interesting to see what the v brainy Dr Greg Clarke says about it. He's the new MP for Tunbridge Wells who declared for DD yesterday.

And he knows a thing or two about retreats to that redoubt, having been appointed Conservative strategy director by William Hague in 2001. He subsequently established a policy unit which 'developed a new agenda for the Party, based on two themes:
  • serious reform of the public services to give independence to professionals and choice to the people who use these services; and
  • a focus on the people and communities 'left behind'.

Sound familiar? Hmm...yees. It never really got incorporated in our 2005 Election platform though, did it. And Greg reckons he knows why:

"Having worked for three successive Leaders of the Opposition I have seen at first hand how day-to-day pressures can make even the most well-intentioned Leader the slave of the next day's headline writers. That is why it is essential to have a Leader who has from the outset a serious agenda for government, and who has the personal tenacity to stick to that agenda and refuse to be blown off course.

David Davis has the right vision for Britain. When he was Party Chairman, he said that the test of any policy must be what it does to help the most vulnerable in society. He was among the first to recognise the need to bring our public services into line with the best in the world, and he helped construct policies to take power away from central government and unaccountable bodies and give it back to local communities and citizens.

I have worked with David for several years, and I know that he is strong enough to withstand the pressures a Leader of the Opposition, still more a Prime Minister, faces without being deflected from his purpose."

Spot on.



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