Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Davis Restates Policy Platform

Writing in the Telegraph, DD says:

"A change of management will not be enough to repair the broken trust between the people and politicians. In today's Britain there's a hunger for serious, innovative policies that will improve people's lives. The modern Conservative Party needs to commit itself to radical reform to turn Britain in the right direction. It also needs the strength of character to see change through when the going gets tough."

And for me, that's his proposition in a nutshell. He is fully committed to that compelling new Tory policy platform developed by, among others, Reform and the Direct Democracy guys. It seeks to deliver economic success combined with effective help for society's most vulnerable: choice and competition in public services, localism in government (including rolling back the powers of the EU), and a clear commitment to lower taxes. His article restates the headlines.

But could he actually get us elected? Admitting he's not a great orator, he compares himself to John Howard:

"...whose no-nonsense style of government and clear mission to change his country have won him four elections in a row. The public have had their fill of spin. In the post-Blair era, I believe they will be looking for substance."

It's substance against spin.

Ah, you say, but that's a false choice. David Cameron is much more than spin.

And you know, you may be right. But nobody can deny his frightening lack of experience. And his pronouncements in most of the key policy areas have been extraordinarily light: I've been working my way through some of the literature handed out by his team in Blackpool last week, but I'm still really none the wiser.

So, as others have said, DC is a great big risk. As Tim Hames- another discomfited DD supporter- says this morning:

'Cameron has to offer more than nods and winks. Is he for a smaller state, a larger one, or about the same size but distinct in character? Where does he stand on tax? He has (shrewdly) rejected patient passports for the NHS yet does not seem keen on vouchers (a terrible word, but potentially a useful device) for schools, even if they are weighted towards the poor. He wants a foreign policy that includes Africa beyond Zimbabwe, but what about Europe, the United States and Asia? As Walter Mondale put it to Gary Hart more than two decades ago: “Where’s the beef?”

The Tories cannot afford (yet again) to elect in haste and repent at leisure. If the principal opposition party makes the wrong choice of leader, it is critical. Once more, though, it is inclined to take a leap into the dark. It could be a very, very long way down.'

Absolutely right.
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