May 8, 2007


Letwin: 'Cameron Conservatism' outflanks Brown's 'post-Marxism' (Andrew Grice, 09 May 2007, Independent)

David Cameron will win the "battle of ideas" against Gordon Brown with his vision of "social responsibility", the Tories' policy chief has declared.

Oliver Letwin spelt out the "big idea" of what he called "Cameron Conservatism" as he branded Mr Brown's version of New Labour as the heir to Marxism. He contrasted the Chancellor's "provision theory" - under which the state provided services - directly with Mr Cameron's "framework theory" in which services would be funded by the state but some would be run by the voluntary or private sector.

Mr Brown is expected to set out his policy agenda on Friday, the day after Tony Blair confirms his departure timetable, and will try to offer a combination of "continuity and change". He intends to head off the Tory charge that he would run a "big brother" government by stressing he is committed to an "enabling state" in which power is devolved to local level.

In a speech to the Policy Exchange think-tank, Mr Letwin predicted that, with the debate over a free market economy largely settled, society would be the main battleground at the election. He said: "Cameron Conservatives have recognised the profound consequences of the fact that we have entered a post-Marxist era. Politics - once econo-centric - must now become socio-centric. Instead of being about economics, politics in a post-Marxist age is about the whole way we live our lives; it is about society."

The Democrats have so thoroughly abandoned Bill Clinton that they offer nothing but reaction to the GOP's Third Way.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 8, 2007 8:05 PM

A sign of seriousness in David Cameron would be his advocating abolition of the annual BBC color TV licence fee (135 pounds) paid by every TV set owner in Britain.

Let the Beeb sink or swim on its merit, instead of taxpayer compulsion.

Posted by: John J. Coupal at May 8, 2007 9:56 PM

To bad no one but Bush embraced the 3rd way either.

Posted by: Bruno at May 8, 2007 11:15 PM

The problem with Cameron's world view is that it constantly dresses up old Tory world view in modern speech.

The "trust the voluntary sector" is an attempt to return to the Victorian view of social welfare. Which most of the British people don't trust.

The reason for this is fairly clear - the Victorian's view was, "ah, those poor , their just like children, really".

If for some reason you didn't come up to their moral certitude (different religion, different skin colour, different class) you were excluded until you "bucked up your idea".

The truth of the matter is that there is plenty of (some would argue too much) private and voluntary involvement in the public sector in the UK. Most new capital projects are "public-private partnerships". Routine operations often occur in private clinics.

And, the Tories, when in power do very little other than make the right noises to change this.

He really needs to get a new idea.

Posted by: Mark at May 9, 2007 4:19 AM

Yes, that's the point of the Third Way, to dress up Victorian values in terms the Left can swallow. Just because Marxism is a dead letter doesn't mean you they have to rub the fact in their own faces. Let the poor dupes pretend.

Posted by: oj at May 9, 2007 6:45 AM

Clinton, Newt, Jeb, Mitch Daniels, Mayor Daley, Cory Booker, Jim Douglas, Jim DeMint, Sam Johnson, Zach Wamp & company, Ben Bernanke...

Posted by: oj at May 9, 2007 7:02 AM