Theresa May, it seems, doesn't do ideas—but there are concepts the party must take on board to move forwardby Julian Glover / June 15, 2017 / Leave a comment
Published in July 2017 issue of Prospect Magazine
There has never been much of a Tory intellectual tradition—even Burke was a Whig—but there are Tories who care. Lacking philosophy, they hang policies on all sorts of hooks, unworried by the tangled mess this creates. Now someone will have to sort out the biggest tangle of all, the one created by Theresa May.
She didn’t do ideas: we know it now. We can see that her anything-but-Cameron lurch to provincial authoritarianism which fed energy price caps, immigration targets and grammar schools sank the nobler aims in her manifesto about inter-generational fairness. It also sank what there was of good liberal Conservative government in the Coalition years, under the best administration this country had seen, or will see, for some time.
Ideas are also the last thing tea room Tory MPs are talking about now: the recent manifesto is judged only by the toxic effect it had on voters who feared losing their homes to council bailiffs, or their pensioner perks without any explanation of what might support them instead.
But ideas—or at least an idea of what it is for—is what the party will need if it is to deserve a future in government, or even in opposition. So how might this be done? Here are five things which might help.