The spectacle of British politicians of every creed scrambling to associate themselves with President Obama this week may have been amusing, yet, writing in the Evening Standard today, Andrew Gilligan detects genuine Obama-like trends emerging within British politics. Now, as never before, he says, both left and right are vying for the true mantle of “progressiveness.”
Perhaps this is because someone gave Gilligan a sneak preview of the forthcoming issue of Prospect, in which Phillip Blond, director of Demos’s new “Progressive Conservatism” project, lays out a bold new vision for Toryism. Blond calls on Cameron to lead a massive redistribution of power and wealth, to restore Britain’s “lost” civil society and local pride, to break up monopolies, protect small businesses and promote microfinance and self-improvement for the poor.
If this sounds radical and distinctly un-Thatcherite, it’s because it is. But, Blond points out, as late as August 2008 David Cameron was promising to be “as radical a social reformer as Margaret Thatcher was an economic reformer.”
With New Labour politically bankrupt and reeling from the ongoing financial crisis, this is the ideal moment for Cameron to make good on this pledge. Read Blond’s article in full in the new issue of Prospect, available in shops and online on Thursday 29th January.