Thursday, October 05, 2006
Have spent the last few days in Bournemouth at the party conference. Quite a bit of the time was spent visiting the Accreditation Office. I received my pass on Sunday evening. Daphne didn't get hers until Tuesday morning. This put something of a restriction on our doings and enjoyment of the occasion. Someone has blundered BIG TIME!
This was David Cameron's first Conference as leader and there was a distinct air of difference from times past, and not only that we didn't get our passes on time this time. What's refreshing is that there is definitely more openness, a greater readiness to 'think outside the box' than at previous conferences. However some of us have been thinking outside the said receptacle for some time, taking a very pragmatic look at the problems our communities face and trying to devise ways to deal with them which are not constrained by ideological shibboleths.
The Tory Party has done this since Robert Peel was a lad. So in a sense Cameron is in an authentic Tory tradition, if this is what he is about.
But he must avoid picking up some new shibboleths of his own in his eagerness to ditch the perceived ones of the past. Let him emphasize protection of the environment, but not make a fetish of it. By all means be economically prudent, but also recognise that this government has tried tax and spend solutions to the problems of the public services to destruction and they haven't worked. Finally, Blair stands discredited as I always believed he ultimately would. Now above all is not the time to run up to him shouting 'me too!'