Tuesday, 6 December 2005

Cameron wins

David Cameron has been elected as the new Tory leader.

The media aren't really surprised, since they thought the result was a foregone conclusion.

To be frank, I'm not really that excited about this. Even if Cameron becomes PM one day, he would still endorse big government. Naturally, that's not something I look forward too.

People often say Cameron is "charismatic". IMO, why does this matter? We may live in a "media age", but to me this detracts from the policies the politicians possess. Since the electorate perceive little apparent difference between the major parties, then all there is to go on is "charisma".

Some also believe that Cameron is reminiscent of Blair, when he first became leader of the Labour party. I fail to see a complete comparison. Yes, Tony Blair is "charismatic". Nevertheless, in 1994 (when Blair became leader) the Major Conservative government wasn't very popular at all. Granted, the economy was in sound shape, but issues of sleaze, splits over Europe, the ERM fiasco, etc. all contributed to the unpopularity of then Tory government. Also, the Labour party under Blair had successfully modernised since the time of Kinnock. The New Labour ethos presented the electorate with a viable alternative to the bad Conservative government.

At present the Tories aren't considered a viable alternative. I feel that Labour aren't universally liked in the country, nonetheless they are "tolerated". People recognise that the economy is in relatively healthy shape and that there is an effort by the government to improve public services. Of course, it's Cameron's duty to ensure the Conservatives are viable. Tories should remember that both IDS and Howard focused on enhancing public services and got nowhere.

As a libertarian, I would favour a more socially and economically liberal Conservative party. I doubt such a thing would come to pass under Cameron though. To me, it seems like he's a "One Nation" Tory, in the mould of, say, Harold MacMillan or Edward Heath. Because of this, he would most likely emphasise extra welfare or support for the underpriviledged, which naturally I wouldn't concur with. I do have some sympathy for One Nation conservatism though, since I agree that economic inequality should be limited, if it isn't eradicated.