Writing in today's Times, Oliver Letwin asks:
Is Cameron Conservatism just a set of attitudes, or is it a political theory? This is the unspoken question behind quite a lot of the more intellectual commentary over the past 18 months of Conservative revival.Unfortunately, he pitches his response at a level that has prompted more than a handful of people to despair, "Am I the only one who cannot understand a word of what Letwin is going on about ...?!"
The question therefore deserves an answer.
Here then is a brief translation of his answer:
Cameron Conservatism has two goals:
- To shift the focus of political debate from economics (on which there is now a broad consensus across all parties) to society, and
- To change the role of the state from provider of public services (NuLab's approach) to funder of public services.
Instead of Labour's constant raft of targets, directives, reorganisations, schemes, and initiatives, a Cameron government would seek to provide support and incentives for services to be run by the voluntary or private sector, though still paid for by the state.
Simply put, that is the vision of "Social Responsibility" a vision in which human enterprise, initiative, vocation, and morale are nurtured and encouraged a vision that frees us all to meet the challenges we face in twenty-first century Britain.