Shoestring manifesto (1): Let us transform appreciation of Britain and its history
It is increasingly obvious that the next Conservative government will have to make drastic cuts in public spending. Rebalancing the books will be the task of David Cameron's hoped for premiership. It may be that this exercise of national salvation will be enough to ensure re-election but it will also be important for a Conservative government to deliver other results for voters. Over the next few days ConHome will be suggesting contents for 'A Shoestring Manifesto' - a manifesto that contains important policy changes that won't cost a penny. We start with ideas on patriotism.
I've already trailed ideas on patriotism (and David Cameron has responded) but it's important enough to be repeated! It's difficult to love your country if you know little about it and far too many Britons know very, very little about their country (click here). The next Conservative manifesto shouldn't have patriotism as a theme for the footnotes but as a big idea.
- We should commit to transform the teaching of history in Britain's schools. Frank Field MP has kindly agreed to write for ConservativeHome on this mission during August in a sign that this could be a cross-party endeavour.
- In transforming the nation's understanding of history we should enlist our public service broadcaster, the BBC. The BBC's considerable skills could be used to produce high quality Sunday night dramas on the lives of the nation's great historical figures, including Wilberforce, Disraeli, Cadbury, Brunel and Adam Smith. Donata Huggins has already blogged on this.
- We should consider a National Day. America has 4th July. France has Bastille Day. Iraq recently had National Sovereignty Day. Donata considered options earlier in the month. David T Breaker has suggested Churchill Day.
- We should continue to celebrate British sport. Jeremy Hunt MP will be addressing his commitment to British sport once he returns from his honeymoon.
- A final suggestion from me would be a thorough renewal of the nation's covenant with our armed forces. David Cameron and Liam Fox have already given a lot of thought to this.
Chris Grayling MP, Shadow Home Secretary, will be addressing ConHome at the Manchester Party Conference on the subject of patriotism. We will record his remarks so non-attendees can watch what he has to say.
Email me if you have thoughts for The Shoestring Manifesto.