As we did for Mike Gerson, ConservativeHome recently arranged a three day visit to the UK for Fred Barnes, Executive Editor of America's Weekly Standard. Our programme for Fred involved about fifteen meetings, including with George Osborne, Michael Gove and Iain Duncan Smith (politicians); Martin Bright, Janet Daley and Daniel Finkelstein (commentators); plus Andrew Cooper, Rick Nye and Stephan Shakespeare (pollsters). The New York Times' David Brooks is our next guest.
Fred has now written up his visit as the cover piece in the latest edition of TWS. It's one of the very best summaries of Project Cameron that we've ever read. He identifies the following main lessons that the Conservatives of the UK can teach the Conservatives of the US. He unpacks each lesson in his article but here they are as bullet points:
- It takes time... to rebuild voters' trust
- 'It's not about ideology. It's about you.' Personalities as well as policies needed reforming.
- 'Broader ground.' Social justice and green issues have been added to the Tory pitch.
- Don't ignore elites*. The BBC and progressives have been cultivated.
- Co-opt liberal ends and capture liberal jargon. The Tories have colonised the left-wing term of social justice with centre right ideas.
- Social psychology. Nudging etc.
- You need a leader. After November, if McCain loses, the Republicans will lack an obvious leader.
- Forget slogans.
* David Frum fears the GOP has done this. Meeting Tim Montgomerie last week he noted that, for example, there is not a single economist that supports the Republicans at the University of Chicago.