(Image from Prospect Magazine - to accompany a forthcoming feature from Philip Blond).
I've just returned from the launch of the new Progressive Conservatism Project - hosted by the Demos think tank and directed by Philip Blond.
In a sign of the seriousness with which the Tory leadership is taking the project David Cameron has just addressed the gathering. The Tory leader's speech contained little that is new but the PCP has attracted Greg Clark MP, David Willetts MP, Daniel Finkelstein and Zac Goldsmith (among others) to its advisory board.
I'm still struggling to quite understand Mr Blond's 'Red Toryism' (as he describes it) but pasted below are some extracts from pieces he has written for The Guardian's Comment is free over recent months...
Challenging centralisation, monopolisation and speculation: "The small governing elite of the party feels that this is the right way to go, but they lack a final intellectual synthesis and they also fear antagonising Thatcherites, who still constitute a sizeable slice of the party and a majority of the branch activists. But the unprecedented crisis of the world economy precipitated by the debt-leveraged collapse of free-market extremism has given the Tories a real opportunity to develop. They should worry less and carry the logic of their own civic philosophy through to its conclusion, for it could produce a genuinely critical account of the crisis and an alternative to the left/right neoliberal fundamentalism of the last 30 years. For instance, the crisis of contemporary capitalism results from the congruence and culmination of three dominant trends: centralisation, monopolisation and speculation. Despite rightwing ideological claims, unregulated capital does not diffuse equitably among all market participants. The centralisation of money and power is the foundation of monopoly, and the precondition for unrestrained speculation. Thus the Conservative critique of centralisation means an end of cartel domination and a limit to inappropriate speculation." (21 August 2008)