A few days ago this blog argued that the extended nature of the leadership election was beginning to bear fruit. It’s a view that can also be found in this morning’s Telegraph:
”It is true that during this interregnum the party is prevented from making headway against the Government. But for the first time in years there is now a real public debate about Conservative ideas. David Davis has stated his principled adherence to low taxes, and Liam Fox and David Willetts have advanced innovative views on Europe and social policy respectively.”
The Telegraph may particularly like Liam Fox’s European views but his human rights agenda may be the one with real electoral cut-through.
The focus of this morning’s Telegraph is David Cameron’s social justice message. Mr Cameron gave a speech to Iain Duncan Smith’s Centre for Social Justice yesterday. The occasion was the launch of the CSJ’s Alliance of Effective Poverty-Fighting Organisations. The Telegraph wrote:
“Yesterday, David Cameron made his most substantial contribution to this debate so far. Having already emphasised the need to support stable families, he has now turned his attention to building stronger communities, celebrating the volunteers who do so much unsung work among the poor… Cameron proposed rewards in the benefit system for those who do voluntary work, and the right for social enterprises to compete on equal terms with commercial and public sector bodies. Mr Cameron has a different approach to the role of the state to that of his main rival, Mr Davis. He stated yesterday that "the biggest challenge our country faces is not economic decline, but social decline". Given this, he argued that the Conservatives must have more "aspirations for government" - not more government, but a government with better and different priorities….
Mr Cameron's task is to marry the traditional Conservative belief in limited government and low taxes with the - equally traditional and Conservative - belief in social obligation. He might do worse than follow the lead set by his host yesterday, Mr Duncan Smith, who has been highlighting innovative local projects which show that social action is not the same as state action, and that neighbourhoods have within them the seeds of their own regeneration. There is no conflict between the small state and social justice."