In third place is David Cameron for his idea of shared responsibility. It has a nice warm feel to it and has taken flesh in his idea for a national school leaver programme (a policy idea which hasn't been awarded).
Runner-up is Liam Fox for his heartfelt emphasis on human rights. Conservatives need ideas to inspire a new generation to become Conservatives. This is such an idea and is discussed in the PS to this post.
The winner of the Big Idea Award is David Willetts. After his allegedly wobbly support for DD in recent weeks it is too easy to forget the thoughtful contributions he made to the debate in the early months of the leadership race. His big idea was that smaller government could more sustainably be achieved by reducing the demand for government - rather than the supply. I wrote this about DW's idea in a July article for The Times:
“Up until now the formulaic Conservative response [to the bloated size of government] has been to identify ever more detailed ways of reducing the supply of government services — Michael Howard’s carefully costed James review being the latest failed attempt to persuade voters that there are painless ways of slimming government bureaucracies.
The breakthrough insight… is to approach the problem from the opposite side of the equation. The problem of fat government can be cracked… by first thinking of ways of reducing the demand for government. Reduce demand and the supply problem takes care of itself. The public will never vote for cuts in state services until they are convinced that those services are no longer needed. Voters may be unhappy at the performance of the welfare state but they will support its continuation until there are fewer needy people or until vulnerable people can call upon superior sources of care.
Social breakdown is a leading cause of higher government spending. A Conservative programme to reverse this breakdown is urgently needed, therefore, to address the crime-ridden estates, weak extended families and substance abuse that have all created chronic forms of dependency.
Social reform is not only the right way to reduce the long-term size of government, it is also the road to social justice.”