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Could Cameronism be better than Thatcherism?

David Brooks has written in the New York Times that the Republican focus has become too narrow, too focused on freedom:

"The Republicans talk more about the market than about society, more about income than quality of life. They celebrate capitalism, which is a means, and are inarticulate about the good life, which is the end. They take things like tax cuts, which are tactics that are good in some circumstances, and elevate them to holy principle, to be pursued in all circumstances. The emphasis on freedom and individual choice may work in the sparsely populated parts of the country. People there naturally want to do whatever they want on their own land. But it doesn’t work in the densely populated parts of the country: the cities and suburbs where Republicans are getting slaughtered. People in these areas understand that their lives are profoundly influenced by other people’s individual choices. People there are used to worrying about the health of the communal order."

All very Cameroon (but I've long believed Brooks should be/ is a guru for Cameron).  Real his full column here.

DUNCAN SMITH AITW Where Brooks and Cameron are right - in this week that we celebrate Margaret Thatcher's 30th anniversary of coming to power - is that Reagan and Thatcher cannot represent the last word in terms of conservatism.  Their projects were incomplete as Lady Thatcher has herself acknowledged.  Iain Duncan Smith (speaking in Washington DC) put it best of all a couple of months ago:

"At the end of the Thatcher years Britain was transformed. Europe’s sickest economy had become its strongest. The recipe had been low taxes. Simple taxes. Effective regulation. Privatisation. Free trade. Reform of the trade union movement. Intolerance of inflation.

They were necessary things to have done and I don’t say that lightly. They saved Britain from terminal economic decline.

 But somehow they didn’t create a nation that was quite at ease with itself. Margaret Thatcher knew that herself and used her memoirs to regret that she hadn’t been able to initiate ‘Social Thatcherism’.

As we rebuild our economies from today’s tough times we are going to need simpler taxes and open markets but the lesson of the 1980s is that those things won’t be enough.

When the next period of conservative government ends I want the British people to remember us for other things too. For helping parents to stay together and to spend more time with their children. For a nation where every one has a second chance. For building schools that reinforce the values of the home. For respecting and nurturing the skill of craftsmen. For protecting woodland and other habitats of rich natural beauty. For helping a new generation to understand their country’s history.

That’s the conservatism that will help make my country strong and contented again."

Tim Montgomerie


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