Progressive conservatives test Cameron
The progressive conservative project over at Demos has announced twelve policies it thinks Cameron should introduce if he becomes PM. They describe them as the policies that will test whether a Conservative Government really is progressive. Four things strike me. Firstly, how progressive many of the policies really are: keep inheritance tax; invest more in education to end inequality; spend more public money on childcare; dump plans to offer tax breaks to married couples.
Secondly, how some of the policies may have their heart in the right place but are wrong-headed nevertheless: introduce means testing for child benefit; capitalise housing benefit (I’ve critiqued this elsewhere).
Thirdly, how odd it is to see a list of “progressive” goals that only makes passing reference to climate change and nothing about jobs or job security.
And finally, how far the new, blue in tooth and claw Conservative Party now is from these aspirations. I’m afraid I will never be able to square a Party that is committed to deep and rapid spending cuts in the midst of a recession with a Party that really cares about progressive values like equality, social justice and real human flourishing. Anyway, if the Demos group can bring the Tory leadership back to some semblance of economic common sense and progressive goals, more power to them.