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John Rentoul: Cameron's biggest U-turn

Posted by Eagle Eye
  • Wednesday, 18 November 2009 at 04:11 pm
How much do the "progressive" Conservatives care about poverty? Reading Tim Bale's book about which I enthused on Sunday, and which can be pre-ordered here, reminded me of one of David Cameron's early U-turns. (His most recent was to insist on all-women shortlists and then to back off.)

Do you remember when in February 2006 Cameron announced a statement of the party's aims and values, called Built to Last? No? Well, it was no Clause IV moment. But the document was discussed, amended and then put to the vote of the whole membership in September 2006, and approved by 93 per cent (on a less-than-enthusiastic 27 per cent turnout).

Bale comments on some changes between the first and last drafts of the document, but misses what I think is the most important one.

Spot the difference.

Built to Last
(pdf): first draft:

"The right test for our policies is how they help the most disadvantaged in society, not the rich."

(pdf) voted on by members:

"The test of a strong and just society is how it looks after the least advantaged – but this duty is not reserved for the state alone."

They keep wriggling on the promise to cut inheritance tax for a few of the richest people in the country. When I reminded a member of Team Cameron last year of the first statement, he said that it may be the test, "but that doesn't mean we have to pass it".


Photo: John Taylor.


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