David Maddox: Cameron seeks to assume Labour’s clothing

David Cameron with wife Samantha received an enthusiastic reception at Tory conference in Manchester yesterday. Picture: Getty
David Cameron with wife Samantha received an enthusiastic reception at Tory conference in Manchester yesterday. Picture: Getty
Share this article
1
Have your say

End poverty, discrimination and the “scandal” of inequality. Celebrate diversity. Bring in full employment and guarantee a high minimum wage. These are all familiar mantras for the “true party of Labour” but what we heard from David Cameron and a succession of Cabinet ministers this week is that this is now the language of the Tories.

It was a message that now appears to resonate with Tory party members who cheered Mr Cameron to the rafters as he talked of prison reform and helping children in care.

This was a marked contrast to the awkward silence when he tried to sell the Big Society to them five years ago.

What is clear though is that the Conservatives intend to ruthlessly exploit Labour’s shift to the hard-left. Mr Cameron politics owes far more to the politics of Tony Blair than Margaret Thatcher.

However, Europe hangs over the party like a shadow and threatens to plunge it into chaos again. By the time though that members meet again next year in Birmingham it is likely the EU referendum will be over. The experience may prove to be a trauma for the Tories who will almost certainly divide in a bitter fight about Britain’s future. Much will depend on whether the Tories can reunite around this compassionate agenda and whether Labour still has a hard left leadership that has left the political centre ground vacant.