Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cameron's'responsibility Revolution' in 12 Pages

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cameron's'responsibility Revolution' in 12 Pages

Article excerpt


DAVID CAMERON today moved to give his leadership a clearer sense of direction with a 12-page mini-manifesto.

Responding to complaints from rankand-file members that his soft-focus brand of Conservatism lacked a cutting edge, he doubled the size of the document - which is going to a vote of the membership next month.

Presenting himself as a radical reformer, Mr Cameron promised a "responsibility revolution" in which individuals, corporations and communities would be taught more personal and social responsibility.

Despite criticisms from grass roots Tories, Mr Cameron refused to abandon his focus on cuddly issues such as the environment - and would not promise specific tax cuts.

The frustration of many members was made apparent when reactions to the earlier version of the manifesto were published on the Tory website, many revealing a yearning for a return to the policies of Margaret Thatcher.

An official summary of the feedback included comments like: "While it is right to give prominence to issues such as the environment and global poverty, these should always be complemented by other issues." There were no new policies unveiled today, but the document-was given a harder edge by includingpromises made in recent speeches, such as a Bill of Rights.

Mr Cameron's hope is to emulate Tony Blair's "Clause IV moment" by winning a big endorsement just before the Bournemouth autumn conference, despite the misgivings of grandees like Lord Tebbit, who has derided his ideas as bland platitudes and clever PR.

With the polls showing the Conservatives at their strongest for a decade, the result of the vote is not in doubt.

But Mr Cameron would then be in a stronger position to face down Rightwingers demanding a return to the days of tax cuts and euro-bashing.

Writing in a foreword, he said: "I am clear about the new direction we must set for Britain. To meet the challenges of the 21st century, and to satisfy people's aspirations today, this country needs a responsibility revolution."

Striking a Thatcherite note, he said he wanted to make everyone "a doer not a done-for". …

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