Tuesday, June 05, 2007

But is electoral success enough?

The battle rages on, or at least the media claim that there is a battle, between Cameron and the 'party'. Today he justified his stance and I think there are two important parts to his speech. Firstly:

"Of course the last couple of weeks haven't been as smooth as I'd like, but when the smoke clears and you look at what's happening, it's the Conservative Party in the centre ground, there for everybody"

So change is painful but necessary, why?

"I've made serious changes to this party, brought it into the mainstream, huge success at the local elections - the party's now by far the largest party in local government"

For success at elections it appears. But is that sufficient reason? Blair offered the same, dissent was initially quiet but the collapse of members and disaffection across the heartlands is endemic of the divide between where members stand and where the leaders want to position the party in relation to mass opinion. Cameron runs similar risks. While this is the logic of the market, it remains problematic. Perhaps mass opinion is in the centre ground but it can also shift and be inconsistent across different policy solutions. Similarity between parties leads to lack of choice and disengagement. Maybe there is a demand for ideas and principles, but these may not emerge from focus groups with Mr and Mrs Average. Lessons are there to be learned but has Cameron read them correctly?

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