David Blackburn

One Nation

One Nation
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David Cameron received a standing ovation after he proclaimed “Don’t dare lecture us about poverty”,  illustrating that compassionate conservatism is a central issue to the Conservative party. Today, David Cameron will set out his blueprint to eradicate poverty, which, together with education reform and the promotion of the family, form the compassionate case.

Cameron is expected to say:

“Our alternative to big government is not no government. Our alternative to big government is the big society, but we understand that the big society is not just going to spring to life on its own: we need strong and concerted government action to make it happen. We need to use the state to remake society."

This statement places the modern Conservative party in the One Nation Tory tradition – the state should be used sparingly to reshape society, to release the harnesses that hamper the individual. Rather than eradicating the state, compassionate conservatism re-envisages the state’s role in society. It should inspire those who need inspiration and assist those in need. Cameron’s radicalism will confront Labour’s inability to eradicate poverty and encourage social mobility through the contrivance of an interfering monolith, intended to be benevolent.  The Tories are winning the progressive argument, and Labour’s attempt to denigrate the opposition as more Thatcherite than Thatcher simply will not work.