James Forsyth

Progressive ends, different means

Progressive ends, different means
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Jenni Russell’s piece in The Guardian today about how the left should support the “progressive wing” of the Tory party has set tongues wagging. Tim Montgomerie has some interesting thoughts on it and attempts to identify “the important ten” who one Tory told Russell form the “progressive wing” of the party.

Personally, I must admit to finding that these arguments over the naming of things generate more heat than light. In his Demos speech, David Cameron laid out four things that progressive Conservatism stood for: moving people permanently out of poverty, a society with equality of opportunity, a greener, sustainable planet and a safer society. These goals, though, can be achieved in very different ways; that is where the rubber hits the road. For instance, one could easily identify policy differences on how to achieve these goals between the six progressive Conservatives that Tim identifies.

One of the defining features of the top tier of the Tory party now is that there is no defining ideological split. There are, however, a string of divides on individual issues from localism to foreign policy. I suspect that it is on an issue by issue basis that we will see tensions and alliances form when/if the Tories are in government.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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