Fraser Nelson

The case for voting Conservative

The case for voting Conservative
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Why vote for Cameron? The reasons for voting against Gordon Brown are so numerous that the positive pro-Tory reasons for voting are often lost. This week's Spectator gives you all the ammo you need to win around wavering friends, colleagues and family. We have restricted ourselves to the ten most compelling points. I summarise them below:

1. School reform. In itself, it's enough reason to vote Tory. Gove has specifically promise that within four years of a Tory government everyone will have an independent school offering to educate their kid for free. This should have been a 1981 Tory proposal, but Keith Joseph lost a battle with the civil service (after he recruited a young Cambridge graduate named Oliver Letwin to help him fight it).

2. School reform will be a model for public service revolution. Cameron's plans to let bureacracies stage their own buyouts is a nod to this general idea: letting bureaucracies grow into industries. We quote Letwin, describing a country where "hospitals compete for patients, schools compete for pupils, welfare provider compete for results in getting people out of welfare and into work." This is the Cameron mission, and it is nothing short of revolutionary.

3. A growth agenda. Corporation tax will drop from 28p to 25p - en route to 20p. Low business tax means more business activity means more jobs means surer economic recovery. This is tory economics: drop tax rates, and you end up with more tax revenue through greater economic growth. Brown thinks higher state spending will lead the recovery - precisely the illusion which led Japan into its "lost decade"

4. New approach on tax. Osborne will introduce real-world taxation modelling - or so-called "dynamic tax scoring" - to the Treasury. This will remove the pernicious bias towards extra taxation. It will hopefully explain to Osborne that the 50p tax will lose him a nine-figure sum in tax revenue.

5. The IDS welare reform agenda. Which will actually cure the "giant evil" of welfare dependency, as Beveridge famously put it. I elaborated on this in a piece for the Daily Telegraph yesterday.

6. Family reform. Cameron is more pro-family than any other post-war party leader - he can't afford to go very far with tax breaks now, but will when he can. And he does so on the basis that the family is the first, best and cheapest provider of health, wealth and education. Tory welfare policies will go with the grain of human nature, rather than against it.

7. The liberty agenda. Cameron has said he'll support MPs in reversing the hunting ban. He'll abolish ID cards. Why? Because Conservatives believe very strongly in liberties - that the state should be small, and people should be big.

8. Europe.
Now that the hated EU referendum has been passed in defiance of British public opinion, there is not much we can do to reverse it. But Cameron has given guarantees that Britain will adopt an Irish-style policy: no more integration without a referendum. If the Greek and Spanish fiscal fiasco does indeed produce a two-speed Europe, Cameron will be sure to negotiate the best settlement for Britain as we edge away from a federalism which has no democratic support. Cameron would not relish such a battle, but he knows if he didn't perform then his party would rebel in a way that makes Maastricht look like a picnic.

9. The unions.
They'll test Cameron early on, and the battle will be existential. If he caves, he'll be as broken a figure as Heath was after the 1972 U-turn.

10.  Cameron's Character.
He's at his best when he's in a crisis - his gut instincts are always right. Think about how he saved the party in the election-which-never-was by producing radical policies. His versatility to changing circumstances (and his ability to dump bad ideas that lesser, vainer politicians would remain wedded to) is perhaps his strongest characteristic. When you think about the ever-mutating problems he'll find in No10, then it's fairly clear: Cameron is precisely the right man for what lies ahead.

Now, The Spectator does not agree with Cameron on everything. But our differences are more over timing than direction: we’d like the revenue-destroying 50p tax abolished immediately, rather than the two-year timeframe that Hammond talks of. We’d like more radical health reform, and consider the NHS pledge to be unwise and impractical. If he does form the next government, we shall hold him to account even more ferociously that we did Brown: we expect more from those whom we respect. In Coffee House will seize on his errors, as we have done Brown’s.

But if the scale of Labour’s failure is astonishing, then so is the scale of the Conservatives opportunity. In Cameron, the party has an exceptional leader – and someone who has the potential to be a transformative leader. Some CoffeeHousers are more sceptical than others about just what he can achieve. But let’s do what we can go get Brown out, put Cameron in No10 and find out just what he can do.

P.S. The cover is a tribute to Labour’s brilliant Ashes to Ashes meme, by the brilliant Jonathan Cusick. Only political geeks like the Miliband brothers could think the 1980s were a bad decade: the government won the Cold War, transformed the economy and smashed the unions.