Clarke is asked what the driving purpose of a Cameron government would be, he replies as follows:
“We are endeavouring to answer the question,” he says. “We are being very cautious – which is a problem – but I accept personally that we have to be.” Why is Mr Cameron’s caution a problem?
“Because you come away as a bit bland and you don’t give a clear enough impression of what you’re going to be doing. But better [that] than causing constant rows and alarms.” That Clarke, hardly an ideologue, is prepared to acknowledge the problems caused by the leadership’s caution is striking. He’s right that travelling fairly light on policy means that the Tories don’t frighten the horses. But he is also correct that this means that it is less clear what a Cameron government would do.
If the Tories are to win on more of a positive, pro-Tory vote rather than an anti-Brow, anti-Labour one, then they are going to have to be clearer about what they will do in government. The philosophical and intellectual framework the Tories are operating with is clear, but what is needed is more policy meat on the bone.