Phillip blond

What’s the opposite of a champagne socialist? Phillip Blond

Phillip Blond, sporting tinted specs for this morning’s devolution debate, is famed in the wonkier side of Westminster for his unique style. The self-styled ‘Red Tory’, who split with the Cameroons in favour of ‘a new Tory economics that distributed property, market access and educational excellence to all’, has his shirts and jackets handmade, adding a splash of colour to the somewhat drab think-tank world. There is even a musical tribute to the ‘intellectual curio of the Conservative Party’ and his clothes: Though Mr S thought it only kind to point out that you’re meant to give those glasses back at the end of the film, Phillip.

Will Philip Blond be back for more fun?

Ed Miliband’s ‘One Nation’ conference speech will have put the populist cat amongst Downing Street’s toffee-nosed pigeons. Now young Dave’s people will have to work out how to respond to this inspired piece of political cross-dressing, even if it is essentially diaphanous. One (alleged) Tory, though, is very happy with the direction in which the national debate seems to be travelling. Mr Steerpike found Phillip Blond, the ‘Red Tory’ and founder of the Respublica think-tank, cock-a-hoop after the speech: ‘Ed Miliband has thrown down a blue Labour challenge to the Conservatives. No. 10 needs a Red Tory response unless they want to see Ed’s One Nation politics win the next election.’ Despite

Accentuate the differences

This is an age of ideas, not of ideology. That is the thesis of Amol Rajan’s enthralling overview of the intellectual trends in contemporary British politics, published in today’s Independent. As part of the piece, Rajan has interviewed Maurice Glasman, who gives a far clearer account of ‘Blue Labour’ than he did during his recent comments to the Italian press. Communities must be organised to resist the caprices of capital and the dead-hand of the state. Resist is probably the wrong word because the aim appears to be, in Philip Blond’s celebrated phrase, the ‘recapitalisation of the poor’, which implies some form of empowerment. Rajan notes that Glasman holds a

My Adventures in the Big Society

I was invited to Somerset House on the Strand yesterday as part of the Big Society Network to watch David Cameron take questions for the best part of an hour on his pet subject. My organisation, New Deal of the Mind, has been helping deliver two welfare-to-work contracts since last year and, along with most people in what I have learned to call “the third sector” I am prepared to give this idea the benefit of the doubt. There doesn’t seem to be anything particularly ideological about the Big Society, although Ed Miliband showed in his Independent on Sunday article at the weekend just how convenient a whipping boy this

Defining the BS

Of all the broadcast hours devoted to the Big Society, only one discussion has made me think that the whole thing is not completely doomed. Channel4’s 10 O’Clock Live show, staged last Thursday. It’s up on YouTube now (34 mins in). The comedian David Mitchell kicked off. “The clearest thing anyone can say about Big Society is that it’s the opposite of Big Government,” he said. Now, I haven’t heard anyone not paid by the Conservative Party say anything as clear (or as positive) about the BS. But, then again, neither Phillip Blond (who has built a think tank from the success of his Red Tory theme) nor Shaun Bailey

Blond in America

As David says, Philip Blond has charmed David Brooks (who, in turn, has not impressed Matt Welch). I wasn’t terribly impressed with Blond last November and am not sure I’ve really changed my mind. Anyway, that post can be found here. Bottom line: Sometimes, if I understand him correctly (not as simple a task as it ought to be), it seems as if Blond wants to take us back to the 1930s – at home and at work. I think he’d like everyone to live in small towns or, preferably, villages too. Now there was much that was good about the 1930s but time, and society, moves on and it’s

Red Toryism by Merle Haggard

Iain Martin has an excellent post on Philip Blond and his Red Tory project. But it occurs to me that Mr Blond could have more concisely explained Red Toryism if he’d simply played Merle Haggard’s Are the Good Times Really Over? True, Merle puts an American spin on matters, but the basic idea seems broadly similar. And, of course, Merle’s version is better:

Blond & Liberty

So Philip Blond’s new think tank ResPublica (that’s how it’s spelt, leaving one to wonder whether it’s actually a pretentious electricity company or something) and his “Red Toryism” is this week’s non-Iraq, must-talk-about political gizmo. And my, what an odd beast it is. Blond’s speech on Thursday was a strange thing indeed. Part of the time was spent wrestling with a series of impressively tiny Straw Men (“In order to reclaim a civilised society, market and state should not be regarded as the ultimate goal or expression of humanity”) and rather more of it was preoccupied with the kind of high-falutin’ gobbledegook of the kind favoured by the smarter-dressed confidence

The Red Tory

Phillip Blond has been attracting a lot of publicity in the past few weeks and it was standing room only at the launch of his new think tank Res Publica. (I should say that I am on its advisory board). David Cameron gave the opening remarks, stressing the influence Blond’s thinking has had on how the Tories think about poverty and public services, but he was also keen to point out that he doesn’t agree with everything that Blond says. Ever since the trouble caused by last summer’s Policy Exchange report advocating abandoning various northern cities, the Cameroons have been wary of getting too close to any think tank for

Cameron goes Blond

In their party political broadcast last night, the Tories endorsed a community right to buy. The idea is that communities would be offered first refusal to take over and run local amenities that are faced with closure. For example, the community would be able to take over a Post Office rather than see it shut down. Community groups would also be able to bid to run publicly provided assets such as libraries. It is a policy that has doorstep appeal and also positions the Tories where they want to be. Thatcher offered individuals a right to buy, Cameron offers communities a right to buy. The intellectual inspiration for this policy