Friday, October 14, 2005
The next British Prime Minister?
After this brooding Scot of course...
For those unaware, in the UK we are currently in the midst of a Conservative party leadership contest, the most remarkable aspect of which has been the unusually impressive caliber of the candidates. Ken Clarke: popular former Chancellor... David Davis: right winger with an almost Presidential physical stature... Liam Fox: thoughtful, articulate, and principled MP from the religious right of the party. But, the most notable candidate has been the one pictured above, David Cameron, a young, modern centrist, and a sincere compassionate conservative.
I will be a Labour party supporter until the day I die, and yet, I can't help but feel satisfied with Cameron's inevitable leadership victory. For this reason...
From my 7/16 post on consensus politics:
In the UK, the last twenty six years has seen four successive Conservative terms in office, followed by three successive Labour terms. The reasons behind this are that 1) the respective parties in power both attained a high degree of success in implementing their policies, and 2) their respective opposition parties struggled to drag themselves back from the political extremes on the left and right... where, notoriously, the British electorate rarely dwell. What good is it for us to simply sway between competing political visions, like this?
Well, for me, I believe it's about progress through consensus. The Conservative party liberalized the British economy dramatically in the early 80's which transformed our society for good and bad. The test of their accomplishment, or of any political accomplishment in my opinion, is the response the opposition takes to regain support and power, and of course, what it does when it gets into power. Margaret Thatcher's reforms had so many positive benefits that slowly but surely the Labour party was required to reposition its economic vision. The Labour vision remained distinct and unique, with elements of increased taxation, and more gov't activism, but they were suddenly forced to acquire a pragmatic conviction in the positive benefits of free markets domestically, and abroad.
Progress through consensus. The public's recognition of what constitutes progress redefining the electoral landscape.
David Cameron's ascendence in the Conservative party, while quite possibly dawning a new era of success for his party, marks undoubtedly, a dramatic shift in the political landscape of Britain. The success of New Labour, under Tony Blair, has been to define the public discourse in terms of progressive values, the quality of our schools, hospitals, lifting people out of poverty, and intervening in society for the benefit of those who require a helping hand. Margeret Thatcher famously said "there is no such thing as society." Finally, that abhorent, divisive notion that had such a negative impact upon my country has been put where it belongs, on the extreme periphery of British politics.
David Cameron will soon be elected Conservative leader, and, in spite my many disagreements with him, I recognize that when this happens British politics will have taken a huge step forward.
UPDATE: Oh bugger... Cameron embroiled in drug scandal. I still think he'll win.
Official Site: Campaign for Cameron
Daily Telegraph: Cameron stakes his claim
BBC: David Cameron profile
david cameron, british politics, ken clarke, david davis, liam fox, tony blair, gordon brown