Tory manifesto set to be slimline... and showing Theresa May as a ‘post-liberal’

Written by David Singleton on 21 April 2017 in Diary

The mystery of what May stands for could soon be solved in about 25 pages.

The question of what Theresa May really stands for has been chewed over by many a commentator since she gained power in July 2016.

May has described herself as a "one-nation Tory" and she most dramatically set out her modernising credentials in 2002 by warning that that the Conservatives were seen as "the nasty party".

However, she also previously displayed a less progressive side by voting against repealing section 28 and against reducing the age of consent for gay sex. More recently, as home secretary she was responsible for immigration policies such as the widely criticised 'go home vans' which drove round the country offering illegal immigrants help to return to their home countries.

But the mystery of what May stands for should soon be cleared up in the Tory manifesto.

The Conservative manifesto is expected to be ready in around two weeks’ time and is likely to be much shorter than the 2015 manifesto, which contained 625 pledges.

According to The Spectator’s Fraser Nelson, May could have as few as six hard promises this time around as she seeks to replicate the work of Margaret Thatcher in 1979.

He writes in the Daily Telegraph: "She wants it to be short, closer to 25 pages than the 120-page opus that David Cameron unloaded on the public in 2010. She wants clarity of thought but no laundry list of pledges. Her model is Margaret Thatcher’s slim 1979 manifesto, which offered just five ideas and boasted about its lack of ‘lavish promises’."

In terms of the content, former cabinet minister Michael Gove says we will see that while May is "certainly not a libertarian avid to serve the gods of capital, she is also not an old-school Tory paternalist after the model of a Macmillan or Whitelaw".

Writing for the Times, the Tory MP adds that May is closer to Ed Miliband’s former policy guru than she is to some former Tory prime ministers.

"The prime minister is, to use a phrase coined by one of her advisers, post-liberal. She is neither the cold economic liberal of one caricature nor the hand-wringing Hampstead liberal of another; neither Hayek nor Rawls. She is instead a communitarian, closer to the thinking of a philosopher such as Alasdair MacIntyre, or indeed the Blue Labour intellectual Maurice Glasman.

"Which is why I expect the Conservative manifesto, and the Queen’s Speeches to follow, to be rooted in the concerns of those whom the writer David Goodhart has described as the citizens of Somewhere rather than Anywhere. Those who are rooted in specific communities, who aren’t living life from one Twitter storm to the next, who don’t have the reserves of capital, or connections, to be able to chase every new opportunity globalisation might provide."



Picture by: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire/PA Images.

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