Tories turn backs on bad old days?

One of the most interesting aspects of Cameron’s speech was the segment on the family and society. For years gay Conservatives had to hide their sexuality because of the party’s socially conservative outlook. Not any more it seems. And Peter Lilley’s policy war against single parents is over too. Cameron’s logic for sustaining publicly committed relationships in the context of ‘stablising society’:

…if you’ve made that public commitment, it just helps you try harder to work your problems through.

We can argue for ever about whether favouring marriage means disadvantaging other arrangements.

My approach is simple. If marriage rates went up, if divorce rates came down – if more couples stayed together for longer, would our society by better off? My answer is yes.

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  • dodrade

    Cameron. Osbourne et al might actually believe in what they are saying, but i’m sure the vast majority of Tories don’t. They’re holding their noses in the hope that Cameron’s a winner and that he’ll turn to the right again once in power. Anything less than a hung parliament next time and Davis may finally get his hands on the crown after all.

  • I think you’ll find people are a lot more open minded that you think. I suspect the views of the Conservative Party are pretty well matched with the views of the population at large.

    The old dears won’t stomach it easily. That’s a generational thing, though. I bet their parents had some pretty wacky ideas.

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    For what is worth, there weren’t as many old timers at the Conference as I expected. This initiative is all part of the party’s shift in talking to a younger generation, where perhaps many families have members in various of these ‘enemy camps’.

    The economic context is what draws it inside Tory territory. It also closes a door very firmly on the nastiness of the last Tory administration.

  • Setanta

    The cameras still managed to find row after row of grey haired auld ones – quite a few of whom had nodded off too.

    Perhaps the change the Tories need will take even longer – Cameron needs to get a whole raft of new people elected to replace the old guard. It might be better for him not to win the next election to continue the change.

    Of course, he will be dumped if he doesn’t win so maybe he’s a Kinnock and not a Blair.

  • Er, have I missed something? What exactly was the Tory “policy war against single mothers”? Outside excitated New Labour circles, it never existed. As I remember it, Lilley (a thoughtful and decent man) very mildly argued that the social security system had a role in ensuring that there would be fewer children growing up in circumstances with disadvantages in comparison to those from families with 2 married parents present.

    Social security in the UK is horrendously expensive and has helped to fuel many of the social problems that hurt the poorest the worst. It’s a reflection of Dave Cameron’s wretched New Labour copycats that they would never dare touch the issue. It’s time someone did.

  • Setanta

    Oh please, not single parent parent bashing…..It was based on falsehoods and hysteria when they the Tories tried to stir it up and it doesnt need to be done again.

    Cameron is trying to face in two directions at once – he is trying to look modern and embrace everyone and still satisfy the older Tories who belive in what they laughably called ‘Family Values’. It’s the ‘Aren’t fluffy kittens nice?’ school of politics.

    In practice it would be very difficult for a government to promote one type of relationship above another be it with tax breaks or whatever.

  • Mick Fealty


    It may not have hardened into policy, but then again last week was not about policy: it was about communicating a new upbeat, optimistic mood/demenour. It was the polar opposite of Lilley’s (and, possibly, the party’s) political nadir.

    I have no doubt you are right about Lilley the man himself. But he it was who regaled the Conference with the particularly spiteful verse of a particularly spiteful reworking of a Gilbert and Sullivan classic, “I’ve got a little list/Of single mothers who get pregnant/just to jump the housing list”.

    Cameron, rightly in the interests of his party, mended that particular gaping hole in the party’s relationship with the elecorate, and has begun to pursuade the party that a ‘victim need not always be found’ to be successful in politics.