A progressive conservative?
Posted by Matt Walker on August 11, 2009
Shadow Chancellor, George Osborne today made a speech to the think-tank, Demos. In it he claimed that the Conservatives, not Labour, should be considered ‘progressives’. Even during the summer holidays, the Conservative Party are trying to shape the political landscape on which next year’s general election will be fought. (Click on the picture below to read the BBC article.)
But what does it mean to be ‘progressive’? Progressive politics implies moving forward and instigating change. It is normally associated with the Left (i.e. Labour), using the state to help the poorest and weakest in society. Conservatism as an ideology has normally been associated with hierarchy (hence inequality), and tradition.
Today Osborne used the phrase Progressive Conservatism and stated that, "fiscal responsibility allied to a passionate belief in public service reform – particularly in education… is the only progressive route out of this debt crisis." It remains to be seen whether a Conservative government would be genuinely ‘progressive’ or whether Osborne is merely attempting to win over middle class liberals who have voted New Labour during the past 3 elections.