What kind of conservative is David Cameron?
Posted by Matt Walker on February 29, 2012
Questions about the ideological positioning of the major parties are tricky, and it would be useful for you to have a number of key examples up your sleeve. For the Conservative Party you will need to have an understanding of the two main factions within the party: One Nation conservatism, and New Right conservatism.
I have attempted to consider which type of conservatism David Cameron’s Conservative Party best resembles in previous posts. This, of course, is worth up-dating! I have recently suggested that the government’s current NHS reforms provide useful examples of many aspects of the Politics curriculum, such as the functions and effectiveness of Parliament. Here, I would suggest using it to illustrate David Cameron’s New Right credentials.
The New Right favours the ‘rolling back of the state’ – this means to have a government which does less, and spends less. The stated benefits of this can be summarised in the epithet, “private good, public bad”. The private sector, put simply is, better than government (public sector) because free market provision (private sector) encourages efficiency and innovation.
The current NHS reforms aim to encourage much more competition within the NHS, and achieve greater private sector involvement in the provision of NHS services. Perhaps a true New Right supporter would want to privatise the NHS, but this is not politically feasible as the British public would not support such a move. Hence, the best a New Right conservative could hope for is to substantially increase free market competition within the state-owned NHS.
The nature of the NHS reforms, therefore, could be used to justify the assertion that Cameron’s Conservative Party are New Right.