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Mr. Cameron’s ‘dry’ side

Posted by Matt Walker on March 12, 2012

David Cameron’s closest political advisor, Steve Hilton, recently announced that he was taking a sabbatical from his duties at 10 Down Downing Street, to move to California with his wife. Hilton was the man who came up with the Tony Blair demon eyes poster which backfired on the Tories during the 1997 general election. More recently his ideas have had a considerable impact on the coalition’s policies.

The Economist has written a very interesting article about Mr. Hilton, which you should make use of when thinking about party policy as it provides more evidence for labelling David Cameron as a New Right Conservative.


The article highlights the government’s wish to:

  • get charities and the private sector to run public sector services, such as schools – remember the New Right slogan: ‘’private good, public bad’;
  • focus on decentralisation, deregulation and shrinking Whitehall;
  • provide extra money for Michael Gove’s free schools policy;
  • end national pay standards in the public sector – hence the market would play a greater role in determining wage rises.

The article refers to the division that has existed within the Conservative Party since the arrival of Margaret Thatcher, namely the ‘wets’ and the ‘dries’. The dries were those who supported Mrs Thatcher, and her New Right policies, and hence were very radical in their approach. The article concludes that, “Despite being a scion of the establishment, Mr Cameron generally sides with the dry insurgent wing” of the Conservative party.

Hence for The Economist, David Cameron’s Conservative Party is definitely New Right.


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