Why Cameron is a conservative, liberal and socialist


Which ideology does the leader of the Conservative Party subscribe to? I would argue none and all. Depending on the issue Cameron is a conservative, liberal or socialist.

Under Cameron the Conservative Party has of course continued to take a conservative line on welfare, the family and various social and civil liberty issues. They are warm to the policies coming out of the Centre for Social Justice. Through the ‘One Nation’ and 'progressive conservative' nonsense, his support for the NHS and his adherence to 'sharing the proceeds of growth' there can be few who doubt his socialistic tendencies. Yet he is also mildly liberal – by this I of course refer to classical liberalism* – on a number of issues, most notably in his faith for institutions outside of the state, contained in the original idea of the 'post-bureaucratic state'. Although yet to form into any solid policies, this offers the prospect of some liberal policies breaking through.

Cameron of course is what success looks like in modern politics. The public voted for Tony Blair, so they will vote for Cameron. It is possible that a new brand of conservative Conservatives, such as the remarkable Dan Hannan, could stem the tide; or even better, the Orange bookers could eject the socialists from the Liberal Democrats – who could go on to found the Sandal Party – rekindling the flames of liberalism. In the battle of ideas all things are possible – until then, we need to convince a pragmatist to be a little more liberal and a lot less socialitic.

* This true meaning of liberalism is perhaps dead in the water. Hayek was using the term in his time to define his intellectual position, but as his fame and opinions preceded him, it was rather easy for him to retain that affectation. If a mere mortal such as myself claims to be a liberal, most people would take me to hold the diametric opposite views to ones I actually hold. Nevertheless, corrupted as it is, there seems little point having two words for socialism, so the definition of liberalism might be a battle worth fighting.