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The British economy is tipping into a recession. After three election
victories, the New Labour project is exhausted. The Conservative
Party is now resurgent, attempting to reinvent its political traditions
and preparing for power. Britain is at a possible turning point. This
book critically engages with the ideas of the New Conservatives. Do
their politics provide any answers to the challenges that lie ahead?
What political direction might they take if they win the next election?
The left needs to take on the New Conservatism. It needs to
expose the weaknesses of its notion of a post-bureaucratic age. The
limited nature of its family policy and its contradictory ideas around
education must be challenged. Behind its self-confident image the
New Conservatism faces a crisis in its unionist politics, and it lacks
a coherent political economy to enact its pro-social politics. Political
schisms in the party are waiting to erupt, and it has already begun to
retreat from its earlier, bolder politics.
But the New Conservatives cannot be reduced to ‘Tory toffs’;
nor can Cameron be dismissed as a ‘shallow salesman’. This is a
serious attempt to define a new communitarian politics of the right.
If it succeeds, it will bring yet more insecurity and inequality. The
New Conservatives pose a significant challenge not only to a
demoralised Labour Party but to the wider progressive movement
as a whole. To meet this challenge Labour must reassert its own
social and ethical values and find its own alternatives to
Jon Cruddas, Jonathan Rutherford
Is the future Conservative? is edited by Jon Cruddas and
Jonathan Rutherford and published by Soundings, in association with
Compass and Renewal and supported by Media Department,
Middlesex University and the Amiel Trust