The chapter explores the relationship between David Cameron’s leadership and Conservative Party renewal. It argues that both Cameron’s leadership, and the understanding of the process of renewal have evolved since 2005. It explores the analytic problems associated with the concept of leadership and the importance of the role of followers as well as leaders. It discusses Cameron’s leadership style and the skills and personal characteristics he brought to the role, It discusses the key challenges for Cameron’s leadership and suggests that, despite his spectacular successes, Cameron continues to puzzle observers and that his leadership has encountered an unusual and intense degree of internal opposition. His historical legacy as the architect of Conservative renewal remains contested, not least because his ability to manage intra-party divisions over Europe has yet to be proved.
The book explores the process of rebuilding the Conservative Party under David Cameron’s leadership since 2005. It argues that Cameron’s strategy was wide-ranging and multi-faceted and that it evolved through several stages from a coherent programme of explicit modernisation into a more diffuse set of reforms. This development was partly a result of changed thinking within the Party and partly because of the pressure of external events, especially the 2008 global financial crisis and the demands of coalition government between 2010 and 2015. It traces the different elements of the renewal strategy – leadership initiatives, ideological reconstruction, policy reappraisal and enhanced electoral appeal – and it identifies the constraints on implementing Party renewal that occurred as a result of opposition from within the Party, including the parliamentary Party and the grass roots membership. It also explores the extent to which long-standing intra-party fissures, especially over Europe , exacerbated difficulties for the leadership. The book shows that the process of renewal has been through a number of stages and that its progress has been indirect rather than linear. It suggests that, although the renewal project has been relatively successful in some respects including the return of the Conservatives to government, the extent to which it has created a new Conservative Party remains contested and the Party continues to display a dangerous disunity.
Integrity issues have become an important item on the British political agenda since the 1990s when ‘sleaze’ prompted John Major to set up the Committee on Standards in Public Life. The book analyses the range of ethical problems which confront the political system and the efforts to address them. It addresses the tightening of standards in response to misconduct in Parliament, in central and local government and in the devolved systems. It also addresses perennial ethical questions such as lobbying and party funding which continue to trouble the United Kingdom as they do other major democracies. The chief purpose of the book is to understand the regulatory dilemmas which face policy-makers as they struggle to produce new machinery and codes to tackle the risk of misconduct. Thus we examine, for example, the choice between self-regulation and independent regulation, decisions about the amount of transparency required of office-holders, and how to achieve proportionality in the balance between perceived problems and regulatory burdens. We also attempt to assess the impact of more than two decades of ethical engineering on the office holders and the public.
This introductory chapter provides an overview of the key themes of the book. It analyses David Cameron’s strategy for rebuilding Conservative electoral appeal and the evolution of his modernisation strategy from his election as leader in 2005 to the Conservative victory in the general election of 2015. It explores the difficulties associated with modernising a political party, notably disunity over its future direction. It sets Cameron’s efforts to renew the Conservative Party against profound changes in British politics, especially declining support for the two major parties and the growing strategic influence of smaller parties such as UKIP. Finally the chapter introduces the different perspectives of the various authors and highlights their contribution to the analysis.
The conclusion evaluates the success of Cameron’s strategy of Conservative Party renewal. It argues that although the ambitious vision of Conservative modernisation was attenuated with time and the pressure of external events, some significant progress was made towards the broader goal of Party renewal. Even if the Conservative Party did not reconstruct radically its philosophy and policies , it did take steps towards a more socially liberal synthesis and did successfully diversify its candidates to present an image relevant to the twenty first century .It also re-established some of credibility as a Party with governmental competence and in 2010 and 2015 improved its electoral outreach. How long-lasting these achievements will prove is unclear. Labour’s move left under Corbyn and the weakened state of the Liberal Democrats offer Cameron space in the short-term at least to build further electoral advantage. But the EU referendum poses a renewed threat to party unity. Cameron’s period as Party leader saw some major accomplishments for a Party that had long been in the wilderness. Whether those accomplishments can be sustained will depend on how well the Conservative leadership handles divisive issues, especially the outcome of the referendum but also migration and Scotland, and on how far the Party can project a persuasive appeal into the next electoral cycle.
This chapter places the management of public ethics in the context of the dilemmas arising in any regulatory system: how to achieve proportionality, how to avoid reputational risks for the regulator in calibrating that regulatory burden too lightly or too heavily, how to avoid regulatory capture, and how to reconcile the conflicting demands of regulator independence and regulator accountability. The chapter takes the reader through this complexity, distinguishing also between various categories of impropriety. It analyses the regulatory framework of public integrity systems in terms of principles and values, and of formal procedures and institutions.
The chapter set the contemporary debate about public ethics in historical context by tracing the approach to integrity questions broadly defined from the late nineteenth century. It suggests that the early tackling of such problems as electoral corruption and patronage may have blinded elites to new and continuing integrity issues and that even though the 19th and 20th century record threw up scandals there was a tendency to deal with them in a limited and incremental manner. With the formation of the Committee on Standards in Public Life in 1994 this approach changed and a much more systematic consideration of ethical issues now occurs.
The role of the Committee on Standards in Public Life
This chapter provides background to the emerging debate about integrity issues in British politics, and provides an overview of the regulatory machinery established to deal with it. The chapter deals in detail with the role and impact of the Committee since the 1990s, and its distinctive approach: in particular its avoidance of areas involving the hard-law of corruption, its focus on sub-standard but not illegal behaviour, and its strong commitment to a combination of codes, self-policing, and external accountability of essentially internal regulators. The chapter distinguishes between the early period of the Committee’s existence and the later more controversial period. It argues that after 2000 the Committee’s role changed from setting out principles, codes, and recommendations for new regulatory machinery, to that of review and meta-supervision of the agencies it had helped create.
This chapter analyses the process by which, in the 1990s, the House of Commons reformed its arrangements for regulating standards. The chapter examines the new machinery including the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, a new Standards and Privileges Committee and a new Code of Conduct. Though an improvement on the old system, there were still weaknesses especially in the lack of independence of the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner. MPs tended to see themselves as ethically accountable mainly to their own voters, and there were few efforts to promulgate values through systematic ethical induction processes. The expenses scandal prompted further more radical change in the system.
This chapter analyses the response expenses scandal of 2009 and the experience of the new external regulator, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. The chapter analyses how the speed with which IPSA’s design emerged and the early difficulties of implementation contributed to an environment of deep antagonism between the new regulator and MPs themselves.