12 The oratory of David Cameron Tim Bale Even David Cameron’s detractors would acknowledge that he possesses excellent presentational skills and that he performs effectively across the range of speaking opportunities that the twenty-first century offers its top politicians. Certainly, at PMQs in the Commons, Cameron gives as good as he gets and has done so right from his very first day in the job (YouTube, 2010a). He is also capable of delivering pitch-perfect speeches in the House on other occasions, particularly when they call for a bipartisan approach, as
1 David Cameron’s leadership and party renewal Gillian Peele Writing on the tenth anniversary of David Cameron’s victory in the Conservative leadership election, Paul Goodman, the editor of the influential online site ConservativeHome, noted that on some measures Cameron’s decade in the leadership made him the second most successful Conservative leader in the last hundred years (ConservativeHome, 6 December 2015). Yet, as Goodman’s article also un derlined, there is a sense in which Cameron’s leadership remains puzzling and problematic: for many observers his
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.
Why did it take the Conservative Party so long to recover power? After a landslide defeat in 1997, why was it so slow to adapt, reposition itself and rebuild its support? How did the party leadership seek to reconstruct conservatism and modernise its electoral appeal?
This highly readable book addresses these questions through a contextualised assessment of Conservative Party politics between 1997 and 2010. By tracing the debates over strategy amongst the party elite, and scrutinising the actions of the leadership, it situates David Cameron and his ‘modernising’ approach in relation to that of his three immediate predecessors: Michael Howard, Iain Duncan Smith and William Hague. This holistic view, encompassing this period of opposition in its entirety, aids the identification of strategic trends and conflicts and a comprehension of the evolving Conservative response to New Labour’s statecraft.
Secondly, the book considers in depth four particular dilemmas for contemporary Conservatism: European integration; national identity and the ‘English Question’; social liberalism versus social authoritarianism; and the problems posed by a neo-liberal political economy. The book argues that the ideological legacy of Thatcherism played a central role in framing and shaping these intraparty debates, and that an appreciation of this is vital for explaining the nature and limits of the Conservatives’ renewal under Cameron.
Students of British politics, party politics and ideologies will find this volume essential reading, and it will also be of great interest to anyone concerned with furthering their understanding of contemporary British political history.
This book provides a new and distinctive interpretation on the political strategy of David Cameron as leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister. Rather than offering a chronological overview of his leadership, or a policy-based approach, the book assesses Cameronism via two themes – modernisation and manipulation. In terms of the modernisation the book will examine the following. First, how Cameron attempted to detoxify the negative image of the Conservatives. Second, how Cameron sought to delegitimise Labour as a party of government by deflecting the blame on austerity onto the legacy of Labour in office. Third, how Cameron used the Big Society narrative as a means of reducing the perceived responsibilities of the state. In terms of manipulation the book will evaluate Cameronism in relation to coalition government, and the exploitation of the Liberal Democrats will be examined, notably in relation to austerity, tuition fees and electoral reform. Cameronism will also be examined in relation the challenges to the existing political order by considering the demands for Scottish independence, and the rise of UKIP and the case for a referendum on continued European Union membership. Through this dual emphasis on modernisation and manipulation the book will provide an exploration of the key events and issues that defined the premiership of David Cameron, and a clear overview of his successes and failures as leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister. The book will be essential reading to those interested in British party politics and prime ministerial leadership.
properties that interest us before we even begin to examine [them]’ (Geertz 1973 : 17). Inspired by this approach, this chapter takes a ‘thick description’ look at the Brexit referendum campaign. The end of the campaign It was rather unexpected. That, perhaps, was why David Cameron’s voice broke ever so slightly when he announced his resignation in the morning of 24 June 2016. The night before, the Conservative Prime Minister had hosted an informal champagne party for friends in 10 Downing Street. The mood was optimistic, jubilant even. Campaigners were handing out
3 Policies under Cameron: modernisation abandoned Peter Dorey Integral to the process of ideological revision and ostensible repositioning examined by Richard Hayton in the previous chapter, the early years of David Cameron’s leadership entailed a broad-ranging review of Conservative Party policy. Professing the need to ‘move on’ from Thatcherism and discarding the Conservatives’ apparent ‘nasty party’ image, Cameron immediately, upon being elected leader, initiated a systematic review of the Party’s policies, with the apparent intention of either modifying them
Introduction: the politics of Conservative renewal Gillian Peele and John Francis This book examines the British Conservative Party and David Cameron’s efforts to renew the Party after 2005. It seeks to make a contribution to the understanding of contemporary British conservatism and the dynamics of Conservative Party politics by exploring the evolution of the modernisation strategy which Cameron promoted on becoming leader and the factors which constrained that process. Debate about the evolving character of British conservatism is still very much a live one and
parliamentary party. David Cameron may have been a moderniser, as were some of his MPs – but he, and they, were very much in a minority. 106 David Cameron and Conservative renewal The face of the Party The most striking thing about the PCP that gathered after the 2010 election was how different it was. The combination of a large number of retirements in advance of the election, driven in large part by the expenses scandal, and the Conservatives’ successes at the polls, meant that almost half (48%, some 148 MPs) of the parliamentary party were newly elected (Criddle, 2010
Prime Minister, David Cameron, made a surprising appearance at Carrington's Magical Tales exhibition in Mexico City—a gesture of international relations, perhaps, but a simplistic and awkwardly staged photo opportunity given the complexity and political histories of the left-leaning avant-garde which Carrington and her work can be said to directly represent. 14 Let us not forget Cameron's role, however supposedly reluctant, in bringing about Brexit, nor the many environmental failures and empty promises of Westminster and