Cameron's conundrum

by Stephen Tall on June 18, 2007

As Margaret Thatcher famously said, “U-turn if you want to” – and how David Cameron’s Tory party has taken this advice to heart.

No ‘Team Cameron’ proposal is now complete without the obligatory clarification reversal once the policy’s unpopularity – either with the party (grammar schools) or the public (free museum entrance) – is revealed.

As predicted on LDV yesterday, the suggestion from Hugo Swire, the Tories’ culture spokesman (and Eton and Sotheby’s alumnus), that a future Tory Government would reverse Labour’s free museums admissions policy has been swiftly jettisoned:

Conservative party officials moved quickly to dampen the row yesterday, claiming the shadow Culture Secretary was referring only to the party’s last election manifesto.
Mr Swire said later: “It is not our policy to bring back admission fees to museums and galleries and we are committed to the principle of free admission.
“We have instigated a wide-ranging review of arts policy under the stewardship of Sir John Tusa [and] we await [his] recommendation before we announce any policy on the arts.” (Today’s Independent.)

Given the currently febrile state of the Tory party, political opponents might be forgiven for relishing the forthcoming spate of policy reviews commissioned by Mr Cameron, and which are due soon to report.

Will the Tory leader choose to disappoint his party – by putting forward moderate, progressive and green policies? Or will he choose to disappoint the public – by putting forward a similarly right-wing manifesto to the one he wrote for the Tories in 2005?