Ahead of Gordon Brown’s accession to the premiership next week, David Cameron is working hard to set the political agenda by setting out the key themes of his policy review process. These include devolving more power away from Westminster and Whitehall to communities, charities, local authorities and frontline public service workers, in contrast the chancellor’s alleged centralisation. A series of policy review documents are set to be rolled out in the next few months in the run-up to the conference season and as Brown seeks to establish his own agenda and credentials in the public eye.
In a first move,the Tory leader Cameron will today seek to put the grammar schools row behind him as he delivers a speech on the party’s policy reviews. will use an address in Tooting, south London, to reassure activists that he is on course to make major gains at the next general election despite the rows of the last month. Accompanied by Tory chairman Francis Maude he will again tell parliamentary candidates that the party must “hold our nerve” and stick to his modernising strategy. However Cameron will also attempt to stress that the direction is a modernisation of Conservatism, rather than be the ‘heir to Blair’ as shadow chancellor George Osborne has implied.
Judy Viitanen was interested to note that over the weekend senior shadow cabinet members, William Hague and David Davis, both made that point. As strong Tory supporters, Judy and the PRimage team believe that Cameron has made the Conservatives an electable party again – reinforced by their good results in the April local Government elections. However, we feel that recent rows over the Grammar schools debate and publicity hasn’t gone as smoothly as possible; raising the hackles of the more right-wing, traditionalists within the party.
In our view, the Tory grass-roots activists are looking for more prominent input and roles from people like Hague and Davis – who can act as a bridge to reassure the traditionalists in the Tory rank and file. As a former Conservative Councillor, Judy Viitanen is always very aware that the Tory Party is a broad church – and as such, all elements and views need to be acknowledged and managed. What’s your opinion?