Despite the large picture of an earnest-looking David Cameron on the cover of Conservative Revival: Blueprint for a Better Britain, edited by Chris Philp, this is not like some of the sycophantic twaddle written by commentators such as Matthew D’Acona and Michael Gove, MP. Conservative Revival is a fairly earnest look at what the Conservatives need to do to return to power in the UK. And unlike much of what has been written about and by the Tories since the election of their new leader Cameron, there are actually policies herein.
Mind you, not every Conservative or former Conservative will be happy with the ideas in this book. There is a rather disingenous glossing over of the treatment of those who previously resided on the candidates list but were tossed merely for being too white, straight, and well-educated. There is not even the slightest nod to those people who worked their entire adult lives, sometimes before, to help the party they believe in, only to be tossed by a swift, politically correct move. This group of people may prove to be a major thorn in Cameron’s side. While the book does not come out in favour of all women/minority/gay shortlists, it comes close to suggesting such a move if constituencies do not fall into line and agree with the quotas.
Despite the whiff of political correctness that pervades this book, it shows promise for the Conservative Party by putting “meat on the bones” of the policy-free zone that has been the Cameron-led Tories. The authors are experienced, if unsuccessful, Conservative candidates for Parliament. They are all united by the fact they did well in their last run – just not well enough.
Most interesting to see are the frequent references to the Republicans’ success in the US. As of late, rather than something to be ashamed of, experience working for Republicans in the US is almost a requirement for any young thrusting Tory. What is more interesting is the fact that none of the authors of this book sought out Canadian Conservatives who suffered a far worse defeat than the Conservatives in 1997 yet managed to come back to power recently. There isn’t much about John Howard in Australia either, other than a mention of the fact the man said to be responsible for his wins, Lynton Crosby, was unable to help the Conservatives win last time.
Nonetheless this is an encouraging examination of what needs to be done to defeat the modern Labour Party. And one thing puts it above many other books of this type. There has been a consummate effort to make sure the book is written well in all its sections. There is a rather good transition between each chapter. It is far better written than most political books of this type.
Chris Philp is to be commended for such an effort at getting his party to think about what has to be done and how to do it. Cameron could do far worse than adopt this book as his version of Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America.
An interesting read to be sure.