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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Conservatives discover cooperation?

Speaking in Manchester on Thursday, David Cameron outlined plans to set up a series of co-operative schools in Britain.These schools would be funded by the taxpayer, but owned and managed by parents and the local community, giving them "a flexibility and dynamism that a central state agency lacks."

Plans for Co-operative Schools - News Story - Conservative Party

David Cameron announced today the launch of a 'Conservative Cooperative Movement'.  In a speech in Manchester he outlined his support for cooperative schools.  Deploring the link between the Cooperative Movement and the Left, he maintained that "...Conservatives have always argued that free enterprise and the co-operative principle are partners, not adversaries."

This bizarre claim (if that was the case, his speech would not be getting the headlines it is today) highlights the sort of rootlessness that emanates from today's Tory Party.  Rather than build policies from sound foundations, we see them using traditionally left of centre words and concepts that have a positive resonance yet the policy outcomes (if there are any) seem adrift from any rigorous framework.

This should reassure those of us in progressive politics, but we must also ensure we are constantly thinking about how to apply our principles to the world of today and tomorrow.  Something I think the Co-operative Party is doing well.

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