From one key Conservative leader to another. David Cameron served as Prime Minister of the UK from May 2010 to July 2016. He recently resigned from the Conservative Party and took up a job with the National Citizens Service. In light of Cameron’s resignation, I think that it is only appropriate that we take a look back at his steps as Conservative leader and Prime Minister.
Key policies of Cameron’s Conservative Party:
- Less government – David Cameron retained the traditional Conservative belief that Britain is over-regulated and the government should take a relaxed approach to control, particularly where business and enterprise is involved.
- Reduced taxation – Similarly to a traditional Conservative, Cameron outlined the importance of low taxation. However, with the recession of 2008, tax cuts were put on hold in order to reduce the deficit.
- Euro-scepticism – Cameron was a euro-sceptic, believing that there are too many European regulations that restrict members of the EU. It may be surprising to some of you therefore that Cameron campaigned to remain in the EU during the 2016 referendum, but only a minority of Conservative MP’s under Cameron actually supported a complete withdrawal from the EU when they first came into power in 2010.
David Cameron’s Reforms:
- Big Society – This was an initiative by David Cameron to allow communities to take control of services within their own areas. Inspired by Disraeli’s One Nation Conservatism, this was also an initiative to help unite communities. The government would fund local programs, such as the setting up of ‘free schools’.
- Inclusiveness – It’s no secret that minorities are often excluded in British society. Cameron set about to attack discriminating practices and to widen opportunities for the less fortunate. This was when the idea of social justice entered the Conservative Party for the first time (bit late if you ask me) and this became known as ‘caring conservatism’.
- Environmentalism – Today many political parties are jumping on the trend of protecting the environment to secure more votes. However, when David Cameron came to power in 2010, he took environmentalism much more seriously than other parties and signed his government up to tight emission targets by 2050.
Cameron vs. Thatcher:
So what are the key similarities/differences between the Conservative Party under Thatcher and the Conservative Party under David Cameron?
- Taxation – Both Thatcher and Cameron promoted low taxation, but it became evident that David Cameron valued the reduction of government debt over low taxation when the 2008 recession came about.
- State intervention – While Thatcher was comfortable in accepting the idea that inequality is inevitable, David Cameron worked hard to promote a unified welfare system and provided opportunities for minorities in the UK (caring conservatism).
- Education – David Cameron abandoned the traditional Conservative support of grammar schools, allowing for the creation of ‘free schools’ to provide educational choices that were available to all. However. Margaret Thatcher allowed for divisions in the education system and did very little to change this.
While Cameron did retain some core traditionally conservative values such as low taxation and less government, he also changed many things for the better. The introduction of social justice into the Party has been a huge leap forward for the future of the Conservatives and Cameron’s reforms are unlikely to be forgotten as the Party moves forward under the control of Theresa May.
Feel free to share your opinions below 🙂