X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Please note: Previously subscribers used a 'WebID' to log into the website. Your subscriber number is not the same as the WebID. Please ensure you use the subscriber number when you link your subscription.

Coffee House

Cameron: I’m a common sense Conservative

2 September 2011

9:35 AM

2 September 2011

9:35 AM

David Cameron weathered an awkward interview on the Today programme earlier this
morning, in which the Strategic Defence Review was savaged and the recent riots were compared to the Bullingdon Club, of which Cameron was once a member. He stood by the defence review,
with reference to the successful British contribution to the Libyan intervention, and he blithely ignored the Bullingdon Club question. He reiterated his belief that parts of society have undergone
‘a slow motion moral collapse’. 

His gruff tone might have surprised some listeners. The interviewer, Evan Davis, offered Cameron the chance to retreat from the firm, almost draconian line he took at the height
of the riots. But Cameron refused, comfortable to risk appearing ‘morally certain’, or, even more daring, ‘nasty’; two impulses that the Tory detoxification process was
supposed to have eradicated. Cameron went on to say that the phrase “tough love” summed up his views on this issue: rioters must be shown the stick as well as the carrot.

[Alt-Text]


Even his compassionate points were couched in slightly unflinching terms. He defined his social conscience as the wish to “save a lot lives that would otherwise go to hell in a
handcart.” These brusque colloquialisms issued from Cameron’s plummy voice, as if Norman Tebbit had been given elocution lessons. The studio seemed far away from huskies and huggable
hoodies, which might have warmed some hearts on the right. 

Speaking later on the programme, Matthew d’Ancona and Andrew Rawnsley noted that the interview perhaps signified the end of a conscious policy of de-toxification, adding that Cameron
is a mixture of liberalism and Toryism ruled by instinct. Certainly, Cameron’s answers sounded intuitive rather than ideological. He seemed at ease with the fact that there was
no one answer to Britain’s social crisis, saying that a multitude of policies must be deployed. Finally, he described himself as a "common-sense Conservative", governed by circumstances.
This implies that he thinks he can match the rarified clothes of a liberal with the hobnail boots of a traditional Tory.

Diverting though the interview was, some will have been left exasperated by it: nearly one month has passed since the riots began and Cameron is still talking not acting.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
Close