There have always been two types of Tory modernisers. Both wanted to talk about issues
that the party had neglected — public services, the environment and the like. But the soft modernisers were more prepared to compromise ideologically, to go with the flow of the age. The hard
modernisers’ interest, by contrast, was in applying Tory thinking to these areas.
Michael Gove’s education reforms are, perhaps, the best example of hard modernisation in action. As Charles Moore puts it
"http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/9103867/Free-schools-are-breaking-down-the-barrier-to-a-decent-education-for-all.html">in the Telegraph today, ‘Mr Gove offers an attractive
combination — complete loyalty to the Cameron modernisation, but a Thatcher-era conviction politics as well’.
Encouragingly, the balance within the Tory party is moving distinctly in favour of hard — rather than soft — modernisation. If you look at the Free Enterprise Group, perhaps the most
influential group of Tory MPs in ideological as opposed to campaigning terms, you see them trying to do what Gove is doing in a whole host of other areas. Liz Truss’s "http://conservativehome.blogs.com/thetorydiary/2011/11/by-paul-goodman-the-attention-seizing-half-of-childcare-policy-is-the-demand-side-the-recognition-by-the-state-that-having.html">work on the
supply side of childcare is a particularly good example of this. It is this approach which offers the best chance of making the country more competitive in the modern economy and a better place
to live, and of building a new Tory majority.