Skip to Content

Coffee House

Can Cameronism be Europeanised?

29 June 2011

6:04 PM

29 June 2011

6:04 PM

In 1997 New Labour was not just a domestic programme; it was a foreign policy too. Known
as the "Neue Mitte" in Germany, Blair’s Third Way soon attracted such converts as the German chancellor, the French prime minister and the Danish leader. In the end, it produced few
results for Britain, failing – much as Harold Wilson did in the 1970s – to curry favour for the UK through party political links with other leaders. But for a few years, much as New
Labour looked across the Atlantic to the Democratic Party, so Europe’s Social Democrats looked across The Channel.

International recognition for his deficit reduction plan notwithstanding, David Cameron has no such effect so far. But some have been swayed by his domestic agenda. Hungary’s Deputy Prime Minister,
Tibor Navracsics, has taken to the Big Society, and is looking for ways to bring it to his country. Chatting to him during a visit to London, he told me that he sees a merger of Conservatism and
Christian Democratric ideas in Europe, with Cameronism emerging as a model in the process. Our Prime Minister’s emphasis on "families, broken societies and communities" ought to be,
Navracsics says, a lodestar for European centre-right leaders. This endorsement is not quite the New Labour-Neue Mitte link, but it is something on which to build.


Show comments
Close