Theresa May has brought the curtain down on this year’s Tory party conference with a speech in which she made a snatch for the centre ground. The Prime Minister pledged to stick up for the working class and went on the attack against the ‘sneering elite’, who May said looked down on others. But how successful was her speech? And did it tell us anything more about May? On the Spectator’s Coffee House Shots podcast, James Forsyth says:
I think she is keener on the state than most Conservatives are. I think there was a lot of aim taken at the liberal elite. There was a lot of vicar’s daughter style emphasis on the obligations you owe to the other people in your family and the other people in your community. And I thought there was a striking attempt to sort-of nationalise the political legacy of Clement Attlee.
Fraser Nelson says the speech made it obvious what Theresa May doesn’t stand for. He says on the podcast:
‘I was quite struck by the number of demons she mentioned in her speech. I think I counted 26 bad things or bad people in her speech. One thing in this jumped out: she said her twin hates were the socialist left and the libertarian right. Now I wasn’t aware there was much of a libertarian right in Britain, but I think I know what she means and that’s liberal conservatism. The sort of liberal conservatism that made the coalition possible. The kind of liberal conservatism that was championed by the defenestrated George Osborne when he talked about the liberal mainstream. That seems to be the ‘bad idea’ now.