Miliband: New Tory values are oxymoron

David Miliband has criticised the Conservative party for changing their values. Jonty Olliff-Cooper replies that Tory tradition goes back further than Thatcher.

Speaking to Left Foot Forward after his speech at Demos, David Miliband added to his criticism of the Conservative party’s new-found belief in ‘progressive conservatism’ saying “they’re asking us to believe that their values have changed”. Demos’ Jonty Olliff-Cooper replied that the tradition of the Conservative party goes back further than Thatcher.

MILIBAND: I don’t think progressive conservatism adds up. They’re asking us to believe that their values have changed – hard enough in itself – but with the same old policies they will deliver on the new values. I think it’s more of an oxymoron than a sensible or effective or convincing political strategy …

“We didn’t need a Clause IV moment to change our values. We needed a Clause IV moment in the 1990s to reassert our values.”

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Responding to Miliband’s speech, Jonty Olliff-Cooper – head of Demos’ own progressive conservatism programme – defended Cameron’s philospophy.

OLLIFF-COOPER: I wouldn’t characterise what Toryism was about in the 1980s as being the only thing that Tories are about. It’s tempting when you say ‘Conservative’ to think of Margaret Thatcher and leave it at that. But actually there is an enormous and rich tradition of Conservatism going back hundreds of years: back to Burke, back to Disraeli. And that version of Conservatism, one nation conservatism is very storngly about really devolving power, strong communities, it’s about tradition and social bonds that tie people together, it’s definitely about social justice too.

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