Conservative grass root members are being asked to give up their 4x4s for a place in David Cameron's green utopia but will they change habits of a lifetime
“Policies? It’s our policy not to have any polices,” the politicians explain patiently.
And so goes David Cameron’s first conference as leader of the Conservative Party.
David must be given a soft entry, is the call from Bournemouth. We don’t need to put meat on the bones of his pledges and promises just yet. No, most here agree now is not the time for that.
It’s very simple and, like everything the Tories do, makes good political sense. If they come up with a Good Idea, Tony and that lot will just steal it and claim it as theirs.
And if they come up with a stinker, which of course would never happen, then they’ll just be pilloried and told they’ll never be suitable to rule again. Best to stay on the safe side and not say anything too meaningful just yet.
Many say the Sunshine Party is a changed entity – oodles of young people these days, embrace the environment and all that, old chap. But what of the generation gap with old and new? Will they be able to embrace each other’s beliefs?
At a Conservative Women’s Organisation fringe meeting yesterday it was all jolly smiles and empowering promises. But over drinks after the event, a ruddy faced man of a certain age came bowling over, a look of delight on his face. “Bunch of lesbians these, eh? Bunch of lesbians. Look at them! Bunch of lesbians. Well, you know me, open minded and all that. Good luck to them I say.”
High on the agenda is, of course, the environment. Seems like every shadow secretary worth his salt is in competition to out-green the others in their speeches.
“Our policy is designed to spark a green revolution and ensure that green growth is at the heart of our country’s future,” bleats Alan Duncan, shadow secretary of state for trade, industry and energy.
“Now we have our own struggles to confront,” claims George Osbourne, the immaculately turned out shadow chancellor. “The struggle to save our planet in the age of climate change.”
Meanwhile, shadow transport secretary Chris Grayling, has gone all new media and launched a new website – howgreenisyourcar.co.uk. That’ll learn them - the Tories can be modern and caring all in one simple initiative.
“But let me be clear,” Grayling booms during his speech. “The Conservative Party is not about to become anti-driver or anti-car.”
And so lies the conundrum of the modern Tory Party – how to balance the old and new and satisfy both. Much the same problem confronted the Labour Party some ten years ago and there’s a rumour around that they came through ok.
But this time it’s the blue rinse brigade the politicians need to win over – not the hard-line trade unions or local activists – and many claim that could be a much tougher call.