After the Coalition: A Conservative agenda for Britain

Collections of policy essays from new or junior MPs rarely have much of an impact or shelf-life in British politics, but however fallible their predictions for the future they can be illuminating about the current state of the authors’ party and its broad ideological direction.

So it is with After the Coalition which is very different in tone and hope for the future from last year’s Which Way’s Up? by Nick Boles. The contrast is there in the sub-titles for the two books. Boles had “The future for coalition Britain” whilst the five authors behind this volume have gone for “A Conservative agenda for Britain”. Last year the talk was of a possible long-term coalition; this year it is about an impatience to get into a majority government which is purely Conservative.

All five authors – Kwasi Kwarteng, Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Chris Skidmore and Elizabeth Truss – were newly elected last year, giving a hint of who might be the future stars of the Conservative Party. Between them they have also already written five other books. Indeed, it is books more than blogs which are helping to raise the profiles and make the reputations of a new generation of MPs. For a variety of reasons, high quality blogging by MPs has never taken off in the UK outside a handful of honourable exceptions.

Despite the authors’ clear desire for a 100% Conservative government, they wisely avoid political controversy by emphasising that this book is about the world after 2015 rather than a coded call for an end to the current coalition government before then.

Much of the policy content is unsurprising for something from Conservative MPs, such as calls to cut taxes, reduce trade union power, trim the BBC and increase jail sentences.

Notable too though are the signs of a changing Conservative Party, including strong support for action on climate change, a belief that same sex couples and single parent households should be supported, not condemned and a call for the Conservative Party to reclaim the idea of social mobility.

Even if the particular policies talked about in the book get overtaken by events, the overall picture of a part-old part-new Conservative Party painted by this book is likely to be a useful guide to that party’s ideological future.

You can buy After the Coalition: A Conservative agenda for Britain from Amazon here.

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9 Comments

  • The conservative agenda is already dominant as evidenced by the fact that not a single thread on Lib Dem Voice has gone anywhere near the Fox affair. I know that I am off thread and will probably be screened out but I have to ask why has there been no mention of the most recent developments in the controversy on your site.

  • Daniel Henry 11th Oct '11 - 3:21pm

    None of our contributors have written an article on it yet. Want to write it for us a guest piece? 😉

  • Gareth Jones 11th Oct '11 - 3:37pm

    We could do with a book or two about what we plan to do in 2015 and after, perhaps setting out a general plan/direction for a Liberal Britain? Bring in our experience of government?

    We had a Britain after Blair; what about Britain after the austerity? Probably have “Orange” and “Yellow” versions but that just means we can pick and choose the best ideas…

  • No comment on The Future of Conservatism? This book sold better than After the Coalition at the Tory conference.

  • @MacK – Not sure LDV shld apologise for writing about political ideas and policy recommendations rather than personality politics. I read Mark’s review here (even though I have already read the book itself); if he’d written about Liam Fox I wouldn’t have read the post because I find that stuff dull – plus it’s written about endlessly on any number of other blogs.

  • @ Stuart
    I wasn’t asking for an apology simply an explanation as to why the Fox affair which is a huge political story is apparently taboo on this site. I expected to find some commentary about him here. Surely that is not an unreasonable expectation given that Fox is the Liberal Democrat/Tory Secretary of State for Defence? As for “personality politics” the Liberal Democrats have never shied away from “personality politics” in the past. (C.F. V.Cable about Brown: ‘He has gone from Stalin to Mr Bean’) But that is by the way. The Fox affair is not simply about “personality politics” . It raises the most serious and fundamental questions concerning the boundaries separating a minister’s public and private life; the primacy of the Ministerial Code and the soundness of the Defence secretary’s judgment. If that doesn’t fall within the realm of political ideas and policy then I don’t know what does.

  • @MacK – there is a thread on the members section about Fox

    @Stuart – its not personality politics – its about sleaze. Cameron has resurrected the spirit of the dying days of the Major government. The Lib Dems got the Tories to agree to set up a register of lobbyists, where is it? Cameron and Clegg promised to clean up politics, when are they planning to start?

  • Daniel Henry 14th Oct '11 - 7:22pm

    @ Alister
    We got an update about the lobbying register at the last DPMQs.
    They’re still working on it. Hopefully it’ll appear within the year.

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