Britain’s Neoconservative Moment
These are dark days for Britain’s Tories. After three successive election defeats and its longest period out of office since the mid-19th century, the oldest political party in the world has been forced to rethink its entire raison d’être. Last December, the Conservatives pinned their hopes for revival on yet another leader, their fifth in eight years. The latest heir to Margaret Thatcher’s mantle—and, it is hoped, some of her electoral success—is David Cameron, and his elevation created a small sensation on both sides of the Atlantic.
Much of the attention was owed to Cameron’s youth. A thirty-nine-year-old party loyalist who has been in Parliament for only four years, he is the most inexperienced Tory leader since William Pitt the Younger took over in 1783. More intriguing has been Cameron’s insistence on the need for a “real intellectual revival of conservatism,” an aim that has caused some consternation in Britain’s liberal establishment. Though the precise contours of Cameron’s ideas are unclear, the hints he has offered suggest that leftist bastions like the Guardian and the New Statesman may not be too far wrong in accusing him of being that most sinister of contemporary political animals—a neoconservative.
About the Author
Daniel Johnson is a columnist for The New York Sun and was formerly a columnist and senior editor for the London Times and Daily Telegraph.