Am I alone in finding the Conservative party leadership race – underway in all but name – deeply dispiriting and increasingly infuriating?
Clearly not. In The Sunday Times last weekend Dominic Lawson captured perfectly the mounting anger out there over the shallowness and vacuity of the Tory Westminster parlour game. A long list of senior and not so senior Conservatives jostle for power and for control of our country.
The game-playing makes for an appalling spectacle. A giant jolly jape is taking place in which the future of the country is being divided up. The rest of us look on, noses pressed against the window.
Many of the candidates lark about, grinning, as though it is all the most tremendous fun. There are briefings about supposed “dream team” stitch-ups. Yes, a few of the contenders may say they are trying to turn the conversation in the direction of policy ideas and a genuine discussion of what Britain’s future should be, but there is not enough of it and so far it is thin gruel.
We must be able to do better. This is Britain – packed with leading universities, successful businesses, think tanks, and people who care about their country in a time of great technological and demographic change. At the very least the rest of us should try to make the Tory candidates take it more seriously. To urge them to talk to the country in a spirit of moral seriousness.
At Reaction, with this in mind, we’re launching a new series aimed at generating a conversation about the policies and ideas which might improve life in Britain.
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It’s called Better Britain: What do we want for our country?
Along the way we’ll celebrate some of the extraordinary, positive aspects of life here, but the main thrust is in the direction of reform and improvement. You won’t agree with it all. I won’t agree with it all. That is not the point. We’re not a political party building a manifesto. The point is a respectful, grown-up conversation about the future.
I haven’t commissioned a word of it. This is a call for action, sent in the hope and expectation that there are enough of us out there who want better. I’m embarking on this series inspired by having run into so many people in recent weeks who say they are worried.
This series is not – repeat not – about Brexit. That subject is unavoidable, of course. You might think that Brexit must happen; or you might be determined to stop it. Whatever the outcome, most of us will go on living here and must find ways through that improve our economy and our society.
We’ll open up the site next week for Better Britain articles and I’m open for pitches immediately. Although we won’t commission every idea, the Reaction team will consider every submission.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
If there is an appetite, Reaction will organise an event or two in the next few weeks for people interested in meeting to hear more and to take part in the discussion.
Inevitably, as it’s the Tories having their leadership race and doing such a poor job of addressing the country, there might be more in the way of submissions coming from a Tory direction. But we would like to hear from people of all parties and none.
So, get in touch and take part in the conversation.