Damian Green wants Tories to pass 'Danny Boyle' test

Damian Green Damian Green says the Conservatives must cheer on Britain's many positive aspects

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Immigration Minister Damian Green has said that, to appeal to more voters, the Conservative party needs to pass what he calls the "Danny Boyle test".

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Green says the Tories must "cheer the numerous virtues of Britain in 2012".

He added that "if we don't like modern Britain, then it is very unlikely that modern Britain will like us".

Mr Boyle, a film director, oversaw the widely-praised Olympic opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium in east London.

Mr Green said: "To succeed, the Conservative Party must be at home in modern Britain. Much in this country needs changing and improving; but we should not become nostalgists promoting a better yesterday.

"We need to pass the Danny Boyle test, and cheer the numerous virtues of Britain in 2012."

Political lessons

Under Mr Boyle's guidance, the opening ceremony covered topics such as the NHS and Britain's industrial and musical heritage, as well as other national achievements.

He has said that the theme for the event was "this is for everyone".

Start Quote

A modern Conservative government, which is what I want to see after the next election, will look to occupy the common ground”

End Quote Damian Green

However, some accused Mr Boyle of being too left-wing in his artistic direction, including Conservative MP Aidan Burley. He posted a message on Twitter in which he referred to "leftie multi-cultural" ceremony.

He later said his comments were misunderstood, and Downing Street said it did not agree with his Twitter post.

Mr Green went on to say that the "historically successful ideal of 'One Nation Conservatism' also needs consistent updating".

The MP for Ashford added: "Essentially, One Nation Conservatism means that every individual deserves a chance to contribute to the health of our society. No-one should be written off because of their background.

"This is a moral proposition but it is also an important political lesson. Nostalgists in the 1980s winced at the arrival of 'Essex Man' in the Tory tribe. They were wholly wrong to do so.

"My grandfather was a Welsh dock-worker who voted Tory. Some of my friends are investment bankers who have voted Labour. It takes all sorts, and the best Tory values appeal to all sorts."

'Common ground'

He went on to say that the Conservative Party needs to connect with the mood of the country by "finding and occupying the common ground, not splitting the difference between hard Left and hard Right".

"The common ground contains elements that would normally be classified as belonging to the Right or Left.

"A modern Conservative government, which is what I want to see after the next election, will look to occupy the common ground by applying Conservative principles to the main issues the people of Britain care about."

This, he said, meant continuing to take "tough but necessary decisions for the long-term health of the economy", sticking to plans to reduce immigration and "continuing to tackle those areas where Conservatives have not traditionally been well-regarded, such as the NHS".

Above all, he added, the Tories should maintain a "relentless focus" on promoting opportunity and social mobility.

Labour said it had no comment to make on Mr Green's views.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 522.

    Surely a political party should represent a specific political philosophy and its purpose should be to persuade the public that its model of the world is correct and that the policies that result are beneficial. A party that is prepared to adapt its political standpoint to gain votes is little more than a faction or bloc whose sole purpose is to gain power to benefit its members and followers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 254.

    When politicians put the country first, rather than self and party, then they will be worth considering at the ballot box.

    When they stop pandering to what they think people will like, and state their policies clearly (with supporting argument), then they might actually earn a few votes...

    When they listen to what we say & then do it, they'd be in!

  • rate this

    Comment number 150.

    Nothing against Mr Boyle, I thought his opening ceremony was amazing and I wouldn't be surprised if there was a knighthood for him, but he is well known for his left wing views which I do not share. If I wanted to pass the 'Boyle test' I would vote Labour. When will politicians stop trying to convince us that they're 'cool'? You're not fooling anyone, Mr Green.

  • rate this

    Comment number 148.

    The comment that "if we don't like modern Britain" is revealing. It confirms my suspicion that the government thinks it must find what we like and then they will get the votes. When in fact what we want is the government to find out what we need and provide it, then they will get the votes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 143.

    'You've never had it so good' Macmillan PM half a century ago when there was near full employment and massive building projects to supply modern homes. Employment has diminished and there are no homes being built for the few remaining workers. Which party has started to look back to this part of the past? Get priorities right instead of electioneering.


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