The Tories are not for turning - Keith Taylor
Green Party Principal Speaker Keith Taylor today said that David Cameron's slick talk about Britain's social and environmental problems is merely the latest attempt to disguise the smell of the Tories' 'business first' approach.
Commenting on Mr Cameron's appearance on the Today Programme, Mr Taylor said: "We would welcome this more socially responsible Conservative party if we believed for one minute it was genuine. Sadly, the slightest glance at the small print shows the new polish is simply hollow opportunism, just as Blair's was.
"Even before he confirmed it [on the Today Programme] it was clear the Tories would not be abandoning their big business sponsors' interests for something as insignificant as the environment or social justice. As recently as November he was telling the CBI we need a 'concerted programme of road building'.
"Now he reaffirms his belief in voluntary corporate responsibility ahead of regulation. It may be a cynical point, but publicly listed companies are obliged by law to maximise profit. This should be remembered when considering the motives behind Mr Cameron's examples of companies wanting to do good [Nike and Sky].
"Deregulation fails to achieve its goals wherever it is employed. well, its stated goals at least. And we can see in the US how successful voluntary schemes are; the Kyoto Treaty being a case in point."
Mr Taylor also criticised Mr Cameron's 'Environment and Quality of Life' policy group: "Cameron's choice of chairman for the group speaks volumes. Not everyone has forgotten John Gummer's appalling record as Secretary of State for the Environment, where, among other sins, he organised the construction industry to lobby more effectively against his own department.
"David Cameron has already said the party will not be bound by the group's findings. I suspect this group's formation has more to do with appearing to care than actually being prepared to make the necessary changes to our society.
"The supposed change in attitude of the Tory party raises interesting questions for its membership, just as Blair's New Labour did for the old left. How much are they prepared to compromise in the push for power? Can the Tory party abandon its long-standing belief in, say, liberal economics, or minimal regulation, without morally bankrupting its old members? If not, it will find these beliefs hard to reconcile with Cameron's environmental and socially responsible vision."