The tagline of this years Conservative Conference is “Plan For Change”. Change, moving forward, a new start. That is what this conference was meant to show – the Conservative's setting out their plan for their future government. However, events have rather overtaken them.
They have set out several policies and points of principle, such as:
Freezing council tax;
Giving schools budget freedom;
Scrapping authoritarian child databases;
Not releasing prisoners early just because;
Pledging to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty; and, quite possibly most importantly
Not matching Labour's spending plans if the country can't afford it.
But this has been totally overtaken by world events: the economic crisis caused by Gordon Brown and the Labour Party. And so the mantra of the Conservatives yesterday has been less “plan for change” and more “let's work together”, by not “playing politics” with the economy.
This is an immeasurably responsible response in this economic climate. Any other response would have been extremely irresponsible. Yet it does rather undermine the “plan for change” motto, and rather allow the Conservatives to be associated with “more of the same”.
Unfortunately for the Conservatives, their conference has been overcome by the crisis, meaning that the plans for change that they have put forward have failed to dominate the headlines like they otherwise would have. However, they are out there, just not anywhere near as highly publicised in the media. What this will do is mean that the impression that the Conservatives are policy-lite will continue, and unfairly.
The Conservatives are planning for change, but able to work with other parties when necessary for the good of the country.