So what can the Tories do for me?

Cole Moreton asks what the new, improved Tories have to offer this time round

The Conservatives are confident again under David Cameron, but, really, why should the rest of us care? The biggest force at the next election will be all those people who are totally fed up with politics. We're concerned about issues, but remain unconvinced that any politician has the answers. So as the chipper Tories hold their conference this week, we are entitled to ask: who on earth are you, and what can you do for me?

The leader

Young Dave is as smooth as Gordon is scowly. He's down to earth (for an Old Etonian). He's good looking (if a little jowly). He's full of promise (the only thing an opposition leader can be). He cares about the environment (and flew to Norway in a private jet for a photo opportunity to prove it). He does the washing-up (when the webcam is on). He's almost believable as the still-fresh new face of the former Nasty Party. There's only one problem...

The members

They're not nearly as modern or liberal as Dave in the shires, and they're proud of it. They like his rebooting of their tired old party, but still distrust him a bit too. The membership of about 290,000 includes some very rich donors – but the party that claims economic competence is £12m in debt.

The theme song

No question: it should be "The Eton Rifles" by the Jam. Dave told Radio 4 it was his favourite song, since he was a member of the army corps at that public school. Paul Weller, who wrote it as a scathing riposte to Eton boys who jeered right-to-work marchers, was incensed: "Which part of it didn't he get? It wasn't intended as a fucking jolly drinking song for the cadet corps."

The promises

The sun will shine every day. Well, maybe not quite, but opposition parties can promise the earth. Here are some of the more realistic ways in which the Tories say they'll make a difference to you:

Money

Good news for the comfortable middle classes. You won't pay inheritance tax on what Mum and Dad leave you if it's worth less than a million. Smug marrieds will get smugger, with increased tax breaks. First-time buyers won't have to pay stamp duty on houses costing less than £250,000.

Hospitals

The health service will be managed by an independent panel, just as the interest rate is now. District hospitals will be protected... although quite how that can be if the panel wants to close them is unclear. Beyond that, the gush of money will slow. They will honour Labour's spending pledges only until 2011.

Schools

The same goes for education, although charities, do-gooders and parents will be given state money to open new schools.

Society

Fewer foreigners will be let in. We want only those with the right skills, apparently. The exact threshold is unclear. Identity cards will be scrapped. More prisons will be built.

Transport

Green taxes, better trains – the usual promises. We'll see what happens when big business kicks in.

The non-joke

Boris Johnson. Nothing funny about him any more. Not for Dave, anyway, as he tries to cope with BoJo's growing power base as Mayor of London. Cameron has talked endlessly of our "broken society". Boris says boldly that this is "piffle".

The joke

Sky newsreader Julie Etchingham's gaffe. Dave was talking about the impact of immigration and said: "Here our policy should be obvious..." Not realising her microphone was on, the presenter jokingly broke in with: "Extermination."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service / Sales Advisor - Print

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based just north of York, this ...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Account Manager

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SEO Account Manager is requi...

SThree: Associate Recruitment Consultant - Global Leader - FTSE 250

£18000 - £23000 per annum + competitive: SThree: As an Associate Recruitment C...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Representative

£22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family run school photogra...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map