It's come to something when the best defence that can be mustered of One Nation Conservatism is that it encourages aspiration by stopping people living on benefits. I'm not sure if that had been the limit of its inspiration it would ever have made the extraordinary impact it did from Disraeli to Heath, but that seems to have been the message from the TRG's Macmillan event on Tuesday evening. There was a definite desire amongst some of the audience for a more forthright defence of One Nation than was available from MP Damian Green, and one of the most eloquent interventions reminded us of the still pitiable existence of a substantial group of marginalised people in poor areas of the country, prompting the question of what Conservatism has to offer them.
One Nation Conservatism was once a clarion call for action. Now it seems to simper in the face of neo-liberalism. When Ken Clarke finally goes, I do wonder if there will be anyone left still bothered to wave the flag for the Conservative party's best chance of redemption in the eyes of the electorate!