Conservative Manifesto 2010: Invitation to join the Government of Britain
And this document might just be the most revolutionary manifesto in the party's history. In treating us like grown-ups, we are to be trusted with responsibility. And it is no Tory patronising paternalism, but an instinctively Whiggish, bottom-up and accountable model of governance. David Cameron has grasped the true meaning of 'subsidiarity' and the moral value of devolving power to individuals and communities. The pledges include:
• Enabling public sector workers to take ownership of the services they deliver through the formation of co-operatives;
• Power for constituents to sack their MP if they are found to have committed serious wrongdoing;
• Allowing people any good education provider to establish a new academy school;
• Help for for first-time homebuyers, permanently raising the stamp duty threshold to £250,000 and making it easier for social tenants to own their own homes;
• Power for residents to veto high council tax increases and instigate referendums on any local issue if they can gain support of 5 per cent of the population;
• The creation of directly-elected police chiefs who will set budgets and strategy for forces;
• A new community 'right to buy' scheme enabling people to protect community services that are under threat such as post offices or pubs;
• A right to request government data;
• Barriers on immigration from countries joining the EU, an annual cap on non-EU migrants and a tougher points system for skilled migrants.
And on top of all this, there is the 'Direct Democracy' pledge to ensure that any petition of 100,000 people would be eligible for debate in Parliament. Any petition with 1 million signatures would result in a bill being tabled in Parliament.
This is The People's Manifesto: we are invited not to be governed, but to participate in government: it is indeed 'a new kind of government for Britain', and contrasts with Labour's top-down, interfering, nannying style. After 13 years of being bossed around by Messrs Blair and Brown, David Cameron will make people their own boss: we can sack our MPs, run our own schools, own our own homes, veto council tax rises, vote for the police, save a local pub or post office, and see how the government spends our money.
The message is optimistic, the issues straightforward and the theme coherent: the Conservative Party will trust the people; it will let the people decide.
And before anyone mentions the EU elephant-in-the-room, Cranmer is firmly convicted that there is contained within this Manifesto the remedy for all those ills. He will start collecting a million signatures on May 7th.