The land of hope is Tory (and a bit Whiggish)
David Cameron's conference speech was replete with platitudes and clichés, but thin on policy. The faithful eagerly applauded in the hall, but supporters grumbled the length and breadth of the country. He was promising a land flowing with milk and honey, but has no strategy of how to deal with the Canaanites and the Amorite (not to mention the Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites).
If there's someone occupying your Promised Land, waiting to pounce on your women and children and deceive them with false promises of false gods, they need to be dealt with. Genocide isn't an option. The problem David Cameron has is that his brand of paternal conservatism - Toryism - irritates half his party. Actually, it's probably less than half now, since his party's membership has halved since he became leader. According to The Daily Telegraph, the Prime Minister is the secure leader of the most influential right-wingers in the UK. But just look who's No2:
David Cameron's land of hope is Tory, but for millions of Conservatives it needs tempering with Whiggish values. Nigel Farage may lead a party devoid of any credible policy (they can't even agree on how the UK may leave the EU - repeal of European Communities Act 1972 or by invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty). But he represents something of the individualist Protestant spirit to Cameron's corporate Catholicism. Like Margaret Thatcher, Nigel Farage has the Free Church in his DNA: it is a democratic instinct; accountable, congregational, and acutely concerned with the feelings and values of the people. David Cameron pontificates from his cathedra and operates through a centralised magisterium: he is separate, aloof, detached, and the people must follow because he knows what's best.
The Conservative Party - indeed, the country at large - needs a via media in order to fulfil its mission; it needs a kind of Church of England approach to doing politics (as tedious and frustrating as that may sometimes be). Until the Conservative Party once again becomes synodical and democratic - as it was under Margaret Thatcher, whose respect for the values of party members was paramount - it will continue its decline.
The land of hope is Tory to the extent that trusted institutions and the ordered hierarchy perform their duties patriotically with moral purpose. History has shown that, left to their own devices, these elite forces tend toward self-interest, inefficiency and corruption. The Whiggish strain of Conservatism, with its roots in institutional reform and the primacy of Parliament through the sovereignty of the people, is the natural corrective and counter-balance.
The Conservative Party has been a coalition of these competing ideologies held in tension since its inception. They unify in order to win elections, gain power, and roll out their programme of government. Historically, they have coalesced around the themes of law and order, defence, patriotism, immigration, tax reduction, and their support for marriage and the family. Under David Cameron, the focus has been a multifaith, relativist mishmash of europhilia, environmentalism and gay marriage, while UKIP has been pressing the buttons of sovereignty, patriotism and Christian spirituality.
If the Promised Land of hope is to be Tory, Cameron needs not only to deal with Miliband's Canaanites; he needs to do a deal with Farage's Amorites.
And that's with the people; not their leader.