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Ideas, not just new faces, are needed to save the Conservative Party

Theresa May leads her first cabinet meeting of the new year following a reshuffle at 10 Downing Street on January 9, 2018. in London, United Kingdom. Credit: Getty Images Europe 

There was much that was wrong with last week’s reshuffle, but the overriding problem was simple. It wasn’t motivated by ideas. Some of the new faces are talented additions to Theresa May’s team, but what exactly were they appointed to do? After an attempt to move her sideways out of Education, Justine Greening resigned; Damian Hinds took her place. This spat might have been worthwhile if Mr Hinds, who seems a promising appointment, was associated with a bold new education policy that will win the Tories the next election. But he is not as far as we yet know. Rather than starting the year with a fresh agenda, the Conservatives have given the impression of rearranging the deck chairs.

Renewal is needed from the bottom up. Party membership stood at around one million in 1990; today it could be as low as 70,000. The idea that there is no interest in mass-member party politics is belied by Labour,...

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