by MONITOR
John Prescott is not the wittiest man in the world but his riposte that the Conservative's revised Built to Last policy document should be called Built to Last a Bit Longer was actually quite smart. This ”mission statement”, unveiled last February was criticised then as ”vacuous” and has now been beefed–up. It is being sent to party members with a voting slip attached to accept or reject it. The result will be announced before the party conference in October. Whatever misgivings the party faithful may have about some of the touchy–feely elements in the document it is unlikely that they will reject the proposals of the man they elected as leader only a year ago. However, a sizeable No vote could put Mr Cameron in further difficulties over his reform programme. The revised ITAL/Built to Last/ shows six overall aims: to encourage enterprise and responsibility; to provide first–class health care, education and housing; to meet environmental threats; to fight social injustice; to safeguard the UK and defend its freedoms; and to fight global poverty. Few people of any political party would want to quarrel with those broad objectives but Mr Cameron's difficulty, partly of his own making, is that even this revised mision statement remains vague on how they will be achieved. The nuts–and–bolts are in the hands of the various policy working groups which, under present arrangements will not report before the October conference, leaving party members to wait ”a bit longer”.

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