Are the Conservatives going back to the 80s or 90s?

The Tories confront their history at Manchester

There are echoes of the past at Conservative conference this week, according to Henry Groundes-Peace 

George Osborne is a politician who likes to focus on the future - winning elections, having a long-term economic plan, and making manoeuvres for his own career. But his speech at the Conservative conference today had a hint of the 1980s about it.

Osborne included the headline measure of a prospective sale of a stake in publicly-owned Lloyds Bank in his big address. The sale will be via discounts for small investors in what already has echoes of the “Tell Sid” campaign of the 1980s.

Also in the speech was plenty about the man himself. Osborne was keen to use the opportunity to put across messages about his background and his vision.

With the well-publicised but undeclared contest to succeed David Cameron a focus for the media covering the conference, it remains to be seen if the Tories will revert to a 1990's-themed leadership battle this week.

The party is also doing its best to avoid a 90s-style split on Europe. But that may depend on whether the party membership follows the desire of the leadership and leaves Manchester without having a messy debate. 

Photograph: University of Salford


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