Is Cameron a republican liberal?
In his excellent Guardian article today, David Cameron sets out his belief that "the central objective of the new politics we need should be a massive, sweeping, radical redistribution of power..." In the course of the essay, Cameron writes:
"We should start by pushing political power down as far as possible...With every decision government makes, it should ask a series of simple questions: does this give power to people, or take it away? Could we let individuals, neighbourhoods and communities take control? How far can we push power down?"
He said the ideal is for individuals to wield power - for example over the choice of school for their children. When it is not possible for individuals to hold the strings he said "we need to do the next best thing: redistribute power to neighbourhoods and local government". This phrase "the next best thing" is important. It is clear that the best thing is for individuals to have power: only when this is not possible should power consolidate upwards.
This is an essentially republican liberal agenda, sharing much of the animating spirit with our Liberal Republic. Cameron uses the phrase "redistributing power" no less than 12 times in the course of his argument. I think he might even mean it.