Tories mess with middle class traditions at their peril
Jonathan Walker writes: A good right wing policy from Ken Clarke today, as he announced prisoners would be forced to work (and earn wages), with a good proportion of what they earn siphoned off to help pay for the cost of keeping them locked up.
It sounds like the sort of thing old-fashioned Tories would lap up, but it's also been welcomed by charities which say it will help prepare offenders for life in the real world.
Education Secretary Michael Gove has promised to teach British children proper British history, which should also raise Tory spirits.
And, of course, Chancellor George Osborne promised yesterday to crack down on benefits claimed by people who don't work.
But the mood here at conference is jumpy.
What fool came up with the idea of taking child benefit away from middle class mums?
It suggests talk about George, David and their wealthy Notting Hill chums having limited contact with reality may be true after all.
Perhaps Sam Cam can get by quite happily without child benefit, but a family with a 45k income, a hefty mortgage, two children and a dog to support is going to notice the difference.
On top of that, it's the principle of the thing. Child benefit is traditional (something a Conservative Party should understand).
If Osborne had taken away any of this newfangled stuff Gordon Brown introduced, assuming he could find anything Brown did that actually benefited middle class people, the emotional hit would have been less intense.