Damian Green and 'The Danny Boyle Test'


Immigration Minister Damian Green wrote in an article in the Telegraph that "The Tories have to pass the Danny Boyle test", with reference to the Olympic opening ceremony, if they are to win the next election.

The opening ceremony of the Olympic Games was a major success, quelling any initial gripes and far exceeding our expectations.

Danny Boyle's extravaganza took a different interpretation to Beijing as to what the ceremony should be like, opting for a modest narrative rather than the grandiose spectacle offered by China. What Boyle managed to do was far more intricate, displaying British history since the industrial revolution and arriving at our post industrial present day having alluded to various aspects of British social, cultural and political history.

In particular Boyle emphasised multiculturalism in Britain and this was derided by Conservative MP Aidan Burley as 'leftie multicultural crap'. The response of the Prime Minister was:

I did once say something about people who use Twitter, particularly politicians, and I think in this case I was absolutely spot on. I think what he said was completely wrong. It was an idiotic thing to say.

essentially calling Burley a 'twat'.

The evidence suggests that the Tories have already embraced this 'Boylism' to coin a phrase, much to the dismay of Tory traditionalists. Green reconciles this embrace of Danny Boyle's vision of modern Britain with "One Nation Conservatism"

Green argues that a change in Conservative thinking is needed to be more encompassing and embracing of modern Britain:

Essentially, One Nation Conservatism means that every individual deserves a chance to contribute to the health of our society. No one should be written off because of their background.

The Conservatives are having a dismal period in office, unable to make the coalition with the Liberal Democrats work effectively, hindered by the ongoing economic problems at home and in the rest of Europe and now doubting their own ability to win the next election. Potential voters are leaving in their droves to support UKIP, which poses a serious threat towards their voter base.

Danny Boyle took a view of Britain that highlighted more contemporary aspects to British history and did not alienate the various communities here. Green said:

We need to pass the Danny Boyle test, and cheer the numerous virtues of Britain in 2012. If we don't like modern Britain, then it is very unlikely that modern Britain will like us.

What's confusing about Green's article is that fact that many on the right viewed Boyle's showcase of Britain to be an "incomplete and Leftist view of our history" as Norman Tebbit put it. Cameron has found it difficult to locate Green's notion of 'common ground' with the Lib Dems so it is unlikely that he will manage to do so with the nation. This idea of opting for the common ground may also be a vote loser as the electorate look to vote in confident leaders with a clear philosophy behind their decision making. No party seems to fit the bill thus far.

Alan Ssempebwa