It's hard to find a better definition of what it means to be a Conservative than this:
We want a country which makes the fullest use of all its human and material resources to build a new prosperity. A country which uses that prosperity wisely and well, helping the elderly and those in need, providing new educational opportunity for our children, investing for the future as well as giving us a fuller life today. A country confident in itself, playing a full part in the world's affairs, accepting and meeting its responsibilities to others.These values and the mission they encompass represent the timeless principles of Britain's Conservative Party. This particular version comes from the Party's manifesto for the 1970 General Election signed off by my old boss, Ted Heath but their origins go back to the origins of the modern party, to Robert Peel, Benjamin Disraeli, to the embracing of free trade and the extending of the franchise, to the idea - represented today by Robert Halfon and Tory Workers - that our over-riding purpose is to improve the condition of ordinary people. This is a soft, gentle, caring and polite party not one that speaks of 'traitors' or 'saboteurs', not one that runs campaigns to unseat good, hard-working MPs because you disagree with them on one particular issue.
We want a society in which material advance goes hand in hand with the deeper values which go to make up the quality of life. A society which cares for its cities, towns and villages, its rivers, its coast, its countryside.
We want people to achieve the security and independence of personal ownership greater freedom of opportunity, greater freedom of choice, greater freedom from government regulation and interference. A responsible democracy based on honest government and respect for the law.
I chose the 1970 Manifesto because it's the one that took us into the Common Market reminding us that our core values and purpose are not, and never have been, defined by the issue of Europe. Right now the issue seems so huge and important that it swamps everything but sooner than you think we will move on from it and have to, once again, look at how we make a better nation for British people. I hope we will do what we've done before and say loudly and clearly that we stand first and foremost for decency, good government, personal responsibility, trust, family and community. And at the heart of this, once again, we have to put the promise that Ted Heath made in 1970 and Margaret Thatcher made in 1979 - a promise that we will give ordinary people the chance for a real cash stake in Britain, that we'll be a property-owning democracy not a land of wage slaves and renters dependent on the state.