Phillip Blond is the founder of the ResPublica think tank and an advisor to the Conservative Party. He invented the concept of 'Red Toryism' which was the ideological foundation for the Conservative Party's 'Big Society' project.
Before going into politics, Phillip Blond was a lecturer in philosophy and theology at St Martin's College in Lancaster, Ambleside and Carlisle, which is now part of the University Of Cumbria. In 2009 he became the director of a 'Progressive Conservatism' project set up by Demos.
Blond wrote a series of comment pieces for newspapers that 'caught the attention' of 'some of the more adventurous minds grouped around the current leadership of the Conservative party'. According to the Guardian, Blond's 'thoughts have made it into speeches by David Cameron' and 'his most fervent fans include' Steve Hilton, and Rohan Silva.
In a 2009 interview with the Guardian Blond claimed to have raised '£1.5m in two weeks,' for the think tank.
Red Toryism and the Big Society
Philip Blond created the concept of 'Red Toryism', which is 'a critique-cum-credo that harks back to the old paternalist Conservatism that was all but obliterated by Margaret Thatcher'. According to John Harris:
- Its foundation is Blond's three-way breakdown of modern British history, and the alleged scourges that have conspired to produce the "broken society" of modern Tory demonology. First, he says, there was the postwar expansion of the state, which eventually "atomised and separated" once-strong communities. Next came the left's embrace of what was supposedly all the rage in the 1960s - hedonism, moral relativism, "the politics of desire" - which Blond thinks trickled down to the most vulnerable layers of society and spread chaos. Finally, Thatcherism unleashed the free market, which fused with 60s individualism to squash the last vestiges of public morality, and in turn, fed the growth of the state, since society was now so out of control that government had to grow even more intrusive.
- The solution, as he sees it, is a sea change that you hear echoed across just about the entire modern political class: a rolling back of government, the reawakening of community spirit, and a restoration of the kind of "intermediate civic institutions" that preceded the welfare state. Where Blond differs from Westminster groupthink, however, is in his emphasis on the "high culture" and upright moral standards that he claims both liberals on the left and right have damned as old-fashioned - and the failings of a "monopoly capitalism" that has squashed initiative and common endeavour almost as much as the bureaucratic state. Blond may bemoan the dead hand of government, but he also wants to break the power of, say, Tesco. Such is the "Red" part of his thinking, and the reason why his smattering of Tory fans often seem to be far outnumbered by hostile Thatcherites; as one Labour figure recently put it, "a Red Tory revolution would certainly need much blue blood to be spilled."
- Philip Blond, (2009), The new Tories will stop class becoming caste; Poor people need access to wealth, not welfare. Bring in investment vouchers, worker buy-outs and support for couples, The Times, 5-October-2009
- John Harris, Saturday: Interview: The man who wrote Cameron's mood music: A year ago Phillip Blond was a little-known theology lecturer. Now, as the architect of 'Red Toryism', he is one of the Conservative leader's inner circle and has set up his own thinktank. So, what's he thinking?, The Guardian, 8-August-2009