The conservative political philosophy is usually associated with tradition, not progress. So it seems odd that members of the Conservative party, Tories, would claim the mantle of progress.
A cynic might think this is all about reclaiming the change narrative from New Labour. By saying you are a movement of progress you are taking the territory of the future and offering optimism. As Labour and the Liberal Democrats like to think that they are the progressive parties, the Conservatives were inevitably cast as the opposite: reactionaries. Progressive conservatism counters that.
Many Conservatives, including Dan Hannon, claim Edmund Burke as the grandfather of the movement. In a recent speech Hannon also said that the Founding Fathers of America were conservatives.
Burke was a Whig and never called himself a Tory. The American Revolution was more a Whig revolution than a conservative one. Burke, like Tom Paine, supported the American and the French revolt. Burke quickly realised what was happening in France and warned against it.
That doesn't mean that conservatives were not inspired by Burke's ideas as they were by Adam Smith. Many Whigs later went on to join the Conservative party while others formed the Liberal party with radicals like John Stuart Mill.
Burke may have been a small 'c' conservative but he was a liberal too. What is clear is that an element of liberalism undoubtedly found itself in the Conservative party. One can make the case that the tradition of progress has always been there.
With the Premiership of Disraeli, the Conservative party become the 'One Nation' party and legislated for social reform.
In the twentieth century, the Conservative party's strength was to accept the consensus and govern from the centre. This is why it was so successful at winning elections.
Its break with consensus was when Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister. A devotee of Hayek, Thatcher challenged the status quo. She was described as a 19th century liberal by some as she privatised nationalised industries and oversaw internal markets in health and education.
But as Simon Jenkins makes clear in 'Thatcher and Sons', while the Thatcher Government moved towards a smaller state it also centralised power more than ever before. The autonomy that the NHS and schools had was gone.
Depending where you sit in the political map will determine whether you see these policies as progressive or not.
This new approach is summed up by a Conservative candidate, Emma McClarkin on her website:
The Conservative party is the party of progress and opportunity and we need to tell people that they can be part of their destiny and affect their own future.
Delete Conservative and insert Whig or Liberal and it wouldn't sound out of place.
If Cameron has taken the Conservatives towards liberalism, what does this mean for the Liberal Democrats? Is it an opportunity for the party or a threat?
What does it mean for those Tories keener on social conservatism?
We will only know if Cameron walks into Number 10.