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There is a compassionate and ambitious alternative to Cameronism and Tory members prefer it

By Tim Montgomerie
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Cameronism has involved three massive gambles...

  • Remember the "change to win" slogan? Half of it was fulfilled. The party was changed in significant ways but we still fell short of a majority and in almost perfect electoral conditions.
  • We then entered a Coalition government when the preference of the majority of members was to govern as a minority government and then hold a second election as soon as possible. Instead we have entered an alliance with a party that is resisting so many of the things that are necessary for the country's recovery.
  • Gamble three has been an economic policy that has increased taxes, defended the Euro, raised the cost of energy and done little about red tape. The result is an economic league table performance that is more Wycombe Wanderers than Manchester United.

Some in Team Cameron would have us believe that the only alternative to their project is a right-wing project that has already been defeated in 2001 and 2005. Andrew Lilico did a very good job of rebutting the idea that 01 and 05 were anything like ideal centre right campaigns. These new pages of ConHome are dedicated to advancing a conservatism...

  • that is more serious about conservatism's compassionate credentials;
  • more serious about creating the growth that underpins every successful political enterprise; and
  • more serious about creating a 21st century political machine.
We are in the foothills of the project but some themes are already clear:
  • Find a compassionate message that's more streetwise than the Big Society (I've suggested family, school and work);
  • Stop pretending that anything other than emergency surgery is necessary for Britain's economy;
  • End all job-killing tax rises;
  • Spread the spending cuts more evenly across Whitehall;
  • Cut Britain's energy bills, not its carbon footprint;
  • Stop trying to save the Euro;
  • Scrap the Barnett formula and put the savings into the UK's poorest communities whether in Scotland or not;
  • Restructure the tax system so that unearned wealth is taxed more and job creation is taxed less;
  • Worry more about recruiting northern and local candidates than women and ethnic minority candidates (although they could, of course be both).
  • Turn the Conservative Party into the Conservative Alliance (of which more tomorrow).

In the latest survey of Tory members I tested the popularity of various strands of the Conservative Party we have and the Conservative Party we need - MajorityConservatism. We didn't test issues like immigration, crime or trade union laws where Cameronism is definitely at odds with mainstream Conservatives - only those policies central to the debate between Liberal and Majority Conservatism. On all but one measure - tilting the burden of taxation on to wealth - MajorityConservatism wins.

For each of the following choices people were asked to choose one. These are the results.


  • A Conservative Party that promotes the Big Society: 13%
  • A Conservative Party that promotes Family, Education and Work: 87%


  • We tell the British people that emergency surgery is required to fix the British economy and embark on even more radical reforms to cut red tape, cut taxes on business, increase competition in the banking and energy sectors, and improve the nation's skills base: 78%
  • There is not much more that the Coalition should try to do; It should focus on the important things it is already doing in terms of tackling the deficit and improving the schools and welfare systems: 22%


  • By faster cuts in public spending we cancel the increase in VAT, Capital Gains Tax and other tax increases: 59%
  • We keep the existing balance of tax rises and spending cuts: 41%


  • Cuts in policing and the military should be less severe and there should be tougher cuts to health, welfare and international aid budgets: 58%
  • The cuts should continue exactly as planned: 42%


  • Britain should be a world leader in tackling climate change even if it means higher energy bills for British businesses and households: 12%
  • Britain should only take significant action against climate change if other polluting countries such as China, India and USA do too: 88%


  • We should continue to work through the IMF to support the rescue of the Eurozone: 34%
  • Britain should not agree to any IMF rescue unless countries like Greece leave the Eurozone: 66%


  • We should not change the way taxpayers' money is spent across the UK or we risk the break up of the Union with Scotland: 14%
  • We should review the Barnett formula and ensure the money that is saved goes to the poorest parts of the UK: 86%


  • Conservative HQ should focus on increasing the number of women Tory candidates: 18%
  • Conservative HQ should focus on increasing the number of northern Tory candidates: 82%


  • A cut in petrol tax funded by extra council tax for people with properties worth more than £500,000: 46%
  • No change in the balance of taxation: 54%.



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