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This is very worrying. The Times makes the same criticisms as the Editor in an editorial tomorrow. And The Spectator has reposted and reconfirmed the story which Nicholas Boles objected to:

EXCLUSIVE: Top Cameron Aide Tells The Right – Don’t Expect Tax Cuts, School Choice, Right Wing Conservative Government

[This story is slightly different than the version posted earlier. The reason is that Mr Boles complained that the story was wrong and demanded it be withdrawn. Phone calls have been made to check facts to ensure we are being fair. After speaking at length to people in the room, we think the following is a fair and accurate account…]

Last Tuesday, as Cameron prepared for his coronation, one of his top aides, Nick Boles, addressed a private meeting of right-wing think tanks and campaign groups at the Adam Smith Institute.

While the hope of many Conservatives has been that Cameron is “really” on the Right but would use better PR to sell a Thatcherite agenda, Boles made clear to the audience that they would be disappointed.

The issues of tax cuts and school choice were raised. Mr Boles said that they would not campaign for vouchers and “choice” was not their priority. In reply to questions about tax, he said that tax pledges and guarantees had been tried before in previous elections, they had failed, and they could not commit themselves to cut taxes beyond the current aspiration.

Mr Boles said to the audience that, just as Blair said that he won as New Labour and would govern as New Labour, so – “Dave has run as a compassionate conservative and will govern as a compassionate conservative”. [Mr Boles has confirmed that this quote was accurate as we originally reported it; one participant remembers the phrase as “centrist” instead of “compassionate conservative”. Different sources have given an almost but not quite identical form of words for a further comment to the effect – “if you’re expecting a right-wing Conservative Government, you will be disappointed”.]

As we commented earlier…

Whereas Labour is gearing up to claim that Cameron is secretly a hard core Thatcherite who is using clever spin to shield an extreme agenda, it appears that Cameron is as he seems – a traditional conservative who does not think there is much wrong with Britain, and will resemble Macmillan and Major, not Thatcher, albeit with better PR. Gove is useful bait to attract some elements on the Right, but the ideological tone will be set by Edward Llewellyn, his new Chief of Staff and former Chief of Staff to Patten.

Ironically, therefore, the emerging Labour attack on him as “really deep down right wing” will help Cameron for a while because it will reassure the Right, many of whom voted for him nervously and mainly because of Davis’ extreme incompetence.

However, the ideological right have been told in no uncertain terms: if the Cameron project works out, then you face another decade plus of political irrelevance, no money, and no influence. This is unwise of the Cameron team. First, even in their own terms (ie. gaining power, not medium-term change, is the real goal), it is foolish to tell the Right this so starkly; it would be more effective to lie (at least until they could then use fear of an election to impose discipline). Second, they will not be able to build a new movement of self-consciously “moderate” activists; if they really have rejected the idea of building outrider organisations to act as “icebreakers of the revolution”, they are condemning themselves to medium-term operation within a culture defined by Labour and the BBC which provides only a choice between destruction and cooption. Again ironically, this may actually help organisations on the ideological Right as donors and members realise that pressure from the Right is the only way to influence Cameron.

Lord Garrel-Jones said privately the other day, “Great. An OE with the common touch – and Ed [Llewellyn] in there…” For those on the Right not of this disposition, a bleak future looms – unless the initial Cameron plan fails and there is a major rethink…

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EXCLUSIVE: Top Cameron Aide Tells The Right – Don’t Expect Tax Cuts, School Choice, Right Wing Conservative Government


[This story is slightly different than the version posted earlier. The reason is that Mr Boles complained that the story was wrong and demanded it be withdrawn. Phone calls have been made to check facts to ensure we are being fair. After speaking at length to people in the room, we think the following is a fair and accurate account…]

Last Tuesday, as Cameron prepared for his coronation, one of his top aides, Nick Boles, addressed a private meeting of right-wing think tanks and campaign groups at the Adam Smith Institute.

While the hope of many Conservatives has been that Cameron is “really” on the Right but would use better PR to sell a Thatcherite agenda, Boles made clear to the audience that they would be disappointed.

The issues of tax cuts and school choice were raised. Mr Boles said that they would not campaign for vouchers and “choice” was not their priority. In reply to questions about tax, he said that tax pledges and guarantees had been tried before in previous elections, they had failed, and they could not commit themselves to cut taxes beyond the current aspiration.

Mr Boles said to the audience that, just as Blair said that he won as New Labour and would govern as New Labour, so – “Dave has run as a compassionate conservative and will govern as a compassionate conservative”. [Mr Boles has confirmed that this quote was accurate as we originally reported it; one participant remembers the phrase as “centrist” instead of “compassionate conservative”. Different sources have given an almost but not quite identical form of words for a further comment to the effect – “if you’re expecting a right-wing Conservative Government, you will be disappointed”.]

As we commented earlier…

Whereas Labour is gearing up to claim that Cameron is secretly a hard core Thatcherite who is using clever spin to shield an extreme agenda, it appears that Cameron is as he seems – a traditional conservative who does not think there is much wrong with Britain, and will resemble Macmillan and Major, not Thatcher, albeit with better PR. Gove is useful bait to attract some elements on the Right, but the ideological tone will be set by Edward Llewellyn, his new Chief of Staff and former Chief of Staff to Patten.

Ironically, therefore, the emerging Labour attack on him as “really deep down right wing” will help Cameron for a while because it will reassure the Right, many of whom voted for him nervously and mainly because of Davis’ extreme incompetence.

However, the ideological right have been told in no uncertain terms: if the Cameron project works out, then you face another decade plus of political irrelevance, no money, and no influence. This is unwise of the Cameron team. First, even in their own terms (ie. gaining power, not medium-term change, is the real goal), it is foolish to tell the Right this so starkly; it would be more effective to lie (at least until they could then use fear of an election to impose discipline). Second, they will not be able to build a new movement of self-consciously “moderate” activists; if they really have rejected the idea of building outrider organisations to act as “icebreakers of the revolution”, they are condemning themselves to medium-term operation within a culture defined by Labour and the BBC which provides only a choice between destruction and cooption. Again ironically, this may actually help organisations on the ideological Right as donors and members realise that pressure from the Right is the only way to influence Cameron.

Lord Garrel-Jones said privately the other day, “Great. An OE with the common touch – and Ed [Llewellyn] in there…” For those on the Right not of this disposition, a bleak future looms – unless the initial Cameron plan fails and there is a major rethink…

The Spectator Online Team
Check out our blog on DC's First Hundred Days
http://www.spectator.co.uk/blog/index.thtml#153

Posted on 15/12/2005


You're right Tim. There seems to have been only one side of the AND theory on display so far. But isn't that to help balance the fact that prior to Cameron's elevation to the leadership, the OTHER half of the equation was the only one on display?

The other point I think that needs to be made is that if the broad church of the Conservative Party is going to stick together and be competitive at the next election, its component parts have to want to stick together. That goes for all wings of the Party.

The best thing right now is patience. It's still very early days.

This is the exactly rhe party i want.

Liberal Conservatives not Right-Wing Control freakery Conservatives.

I've got to say, DC has been very sneaky on this one and really shows that the libdems are crumbling because of him.

I am becoming very worried. Like the Editor I am firmly of the Right ancestrally, but I am willing to try something new, given the immense damage done to the Tory 'brand' in the Major years. Hence my support for David Cameron, who I understood to be an adherent of the 'And Theory of Conservatism'.

But of course CONSERVATISM is an integral part of the 'And Theory'.

Cameron must be very careful. So far it's not encourgaging, for instance his having ditched the very sensible fisheries policy.

When David Cameron was pitching his leadership, it was clear that members who

…reject the tomato environmentalism of Kyoto? …who support Labour on homeland security? …who think Iraq is but one stage of a war on terror that LibDems have no stomach for? …and who oppose the quota politics at the heart of David Cameron’s A List?

would not be getting their way. That's why he got elected leader and it's why he'll get elected PM.

Half true, Mark. Half wrong.

Half true - he was transparent about Kyoto and civil liberties.

Half wrong - he was silent on quotas and he was very clear that he supported the war on Iraq. He may not be abandoning the neoconservatism that took Britain into Iraq but further pre-emption is out of the question if we become Orange Book Tories.

I agree that some of this appears a little OTT but it sure is good politics!

A weakened Prime Minister who can only be supported on his policy agenda by a Conservative Leader who is equally putting the boot in to a failing Lib Dem Leader. The trouble with the Lib Dems is that they are very weak. They should have chopped Charlie soemtime ago, when all the rumours of alcohol started becoming public. They botched it then and they have botched it again. This will now drag on and on and weaken them further.

The simple fact is that the Conservatives wll not win the next election unless we see the return of the considerable number of voters who left us to vote LD over the past 3 elections. During the week I saw a presentation by Peter Kellner that was very clear that, even on new boundaries, we need another 1.5 million voters just to deprive Labour of a majority let alone become the biggest party or have a majority ourselves. Even those who went to the LD's from Labour at the GE were really previous Conservative voters who had switched to Labour in 1997 but could not switch back to us in 2005.

I also think we in the blogosphere ought to be careful; it has been but 10 days since DC became leader. Very difficult to believe I know because the movement has been fast.

I am concerned about the influence of John Gummer and Zac Goldsmith. The new quality of life challenge website links to the environmental groups who oppose open markets and free trade.

The Nick Boles comments on money and influence, if true andcoming from the head of Policy Exchange, would have been provacative to the audience at the ASI. Reform, who campaigned with PE on school choice, will not be happy about the remarks on tax cuts and choice.

There is an urgent need for clarification about what was actually said - even though these meetings are held under Chatham House rules.

The general rule is "act in haste and repent at leisure".

I think a lot of this is mood music. The ordinary voter is not interested in the detail. He would not read a political article, let alone go to a site like this. I doubt many MPs will cross the floor, but the message is to say we are now a new gentle cuddly party that any decent lib dem could come and give a hug to. We are not [i hope] going to support a PR voting system, or a no limits to immigration, or hand over more rights to the EU. I take that for granted, but then DC will take my vote for granted too, and so he can as long as I am convinced he is a real Conservative. Let's give him a chance.

"Liberal Conservatives not Right-Wing Control freakery Conservatives."

It seems to me that you must be lacking a grasp of what Conservativism is about if you describe it as "right-wing control freakery".

It is self-confessed "liberals" who are the control freaks in my experience.

further pre-emption is out of the question

I disagree. It's further pre-emption without good reason that is out of the question. And so it should be.

The Iraq war was a demonstration of Western power over rogue states. We picked the most easily justified target, we flattened it with ease, and soon we'll kill the guy at the top. Whether this demonstration worked to our favour is sufficiently questionable that we can't do it again. Next time there has to be a loaded gun.

"I disagree. It's further pre-emption without good reason that is out of the question. And so it should be."

And the point of difference comes over what good reason is.

Obviously just invading Belgium for the heck of it is out of the question. (And so it should be.)

But some of us believe that Iraq fell into a different category and that there *were* good reasons for invasion.

"that there *were* good reasons for invasion."

Yes, but there were also good reasons for *not* invading Iraq. Even now I don't think we know whether invasion was the right or wrong thing to do, but it doesn't seem to have reduced terrorism or reigned-in rogue states.

If you read Norman Tebbit's letter to the Spectator of this week you will find that he states that Labour obtained 40% of the vote in the 1951 election. The good news was that it still lost that election. He goes on to say the Apathy Party is winning elections; millions no longer vote and appear to have no trust in the political parties (that includes me, a former Tory voter) and it is those voters that Cameron should be attracting and not a few piffling votes from the Lib/Dims. Are we to believe that hordes of voters with a conservative outlook have defected to the LIB/Dims - I don't think so. Read the letter, better still, maybe the editor will print it on this website.
The appointments of Oliver Letwin and Gummer, amongst others, leaves room for serious doubts about the Conservative ethos of Mr Cameron.
Mr Charles Kennedy has, in his turn invited Mr Cameron to come and join the Lib/Dims/Lib/Cons.
How long will it be before someone has to ask Mr Cameron to come and join the Conservative Party?
I despair.

If Norman Tebbit's your guiding star, you're still operating in 80's politics.

"But isn't that to help balance the fact that prior to Cameron's elevation to the leadership, the OTHER half of the equation was the only one on display?"

Except it wasn't. Michael Howard bought into the big state agenda, beat his breasts about how wrong section 28 had been, and spoke about the contribution immigrants made to our society. Oh and he was strident about illegal immigrants and gypsies.


It's curious that the Times leader should be so critical of David Cameron this morning. I thought he was very much the Times' man as party leader.

Typical. I abandon my anti-Cameron stance just as opinion starts to turn. I have to admit I am rather surprised at how early The Times has been so critical of Cameron - New Labour must be quite rattled if Alastair Campbell has felt the need to unleash the hounds so soon.

The Times is 100% solid on the need to finish the job in Iraq. Everyone knows that the LibDems are 100% against the Iraq war. DC trying to say that there ain't much difference between the parties on Iraq just ain't so. Ming Campbell was on Today yesterday welcoming the emergence of 'bring the troops home' politicians in Washington. IDS/ John McCain support more troops in Iraq if that is what is needed to finish the job and guarantee security for the Iraq people. Airbrushing over differences in Iraq may be good politics but it's not serious. The Times has seen through yesterday's DC speech but they've only fired a warning shot - there isn't a serious falling out here.

We non-media savvy DD supporters, who renamed the Times the Cameroonian, are biting our tongues. Oh dear- I think I've just bitten right through mine.

Im enjoying evey second of this, its fantastic! Well done Cameron for having the guts to get on the road of consigning the Lib Dems to the history books.

For too long has the Conservative party lost its natural ground to left and centre-left parties, and always in the process gets pushed to the right. This has led to us having to fish for votes in the cesspools of the BNP and other far right-wing parties.

I'm so pleased to see Mr Cameron making the Conservatives approachable and welcoming. This man really does seem to have a outwood, fprogressive, optimistic vision for the party and the country.

My concern is that the party isnt flexible enough to stretch across to both the right wingers and to the unhappy Lib Dems. Its a big difference between them. By shoving across to get alienated Lib Dem supporters, we are giving the single fingure salute to the right wing core of the Party.

"There is an urgent need for clarification about what was actually said - even though these meetings are held under Chatham House rules."

The Spectator has done much to clarify:

The issues of tax cuts and school choice were raised. Mr Boles said that they would not campaign for vouchers and “choice” was not their priority. In reply to questions about tax, he said that tax pledges and guarantees had been tried before in previous elections, they had failed, and they could not commit themselves to cut taxes beyond the current aspiration.

Mr Boles said to the audience that, just as Blair said that he won as New Labour and would govern as New Labour, so – “Dave has run as a compassionate conservative and will govern as a compassionate conservative”. [Mr Boles has confirmed that this quote was accurate as we originally reported it; one participant remembers the phrase as “centrist” instead of “compassionate conservative”. Different sources have given an almost but not quite identical form of words for a further comment to the effect – “if you’re expecting a right-wing Conservative Government, you will be disappointed”.
if you’re expecting a right-wing Conservative Government, you will be disappointed”.

So there you have it. There will be no tax cuts, no campaign for vouchers, indeed school choice is not a priority. Indeed, if you’re expecting a right-wing Conservative Government, you will be disappointed.

"Reform, who campaigned with PE on school choice, will not be happy about the remarks on tax cuts and choice."

That would be because tax cuts and school choice are a priority for them, but not for David Cameron's new Conservative Party.

Don't blame me, I voted for the other guy.

"It's curious that the Times leader should be so critical of David Cameron this morning. I thought he was very much the Times' man as party leader."

Actually, they are looking for some conservative substance and haven't found it yet--like so many of us. Perhaps they should look to Nicholas Boles in The Spectator online for an explanation of why it is missing.

I thought David Cameron's speech in Hereford yesterday (and the libdems4cameron site for that matter too) were rather clever tactics designed to exploit the current disarray in Lib Dem ranks. This has been shown to be a great success judging by all the whinging it has provoked by Lib Dems all over the blogosphere. The delicious irony of it all is that it's straight out of Rennard's playbook of 'stirring endlessly.' The Lib Dems clearly don't like it up 'em.

I am disappointed to see some friends on this site, such as Sean Fear and Wat Tyler reacting as negatively to this as they have. Surely they realise that David Cameron has just received an overwhelming mandate from party members to change our tone, our appearance and to make an appeal to supporters of other parties. I don't know whether this apparent impatience stems from having supported the other candidate against the new leader or what, but it is certainly unedifying.

Restoring the Conservative brand is going to mean hard work on the part of the leader and it is going to require the rest of us to hold our nerve as he ventures outside of our right-wing comfort zone on some issues. He's been in the job less than a fortnight and he is entitled this latitude. Sheathe your swords, Gentlemen. Solidarity is required of us now.

"I don't know whether this apparent impatience stems from having supported the other candidate against the new leader or what, but it is certainly unedifying."

No, we just think it is a stupid tactic that isn't going to work. Unless the party now wants to add banning free speech along with its new addition of crazy environmentalism, I suggest those who disagree with us take the criticism and deal with it rather than complain about it.

Your criticism might carry a bit more weight if you had the courage to post under your own name.

What with the new purge taking place courtesy of Chairman Maode?

Your comment might have more validity if you did not overlook that.

"Surely they realise that David Cameron has just received an overwhelming mandate from party members to change our tone, our appearance and to make an appeal to supporters of other parties."

I don't think he was given a mandate to totally change the party. There is a difference between changing tone and changing principles.

I remember during the hustings, David Cameron was asked many times about what to do about the Lib Dems, and while I do not recall his specific response, he said nothing about reaching out to them as he is now doing.

"I remember during the hustings, David Cameron was asked many times about what to do about the Lib Dems, and while I do not recall his specific response, he said nothing about reaching out to them as he is now doing."

Right just like tax cuts and school choice not being a priority is something they like to say behind closed doors but don't want to present to the party until after the so-called policy review is over.

This is a sickening thread about conservative voters. Any attept to go even slightly left and win back the voters of the center ground that maggie had in 80's is being spit over.

We need to remember one thing. We have lost 3 elections, 2 by record levels, and 1 very poorly in terms of parliamentary history.

The mandate is clear, the Conservative Party must CHANGE to win. If you don't change, you won't win.

Cameron has very cleverly manipulated the libdems...

Firstly his election made the libdems run scared and start talking about replacing Cameron.
Now the libdems are in disarray cameron says come and join us.

"My concern is that the party isnt flexible enough to stretch across to both the right wingers and to the unhappy Lib Dems. Its a big difference between them. By shoving across to get alienated Lib Dem supporters, we are giving the single fingure salute to the right wing core of the Party."

I agree that there might not be flexibility just yet, Cameron is moving very quickly and people, obviously like the people on this blog are not as fast.

Frankly, we knew we had to go into the centre ground... Now that its happening that uproar in the conservative camp....Realise this, right-wing tories have dominated the party since the 80's and have become increasigly sloppy and blind to public opinion...Since that time we have had a steady decline in opinion and voters.

Tax Cuts were never a priority, you could see that from DC before he got elected leader... What I saw was commitment to public services and some tax cuts on other area other than income or VAT.

You'll never get a leader promising widespread income tax cuts until he/she is safely in power, in government...

"Realise this, right-wing tories have dominated the party since the 80's..."

These would be the right wing Tories like... John Major, Michael Heseltine, Michael Portillo, and that damascene convert to centrism Michael Howard?

It's been the centrists and big government Conservatives who've been calling the shots all this time...

"You'll never get a leader promising widespread income tax cuts until he/she is safely in power, in government..."

Like Thatcher who promised tax cuts at her party conference speech every year in opposition and at the general election she first won? Unfortunately, thanks to Thatcher's success some of our activists don't have much perspective on opposition--or arguably on government: it was when the Tories lost their reputation for economic competence and tax cuts that we started flatling, not under Hague or IDS or Howard but under John Major.

It's not about moving to the centre ground. That didn't help us in 1997. It's about having convincing answers to people's problems.

James Hellyer might like to read the Tory manifesto 1979 where the only mention of tax was this in the authentic tones of Mrs T,

"The State takes too much of the nation's income; its share must be steadily reduced. When it spends and borrows too much, taxes, interest rates, prices and unemployment rise so that in the long run there is less wealth with which to improve Our standard of living and our social services.

In fact if you read this manifesto it sounds remarkable Cameronian. But then it would, considering the circumstances. The ecomony is not at rock bottom but the sorting out that is needed is significant.

James Hellyer Apologies I misdirected the comment. It was intended for 'nonesense about tax cuts'.

Blue2win displays exactly the sort of innocence (I'll use that instead of the I word I'm thinking about) that I just posted about. James Hellyer is right and Blue2win is wrong.

Here is the 1979 Conservative Party manifesto on tax cuts. Read it and apologise, Blue2win:

"CUTTING INCOME TAX

We shall cut income tax at all levels to reward hard work, responsibility and success; tackle the poverty trap; encourage saving and the wider ownership of property; simplify taxes - like VAT; and reduce tax bureaucracy.

It is especially important to cut the absurdly high marginal rates of tax both at the bottom and top of the income scale. It must pay a man or woman significantly more to be in, rather than out of; work. Raising tax thresholds will let the low-paid out of the tax net altogether, and unemployment and short-term sickness benefit must be brought into the computation of annual income.

The top rate of income tax should be cut to the European average and the higher tax bands widened. To encourage saving we will reduce the burden of the investment income surcharge. This will greatly help those pensioners who pay this additional tax on the income from their life-time savings, and who suffer so badly by comparison with members of occupational or inflation-proofed pension schemes.

Growing North Sea oil revenues and reductions in Labour s public spending plans Will not be enough to pay for the income tax cuts the country needs. We must therefore be prepared to switch to some extent from taxes on earnings to taxes on spending. Value Added Tax does not apply, and will not be extended, to necessities like food, fuel, housing and transport. Moreover the levels of State pensions and other benefits take price rises into account.

Labour's extravagance and incompetence have once again imposed a heavy burden on ratepayers this year. But cutting income tax must take priority for the time being over abolition of the domestic rating system."

"We shall cut income tax at all levels" Yes, very Cameronian that--NOT.

I'm bored with these people who think they're clever and compare Cameron to Thatcher because they don't know enough.

Let's have a real discussion that recognises the fact that Cameron's approach to opposition is very different from Thatcher's and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of those two very different appraoches.

From the 1970 manifesto:

"We will reduce and reform taxation, giving first priority to reducing income tax so that people will keep a fairer reward for their work."

I think the rallying call for disaffected, sensible LibDems is long overdue. It's what any Conservative who wants a majority in parliament should have been doing for years. On the ground, we've always thought that it's easier to take Labour votes than Tory-gone-LibDem ones - and that's been true - at last we have a leader who wants to do something about that! It should be EASIER to get a liberal to vote Tory than a socialist; it isn't; why is that?

We're a movement, not a box of soap powder with a single selling proposition. I've been talking with friends for years about how little difference I feel between myself and the centre right LibDems, and though it's shaming to say it, they have -- occasionally - led where we have followed on civil liberties. I would LOVE the sensible, rightofcentrists, the intelligent Orange Bookers, to join our party.

It works for multiple reasons:
Our narrative: a party to which middle class libdems are attracted isn't a nasty party.
Electloral arithmetic: we need millions more people to vote for us. These are natural targets for our influence.
Pure (low) tactics: we're proactive and setting the political debate, rather than waiting with bated breath to see whether the libs tack left or right in the short term.

"It should be EASIER to get a liberal to vote Tory than a socialist; it isn't; why is that?"

Because the Lib Dems are to the left of Labour in most of the country, and where they challenge in Conservative seats do so by being pro-hunting (or at least neutral), euro-sceptic, and not at all like their urban bretheren.

Cameron’s Conservatives are localists: “So I say to Liberal Democrats everywhere: we, like you, are on the side of the local community, and want to give local people more power and control…over how their services are run…their neighbourhoods are policed…and their priorities are delivered.”

So he believes in giving local people more power and control over everything. Except their choice of Conservative parliamentary candidate, of course.

Something of a mixed message there. The centralising tendencies displayed by the leadership towards its own party, sit ill with claims to be localists.

Hear, hear James. One of the big attractions the Lib Dems has is that it can claim to represent local people. Thats what gets it so many votes, the fact that the candidates are local with local knowledge.

Cameron's approach is pre-chosen lists of candidates which fit in with his image of what a candidate should be. Its a bad choice. Allowing the constituencies to be free to do what they have to do works best. What works in the North may not and probably doesnt work in the South.

I have no problem with us trying to get Lib Dem voters and members to join us having persuaded previously Lib Dem leaning voters to the Conservative cause, but lets not go so far that it alienates the right in the Party. A Coalition of the wings is necessary. Lets not pull it apart by trying to be all things to all people, something that looks to be unravelling in the Lib Dem case.

Where did blue2win go?


The reason why I responded negatively to the Hereford speech, Alistair, is because it gives too much ground to our opponents, if it's intended to be serious.

I can see quite profound differences between our party and the Lib Dems on the environment, local government, and indeed on Iraq.

I can agree that there are points of agreement between us and the Orange Bookers on private enterprise, and I can see the sense of trying to peel away a fraction of Lib Dem voters in seats where we run each other close, but overall, I think there are really quite clear differences between our two parties.

"James Hellyer might like to read the Tory manifesto 1979 where the only mention of tax was this in the authentic tones of Mrs T,"

That would be the Mrs T who declared "I am the heir to Harold Wilson" and who insisted that we would have to do a better job managing the nationalised industries before we could consider anything as irresponsible (Jaz would say sickening) as tax cuts--public opinion just would not stand for it, she said.

Thank God we didn't go down that path.

"If Norman Tebbit's your guiding star, you're still operating in 80's politics."

Posted by: Mark Fulford | December 17, 2005 at 11:32 AM

If only he still was a "guiding star".
How many elections have the Tories lost since the departure of him and his like - pray tell. I suppose Major and co were Right-wingers? (BBC version) Was it Major in 1997 who said the £ was safe with the him or was it Blair as reported in the Sun?(not that I believe it actually would have been safe with him but for Brown. It seemed a conservative thing to say at the time and help win an election). Was Major going to give us a vote on keeping the pound - not as I remember. Anyone heard what the Conservatives have to say about defence now that all our ammo will be made in French factories and Army trucks made in Germany?
I would love to vote Conservative - persuade me. The EU has turned out to be the Tories nemesis.

I think people want tax cuts. They just want to hear how someone is going to do it sensibly and not go in like an axe wielding maniac and have essential services come to a holt - which has been the sucessful Labour spin on that policy for a decade now!

Camerons is quite right to set out a vision to use the wealth created to have tax cuts and extra investment. Its moderate and people are listening.

Camerons is quite right to set out a vision to use the wealth created to have tax cuts and extra investment. Its moderate and people are listening.

He has not explained how the failure of the Blair approach (pouring in more money) has caused taxes to go up.

A moderate approach, like that which we adopted in 1970 and 1979, when public opinion was far less sceptical of government management than it is today, would say we'll cut the top and basic rates by 5p in the first parliament of a Tory government and abolish tax for people on the mininum wage.

Tories promised to cut income tax to create growth in 1979 when the country's condition was dire. We should do no less in 2009.

Investment without reform equals waste.

The public still do not trust us to reform. We need to rebuild that trust before we can rebuild and reform public services. If that means projecting a more moderate image than some would like, so be it. The bite can come later - in fact, it has to come later. He's not even had two weeks!

We shouldn't even be contemplating comparisons between now and the eighties. Britain has moved a long way since 1979 and Cameron - seemingly unlike some posters on here - has realised this. For all their faults, Blair and Brown are considerably higher calibre opponents than a post-winter of discontent Callaghan, Foot or an early Kinnock: let's not forget that the sheer inadequacy of the opposition played a significant part in Thatcher's 1983 landslide.

I feel like we've only just found out that Cameron is John Bercow in disguise.

Oh dear.

"Blair and Brown are considerably higher calibre opponents than a post-winter of discontent Callaghan, Foot or an early Kinnock"

Pity the same cannot be said of the calibre of Tory leaders Major-Cameron.

Tell me, what did people think of Thatcher after ten days as Leader of the Opposition?

"We need to rebuild that trust before we can rebuild and reform public services. If that means projecting a more moderate image than some would like, so be it."

This is nonsense. You don't rebuild trust by "projecting a more moderate image." We've had a moderate policy: Labour's spending plans through three elections--all of them lost.

You rebuild trust by showing you understand what has gone wrong and have a clue about what to do about it.

Cameron has said nothing about this. And yet it is the most important domestic issue in politcs today.

Did anyone believe we were moderate in 2001 or 2005? Look at the literature that went out... "save the pound" incessantly in 2001, and "how would you feel if a prisoner on remand attacked your daughter?" in 2005.

"The public still do not trust us to reform."

Because they think we aren't honest with them, and you're own post gives then very good reason for that, Iain.

One month after becoming leader, Thatcher's first broadcast (substance, not copycat mush):

"I see the Socialists have been celebrating twelve months in office. I wonder why?.

What exactly is it this Government feels so proud of?

A year that has seen the greatest acceleration of wage and price inflation in modern British history hardly seems a good excuse for dancing in the streets.

Can the cause of their rejoicing be the bigotry of Mr. Benn?

The foolishness of Mr. Foot?—presided over by the wiliness of Mr. Wilson, putting party before country in the name of Labour unity.

Labour united? I hardly think so.

Only last Saturday we were treated to the spectacle of one of the most senior Members of the Government publicly accusing another senior Member of "economic illiteracy".

And in the same speech Michael Foot informed the nation, "I want to move towards a socialist society as fast as I can".

Well, Mr. Foot, I don't.

What I want to do is to lead the people of this country away from the quicksands of Socialism. I don't think they want a Socialist society as fast as they can—or even as slow as they can. I don't think they want a Socialist society at all. Certainly a majority has never voted for it—least of all for the particular brand of Marxist socialism peddled so assiduously by Mr. Foot and Mr. Benn and their friends.

To stop the drift towards their kind of Britain and all that it implies will not be easy. It will call for hard, dedicated and united work by all those who do not want this country taken over root and branch by a carefully organised and highly articulate minority of the Socialist Party, itself of course a minority. But if the danger is recognised in time it can be stopeed in its tracks—tracks that are daily becoming more clearly defined.[fo 1] Indeed it must be stopped, if we are going to restore the standards on which this nation was greatly built, on which it greatly thrived and from which in recent years it has greatly fallen away.

So I say now to all our people, and particularly those in the Midlands and the North—and to my friends in Scotland who welcomed me so unforgettably the other day—but who may have felt in the past that there was not all that difference between the Parties, that it didn't really matter who was in office, I say to you: come back into the fight. There's all the difference in the world. Join hands with us in the Conservative Party and help us rid the nation of this Socialist albatross.

But wishing won't make it so. It has to be worked for—and that, as the new Leader of the Conservative Party, I pledge myself to do with all my heart and strength.

To those who have been tempted to turn left, let me say this—in words attributed to Abraham Lincoln: You cannot strenthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by encouraging class hatred. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn. You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.

It's been said that all that politicians are doing now is re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Well, here is one who isn't. Help me to help you.

Good night."

"Did anyone believe we were moderate in... 2005? Look at the literature that went out... "how would you feel if a prisoner on remand attacked your daughter?" in 2005."

Oh look, someone's picking on the (misguided) attempts to differentiate ourselves from Labour in 2005.

Iain, that approach was used because the focus group tested and approved approach of moderation, and accepting higher spending and higher taxes did not work. Those narrow messages were the only areas of differentiation we had from Labour.

How does this justify making us more like Labour and the Liberals?


"Did anyone believe we were moderate in 2001 or 2005? Look at the literature that went out... "save the pound" incessantly in 2001, and "how would you feel if a prisoner on remand attacked your daughter?" in 2005"

The quality of some of the deabte here is really poor. Our policy on the public services was "moderate." It's dishonest to say that it wasn't because of what we said about the euro or crime (incidentally the vast majority of voters agree with us on the euro). You can't use what we said about other issues as some kind of reason why we lost for being too radical on public services. Think about it.

"Tell me, what did people think of Thatcher after ten days as Leader of the Opposition?"

That she wasn't trying to be all things to all people, and by defintition selling some of those people down the river?

"The quality of some of the deabte here is really poor. Our policy on the public services was "moderate." It's dishonest to say that it wasn't because of what we said about the euro or crime"

Indeed.

When Michael Howard had his one to one interview befre the election on BBC1, he said that we'd been wrong to say that public spending should be less than 42% of GDP, beat his breasts about the evils of Section 28, and pledged increases in public spending.

I'd go further than saying this was "moderate", and say that Howard surrendered to the extremist statism of New Labour and the Lib Dems.

Has Hellyer said anything postive about our leader, one David Cameron, ever?!?

Yes, but he's done his best to squander what goodwill there is.

"It's dishonest to say that it wasn't because of what we said about the euro or crime (incidentally the vast majority of voters agree with us on the euro). "

And they don't agree with us about crime?

I know a lot of people who won't vote Tory because they see them as too timid and gutless; because they see them backtracking and being inconsistent; because they see them as having accepted the Labour status quo.

What evidence do you have that voters want us to move to the centre (whatever that is)?

Do you have any evidence for this at all?

What evidence do you have that the Tories lost the last few elections because they were too *extreme* or *right-wing*? (And remember that different people will have different ideas about what those things mean.)

When I talk to people about why they don't like the Tories, I usually hear that it is because they are "too smarmy, stuck-up, full of themselves" and usually that they are "only interested in the rich".

It seems rather ridiculous, then, that someone like Michael Portillo, who embodies everything that is most loathed about the Conservatives (and politicians in general), is the person who has pushed us hardest towards this centre-ground fudge.

I will say again what I have said several times before:

If people *do* end up voting for Cameron, it will be because he appears as nice and presentable. It will *not* be because he has moved to the left.

Please get out of this little closeted political world that many of you seem to inhabit where you appear to think that everyone who doesn't vote Tory must be left-wing, or more attracted to left-wing politics.

It is *not* true.

Many, I would venture to say *most*, non-political people (and that is most people) are more conservative than is your average Tory MP (that's not actually hard, I admit).

And yet, despite this, the Tory modernisers seem to have this fanatical quest to purge the Party of all of its basic principles.

I put it to you that a good deal of the Tory's problems over the last 2 decades have been caused by those on the left of the party. First the Major/Lamont/Clarke generation who wrecked our economy and caused such deep divisions in the party (and the Maastricht rebels were acting on good principle). Then as soon most of them were too old to cause trouble anymore the Portillistas came along and caused further in-fighting and further self-recrimination.

Theresa May is a good example. Do you really think people want to vote for a self-loathing party?

Reading Margaret Thatcher's pre-election speech, that was just posted above, reminded me that Conservativism can be aspirational and positive, and *still* be conservative.

Cameron has got the positive-sounding bit down to a tee, and I applaud him for that (it is certainly refreshing in comparison to the self-loathing grumbling of Maude, May, Portillo, Bercow, Duncan etc). But abandoning Tory principles is neither necessary nor in the best interests of the country.

Nor, I submit, is it what the people want.

Just reading the "triple lock" that Cameron is promoting.

1) Maintaining the independence of the Bank of England in allowing it to choose interest rates.

2) Establishing an independent panel to assess the fiscal rules.

3) Making the ONS independent.

Is it me of does this seem a little boring? 1's already happened and 3 has been announced. 2 wont be done under this Government and Osborne has already played his move relating to the fiscal rules, by saying that Brown has changed the rules. He can keep calling for an independent panel but its not going to sway the public over the economic performance of the Government. He needs something more substantial. As President Bartlett says on The West Wing, "Show me numbers".

"Theresa May is a good example. Do you really think people want to vote for a self-loathing party?"

No they don't. And Teresa May has damaged the Conservative party. Takes, as an example Conference week: the day after Michael Howard said that we are not, and never have been, the "nasty party", Teresa took to to the Today Programme to denounce us as sexists for not having more female MPs...

She is the sort of friend who makes many of us wonder whether we need enemies.

Lets face it guys; the Conservative party has been infiltrated by the Left. The art of conservatism has been abandoned for gimicks. Welcome to the New Lib/Con Party. What was it someone said (may have been DC): "The first 30 days sets the standard", or something to that effect". We get the political ethos that the BBC wants. Like it or lump it.

I am fine with the "nasty party" comment and I can understand it. I dont like her view as relating to sexual discrimination against men though. All-women shortlists, or even 50-50 socially constructed shortlists are wrong. She can try and justify it through saying that there arent enough women involved but Im afraid thats the way it is. Make the system easier to get involved with and increase competition by all means, but dont artificially change the system to ensure that women get the go-ahead in front of men. That is sexism reversed. That is the current plan by Cameron.

The Nasty Party comment demonstrates that constant self-recrimination, constantly whinging about the "need for change", is extremely harmful to the Conservative cause.

Most of the people here seem to attribute all of the failures of the Tory Party over the last 8-13 years to being "too right wing". Given that they say this, isn't it fair to point out how destructive the influence of the left-wing has been?

I remember just a couple of days after the election, John Bercow went on to Jonathan Dimbleby to announce that Michael Howard's campaign was nasty and racist.

And so it slowly gets adopted as the accepted post-election interpretation -- endorsed by Conservatives themselves. John Bercow and co are effectively saying, "yes we are the nasty party".

It seems to me that the most vociferous opponents of Conservativism have come from within the party.

It's funny that now the left-wing have got their boy in power, they are telling all of us on the right to shut up for the sake of unity.

I think many are kiddin themselves if you believe that Thatcher's tactics will work in OUR decade. The population has moved more left, they are nt so selfish anymore, or as desperate as they were when Thatcher offered an alternative.

With the economy working well (relatively when compared to previous decades), public services dramatically improved than under most conservative government. Labour moving Right into OUR ground.
A foolish conservative party in 1997, 2001, 2005 has been dumb enough to wander to extremist right to create a clear blue-sea. We've been retreating so much into the rightiness that we've hard one election based upon saving the pound and another on immigration.

We need to show labour that WE are the centre party, not the right-party, the centre party.

"Lets face it guys; the Conservative party has been infiltrated by the Left. The art of conservatism has been abandoned for gimicks. Welcome to the New Lib/Con Party. What was it someone said (may have been DC): "The first 30 days sets the standard", or something to that effect". We get the political ethos that the BBC wants. Like it or lump it."

Yes, Cameron who's from an aristocratic family, doesn't have a single conservative value in him, he's more socialist than blair and brown!

I don't know what crazy world you guys are living in...just because he wants liberal minded voters in our party he gets the shaft? Just because he's not kissing the feet of already Tory voters he should go? There liberal minded people voted for us in 1992, There are plenty of labour voters who voted for us in 1992..We need them back, and badly.

I know what some of the people on this blog may be thinking;
Do nothing for the environment let business' pollute and exploit everything.
Many would abolish the NHS in favour of a US style health system that seems to fail many people.
Get rid of the EU so our business relationships would collapse.
Ban all migration so business' can't get cheap labour.

Cameron says... A Party who is in the EU, but represented in such a way that is what Britain thinks, I want good public services, I want moderate tax cuts, not income tax cuts just yet, but atleast pro-business cuts and pro-green-environment...

"nasty and racist" Because it is..due to poor leadership since 1997, zero attempt has been taken to promote more women and more asian women, no attempt was even made to ensure the puiblic that they would help the poor, no visible attempt was given that publc services would improve.

"It seems to me that the most vociferous opponents of Conservativism have come from within the party."

There are no opponents to conservatism in the party.
We accept that inequality will always exist..
We accept individuality.
We accept meritocracy.
Minimal Government intervention.
Conserving our resources for the future
Moderate and slow progressive change.

We must keep in mind that Thatcher's days are over, conservative policy has been adopted by Tony Blair. That is why we need to push labour back into where it belongs, the land of socialism. We can do this by reminding Labourites how far right they have gone..We should support the education bill..because this is a bill we would probably make ourselves if we were in power.

"A foolish conservative party in 1997, 2001, 2005 has been dumb enough to wander to extremist right to create a clear blue-sea."

Evidence for this? In 1997, Labour accepted OUR spending plans. In 2005, we pledged to spend more than Labour...

"We've been retreating so much into the rightiness that we've hard one election based upon saving the pound and another on immigration."

2001 was a failure where we tried to fight the election on our issue, even if a referendum pledge meant it didn't matter to people. 2005 saw us concentrating on immigration because our centriat position left us no other are of differentiation.

Try again, Jaz.

"We need to show labour that WE are the centre party, not the right-party, the centre party."

You do know that the centre ground is THE CENTRE between two points, and not an end in itself, don't you?

" know what some of the people on this blog may be thinking;
Do nothing for the environment let business' pollute and exploit everything.
Many would abolish the NHS in favour of a US style health system that seems to fail many people.
Get rid of the EU so our business relationships would collapse.
Ban all migration so business' can't get cheap labour."

This shows that you are either monumentally ignorant, or a Lib/Lab stooge.

Your comments on the environment deomnstrate no understaning of conservative or libertarian thought, common law, or reality.

Your comments about healthcare betray your ignorance of the fact that anyone, whether rich or poor, has a better chance of surviving on - hugely flawed - US health care than on the NHS.

And they accept an insane Heathite line on Europe.

What sort of Conservative are you?

One who has something positive to say, evidently. Unlike yourself, James.

Have to say I thought the speech was a slice of genius and a fantastic piece of outrageous opportunism. He just sounds so reasonable when he says it.

A crucial point has yet (I think) to be made on this thread - it will be nigh on impossible to win the next election if the Lib Dems continue to poll above 20% - we need those votes otherwise we will actually have to consider working with them in government. I really don't want to have to enter a coalition with the Lib Dems, but if we don't win back some of those votes we will have no choice. We need to return to two-party politics, and Cameron's attitude encourages this.

Cameron's trademark - being policy-lite - was again prevalent in the speech. Therefore any fears of a the 'death of true conservatism' or other such bathetic claims are unfounded. Calm yourselves, this is a softening up of potential voters rather than a rejection of conservatism.

Yes Iain. It was so positive to say that...

"ome of the people on this blog may be thinking;
Do nothing for the environment let business' pollute and exploit everything.
Many would abolish the NHS in favour of a US style health system that seems to fail many people.
Get rid of the EU so our business relationships would collapse.
Ban all migration so business' can't get cheap labour."

Now go back to playing with your straw men, Aunt Sally.

"A foolish conservative party in 1997, 2001, 2005 has been dumb enough to wander to extremist right to create a clear blue-sea. We've been retreating so much into the rightiness that we've hard one election based upon saving the pound and another on immigration.

We need to show labour that WE are the centre party, not the right-party, the centre party."

There are so many mistakes in this and related passages (and I don't just mean the spelling and the grammar) that it is hard to know where to begin.

No, we did not wander to the "extremist right" in 1997, we had taxed more and we had spent more, just as the opposition parties wanted. We proposed miserable excuses for tax cuts in subsequent elections, accompanied by the whole idea of tax cuts being trashed by the then Shadow Chancellor, followed by the party refusing to talk about them during the campaign. Yes, we did set an unfortunate tone and give undue importance to some issues. That was wrong, but the euro and immigration did not lose us the last two elections.

The harsh reality is that on taxes and public services some big changes will have to be made. Some people, including some in our own party, are going to have to grow up and face them. We are going to have to explain to people in Britain how the NHS, state schools, the police and our under-performing economy are going to be fixed, and sound like we know what we are doing and that we mean it.

I don't wish to be unkind, but I wonder about the competence of some members of our party to make informed decisions when it comes to choosing the leader of the Conservative Party. I do believe in party democracy but some of the posts on this thread with their lack of knowledge about our party, contradictory and redundant statements, non-existent arguments and lack of basic comprehension of the English language have made me question that belief.

Jaz,

Let me see if I can pick through your misrepresentations and false dichotomies.

"I think many are kiddin themselves if you believe that Thatcher's tactics will work in OUR decade."

I never called for Thatcher's tactics. I called for identifiable conservativism.

If you are a Conservative member you should know what an identifiable conservative policy is and what isn't. You should realise that when David Cameron rejects Passient's Passports, and rejects "opt-outs" for the rich, that this is adopting Labour's language which unfairly represents a conservative policy. Ditto with the rejection of school vouchers on the grounds that it promotes "a two-tier education system".

If you are a conservative, you should be worried by the statements Cameron has made with regard to these areas.

You should be worried, too, that Cameron has appointed anti-capitalists like John Gummer and Zac Goldsmith to head an Environmental Taskforce. Especially if we are to believe that Cameron will actually act on their findings.

You should be worried about the adoption of identity politics in candidate selection, and what that signifies in terms of giving in to the victim/human rights/pc cultures which have been promoted under New Labour.

None of this has anything to do with Margaret Thatcher, except for the fact that Mrs Thatcher was a real conservative, and would too be unhappy about the noises Cameron has been making with regard to these subjects.

"The population has moved more left"

Rubbish. There is no evidence for this. The political class and media have become even more absurdly, extremist left-wing. That is all.

Please remember that the ruling party always has some effect in leaving its mark on a country, and so Labour has done.

With conservative views as demonised as they are at the moment, it is unsurprising that people are afraid to voice their views. But people have not moved to the left.

If you were a real conservative, you would want to reverse this situation, not accept the status quo.

"they are nt so selfish anymore"

Excuse me?

What has being selfish got to do with anything?

"or as desperate as they were when Thatcher offered an alternative."

Sure the economy is not as dire as it was then. But it is possible to win an election without the economy going to pot. Thatcher won 3 elections, not just 1.

"With the economy working well (relatively when compared to previous decades), public services dramatically improved than under most conservative government."

Are you advertising for the Labour government? How can you possibly say public services have *dramatically* improved? And have they improved in proportion to the money that has paid for them?

Are you sure you're in the right party?

"Labour moving Right into OUR ground.
A foolish conservative party in 1997, 2001, 2005 has been dumb enough to wander to extremist right to create a clear blue-sea."

It is extremely frustrating when I and others have been trying to argue that we were *not* extreme right-wing over those years for you to just come back and repeat the assertion.

Furthermore, it isn't clever.

"We've been retreating so much into the rightiness that we've hard one election based upon saving the pound and another on immigration. "

Because we've been too timid to campaign on anything else.

Michael Howard campaigned on immigration not because he was racist, but because it was the one area where the Tories were well ahead in the polls. And just as Labour campaign hard on the NHS when they are ahead on that issue, so the Tories campaigned hard on the one issue that polled well for them.

The thing we need to look at is why it is that we were so limited as to only be appealing in these tiny areas. Is it because we need to be more like Labour? Or is it because we've been boxed in and allowed our opponents to frame the debate on their terms?

Now, I argue the latter. *Please* respond to *this* argument. *Don't* just repeat the tired assertion that we campaigned on right-wing issues.

And I'll have you know that right-wingers like myself aren't just obsessed with immigration; we actually have views on every single political issue you can think of.

"Yes, Cameron who's from an aristocratic family, doesn't have a single conservative value in him, he's more socialist than blair and brown!"

What does being aristocratic have anything to do with his policies?

And whether he is more or less socialist than Blair or Brown is neither here nor there; the question is whether or not he is a conservative, and whether he will enact the policies that most of us (should) believe will help to resolve Britain's pressing problems.

"I don't know what crazy world you guys are living in...just because he wants liberal minded voters in our party he gets the shaft? Just because he's not kissing the feet of already Tory voters he should go?"

I don't remember anyone using such colourful metaphors.

Unfortunately.

"There liberal minded people voted for us in 1992, There are plenty of labour voters who voted for us in 1992..We need them back, and badly."

Once again: it frustrates me because I said something earlier which you have totally ignored.

You have *assumed* -- with absolutely no grounds -- that those who have left the party have done so because it is too right wing. You have *assumed* that all those who do not presently vote tory are to the left of the conservative party.

I put it to you that you are wrong.

"I know what some of the people on this blog may be thinking;
Do nothing for the environment let business' pollute and exploit everything."

No. But many of us believe that Kyoto-style targets are "token" politics. They are about being fashionable, not about achieving anything. I think the editor of this website has argued very well the case against Kyoto-style targets.

This is not to imply that anyone who opposes Cameron's ideas are "in favour of polluting". Heard of the fallacy called "false dichotomy"?

"Many would abolish the NHS in favour of a US style health system that seems to fail many people."

Some of us believe that the colossal, centralised, one-size-fits-all system that we have at the moment lets down the poorest and worst off in society. Presently the system is so bad that they are talking about putting fat people lower down the queue for operations.

How is the current system better than introducing an insurance system which you speak of?

"Get rid of the EU so our business relationships would collapse."

The British people never voted for an EU. They voted for a Common Market. Conservatives are opposed to the EU because they believe in the Nation State. Furthermore, they believe in democratic accountability.

Do you?

"Ban all migration so business' can't get cheap labour."

Unlimited immigration would hardly be good for the economy.

"nasty and racist" Because it is..due to poor leadership since 1997, zero attempt has been taken to promote more women and more asian women, no attempt was even made to ensure the puiblic that they would help the poor, no visible attempt was given that publc services would improve."

What do you mean by "promote"? Do you mean quotas?

True Conservatives do not believe in quotas.

"There are no opponents to conservatism in the party."

You have thus far given good evidence to the contrary.

"We accept that inequality will always exist..
We accept individuality.
We accept meritocracy."

Yet favour positive discrimination for ethnic minorities and women.

"Minimal Government intervention."

You seem to have been arguing for big government here.

"We must keep in mind that Thatcher's days are over, conservative policy has been adopted by Tony Blair. "

If you're such a fan of Tony Blair, and are so happy with his (ahem) "conservative" policies, why not join Labour?

You seem to have imbibed completely their ideas, language and philosophy.

"The population has moved more left"

Sorry! I missed this lie!

As Anthony Wells reported after the conferences:

"the electorate are continuing to drift to the right - on average they put themselves at 5.35 [on a left-right scale] compared to 5.20 last year and 5.17 the year before... the Conservatives continue to move slowly back towards the centre ground on 5.89, compared to 6.01 last year and 6.21 the year before."

"If you're such a fan of Tony Blair, and are so happy with his (ahem) "conservative" policies, why not join Labour?"

His conservative policy on education is a good one. I'm not a socialist by any account, I still believe that Labours bones are all socialists.

""We accept that inequality will always exist..
We accept individuality.
We accept meritocracy."

Yet favour positive discrimination for ethnic minorities and women."

Are you impling that asians or women do not have merit to join the Conservative party? Theres a problem in the conservative association, and the local level conservatives, they do not, in most cases take asians or women as seriously as they would a male white. That is why Cameron has taken power away from them unfortuntely, naturally I would be against this...but Cameron authoritarian approach is a necessary one and also a signal to the public, that things are changing.

"Furthermore, they believe in democratic accountability"

The EU system is hugely flawed, there is little accountability in the system, and it doesn't help when people are getting elected as MEPs on the basis they hate the EU, but then get paid by the EU for being an MEP.

"Some of us believe that the colossal, centralised, one-size-fits-all system that we have at the moment lets down the poorest and worst off in society. Presently the system is so bad that they are talking about putting fat people lower down the queue for operations."

The people's passport, despite being incredibly flawed was a good idea. Unfortuntely is was used against us pretty heavily in the election. One Size does not fit all, we should continue to promote private hospitals in the system. Where wealthy people who want good health care WILL get it.. and still get good health care on the NHS too.

"No. But many of us believe that Kyoto-style targets are "token" politics. They are about being fashionable, not about achieving anything. I think the editor of this website has argued very well the case against Kyoto-style targets."

Kyoto gives the impression that the world is doing something, even though probably isn't. Cameron is wise to say he wants this... His clever politics makes him "green" when, in reality, he knows its not going to make much difference without US, China, India backing.

"The thing we need to look at is why it is that we were so limited as to only be appealing in these tiny areas. Is it because we need to be more like Labour? Or is it because we've been boxed in and allowed our opponents to frame the debate on their terms?"

I agree, we're being boxed in by labour. Which is why we should fight the next election, not on our already conservative dominate issues like crime and immigration but on the economy, on health, education, environment. If we push in these area and don't become reactionary we sound like a party of government and not a bunch of mean extremists.

"You should be worried, too, that Cameron has appointed anti-capitalists like John Gummer and Zac Goldsmith to head an Environmental Taskforce. Especially if we are to believe that Cameron will actually act on their findings."
It's politics and the impression that the party has changed is always a good one..Its symbolic

"You should be worried about the adoption of identity politics in candidate selection, and what that signifies in terms of giving in to the victim/human rights/pc cultures which have been promoted under New Labour."
I said earlier, that this was not something I agree with, but it is necessary in the shortterm, and shove in the direction, and maybe when the local tories equalise their selections will they be trusted again.

The conservative party must get elected in the centre ground, and gradually reduce dependency on social benefits and public services. I can guarantee this, IF Cameron wins an election, his second term majority will be greater than the first.

You have to realise that Cameron is playing clever politics, not principal politics. He's inviting the liberals, not because he's a soft leftie, but rather a great opportunity of exploiting LibDems voters and possibly MPs.

Apologies for poor Grammar and Spelling, I was never good at English..Not that it matters in the comment section of a blog heh.

Finally..Labour didn't get elected because they were socialists, they got elected because it suited more people than the tories. We need a tory party that suits more people than having a labour government.

Fair do's Nonsense About Tax Cuts, it is not the only time the word appears but the context from the summary page continues. The manifesto is a consistent piece of work.

My case remains that the manifesto was far from only about tax cuts as an agenda. They were not even a separate section but one part (of ten) of one section (of 7) of the document. Those obsessed with tax cuts often refer to Mrs Thatcher as if she simply wrote a manifesto on that basis and, hey presto, the electorate fell over themselves to vote Tory. Which of course was not the case. The manifesto was a balanced one with a clear understanding that the economy had to be healthy if all the good things were to happen.

I am not trying to compare David Cameron with Mrs Thatcher because they are two politicians in different eras. But the similarities of concerns, talking points, is striking though.

Of course, in 1979 the manifesto had large chunks about the unions and industrial relations and nationalisation that are not so relevant today. However, reading the manifesto it is interesting how familiar from current discussions some of the wording is, eerily so in some cases. Its worth a read to get a reality check on those people always presenting us with a rather odd pastiche of the lady. She was a much, much smarter politician than some of the most vocal nasty party posters on this forum give her credit for. The manifesto even mentions society. Shock.

Some examples of what I mean are below and are direct quotes. () show my comments. The first three quotes look remarkably like a version of 'sharing the proceeds of growth' to me. But of course, this was written for 1979.

* When (the government) spends and borrows too much, taxes, interest rates, prices and unemployment rise so that in the long run there is less wealth with which to improve Our standard of living and our social services.
* To become more prosperous, Britain must become more productive and the British people must be given more incentive
* Too much has gone wrong in Britain for us to hope to put it all right in a year or so.
* Many things will simply have to wait until the economy has been revived and we are once again creating the wealth on which so much else depends.
* We make no lavish promises. The repeated disappointment of rising expectations has led to a marked loss of faith in politicians' promises.(Oh,er, so she said the same as DC it seems)

* Free trade unions can only flourish in a free society
* We welcome closer involvement of workers, whether trade unionists or not, in the decisions that affect them at their place of work.

* (we will)help those pensioners who pay this additional tax on the income from their life-time savings, and who suffer so badly by comparison with members of occupational or inflation-proofed pension schemes.

* THE MOST DISTURBING THREAT (original caps)to our freedom and security is the growing disrespect for the rule of law. In government as in opposition, Labour have undermined it. Yet respect for the rule of law is the basis of a free and civilised life. We will restore it, re-establishing the supremacy of Parliament and giving the right priority to the fight against crime.
* Surer detection means surer deterrence. We also need better crime prevention measures and more flexible, more effective sentencing. For violent criminals and thugs really tough sentences are essential. But in other cases long prison terms are not always the best deterrent. So we want to see a wider variety of sentences available to the courts

* The rights of all British citizens legally settled here are equal before the law whatever their race, colour or creed. And their opportunities ought to be equal too.
* firm immigration control for the future is essential if we are to achieve good community relations (and then mentions quotas).

* If we wish to play our full part in shaping world events over the next few critical years, we must also work honestly and genuinely with our partners in the European Community. There is much that we can achieve together, much more than we can achieve alone.
* We believe that radical changes in the operation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) are necessary
* In the absence of agreement (in Europe), we would not hesitate to take the necessary measures on our own, but of course on a non-discriminatory basis.

* The quality of our environment is a vital concern to all of us
* We attach particular importance to measures to reduce fuel consumption

* We will halt the Labour government's policies which have led to the destruction of good schools; keep those of proven worth; and repeal those sections of the 1976 Education Act which compel local authorities to reorganise along comprehensive lines and restrict their freedom to take up places at independent schools.
* Much of our higher education in Britain has a world-wide reputation for its quality. We shall seek to ensure that this excellence is maintained.
* The Direct Grant schools, abolished by Labour, gave wider opportunities for bright children from modest backgrounds (ironic considering the recent White Paper)

* In our National Health Service standards are falling; there is a crisis of morale; too often patients' needs do not come first
When resources are so tightly stretched it is folly to turn good money away from the NHS and to discourage people from doing more for themselves (then talks of pay beds).

* All too often (low wage earners) are little or no better off at work than they are on social security.
* It is wrong to discourage people who wish to work after retirement age, and we will phase out the 'earnings rule' during the next Parliament. The Christmas Bonus, which the last Conservative government started in 1972, will continue

* In recent times our armed forces have had to deal with a wide variety of national emergencies. They have responded magnificently despite government neglect and a severe shortage of manpower and equipment

* The years of make-believe and false optimism are over. It is time for a new beginning.


The last point is the important one, for the more aggressive contributors to this site and Nulab. Mrs T was real, had a real concern for the everyday citizen and was not an unfeeling milk snatcher or tax slasher. Some forget that she made a name in the party espousing women's causes.

As someone around for the 1979 election I can only tell you that my vote went to Mrs T because of the rounded approach, the overall plan rather than simply tax cuts and taming the unions (both of which were most desirable). And she kept my vote throughout the eighties because she was never one dimensional.

My vote is for David Cameron for the same reasons. He is not one dimensional and also is trying to deal with the concerns of our citizens in the new millennium and is being bold and radical about it, too.

You're arguing something very different now.

Now you seem to be arguing that David Cameron is a Conservative Trojan Horse: that he is making vaguely left-wing noises to con a few gullible liberals, but once elected he will enact conservative ideas.

This would appear to be a different interpretation to the Spectator article we saw the other day (and what Nicholas Boles did/didn't say).

Putting this aside, there appear to be two schools of thought about what the best tactics are to get the Conservatives elected and get conservative policies put into practice

1) Act and sound and look as "liberal" as possible, even if this means employing short term positive discrimination policies to give the (false) impression of diversity; accept the Labour terms of debate -- which means accepting the unfair leftist stereotyping of conservative beliefs (there is such thing as society?) -- and try to change things when elected by subterfuge.

This tactic, unfortunately, would soon get discovered as a con.

The problem, for example, with promosing Kyoto-style targets, and then not doing anything, is you instantly lose the support base which got you elected.

(Besides which, even if Cameron doesn't, I think Oliver Letwin really does mean it.)

The same holds for all the other cons you claim that Cameron is pulling to get the left-wing vote.

The other drawback with this tactic is that it accepts the unfair demonisation of conservativism, and does not rescue the philosophy.

Conservativism, even more than the Conservative Party, needs propagandizing. Because only when people understand the principles and act them out in their own lives will the lives of people improve and the party's fortunes resurge in the long-term. If we're not careful, England will end up like Scotland, so welfare-dependent that it doesn't understand anything else. There are signs that this is already happening.

2) That's why I believe the second tactic, which means vigorously arguing for core Conservative principles, is the better one. We need to explain the fact that the Conservatives have *always* had policies for the poor -- that suddenly talking about social justice is *not* moving to the left -- that helping the poor help themselves is at the heart of Conservative principles.

(If Cameron argues this I shall be very pleased. But I get the impression that he is more concerned with giving the impression that he is moving leftwards than he is concerned about rescuing the reputation of core conservativism.)

That's why social mobility has gone down under Labour. And it would *increase* if the country was re-introduced to genuine Conservativism.

The reason why Thatcherism was so successful was because it was not just a philosophy for government, but for people at the bottom too. We had a generation of Thatcherites. Del-Boy from Only Fools and Horses was a cultural symbol of Thatcherism (putting aside the fact that he was a crook).

In my view, in order to really be successful, we have to frame the terms of debate *back* in our favour. At the moment, supporting the institution of marriage -- which statistics consistently show is the best environment for children to be brought up in -- has been parodied (often by Conservatives themselves) as "bullying single mothers". We need to frame the debate in our favour: we are on the side of children. We support the vulnerable, the most needy.

Unfortunately, even the somewhat conservative statements David Cameron has made on this issue strike me as running scared of criticism. His phrases are couched in caution (so as to appear "moderate", as if a "middle way" is always the preferred route).

This is not the proud, "walking tall" conservativism which I think this country needs (and which, curiously, I think David Cameron is *capable* of articulating if he were to choose to do so).

If it's a matter of tactics we're talking about Jaz, and not actual policies, then I think David Cameron is wrong on that count too.

John, I have to stay that was probably one of the most convincing posts I've read today.

I formly believe that as DC takes control of the party futher, he will fit into a good role and might not be so comprimising for the "middle-way".

"This is not the proud, "walking tall" conservativism which I think this country needs (and which, curiously, I think David Cameron is *capable* of articulating if he were to choose to do so)."

This is why I said that Cameron second terms will mean a larger majority, in government we can sell a conservative message much easier...

I think DC's team will work this out eventually, when we see the double-act or triple act soon...Cameron, Osbourne and someone else.. I hope they have a proud, experienced Tory thats symbolic of tory principals.

In the latest news...
http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=topNews&storyID=2005-12-17T232402Z_01_SPI784164_RTRUKOC_0_UK-BRITAIN-CONSERVATIVES.xml

9-Point Bounce..I expected better against Brown...

That was "say" rather stay..
I wish typepad would get an edit function.

You f-ing beauty! You know things are on the up when Bob Worcester's polls show us in the 40s. I'd love to see some focus group polling on what the C1 females like about DC.

I can't help but draw a contrast between some of the pointy-headed policy stuff and what Cameron is doing the MSM to shape these figures.

The nay-sayers may well be right, and it might go all pear-shaped and end in tears, but right now it looks like it is working.

Well:

1) DC has broken his promise to give up smoking on Dec the 6th...I earlier identified that whether he would manage to quit would be a very significant marker on his character. (He is going to try again starting on New Year's Day)

2) In an interview with the Observer, he has signalled an end to the immigration policy (i.e. the cap). Great.

Does anyone know what a "political tart" is?

Someone who sleeps with many political ideas. I think he was meaning that Cameron was metaphorically speaking sleeping with conservatives and liberal ideas. Another term is "all things to all men".

“Fair do's Nonsense About Tax Cuts, it is not the only time the word appears but the context from the summary page continues. The manifesto is a consistent piece of work.” says Blue2win

My point wasn’t that you were wrong that the passage you cited was not the only reference to tax cuts. It was that, contrary to your wider claim, tax cuts were laid out as an important, serious policy and, further, the ascendant view in the Conservative Party is not to do this next time.

Moreover, while I believe I speak for many on this blog and in our party when I say that I don’t want tax cuts to dominate our appeal to the electorate—but I do want them included. Currently what is being proposed (see Nicholas Boles’ comments as reported in the Spectator online) is not to do so beyond a vague and meaningless (as has been pointed out by the independent and well- respected Institute for Fiscal Studies) commitment to “share the proceeds of growth.”

I agree with you that the language used by the Conservatives in that manifesto and more generally in the campaign has some lessons for us today.

I also agree that “Mrs T was real, had a real concern for the everyday citizen and was not an unfeeling milk snatcher or tax slasher.”

But this is where you go wrong: “We make no lavish promises. The repeated disappointment of rising expectations has led to a marked loss of faith in politicians' promises.(Oh,er, so she said the same as DC it seems)”

As I have pointed out, she did not consider her pledge to cut income tax rates—top, middle and bottom—a lavish pledge but rather an integral part of her programme (see the section of the manifesto on tax cuts above which you left out earlier).

That is why you are only half right to say about David Cameron: “He is not one dimensional and also is trying to deal with the concerns of our citizens in the new millennium and is being bold and radical about it, too.” Not when it comes to tax cuts he isn’t.

Cameron has to drive to the centre really hard if he is to capture it. In the early days he has to be relentlessly centrist in everything he does, otherwise one half of the AND theory will never be respected.


What is the "And Theory?"


Thanks.

"Meet David Cameron – a modern, progressive, liberal, mainstream Conservative"

And it does what it says on the tin, too! I have to honestly say that this is exactly the direction for my Party that I have been waiting for, and that led me to back DC, and I am just intrigued to see where we go next.

All aboard for one hell of a ride! (Sorry - was that a little bit over-excited? Couldn't help it...)

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