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Adam Tugwell: Labour vs. Conservative = Equality vs. Opportunity

Adam_tugwell_3 Adam Tugwell, a Councillor in Tewkesbury, argues that we need to do more to show we are on the side of those in the poverty trap.

So, stage 2 of New Labour Government is in progress and ‘David Cameron’s Conservatives’ are expected to have the best chance of regaining a working majority since the 1997 Election. But what are the real differences between a re-worked socialist Labour Party and the new, improved, greener and leaner Tory Party?

Iain Duncan-Smith has just delivered a raft of social policy ideas that have made many people see a very different side to today’s Conservative Party, even if there are serious questions regarding the practicality and depth of the ideas which are on offer. Social policy or the more recent buzzwords ‘social justice’ have never been one of the strongest areas of Tory Policy in the perception of the man in the street. This of course is far from an accurate portrayal, but I nonetheless often ask myself why Labour has so successfully walked away with the prize given to the group of politicians who most effectively sell themselves as caring most about the disadvantaged and the people who experience a rum deal in their everyday lives.

So is socialism a real deal or just a great big con?

The lifeblood of anything which propels a political group to power arguably has reality to it, but one wonders if that is merely down to perception and perception is everything. Like it or not, spin is the creator of perception and it is one of the most rotten parts of today’s political scene. Look at socialism without the academic twist, peel away a layer or two of the New Labour Trojan horse and you can clearly see the mechanics of this horrid creature. New Labour sells a set of values which purports to be based on opportunity for all. But is it?

We have heard the concerns about school examination dumbing down, the onset of higher education for all and of course, a welfare state and benefits system that rewards reliance upon the Government. This culture will inevitably lead to a preconceived state of equality and to all who are interested, it already very much looks like we are well on the way to having a society where all have the same educational standards; where all are pushed to have the same moral benchmark; and where all are coerced by stealth to become an average Joe. Paradoxically, New Labour have successfully created a ravenous mindset that leaves many thinking that being famous or that having a glamorous occupation are the only things that will give you value in the eyes of others and that these successes just arrive in your lap. This is a society heading for a date without individuality and modern conservatism should now become its saviour.

Ask yourself "am I proud to be a Conservative" and "what does being a Conservative mean to me" – Are you happy with the answers?

The Conservative Party, in its fear of a truth that New Labour had discovered the nirvana of electoral success with a formula that can’t be beaten, has gone through an evolution which has seen the abandonment of many core, traditional and timeless Conservative values which continue to be applicable today and for the future of the country; values which just need to be dressed to suit the wearer of a contemporary ensemble.

Like many I grew up with the doctrine that Conservatives were the party of business, the party of capitalism and the party of wealth. Like it or not, Thatcher’s take on right-to-buy is responsible for today’s property wealth; it’s just a shame that her vision and actions could be likened to the momentum of a supertanker and one that is proving to be just a little harder to stop and control than some might have liked. It doesn’t mean that the idea was wrong.

Perceptions of those in IDS' 'poverty trap’ are that Conservatism is a play-thing of the rich and doesn’t consider anything else. I say such people would be wrong, but who could say that much has been done to convince them otherwise. Indeed, who could possibly argue that there is an issue with communication and that all policies need to be addressed to the varied audiences for which they were intended?

The point that is being missed as we struggle to link with the electorate, is that most people, whoever they are and from whatever background they have come from, want to be happy, to live without fear and to look forward to a future which is one of increasing improvement to their standard of life. This is territory where there should be a clear and massive divide between New Labour’s take on equality and our own. To Brown and his party, equality effectively means stasis and if anything else, reversal to a condition of sameness. Equality it may be, but opportunity – no way.

Traditional Conservative policies and viewpoint is applicable to the advancement of all and should be championed once again. True Conservatism recognises the strength and greatness of the individual and encourages the freedom which accompanies growth and advancement. As we strive to develop policies which work, we must recognise that the content will have to identify with those primitive needs and wants of the great many people that we collectively need to attain an understanding of today’s Conservative Party as a Government in waiting which is ready, willing and able to provide true opportunity for all. That would be worth voting for.


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