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« David Cameron's first 100 days | Main | Britain's conservative movement »


John Hustings

My problem with this theory is that is a touch too Hegelian. It can be taken too far to the point where it tries to deny the trade-offs which *do* exist in politics. We have seen this during Tony Blair's premiership where he has taken the 'politics of and' to ludicrous extremes, and in trying to please everyone, often pleased no-one.

Sometimes there are choices to be made, and a compromise between two points isn't always the way to go. I like the examples given here (especially b and c, slightly nervous about d), but I don't think the principle could always be applied with success.

That said, I *do* like the general idea of "broadening" the Conservative Party's focus. This is what you see from Labour; they talk about Education, Health, Crime, the Economy, *and* the Environment. It leaves them looking balanced, even if they're policies are wrong. I think that is what we should look to do. We've been imbalanced for a long time.


I like simply calling it 'paired-policy' as that clearly shows that you are bringing two complimentary/overlapping ideas together and it can be represented as scales, for balance and easy visualisation.

With the two policies bound in this way as a 'paired-policy', it also facilitates the inevitable compromise John details above in a logical way.

I think policy pairs help explain the inevitable balance and give-and-take between different policies.


..and of course, framing the policy pairs in this way helps to force your opponent to focus in the same way, as they will seem to be giving only half an answer otherwise.


Of course the Tories can not campaign on immigration because most of it is from the EU.
In fact like all parties apart from UKIP, the Tory immigration policy is based on where people come from, rather than if they benefit the UK or not. This is of course racist.


For a better name for 'AND Theory', how about 'Holistic Conservatism'? I know it sounds terribly nineties/green but it does fit: it's about seeing the hole picture, and all the parts of the whole picture matter. They matter in relationship to each other, not in separation. 'Holistic Conservatism' is about an approach to the whole world, not to one's little prejudices.

Richard Bailey

I really do believe in this process but the only bit that Cameron just hasn't attended to is creating our equivalent to John Prescott.

New Labour knew from the outset that their plan would only work if they demonstrably held up the left of their Party. God knows Mr Prescott is an unfathomably incompetent Minister, but he has done THIS job exceptionally well.

Cameron needs someone to hold up the right of the Party and the Tories will only become a team when Cameron organises this and when someone actually does it. Liam Fox is the perfect man.

We must become the embodiment of the phrase "Speak softly, carry a big stick."


I think this 'and theory' is merey saying that issues should be tackled using a variety of methods - not just one. By pairing (or grouping) a 'traditional' conservative policy with other policies the traditional tory policy is more appealing.

I think the 'and' should be more closely related. For example, in 4 c) you say "Faster, longer imprisonment of repeat offenders and more care for the vulnerable children of prisoners..."

Would it not be better to say "Faster, longer imprisonment of repeat offenders and more resources to help released offenders avoid re-offending"

(By the way, I'm not saying more care for vulnerable children is not important).


A few reactions:

I agree, John Hustings, that the theory can't cover every issue. Some issues can't be 'balanced'. It's a good general discipline, though, on party strategists. It reminds traditionalists that the party needs to be broader and it reminds modernisers not to neglect conservatism's core turf.

Jack: I like your idea of holistic conservatism where things matter because of their relationship with each other - the link between an active development policy and controlling immigration being a perfect example - but I'm not convinced by using the term as the title for the idea.

I hadn't thought of it in terms of personnel, Richard, until your post and Donal's latest law of the public policy process on appointing as many people to the left of you as to the right but 'yes', I agree and there isn't a right-winger like Liam Fox 'out there' assertively arguing for David Cameron. It's a weakness, you're right.

I like your alternative 'prisons and', RobC - yours is closer to the one deployed by David Cameron last week.

Simon C

Big Cake conservatism? You can have your cake AND....

More seriously, I am a fan of this approach, and have been for a while: see

although I don't think "And Conservatism" was a phrase in vogue back then.

This is the right way forward (subject to acknowledging the potential for satire if you too often spell out too many examples like "This AND That").

The Editor's point 6 is really important. We need to accept that the left has sometimes been asking the right questions and identifying important issues. That emphatically does NOT mean that they have come up with the right answers.

I quite like "And Conservatism" as a name - it comes quite close to the mark, and it's not that clunky if you leave out the word "theory". But the point you are trying to make (as Jack Nevinson says above) is that Conservatives need to be interested in every aspect of human experience, not just a few traditional favorites. How about "Complete Conservatism" or "Total Conservatism"?


I thought Complete Conservatism too and was just going to post it when I saw you beat me by ten minutes, Simon!


Thanks, Simon. I quite like Complete Conservatism. Total Conservatism sounds a bit strong as in Total War and Total Politics!

John Hustings

If you really want a name for this theory, I suggest "dialectical conservativism".

Though maybe that doesn't have quite the right resonance.

matt wright

Its an intersting theory but as John says its risks being an averaging process which can lead to the lowest common denominator or indecision. The truly great leaders and thinkers do more than achieve compromises they rise above that and create real win-win solutions,



Did you read points 5 and 6, Matt? I'm rejecting that averaging, milk-and-water process. The And Theory isn't about splitting the difference but looking for bold positions on both traditional Tory beliefs (Europe, tax, crime etc) and breadth positions (social justice and the environment).


While better than Clintonian/Blairite triangulation, some "And" ideas seem to me to be fuzzy contradictions. Take "A commitment to actively support healthy, traditional marriages and fair pension and inheritance arrangements for gay adults…" If we are to support trad marriage with credibility, then surely we cannot support giving to gay couples the benefits associated with trad marriage - many think this could undermine the centrality and importance of trad marriage in society.

Also, how about "A willingness to confront the Islamic roots of global terrorism and more opportunities for mainstream British Muslims to set up state-funded schools...". Could the latter proposal help facilitate the teaching of that which the former seeks to tackle?

However the general "Ands" approach makes sense - if it addresses the concerns of all voters. That must mean maintaining our tough approach to crime, and I would add, also to drugs, Mr Cameron, as this is a driver in crime, and maintaining Euro-scepticism, as well as expanding Conservative interest to issues of non-core voters' concerns such as the environment and public services.

But we must continue to talk about all concerns voters have, perhaps particularly that criminals should be punished and deterred. Ah, those are old and unfashionable concepts! As it was said by someone (Simon Heffer I think?) in the Daily Telegraph recently, perhaps even the thug who beat an old lady to death might have been deterred if he knew he might end up on the end of a rope! I today heard on the radio that Mr Blair is going on about being tough on organised crime. That’s good, but is it the more unorganised thugs and vandals that make life a misery for so many who concern voters more?

But also "Conservative" doesn't mean only conserving the environment, but also must surely mean conserving what from the past is good and healthy for society. Not all that is “old” or “traditional” is bad and not all that is “modern” is good. We surely don’t have to cave into every PC idea the liberal metropolitan elite forces upon us.

John Moss

Joined-up Government?

If you give every parent a voucher for their childs education costs, you end the scandal of the families who pay twice, AND you get engaged, responsible parents driving the improvement of schools because they control the funding.

If we have insurance based healthcare, funded by compulsory contributions for those in work, but with the state still paying for everybody else, you get equality of access - (Stephen Dorrell Buzz Phrase warning) - AND standards are improved because competition drives out waste.

I could get to like this!

Henry Mayhew

Having given the Cameroon or Lib Dem tendency within the party a hard time on CH in recent days, I can agree that the politics of And could well make sense. After all, who's against motherhood or for that matter, apple pie? I love the stuff.

However, reading the above and thinking what nice people the LDs are, today I opened my mail to receive a very threatening letter from the Department of Work & Pensions entitled " agepartnershipgroup Targeting Employers ". This document reminds me of the new threat to my business that Age Discrimination legislation will bring in on 1st October. It is a loaded gun at every employer's head, treating them as criminals yet once more, and giving their money away to the disgruntled failures. I would like Mr Cameron to take time out of his busy day to focus on this issue. While he is at it, also to consider whether this country's employment and tax legislation prepares it appropriately for the emergence of China and India (we ain't seen nuthin yet, by the way).

All I am saying is that sometimes you have to focus on an unpopular issue like rolling back discrimination legislation (which may involve leaving European institutions). Once LDs start doing that I will be delighted to discuss organic nappies or whatever is on their mind.

Let's roll back discrimination legislation AND promote organic nappies.

John Moss

Given recent events, the theory could be applied to crime and punishment quite simply.

Yes, we will build 50,000 more prison places and yes, we will lock up more criminals, for longer, with nobody going to jail for less than a year. But, when they are there, though we will be punishing them by depriving them of their liberty and we will be protecting the public by keeping them off the streets, we will also run a prisons education service to make sure that no prisoner leaves without a pass in GCSE english and maths.

Similarly, no community sentence will be given which does not involve a significant element of education and training. This will take place in schools in the evenings and at weekends.


The Conservative party is now in the "Last chance saloon" if they do not get it right when in power extreme parties will gain ground which will be hard to recover.I net-work with over 100 people and all of us are unsure what David Cameron stands for, you can not be all things to all people! We want to see positive leadership and policies that reflect what the majority want, not what minority interest groups want!The fact is we want a stronger,independant Britain not shackled to Europe. Will the next Government have the courage to do what is right and hold a referendum, I doubt it!I am concerned that many like me are seriously thinking of voting UKIP which will split the vote and allow in Labour again, a disaster, but Cameron may leave us with no where else to go.Our future is in the hands of politicians who will do anything for political expediency,can Cameron be trusted to be different?

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