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The Times leader gave it a good review, David Aaronovitch on the opposite page did not.As always he sought to play party politics with a subject which is probably too important for that.
Murdoch probably wants to achieve some balance with the Times as he also employs Rees-Mogg and Finklestein but some of the stuff that Aaronovitch and Kaletsky write brings that paper into disrepute.

Yes a good day that was almost derailed before it had started by poor PR management with Sunday papers.

This now looks like an issue where we are making the running and seen to be taking a lead and the Govt is having to react.

Just like the environment and immigration where our GE 05 warnings clearly placed us in the right camp.

It is noticeable that the BBC seem more opposed to IDS's report than other news media.

Thinking a leader column in the Daily Mail is a victory demonstrates the editor's lack of judgement and perspective.

Surely we are "liberal conservatives" and that means we should keep the preaching out of the politics. I fear yesterday was a strategic mistake - partly because it signals to the press that our poliuticians' private lives are fair game if they are seen to transgress and partly because I think it is a reversion to 'nasty party' politics, albeit in slightly toned down form.

One only has to look at the never ending sexual banter on right wing blogs to understand that the world has moved on and that morla conservativism is a dead end.

What preaching EL Marberry? What have politicians private lives got to do with this report?

I share concerns about the last few days.

As I've said I think IDS should be praised for a serious report and for focus on an area the Conservatives ignored for too long.

BUT I don't share the view that a good write up in the Mail means things are going well!!! The report has been badly spun - a clumsy gay gaffe and then allowing Labour to label this "Back to Basics Mark II" with the bizarre Victorian values intervention on Sunday from Grieve and then far too much talk of marriage from IDS (to the detriment of all the other things outlined in the report).

We risk sending mixed messages to all the people we've attracted over the past year. We need to be careful.

Most Conservatives are Conservatives, not liberal conservatives.

However, I imagine that plenty of thoughtful liberal conservatives do regard the upbringing of children as something that matters to the rest of us. For a government to take the view that all types of family structures work equally well in terms of child-rearing would be irresponsible.

Well said, Sean. I count myself as a liberal, in some ways libertarian conservative but I also inhabit Planet Earth. Despite heroic efforts by many, it is simply not true that all types of family structure work equally well in terms of child-rearing. I am a single parent: I ought to know. Making the point that some structures are less optimal is not "preaching". It's commonsense, usually opposed by cultural Marxists with a vested interest in social breakdown as a way of creating opportunities for greater state control of people's lives. Deluded Tory modernisers claim to be liberal but in practice play straight into the hands of the cultural Marxists. If IDS' comments are preaching, then so are the activities of anti-smoking canpaigners and those who advocate safe sex.

Is it me or is this just another report? It's 300,000 pages i'm sure as hell not gonna read.

If you've given me the gist of it correctly, it's saying a bunch of stuff that I, everyone else here, and the electorate already knew. "Family" means Mum, Dad and the kids. Good kids come from good families.

This is a democracy, guys. If the people already know something you dont have to convince them. You just have to give them what they want.

The problem is that this report is directed at the media, not the public. It's no suprise though that Polly T still disagrees.

The report is in tune with some of the platitudes that DC gave from the lecturn at conference, but contrary to his policy position. He openly stated that family policy was NOT about financial incentives to stay together. There will be no deterrant to single parenthood under DC. This report will not change Tory policy.

It is a good report, well thought through and written. The real question though is are we going to see some policies to back up its conclusions or is DC's supposed unequivocal support merely yet another PR stunt to try to halt the loss of support amongst actual concervatives after the Polly Toynbee, hug a hoodie etc eposides.I note that the voice of Blue Labour (changetowin) is already urging caution on the report on this blog which is a certain sign that those who answer solely to Steve Hilton, and not to the party or the electorate, don't like it.

Apparently libertarianism - which I always thought was the founding tenet of Conservatism is now "modernism" and interfering, hectoring, trying to impose through state action one particular view of how people must live is "traditionalism", at least according to Tim Montgomery, apparently.

Again I make the very simple point that I'm somewhat at a loss to understand why some here cannot grasp: every one of us is perfectly entitled to hold whatever view of how people should live, and to live up to or ignore those beliefs in their own personal lives. What we are not entitled to do is seek to impose our views on everyone else through state-sponsored social engineering - not least because it doesn't work.

To be honest, I'm not entirely clear how anyone can call themselves a Conservative and not hold that fundamental view. "Social Conservatives" are not Conservatives: they are radical social activists. Activism stands opposed to conservatism. Here ends the philosophy lesson.

I'm not aware that anyone is proposing any form of legal compulsion, Peter, or denying anyone the right to hold their own opinions as to how people should live their lives.

Your attacking a straw man.

Sean F
I agree but there is a terrible danger that this will be spun - as Polly Toynbee did - into Conservatives moralising about the poor & other peoples morality. So every MP's marriage & divorce will be used as a stick to beat the Party with. The Mail loves moralising but in general just as the public doesn't like Bishops doing politics it dislikes politicians telling people how to live their lives.
IDSs report wasn't just about marriage but the PR campaign around it is in danger of sinking the ship by allowing the discussion to become one of Victorian Values (why did Grieve use that expression).
It's important this is about what practical steps the party would consider that offered benefit & support to stable family relationships, to the problems of drug dependency, youth crime. Need to look at parents and father's rights as well as duties, at tax & benefit treatments in both married and co-habitating situations, at divorce laws and custody, at drug treatments, at early corrective measures (so enforcement, policing) as well as at youth education and leisure etc.

But Polly Toynbee is very keen to see the government lecturing people how to live their lives on green issues, anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-homophobia, anti-smoking etc (indeed, doing much more than lecturing).

So why the coyness on marriage?

Good for IDS!

"Apparently libertarianism - which I always thought was the founding tenet of Conservatism"

Eh?! Conservatism was around long before libertarianism!

Sean - well on one level you're absolutely right: this is a straw man simply because the Party has said nothing about what it will actually do yet...except rig taxes in favour of married couples.

But unless you're telling me - which you're not - that I'm under no legal compulsion to see my taxes subsidise married couples, then what you've claimed is palpably untrue.

And until the state gets out of the business of marriage and divorce, and resolves the ludicrously unfair and uneven ground between marriage, civil partnerships, cohabiting and being single, again please don't tell me that there's no legal (your word, not mine) impetus behind these social issues.

Richard wrote:

"Eh?! Conservatism was around long before libertarianism!"

Really Richard? Go on, astound us with a history lesson. What did Conservatism stand for before being libertarian?

The State can hardly be indifferent to the upbringing of children, Peter, because that affects all of us - not just the two parties to a relationship.

In fact, you are already paying through the nose, through your taxes, for the consequences of relationship breakdown - and the subsequent impact on children. Since the statistical evidence seems to support the proposition that children to parents who are married have better life chances than those whose parents aren't, then it makes sense to look at ways in which the law can incentivise marriage, rather than disincentivising it, which it can do at present.

WRT to your wider point, there is a libertarian strand within conservatism, but the Conservative Party has hardly been a libertarian party in the past.

"Apparently libertarianism - which I always thought was the founding tenet of Conservatism"

Libertarianism is re-named classical liberalism (because "liberal" has become misused and distorted to mean "social democratic") which thinks that all problems are caused by the state/opression and advocates greater personal freedom.

Conservatism is preserving tradition (inc. capitalism & property rights), "if it aint broke dont fix it", avoid revolutions at all costs, conserve society, avoid utopian schemes to remake society because it always goes wrong, organic change, pragmatism "conservatism is what works".

Personally I'm a liberal conservative.



A good day for IDS and a good day for all true Conservatives.

A bad day for those "Modernisers" who believe that the sexuality morality of the alley-cat offers a "cool" model for the Conservative Party.

Never said the state should be "indifferent" to the upbringing of children, Sean: education is one of the few areas the State should be funding even more significantly than it does already.

Two points in response though: first, Conservatives on this site and in general bemoan (rightly) the ineffectiveness of Labour's social engineering through its tax and waste policies (eg tax credits) yet seem to believe not that the reason for the failure is that the State is not fit for purpose in this regard but simply that if you were in power you'd be much better at social engineering than Labour.

Well, sorry, but 18 years of "pro-family" Tory government before 1997 did not stop the societal changes we see today - nor did chasisting people for not living the dream Conservative lifestyle do the party much good in later years.

The second point is this: there's a very fine line between the state having an interest in the welfare (I would prefer that term to "upbringing" if you don't mind - you sound like a nanny-statist, Sean) of children and using the state to impose a particular view of how children should be brought up.

The furore (a lot of it grossly unfair) over the IDS report is because there are evidently still plenty in the party who have no judgement of where that line is.

I could get into the political philosophy of libertarianism - and how it is NOT the same as liberalism here, but the more interesting point of relevance here is how the same people can on the one hand argue for a non-interventionist state when it comes to the amount of tax we pay, and then without a hint of embarrassment at the utter double-standard, demand greater state involvement in peoples' personal lives.

Excellent report, but whats important is the polices that come out of it. Will we have the guts to put in place measures such as stopping pregnant teenagers being at the top of the queue for council flats? Cutting child benefit?

Its policies that puts distance between parties. No party is going to to say they don't support the family

IDS will now have to cope with gordon's foetus to grave social policy.

"The furore (a lot of it grossly unfair) over the IDS report is because there are evidently still plenty in the party who have no judgement of where that line is."

So, where does the line lie?

I'm not actually persuaded that massive subsidies to married couples are a good idea. Nor am I particularly interested in ranting and raving at people who don't get married.

OTOH, people like Londoner and Michael Macgowan have provided good examples on another thread of the way in which our divorce laws unfairly affect married men with children; others have commented on the fact that the benefits system is weighted against married couples. I commented on the fact that making people hire lawyers on a fee-paying basis had cut the number of divorces. These are (or were in the legal aid case) all examples of government action that acted as disincentives to marriage.

I'd be quite happy to concentrate on removing the disincentives to marriage - and fatherhood.

"how the same people can on the one hand argue for a non-interventionist state when it comes to the amount of tax we pay, and then without a hint of embarrassment at the utter double-standard, demand greater state involvement in peoples' personal lives. "

On the more general point, while I'm not particularly interested in interfering in peoples' personal lives, most people who are interested in politics tend to take a mixture of socially liberal and socially conservative positions on pragmatic grounds.

I always get a bit irritated by arguments along the lines of "Well, if you support cutting taxes you must support free migration/legalising heroin/abolishing the age of consent etc."

It's horribly Blairite I know, but I'm happy with the view that "What matters is what works."

Sean Fear, I'll second that, "what matters is what works", that's all I've ever cared about, stuff that works.

What is staggering is the amount of policies that "should" work but patently don't, be it aid payments to the Third World, preferential benefits for single mothers, restrictions on free trade, working time regulations, fox hunting ban, "war on drugs", Working Tax Credits, Common Agricultural Policy, positive discrimination, you name it. All laudable aims, but THEY DON'T WORK.

EL Marberry and others notwithstanding, the slip in the polls recently is a salutary reminder that Cameron needs to make more headway with family values and defence if he is to shore up the base in time for next year's general election.

The "liberal conservative" fantasy, or (as it turned out to be) the "liberal racist" fantasy, was exploded in 2001, though that didn't stop Michael Howard from dusting it down again and recycling it for last year. The Tories really do need to care more about how people live their lives if they are going to have any relevance to them.

Peter Coe's hilarious reinvention of conservatism as some bizarre modern version of anarchism leads one to doubt his familiarity with the English language. 'Conservatism' means 'opposition to radical change' and 'avoidance of extreme positions' -- nothing less, and certainly nothing more.

The Thatcherites and Heathites who were in power between 1979-97 did absolutely nothing to reverse the sexual revolution of the 1960s that has destroyed marriage and morality, except with a stupid, useless and counter-productive swipe at homosexuals in the shape of Section 28 of the Local Government Act. If the Tories want to get back into power again they're going to have to face up to some of the mistakes they've made in their past.

So, the task is "reverse the sexual revolution" (presumably by banning the pill?) and "detterence" for single parenthood ("nuke the base from orbit, it's the only way to be sure").

Well done. All we need now is for Peter Lilley to do a musical number and Tim Collins to do a press briefing and we're all set. Got your orangel slices ready?

Get real people.

I haven't the slightest idea what you're talking about EL Marberry.I ask again (regarding your first post) where's the preaching and what have politicians lives got to do with this report?

Marberry and changetowin et al, Surely you should read the report before being so rediculous about its contents, (I have read the summary report on www.povertydebate.com). As far as I can see it covers family breakdown, drugs and alcohol addiction, debt, failed education, worklessness and dependency and the voluntary sector. The report brings these together and shows how the dramatic levels of breakdown are destroying the social fabric of significant parts of Britain and leading to violent crime, as well as costing us all vast sums in tax. Furthermore, I know that you would rather play out your narrow prejudices across these pages by engaging in an endless debate about modernisation versus old Tory but don't you think it's time to cast aside that childish nonesense? You should look at the issues on their merits and try to understand them as a member of the public would who is not obsessed with the ins and outs of party dabates. You are wrong on all counts about this document and its reception in the media. The Gay issue was nonesense deliberately pushed by the Sunday Telegraph, no one else that I could see made anything of it except a couple of anorak blogs. In fact I notice that the Independent defended the report on monday and the Times welcomed it today. The BBC news radio and Television, ( surely even you noticed!) treated it seriously and pretty straight. The webb site has other coverage - pretty interesting. You should stop setting the Daily Mails support as your reason to dislike issues. I just noticed that even Tony Blair has said that 'everyone would accept the analysis.'
Strange isn't it, I can read all of that by the touch of a button, why didn't you? You really must stop internalising good news, it will give you violent indegestion, as your comments seem to suggest.


I'm surprised at some of the reactions to this report, which I think is the first of many thoughtful pieces of work that will emerge. Anyone who thinks the Conservative party has ever been about anarch-capitalism doesn't understand the party at all.

It is not preachy, it doesn't tell people how they should structure their lives but it does show the ways that the 40% of the wealth of the country controlled by the state, a figure that will remain fairly constant (bit more under Labour, bit less under Conservative) influences the lives of people and how wrongheaded much of that spending is.

I don't think of myself as traditionalist - anyone who's seen my posts would say I was a moderniser - I think I am just an ordinary middle class tory who happens to work with a lot of the fallout of the past 30 years of progressive social policy.

I find it odd that I find myself much more in agreement with Sean Fear on this than changetowin and it's been a few months since I've been able to say that. IDS has proved to be a much bigger man than some of us ever thought.

I'm with you Gadfly, lets just be thankful that Marberry & changetowin are not Conservatives.

Marberry & changetowwin are perhaps responding to the spin given rather than the substance as has been the case from many who post here critically on most of David Cameron's speeches.

Dick Wishart - wouldn't Endora have been a better nom-de plume - I assume that you are a visitor from LabourHome?

Marberry & changetowin are the biggest socialists round here.

The sooner the party is rid of these leftist clowns the better.

The report is good. It follows on from statements made at the Conference. It now needs to be firmed up by illustrating some positions in practical ways that prepare the ground for policies.

As to the suggestions that people must be perfect to make comments on any issue, this seems to be utterly bizzare. Nobody in any walk of lfe would say anything about anything if that was true.

Conservatism began with the division on the Grand Remonstrance in 1641. It has historically stood for the Church of England against papists and non Conformists, and the self evident proposition that all change is an unnecessary evil. From 1945-1991 it stood for the proposition the the Warsaw Pact was a major danger to our country and against its allies in the UK and from 1979-84 for the prioposition that trade unions were choking the life from the country.

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