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I've just been reading a very interesting essay written many years ago by T. E. 'Peter' Utley.

Referring specifically to Disraeli and Peel, Utley identifies two kinds of Conservatism. That which holds out against change until the last possible moment and then makes the best of the new status quo (Peel) and that which actively seeks to put the clock back (Disraeli) albeit occasionally attempting to harness 'unconservative' forces in support of the project.

Cameron, who simply sells the pass to the left, clearly doesn't fit into either these categories. Nor does Afleitch who, on the strength of his posts here, doesn't appear to have a Conservative bone in his body.

Well said TFA Tory

Bear in mind that both Heath and Major won elections., but that's not to whom I was alluding when I wrote my post. The policy was about the supporters, not about the statesmen and women themselves.

And 'Traditional' I was an active Conservative local council candidate this year and fought tooth and nail for the party instead of grousing from the sidelines.

WHY CAMERON ET AL WILL BE TRULY CRUSHED:

Would those who are supporting Cameron and his champagne cronies at least please answer my point: how do you or they justify, morally, societally or intellectually a 'Policy' on grammar schools which (within the overarching concept of Localism ) states: " Grammar Schools in Kent - GOOD!
Grammar Schools in Sussex - BAD !! .

HOW ? ? ? And if you accept that it cannot be justified do you not at least see the point that those of us (in despair rather than taking any pleasure in the fact) are making: that ultimately the public (whilst accepting that in a democracy all politics is up to a point about compromise) will rightly see through a TOTAL absence of principle / seriousness ?

Sorry dontmakemelaugh I do seem to have missed the irony and mistakenly taken some of your posting at face value. I think that we do perhaps largely agree and I certainly subscribe to the views you expressed in your later posting.

There is little doubt that Cameron has been pitching his tent in places where he aspired to attracting votes from Lib Dems. It seems from polling that he has been successful in leaching many Conservative-leaning Lib Dems our way.

But he's possibly lost a few and converted traditional conservatives into stay-at-homes as at Bromley at the same time, so he's achieved no net gain of actual votes for the efforts made.

There was another factor in that he has made the Conservative brand acceptable to the media. As all politics is presented through the prism of the BBC and so on, it is important to rebrand to the point that media reporters and interviwers do not regard the Conservatives as a party that is so distatseful that they spit when they say our name. Cameron has achieved that.

Now the porblem is to reconnect with the traditional suporters who have been grossly offended by the theatre which has taken place since Cameron came to the leadership. Most of it was only theatre.

And 'Traditional' I was an active Conservative local council candidate this year and fought tooth and nail for the party

So what? Presumably you were hoping to get a seat on the council and the perks that go with it. Do you expect a gold medal as a booby prize?

I think I stood three times for the local council. I don't recall 'fighting' anybody but I certainly knocked on a lot of doors.

One of the biggest problems with the party is that it has always attracted hordes of middle class wannabees whose opinions aren't remotely conservative but who are desperate to 'get on'.

In my experience these careerist types tend to be far more spiteful and unpleasant that the so-called right wing extremists, and they often behave in an uncivilised manner towards members of other parties whom they regard as personal enemies who are out to block their career paths.

Talking about 'fighting tooth and nail' I recall a couple of actual fistfights involving Tory and Labour council candidates. In both cases the 'Tories' were on the far left of the party - 'Proto-roons' if you like.

No surprise there.

Re Tory Ts post and the theory that we improve in the polls when DC is on the TV (probably true) and his reference to grammars and our increase to 39% in the polls after that. I actually think whatever the pros and cons of the grammar debate that many floating voters we need to attract agreed with what they perceived as turning away from the old position of bringing back more grammar schools. I think they liked the idea of more selection in existing schools rather than more grammars. I said at that time the debate had gone off on a mad tangent,

Matt

Really Matt? Any evidence whatsoever from anywhere for that assertion? Since the Grammar School debate our polling has gone down and Willets has lost his responsibility for schools. The whole debate has been a setback for us and I hope can be put down as a mistake never to be repeated.

We lost a great chunk of support between 90 and 97 for three reasons. First, the ERM fiasco bludgeoned a number of householders with repossession orders and so forth. Second, the party was needlessly torn apart by the bigotry of the Europhils, who inisted on whipping Maastricht instead of leaving it to conscience. Third, Major was a whimpering, inarticulate washout. Secondary reasons include sleaze and BBC bias.

We have not returned for the following reasons. First, the Labour party had a fair wind in the aftermath of Major's disastrous tenure. Second, Blair is an accomplished charlatan. Third, we lost belief in ourselves and have campaigned intermittently and half-heartedly.

Intermittent? Do we hear a constant background noise of tory criticism as in the late 70s? No.

Half-hearted? "Are you thinking what we're thinking?" Was there ever such a disreputable, grubby little slogan? Why not, "We promise to reduce immigration"?

The modernisers, therefore, are wrong in most of their premises. They misread the past and have cut themselves adrift from the present. They seem to think that by imitating Blair they can swing the voters, but Blair was leading a different party in a quite distinct set of circumstances. Clearly, the people at the top of the tory party today are sad policy wonks and denizens of planet Westminster. They have no grip on the real state of the country, nor have they much in the way of wider culture. Their speeches are thin and occasionally strident. The real defeat of the tory party took place not on 1st May 97 but in the weeks after that, when, instead of manfully disagreeing with a swollen Labour movement they cravenly accepted that they were beaten. That is the bacillus which torments the party still.

100% correct Simon. Cameron was part of the problem because he was PA to Norman Lamont one of the big disasters of those times.

MPs being caught with their trousers down (including gays) had nothing to do with so-called modernisation of the party.

Hes been supported on the argument we was ahead in the polls but thats all finished now. It was the ONLY argument in favour of Cameron and his leftists so now they have no argument at all.

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