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Howard is toast.

I still hope John Howard can do it,he has after all come back from the dead before. But I think it unlikely a lot of Australians hof my aqaintance appear to have tired of him and are not sufficiently frightened of Rudd. All politicians have their time and perhaps Howard should have retired a year ago in favour of Costello.
As for the others, you're right, who knows enough about Stephen Harper? Is Merkel really a Conservative? Sarkozy for all his fine words has done nothing yet and are the 10% of Conservative Home readers who voted for Bush insane? (That should ensure a few comments on this thread!).

Libertarianism, on its own, is too narrow a base for the US Republicans, but "big government Conservatism" has hardly been a success either.

Anti-government conservatism, such as ending the war on drugs, would do more to decrease inner city violence and keep families intact than all the nanny-state "conservatism" in the world. And you aren't going to compete very well with liberals in the immoral, community-destroying welfare game. Conservatives should advocate charity, for things like drug-treatment, and oppose big-government tossing so many minorities in prison for victimless crimes. Funny how Ron Paul knows this and polls much better among blacks than any other Republican running for president. Internationally, hundreds of billions in government to government aid has been squandered and accomplished a fraction of what private citizens, already cripled by their own governments, accomplish through charity and innovation. And the government is gonna create racial healing? Bring unity? It is a circus of special interests and identity politics. The more government invades the lives of individuals the less unity you will surely get, as every choice becomes an arguement between liberal/conservative/whatever. Notice how little division you find during a charity event. As Ron Paul says, "freedom brings us together".

I'm not at all impressed with John Howard, I think he was naive over Iraq and is an advocate of workfare which in my opinion is a cop-out as workfare isn't actually creating work and just sweeps unemployment under the carpet. Nicolas Sarkozy is a much more intelligent leader. I've noticed like every smart leader Sarkozy pays extra special attention to forex and the global economic picture. As for George Bush he shows little interest in addressing the rapid depreciation of the dollar. He seems happy to let a weak dollar persist and leave the problem for someone else to sort out. Hillary Clinton for her part pays far more attention to the macroeconomic picture than Bush and she was quick to respond to the sub-prime crisis with suggestions. George Bush seems too focused on Iraq to be interested in anything else. As for Merkel well the fact that she allows that pretentious clown Schauble to threaten everybodys liberty tells me that she's not up to much.

Unfortunately the 'Other' option didn't work, so I had to click one (I chose John Howard at random) and wrote "None of the above".

I happen to think John Howard is everything that the Conservatives should not be. He is a powermad nut who has massively extended the state and curtailed liberty (like almost completely disarming the Australian population in 1996).

Don't be fool by his tax-cutting stance: tyrants will do anything to cling to power. If the Devil offered you tax cuts would you accept?

I do hope John Howard doesn't lose, it'd be a great shame. Though perhaps it is the case of the leader going on for too long.

Also, I agree with the comment on 'heroic conservatism', though the name sounds like something Hiro would say (pop culture reference for you there). Libertarianism is a nice sentiment, and liberty is important, but the minute you put 'ism' on the end and turn it into a dogma, that is when it gets problematic in my view. Conservatism should be about balance, not raising one particularly abstract concept above all others. When you believe ideas are more important than people, that's when you're in trouble.

An Aussie told me recently that Howard is known as bonsai over (or under) there.

You work it out.

"Passages like that will only enrage Ron Paul-style Republicans"

I guess the hypocrisy is mildly annoying (as if Ron Paul supported laissez-faire values, when in fact he's a social conservative) but I can't say I'm enraged. The current welfare-warfare Republicanism doesn't help urban violence or racial healing either, as far as I can tell.

Re Howard, like Thatcher it's probably easier from abroad to appreciate how he's turned his country around. A great man in my book, but like Thatcher he may have outstayed his welcome - hope not.

Ash - We need ideas to guide us and make us keep our nerve when things get tough. If we lack principles it means we abandon good policies when they go through a tough time. I have no desire to return to the pragmatic consensus of the 1950s and 1960s. This weird idea that an ism is bad (except conservatISM) is not only contradictory but is wrong.
Your point that conservatism should be about balance is ideological. It's the ideology of the third way, of Butskelism. Our conservatism should be about small government and social liberalism.

Passages like that will only enrage Ron Paul-style Republicans

Who cares what crazy cultists think? ;-)

I totally agree with Ash Faulkner's comment, in full. No need to repeat it.

Adam: If the Devil offered you tax cuts would you accept?

Yes. "If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons." (Winston Churchill).

And, for the benefit of Andrew Lilico:
"I have always said, the first Whig was the Devil."(Dr Johnson)

Gerson's got some nerve, given that his religious big-government conservatism has been responsible for the Republicans losing both houses of Congress and putting the party on course to lose the White House next year.

He tries to make out that the Presidential candidates are pandering to a narrow "anti-government base" but in fact all they are doing is taking a tiny step away from the failed doctrines of the religious right towards policies that rational people can support.

He seems to forget that the Republicans have never been more successful--including amongst religious voters--than under the "anti-government" stance of Reagan and Gingrinch. This popularity has been squandered by the faith-based largesse of President Bush.

He also shows no regard for the Founding Fathers by seeking to govern according to Catholic theology--in flagrant disregard for the separation of Church and State--rather than by the Enlightenment principles on which America was founded.

Conservatives should treat his advice with the contempt it deserves.

As for George Bush he shows little interest in addressing the rapid depreciation of the dollar. He seems happy to let a weak dollar persist and leave the problem for someone else to sort out.

Maybe he just thinks the value of his nation's currency should be determined by market forces rather than by government intervention.

America has had a large current account deficit for some time now, it's only natural that the dollar should decline thereby stimulating exports and reducing imports. As usual, laissez faire is the best policy.

Radical Tory, I agree with you, we shouldn't be amoral. But I think ideologues have a tendency to slip into utopianism. As Burke says, "Circumstances give in reality to every political principle its distinguishing color and discriminating effect. The circumstances are what render every civil and political scheme beneficial or noxious to mankind."

Conservatism is better defined by what it isn't, than what it is. It is not socialism, it is not libertarianism, it is not fascism, it is not anarchism. I agree with you that Bustkellism was wrong and unconservative - even Burke was an economic liberal. So I don't think conservatism is unprincipled, it is just undogmatic.

In any case we don't live in a conservative society, we live in a relativist liberal one where families break down, civil society is smaller and has been replaced by the state, people have far too much interest in rights and far too little in responsibility. I think, in the face of deconservatisation, conservatism can be seen more clearly for what it is, whereas in the past it was merely oppositional because it was the dominant ideology.

I look at government right now and I agree that it should be significantly smaller, but that is tangible. What exactly do you mean by 'small government'? It's an entirely abstract phrase. What is small government to one person is big government to another. And what do you mean by social liberalism? As I understand it, that is the basic philosophy of the Liberal Democrats and, to an extent, New Labour.

Since Mr Editor, you quote here "In the October ConservativeHome survey of 1,206 Conservative Party members, 53% voted for John Howard " it seems as good a place as any to ask a question to which an answer would be much appreciated , You ask at the end whether respondents are party members or supporters or (something else) .

What happens to the votes and opinions across the blog of those like me who have not renewed their membership but do support the party - most of the time anyway!

~Are we discarded - or ever reported for that matter?

Thanks in advance

The US presidential race for 2008 makes me glad I'm a Brit. All the contenders for the Oval Office make Brown and Cameron look like intellectual heavyweights of the old school.

Giuliani is smarmy, Romney is Bush-league ignorant, Thompson can't be bothered, Hillary is fake, Obama is naive. It goes on. All of them hiding behind the glitz and glamour paid for by smearing their opponents and parading their personality (or lack of it) in the most hollow and cheap a manner as possible. Actual policy gets bumped to the lifestyle section.

When you look at the entire field - both GOP and Dem - it makes you incredulous that there is no one better placed to become the most important man (or woman) on the planet.

Rant over!

I voted for Stephen Harper. I'm surprised Sarkozy got that much to be honest.

If you've followed the exploits of Kevin Rudd you'll wet yourself


Like Edson Smith I voted for Stephen Harper. Because Canadaian politics and Canada in general is hardly ever mentioned in our media, it is not suprising that many
people have not heard of him in the UK.

He is one of the shrewdest and intelligent politicians in the free world and was instrumental in reuniting the Conservative forces in Canada. He is also responsible for a Conservative revival in Quebec that now places them as the principal alternative (Outside of Montreal)to the Bloc Quebecois. Imagine the Tories here ousting Labour as the principal alernative to the SNP in Scotland. There much more I could say, but others could say it better.

On John Howard, "and is an advocate of workfare", whatever the disadvantages and advantages of workfare, away from the major population centres in Australia there really are few employment opportunities, so the unemployment would exist regardless. Workfare is therefore electorally, a good policy to have.

Sadly many young Aussies do not remember the last time Labor were in power. Massive interest rates, unemployment and inflation. Even more sadly is the education system has become a union dominated brainwashing centre for the Left.

Supporters of John Howard please feel free to join the 'Australian Liberals in London' Facebook group. Australia House in London is the biggest polling booth in the Australian election and we need as many people to help get the vote out for Howard as possible.

"What does a narrow, anti-government conservatism have to offer to urban neighborhoods where violence is common and intact families are rare? "

The abolition of the welfare system that causes it.

"The abolition of the welfare system that causes it."

You beat me to it.

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