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Looks to me like the mouth piece of the continuing SDP is trying to justify to itself supporting David Cameron and the Conservatives.

"There will be no serious healthcare reform."

yet Cameron was reported just the other day as saying NHS reform was his priority closely followed by schools and welfare reform.

Reading the recent political/sociological runes, it seems to me that just about everyone wants the same things: a polite society, well educated children, local and national politicians who respond to the voters concerns, clean, safe streets etc etc... you get the idea.
The big political divide is between those who think the State is best placed to acheive these things by top down micro management, and those who think that it is best left to small groups and individuals to do it, with the State's role being that of facilitator e.g giving tax breaks.

You could say that the Conservatives won in 1997 because Labour represented many Conservative values and scrapped the more left wing aspects.

I think it's more that Labour learnt during the mid-1990s that they needed to offer more than just what their members wanted. Equally, the Conservatives today recognise they need to offer more than what our members want.

@ man in the shed

The fact is the SDP did win in the end.

If you look at NuLabour and the NuConservative agenda it is pretty much the same as the 1983 SDP manifesto.

Roy Jenkins was Tony Blairs mentor and now Cameron is following his teachings

Britain is effectively a ONE PARTY STATE.

Thats the simple truth

Alas! I think the economist is largely correct. Cameron is really only offering the same ideology as Blair, except he can go further because he doesn't have to appease a bunch of crazy socialists (i.e., the Labour Party).

Hopefully, Cameron will prove me wrong and turn out to be some sort of stealth Thatcherite (perhaps we'll just wake up one morning to find the NHS has been abolished!) but I fear it will just be a less egregious form of Blairism.

And for the record, Howard and David were not right about cannabis, Peter Lilley was.

Cameron's article in The Independent is a very good read and makes some sensible comments/criticism about the centre-left.

The Economist, however, are feeding into the old line of apparent Thatcherism creating New Labour and Blairism has created Cameron. It is far from the truth.

If Cameron has a 1st term, it'll be Blair's 4th term. There is not one thing Cameron in office would do that Blair could not likewise have done, if Gordon had let him. Some (Gove, for example), of course, might take that as a case being made for Blair. I'm not really sure why anyone right wing or Thatcherite should.

Bagehot has a tendency to talk left-wing rubbish, that's one reason I gave up my subscription. Having said that, I think in this instance he's right: Cameron really is a Social Democrat flying under false colours.

I don't understand why Cameron hasn't trumped Labour on the gay vote by proposing genuine equality for homosexual couples. "Civil partnerships" is a demeaning term; homosexuals should be able to legally marry each other in exactly the same way that heterosexuals do. Whether they marry in a church or not is purely a matter for the church (churches decide who can marry in them as it is), they should be legally entitled to marry in a registry office.

It's pretty much the only wiggle room left on that issue that I can see and therefore the only opportunity the Conservatives have to better Labour on it. It seems such a no-brainer to me, perhaps I've overlooked something?

Now, look. You've got to stop this. You are confusing me completely. I was informed that Blair was the heir to Thatcher. Now I am told that Cameron is the heir to Blair. So...um... that would make Cameron the heir to... um... My head hurts.

The policy of disarmament on health is a real disappointment. No time for more at the moment, but I will post on this on CentreRight some time soon.

The Economist has invested too much support in New Labour to see things any other way. They are desperately trying to find a way to back Cameron without admitting error.

I agree with Parguetory.

I don't really buy this theory. It's like saying Hitler won WW2 because he forced the British to fight...

A very depressing article on two fronts:

1. It contains a great deal of truth in it. The way the mainstream media are now falling over themselves to join the Cameron bandwagon underlines both their comfort with his agenda and their obsession with being part of the ruling class. It fully vindicates the arguments made in recent months by Oborne, Hitchens et al. and should make those of a conservative disposition very nervous.

2. It reminds one of how a certain type of Conservative views the Economist as a friendly publication, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Any publication that loudly backed Senator "flip-flop" Kerry cannot, to my mind, be viewed as conservative. Anyone with a conservative philosophy should be very nervous about having this magazine's support.

It's like saying Hitler won WW2 because he forced the British to fight...

If getting rid of Hitler had induced the British to set up their own fascist system, then possibly, but otherwise I don't see the comparison.

Prodicus, if Brown is the "heir" to John Major, then the rule is that each PM or PM-in-waiting is the "heir" to the one before the last one.

“A record that has delivered, as Chancellor, the lowest inflation, lowest unemployment, lowest interest rates in this country's history - that has managed the strongest growth of any major industrial economy.

And as a result delivered record investment in the NHS - is a rather better recommendation than having spent some time advising Norman Lamont on Black Wednesday.”-Tony Blair. This is the truth

We have a one party state. All three main parties are so similar that few can tell the difference. Cameron is Blair's heir, as he said he wanted to be. All we see in Westminster is different personalities, and manufactured apparent differences. Smoke and mirrors. All agree on common interests such as expenses, priveleges, and personal perks, hidden as far as possible from the lumpenproleateriat. All want EU domination, a fractured Britain, dummed down education, increasing supervision of the non-political classes, and destruction of the European culture and especially it's British sub-set.

If we have a resounding enough mandate, we must play it safe to start with (see Lab, 1997-8) but we must then propose radical public sector reform, and not simply conform to the consensus that investment in public services is most important, and that to suggest 'cuts' is somehow a faux pas.

But we must remember that the Conservative Party is the whole reason New Labour exists - Thatcher's success forced Labour to consider generations in opposition. They had to change. The truth of the matter is, New Labour is not a political doctrine - it is an opportunistic hybrid of left and right, whose popularity, Blair and Brown believed, could consign the Conservative Party to decades in opposition. They were unprepared for government and have disappointed the millions who voted for them.

We must ask ourselves: where does New Labour go after a 2010 loss? If, by then, the public view it to have failed resoundingly, and after a 2010 election the Conservatives prove that improvement in public services can be achieved without wasting £millions, I would suggest that there is no need for New Labour to exist.

It depends upon the Party to show that New Labour has not created a new political consensus - we have to make that crucial distinction between Labour's waste and our effeciency.

My first (boring ) point is that I want more details on the poll with a 26% lead. YouGov have only got the headline figures up on their website so far. What I want to see is the scale of the "don 't Knows" and the "Won't vote"s and check against previous polls from YG:. If my suspicion is right there is a large chunk of Labour supporters who right now are sitting on their hands and refusing to commit themselves. This reduces the Labour headline percentage and consequentially inflates the others)

But I also think that there is a large number of people who are conservative minded but don't like Cameron one little bit. They don't trust him. Right now that group is doing the opposite (since there is now no election) and rubbishing Gordon Brown's lot for all they are worth. There is a considerable head of stem amongst this influential group which feels that Cameron nhas got it all wron g in his one "theme" which is to mimic new Labour all the while singing "Anything you can do, i can do better." Not a good idea when society and the economy is collapsing all around us.

I think it would be fair to say that New Labour won power in 1997 by embracing the Conservatives' economic liberalism, and the Conservatives seek to win power by embracing Labour's cultural liberalism, which the Economist, being avowedly socially & culturally liberal, thoroughly approves of. Of course the Conservative approach to social & cultural liberalism is more individualist and somewhat less nanny-statist than that of Labour, but it still appears rather more left-liberal than classical right-liberal. Classical liberalism would strongly oppose Labour's totalitarian approach to enforcing non-discrimination, eg the Catholic adoption agency row.

Alex Swanson:
"Bagehot has a tendency to talk left-wing rubbish, that's one reason I gave up my subscription..."

Me too! I now subscribe to The American Conservative instead, a much more intelligent journal. And better value too, even with the transatlantic airmail costs.
See http://amconmag.com/

A tad naive of nulab, they are privatising the NHS and will be forced to continue if they wish it to progress.

Whether the Economist likes it or not, and lets face it they have always been behind the game.

In the 1970's they were for the Governments prices and incomes policy and appear to have learnt little from it.

Socialism ( and the Economist) have had their day and we are about to enter a period of reality.

Bring it on!!!

Abolishing the NHS which one poster seemed to think would be a good thing would not only be a bad thing for the nations health it would be the act that would consign and rightly so the Conservative Party to the political dustbin.
The party should not continue the privatisation of the health service that as happened with this government they should reverse it.Many of the problems the NHS as is caused by private companies using the NHS as a cash cow. They get first class rewards and we the user get third class service as is the case with private cleaning companies especially.
Too much money meant for patient services is going into the pockets of shareholders.Lets start spending this money on what it is meant for patient services.

It is one thing to have a universal, tax-payer funded NHS. Quite another to have health-care delivered and managed by the government in a nationalised, centrally-planned state health industry.

Andrew James @ 14.58 - 'I would suggest that there is no need for New Labour to exist.'

Well I think there is good case for suggesting that there is no need for Old Labour to exist these days. Old Labour was largely union based and funded, and the unions have a VERY narrow remit, which always was destructive in an economic and national sense, apart from when they started - over a hundred years ago, when they were really needed!

New Labour apart from being opportunistic, was also a recognition that politics and political parties need and are changing, so things cannot 'go back to the way they were' ever again, but then that is 'life' - you have to keep on going forward!

Conservativehome puts its predictable spin on Bagehot's Economist column.

Leave it out; we can judge Bagehot for ourselves

New Labour? More like Blue Labour

You don't have to visit this site Bill! Isn't the point of this blog and other blogs that they interpret others' opinions?

....but most of these changes are global and cultural


What do you mean Martin?

We kidded ourselves that, despite losing in 1997, we'd actually won all the arguments. It didn't turn out like that.

Labour, and Labour-inclined journals like the Economist, are now reconciling themselves to defeat by saying the same thing. They may be right, but then again, they may not. We'll find out after 2010.

If nothing else, the election of a majority Conservative government would shift the centre of gravity in Parliament a long way to the Right.

On issues like Europe, marriage, crime and punishment, and immigration, one would hope and expect that a Conservative government would break with Labour's policies, however much the Economist may disapprove.

We won the economic argument and the left have won the social argument. I find this article's thesis unconvincing; David Cameron, whether you love him or hate him, hasn't set out specific policies in many of these areas. Thus, we can compare him to Blair in appearance, style, dynamism and [perhaps] ideological detachment from his own party, but really we'll have to see what happens after the election. By then, the Conservatives will have won the general election. If nothing else government can be about tone, and we can set the tone that hard-work, playing by the rules and making your own decisions are the norm. Living in New Labour's nanny state has promoted the complete antithesis of those things.

On social affairs, the Left has *not* won the argument on crime and punishment, immigration, marriage, or multiculturalism. It has certainly won the argument over sexual freedom.

Cameroons and Blairites are the same beast, but they are, relatively, a lesser evil than Brownites. So the essence of the article is spot on.

The big question (hope) is will BoJo become a catalyst for a different kind of competing, more libertarian conservatism but that will involve him breaking the cchq micro-management and truly exercising the authority he has.

But re the NHS, I simply don't see how you can harmonise immigration policy across the EU without harmonising welfare too, and that means that unless the UK adopts a social insurance approach to the NHS (or leaves the EU), it will remain imbalanced and become a magnet for those looking for a 'soft touch'.

He concedes that traditional centre-left ideas, such as income redistribution or state-run programmes, did relieve poverty but insists they have run their course.

The Tory leader argues that the progressive end – making British poverty history – is now best achieved by conservative means, and this means addressing the causes of poverty rather than just the symptoms. He claims: "It is the Conservative Party that is the champion of progressive ideals in Britain today

Says all you need to know really, doesn't it!

I only hope you are right about Europe!
Cameron's support for a referendum over the Lisbon Con/Treaty was lukewarm at best and the silence about this since Labour's drubbing has been deafening. It seems that there is a NuCon taboo about any mention of the EU.

CCHQ obviously feel that euroscepticism is a turn off, if not a positive vote loser, but this is a very shortsighted and mistaken view. Little by little people are beginning to realise just how much the EU is increasingly (adversely) affecting their everyday lives. If, as appears likely, the Lisbon affaire is ratified, the EU interference, both in our Government's power to govern and in the freedoms of individual citizens will become ever more obvious and unpopular.
Cameron now has an exceptional opportunity to capitalise upon the general mild euroscepticism of the majority of the voting public by taking the lead and emphasising the importance of this issue.
Not only would this be an important and largely popular policy difference between the Conservatives and the other two major parties, but it would show positive leadership, both nationally and within his own party.
His only alternative is to continue hedging his bets and to lose the initiative when neither the politicians, nor the MSM can continue with their conspiracy of silence over the EU, which may well be before the next general election.
Unfortunately, I am not alone in thinking that Cameron and his closest cronies are closet europhiles.

There no issue more critical than 'Europe', and Dave is indeed nulabour on this, so the Economist is right.

Sean [email protected] was right, as usual. But remember, none of these arguments are ever "won"- none of the answers to any of these questions ("what do you think about multiculturalism?" "what do you think about gay marriage?") are the proof to a mathematical theorem, and all of them are just synonyms for "what sort of society would you like to live in, just now?". Alex told me I was talking "blah" this morning. Maybe. But I think a hope for a government of open-minded optimism is a lot more feasible than an expectation of a rigid set of policy commitments, engendered to deliver society "X".

Vince @1803 asked what I meant by suggesting that many of the negative outcomes of New Labour are global and cultural and therefore outside the scope of possible correction by a party with alternative policies OR of a different political persuasion to New Labour.

Britain's problems, as well documented by IDS, are more severe than those of our neighbours and often a direct result of incompetent governance in the recent past.

Closing one's eyes to this uncomfortable truth does indeed rank Cameron's so-called conservative party as a future accessory to the worst of New Labour.

I often get the impression that contributors to Conservative Home never really look at their country, which occasional visitors such as myself are forced to view with amazement.

Chad Noble @ 19.00 - I think for probably the first time ever I agree with you!!!

Your paragraph on the NHS, the EU and 'harmonising welfare' as well as immigration policy, and adopting a social insurance policy, seems to me to make a lot of sense!!!

"New labour has won the next election already?" What absolute headline grabbing rubbish.
Labour hasn't worked and hasn't delivered for years. Brown is a busted flush and they membership has collapsed.
Do me a favour and get into the real world.

LoL. Well I'd prefer that we leave the EU Patsy so we can control all vital aspects of our country, but the current set-up of open borders with the UK's NHS approach is actually delivering the worst of both worlds for the UK as an EU member.

The social insurance approach not only delivers a higher standard of overall excellence (as independent euro wide studies have shown) but it also helps stop the immigration magnet issue I raised.

Let's face it, the NHS is actually a shit, dirty, inefficient system for delivering healthcare that is more likely to kill than cure you and is contributing to the scale of the immigration problem too.

But I doubt there is a single senior MP who is brave enough to publicly admit that the NHS is contributing to the UK's immigration problems.

When it comes to the NHS, Cameron and the others have rejected Lord Mancroft-style honesty for an alternate reality where the UK has the best healthcare in the world...

Best post on the thread Simon Chapman, I think you are spot on.
In truth, I think it is only possible to judge a PM in hindsight. Did any of us think the first Thatcher government would be as radical as it was? Did we imagine that despite his massive majority Tony Blair's first term would be incredibly cautious? I don't think so.
The fact is we really don't know what a Conservative administration would do until it has done it. I suspect if we win with a small majority we'll be cautious if it's bigger we can be bolder. The most important thing is we win!

Jack Stone @ 16:19

I guess you must be a socialist if you can support Stalinist healthcare as embodied by the NHS.

It is clear to everyone who doesn't subscribe to the NHS cult that we have the worst healthcare in the civilized world, and it is also clear that the NHS lags far behind other areas of the economy when it comes to the improvements in quality, convenience, and level of service which have transformed our country over the past 50 years. The reason is that whereas the rest of the economy is subject to the invisible hand of the market, the NHS continues as a government run ration book system which made sense in the 1950s but has long become out of date. The only way to improve healthcare in this country is to wrest it from the NHS, as has largely been done with dentistry and optometry.

As for this being "bad for the nation's health", I think being able to get an appointment with a GP (preferably one lasting longer than 90 seconds) and staying in a well run, clean hospital with access to the best treatments would be a big improvement.

I think too much is being made of this. The Economist became part of the problem years ago. In other words, what else would anyone writing for it have to say?

Cameron's EU position, on the other hand, should be front and centre. Ignoring the elephant in the room is hardly an edifying position for someone hoping to lead HM Government at some time in the future. His silence over the ending of the UK's status as a sovereign state is just unacceptable.

Article fails to point out that New Labour was created because the Conservatives put Old Labour and Socialism to the sword once and for all in Britain. Things only move to the right from here - recent polls will back me up on that.

Dear Oberon
In fact the column points out exactly that in the penultimate paragraph. Read it and see..

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