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The problem is that so many Conservatives now spend all of their time listening to/ watching the BBC and "right" has become a word of abuse.

Frankly I think for a while now we've been singing from much the same hymn sheet. There is much in our policy platform that appeals to everyone; we are strongest when we are united. The election results from May 1 prove that.

I agree with Jennifer that the term has become somewhat abusive; even though I disagree with the Tory-right on many issues we are all members of the same movement and all share conservative instincts. The party leadership should be tolerant and accommodating, but right wing of the party particularly in Cornerstone should, in turn, be disciplined and remember that they can't have it their own way all the time. A tolerant and inclusive party with a strong sense of unity, strength through diversity.

The Conservative Party is a coalition. The hard right is part of that coalition and Cameron can't win without it.

He can't win without us.

Right? No, the graphic is clearly a left wing.

That wing's status has been debated before Mark when it flew on this site!!

these ten verbatim responses all appeared within the first 100 replies

So in other words, 90% of the replies were not abusive.

Of course we are out of touch with the torpid centre-ground of politics but the right's ideas which were once unthinkable are now mainstream. Past successes include:
- Sound money
- Council house sales
- The share-owning democracy
- Trades union reform
- The independent nuclear deterrant

Future successes will include the Flat Tax and EU withdrawal.

Well said Paul. And the replacement of the hideous bureaucracy that is the state education system in such a way - by allowing all sorts of independent schools to compete - that our ancient public schools and our grammar schools can never again be assaulted by a government eager for leftist votes. And twenty years down the line the BBC will have been thoroughly reformed, and probably only after that will we be able to sort out the NHS.

For me, in contrast to the common usage, left and right is simply a question of government interference with right being more, and left less.

The Tories and Labour are both firmly 'right' in terms of the social scale in that both believe that it is the government's role to solve most of the nation's ills.

Whether you call it Brown's nanny state or Cameron's paternalism, and whether it is masked interference (the Tory approach using the rhetoric of a 'less government', 'localism' etc) or Labour's open meddling, the result is the same; less freedom and high taxation needed to fund the interference.

The idea of, for example, a tax freedom day in (please feel free to overwrite the next shocking word Tim) April, would have both Brown and Cameron choking on their manifestos.

Why doesn't the 'E-Mail Us' link on the homepage work?

I wonder if may of those who answered that question were members/sympathisers of other parties and/or non-conservative ideas.

I cannot think that "right-wing" ideas, in addition to the achievements noted above (such as sale of council houses, trade union reform..) by Paul Oakley (2138) are not popular (it’s just the metropolitan liberal elite and the BBC that tell us they’re not) :

- Justice – i.e. support for the law abiding, and tough on the violent criminal and on anti-social behaviour
- marriage and family
- nation, powers back from Brussels, even eventual withdrawal from the EU
- freedom of speech and conscience
- low tax

I include the latter it is obvious many probably feel over-taxed as everyday costs rise steeply, and as they realise all those taxes they have paid have only brought us ward and A&E closures…ever declining school standards…

But… we need also to be more centrist in issues where the voters are more central, such as on public services – perhaps we need to demonstrate we’ll bring efficiencies that ensure that money goes to improving front-line public services before wide-scale tax cuts.

Also the BBC reports that David Cameron has attacked the “lack of values” in society, with government by management consultants, projections, impact assessments... whereby we "know the price of everything and the value of nothing”, resulting in closures of post offices, police stations, small schools and small shops, and so on, more irritation and bureaucracy. I feel it is just in this sort of area: that we know the value of such things and of society and community, not just cost-savings and so-called economic efficiency, that demonstrates we have changed.

Cliched but true, politics is the art of compromise. We shouldn't expect our political leaders to shift to the right to the same extent as much of the party, since they have a duty to respect all cross sections of society when in office, to an extent anyway. But that's not to say that those on the right do not have an important job in shifting the terms of the debate rightwards. However this means carrying the public, not just the party, else our expectations will be the only things that will shift, leaving us out of touch with the mainstream. So, the 'health' of the Tory Right is only as important as the extent to which is changes mainstream, not just internal Tory, opinion.

"we know the value of such things and of society and community, not just cost-savings and so-called economic efficiency"

Philip, very true. I was most impressed with David Cameron's speech today which reaffirmed the Conservative position that policy must serve people rather than vice versa. The dreadful decisions imposed by top-down government actually hurt lives at the ground level. The Labour government lives by quoting statistics out of context and these soulless statistics belie the real-life effects of government failure on a personal level. From the person who worries because they can't find an NHS dentist to the parents who are anxious because their eleven year old can't read and will be left behind. The statistics do not reflect the reality, even remotely.

It was on the last Question time that revealed the great farce of modern conservatism - Heseltine mouthing off on the "unions", its always the "unions".

That is REAL tory, just like most ministers are not REAL labour. You have to attract the moderates to win (which labour have enjoyed virtually unchecked up until now); coupled with the abandonment of their base - the labour party is in its dying years. A generation on the opposition benches would probably do the party some good.

The Right are going to make themselves heard on Europe and immigration. This is practically the only weak-points in the current tory coalition, and they really are DEADLY weak points, and Labour know it....

I'd like Paul to explain what is right-wing about council house sales? Was this not merely a recognition by Thatcher of the British desire to own, whilst empowering and enriching some of the poorer sections of society by giving them an opportunity to benefit from rising property prices... building a capital asset, for the first time for many. What's right-wing about that? Or is it just because 'twas Maggie that did it.

The fact is, all too often some elements of this party that are resistant to change couch their arguments in the context of representing the 'real' Conservative Party. I grant you that conservatives are, by nature, less likely to advocate change for its own sake, but even Edmund Burke advocated 'change in order to preserve', something that is unpalatable for many of the so-called Right.

I'm a Conservative, monarchist, patriot to the core, but I see no conflict between that and championing equality of opportunity, raising the poor out of poverty, protecting - nay, enhancing - the environment, and so on. Unfortunately, many Tories of my age (27) who speak like this are damned by others as merely blindly centrist or ideologically bereft.

Well, in the words of the lamentable Wendy Alexander, bring it on.

Why is it always the the BBCs fault - Conservative Party members can think for themselves and are not suckered in by the BBC.

I agree with Tony Makara @ 23.10!

Maybe it was easier to use the terms left and right when the discourse was largely about economic systems. When more qualitative issues also come into play its seems less useful to describe things as about left or right and we need to think more in terms of values that drive practical solutions.

This is a weird thread. Would libertarians be considered to be on the right or left? They would leave Iraq and Afghanistan, support free migration, leave the EU and UN, privatise state industries (incl. health and education) and legalise drugs and prostitution.

The Conservatives, under Cameron, are statists like Labour and the Lib Dems. They don't believe in individual freedom any more. UKIP is falling apart and the English Democrats are a joke. It is time to abstain rather than encourage Dave's idiots with a vote.

Tim, look since the success of Cameron, they've shut up for once (after months of indignant thundering that he would prove a disaster). Can't you leave the headbangers alone for a wee while. I've enjoyed the peace and quiet.

It doesn't take much to spark them off, and then you can't shut them up. BLAH BLAH BLAH!

...actually, remember there's two types of 'right'. I've got a bit of a soft side for the 'romantic right', you know the ones who hark back to a Britain of Constable pictures, Bobbies on the beat and skilled workers - the cornerstone guys. I've no time at all for the reactionary right, and I'm sure they've no time for anyone at all. COME ON, there are at least two at every association meeting, fuming away at the back. You know who you are. You are feeling very sleepy, think of Britain leaving the EU, public birching and a Britain with less tanned faces on the street. Sleep my little reactionaries. Sleeeep.

I think I've changed my view of the biggest challenge for all of us on the right. This is hardly revolutionary, but don't we think the biggest objective for a Tory government would be to end the hegemony of the BBC? Lots of people talk about how they hope Cameron will slip in more tax cuts "under the radar". I think it would be better to dismantle the current radar. It would be sad if we enjoy a ten year or so period of Tory government but leave the BBC intact. I hope the first tax cut in our budget is on the licence fee, coupled with legislation to share the fee with non-BBC public service broadcasters, and a requirement that their back-catalogue of programmes is made available to all. My model for the BBC would be C4-with-iTunes.

As to the rest: it would be a bit dull if every Tory believed the same things, no? What would be nice would be if we could refrain from abusing one another as a result! I think any question of the form "what is a real Conservative?" is unlikely to be satisfactorily answered, in light of both the absence of an "-ism"'s ideology (thank goodness) and the multiple strands of experience that bring one to be of a Tory disposition.

I don't think the future of the "right" is that promising. Those under 25 who espouse views of this segment of the party are seen as "gun toting racist lunatics", "arrogant" and "old fashioned" and generally humoured but not taken serious. I therefore think they will die a slow death. Whether or not that is a good thing is up for debate. I think perhaps not. The party always needs people on every side of it in order to find some balance, a sensible common ground. The trouble is that those on the right need to realise that they are part of a larger whole, and in need to engage with the rest and not just be out there spouting off dissatisfaction.

Interesting post, Oberon. I would argue there are in fact *three* types of Tory right, the two you describe plus the Thatcherite right.

In many ways Maggie T took us further away from "a Britain of Constable pictures, Bobbies on the beat and skilled workers" than any other PM in recent history. We think of Thatcher as right wing, but comment 2 in Tim's list is interesting "It is not Right wing, it is Reactionary wing. Same people who resisted Thatcher, now resist new ideas again."

When you say Conserviative Right I think of the authoritarian conservatives rather than free market conservatives ... I'm sure the Conservative Right would ensure there's a post office on every corner (run privately, of course).... but none of them would sell porn or beer, and you'll be banned for life for swearing or not wearing a tie!
They like everyone to be individual, as long as you stick to certain parameters of being tidy, wearing a nice suit and having 2.4 kids etc.

I like the BBC and the way it's funded in that it's not a tax and it's not government run (In theory!)
It's everyone with a telly chipping in so there's a good service, not like other public services that are us being forced to pay for the government to run it's service.
So the Right would axe the BBC, or bring it in-house?

What a strange question to ask. By asking people what they think about the “right-wing” of the conservative party, people start to associate this question with personalities rather than polices.

There are many people, including many of the traditional labour supporting “working-class” who have the same views on things such as school discipline, immigration, and law and order as so called “right-wing” politicians. These people wouldn’t, however, consider their views “right-wing”, but just normal views based on commonsense.

I think the three key issues which distinguish the Tory right at the moment are support for tax cuts, support for grammar schools, and a desire to reform the European Union and leave the EPP. I don't consider any of these as extreme positions, however much the left wing media attempt to portray them as such. When the Tory right has been allowed to get on with the job (as they did under Mrs Thatcher) they have been successful and popular, and the Tory left,
which had a disastrous record under Heath and Major, has never forgiven them for that.

Defining Right is so difficult it seems pointless to me.

I am a hang em & flog em, EU hating, BBC loathing, free market fundamentalist. Yet the Cornerstone type of Conservatism is compltely alien to me.

I support David Cameron having been a Davis man), because for all the issues I disagree with him on, there are three on which I concur. (As for the alternatives, why would any Conservative prefer Brown?).

I am happy to argue passionately with Conservatives of other hues, but I cannot understand the vitriol and despising attitude of some (on all wings) toward their supposed allies.

The fact that lections are won by appealing to the mass middle, does not mean that minority views, or even weird ones should somehow be shunned.

Banning slavery was a weird idea once. Not saying that anyone's ideas might be in the same category, but we benefit from a free exchange of ideas, and from the uneasy equilibrium that is inherent in a big tent party.

People are right and left on different issues. They sometimes cultivate "right" or "left" personalities in defiance of all their instincts and opinions. Some of the stuffiest, most puritanical reactionaries are well to the left - think of Arthur Scargill. Can't imagine him being groovy. That said, there are three main philosophies on the right which don't always chime together: capitalism, nationalism and religious moralism. The first is the most enduring and the most popular. The second is appealing but remains frilled with dangerous edges. The third is an almighty turn-off. It is at its best in secular law and order mode, but only when offering firm policing and more gaols. The moment it starts stroking the rope or kissing the birch, forget it. If each is marked out of ten, the Cameron brigade get seven for capitalism, five for nationalism and three for moralism - which is probably the best electoral combination. Personally, I'd like to see a ten out of ten capitalism - why do we still put up with our obnoxious, failing NHS, for example? But the punters aren't ready for that sort of thing. Perhaps they never will be.

Of course we will quickly repeal the Hunting Act so we can go back to a good old chase and kill! How quick can David deliver that you think?

Good call Mike - overturn the Ban is a good thing (but we don't need to make that high profile). Dissapointed to hear Widdicombe on Today this morning preaching about breaches of it. If I was to ban people from doing anything that offended me, nobody would be able to order Coffee in pigeon italian or wear pink leggins if over 13 stone. But I wont, I like to eave people alone! Variety is the spice of life. toot toot tooooooot! (wooff woooff)

Why do people on here think that the public would not support the reintroduction of corporal and capital punishment?

Is it the public that hasn’t got the stomach for it or our cowardly politicians?

Why not put these questions to the public in a referendum and see if these so called “right-wing” ideas are really so right-wing after all.


You're right that there can never be any room for real conservatism in this country with the BBC the way it is now. But even if you ended the BBC's hegemony nothing much will change unless you abolish the broadcasting standards on impartiality. We must have a good airing of all the most radical opinions on television. Right-wingers will rapidly benefit from such a development, but without it, they can be be forever mischaracterized as "ranting" "head-bangers" "banging on" by people like Oberon in their little cocoons.

Simon Denis,

You're wrong, its the tory party's "capitalism" that is its most unattractive feature. Thatcher may have fervently believed in rolling back the state's frontiers, but most of those who voted tory were never really interested in that and they still aren't. They liked the extra cash and that's all. 80s and 90s Toryism was mainly a mask for greed as much one hates to admit it. Now that that's left a bad taste, shelve the tax cuts and NHS reforms and address people's anxieties over crime and immigration, On these issues most people's views are farther to the right than a lot of tory MPs. Nobody's "kissing the birch" but "more gaols" isn't enough either. Radically start to reverse the unwanted reforms in the police and penal system and you'd find that broad public opposition to such actions is mostly imaginary. In fact, the public would be more receptive to these policies that at any time before.

Chris Wyremski, your accusation that people who voted for Thatcher are greedy is grossly prejudiced. People voted to end the misery caused by the trades unions’ stranglehold on the economy, simple as that.

The policies of the Right (individual freedom through smaller goverment, and the preservation of that freedom through strong defence) are put into practice when they are not longer seen as "right" but "right of centre" or even the centre.

The very first commenter is, sadly, correct - "right" in the media is too often a term of abuse - with the implicit suggestion that it is only a shade away from the "far right", e.g. the BNP (which ironically, once you strip out immigration, proposes a pretty left-wing manifesto).


I did not say that everybody who voted for Thatcher was greedy. I meant that a lot of her supporters and most of her voters had no real desire to reduce the size of the state for its own sake even though people such as you and I know full well that such a reduction is necessary. Perhaps greed is too strong a word, 'selfishness' is what I meant. Obviously people welcomed the trade union reforms because it made everything run more smoothly. But neither Thatcher nor Major did anything to stem the monstrous growth in welfarism and the population remains attached to it's state like calves to the udder. People must be weaned off it slowly and thats why tax cuts and radical NHS reform such as you would wish to see would frighten today's electorate. But what did the Conservatives do to stop the liberal conquest of the police and criminal justice system? virtually nothing, they ignored it even when it would have been popular and expedient for them to have fought it. Enough of this harking back to the 1980s, it was never the halcyon era that so many of you speak of; we were being outmaneuvered at every turn. If Mrs Thatcher was such a wonderful tory heroine, why has this country ended up as it is now? You know what I mean; chaotic schools, wide open boarders, politicized police, a useless prison system. Why do think the Lib Dems get away with saying that prison doesn't work? Because they're right, it doesn't work. Who made it unworkable? Not just New Labour.

Selfishness is the accusation puritans and other tyrants level at those who simply desire to be free.

Labelling someone as RIGHT WING is equivalent to the McCarthy era trick of calling all those with other ideas, i.e. opponents of the self appointed elite, COMMUNIST. Government is there to serve the tax payers of this country. There are those who will give up their principles just to win elections and gain power, but if they have lost their principles there is no point in gaining power.

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