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All sound nitty gritty stuff reminding one somewhat of Nero's music sheet. As hopeless quite frankly as the now weirdly out of touch comments by Janet Daley in yesterday's Telegraph.

The Times report of the Cameron Glasgow speech better senses the fundamental change. What is now missing gets clearer by the day - a straightforward and honest consideration of the role of drugs and Cameron's own detailed assessment of his and his colleagues part in the decline to this point with particular emphasis on the 2000 party conference policy reversal.

The Conservative leader cannot expect to be taken seriously in advancing the "right and wrong" line so urgently needed without frankly addressing what may have been mere youthful follies in his own past.

I do think Realignment is possible and morality is the key.
Addressing the English-Scottish question will also help us win the votes of the working class.
They feel injustice keenly.

Hi Martin,

He was not thrown out because he had only smoked and not sold the drugs, but was fined, gated (refused all leave) and made to copy out lines of Virgil in Latin.

This is a pretty feeble dig. I've smoked cannabis as part of an entirely typical learning curve. So what? It was rubbish compared to Stella Artois.

If Cameron had been cruising around Slough in a blacked out Beemer dealing angel dust then fair comment.

Virgil was punishment enough.

Interesting distinction between lower income and most vulnerable. Unfortunately you're right that CSJ policies on druggies etc will only win a few votes.

There will always be those who cannot resist raking over the 'embers' of the past, in the hopes of getting some juicy bit they can 'use', but I think that says more about THEM than anything else! The same is happening to Ray Lewis at the moment, from ?pious hypocrites/slimey hacks, I personally would like to see a libel action threatened! Oh, I know that libel laws exist already, and, 'what about freedom of speech'! Its amazing how corrupt people always fall back on that phrase!

An interesting article and I would offer an alternative perspective on the topic. If such a realignment does occur it will not be a prize it will be a symptom, or a sign if you prefer, that the Party is getting some things right.

To regard it would be a prize suggests, to me at least, a sub-text that the aim is to achieve power and to keep it as an end in itself. The last eleven years have shown us where that leads and should the Party be thought of in those terms it is doomed, and the long term future of the country with it.

Surely the purpose of politics must be to make this country a better place to live for its people. The realignment will happen if and only if the Party implements policies and runs an administration that starts to make that happen for a large majority of the people.

To do that, of course, the Party needs to win the next general election and they are not going to achieve that if they are mired in sleaze and hypocrisy. All the time the party is supporting people like Spelman, the Wintertons, Chichester, Dover et al I cannot see how Mr. Cameron can be taken seriously when he talks of right and wrong, or indeed any other initiative which, on its own, makes sense to the people who would have to be convinced for any realignment to take place.

You can talk about compassionate conservatism, and being the party of aspirational blue collar class for as long as you like, but all the time you have MPs and MEPs who have their snouts, and front trotters, in the trough and who are enriching themselves at the public expense please do not expect to be taken seriously.

Interesting stuff, but surely Labour has done a lot to help lower income workers with policies like the minimum wage, holiday pay, full employment rights after a year (instead of two), SureStart, tax credits etc etc

For sure lower income motorists have been hit by Labour (and Tory) petrol tax rises but otherwise Labour has done quite a bit for low income working familes.

Realignment is certainly key to winning constituencies such as Hammersmith at the next Election. Our excellent candidate Shaun Bailey always exhorts us to "get out there" and talk to people who are not Conservatives and that it is "no good preaching to the choir".
Shaun is right and increasingly people are listening!

Might we see the Conservative Party discussing a change in the level on which income tax kicks in? That would do much more for low income level families than most other rather nebulous suggestions. It is not clear that the minimum wage has actually helped anyone or the ever stiffer regulatory structure imposed on businesses that, naturally enough, hits the smaller ones harder.

Oh and how about a good overhaul of the regulations that make it impossible for small but effective charities and voluntary organizations to function?

Interesting stuff, but surely Labour has done a lot to help lower income workers with policies like the minimum wage, holiday pay, full employment rights after a year (instead of two), SureStart, tax credits etc etc

I’m ambivalent about the minimum wage and think it’s very hard to say that it has done good. You cannot know how many opportunities are quashed by wage costs despite there being people prepared to work for that wage. It would have been better to say that, for benefits purposes, there’s no requirement to accept job offers under a minimum wage. That leaves the decision to the individual.

The rest certainly hasn't helped at all. Most people are employed by small business where the employer is just a person (or small group of people) who, usually, has the choice of doing something else. If employing workers becomes too stressful or painful, they will exercise that choice.

Employers are not evil. They’re not even a necessary evil. They are a good and they must be encouraged. Wrapping them up in legislation is not encouragement.

As for tax credits! What an unholily complex OCD piece of legislation that is. What about just leaving the tax in people’s pocket in the first place?

Trouble is, it's that last piece of the jigsaw which carries the seeds of its own destruction. Not much we can do about that though.


Lo and behold, after a couple of years of carping and dissenting from Cameron's strategy we are now told it could force a fundamental pro-Conservative realignment of British politics.

It may - and here's hoping.

But it is one hell of mental leap for those who have always been lukewarm about the Leader. Any chance someone would fill in the gap with an explanation of how Cameron's genius came to be so appreciated?

I think it's called the opinion polls.

CynicHome: While it's true I haven't agreed with David Cameron on green issues, the A-list and tax, for example, you won't find much disagreement - if any - from me on the social justice agenda. I've been personally running with this agenda since 2000 when I raised the money for the first ever unit (Renewing One Nation) at CCO - as it then was - to employ four people to look full-time at social policy. Out of that unit came the Centre for Social Justice in 2004.


Fair enough.

But isn't that a rather cameroon thing to do? I thought our principles around here were glorious and eternal, not bodged out in response to polls and focus groups?

Let's be clear what this means. Cameron's greatest sceptics within the party have leapfrogged over experimental or moderate support for the leader; leap again over strong support; and landed at an extreme position not so far enunciated by Cameron or any of his lieutenants: that he can bring about a fundamental realignment bigger and more permament than that achieved by Thatcher; bigger than any seachange in British politics since Labour took the working class vote of the Liberals.

And all this overnight, without any hints or straws in the wind. Only 2 weeks ago Brown was quoting Conservative Home against Cameron at PMQs!

I follow the analysis and it is not incoherent - except when placeed alongside other analyses from the same source. So despite the welcome conversion, unless we're treated to a rigorous self-critique of previous thinking, there's the faint sound of loony tunes in the distance.

Sorry Editor you made your last post while I was writing the above.

Realignement is certainly happening in Scotland . The SNP are in the process of replacing the Lbaour party as the establishment party. If the SNP wins in Glasgow East it will clinch it. The SNP being openly and clearly committed to Scotland does help rather!

In England though, it is far from simple.
It is clear that Labour are on the defensive and plenty of voters who would formerly have voted for them are prepared to abstain or even vote Conservative just to get rid of hated Labour.
That is far from realignment. Really only a tactical crossover voting pattern by voters who have come to loathe labour but do not identify with the Conservatives because the Consertvatives don't identify with them. England is under assault by the British government and British establishment and the Conservatives in England have made it clear they are part of that stablishment.

ie they refuse to allow the same democratic rights to the English (a national parliament and self government) as they applaud for Scotland. And this , absurdly enough, in the one part of the Union where the Conservatives are strong.

No-ones should be surprised if the polling majority of today evaporates over the next two years it well could. Until the Conservatives extricate themselves from their constistutional delusions and commit themselves to a federal United Kingdom and and an English parliament and government within the Union - as Labour did for Scotland - the English still have no central reason for voting Conservative other than that they seem likely to be better managers.

If you have any doubts about the possibility of realignment, look at how the media have covered the last week's events.

1 - The only paper who reported Cameron's speech on responsibility as 'poor have nobody to blame but themselves' was the dingbat Telegraph.

2 - Ray Lewis, a man with all the makings of a top media hate figure, got a comparatively easy ride out.

3 - A Tory peer refered to a 'nigger' and seems to have largely gotten away with it.

Pre-Cameron, any one of these would have been enough to start an anti-Tory media feeding frenzy. Not any more.

Dave, your item number 3 about the Tory peer received a lot of coverage this morning on Nick Ferrari's Breakfast show on LBC and, by and large the callers were very sympathetic to the Peer who had apologised profusely for using the rather old-fashioned phrase "a n***** in the woodpile"!

That's my point, Sally.

Public perceptions are shaped by the media.

A few years ago this would have been portrayed as another example of how the wicked Tories are all closet racists.

Now it's portrayed instead. Some silly old sod in the Lords said something daft, he apologised, that's that.

It's a small thing, but it's indicative of a fundamental realignment of the media behind Cameron's Tories.

You are kidding yourself, Dave.

There has certainly been a change in media attitude to the Conservatives from the servile/Labour mentality of about six months ago to Tory/quite interested of today. This could as well be a fed-upness borne of over familiarity with Labour combined with a pragmatic acceptance that Labour are going to be beaten and that they might as well cosy up to the new likely masters,as anything else.

Hardly a realignment though. Within the four component nations of the UK four separate processes are underway and like it or not they derive from devolution.

Scotland is in the process of ditching Labour and installing the SNP as the new establishment party.

Wales is getting to like its assembly and the new fluidity of politics with the ending of the Labour stranglehold of yesteryear.

Northern Ireland is probably reconciling itself to being northern Ireland.

England is behind the other three because she, as of yet, has no national forum and is still effectively occupied by the British state and the British parliament just as the other three were pre1997.

Without national devolution England is still- diminishingly- enthralled to the old pre devolutionary two party system.

But the unitary UK no longer exists, and to pretend to the English but not to the others that it does – as the government and all the main political parties have attempted to do since devolution – is either wilful deceit (an attempt to suppress English aspirations for democratic self-governance) or , in the case of the Coservative Party,blind self-deception.

I rather doubt that there is any more enough of that stock of idealism, aspiration, energy and commitment that used to unite the English, Scots and Welsh and Ulster behind a common cause for the old British constitution despite the wishes of the political class that there were.

There is a vast opportunity here for the Conservative party in England which could indeed produce a longlasting realignment but they have yet to address English politics with the clarity required.

The reality that the Conservatives need to get their heads around is that there must be a new constitutional settlement which will radically address and resolve the asymmetry with which the different nations of the UK are presently governed. There is no way back to the old unitary UK and yet the dialogue and utterances of the Tory party are still unreformed and simply don't match the situation on the ground particularly in England.

The old monolithic United Kingdom is dead. It doesn't exist any more. There can still be a United Kingdom but it has to be one accords with the new facts painful though that may be for some.

It will only be when The Conservatives seize this situation -as they have other themes- with a promise to the people of England for a decisive constitutional break with past 11 years and a referendum on an English parliament within the UK , that a true realignment will occur. The English are looking for a reason to vote FOR a new party not only to get shot of Labour.

What has happened up to now is merely as swing. A large one but just a swing. More than that is needed and this is the way.

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