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She is forgetting, of course, that the post-2010 party will be very different thanks to all the incoming MPs.

We have seen in ConHome's own surveys that candidates in marginal seats are signed up to the Cameron project.

Why would you trust any journalist who resorts to tired and lazy cliches such as 'the gin-swigging, Mail-reading Tory Right'.

Heavens Miss Russell, you forget 'behatted and blue-rinsed'.

Kindly retire to your corduroy-clad, besandalled and carrot-juice Leftie fastness, borrow a couple of Cherie's crystals and maintain a contemplative silence.

Never mind David Cameron, the Tory Right need protecting from themselves. It's not that they're bad people, it's just that should be kept away from sharp objects.

Just as the Tory Right is hard to define succinctly, so too should we recognise that all too many Conservatives are quick to define what they think is represented by the Left of the party: the enemy within. Perhaps we should all be a bit more nuanced about these labels, even recognising that such distinctions serve little practical purpose.

At the end of the day, broad coalitions can deliver the creativity and force the reflection needed within parties if they are to be successful... but only if all sides take the care to listen to others before writing them off - often disdainfully - as Right or Left wingers.

A mischevious article, in a sense a bit like John O'Sullivan's earlier in the week from the opposite end of the political spectrum.
Whether you like him or loathe him Cameron has remained pretty true to his beliefs whether they be popular or not (Marriage, Grammar Schools, the A list etc). I suspect a Cameron led government will antagonise both left and right at times. Is that a bad thing?

It's blindingly obvious that there is absolutely no enthusiasm whatsoever for Camerons brand of Conservatism apart from within a very small clique, and now apparently he is employing the services of a left leaning think tank to formulate policy, (Demos I think), formerly advisors to Mr T Blair.

I think the Conservative Party needs rescuing from Dave, not the other way round.

The dominance of the progressive wing of the party can't be taken for granted.

Genuine conservatives everywhere will also be hoping this is true.

I know many people who are supporting Cameroonism whilst hoping and praying that once in power the common sense element will ascend and triumph.

Does the division into left and right perhaps make less sense nowadays than a division into Whigs and, erm, Tories? That is to say the libertarian wing and the statist wing.

Agree with those that question labels. Jenni Russells article intimates that there is a small progressive element and then a huge right wing contingent. This really is a stereotype. If labels must be used it would be more accurate to describe a progressive element who are somewhat larger than the article portrays; a large middle element who are moderately to the right; and finally a small element that fits her description of reactionaries (who like Gin apparently).

"I think the Conservative Party needs rescuing from Dave, not the other way round."

Given how many Tories were moved by Obama, feeling good going out of their way speaking of his perceived good points, I'd say there is a whole lot of rescuing that needs to be done.

More please, sjm.

Quite agree, Malcolm - this article IS mischievous! The truth is that many (not all...!) of the attackers from the Right are not Conservative Party members or even supporters at all! The fact is that we must all work TOGETHER and not stick to dogmatic labels. Looking at myself - I am to the social "left" of the Party but to the economic "right". There will be others with the opposite dynamic. We all balance each other out and as long as we have the same intrinsic aim of Conservative Government then we will stay on course. As soon as two so-called "wings" start to snipe at one another, we head for the rocks and give comfort to our political enemies!

It fascinates me that the left generally regard themselves as progressive particularly when one looks at the outcome of the past 11 years - probably the most regressive seen in modern european post WW2 history.

We know that the Conservative Party is a very broad church as some of the debates here demonstrate.

Social renewal is not necessarily a right or left matter; it may lead to individuals taking responsibility for their own lives. It ought to lead to a situation where it is beneficial to work rather than to live on benefits.

For me the key issue is a smaller state and it is hard to see how "left wing progressives" can ever reconcile themselves to interfering less. The smaller state should inevitably lead to less taxation.

I guess that puts me firmly on the right!

I'm not convinced that "Tory Right" and "Cameroon Left" make much sense as labels. Is Cameron really to the "left" of those with whom he disagrees within the Party on marriage? On the EU? On welfare reform? Is it right-wing or left-wing to be more distant from the Labour Party's position on ID cards?

My suspicion is that Cameron will actually be *extremely* right-wing in many ways - on a scale not seen in Britain since the eighteenth century. Specifically, his ideas for revolutionising society through cantonisation and revolutionising public service delivery through the little platoons would be in many ways extremely right-wing - well to the right of Thatcher's approaches to these matters, for instance.

It's a bit of a cliche to say that "right" and "left" don't mean much any more, but I think they may still be reasonable characterisations of the position between parties of the left and right - whether a government is centre-left or left-wing or centre-right or right-wing, and how that compares with the opposition, can be a useful shorthand still. But debates *within* parties, perhaps *particularly* within the Conservative Party because of the particularly diverse and complex nature of the coalition of which it is formed, can rarely, if ever, meaningfully be characterised as debates between the "left" and "right" wings of those parties.

Conservative politics just isn't like that.

Sally

Is your "economic right" consistent with your view of the eu?

sjm - love the cliches! What would you make of the fact that I have been known to drink carrot juice, sometimes wear sandals in the summer, have a fine collection of crystals and also occasionally drink gin and tonic? Answers on a postcard please!

John Broughton - Yes, because I believe that we need to be IN Europe and continue to try to mould it to OUR way of thinking - Fighting for Free trade and against protectionism. Interestingly at a meeting of our London Euro Candidates last night, the same view was expressed by J P Floru our No. 4 - a sound free marketeer and certainly not an EU Integrationist!!

Never mind all the hot air just remember that 2.5 million pensioners are living below the bread line and this should be rectified overnight

Sally roberts - we have no influence in EU political affairs. All the meetings of the Council Of Ministers are pre determined and will do exactly as the French and Germans have planned. It would be good if you research the Treaty of Elysee which makes clear all EU policy will be decided by France and Germany BEFORE and CoM meetings. I know this is true as a Minister who attended these meetings told me he might as well not even have taken his seat there.
January 22, 2003 marked the 40th anniversary of the Treaty of Elysée. This bi-lateral agreement is also known as the Franco-German Treaty, and is one of the basic documents governing the modern relationship between these two powerhouses. It was signed by General de Gaulle, then President of the French Republic and Dr Konrad Adenauer, then Chancellor of the German Federal Republic.

Crucially, this treaty, under Article 2, para. 1, binds France and Germany to "consult before any decision on all important questions of foreign policy and, in the first place, on questions of common interest, with a view to reaching as far as possible an analogous position."

It therefore obliges France and Germany to attempt to reach a mutually compatible position -- ahead of any EU meetings. In effect it means that the so-called "heart of Europe" has already been colonised by this pair, since 1963.

As for her article it is a shallow puff piece for Fabians. Anytime you see or hear the word progressive think communist.

After all I did yesterday to try to convince UKIPpers of the need to back Mr Cameron, along comes Ms Guardianista with lots of good reasons for voting UKIP ....

But it's crucial to remember that what Ms R has written is the view of our enemy. I agree that Mr C does +seem+ (anybody tell me how to get italics into a post?) to be too interested in praise from the Left at the expense of alienating the Right - Guardian readers won't be knocking on doors in the rain for you next spring, Dave - but it's worth mentioning that McBroon apparently briefed Labour MPs that Mr Cameron was heading over to the right.

Anyone else remember the 1966 slogan Action not Words - let's see how Mr C acts if he gets the opportunity.

But I do agree that we need to set out our policy framework more clearly and it does need to be decisively of the Right. Loopy Leftiness and Watermelon politics won't get us out of this hole.

The day Cameron was elected the party leader was the day true Conservatism died.
Let us hope that this is only temporary and that someone soon will rescue the party from Cameron and his fellow travellers with their wet, woolly and left-wing views. The country, even more than in 1979, is crying out for strong Thatcher type policies - both economic and social ones. Alas the choice is between Red Labour or equally Red
quasi-Labour. Not sure whether I'd employ any of the six 'leaders' mentioned in
the introduction. None fill you with any confidence whatsoever I'm afraid.

JS @ 10:08 - ever thought that a majority of voters out there might not want the Conservative Party rescuing from Mr Cameron? While there is indeed no point into going into Government without principles (as I fear we will with Mr C) there is equally no point in staying in Opposition with crystal-pure Conservative principles.

And anyway the choice is not between Red Lab and Red Tory. It's between Mr Cameron and McBroon. I know where my cross is going.

Andrew Lilico writes: "My suspicion is that Cameron will actually be *extremely* right-wing in many ways - on a scale not seen in Britain since the eighteenth century."

Cobblers. Cameron is a curious mix of One Nation Toryism, anti-big state, a decentraliser, and social compassion. He's hardly likely to be extremely hawkish on the NHS, unless it is to order a root-and-branch overhaul of the bureaucratic management structure.
Only on Europe will he be to the right and will get in the EU's hair just like Thatcher. His trouble is that he has no clear vision - or if he has, he hasn't told us - of Britain's role in the EU and what his fallback position will be if Brussels trys to block Cameron attempt to disengage us from some of the more federalist projects

I don't agree with

The very last newspaper the Conservative Party needs to take any advice from is a liberal rag like the Guardian.

I am Socially very Right Wing but Economically a bit to the Left of Centre so the Guardian and its ethos does not suit me one bit! If I wanted to join a Party suited to Guardian readers and the likes of Jenni Russell I would join the Lib-Dems.

I never buy the Guardian as I find Andrex is far better!

We have other problems than the advice of Job's comforters from the Guardian.

I had lunch with just the sort of person whom this party needs to win the support of to win and keep power. Yes he's had enough of Labour but is unsure of what we would do in power.

The economy is holed below the water line and the pumps can't cope - what are we going to do about it ?

This trumps the necessary repositioning of the party's image and decontamination. People are shocked, some desperate and many scared - where's the economic plan and philosophy to address this ?

"Yes, because I believe that we need to be IN Europe and continue to try to mould it to OUR way of thinking"

Oh come on Sally we have had 30 years of that line being peddled, and 30 years of our politicians coming back from some EU shindig or other claiming they had won the day, only to later find out that we had been shafted.

Please don't make this another thread about Europe.

Rubbish from Jeni Russell. Caricatures of the 'Tory Right' are pathetic. There is something to worry about though. The left are so desperate they're now trying to get a stranglehold on parts of our party.

But heres the flipside. Dont be taken in by their message. I consider myself a pretty liberal Conservative, (albeit with an admiration for Mrs Thatchers brilliant economics) but that doesnt mean I would listen to a Labour supporter. I would debate with them, but that is different. I think DC has a similar attitude.

Finally, some people on here seem to forget that since Cameron has been our most successful leader of the past 11 years. Some of our party need to realise that the world has moved on, and we need a blend of right economics and social policy, but at least some progressive ideas. Not doing this made us unelectable for so long.

Hugh Oxford: "Genuine conservatives everywhere will also be hoping this is true."

Personally I ****ing hate terms such as "genuine conservatives" and "true conservatives" when bandied about within the party. They are usually defined (if not openly) as "one who agrees completely and rigidly with the viewpoint of the person using the term." They are terms used to try to claim some moral high ground for one narrow strand of opinion and dismiss other equally valid opinions. They belong to a McCartheyist tendency that has no place in a broad church party.

David Cameron must not allow himself to be swayed by either left or right. For both are representations of the damaging ideological bloc-thinking that has done so much damage down the years. I'm hoping that David Cameron will become the first truly pragmatic prime minister, doing what works, not trying to push through policies on principle if they are not working. Left and right are equally dangerous perspectives. Both ghettoize ideas and policy, both prevent the art of flexible government.

Well said Tim and Tony. Its damn annoying when we get ideologues withing the party who want to divide us up. We need to be united in a broad church, especially in the face of the elections coming up this summer and next year.

Cameron is left-wing on the economic scale, and right-wing on the social scale. It is that simple, in short, he is on the authoritian left (fair to say centre-left) as are NewLab now with recent economic policy changes.

Those labelled as wingnuts, are usually right-wing on the economic scale and left-wing on the social scale.

Check out politicalcompass if you don't understand as it is really quite easy to understand if you look at the two axes, rather than seeking to achieve the impossibility of fitting everyone onto a single axis.

Tim makes a good answer to Jenni Russell’s caricature of the Tory right wing when he personalises it with the many sound figures who “represent important strands”. He does not find so many figures behind what were briefly called the modernisers – which reminds me to ask why Francis Maude is not on that list. Maude clearly once saw himself as the kingmaker, when Michael Portillo was a candidate for the leadership, and he is still in the shadow cabinet in one of the more shadowy jobs.

Tim might be laying faint praise on Michael Gove in saying that what he plans for education is “intended to be the most radical” part of the Cameron programme. Gove has not yet faced up to the ponderous state education machine, with its bureaucracy, its unionised vested interests and its measurable failure by international comparison. The ideological left and the departmental mandarins (who have yet directly to engage with him) have probably already got him beaten, as so many before him.

Gove will never face up to the fact that private schools get far better results. He is not so radical as to wonder why so many conservative voters, having paid their taxes, put their remaining resources into private education for their children – as would every other sensible parent, given half a chance. The Guardian readers and the Cameron team agree that privatising a massive nationalised industry like Education is Soooo Margaret Thatcher.

Right. Now where is my gin ?

I'd agree that Left and Right no longer have the same meaning within the Conservative Party. Most people have a mix of 'left' and 'right' ideas, and some ideas cannot be easily quantitified in this way anymore.

I think 'authoritarian' and 'libertarian' are labels which better represent the party's remaining division.

This is a taster of what is to come in future campaigns:

'That Cameron is a nice man, but the evil ones are hiding in the shadows waiting for their chance to close your hospital and eat your children'.

Nonsense, but there will be some who believe it.

Stop being nasty to us righties. Bet we could run a better country than any lefties. Witness, er, the last 11 years of ultra-left mayhem.

GB£.com at 10:43 :
>>Check out politicalcompass if you don't understand as <<

I really don't think Political Compas is any use as a tool. It's too heavy-handed. For instance, one question it asks is:-
>>The most important thing for children to learn is to accept discipline?<<

Now I'd certainly agree that is a very important thing for a child to learn. Certainly up there with the top things, but the MOST important? The use of the word MOST forces me to 'disagree' which really doesn't properly represent my view on the subject.

Another thing it asks is:
>>What's good for the most successful corporations is always, ultimately, good for all of us.<<

This is clearly meant to work out our position on capitalism, globalism and free trade. But the use of the words 'Always' and 'All' are too limiting. Anybody with half a brain can work out odd instances where this wouldn't be true, so despite being an avid capitalist I am forced to 'disagree' - misrepresenting my position again.

This sort of quiz-based compas can only ever be a parlour game. It doesn't accurately reflect someone's position.

..and if you track the move to the left of New and Blue Labour economically, you will see that is has moved them closer to "old labour"'s territory (authoritarian left) on the political compass which might also help to explain why fighting in this sector has helped the other party positioned here, the BNP.

The natural consequence of this, i.e. the dominance of authoritarian left coverage in the media, imho, will be fall in support for the LibDems and UKIP, which recent polls seem to support.

UK Political parties


Steve, the value is concept of two axes, not necessarily the way pc itself positions you within it (which is flawed I agree) .

Just look at the grid yourself, then look at the social and economic policies of each party, then plot where you think they reside.

I'm sure you'll see that it explains a lot.

"Those labelled as wingnuts, are usually right-wing on the economic scale and left-wing on the social scale."

GB£.com I wouldn't have thought of myself as a "wingnut" though perhaps others might disagree. It is quite interesting however to note that although I regard myself as a fully paid-up "Cameroon" I am in fact a mirror-image of DC if he is, as some have pointed out here, on the "right" socially and on the "left" economically. It just goes to underline my original statement that "left" and "right" are fairly meaningless labels.

Why should the leader of the Conservative Party want to be rescued by the left?

If things go forward as they are now, David Cameron will be a very powerful Prime Minister with a big majority, not behoven to any faction. He will also be at the head of a party which is eager to wield power.

Facing him will be the wreck of a once powerful economy, high unemployment, social breakdown and a mountain of debt.

Me thinks he will just roll up his sleeves and get on with it, and the majority of the parliamentary party will be right behind him.


Sally

Is your "economic right" consistent with your view of the eu?

Similarly, is your "social left" view consistent with being a, err, Conservative?

Actually, I don't see conservatism as a particularly broad church. I see it as a conservative church. I also tend to think that those that define it as a broad church tend to be those that challenge and seek to undermine the conservative nature of it.

In future, to avoid any difficulties, I am not going to respond to any further questions directly addressed to me by name. If people want to make general points that is entirely up to them but I am not going to risk dragging the thread off its proper topic. I am sure all the very sensible people here will understand.

Hugh Oxford: "Genuine conservatives everywhere will also be hoping this is true."

Says ConHome's resident BNP troll! Who, exactly, are these 'genuine conservatives' of whom you speak?

I agree with Serf @ 11.55. It is far more likely that there will be a spirit of unity in government, focused on repairing the broken Britain that Blair, Brown and Nu Lab broke (a practical illustration of Andrew Lilico's parody on today's Centre Right of the mischievous Grauniad piece). After all, no one speaks of "heir to Blair" and "sharing the proceeds of growth" any longer, nor does anyone waste time on denouncing those mantras as a betrayal of what should be aimed for in government.

Whilst the terms Left or Right may have had some general validity ten years ago the world has changed so much that these terms no longer represent their traditional meanings and are now often no more than an excuse for sloppy thinking.
Whilst I think that we all agree with the concept that the Conservative party should be a broad church, even that must have its boundaries, with its members united by some essential core beliefs. But, with Cameron's Modern Conservative party,trying to achieve a common definition of Conservatism would probably produce as many answers are there are members.

[email protected]:21: 'Perhaps we should all be a bit more nuanced about these labels, even recognising that such distinctions serve little practical purpose.'

I agree.

Mr [email protected]:27: 'It's blindingly obvious that there is absolutely no enthusiasm whatsoever for Camerons brand of Conservatism apart from within a very small clique'

ConHome Poll of Polls: Conservative majority of 102

Matt [email protected]:33: 'If labels must be used it would be more accurate to describe a progressive element who are somewhat larger than the article portrays; a large middle element who are moderately to the right; and finally a small element that fits her description of reactionaries (who like Gin apparently).'

I think that is a fair representation.

[email protected]:08: 'The day Cameron was elected the party leader was the day true Conservatism died.'

The day Cameron was elected the party leader was the day true Conservatism was reborn.

d[email protected]:12: 'While there is indeed no point into going into Government without principles (as I fear we will with Mr C) there is equally no point in staying in Opposition with crystal-pure Conservative principles.'

The first point is cobblers, the second point is correct.

Tim [email protected]:22: 'Please don't make this another thread about Europe.'

Aww, c'mon Tim! Sometimes you have to admire the intellectual contortions of the 'Right-wing debating society'.

Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam!

Steve [email protected]:02: 'I think 'authoritarian' and 'libertarian' are labels which better represent the party's remaining division.'

Broadly true, but within those groups people are authoritarian or libertarian about different things.

"If things go forward as they are now, David Cameron will be a very powerful Prime Minister with a big majority, not behoven to any faction. He will also be at the head of a party which is eager to wield power."

The question is where will he wield this power, to what effect, what does he want to achieve, how does he want to change the country? All this is an unknown, for Cameron is going to get this power by default, by the electorate deserting Labour, not because they have bought into Cameron’s message, what ever that is. The economy? Cameron's Conservatives had no real desire to change anything, they were happily falling in behind Labour's tax and spend with a few minor changes, there was no ideological dive in Cameron’s Conservatives on the economy, until it went pear shaped. On our Sovereignty and Europe Cameron's Conservative battle cry is 'were not going to leave it there' WOW, that's telling them, NOT! Resolving England’s constitutional position? Nope nothing there either.

If you want power you must want to do something with it , what is it that Cameron’s Conservatives want to do with power if they get it? I am blessed if I know!

Yet again Tim is attacking Red Toryism, and yet again I wonder if he actually understand the term.Red Toryism is "pragmatism with a conscience". It is the prevailing political theory in Canada and much of the rest of world. recent practitioners of the Red Tory thread have included such politicians as John Howard, Jacques Chirac, Angela Merkel, Bill Clinton, Junichiro Koizumi, Stephen Harper and Dalton McGuinty. Hardly a bunch of leftists out to undermine the markets.
Personally I would be happy to see Great Britain becoming as successful and soundly run as Canada or Germany. Of course there are those who see no role for government and who would love to dismantle the NHS and the Welfare state, but these people are out of touch with the vast bulk of the people of the nation and who given full reign would make the Conservative party unelectable.
Belloc's argument in The Servile State was that both capitalism and socialism enslaved the masses to their dictates. Red Toryism is simply the rediscovery of English radical conservatism and can be traced back to William Cobbett and John Ruskin. Rather than bulking at the word Red it would be far more honest to simply call it pragmatic modern Toryism and have done with it. One thing is absolutely certain what we mistakenly call Red Toryism is a significant force in conservative politics across the western world, and is likely to become the dominant conservative ideology in the near future. D.C. needs no advice or prompting from the left. If there is a group that needs to regroup and get its act together its the Right, which is in danger of being completely sidelined as old fashioned and hopelessly out of touch with the reality of the world and the needs of the electing public.

Mwahaha, just you try and stop us!

I think the Guardian is worried that the new Government may order all public jobs to be advertised on a state website to save money. Then they'd really be in deep doo doo.

I don`t think anyone can really say what sort of Prime Minister David Cameron would make as he keeps everything very vague and tends to sway from one view point to another depending upon opinion polls mainly or even the latest crisis.
I think he is at heart a progressive. He wants to improve the health service and make life better for the poor and those in need but I am not sure he really has it in him to stand up to the right-wing that make up the majority of the party.

"He wants to improve the health service and make life better for the poor and those in need "


Well the right would like to see control of immigration, that is a policy which benefit to poor and low paid, as they wouldn't be made to scrap with the worlds poor for jobs and housing as they do under Labour.

Give me the values of the Daily Mail anytime over those which have done so much to wreck this country ! Remind me again, what is the readership of the Mail compared to the Guardian ? If Cameron can keep faith with his social agenda on marriage, and stand up to the homosexual mafia in this country, he will have my vote !

James Forsyth's take on Jenni Russell's piece:

http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/3406156/progressive-ends-different-means.thtml

"..stand up to the homosexual mafia in this country"

Thanks, I wondered what the 'HM' in HMRC stood for. No wonder everyone fears them...

As an octogenarian who was a Conservative before Cameron & Co were born I find this hilarious. Left wing, right wing Tories? Rubbish. If the party is not right wing it is nothing, and that`s what we have got. Labour, LibDem and the Tories, all fighting for the centre ground. What a choice!
All you can say possibly is Blue Labour is marginally better than New Labour. Or not quite as bad

Please just for once enter the debate.Where has Cameron vacillated? Please provide as many examples as you can.
Off the top of my head I can't think of one occasion except the promise to match Labour's spending plans for one year which died at the onset of the current recession. Perhaps you can?

No-one knows what sort of Prime Minister David Cameron will be, least of all the man himself!

Homosexual mafia - what a good description!!

Let's avoid comments about "homosexual mafia" please.

"Where has Cameron vacillated?"

Starter for six...

#1 Dec 2005 onwards: EPP withdrawal delivery.
#2 Feb 2006: Common Fisheries Policy (see Cameron Campaign pledge - dropped in Feb 2006).
#3 May 2007: Britain now entering a sociocentric not econcentric phase.
#4 Jan 2008: Jobless benefits time limit.
#5 Grammar schools - u-turn reported in June 2007.
#6 Norhern Rock nationalisation. Dec 2007 opposed, later supported.

Who, exactly, are these 'genuine conservatives' of whom you speak?

Oh, let me see.

People who:

* Believe in a small state protected by strong borders.

* Believe that marriage and the family belong at the heart of a civilised society.

* Believe in defending and protecting the Christian roots of western civilisation and democracy.

* Believe in freedom of speech and expression.

* Believe in enterprise, self reliance and free trade.

For starters.

Who, exactly, are these 'genuine conservatives' of whom you speak?

Oh, let me see.

People who:

* Believe in a small state protected by strong borders.

* Believe that marriage and the family belong at the heart of a civilised society.

* Believe in defending and protecting the Christian roots of western civilisation and democracy.

* Believe in freedom of speech and expression.

* Believe in enterprise, self reliance and free trade.

For starters.

Let's avoid comments about "homosexual mafia" please.

Why? If Conservatives can't or won't defend the common good from the onslaught of these family, marriage, morality, society destroying ideologues what use are they?

Conservatives should be the first people to defend the right of people to privacy and anogenital freedom in their own homes. But they should also be the first to stand up to the imposition on the public sphere, and children in particular, of the personally and socially destructive ideology that that laudable goal has transmogrified into.

"Conservatives should be the first people to defend the right of people to privacy and anogenital freedom in their own homes."

What an extraordinary statement! Methinks the Gentleman doth protest too much?

Why on earth toffee-nosed lefties should think the views of Guardian types are any more valid that those of people who read the Daily Mail is beyond me. Pure intellectual snobbish. Reminds me of the old saying: there's nobody so illiberal as a liberal when they come up against someone who disagrees with them.

In any case, after the next election the new Conservative Government will be faced with a situation, created by their leftie predecessors, that is so dire they will have to knuckle down and do what needs to be done without getting hooked up on ideology.

COMMENT OVERWRITTEN.

The Conservative Party has always been a broad coalition. This is quite unlike Labour, which has from its inception been a narrow, class-based group, unable to manage the broader social and political issues that usually bring about its downfall.
The times when Conservative governments are most successful are those when the leadership has the skill and weight to balance the diversity of interest that emerges. The danger here will be that if his political intelligence is inaccurate, it will lead to internal conflict if he is not quick enough to prevent it. The role of the Chief Whip will be crucial and he will also need a "Willie" in close support, just as much as did Mrs T.
It will be a hard task for Cameron, particularly if he is returned with a large majority that removes the threat of immediate danger and the possibility of a reversal of political fortune. He is being very clever at the moment by not declaring his hand too openly. I suspect this is as much to forestall the nay-sayers in the Party as much as it is to keep Labour at arms length. He must try to avoid a well-defined drawing-up of battle lines within the Party, although these will doubtless eventually emerge. It is not a matter of if, just a matter of when. Even so, this is not entirely unhealthy as long as he does not forget to listen and draw a balance that will enable him to maintain a progressive government to take the country out of the depths into which Labour leads us without fail, every time it achieves power.

Certainly not, Hugh Oxford! It has always been my view that I do not care what consenting adults (whether gay, straight or in love with a purple thigh-high leather boot!) choose to do, as long as they do not do it in the street and frighten the horses! It is called tolerance.

"The role of the Chief Whip will be crucial and he will also need a "Willie" in close support, just as much as did Mrs T."

Agreed, john parkes! I think DC would do well to consider Andrew MacKay in either role.

Tim. After reading carefully through all the comments, I'm almost certain you wrote this piece as a Troll trap. You've certainly brought both left and right trolls out in force. I think you may be a little alarmed at the intensity of the arguments. your strictures on mini-threads re. Europe and the PC culture we are at present mired in, (homosexuality), suggests a "don't frighten the horses" attitude which has a faint taint of Dolly-style censorship.
I'm dry on the economy, as a strong economy allows for a wet approach on the social side. Maybe that's my upwardly mobile working class background speaking.
The next paragraph most certainly is a product of that background. If we as a party do not support Grammar schools, we are condemning another generation of gifted working class children to an intellectual and financial poverty. If we do not rework our comprehensives to allow for different types of intelligence, then another generation of talented working class children will be left unfulfilled and alienated by the world they exist in. The children of privileged parents; the rich, those who will make any sacrifice for their young, and the children of MP's of all parties, will continue to benefit from an education which should be available to all. In the 50's and 60's, until Crossman and Williams, the Country was moving towards that ideal. The present wholesale celebration of ignorance and underachievement in our schools is wholly due to socialist dogma.
If the NHS bureaucracy is not renewed root and branch, the public health of the whole country will suffer. And none of this can happen until we have undone the economic gang-rape of the Nation perpetrated over the last 12 years by one of the most corrupt and incompetent administrations ever known in democratic government. The difference between the Parties is blurred enough for those of us with long memories to think of the current situation as neo Heath-Wilsonism. Hence the assertation by some that "left" and "right" no longer have meaning. (Oh yes they do!) DC is right in that the electorate is not ready to seriously consider the hard choices facing us to turn round UK plc. The Electorate have first to acknowledge their foolhardiness in electing a bunch of poltroons 3 times in succession. If the Cameroons don't find " the heart of a dove and the mind of a serpent", they will be swept away in the tsunami of economic ruin and social deprivation that is Blairs' and Browns' real legacy. And we shall go with them.

Camerons honeymoon will be very short.His downfall will be his lack of vision on how to handle the European issue.Obama is very pro Europe so he wont be available for help.

" I think you may be a little alarmed at the intensity of the arguments. your strictures on mini-threads re. Europe and the PC culture we are at present mired in, (homosexuality), suggests a "don't frighten the horses" attitude which has a faint taint of Dolly-style censorship."

I agree with this comment, Grumps! I think Tim got us off the subject of Europe with the best of intentions - I am afraid that there is a certain little coterie of regular chums who enjoy nothing more than a good spot of Sally-Baiting and despite the fact I do not mind this, it make the thread rather boring and repetitive. As far as the OTHER kind of troll is concerned - I am delighted to see that Hugh Oxford's second comment has been overwritten though his first one which was possibly the more offensive has been allowed to stand! Tim has a very difficult job to do and I think in the main he does it wisely and well. We certainly are very far removed from the control-freakery practised by Dolly and his Chums and long may it remain so!

Dear Sally. In light of one of your previous comments, I am uncertain whether to answer a comment personally addressed to me. I DID say faint, and between gins, Hugh Oxford comes up with some interesting points. As to Sally baiting. I'm afraid that you sound like the kind of girl who had plaits at sschool, and you are surrounded by boys who would have pulled them :).

"Dear Sally. In light of one of your previous comments, I am uncertain whether to answer a comment personally addressed to me."

Fair point, Grumps!! Seeing as it's you - Oh all right then...!

As to the plaits - you are absolutely right, I DID have them though as I was at an all-girls school I didn't get them pulled.

"DC is right in that the electorate is not ready to seriously consider the hard choices facing us to turn round UK plc."

Isn't that in part the result of the Conservatives failing to challenge the tax and spend of Brown or put forward and intellectual argument to support the policies they advocate. Just putting forward tax cuts at an election with out having bothered to back it up without any intellectual argument has been rightly seen a pork barrel politics, and one of the lessons claimed to have been learnt at the 2005 election was that the Conservatives need to argue their case much earlier in the electoral cycle, but hark what do I hear for the last 4 years on this? Silence!

PS But when their chosen public spokesman at national debating forum s like Question Time are the likes of Maude, May, Letwin, etc, its probably understandable why the Conservative choose to shadow Labour policies, for you wouldn’t trust that motley crew to get in a correct an order at McDonalds, let alone argue for a different economic policy.

nothing wrong with gin.

Nothing nicer, in a long glass with tonic, lots of ice and a slice of lemon, JP!

(1) Freedom From v Freedom to.
(2) Equality of Outcome v Equality of Opportunity.
The right are more found on the right of the "v", the left to the left of it. To me right tries to level up, the left tries to level down. The right more inclined to inventiveness, the left more inclined to stagnation (a corruption of conservatism).
There will be vigorous debates about where the "v" is actually situated, and there will be good and bad on both sides. The left will be much more authoritarian about trying to place the "v" to its advantage as it sees things statically whereas the right will be more concerned about doing their own thing as they know nothing is fixed for ever (you can put up a major battle to prevent change for the sake of change though). Blairism is a chimera that has the worst of both worlds which is why the legacy will be so bad.
There is also the question of timing and the times we are entering suit the left a bit better than the right in that this is a better time to act collectively, however the trick is to prevent the collectivism going further and longer than is necessary. Risk-taking at the present has a very high cost of failure because there is no reserve to fall back on, but once a bit of reserve is there it should slowly be back on the agenda (but not sub-prime mortgaging)

Remember, we have had three Labour goverments while trying to promote the views of the right wing of the party. Better keep them quiet or any Tory renaissance is likely to be short-lived.

The labels do not matter and many before me have posited the fractured nature of individual positions across the policy spectrum, placing them in differing camps for each policy view held. What worries many former supporters and activists in the party, like myself, is a) the too overt anti-European stance (pace attitudes to Ken Clarke); b) the failure to have a medium/long-term commitment to reduction of taxes across the board; c) a failure to commit to private health and private education through tax incentives and/or voucher schemes; d) a failure to commit to rethinking the policy on immigration (inluding so-called 'rights' of asylum seekers)to include concepts of 'partial nationality', 'guest worker' and 'approved resident/non-national'; e) a firm commitment to removing our forces from all foreign military adventure and not to commit to any more unless the 'real' and 'vital' interests of the nation are at stake; and lastly, f) a carefully framed series of supportive policies for the growing numbers of pensioners who tend to be likely to vote and likely to be grateful.

Let us hear a lot less about 1) the benefits of multiculturism (there are in fact none!); 2) idiotic so-called green policies, which are just an excuse to tax us and to posture to Guardian readers; 3) one-nation Toryism, which is Butskellism, pink-socialism and should have no place in a proper Tory party; 4) renewal, involvement, enablement and other such weasel-worded excuses for socialism for the vacuous; and lastly 5)from Scots who have dominated politics and banking in Britain for over a decade with disasterous results.

If that is judged to be from the 'right', then perhaps it is an attack, and perhaps it is overdue and neccessary?

Tory Pinko

It is a popular misconception that we were promoting a right wing agenda . If we had we might just have been more succesful.

The truth, I believe, lies in the deep unpopularity that was created in the 5 years to 1997 - there is no need to enumerate those matters that caused the disillusionment.

In all this theorising about 'left' and 'right' we are missing the point about the dissatisfaction that exists about the present leadership.

I have written here quite a lot about why I am dissatisfied but it doesn't come from a right-left perspective. I am in despair at the resolution of our very top leaders, the wishy-washiness of their response to a terrible crisis and if even Tim here can describe Osborne as " the tactical brain of the whole project." then we are in trouble indeed.

The man continually avoids the crisis and talks about anything else that he can think of - Goodwin's pension rather than the astronomical sums being lavished on bank refinancing, or PFI bail-outs, or bank rates. Cable runs rings round him. Cameron himself wafts off into never-never land and appears to lack a 'hard centre' . These aren't left-right issues, they are character flaws.. and they've made their advisers in their own image. (or vice versa!).

They don't acknowledge that we ARE broke and that fixing that will be hell for everybody. But they and too many on this blog waffle on as though it was business as usual. If they'd trust the people and come clean with them they'd be trusted in return.

But the polls say it all. Brown is excoriated and reluctantly the voters turn to "the one who isn't Brown - that quite amiable chap Cameron - he couldn't be worse - I hope" . Some enthusiasm.

He'll probably win by a landslide and then let us all down. What's that make ME? Right wing? Baloney!

John

Possibly we might have been more successful if we hadn't elected those prominent left-wingers like Hague,IDS and Howard then?

The Major govenement ended up with no chance but the internal division he had to contend with had a lot to do with that and it was the little englanders rocking the boat then.

The public just don't like the right wing of the Tory party, same as they don't like the left wing of the Labour party and Blair's great sucsses was to keep them quiet for as long as he did.

Hopefully the party will have the sense to back a winner if Cameron gets in but I doubt it.

I liked William Hague and still think he has a way to go. He is a strong pragmatist and was made Party Leader at a very bad time for whoever got it.
The UK was revelling in "The Wicked Witch is Dead" syndrome at the time and not really open to anything but Cool Britannia and partying on the froth of a totally empty Labour agenda.

I find the vast bulk of the comments on this subject acutely depressing. The acceptance by so many commentators that the Conservatives have to adopt a left leaning stance aping the present bunch of incompetents in order to get elected, the only apparent wish seemingly to out-blair Blair or to be browner than Brown, the obvious fright of offending any section of the electorate even those who have never, nor ever will, vote Conservative (why should we care about them?) and the greater fear Tories seem now to have of their own shadows. The weak wish to bring any policy down to the lowest public common denominator to sell our policies rather like a new brand of soap powder (Torysuds will wash things redder perhaps should be the slogan)is all extremely discouraging, if not pathetic, to real Conservatives. Even the fact that this whole discussion is based on an article in the Guardian - a paper no self-respecting Conservative would even read - says it all. Where is the collective self-belief, the political passion, the vibrant ideas, the fearless strong and determined leadership, the energy and the 100% resolve to succeed and push through our right wing policies irrespective of any opposition. All of which was so apparent in 1979 and all these factors are so vital now for the Country's very survival. Every Socialist government has ended in disaster. All have had to be bailed out in one way and another, even when they haven't cut and run, and each time a Conservative government has had to clear up the mess. Sadly we now have no such party and no strong, confident leaders who appear capable of meeting the challenge. Many seem too afraid to say boo to a goose. A poor lookout indeed.

Snegchui

I agree about Hague but he was elected too early and only go tin as the 'stop Ken Clarke' candiadte. Even the faithful got it that the other three candidates were no-hopers.

"This is a taster of what is to come in future campaigns:

'That Cameron is a nice man, but the evil ones are hiding in the shadows waiting for their chance to close your hospital and eat your children'.

Nonsense, but there will be some who believe it."

Posted by: councilhousetory | March 03, 2009 at 11:10


Where have you been for 15 years councilhousetory. The biggest reason for Labour winning the last three elections is that they sold the idea that, whatever the leaders said, the "real" Tories would take over and cut school's n hospitals etc. Have you such a short memory that you don't remember at the last election voters liked our policies until the realised they were ours? And you only have to read some of the headbanging comments on this thread from people claiming to by real Conservatives (who never say what they would actually do) to realise why Labour got away with it.

This article is clearly an attempt to start up a new hate campaign about just a few Cammeroons surrounded by the majority of usual headbangers who will really run things. Why not? It worked for 15 years and some of the unbelievably silly remarks made here splendidly confirm her judgement.

JS
So only 'real' conservatives are true conservatives eh? Remember, you have to get power in the first place before you can wield it and unfiortuantly voters who have only ever and will only ever vote Tory seemed a little thin on the ground recently. You do need to have a little tiny bit of appeal to a wider public.

Jenni Russell is right in one thing, that is not accepted here: The brand Margaret Thatcher is still considered toxic in many parts of the country. I think that thinking is foolish and is used as a cover for other failings, but it is the perception out there. When I declare I am a Tory, people avert their eyes, look shocked ("You seemed a nice person" was one reaction). The heart of Olympic City is a no-go area for Tories. What they do to that Seb Coe makes me wonder, look carefully at any proffered cups of tea is my advice.
David Cameron does not excite me, but I have to respect he has done a reasonable job of detoxification. People may feel this is unnecessary pandering, but if a child takes a dislike to the dentist, God help you, it is the same thing.
People are now beginning to re-assess Blair and Brown, but it is a painfully slow process. With my detox, I want some toxing of the Labour Brand. However to do this without being seen as shrill and opportunistic is a tricky game. "Do nothing" label is winding down as an effective label but still has potency.
Softly, softly seems it has to be the way forward, frustrating though that may be.

If progressive Jenni Russell thinks that Cameron is a fragile voice for sanity, then the Cameron project is working!

But what will Jenni think when the Tories "do something" about welfare and "do something" about school choice? What will the robin do then, poor thing?

Depends on what those "do somethings" are.
Welfare reform options go far beyond the idiotic Labour "beat them starve them chase them round the park" .
School choice could be fun, I will admit.

"The brand Margaret Thatcher is still considered toxic in many parts of the country"

Again as a result of the Conservatives failing to defend their own political territory. I bet if you said to a Conservative MP that the Conservatives were 'nasty ' and destroyed manufacturing jobs they would probable agree and join in the self-loathing flagellation. None of them would defend their corner, or bother to point out that in 1997 our balance of payments were in the black. In the last 5 years 250k manufacturing jobs were added, (where as Gordon Brown has lost one million manufacturing jobs ). That we produced the same amount of steel in 1979 as we did in 1997, 15 million tones, its just they productivity was 5 times better then it was in 1979, 500 tons per employee rather than 100 tons per employee, and anyway its not as if the unions cared very much for their jobs as the steel union went on strike for 14 weeks for a 20% pay rise in 1980. That the business grants meant that the likes of Triumph motorcycles were reborn for Tony Benn's Meridan co-operative disaster. Even current events we see the self loathing of Conservative MP's come through , there has been any number of times when the claim has been made that the Conservatives led the deregulation of the city, Not so, the big bang was getting rid of the restrictive practices , like jobbers, brokers and dealers on the Stock Exchange, the fact is the big bang brought in regulation for the first time and formulised under SRO's (self regulatory organisations like the AFBD , association of futures brokers and dealers) but you wouldn’t know that if you listened to Conservative MP’s

But all this, defending Conservative policies is just too much like hard work for Conservative MP’s, its easier to agree they are nasty ands join in the self loathing, then copy Labour policies, as it avoids having to defend anything or intellectually having to argue a point and seek to carry the day with your argument. I believe there is a saying in Chinese that its always best to skip a generation, as the sons that come after a successful father tend to be wastrels. In politics there would seem to be a similar effect going on, the politicians that manage to get elected behind the skits of a successful Prime Minister are useless, they don’t really have to argue a point for that has been done for them. So they just sit there ‘seat blocking’ in Parliament . Unfortunately when the successful PM gets deposed we end up with useless members in Parliament, no fire in their bellies, no passion for a political point of view, so they take the easiest route and agree with everybody that they are nasty.

The more I read of this blog the less I like the party I joined in 1950 and have voted for - with one exception - ever since. I can't be right wing having been one of the 6 who founded the Bow Group!

I find a gutless spineless apologetic-for-living bunch of creeps writing here lately. No wonder the party has such gutless leadership.

Cameron has gone around making up to the LibDems, the party that has done more to emasculate Britain by its example than any other. And why apologise for Magie Thatcher/. She got us out of a real economic hole and broke the power of the lawless unions. She was intensely popular or she wouldn't have won all those elections.

I have been intending to vote Tory again (and have told the pollsters so) No more. In sheer desperation it might even come to the BNP - everyone else is prepared to sell out Britain. If this means more Brown - so be it. Nothing could be worse than the spineless lot Tim puts as his top 6. The only one that I can stomach is Michael Gove and that's solely based on education.

So if you get more Brown - BLAME CAMERON et al

Funnily enough, I've given up alcohol for Lent.

"Camerons honeymoon will be very short.His downfall will be his lack of vision on how to handle the European issue.Obama is very pro Europe so he wont be available for help."

How do you know Cameron has no vision on how to handle the European issue? Just because he hasn't mentioned it doesn't mean he doesn't have one, especially as NuLabour would pounce on anything he said like a pack of wolves. In any case, there are a couple of fairly straightforward steps to deal with it. Firstly, he should commission an independent cost/benefits analysis similiar to that carried out by the Swiss. Secondly, he should introduce a law to say there should be no further intrusion on our soveignty without a referendum.

By then any honeymoon Obama may have with the EU will be over.

The sheer nastiness of some of the posters on this thread beggars belief! In the case of some of them, if I genuinely thought they represented the modern Conservative Party I would immediately throw away my membership card and leave politics altogether (I could not defect to another Party!) Thank Goodness I know they represent a very small, albeit vociferous and bitter minority.

Sally - I know. The vicious attacks on Maggie Thatcher are shameful. The denigration of those who want to stick to some Conservative principles - we don't have any principles of any kind now - is enough make one ashamed to belong to such an an unprincipled rabble. And the sneering jackasses who talk down those who made the party the natural party of government for much of the last 80 years is astounding. Whose hands has the party fallen into? Not Conservative ones!

NO, Christina - I am afraid I was including YOU in my criticism. Make of that what you will.

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