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Look, the first characteristic of a conservative is an acceptance that nothing is perfect, least of all politics. Any decision as to how to cast your vote, therefore, becomes a choice between evils. Cameron has bitterly dismayed me by reneging on the commitment to restore academic selection, but despite my abiding fury at this cowardice, I shall be backing him against Brown, who actively threatens the public schools. Similarly, although to hear approving talk of "Europe" stimulates a range from responses from breathlessness to nausea, Cameron is less likely to sell us out to Brussels than is that conniving, charmless goon currently at Number 10.

Now - it is true that the Conservatives have been manoeuvred into a pathetically apologetic posture which is totally unwarranted by the facts. But you try presenting such complex statistics to our Big Brother watching public. The comp dump has successfully turned the most sophisticated electorate in the world into a rabble of obese morons. Yes, ladies and gentlemen of the right, the slobs and slags who kidnap their own offspring or who cheerfully allow them to impregnate each other in their early teens are the British people of the present. Is to such as these that the parties must now make themselves understood. Simple sound bites, copy book morals about "racism" and "fairness" are all the poor, bewildered herd can understand.

Some on the right have considered sounding the clarion on immigration. Certainly we should object to the absurd mess the left has made of it. But beware of impassioned, ideological assaults. To the audience I have described it could very well become a red rag - or a black one; and to that banner they could stampede in all their brutality and ignorance.

Now, I imagine that some of those who bother to read all this will be apoplectic by now. "Snob!" They will be seething. But a Tory should not be a simplistic supporter of unmitigated democracy. He - or she - when in government registers the feeling of the public and offers a civilised compromise. On immigration, for example, we must be careful to limit it as definitively as is consistent with a broad, humanitarian moral framework. Over time and by such means, it can be brought down and the character of Great Britain stabilised once more. Too radical and angry an approach could unleash horrors.

I'm sorry, Sally, but if you genuinely believe the Conservative Party isn't filled with members displaying the amount of bigotry displayed here daily, you're mistaken. Remember - this is the website of the grassroots, the 'base' if you will.

I believe the only saving graces are twofold:

1. The Shadow Cabinet isn't like them; and
2. The younger members tend to be less bitter.

While the Party will continue to suffer a membership comprised of reactionary idiots, they will have almost no influence on policy moving forward. Thank heavens!

Sally - I DID realise you were getting at me. I'm sorry the irony passed you by for I was getting at you and all the other wishy-washy trendy-lefty all-things-to-all people who infest the blog. I would never have contemplated joining a party like this is in the first place. It's past praying for! It'll probably win and then collapse because it hasn't the first clue what to do about the near terminal crisis we are in.

At least Brown-Darling are leading us to perdition with conviction. Cameron-Osborne are all at sea whimpering like chained-up puppies. Pathetic.

Wingnut eh? I have to say that Sally Roberts is the prettiest piece of ironmongery I have ever met.

Now as I am her mirror image, very right-wing socially and a bit authoritarian but moderately Keynesian in economic matters, what is the description for my type of Tory?

Also if David Cameron fits the same the template why do I prefer David Davis?

Ladies ! Ladies ! Can I have your attention for a moment more ? We still have some right-wing business to complete.

(1) Privately incorporate the state schools and colleges; issue vouchers for each primary and secondary student and offer scholarships at the tertiary level.

(2) Privately incorporate the NHS hospitals and require every citizen to purchase health insurance, from either state or private providers.

(3) Require every citizen to purchase his or her pension

(4) Abolish National Insurance.

(5) Fund the unwaged only through certificated private contractors of their choice.

(6) Divide local government horizontally so that the lower tier is only funded by the rating system and the higher tier only by central government funds.

(7) Divide the police into county forces each with an elected Chief Constable.

There - that was not so bad was it ? Now lets have a little gin as a nightcap and we'll all feel better in the morning.

Cost the above and state openly how you will deal with those that cannot meet their own costs. What percentage do you expect that to be? In view of the Financial Services Industry performance in running banks and pension funds, what will you legislate for the current environment or will you walk away?
Somebody works hard, plays by all the rules and then gets wiped out by Fred the Shred on a rush of blood to buy ABN Amro. Now do tell.
Schools: how will vouchers get you in without inflation (extra-system payments) Addressing school competencies is going to be better solution. Perhaps US sports leagues have lessons to teach.Are they totally right-wing?
US hospitals and health care are not a good model. Are the Germans and the French? Will the end of health tourism as in those models be acceptable?
Pensions are so interesting. I suggest no ordinary worker can fund a pension through a commission-based system. That is a point to mull over.20-30 years ago yes, today it's harder.
Why do European systems of welfare work better than here? Less widespread? More training oriented? Interesting questions.
Local Govt vs Central Govt funding. This point as made is meaningless.
The Police issue is also meaningless as stated. What will the powers of an elected Chief Constable be? Absolute in his area, or subservient to a National Force when "necessary"?
A right wing agenda means aiming for self-reliance, factoring in the fact you live in a community. It means putting in place an infrastructure that encourages self-reliance, not just walking away from a problem. A lot of welfare issues today exist because the state has a monopoly of access to resources which it distributes without thought as to how to make the time of distribution limited - but without getting terminal. You will never get it to zero, but keeping at 5% can be a success, letting it get to 8% is a failure. It really is on the margins.Like elections, target your core.

'Standing behind the more socially responsible Conservatives are plenty of gin-drinking, Mail-reading Tories nostalgic for the harshness of Thatcherism.'

And standing behind them in the '70s and '80s were plenty of gin-drinking paternalist wets nostalgic for the softness of consensualism!

Jenni Russell must remember that any new force in a political party starts off very weak, and may indeed only have 10 supporters. Margaret Thatcher certainly never had that many. Indeed, people only seemed to get nostalgic for her after they'd brought her down.

Oh, yes: all predictable stuff from The Grauniad and also from many of the resultant comments here (and probably there, though I am trying to avoid going over there).

The first clue is that dreaded (and false in this context) word "progressive". Most of what Labour has been doing is regressive.

The second clue is the attempt to divide (and conquer) into groups, as a number of commenters here have spotted. What is important is not pigeon-holing either people or policies, but having the right attitude, competence and determination.

Whatever is oh-so-carefully prepared in the media, we need to concentrate on having a Conservative government post-election who will do the job, from a point of view of attitude (first and foremost), competence (which, although not perfect, is vastly greater than that of Labour) and determination (which is more about serving the country than serving self).

It is already clear that we have essentially all of that in waiting to form that next government. The fact that The Grauniad felt it necessary to put out something of the nature of the referenced article is a clear indication to me that the Left-leaning sections of the mainstream media already realise that.

There is certainly no need or reason for us to argue among ourselves. We're already there!

Details of policies can be fine-tuned as matters change day by day; but essentially we just need to ensure the boat isn't rocking and we can put all our efforts into the journey itself from here to Government.

Sally said: I am delighted to see that Hugh Oxford's second comment has been overwritten

Now why doesn't that surprise me?

By the way, I don't know if you know this, but you come across as incredibly patronising and condescending. Just a word of advice and no offence intended- it's not an attitude that goes down well in free thinking conservative circles in which we treat one another as intellectual equals.

I have to agree with Christina and Iain, the "conservative party" has no treal principles. It could well win the next election, for what? Power is all, so Cameron can say I am the Prime Minister! The win, if it happens, will be by default. He is seen as not Brown. Unfortunately the mess he finds will be worse than anything that has gone before. Is he up for it? Judged by his efforts so far the answer is a resounding NO!

Energy is in a mess as well as the economy, and his response will be.......? Wind turbines anyone? Can he deal with the Quangos and politicised "civil servants",...err NO! Does he know what the problem is,....err no!


Cameron is a smart politician. I suspect he looks at polling data all the time to gauge the mood of the electorate. I also suspect that he is a bit of a liberal elitist, more comfortable with guardian types and Notting Hill than with Tory strongholds. His purported interest in the "California way" I think shows that he is intrigued by innovative, sunnyside, bottom up capitalism. This is a myth of course as California is falling apart economically and socially. It is governed by white liberals, black and Hispanic class warriors, and a dwindling white middle class represented by a soon to be extinct moderate Republican Party. This moderate party will soon be replaced by a take no prisoners right wing GOP. I also suspect that he is anti-statist, and instinctively believes that the private sector is generally better than top down state imposed solutions. He most certainly is not a US style cultural conservative. He must be doing something right as the Tory lead is beginning to solidify.
As an observer across the pond I do not know if the UK is more conservative than liberal. My impression is that the people are mostly conservative, but that the political and media elite are culturally left wing. As in the US the more this elitism is challenged the more leftist the elites become. This cultural elitism is class based. The elites all generally went to the same types of university, got the same types of jobs, and base their identity on the idea that they most certainly are more sophisticated and enlightened than the masses. A right wing populism can generally put them on the defensive, but I do not know if Britain has a right wing populism. I know the Daily Mail and the Sun are giving it their best, but I do not know if they are broadly supported.
My guess is that a majority of Britons would favor the death penalty, limits on abortion, dismantling of the multicultural state, a positive teaching of British history in schools, an acknowledgement that Britain is a Christian country proudly tolerant as long as there is assimilation, a generally favorable opinion of the US, and a strong dislike of an overbearing, nanny state.

"By the way, I don't know if you know this, but you come across as incredibly patronising and condescending. Just a word of advice and no offence intended"

LOL!!!! That is the best laugh I have enjoyed today.

Socially responsible Conservatism is hardly new, but it is essential, and will be even more so in the post- financial apocolypse world that will (with some luck) be the reality for a Cameron first-term. The big issues are social cohesian, welfare, opportunity, and population balance, all set within a growing realisation that resource conservation makes excellent economic as well as environmental sense. Its hardly suprising that the right do not have a convincing position in respect of these key issues!

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

The knowledge that Cameron regards/regarded that dishonest creep Mackay as one of his closest and key advisers fills me with dismay. And horror. And fear.

"we don't have any principles of any kind now - is enough make one ashamed to belong to such an an unprincipled rabble."

Since when has threatening to vote BNP been principled?

Worth repeating I think :-
I think 'authoritarian' and 'libertarian' are labels which better represent the party's remaining division."

An Excellent point, and far more useful than left & right Wings when it comes to defining the differences between the two groups that make up the party. Of course most of us take a little from both sides.

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