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« Questions for Ken Clarke | Main | Tenth-of-the-way Tories may be selfish and ruthless - but not nasty »

Comments

Jack Stone

The reason the Conservative Party have lost the last three elections is because far too many in the party still think that the Thatcherite solutions of yesteryear are the self same solutions for the new century we now live in.

David Davis is a Thatcherite at heart and he would simply take us back to the Thatcherism of yesteryear not forward to the new policies and solutions we need for a new century.

James Hellyer

"The reason the Conservative Party have lost the last three elections is because far too many in the party still think that the Thatcherite solutions of yesteryear are the self same solutions for the new century we now live in."

Can you name specific things that are Thatacherite relics, or is this just a great big generalisation?

James Hellyer

"Can you name specific things that are Thatacherite relics, or is this just a great big generalisation?"

Of course, I really meant to say "can you name specific things that are Thatcherite relics, or is this just a great big generalisation?"

Damn my poor typing skills!

Sean Fear


By almost any measure, the Conservative Party is less right wing than it was under Margaret Thatcher.

Moi

I would like to start off by saying that there is absolutely nothing wrong with Thatcherism, and another decade of Thatcherism wouldn't do Britain any harm - quite the contrary!

There is another blog though - Davis or Fox - which recommends either David or Fox for anyone who wants to know.

EU Serf

Thatcherism saved us from Socialism. The only reason that people are bad mouthing it today is that Conservatives have become embarressed to stand up for what they believe in.

We need a conservative leader not a ZaNu Labour Clone.

James Hellyer

"Thatcherism saved us from Socialism. The only reason that people are bad mouthing it today is that Conservatives have become embarrassed to stand up for what they believe in."

I think that's very true. It does however leave the problem that popular history has painted the 80s and 90s as a selfish and greedy era. The Conservative Party has been similarly tagged labelled (Theresa May's "nasty party" speech was meant to set us on the way to addressing this).

One of the things the new leader and the party must do is address this "perception gap" (forgive the Nu Labour speak!) and show that the party's goals are for the good of society and the betterment of individuals.

Only when this creed has been sold as a positive one, will people be likely to stop voting to keep the "nasty party" out.

So "yes" to Thatcherism, but first we have to sell it’s positive message to the people again. Who better to make that case than a man who has fought his way to the top from the humblest of beginnings? David Davis is an object lesson is self-betterment.

Jack Stone

Thatcherism was right for its day but this country and its people have changed and it no longer as the answers to the problems we now face.

If the Conservative Party is going to get back into power it must start appealing and talking to everyone. It must appeal just as much to people in Brixton and Hackney as its does to those out in the shires.

That means talking a differant language. It means putting public services before tax cuts, it means being just as concerned to change the behaviour of those who take drugs or commit crime as you are to punish them.It means talking the language of compassion, care and community not selfish individulism.

Fox and Davis are Thatcher's children who`s instincts are Thatcherite policices and I am afraid if the party chooses that path it will only lead to failure.

The only person I have heard who is speaking the sort of language that will lead the party back to power is David Cameron.

Sean Fear


Many of the problems that Margaret Thatcher's government had to face have been solved. Other problems have emerged. To that extent, you're right Jack.

But you're wrong to believe that the Conservative Party must therefore embrace some form of watered-down socialism today. We can leave that to the Lib Dems.

Governments do too much (badly) and spend too much. Any Conservative Party worthy of the name should oppose this.

Mr. Richardson

I must agree with Sean just above me.

Jack, it is true that many of the problems that this country faced before Thatcher came to power no longer exist, but there are many of the same problems which still exist, and many new ones and they can all be tackled and overcome by Thatcherism.

We are paying high taxes, public money is being wasted, the unions still have too much power, and there are far too many PPPs!

Thatcherism isn’t outdated. It was what this country needed back in the day, and it’s what this country needs now after so many years of Labour’s failed economic policies.

Edward

Of course Thatcherism is outdated, it has been superseeded by Blairism.

What the new leader must do is establish a conservative ideology which combines Thatcherite economics with Disraelite social policy and support for institutions like marriage.

The problem is where to make this different from what New Labour is offering.

James Hellyer

"What the new leader must do is establish a conservative ideology which combines Thatcherite economics with Disraelite social policy and support for institutions like marriage."

I agree. The key problem "Thatcherism" has is one of image. Her time as Prime Minister was socially divisive and, rightly or wrongly, has been retconned in the popular memory to show the Conservatives as a party of greed and selfishness.

I think it essential that Conservatism shows that it also cares about the fate of the poorest in our society.

As the 'Steve Hilton II' post further up the page says, "What voters didn't like about us was our perceived selfishness and ruthlessness and, in particular, our attitude to the poor."

"The problem is where to make this different from what New Labour is offering."

ZaNu Labour are natural centrists. Their attempt to correct social ailments seems to ignore that their policies are part of the cause.

Jack Stone

Please don`t let us have any of this inverted snobbery that just because someone was bought up in a council house he is far better suited to be leader than someone who went to Eton. The Conservative Party should always be about judging people on there merits not on there background.
The Labour Party have successfully linked Conservative tax cuts with cuts in frontline services in health and education at both the last two elections and they will do it at the next if the party goes into that election promising tax cuts.
I believe that the party should at the next election campaign around one theme Reform. I think the party must promise reform of the way we are governed, of our justice system, our public services and our tax system. Cuts in public spending should rather than be given back to the public in tax cuts be re-invested in reforming services.
The party needs to stop talking about lower taxes and smaller government and start talking about better government and a greater quality of life for all.

Sean Fear


Why, exactly, is it wrong to give back to people what rightfully belongs to them?

Sean Fear


And surely, for government to be better, goverment must do less? At the moment, we leave in a society where it is assumed that every social ill has a bureaucratic solution. That is an opinion which we should challenge.

James Hellyer

"The Labour Party have successfully linked Conservative tax cuts with cuts in frontline services in health and education at both the last two elections and they will do it at the next if the party goes into that election promising tax cuts."

They'll do that anyway - no matter who's leader. Just look at their claims of £35b "cuts" last time around...

"Cuts in public spending should rather than be given back to the public in tax cuts be re-invested in reforming services."

I think tax cuts should be targeted at people on low to middle incomes who have suffered most under Labour's tax regime.

The pensions policy we introduced at the last election is a good example of the sort of programme we need to offer.

Edward

We don't have to let labour get away with the cuts line, IF we can make the case for a low tax society, and shift the centre ground back in our direction.

You don't have to redistribute wealth to help the underprivileged.

James Hellyer

"You don't have to redistribute wealth to help the underprivileged."

Not of you cut their tax burden.

Edward

Exactly

Labour take your money then if you are worthy they give you some of it back.

The Conservatives must establish a "those who can't pay don't pay" policy to cut taxation.

Ending means testing and tax credits would save billions that could be distributed to better effect by cutting the basic rate of tax.

We have to tackle the same problems as Labour but must come up with more innovative small-state solutions to those problems.

MattW

I think the problem we have here is that the Tax-Cuts v Public Services debate is entirely false. "Tax Cuts" and "Public Services" are referred to as if ideological ends in themselves. We need to stop talking about tax cuts as an ideological end game. Cutting taxes for lower income workers would bring millions out of poverty, reduce dependence on benefits, simplify the tax code and reduce government administration. Our policies should be based around increasing the income tax threshold to such a level that the lowest paid workers in Britain don't pay any tax at all and that everyone else gets a larger personal allowance, thus having a knock-on tax cutting effect for everyone else. The policy can be best explained by a conversation I had with a young mother during the campaign. It totally reinforces the points made by other contributors above.

When she pointed out how good the tax credits were, I said it was madness that the government pay one set of civil servants at the Inland revenue to take her partner's wages off her and then pay another group of civil servants in an office down the corridor in the same building to give some of it back to her after she'd answered all the questions over the phone and filled in all the forms. "Wouldn't you rather we didn't just take it off you in the first place?" Her reply? "Yes, that would be a lot simpler"

People are more cynical than ever of the power of politicians to get things done. And it's the less well off who suffer. Whether it's by being overpaid tax-credits and then having the Revenue come demanding the money, dealing with the CSA shambles or negotiating the tax and benefits system (common gripes on the doorstep) BIG GOVERNMENT LETS PEOPLE DOWN.

Tax-cuts re not a mythical textbook fantasy aim, they are the means of helping the less well off by not confiscating their hard-earned cash. We should argue the case for them. If you can't do that with conviction, you don't belong in the Conservative Party.

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