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« Consensual Cameron wins Peter Luff MP's backing | Main | Liam Fox’s human rights message aims to restore Tory links with White House »



Sounds ok, except of course for the attack on 'opposition mentality'. The point about our parliamentary system is that oppositional debate tests premises and ensures better legislation. The alternative idea is that parliamentarians are such wise birds that their consensus can be trusted by the rest of us mortals.

Under the Cameron/Osborne approach bad legislation may easily pass relatively unchallenged. It is often only in oppositional debate that new arguments and counter arguments come forward. That doesn't have to mean stupid opposition.

I don't want to live in a nation run by prefects.

Graeme Archer

It's easy to caricature this point that Osborne and Cameron are making - as James did very well yesterday - but surely you can all see that there's something in it? They're not saying silly things about supermarkets. They're saying that it's been revolting the last few years watching the party jump onto various bandwagons in order to make spiky appeals to various subgroups in the populations. (This is what Labour does with the gay vote by the way). We have tried it with fuel duty, with tuition fees and with gypsies (for god's sake). Each policy on its own achieves good tactical goals - it embarrasses the government and shows voters we're listening - but unless the spikes arise from a coherent world view they look like opportunistic, foundation-less vote grubbing. This is what I understand by what Osborne/Cameron are saying (and I think David Davis has good track record here too from his time chairing the audit committee).


As an example, David Davis and Michael Howard didn't help themselves by asking immediately for an inquiry after last week's bombings.,15935,1526603,00.html?gusrc=rss

James Hellyer

"It's easy to caricature this point that Osborne and Cameron are making - as James did very well yesterday - but surely you can all see that there's something in it?"

By "caricature" you mean "use direct quotations to ridicule"... don't you?

And yes, we see that blind opposition to the government is often counterproductive and makes us look narrow and opportunistic. However this does not mean we should accept the current consensus where we disagree with it. It's on that point that I differ with Cameron's public utterances - he accepts the status quo.

James Hellyer

"He said that if the Conservative Party wanted to establish itself as having a long-term commitment to public service reform it should not oppose measures like foundation hospitals."

If we oppose them why were they one of our manifesto commitments?

"If it wants to be the party of the smaller state brand it should not oppose user-pays measures like tuition fees and road pricing."

We should if those user pays models are disguised tax hikes. Tuition was paid for out of taxation. It is now paid for by the user. Why has tax therefore not fallen? The fees were a stealth tax.

Michael McGowan

Good point, James. Labour, having exhausted the rich seam of stealth taxes, is now switching its focus to "user charges" as another way of raising the effective tax burden by stealth. Those who pay those charges are emphatically NOT being offered greater choice or quality of service. The medium-term goal of the left is that, by whatever subterfuge, those who already shoulder most of the burden of public expenditure should pay more and more for less and less. This point seems to have escaped the notice of Messrs Cameron and Osborne....which in itself is alarming.

Mark Scott

Road pricing is not a small state policy. It's central planning of what, where and when you drive. It's a whacking great command and control system.
A small state solution would be to sell the roads.

Tom Ainsworth

The introduction of tuition fees may have been accompanied by a rise in the tax burden under Labour, but this need not have been the case. Part of the reason is presumably because with larger numbers of people attending university there is less money to go round. As a student I am aware that many of my contemporaries end up doing little in the way of academic work, and I would rather the state (and so the poor) did not foot the bill for our enjoyable but unproductive boozing.

I hope political correctness will not prevent the Tories from continuing their policy of the last election to reduce university numbers. Given current academic standards in some institutions this would not be a regressive step and could be combined with greater availability of vocational courses - not everyone is suited to academic work at university level.

David Sergeant

It seems to me that one of the fundemental points about New Labour is, that whatever they say they intend to do, they usually bungle the legislation and end product. (e.g.ID cards tax credits etc.)

Just because Blair and Co come to parliament with an an idea agreeable to Conservatives (usually proposed by Conservatives a few months before) does not mean you vote for it. Mr Cammeron has become locked in the Westminster world and seems to have become disconnected from the real world outside.


I think Tom,you have probably hit the nail on the head.As someone who interviews new graduates I am stunned by how badly educated some of them are but also feel very sorry that they have often accumulated massive debts in search of qualifications which I fear will be utterly useless.
We rally must as a country have an honest debate as to how many graduates the economy can support.Equally importantly we must debate what types of graduates we want.If this can be done without the usual froth and spin of party politics so much the better,I won't hold my breath though!

Jack Stone

The Conservative Party have like it or not an extremely bad reputation in the country. They are seen as nasty, opportunistic and hypocritical.
Staying true to ones beliefs and actually supporting things you agree with rather than opposing for opposition sake might just make people start to rethink there opinion of the party.

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