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« Is Andrew Mackay about to defect from DD? | Main | David Cameron accuses David Davis of "mistakes of the past" »


Daniel Vince-Archer

Oh dear I feel quite ill all of a sudden. I'm actually on the same side of an argument as Simon Heffer. If it wasn't for the fact that he's mostly right in this instance, I think I'd undergo a Damascene conversion and become a Cameronite immediately.

Cllr Iain Lindley

I genuinely can't understand what motivated the Telegraph to "poach" Simon Heffer. I have a lot of time for most of the Telegraph opinion writers, even where I disagree with them (although I do wonder when Mark Steyn will realise that the Conservative Party is very different from the Republicans!), but Heffer has dragged the entire section down a notch. A shame.

Alderman Vainly

Once again Cllr Iain Lindley has it exactly right. Britain is a much more left-wing nation than the US and electoral success is more likely to follow the Clinton route (as Blair has demonstrated) than the George W route.

Mark Fulford

Heffer's a buffoon. Nobody is saying that "small state, individual responsibility, the rule of law" have been discredited.

It has been shown, time and again, that voters like our policies – provided they’re not attributed as being Conservative. Our whole problem is one of image – we need to ditch some of our traditional rhetoric and be seen as caring and tolerant.


Exactly right Mark - To break away from our damaged image of the 90s, we need to articulate a new Tory narrative which is optimistic, ambitious and aspirational. This should have the small state, individual responsibility, the rule of law and freedom at its core.

I'm more certain than ever that Davis is the wrong man using the wrong language to describe an agenda which sounds old hat.

It's also quite wrong that he and his team are ruling in and ruling out policy details which should have been for the whole party to develop after the leadership election.

It must also be turning off people out there who were previously taking an interest in what had been an interesting and fresh debate.


Cameron says that Heffer's "shout louder and hate the modern world even more" approach is the problem.

Heffer responds by shouting louder and hating Cameron even more.

You're right he is a buffoon.

Selsdon Man

It has been reported that Finkelstein is an unpaid adviser to the Cameron campaign. If so, he should at least declare his interest but I think it would be improper to use his Times column to pursue his private interests.

Selsdon Man

The Editor makes an excellent point re fiscal conservativism and supply-side economics. I would add that Mr Finkelstein fails to address tax competition, especially from the flat tax Eastern Europe. Tax competition will drive out big "Western Europe" government.

James Hellyer

Corporation tax rates are one of the few areas where we still enjoy a competitive advantage against the other EU states. Our advantages in terms of labour and capital costs and regulations have been steadily eroded.

It seems strange that Finkelstein and co. deny that first term tax cuts would be possible, despite the increasing flight of companies to the accession states and the Far East meaning that our current corporation tax regime will in the end lead to reduced revenues and reduced employment.

Selsdon Man

Finkelstein alleges that a school voucher scheme will cost more money. Surely it could be funded by abolishing LEAs. Is this "Double Fink" from Hague's ex-SDP tax policy adviser?

James Hellyer

I thinkm it depends on the model used to introduce it, Selsdon. The Howard/Letwin plan was to increase public spending to provide surplus schools, thus allowing choice. I'm sure that cheaper and better routes could be followed by enabling private concerns to enter the market, rather than a multiplicity of state concerns.

Selsdon Man

"I'm sure that cheaper and better routes could be followed by enabling private concerns to enter the market, rather than a multiplicity of state concerns."

Agreed. That is what the Civitas small school project is trying to achieve,

James Hellyer

Is that connected to their New Model School, Selsdon?


Simon Heffer is absolutely right.
The public has not forgotten the
disastrous ineptitude and folly
of the Major government.

Archer, Aitken, Hamilton,
the ERM, Maastricht, Bosnia,
the Post Office privatisation
shambles, use of the Parliament Act
for the War Crimes Bill, attack
on freehold property rights etc.

A bunch of political pygmies
who treated Margaret Thatcher
disgracefully and then proved themselves totally unfit to govern.


DD's arguments are not old hat, they are the arguments that are being made today in many nations other than our own. Reducing the growth of the state, increasing competition in public services; these are the arguments of modern Conservatives, including DC. We just need to know who can be best able to deliver them.


Alderman Vainly said - "Once again Cllr Iain Lindley has it exactly right. Britain is a much more left-wing nation than the US and electoral success is more likely to follow the Clinton route (as Blair has demonstrated) than the George W route."

Left and Right are all relative. To move further right to the right of NL doesn’t mean the tories have to assimilate with the American right. Isnt it possible to 'thread the eye of the needle' and aim for the domestic policy gulf between NL and GW? No ones saying the tories have to embrace gun-loving, god-fearing, middle american values, just to be considerably more bold, with tax policy in particular, than they have been for the past 15 years. Dubyas victory was a small one, but it was one because he offered a credible alternative, amongst other things. For the past 8 years, cons have not offered an alternative (policy), but have focused on credibility (image) in language at least, if not appearance. With Blair at the helm, and the Campbell-NL-Murdoch Spin/PR machine, that was futile.
With Brown I think the tories have an window of opportunity. He is a cold, drab, non-entity when it comes to image. Both Cameron and Davis are at the very least equal to him in that department. So whoever wins, should focus on policy, and recover that ‘clear blue water’ between the parties.
That being said, Murdoch and the Suns hard-on for Cameron may mean he is the only viable candidate anyway.
Either way, I cant see either of the candidates, whoever is closer to the American right, proclaiming god reached down to them and compelled them to go to war - I highly doubt tories are at risk of appearing too evangelically conservative…


I don't think Finkelstein has said that first term tax cuts are not possible, more that we cannot predict what will be possible in 8-10 yrs time as davis has done.


We can predict that we need to improve our competitiveness. If the economy is in a bad way tax relief is even more important.

James Hellyer

"I don't think Finkelstein has said that first term tax cuts are not possible"

He said they are not compatible with public service reforms. As far as corporation tax is concerned, he is very wrong.

Selsdon Man

"is that connected to their New Model School, Selsdon?"

Yes James, I forgot its exact name. It is an excellent initiative that is complementary to the homeschooling explosion in this country - DC and DD take note!


I think what Finkelstein said was that it is, well, unwise to make tax promises for 2014. To be a tory you must surely believe in a smaller state and hence lower taxes.

However, it is rash to make commitments when we would first have to recover from what this government is doing to the economy presently.

James Hellyer

"To be a tory you must surely believe in a smaller state and hence lower taxes."

You've not met Francis Maude then!

henry curteis

The MP's can do and say whatever they like now. Their votes are cast and they are as relevant to the next phase of the leadership contest as male praying mantises who've shed their loads.

It's hardly very impressive seeing jumpy Tory MP's playing out a rather nervous game of musical chairs. OK they all want to be on the winning side and will jump around to find it. But wait. Davis is about to make a lot more of them start jumping.

If he adds committing EPPdom to the Tory past to his double referenda, he will strike a strong nerve of support throughout the membership, and start of flurry of nerves throughout the rather self satisfied and vacuous Cameron media-adored camp.

The scared rabbits in the headlights will freeze as they see their burrows netted over by some good solid eurosceptic policies tailor made to winning a contest to be decided by Conservative members. MP's are about to rediscover the meaning of the word insecurity. Let's see them start hopping all over again!!! It's the turn of the membership now. The media are not awake to the fact.


Danny has been following tax cut fashion rather than helping the Tories cut some new cloth. His actions are an insult to his intellect. Supply-side tax cuts would boost the economy and generate more revenue for public services and public service reform. But instead of arguing about the real world success of supply-side tax cuts, Danny homes in on whether it is wise to have detailed tax cut plans now. Of course it's not! But Danny's rejection of supply side economics is an even bigger wrong turn. At least the Davis tax cuts can be changed later. The static economics Danny espouses would be a straight-jacket for the Tories for all of the next parliament if David Cameron agrees with him.


Choice in education and healthcare proposed at the last election would have required an increase in spending as choice only works if you have spare capacity.

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