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Comments

John Hustings

"My suggestion was that if like John Hustings, you are not prepared to seek support from those outside your core, then you ought to preach conservative values from an interest group/think-tank, "

This makes the rather dubious assumption that those who have not voted Conservative, but might consider voting Conservative, would find Cameron's "modernisation" package appealing. There is no evidence for this at all.

If you think that the party will win lots of votes by going "liberal" on drugs and binge-drinking (morality in general) and getting lots more blacks gays and women represented then I think you're a little naive.

The metropolitan type Cameron is appealing to may be outside the "core" but they are a very narrow set in themselves. Furthermore, this broadening will alienate core conservatives who *will* abandon the party. Do not doubt that.

"We must try to win the intellectual battle for conservative values in the minds of those who may not subscribe to the Guardian, but nevertheless abandoned us to vote for New Labour since 1997. They are not a "narrow group of people", but a very significant section. "

*Precisely*. And they will *not* be won over by going soft on crime. Or by getting more ethnic candidates. There is no sign at all that that is what they don't like about the Tories.

People abandoned the Tories because they associated them with sleaze, with bad governance, and with money-grabbing shisters. Their view was in many respects justified.

They did *not* abandon them because of their social views. The overwhelming majority of the United Kingdom are socially conservative. For the Tories to then abandon that overwhelming majority for a tiny clique is just lunacy.

James Hellyer

"James, today you appear even more confused than usual."

Which would be why you've now chnged your point completely by adding the clause "and thereby applying or influencing a conservative agenda."

Kindly don't patronise me because you lack the ability to make your point clear the first time around.

wasp

James the only role of a politcal party is to win and retain power.

James Hellyer

"James the only role of a politcal party is to win and retain power."

Then why don't you go an jojn the Labour Party? They already have power. If there's no purpose other than that, why are you wasting your time here?

Sean Fear


Interesting Debate. It took Labour 45 years to win a working majority - yet during that time, they managed to move the country a long way leftwards. So parties in opposition are capable of exerting enormous influence, if they can force the governing party to tack towards their position in order to retain power - and as we proved with the EU Constitution.

 Ted

James
Members of the party have shared philosophies and policies but the party is a construct so like minded people can, through combination, exercise power - preferrably by winning elections and maintaining power as as government , but some power can be exercised even in opposition (as DD demonstrated over 90 days). It is arguable therefore that the party does exist solely to win and maintain power.

Sam

Your deliberate obtuse reading of posts are incompatible with intelligent debate James.

I'm afraid that spelling out what I would have hoped is the obvious to you; that a Conservative party will try to influence a conservative agenda, does not qualify as having "changed (my) point" remotely let alone "completely".

The Party can only do so by gaining power, be it in the form of securing parliamentary seats or being elected to government itself. The original point being that this happens by winning votes from outside your core support.

mod

John Hustings - the Conservative Party is the Party of freedom, liberty and tolerance. I'm a member of the Conservative Party because I'm a libertarian.

Social conservatism should have no place in the Conservative Party.

It's because in recent years we've sounded socially conservative, grumpy, reactionary, and intolerant that people have just switched off from voting Conservative.

When you smile at someone, they tend to smile back. It's time our Party started to smile at the Country.

Sean Fear

"Social conservatism should have no place in the Conservative Party."

That's not the "twenty five percent strategy." That's the 5% strategy.

James Hellyer

"Your deliberate obtuse reading of posts are incompatible with intelligent debate James."

You said that "The objective of a political party is to seek power". That's "the" objective according to you. Not one objective. Not a means to achieving an objective. But an end in itself.

To then amend that by saying that power is desirable to apply "or influencing a conservative agenda" is to completly change the point, because it means power is not in itself the end, but rather enacting an agenda is the end.

Rather than admit this basic inconsistency between your statement, you instead fall back on childish abuse. It is you who are incapable of intelligent debate.

James Hellyer

"It is arguable therefore that the party does exist solely to win and maintain power."

Not really, Ted, it's so like minded people can either enact their common agenda, or influence debate so public policy more relfects their concerns.

Even parties that have no hope of gaining power can do this. The Referendum Party, for example, forced John Major to pledge to a referendum before taking Britain into the single currency. Tony Blair felt compelled to match the pledge, and therefore British entry has never been a serious prospect.

Sam

"To then amend that by saying that power is desirable to apply "or influencing a conservative agenda" is to completly change the point, because it means power is not in itself the end, but rather enacting an agenda is the end."

James, you seem to be under the impression that seeking power and applying a conservative agenda are two unrelated objectives for a Conservative political party. You are mistaken, for they are not. A Conservative Party wishing to apply conservative values is rather obvious and despite your needs, the rest of this community does not require it to be spelled out to them exhaustively.

So once again, a Conservative Party tries to apply its conservatism by specifically pursuing power (seats or election) looking outside its core-support. This distinguishes it from conservative interest groups (e.g the Bow Group, Monday Club etc.) These also share a conservative agenda which they wish to sell, but the Conservative Party is distinct in being the only one that wishes to do so by winning seats or an election. Its objective, to seek power to apply conservatism, cannot be considered two different objectives. Otherwise you are in danger of confusing the objective of a political party with that of an interest group.

James Hellyer

"James, you seem to be under the impression that seeking power and applying a conservative agenda are two unrelated objectives for a Conservative political party. You are mistaken, for they are not."

You're mistaken because I never said that at all. I said that gaining office is a means to enact a Conservative agenda, and that the desire to enact that agenda is the objective in itself.

"A Conservative Party wishing to apply conservative values is rather obvious and despite your needs, the rest of this community does not require it to be spelled out to them exhaustively."

It's not obvious though, is it. Some past Conservative governments weren't in any way Conservative. Ted Heath's is the prime example: it was responsible for mor wholescale nationalisations than the Labour governments that surrounded it.

The fact is that you said power was the aim in and of itself. So you'll have to accept judgement of your words. And they are found wanting.

wasp

James you are being ridiculously stupid.

What does "power" mean. Answer the ability to change things.

Political parties exist in order to change things though the democratic process, thats what power means.

If it was about spreading a conservative agenda then the party would sod winning elections and spend all the money on public information campaigns telling people how great marriage is or how evil those nasty foreign types in the EU are.

James Hellyer

"James you are being ridiculously stupid."

No I'm not. You are still determindedly missing the point. While you try and understand it, perhaps you should also read the comments policy:

http://conservativehome.blogs.com/resources/2005/12/comments_policy.html

"What does "power" mean. Answer the ability to change things."

No it doesn't! "Power" in this context means being returned to goverment, which is in itself not the objective of a political party. Rather the ability that will give them to enact their agenda is the objective.

"Political parties exist in order to change things though the democratic process, thats what power means."

No, that's political parties *do*. Means and ends are not the same!

"If it was about spreading a conservative agenda..."

You have a funny idea about what a Conservative agenda is and about the best way to promote it. Read the Daily Mail much?


Sam

James, you're once again playing fast and loose with my argument.

Of course the degree by which we gauge the position of a Conservative Party as sufficiently conservative, will vary from person to person. I never diputed this, but a Conservative Party nevertheless seeks to apply conservatism in some shape or form. If we can't agree on this I feel time's winged chariot hurrying near.

A Conservative Party's specific objective is to seek power so that it can apply its version of conservatism. For a political party these are inexplicably linked - they are not seperate objectives that you can accuse one of alienating from the other.

I don't enjoy patronising this community by spelling out for a wilfully obtuse minority, that plenty of conservative entites have a conservative agenda they wish to spread, but a Conservative Party is specific in its objective of seeking power to spread its version of it.

Alexander Drake

OK, here are some comments to throw in to the mix...

1. I think it is incumbent on this party to provide a major, mainstream alternative for governing the UK. No one else is capable of doing it, and after all, the Party receives money from the taxpayer to do it.

2.It's in the interest of the country to have a properly electorally competitive choice at election time. To refuse the challenge would be to condemn Britain to being an uncompetitive one-party state and that would be pretty bad. A clear ideological dichotomy between us and Labour is important, but I think an electoral dichotomy is much more important to keep the polity on an even keel.

3. I believe that the worst Conservative government is always going to be ten times better than the best Labour government. 100% raw loyal Tory tribalism here, folks. And the ends to best promote that national interest, via tribalism, in my book, justify the means. Let's not kid ourselves - Labour's machine types wake up every day thinking about how to do us over because they were kicked around for 18 years. What hope have we got if we don't return fire? Rising above it?? Come on.

4. WARNING: HERESY FOLLOWS. Although this is far from being the only reason I support the Conservatives, theoretically I'd be quite happy to have the Conservative Party win if for no other reason than to deny Labour and the Lib Dems the levers of government, because I've NEVER seen the economy look good after a good Labour government. Remember, the people that you disagree with in the Conservative Party might be [email protected], but they're OUR [email protected]

5. Finally, if DC does win the leadership, then I hope he uses the composition of the shadow cabinet to teach all wings of the Party how to develop an internal power-sharing formula. Show that everyone in the Party has a reason to get together and make it happen, and the Conservative Party instantly looks like a more mature, united party fit to govern than Labour. It's not all you need to do to win, but it will help in a big way.

Besides, mainstream political activity should be fun - why else would we waste our precious free time on it when we're all so "time-poor" these days? Otherwise we'll all look like earnest weenies writing pamphlets and talking policy like a bunch of geeks. You lot are ALL, from what I've read here, far far far too switched on and intelligent for that!

Chris Palmer

Excellent post Alex. I completely agree.

John Hustings

"Social conservatism should have no place in the Conservative Party."

Why is it that liberals, who claim to espouse "tolerance", frequently sound the most intolerant?

Sean Fear


What would happen if social conservatives were to take him at his word?

Peter

I think the quicker they put Alan Duncan in a important job the better and the quicker the Cameron camp disowns Jack Stone as a lunatic the better the party will be whoever becomes Leader a 3pm?

James Hellyer

"James, you're once again playing fast and loose with my argument."

Is "fast and loose" Sam language for accurately reporting what you've actually said?

"a Conservative Party nevertheless seeks to apply conservatism in some shape or form."

Not small "c" conservatism it doesn't. It's often been said that Thatcher was a radical and wasn't conserving much at all. In a different way Ted Heath was Conservative, but his government was so in hock to the consensus it barely seemed that way...

"A Conservative Party's specific objective is to seek power so that it can apply its version of conservatism."

And you've changed your position. Well done.

"For a political party these are inexplicably linked - they are not seperate objectives that you can accuse one of alienating from the other."

Actually they can be antagonisitic. For example, the Major's government's narrow pursuit of office ultimately made them unelectable, as they were perceived to be more interested in power than in any principles. Conversely there are may examples where policies that didn't bring about power have decisively altered the national debate and caused their realisation.


cfox

"I think the quicker they put Alan Duncan in a important job the better and the quicker the Cameron camp disowns Jack Stone as a lunatic the better the party will be whoever becomes Leader a 3pm?"

If Cameron wins, the way he deals with supporters like Francis Maude, Alan Duncan and Boris Johnson will be instructive. He will not be unaware of their weaknesses.

He needs a party chairman with energy and the ability to put in hard work, and front bench spokespeople who have an appreciation of how to manage the media rather than merely seek attention in it and make themselves and our party look ridiculous.

The question is can he reward most of his supporters while at the same time rewarding talent across the party and recognising people's shortcomings (including where that applies to a few of his own supporters)?

Sam

"Conversely there are may examples where policies that didn't bring about power have decisively altered the national debate and caused their realisation."

Yes James, usually when they did, or at least, sought to take power away from others e.g. Goldmith's Referendum Party.

Your utterley wrong in continuing to deny that Political Parties, unlike interest groups that pursue other objectives, seek POWER in order to apply its political agenda.

James Hellyer

"Your (sic.) utterley wrong in continuing to deny that Political Parties, unlike interest groups that pursue other objectives, seek POWER in order to apply its political agenda."

I never denied that. Try and respond to what I actually said please, as I responded to your ill founded assertion that pursuit of power was a party's only objective - an assertion you've now wriggled away from.

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