July 10, 2007 at 21:31 #107232
Brown’s going to have do a fair bit to win over this ex-Labour voter. But not as much as Cameron will have to do to persuade me to trust him.
Cameron is the wrong man at the wrong time, an ex-public schoolboy who looks like an ex-public schoolboy who appears to be all spin, PR stunt and no substance. His electoral instincts are right, that the party needs to position itself right of centre, rather than right of Thatcher, but apart from that, he’s come up with nothing. He needs a Clause 4 moment but hasn’t found it yet.
If Brown can present the election as substance v spin he will win. If Cameron can persuade people that Labour are tired old corrupt incompetent hasbeens AND that his party are fresh, exciting and trustworthy, he will win. I’d be betting on Brown at this point.July 10, 2007 at 22:09 #107244dave jayMember
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I think the Tories will win the election in the South, mainly due to immigration, taxation, taking an anti Euro stance and their alleged opposition to ID cards .. Labour will win it in the North, the real winners will be the Liberals because they will decide who forms the next government.
That’s my prediction .. Cameron won’t make a bit of difference.July 10, 2007 at 23:02 #107259GrasshopperParticipant
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I don’t think things have got that desperate quite yet.
Where’s the problem, Jeremy?
lollys mate is a single agenda merchant, and once he’s cleared the immigrants out of Harrow, he’ll leave it to his most trusted advisor (me) to make policy,
Then there’ll be gravy for everyone.
Despite appearances to the contrary, I’m more Michael Rimmer than Arnold J Rimmer.
PS. Please……no ‘rim’ jokes. I’ve already thought of that, so don’t waste your time.July 11, 2007 at 22:33 #107453
The Conservative/Tory alliance has always been the most interesting political grouping to study. There is no core Conservative/Tory philosophy. At its most successful, it is an enormous tent (perhaps marquee would be more appropriate) where Alf Garnett bumps elbows with Lord Heseltine and Norman Tebbit shares a table with Matthew Paris. It is a coalition of eccentric aristocrats, builders, coke-sniffing city traders, middle-managers, priests, free market enthusiasts, pro-life campaigners, gay libertarians, authoritarians, pro-European fat cats, anti-European small businessmen, shopkeepers, Unionists, military men, born again Christians, wealthy immigrants and Enoch Powell. There is no church broader, battier or more fascinating. Only this evening Melanie Phillips and Michael Portillo were managing to disagree on the Moral Maze on the rather mundane subject of personal debt.
Cameron is involved in the mother of all re-branding exercises and I’m not sure he really understands how to put the whole coalition together. You can’t please every part of the Conservative family in the same speech, or even the same news cycle. He needs to work out which faction he belongs to and then begin the process of welding the others together through patronage, threat and sheer political cunning.July 11, 2007 at 23:03 #107461stevedvgMember
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The most interesting thing I ever read/heard about Brown was from Blunkett’s book.
(never read the book, just read about this part in the papers)
Here’s how it went:
In the days before the vote on the Iraq invasion, Blair was having trouble getting Brown to support the invasion because Brown thought it was a bad idea.
Blair knew that, if Brown spoke out against the proposed war, the backbenchers would vote it down. So he decided to pressurise Brown.
He told GB that, if he opposed the war, he’d lose his job as chancellor.
Brown, faced with the choice:
(1) speak out against the war and lose his position
(2) vote for the war and cause the deaths of many of thousands of people (at least).
chose to sacrifice the lives of Iraqi civilians for the sake of his own career ambitions.
Now, I don’t know if Blunkett is full of **** on this particular subject, but if he’s telling the truth, Brown is a truly disgusting excuse for a human being.
SteveJuly 13, 2007 at 23:14 #107810Small BearMember
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steve that’s interesting…i’d not heard that before. I’d normally go for old brown but that seems to change things a little, especially as there were certainly people around who sacrificed their jobs as they didn’t believe in the cause. Still, can’t see me changing to a tory vote…July 27, 2007 at 12:26 #109391
No core conservative philosophy? I have a whole range of books on my shelf about it.
Left wing socialists obviously have the likes of Marx to draw upon but modern day conservatism (small "c") has its roots in the works of the philosophers John Locke and Edmund Burke (classical liberalism) not to forget those who came later with their free market ideas: F.A Hayek, Frederic Bastiat, the economist Milton Friedman…
As a conservative I believe in limited government, low taxes, freedom and individualism and strong defence.
I have studied conservative philosophy and economics that is more generally embraced by US Republicans (not neo-cons, where aggressive foreign policy has replaced isolationism which was at the heart of 1920s Republicanism). Of course you will either be conservative in the economically libertarian sense, or in a social sense (tough on immigration, pro-family etc), or even both. Contradictions enter the fray in all political philosophies and ideologies.
Although that said, David Cameron’s Tories are not classically conservative in the fact they follow conservative philosophy – the fact they can’t argue the economic case for low taxes and small government with any conviction will mean they won’t get votes. DC is so intent on sharing the centre ground with Brown (and Campbell), that the poor electorate feel they have nothing to choose from.
Hence Labour stay in power.July 27, 2007 at 12:29 #109392
Agreed Aranalde – I think people from all sides would have far more respect for Cameron if he just stuck to one set of beliefs without trying to please everyone at once. He knows he’ll never placate the Right of the party (and there is a lot of them!) while he continues as his doing…but he still plods on.July 27, 2007 at 15:41 #109409TedMember
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Lolly’s mate gets my vote too.July 27, 2007 at 16:14 #109411KebabMember
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Why anyone would want to vote Labour is beyond me.
Unless you are a junkie, alcoholic, invalidity benefit shyster, immigrant beggar, or a general workshy piece of scum, it just costs you a huge whack of your hard earned.July 27, 2007 at 16:46 #109414
Apologies, I didn’t mean to imply that there was no philosphy associated with Toryism/Conservatism, rather that there is no one philosophy that adequately sums up the whole. As you pointed out, there are several political and economic thinkers who have influenced the party. Of those you quoted, I would have most affection for Burke. There is a case for saying that Hobbes was an early Tory, too.
The Labour party’s historical split is crudely one of Marxism v Unionism, but the degree of overlap is large. True liberals can unite over the simple principle of liberty, freedom in social, economic and political terms. The Conservative/Tory movement has many different elements, which I think makes it fascinating.
It might just about be possible to identify three groupings, dating back to the trauma the party experienced during Peel’s leadership. There are the economic libertarians (Peelites) who these days are able to easily embrace social liberalism as well, the authoritarian and social conservatives for whom the institutions of the country are vital, from church and monarchy to marriage (the Lord Wellington school of Toryism) and a dwindling band of One Nation Tories, who’s philosophy dates back to a perhaps mystical pre-industrial age, probably these days best represented by a belief in the benign effects of the class system and paternalism (Disraeli’s ‘Sibyl’ is perhaps their manifesto).
Thatcher’s political skill was to weld together the first two. I still don’t think she was entirely comfortable with the fact that so many of the younger generation, particularly in the city, indulged their new found cash and economic freedom by spending it ostentatiously. I think she had a touching but unrealistic view that if people were allowed to keep more of their money, they would save it, invest it wisely, use it to help their communities, charities, contribute to saving art galleries, libraries and other civic works. Maybe people of her generation would. But younger generations, given extra cash, simply spent it. I don’t make a moral judgement on that, but Thatcher I think belongs to the authoritarian strand of conservatism and as I say, I don’t think she could have been comfortable with that. There is no entry for ‘yuppy’ in her memoirs.
Then again, these could be merely the ramblings of an amateur political enthusiast who hasn’t read nearly as widely as he should have and makes up for it with convenient generalisations and sweeping statements.July 27, 2007 at 17:16 #109415
Of course, when it comes to elections, it is for many people a weighing up of two factors: is the current government tired and stale and is the opposition fresh enough without being scary. Cameron can do more to convey the first impression, but on the second one, I suspect he would benefit from a Clause 4 moment, a public scrap over a party issue that is symbolic more than practical and most importantly, that he can win, thus conveying clearly that he is in control and that his party has broken with the past. It would also help if figures such as Norman Tebbit could somehow be persuaded to oppose him publically.
I’m struggling to think what that issue could be though and he is running out of time.July 27, 2007 at 23:47 #109452
I’m pretty amateur too in political studies as most of what I’ve delved into was done outside my degree course (although there were political aspects to that) and since then whilst out in the USA, where they take conservatism to a different level!
Interesting stuff though. I talk to a lot of young Conservatives on a regular basis and I meet many economic libertarians and not so many socially conservative sorts – maybe I’ll make a sweeping generalisation and say that older people are more socially conservative! My best friend is a self-confessed Bush loving Neo-Con, probably the only Bush fan in England, so I’ve suggested he goes to the US where he’ll be right at home!
As for Cameron’s lot, at least Cameron is not backing down and is showing leadership qualities. The problem is, as you say, is that they need a Clause Four moment but if Brown calls a snap election, surely their hopes are gone. But I think voter apathy may be best solved if the Tories really concentrate on their main differences with Labour – the differences even Brown won’t go to lengths to turn into similarities.July 28, 2007 at 21:27 #109552
Its a tricky one, though, spelling out differences with Labour. Hague-Duncan Smith and Howard were all stymied by the fact that Labour is a huge political elephant straddling the centre, centre-left and centre-right. Previous Tory leaders announced policies that were well received in the media and then within a couple of days became government policy. In an effort to try and define themselves more clearly they moved to the right, in language or policy and the moment they did that, they stepped out of the election winning zone. Any policy announcement before a general election will either be hoovered up by Labour if its popular or torn to pieces in the media if it doesn’t add up.
Cameron would be best to avoid specific policies and spend the next eighteen months or so hammering Labour. As I said before I think he has to first demonstrate that the government of Brown does not deserve another chance, create a media and political climate that it is time for a change, and then present his party as a breath of fresh air. But he needs to raise to his game as strategically and tactically, the Conservatives are losing.
Strategically, he needs to start shifting the public mood, focusing on the government’s weaknesses and pounding them relentlessly, with humour, well timed and delivered speeches and as much negative campaigning as he can stomach (whilst of course distancing himself from it). This targetting of the government has to be run like an election campaign, with a timetable planning their attacks over several weeks and months. And number one priority has to be to get Murdoch on board. Frankly the most important thing for Cameron to be doing now is kissing Murdoch’s ass on a daily basis. With Murdoch’s assistance, changing the public mood is a hell of a lot easier.
Tactically, they need to get sharper, they need to be instantly rebutting every single one of Labour’s attacks on them, they need to be flexible and quick on the offensive when Labour slips up and they need to be driving the headlines. At the moment, they are all over the shop. The bi-election was a bad result, but not serious, they had a go at it and I think it was worth a risk. The press was building up against Cameron though and there were talks of votes of no-confidence. So when the floods washed everything else off the front pages, they should have taken advantage of their lucky break and had Cameron out there in his wellies filling sandbags. Instead, they stuck inflexibly to their original Rwanda plan and got on the wrong end of the next news cycle as well.
I think there are a number of bright and talented people working on Cameron’s team, but they are not clear on their approach. Cameron is being moved around as though he were a member of the Royal family, giving interesting talks on a range of subjects. They need to start getting nasty and a little more streetwise politically, or they will be blown out of the water.
Their job is made more difficult by the fact that people are far more aware of spin and PR than they were 10 years ago. They have to find more subtle and cleverer ways to manage the media than empty soundbites and publicity shots of Cameron in the Arctic Circle, because a Brown campaign will be all about substance v appearance. I think the Cameron team need a few less PR people and one or two more battle-hardened campaign strategists.
At the moment I won’t be voting for either of them. From a political point of view though, Brown is managing to appear to be solid, statesmanlike and in control. Cameron is running a slightly slicker version of the William Hague campaign. And that won’t be enough.July 29, 2007 at 11:22 #109619dave jayMember
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Although that said, David Cameron’s Tories are not classically conservative in the fact they follow conservative philosophy – the fact they can’t argue the economic case for low taxes and small government with any conviction will mean they won’t get votes
I don’t see why they can’t argue on this point .. low taxation and small government is what people want .. well it’s what this person what’s anyway. I want to decide what I spend my money on not someone down the town hall, in Edinburgh, in Westminster or in Brussles.
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