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David Cameron’s interesting start

David Cameron, newly elected leader of the Tories, has got off to a wonderful start, as I am sure readers will agree. He has signed up Sir Bob “give us yer fokkin’ money” Geldof to advise on world poverty; Zak Goldsmith, the environmentalist, has been also approached to advise on how to save the planet, and in a recent masterstroke, Oliver Letwin, a Tory MP, opined that the Tories should be concerned with redistributing wealth. Splendid. I am sure the sort of voters who deserted the Conservatives in 1997 and failed to return will be thrilled at this embrace of what looks like a sort of social democratic touchy-feely product by the Wonder Boy of Notting Hill. Or again, they may not.

All that remains is for Cameron to steal Labour’s old Clause Four promising nationalisation of the means of production, distribution and exchange. Then on to victory!

Meanwhile, Tim Worstall is similarly underwhelmed by Cameron.

Apologies for my sarcasm. Been a long day in the office.

98 comments to David Cameron’s interesting start

  • Old Jack Tar

    … and I shall remain a UKIP voter as a result

  • ex-tory

    Cameron delenda est

  • Verity

    The man is a shallow, self-satisfied idiotarian. Bob Geldof and Zacharia Goldsmith? Does he really think this is going to play to the hordes of Tory voters who stay firmly away from the polling booth? He is out of touch if he thinks most Tories believe this commie global warming myth. It is a totally destructive lefty construct and is designed to control capitalism and technical innovation. Du-uh, Dave.

    He is as empty and magpie-like as Bliar. Like Bliar, he sees something glittery and swoops down to steal it, not understanding that it is tinsel and has no value. What a tragic mistake this shallow idiot is.

  • Pete_London

    All that remains is for Cameron to steal Labour’s old Clause Four promising nationalisation of the means of production, distribution and exchange.

    Yep, funnily enough the exact same thought occured to me recently. The Tories now have gone beyond hopeless and turned into entertainment.

  • Verity

    Very well put, Pete_London. And the great Charles Moore, tangentially, addresses the endless twittering of the Tory ‘big beasts’ in The Speccie this week:(Link) All contributing noisily to the trivialisation of the Tory party.

  • Geldof lost any respect I had for him over the eBay/Live8 fiasco, after eBay offered to give up all their profits. I wonder how many of the 30,000 children that die every day could have lived with eBay’s donation.

    Sadly, eBay didn’t tell Geldof to shove it and instead went with a PR campaign of shutting down auctions.

    The idea that because Geldof has been doing this for 20 years makes him an expert is laughable. Time served is not the same thing as success.

    The Make Povery History campaign believes in a vague “trade justice” and that liberalising markets through trade agreements is bad. This is despite that fact that Mozambique has done exactly that and post-war has seen considerable economic improvement.

    I hope that this is simply part of a propaganda exercise to win hearts and minds. But I fear it is not. I have no problem with a degree of graduated taxation. But the world “redistribution” is text-book socialism, based in the principles of zero-sum economics, much loved by people who declare that Africa is only poor, because we are rich (so be guilty about it).

  • APL

    Tim Almond: “Geldof lost any respect I had for him over the eBay/Live8 fiasco,…”

    Oh, come on! Geldof is an ex and not very good pop singer, why did you have any respect for him in the first place?

  • mbe

    Worstall is spot on but don’t discount the gullability of the nation. What, nearly, every contributor on this site forgets is that they are the ones that have released themselves from the shackles and looked into the light.

    How popular is all the Live Aid/8 bollocks? VERY. It is a given that DC is media savvy so why should we think he hasn’t hit the nail on the head with all this piffle?

    Forget the revolution but visit political betting and tell me the stats don’t say something.

    DC will most likely be the next PM and there will undoubtably the usual ructions within the Tory party, mostly from the Right who hate all this BS as much as libertarians do.

  • GCooper

    mbe writes:

    “…tell me the stats don’t say something.”

    They say what a bunch of halfwits who are willing to gamble away their money think.

    And nothing else.

    Cameron’s popularity, thus far, has been nothing more than a media myth.

  • Verity

    GCooper has it in a nutshell. Cameron’s “popularity” is a media invention. Why the media have taken a shine to this opportunistic fake baffles me. He’s not addressing education, crime, Europe, taxes. He’s away with the fairies discussing “global warming” and “global poverty”. Hello?

    Tell me, mbe, which Tories do you think will vote for the restrictive, backward, controlling policies of global warming and global poverty – both of which are anti-Western, anti-progress, anti technology. People who enjoya self-righteous, self-congratulatory glow when they earnestly debate these subjects do not vote Tory.

    The Conservatives are for progress, capitalism and free markets, not controlling, redistributive moonbattery.

  • J

    “He is out of touch if he thinks most Tories believe this commie global warming myth. It is a totally destructive lefty construct and is designed to control capitalism and technical innovation. Du-uh, Dave.”

    I think that’s the first time I’ve seen someone directly claim that global warming has been invented by commies to destroy us. This is cool, it’s like being in a novel. :-|

    J

  • Verity

    J – You’re a lefty, so you ought to know: There is no such thing as global warming. It wasn’t invented or organised by the left because … it doesn’t exist! The concept however, was crafted by the one-worlders.

    Have those severe blizzards in England been affecting you, by the way? I think it’s the most severe weather they’ve had in Britain for 20 years, or something. Must be all those greenhouse gases.

  • mbe

    GCooper and Verity: re-read my first sentence. I am absolutely convinced this wave of BS is a media hype. I do not believe it is the core belief in the DC camp.

    I quote myself: “the gullability of the nation”
    Do not underestimate it.

    GCooper: as DC has not yet faced a public vote (outside of the Tory party) how can his popularity exist anywhere else except within the media?

    Verity: as you know so much about the Tory vote (all whopping 250,000 of them) tell me, please, which ones will NOT vote Tory because their leader is offering a sop to non-Tory voters?

    These are important issues we are talking about but I am the first to admit that the rhetoric is not aimed at Tories. Perhaps that is the entire point?

  • RAB

    Well the planet is warming up. That’s a fact.
    Why it is warming up, that’s another matter.
    It has warmed and cooled many times over the eons.
    In Roman times they grew grapes as far north as York.
    Imagine the George Manbiot article in the Grauniad if you could do the same today.
    I saw a scientific piece recently relating to aerosols.
    Apparently scientists have underestimated the effect these pollutants have on reflecting sunlight away from the planet and thereby making it cooler by about 100%
    So according to the current toss of the scientific coin—
    Pollution is actually good for us and will save millions of lives. Ah but we can’t go there…. think of the asthema lobby.
    Go figure.

  • Verity

    mbe – as DC has not yet faced a public vote (outside that of Conservative Party members) how can his popularity exist anywhere else except within the media? Sorry, but I don’t think he has any popularity at all, so the media are “reporting” something that doesn’t exist.

    If he is trying to sell his “programme”, for want of a better word” to non-conservatives (small c), and doesn’t really mean it, then he is selling a Conservative government on a false prospectus. Being as how he was doing pr for a media company, this certainly wouldn’t send me reeling against the wall with astonishment, but it certainly endorses the impression that he’s an opportunistic sleazeball with no convictions.

    Which Conservatives, you ask, will not vote Tory because of Cameron’s pronouncements? The same Conservatives who have stayed away from the polls for three general elections. And the same Tories who are now bloody fed up and will vote for UKIP. Who will be voting for him? People who are fooled by the false prospectus and fake mateyness, of course. The same people who were fooled by Tony Bliar.

    If he wants to judge how popular his programme mandating that women get even more rights and privileges in the workplace is with the public, he should go to that dreaded socialist nest Have Your Say on the Beeb site. He should sort the comments by Most Recommended. He will see that they are about 95% against his foolish pronouncements.

  • GCooper

    mbe writes: ” I am absolutely convinced this wave of BS is a media hype. I do not believe it is the core belief in the DC camp.”

    Really? In the absence of any better evidence, I’m taking the man at his word. To do anything else sounds like wishful thinking to me.

    “…as DC has not yet faced a public vote (outside of the Tory party) how can his popularity exist anywhere else except within the media?”

    It was you who suggested he had some by telling us to pay heed to the statistics on some betting site.

    What are you now saying – that you agree with me when I suggest his impact in the wider world remains completely unknown?

    I’m growing more bored by Cameron with every day. He has gathered about him a juvenile set of intellectual lightweights, guaranteed to appeal to the bimbo feature writers in today’s dumbed-down newspapers.

    Not once that I have seen has anyone in his team utter a single word of policy that isn’t metropolitan media twittering.

    He may quite possibly win the next election, but as a reaction to the sour-puss from No 11 having broken the economy. However, all that would prove is the truth of the old axiom, oppositions don’t win elections, governments lose them.

    No one but a paid-up member of the Notting Hill set can possibly believe this will play with Right and Libertarian Conservatives. And yes, there is evidence for that. Read the blogs.

  • John East

    GCooper, I agree that,

    No one but a paid-up member of the Notting Hill set can possibly believe this will play with Right and Libertarian Conservatives.

    But I would go further. The really stupid Nulabour supporters, and the brain dead old labour voters, will of course continue voting Labour. The more intellectually endowed statists will be laughing their socks (and their tights) off. They will know they’ve won the argument so why will they vote for the losers?

    That leaves traditional Tories. UKIP and BNP will have a feeding feast with these voters.

    Maybe this is a good thing. Any right wing party concerned with law and order, immigration, or Europe will be supported by a majority of the electorate. The prize is there for the taking, where is the right wing party?

  • Verity

    As I wrote above, the same people who stayed home in the last election and the election before that and the one before that will not be coming out to put a tick next to Dave’s name this time.

    My personal view, based on nothing except observation of my countrymen, is, they will be tired of denying themselves a say. I think this time large numbers will make the big break and go over to UKIP.

    The Conservative Party has let its adherents down for three elections in which they were, basically, unrepresented (although I think Michael Howard did a good job for the role he had assigned himself, and he left with grace) and I think this time, they’ll jettison it.

    Once gone, they will swell UKIP membership, UKIP will become more powerful, and many Tory deserters will never return. Frankly, I think Dave has sounded the Tories’ death knell. UKIP needs more young optimists, and it would give them more credibility if they had some black or Indian members. They should actively recruit such people. It would be an absurd mistake to assume they are not as discontented with their representation as the rest of us.

  • GCooper

    John East writes:

    “The prize is there for the taking, where is the right wing party?”

    That is the question, isn’t it? The media darlings will tell us that there is no popular support in the UK for Right wing views, but clearly that is simply what they wish to be true.

    Properly articulated, with appropriately charismatic leaders, I can see no reason at all that a party which advocated the end of virtually uncontrolled immigration, a crackdown on Moslem agitators, withdrawal from the EU, the strengthening of ties with the Commonwealth and USA, the end of death duties, concentration on the three Rs in education, strong defence, greatly reduced state interference – all the things the BBC stands against, in fact – wouldn’t do extremely well in a general election.

    The only people saying it wouldn’t are members of the metropolitan elite. It’s amazing that no one dares give it a try.

    And, before anyone pipes up with a ‘The Tories did and look what happened to them’, that’s a tired old refrain which completely ignores the real reasons John Major’s party lost the 1997 election and believes the fiction that Tony Blair won it.

  • Denise

    Might as well stick a fork in the Tory Party. They’re done. No wonder they can’t get voted in. They need to get a clue. Why the hell do they insist on competing for the Lefty votes lately? You’ve already got Labour and the Lib Dems. You don’t need another friggin lefty party. Hopefully, Tory voters and Libertarians will vote UKIP instead of not voting at all. It’s the only way to fight back. And at least the UKIP wanted withdrawal from the EU.

  • mbe

    Think it through people: DC is not appealing to anyone specifically but everyone! This ambiguous nature is a part of the skill.

    GCooper,you’re spot on: name me a government that disproves the axiom.

    DC is a superb tactician, end of story.

    Verity, I think you’re argument about DC’s popularity is particularly weak as no-one can judge a level of popularity without referring to the polls conducted on behalf of the media.

    Once again I’m in a position of supporting DC when essentially I have views that are as polar opposite to his as they can be. I’m merely trying to highlight the benefits of his approach.

  • GCooper

    Verity writes:

    “Once gone, they will swell UKIP membership, UKIP will become more powerful, and many Tory deserters will never return.”

    The problem with the UKIP is that it is (whatever some of its members will claim) a single issue party. I happen to think there is a great deal of truth in its line that the issue on which it campaigns is, ultimately, the one issue before which all others become insignificant. But it is a conceptual trap and its enemies never cease to use it, from the idiots who claim that opposition to the EU is “xenophobia” (and in so doing display their impeccable illiteracy in a primary European source), to those who simply believe it is of secondary importance who really governs the UK.

    But however wrong they may be, it means the UKIP is always vulnerable to attack. It needs to change its name and come out fighting – especially while the Conservative Party is on its last legs, with a lad in charge.

  • GCooper

    mbe writes:

    “Think it through people: DC is not appealing to anyone specifically but everyone! This ambiguous nature is a part of the skill.”

    Clearly, Cameron is not ‘appealing to everyone’. He has already raised the hackles of many on the Right, from commentators like Simon Heffer to several influential bloggers.

    It is hard to believe that the Geldoff strategy (alone) hasn’t caused a wave of apoplexies throughout the Right in the UK.

    I fear you, too, are confusing media clamour with universality. You believe he is ‘appealing to everyone’ because that is what you are being told.

    “DC is a superb tactician, end of story.”

    Alternatively, Cameron is a media bimbo, who has never swum in any pool other than the media shallow end and reflects back the opinions and views of the only people he knows.

    “Once again I’m in a position of supporting DC when essentially I have views that are as polar opposite to his as they can be. I’m merely trying to highlight the benefits of his approach”

    Or (as it seems to me) displaying a naive and touching faith, in the face of a growing body of contradictory evidence.

  • Verity

    I agree with a lot of what you say, GCooper, but I’d like to bring up a specific point you make: UKIP needs to change its name. That is dangerous for a new party, yet I also believe it is necessary because:

    The name UKIP came about shortly after Britain, or Great Britain, became, to our astonishment, “the UK”. The robbing us of our identity was important, and we should not have gone along with it. Any country can be a “united kingdom” of whatever. They took the ‘Great Britain’ out. This was with intent.

    It needs to be put back in in some way. Obviously, it can’t be The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Independence Party. So how would it be called so as not to rob it of the fragile identity of UKIP – at least it’s an identity and identities are all important – but how to expand it?

    We need to grab our identify back without losing what UKIP has paintstakingly built up – and they have made progress against the established parties, no question. Some way of reworking the name is required, in my opinion, to move ahead. There are now, like a thunderhead, a huge number of the electorate who feel disenfranchised, thanks to Dave, and they’re fed up with not voting. They’re at the point where they want to go and vote for someone. But what?

  • Tomahawk

    This blog has become a Wailing Wall for right-wing loons ever since Cameron’s election. It really is spooky to see how similar you guys are to the Old Labour lefties of the 80s and early 90s. The prize has to go to GCooper who writes:

    Cameron’s popularity, thus far, has been nothing more than a media myth.

    Change “Cameron’s” to “Blair’s” and we’re back to 1995, when the far-left and the Torygraph right agreed that Bambi’s bubble would soon burst. Hmmm…

    There are costs and benefits in repositioning the Tories in the centreground of British politics, but the benefits outweigh the costs: there are more votes to be gained from Labour and the Lib Dems by such a move than lost to the Ukippers. Frankly, I don’t even think Cameron will lose too many votes to UKIP because it’s not as if the Tories have a pro-European policy. Since 1997 the Europhiles have been effectively vanquished. The division between the modernisers and the headbangers is not over the subject of Europe, so there’s no obvious reason why UKIP should see a great surge in their support – they are one-trick ponies.

    All this stuff about Zac Goldsmith and now Saint Bob is not really about detailed policy at all, but image. I recently read the following summary of the Conservatives’ predicament by Ivor Crewe in “Britain at the Polls, 2005″ (pp 212-13):

    The Conservative Party has a huge image problem. Polls consistently report that, irrespective of their policies and leaders, the Conservative Party’s popular image is much less favourable than the Labour Party’s. People regard the Conservatives in 2005 as the same party as the one that lost under John Major in 1997, as having failed to move on, as stuck in the past, as hankering after a better yesterday and uncomfortable with modernity. Voters see it as a party of, and for, people very different from themselves; as exclusive and divisive, unconnected with the lives of ordinary people, sectional rather than national; as a party for the rich, for business and for rural England.

    The spotty adolescent grumblers that populate this site should print out that summary and pin it on their bedroom walls (if you need to make space take down the portraits of Maggie and General Pinochet). Cameron is trying to renew his party’s image by associating the Tories with causes that look modern and are relevant to younger people. (Making the party look normal, by having a few more female MPs will also help.) They are not going to turn into tree-huggers and do-gooders, but they are saying that they have a social conscience. You (and I) may laugh at it but millions of voters don’t. They have regarded the Tories as selfish and out to help the wealthy; Cameron is trying to show that his party cares. These notions are undeniably hazy – image questions always are – but images matter to voters. Labour’s image used to be that of a caring but incompetent party, while the Tories were competent but uncaring. For the duration of the Blair years, that changed, with Labour seen as competent and caring, and the Tories seen as neither competent nor caring.

    The Tories can’t rely on Labour suddenly being seen as incompetent – the deep recession you’re all praying for is unlikely to come, thanks to Bank of England independence. The best they can do is to show that they too are competent (difficult for opposition leaders to achieve, since they’re not implementing policies, but successfully revamping the party can serve as a useful proxy measure, as it did for Blair during 1994-97), and that they care – about everyone, not just cigar-chomping businessmen, posh people with double-barrelled names, and the green-wellies brigade. Those groups have enough cheerleaders among the right-wing fantasists and Little Englanders who long for yesteryear.

    Fake it till you make it!

  • Robert Alderson

    Tomahawk is quite right to point out the similarities between left wing criticism of Blair prior to 97 and criticism of David Cameron here. In 97 a lot of people were just generally disillusioned with the Major government and were prepared to vote for Blair because he was a safe, non-threatening alternative who went out of his way to change popular negative stereotypes about his party (i.e. abandoning clause 4, keeping Trident, pledging to follow Tory spending plans and not increase taxes.) David Cameron is pursuing the mirror image of this strategy (rethink immigration, talk to Bob Geldoff, noises about income redistribution.) It is not at all hard to imagine that Cameron can get enough people comfortable enough with the idea of voting Tory to get rid of a tired Labour party.

    The wildcard here is UKIP. Because of our electoral system there is quite a fine line between UKIP being a total damp squib in a general election and holding the balance of power. My fear is that any UKIP success will only be big enough to stop the Tories winning.

    It might be rhetorically satisfying to harrumph that Blair and Cameron have the same policies so we might as well give up on the Tories but I wonder if we will regret that in ten years time with Gordon Brown finishing his second term in office and parliament split three ways between Tories, LibDems and UKIP?

    I voted UKIP last time round because I want to give my dreadful Tory MP a good kicking (of course he still won) and because I felt ideologically closest to the UKIP candidate. My dream solution would be for the Tories and UKIP to forge local agreements not to field candidates against each other in key marginals.

    As for the UKIP name I don’t think it really matters. Most people think of the parties by the acronym (you-kip) what handicaps the party more is a lack of charismatic, publicly identifiable figures. Perhaps UKIP could invite Sir BG to take part in a forum on free trade?

  • Tomahawk

    My fear is that any UKIP success will only be big enough to stop the Tories winning.

    Unlikely to happen anyway – it would take a huge swing to the Tories for them to win the election, which in turn would require Labour to be comprehensively discredited – it could happen, but I don’t think it will in terms of economic meltdown. The next election is likely to end in a hung parliament, with Labour and the Tories running almost neck-and-neck (in terms of seats). Labour could win – but only if they destroy Cameron’s reputation in the first half of 2006. That’s the task the government has set itself, with Brown’s people leading the charge.

    what handicaps the party [Ukipper] more is a lack of charismatic, publicly identifiable figures

    Yes, they need someone like Kilroy… oh, hang on!

  • John East

    Tomahawk, don’t talk rubbish:

    This blog has become a Wailing Wall for right-wing loons ever since Cameron’s election.

    Most of us have been right wing loons for years.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Tomahawk’s rather long-windedly states that DC is doing a tremendous job by PR, hoping to dupe the muddle-headed middle classes by stunts such as hiring Sir Bob, Zac, and probably the Tellytubbies as well, no doubt. Maybe. Maybe not. I personally think that many of the people who cannot stand Blair are unlikely to prefer a Tory version, but something a bit grittier. In particular, I’d like to see whether Cameron is prepared to reverse any or all of the monstrous assaults on civil liberties underway and in the works, such as ID cards, erosion of trial by jury, etc, etc.

    Until then, Tomahawk, spare us the patronising lectures.

  • esbonio

    I am also unimpressed by Cameron and the rest. The mood music from the Tory Party appears to be if you cannot beat them, join them. So where does that leave the rest of us who want a right of centre government. I am literally beginning to squirm as more announcements and pronouncements are made. I grant that they may think thay are being clever with a PR game and to be fair it convinced many Tories (but not this one who did prefer the DD). But will the PR game last long enough before reality sets in and policies are required. Despite a superficially benign economy which appears to have lulled the electorate to sleep, this country does face massive challenges in all areas both now and in the future. I want to vote for a right wing party which is prepared to address these problems head on instead of talking the talk.

  • My fear is that any UKIP success will only be big enough to stop the Tories winning.

    The whole point of voting UKIP is not because they can win, but to destroy the Tory party so that some better opposition can form in the UK. That cannot happen until the Tories are smashed to the point they are no longer seen as an alternative.

  • GCooper

    Tomahawk writes:

    “Change “Cameron’s” to “Blair’s” and we’re back to 1995, when the far-left and the Torygraph right agreed that Bambi’s bubble would soon burst. Hmmm…”

    The usual Tomahawk approach – deflecting attention from an argument he cannot counter with a string of ad hominems

    Perhaps you could clamber down from your pedestal for long enough to explain why the assertion that we have no measure of Cameron’s public popularity is wrong?

    Or would you rather carry on wafling and blustering like your empty-headed hero Bliar does, whenever he’s faced with a question he can’t answer?

  • Verity

    esbonio writes: “… this country does face massive challenges in all areas both now and in the future.”

    Yes, indeed. Global warming. Global poverty. Not enough women MPs. A workplace that doesn’t give women enough privileges. If a large enough percentage of the electorate believe this crapola, they will vote for the Labourites. If they don’t, they will vote for … oh, wait a minute! Ummm, they’ll either stay home again, or this time, fed up, they’ll go to the polling station and tick UKIP.

    There’s light at the end of the tunnel and the light is the light of the oncoming train – in the person of the disastrous David Cameron.

  • GCooper

    Verity writes:

    “Global warming. Global poverty. Not enough women MPs. A workplace that doesn’t give women enough privileges. If a large enough percentage of the electorate believe this crapola, they will vote for the Labourites.”

    Yes, indeed. For all the breezy assurances we get from Bliarites and the media (essentially, one and the same), there is no convincing reason to believe the GBP gives a damn about this sort of multiculti froth.

    Manmade global warming? Anyone who really cares about that phantasm is already voting accordingly. And we know how well the Greens and LibDems do!

  • Tomahawk

    I personally think that many of the people who cannot stand Blair are unlikely to prefer a Tory version, but something a bit grittier.

    That’s what you call faith-based politics. It certainly isn’t founded on any empirical evidence; it’s just wishful thinking from an embittered man who is constantly let down by the voters. Bastards! But I’m sure if they were presented with a gritty, “real” politician they’d flock to him in droves. Like William Hague, for example… er… oh, hang on a minute! Been there, done that, got the baseball cap!

    GCooper – what you and your cohorts don’t understand is that it’s pointless talking about “media myths” when the subject of discussion is the image of a politician or party. The image of public personalities and organisations is communicated via the media to the millions of watching voters. Politicians do and say things, they are reported by the media, and an image is created. That was as true of Maggie as it is of Blair and Cameron. These days the media does not simply report bald political facts but likes to present them in terms of “victories” or “setbacks” for party leaders. Is it really all that surprising that politicians want to influence the reporting of their words and actions? Even then, the “spin” will strike a chord only if it is in tune with reality – Blair really did abolish Clause IV and annoy the unions and the left. Cameron will have to do similar things. At the moment, he is quite favourably perceived by voters but the main feeling is still one of uncertainty – not surprisingly – as can be seen in this YouGov pdf file. Cameron’s task in the next six month is to convert those “don’t knows” into admirers, while Labour will try to convert them into critics. But Cameron’s initial ratings are much more favourable than those of Hague, IDS and Howard at the start of their tenures.

    So, I don’t know whether all this counts as “waffling and blustering” to you, but it looks rather more substantial than your trademark shrieks and yells.

  • Tomahawk

    There’s light at the end of the tunnel and the light is the light of the oncoming train – in the person of the disastrous David Cameron.

    Well said, Verity! And the Cameron Express is heading straight for you and the other demented Ukippers standing on the tracks. Full steam ahead! Choo-choo!

  • Verity

    Tomahawk, you certainly do have a spiteful little agenda, don’t you, when you refer to the posts of one of the most articulate and rational writers on Samizdata as “trademark shrieks and yells”.

  • esbonio

    My wife (a former Labour Party supporter (albeit a long time ago)) has voted UKIP quite a few times and I certainly do not think she is demented. She was and remains however sick of the EU but could not find any party other than UKIP prepared to call the EU for what it is. And at least Labour gave the electorate a referendum. The less said about what the Tories sold us at around that time perhaps the better.

    I think from a UKIP perspective remaining a single issue party is a weakness not a strength (although it has not stopped it picking up crucial votes from the Tories). If the Tories continue with their soft sell techniques I guess they will lose more hard line Tories to UKIP. I suppose there are paralllels between UKIP and the Tories and the SDP and Labour.

    If the Conservative leadership does not care about losing right wing Tories because it calculates it can win by gaining floating cntre votes so be it. But if that is the case there is surely room for UKIP or a n other party to fill its shoes as a proper conservative / right wing party. We shall have to see how things progress.

  • Tomahawk

    you certainly do have a spiteful little agenda

    Oh, it could be worse – at least I haven’t called for the mass expulsion of Muslims from Australia, unlike you. And if GCooper is “one of the most articulate and rational writers on Samizdata”, young Cameron has nothing to worry about.

  • RAB

    Well Thomas Bach you’re back!
    Everything GCooper and Verity said with knobs on!
    And where do you get this spotty adolescent crap from? Most of the folk posting on this site havent had a spot or an adolescent thought in several decades.
    Unlike your good self. If you think swapping one phoney for another is going to help this country get out of the hole it’s in, well we all know what you halfthink.
    I have always prefered my politicians to be people of principle and conviction, be they well meaning loonies like Tony Benn or guys with bad timing like William Hague. They tell you what they have to say, not what you want to hear.
    Cameron is mist. He will try and swirl in under any door, just like his hero, The Bliar. I caught a story out of the corner of my eye today about Cameron’s courting of the greens. Argh!

  • esbonio

    Despite all the talk of inclusiveness, compassion and modernisation (or rather perhaps because of it), I get a strong sense of being patronised by the modernisers. But what should I expect if some believe that image is so important.

  • Tomahawk

    I have always prefered my politicians to be people of principle and conviction, be they well meaning loonies like Tony Benn or guys with bad timing like William Hague. They tell you what they have to say, not what you want to hear.

    I can’t help noticing that messrs Benn and Hague were not all that successful when it came to winning elections. Democracy’s a bitch, ain’t it?

    If you think swapping one phoney for another is going to help this country get out of the hole it’s in

    This country’s not in a hole. Its economy is fundamentally strong, it punches above its weight in the international arena, it’s finally playing a leadership role in Europe, its higher-education system is second only to the US in terms of international standards and recruitment, and London is an international centre of culture, arts, fashion and sport. People may occasionally grumble about the NHS and asbo yobs but they also like the modern country that Britain has become. You hell-in-a-handcart merchants will never understand that, but young Cameron does, which is why he’s trying to cast off the Tories’ “nasty party” image: ‘stuck in the past, hankering after a better yesterday and uncomfortable with modernity’. To make his modernising project look credible Cameron must pick a fight with his own reactionaries, preferably leading to some resignations and expulsions – he ought to announce that the party is consigning Thatcherism to the past, and then kick out Tebbit. It would be hilarious listening to the squeals of anguish from the Blue Bennites at this site.

  • GCooper

    Tomahawk writes:

    “Cameron’s task in the next six month is to convert those “don’t knows” into admirers, while Labour will try to convert them into critics. But Cameron’s initial ratings are much more favourable than those of Hague, IDS and Howard at the start of their tenures.”

    Stripped of all the Islington twittering, your comment reveals nothing more plainly than that still haven’t grasped what it is that motivates people to vote.

    Here’s a hint from someone I’m sure you admire: It’s the economy, stupid.

    All this airy talk about polls and what your friends in the Bliarite media think of Cameron mean nothing compared with the reality shrinking disposable income.

  • esbonio

    I cannot agree with tomahawk’s sanguine overall view of our country.

    The economy is of course crucial and that is the main reason the Tories were kicked out. It was a miracle Major won his election after the damage the Tories had inflicted on us all. But the voters were not prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt a second time. That was in part due to the electorate’ s ennui with Tory antics and yes I would grant superb use of the media to put the Tories in a bad light (something which continues today). Yes we have seen a great deal of economic growth and stability but the economy is slowing and the public sector is bloated with taxes and or borrowing set to rise. The state’s take of national income has grown rapidly without a commensurate rise in public sector growth and productivity. Serious crime including homicide and violent crime is rising. There is a massive housing shortage. The armed forces are undermanned and underarmed. Nor do I recognise the the rosy view of higher education from my own or my children’s experience. The constitution has all but been ripped to shreds and our civil liberties disappear by the day. The only sure thing is that all the luvvies in never never land won’t pay the price even if the country has to.

  • GCooper

    Tomahawk writes:

    “This country’s not in a hole.”

    Ah, the merry sound of a Bliarite whistling in the dark! Tell me, do you really believe this rubbish, or is it just what was beamed-in on a pager?

    “Its economy is fundamentally strong,”

    The following from the (often friendly to Bliar) Anatole Kaletsky in the Bliarite Times: “The British economy today is struggling against four powerful headwinds: an oil shock, a downturn in the global business cycle, a decline of consumer confidence linked to high interest rates and weak housing, and a loss of control by the Treasury over Britain’s public finance. And these headwind forces are likely to intensify, rather than weaken, in the year ahead.”

    Meanwhile, Tomahawk thuds wide of the target again with: “…it’s finally playing a leadership role in Europe”

    Really? The consensus on Bliar’s EU presidency was that he pulled off one of the greatest failures in recent memory.

    And again: “its higher-education system is second only to the US in terms of international standards and recruitment”

    While Jeff Randall (who, one suspects knows just a teeny bit more about business and the economy than the credulous young Tomahawk) reminds us that:

    “Three business sectors in which this country is a world leader are: pharmaceuticals, aerospace engineering and high-end automotive manufacturing. If you ask hotcourses.com to find full-time, undergraduate courses in these subjects, it turns up: 121 in aerospace engineering, 96 in automotive engineering and 56 in pharmacy.

    Compare that with: 735 degree courses in television studies, 314 in leisure studies and 206 in computer games.”

    Come on, Tomahawk! You can do better than this, surely?

  • esbonio

    And another thing, London has been and continues to be a great city of which we can all be proud; but there is an electorate outside the M25 whose interests the Tories should not ignore.

    As for Lord Tebbit, having been an RAF officer and a member of the cabinet (for which he and his wife paid dearly) he has served his nation and his party well.

  • RAB

    Blue Bennites!
    Yo Tom dude! give me the mobile of your dealer!
    You have some serious stash in this yuletide!

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Tomahawk, you’d do yourself a favour if you could actually argue your case without name-calling. It is not that difficult.

    When I argued that the public might want something “grittier” than a pale Tory version of Blair, I was not engaging in “faith-based” politics, as you termed it, but merely going on what I sense is a serious problem with Blair, which is the perception that he is just a chancer. I fail to see how a Tory in the same mould is going to galvanise the country. And I would be wary of opinion polls taken just weeks after the election of Cameron. Wait and see when he actually comes out with detailed policies, as he will have to do sooner or later.

  • Verity

    The people who are seduced by Blairy-fairy talk are already committed to the Blairy fairy. They have no motivation to switch. Most of them work in trade unionised industries and the vast public sector or are beneficiaries of the welfare system.

    Committed free marketeers who believe capitalism raises everyone’s boats want someone with a more robust sense of the nation, the constitution, individual liberties, quality education and free trade. Cameron’s a PR wideboy, all slick salesmanship and no substance.

    Let the LibDems and the Labourites romp around in global warming and global poverty and quotas for women candidates, but there is real work to be done and they are not the ones to trust with it.

    Cameron will prove to be the dampest of squibs. I wonder how long it will take for the Tories to realise with a sinking heart that they have made a terrible mistake.

  • GCooper

    As if we needed reminding just how wide of the goal Cameron is shooting by trying to ape the fading star, Bliar, today’s Telegraph informs us that, in the past year, the average family has suffered the following increases in its costs.

    £200 more on petrol, Council Tax up by £50 (Band D), and £29 for water bills.

    Next year, the average voter will face a £100 increase in her or his energy bills. And who knows what else?

    Nice going, Gordon!

    And meanwhile, the boy, Cameron, thinks consulting Zac Goldsmith and Bob Geldoff will win him an election?

    It’d be funny if it weren’t so tragic.

  • Verity

    Maybe he’s hoping to hit them up for a contribution? Zac’s dad – who started and funded the Referendum Party, if y’all remember – left billions.

    Or maybe Dave realises he’s not going to last and he’s looking for job offers.

  • Tomahawk

    Well, if you’re a regular reader of Kaletsky you’ll know that, although critical of Gordon Brown’s public-spending record, he thinks the economy is basically fine and is not going to crash in the next few years:

    Let me begin with the bad news for the Tories. While the economy is certainly weaker than it has been for almost a decade, it is not yet in any kind of crisis — and there is very little risk that “the wheels will come off the economy” in Mr [Mervyn] King’s homely parlance. The fact is that the Bank has plenty of scope to cut interest rates if the economy continues to weaken and, contrary to previous impressions, Mr King shows every sign of willingness to do so, provided the economic weakness continues and inflation remains under control. Thus the probability of Labour self-destructing in the sort of economic disasters that ended the Tory ascendancy of the 1980s and 1990s or the Labour ascendancy of the 1960s and 1970s, seems very small.

    There will be no devastating run on the pound or 5% increases in interest rates on a single day. Bankers, not politicians, determine interest rates these days – and a good thing too. As for the housing market, that remains subdued, although it is starting to pick up. Once it does, consumer confidence will rise. Despite all this, the UK’s economy remains fundamentally strong – inflation is low, interest rates are low, unemployment is low, labour markets are flexible, the currency is stable, per capita GDP is now above French and German levels, national income has grown continuously since 1992. Hell, isn’t it?

    But let’s just assume for a moment that the economy did tip into a recession. Who would be the beneficiaries, politically speaking? Esbonio usefully reminded us above that John Major won the 1992 election in the middle of a deep recession. The reason? Voters were infuriated with the Tories but they were terrified of Labour: better the devil you know, they thought. It took Black Wednesday to destroy the Tories’ economic reputation. Labour is now firmly established in voters’ minds as the party of economic competence; it’s not unrealistic to imagine that a recession would leave voters again wondering who was best placed to save the country. Trusted Mr Brown or an inexperienced Tory (a problem that would have awaited all Tory leadership candidates with the exception of Kenneth Clarke). It may well be all about “the economy, stupid”, but that doesn’t mean the relationship between economic variables and voting behaviour is straightforward. It isn’t.

    It’s perplexing seeing the self-proclaimed patriots on this site salivating at the prospect of a national economic meltdown – which, even were it to occur, might not benefit their parties. This country does face some economic and social problems, but if you think that voters will flock to the doom-and-gloom merchants, you’ve condemned yourselves to repeat the mistakes that helped the Tories lose in 2001 and 2005. Voters want a vision, not a Daily Mail rant about how terrible things are.

    On Britain’s recent EU presidency, yeah total failure: agreed a budget, got the entire EU calling into question farm subsidies, with the issue to be examined in a couple of years, cemented its role as the leader of the accession states, and paved the way for accession talks with Turkey – a major UK foreign-policy goal. But judged by your yardstick of withdrawal from the Union, none of it counts, does it?

    As for higher education, the courses on offer depend on levels of demand – that’s one reason why I’m in favour of tuition fees. If the system is so bad, why are places at British universities in such demand among overseas students? According to The Times two days ago: “The Russell Group of 19 research-intensive institutions, from the universities of Warwick and Glasgow to Oxford and Cambridge, has no rival elsewhere in the EU and a strong claim to surpass all but the best US universities for quality of undergraduate education.”

    There are so many things about this country that foreign observers find admirable and praiseworthy. Like every other country, it has its problems, but to present these as the “real picture” and to dismiss everything else is the mark of a facile, partisan hack. The Tories’ main problem has been that when voters are asked what comes into their minds when they think of the party, they think of people like GCooper, Verity, RAB and all the other little grumblers and grouches on this thread and others. If Cameron manages to free his party of people like you and consign you all to the barren wilderness of Ukipperland, he’ll have done his party and the country a service.

  • John East

    Verity, one has to feel sorry for the Tory party. At one time their leaders were appointed by some mysterious dark process involving secret meetings of Tory grandees. With the exception of Alec Douglas Hume this system worked well.

    Now that they’ve embraced democracy, and put their future in the hands of 300,000 party members the pendulum swings wildly between stiff, remote, uncharismatic figures like ID Smith and lightweight chancers like Cameron. Under the old system, I doubt very much that a future leader could have run as a Tory and emerged after victory as a socialist/Lib Dem clone.

    In answer to your question, “I wonder how long it will take for the Tories to realise with a sinking heart that they have made a terrible mistake.” I suspect that the penny has already begun to drop. When Nulab get rid of Blair, and the Lib Dems dump Kennedy, and both parties relaunch themselves, Cameron will be left floundering.

  • RAB

    Oh Thomas Bach! my heart reaches out to you!
    Dum de de dum, dumdedumdedum…Singing and dancing in the rain.

  • Tomahawk

    JP

    you’d do yourself a favour if you could actually argue your case without name-calling

    I suppose I could take that pompous admonition slightly more seriously had it also been delivered to the other commenters on this thread. Alas, it was a lecture for non-Ukippers only. You shouldn’t be such a sensitive and fragile soul.

    As for Cameron, do you reject the idea that a party’s image is of vital importance to its electoral hopes? There was a poll a couple of months ago asking people what they thought of various Tory policies (can’t remember which polling organisation). The results were generally positive – until people were told that they were Tory policies, at which point support halved. That’s what an image problem does for you.

  • Tomahawk

    RAB

    Yo Tom dude! give me the mobile of your dealer!
    You have some serious stash in this yuletide!

    I think you’ve smoked quite enough already…

    Dum de de dum, dumdedumdedum…Singing and dancing in the rain.

  • esbonio

    Tomahawk is right to focus on the economy and I suspect that short of economic disaster the electorate may well give the devil they know the benefit of the doubt. Black Wednesday preceded Major’s election success but its damage continued through Major’s final term.

    But just because the economy is not in a nose dive does not mean all is fine in the world. Indeed if it were presumably Tomahawk would vote Labour.

    As for higher education, foreign students may well like it. (As an aside EU students on my master’s course got the VAT back but UK residents did not). Teaching I can assure you was a real eye opener. I taught what most would consider a hard subject to post-graduates many of whom were ex-Oxbridge. It was really amazing to see pc-dom in action. Talk about bending over backwards.

    As for the end result: we have graduates today who do not understand why they cannot get the jobs they were lead to believe their undergraduate studies would provide them. Call it supply and demand if you like or even employers’ cynicism at their qualifications.

    Tomahawk is right to emphasise the positive but should not be blind to what is wrong in our country.

  • Verity

    John East – Yes, I agree.

    I will suggest something that will probably cause large numbers of bloggers on this honoured site to throw rotten fruit at me, but I think they should not have removed IDS.

    Ow! Hey! Wait a minute! Hear me out! I’m not saying I liked the man myself … but a lot of Tories voters liked him because he was a lot like themselves. He held the same values, he loathed ZaNu-Lab, he loathed Tony Blair. He was middle class, not too exceptional, had served in the armed forces (voters like that). He believed in their values.

    It didn’t matter that he didn’t prevail at the Despatch Box because what he said still rang a bell in Conservative hearts. He didn’t win points at PMQ, but I think he was winning minds in the country at large.

    But he wasn’t smart and Westminsterish enough for the Tory fauna in Westminster village. They turned on him like vipers before he had had a chance to prove that he could win votes for the party.

    Well, now they’ve got somebody terribly stylish with all the right dinner party concerns and opinions. A Tony Blair tribute band.

    I think the Tories would have actually have got up off their couches and turned out to vote for IDS.

    Okay, you sir, you with the rotten tomato …

  • GCooper

    Tomahawk writes:

    “On Britain’s recent EU presidency, yeah total failure: agreed a budget, got the entire EU calling into question farm subsidies, with the issue to be examined in a couple of years, cemented its role as the leader of the accession states, and paved the way for accession talks with Turkey – a major UK foreign-policy goal”

    Funny, I seem to recall something about a £3 billion bung and the general acceptance that, in two years time, France, under no obligation to do otherwise, will carry on as if nothing had happened. I must have been dreaming. Likewise, about the near-universal round of condemnation for Bliar’s Presidency of the EU (hint: try googling for international reaction).

    Meanwhile, tut-tut, quoting poor old Kaletsky out of context really is bad form. For a more accurate reflection, try this (again from the Times):

    “To return Britain to sustained prosperity and to restore order to the Government’s finances will require more than just some token cuts in public spending. At some point, economic pressures will require a profound rethinking of the role of government, the scope of public services and the future of the welfare state.
    If Mr Brown refuses to consider these issues today as Chancellor, he will have to face the challenge when he is Prime Minister, just before the election. And the Tories could yet end up taking the decisions for him.”

    As for the rest of your Old Queen St briefing, the quote about higher education specifically refers to the Russell Group – not the vast unholy mass of ZaNu-Labour’s inflated second rate universities with their third rate media studies degrees. Which, of course is precisely the type of institution most ordinary people’s children attend. Still, what happens to ordinary people has only ever been a pretend interest of Bliar’s hasn’t it, Tommy old boy?

    The remainder of your comment, being little more than fragments from the post-Xmas pile of remaindered copies of Alistair Campbell’s Bumper Book of Insults about Daily Mail readers and the UKIP, I’ll just ignore. We’ve heard them all before – just the hysterical cries of another bereft Bliarite, as his hero sinks slowly in the West, still grinning like an idiot.

  • John East

    Verity,
    I’ll save my rotten tomatoes for Tomahawk. I was certainly not inspired by IDS, but there is a lot to be said for giving someone a chance to at least bed in. IDS was a dead man from day 1, because the Tory voting system then rested even more heavily on party member rather than MP support.

    Tomahawk,
    You’d do yourself a favour if you could actually argue your case without name-calling.

    As for your ill informed notion that the economy is strong, I prefer to put my money where my mouth is. I’ve made loads of cash as gold has risen from $250 to $500/oz. Ask yourself, why has that stupid old reactionary right winger done well investing in an asset that only ever rises when the economy is in crisis. You could then go on to ask yourself, could it be, shock, horror, that my faith in a paid shill like Kaletsky is misplaced?

  • GCooper

    John East writes:

    ” I’ve made loads of cash as gold has risen from $250 to $500/oz”

    Correct me if my memory is playing tricks, but didn’t a certain Scotsman, widely believed by ZaNu-Labourites to be some kind of economic genius, actually sell British gold reserves a few years ago?

    And with that, I’m off out for a slap-up dinner. I’ll try to remember to raise a glass of some filthy, capitalist swill in honour of poor old Tomahawk who, I predict, is in for a few uncomfortable months in the year ahead!

  • RAB

    Shit do I hear an echo in here?
    Nope it’s only Tom recycling other peoples jibes.
    I really should learn not to rise for this.

  • John East

    GCooper, not only did the bastard sell half of our gold reserves at the bottom of the market, only last year he was calling for the IMF or World Bank (I forget which) to sell off their gold reserves so that they could give the proceeds to alleviate world poverty. Needless to say, most of the other central banks were not amused.

    Still, money isn’t everything. I’ve always hated Brown more than anything else for his mean spirited decision, right after he gained power, to shaft the British classic car movement by abolishing tax relief on classic cars. A truly mean spirited move which only saved the treasury a few million pounds per year, but managed to cost many people their jobs, and demonstrate Gordon’s anti-white anti-middle class credentials to his followers.

  • I don’t think Letwin’s statement should be scoffed at too heavily. I believe in wealth redistribution. I just believe the most efficient way of doing it is to cut taxation. Heavily. That way the rich (ie. the government) give to the poor (ie. you, me and all the other poor sods in this country who are forced to pay for the pig-ignorant-of-reality schemes of Whitehall).

    As for the possibility of UKIP rising up to become a libertarian saviour? What a joke. I do agree on the name change though. Perhaps they could become the British Libertarian Independence Party. Or “BLIP” for short. It’s never going to happen.

  • John East

    Tom, was this a typo?

    That way the rich (ie. the government)…

    The only money the government has is yours, mine, and everyone elses earnings, stolen by taxation.

  • John K

    Brown’s a chippy little bastard. Anyone who insists on turning up to a white tie dinner in a lounge suit is not to be trusted. What point was the dour Scotsman trying to make? They should have given him a plate of cold porridge in the pantry.

  • Verity

    John K – I cannot tell you how offended I was at the crassness, the sheer crude, intentional rudeness of turning up at a white tie dinner in a lounge suit. If he didn’t want to dress in white tie, he didn’t have to go to the dinner. What a mean-spirited, small-minded, chippie person. It certainly diminished his office. It’s on the same line as the late, unmissed Mo Mowlam putting up the “homeless” in Admiralty Arch. The same impulse to pull down; to wreck, to diminish our history and traditions.

  • John East: No, it wasn’t a typo. The government are rich. But only via theft. I believe in wealth redistribution and economic justice. They’ve got my money, and I want it back.

  • Tomahawk

    RAB

    it’s only Tom recycling other peoples jibes

    Are you on crack?! (Your lame echo-chamber quip would be better directed at John East.)

    GCooper

    What a tedious post! On the EU, I can’t be bothered to type out again what I said last week. You can consult the relevant Samizdata thread for my position on the EU.

    On the economy, *yawn*. How was I quoting Kaletsky “out of context”? He said, ‘While the economy is certainly weaker than it has been for almost a decade, it is not yet in any kind of crisis — and there is very little risk that “the wheels will come off the economy” in Mr [Mervyn] King’s homely parlance.’ Readers can follow the link (see my 6.32pm post) to see for themselves. They’ll notice that the sentence immediately before the one I’ve quoted does not read, ‘Blair is useless and the crummy economy’s about to collapse.’ I cannot see how your own Kaletsky quote somehow vitiates anything I’ve said – I agree with it! I too worry that Gordon Brown sees the state as the solution to most problems.

    But of course, none of this matters. We could argue the toss over the economy or the EU or public services all day long, and little would come of it (other than my observations and jokes continuously trumping yours). The real divide here is between optimists and pessimists, a divide that cuts across left-right boundaries. (At Harry’s Place, I recently saw an Old Labour lefty arguing that things were worse under Blair than under Thatcher!) For the curtain-twitchers of the Daily Mail right like you and Mad Mel, everything about modern Britain is terrible: too many immigrants, political correctness gone mad, rampaging criminals buggering everyone senseless, schools and universities that give out phony qualifications, hospitals that infect patients with superbugs, too much interference from Brussels – and it’s all Tony Blair’s fault!

    The Tories have based their last two election manifestos on these themes – and they got walloped each time. Ordinary people may have complaints about their country and the government but they’re not going to elect a pub bore to be prime minister. UKIP is a party of and for pub bores, grumblers, gripers, Euro-obsessives, you’ve-never-had-it-so-badders, and all the other hard-right pond life.

    Blair and Cameron, on the other hand, know that people want a positive vision (also the secret of Clinton’s success). If there’s a problem people want to know how you’re going to fix it – banging on about immigrants and gypsies will win debased applause from the reactionary right but it won’t win elections. The only solution you and your allies propose is to re-try the failed electoral strategies of campaigns past. In the meantime, you’ve all decided to adopt gloominess as a political posture. That’s fine when you’re entertaining the usual gaggle of sixth-form Ukippers here, but it’s not so good if you’re trying to figure out a strategy for getting into government.

  • RAB

    Thomas bach, Yawn,
    You’re the soul of brevity.

  • RAB

    Oh and Tom love, I don’t want people to have Clintonesque visions, I wish them to have some substance.
    I want them to get things fixed, not promised to be fixed. the only vision I want a govt to have is a realistic one of it’s practical limitations.
    Unfortunatly since ww2 all govts think they are Superman, and can do anything.
    Any sane human knows they can’t.

  • John East

    Tomahawk,
    You say:

    The real divide here is between optimists and pessimists.

    which I find rather puzzling. On the one side, some are pessimists, and some are optimists. On the other side is you, and you come across as rather more angry and frustrated than optimistic.

    I suggest that you do what some of us others do. Enjoy life, and put your personal world in order. Then analyse what’s currently happening in society around you and plan accordingly. If there was any factual basis in your arguments I would have made a lot of money several years ago in growth stocks. I didn’t, I lost a lot of money. That informed me that the economies of the western world were not as buoyant as the Greenspans and Kings of this world were suggesting. I’ve only managed to get all of my money back by adjusting my world view to conform to what’s really happening out there i.e. unsustainable debt, coming inflation, and wealth transfer to Asia. Far from mumbling and grumbling about it, I’ve turned this situation into a nice earner.

    You should try this sort of approach. The positive feed back of profit or loss would inform your world view far more than endless debating, name calling, and theorising from a fixed ideological stand point can ever do.

  • Verity

    “What a tedious post! On the EU, I can’t be bothered to type out again what I said last week”

    Good, save the bandwidth, because no one read it the first time, either.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Tomahawk asks if I reject the idea that image matters in politics. Of course I don’t reject that and I don’t think that I ever said so. I said that coherent policies are, in the end, the key point that makes me either value what a politician is about or whether I don’t. Image matters but so do other things. I fail to see why you regard that as so controversial or get so heated.

    Happy New Year.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Oh and Tomahawk, if you think I was being pompous and unfair in asking you to be polite, it was because you started the abusive approach on this occasion. We like to have a bracing debate on the comment threads but your patronisinig treatment of some of the others on this thread stuck in my throat.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Johnathan-That’s just you. You care about policies and principles of candidates, not just the image, but it may well be that you’re in the distinct minority.

    As are most of the commentariat here.

    Things may seem bad to you, but they have not gotten that bad yet. Tories coming to power may not be as bad as many of you fear, not if they can use their position in power to promote right wing ideas.

    But they have to get elected first, and that means pandering to an electorate that no longer seems to believe in conservatism.

  • Verity

    Wobbly – others have made a similar point, but it strikes me, if true, as a senseless strategy. With his focus on “global warming” and “global poverty”, he is chasing millions of Conservative voters away.

    The new format of the Beeb’s Have Your Say must have a produced a shock at Broadcasting House, because if you click on “sort comments by recommendation”, you will note that those posts attracting the greatest number of people recommending them are invariably against focus on either imaginary warming or poverty overseas. “Gobal poverty” produced a positive frenzy of people writing in to say they didn’t give a stuff about poverty overseas when British infrastructure is falling down around their ears.

    So I believe Cameron is driving away more natural Tory voters than he is corralling the pc crowd, who’ve already got a home in the ZaNu-Lab tent.

  • Verity

    I would apologise for two posts in a row, but the one above was posted last year (GMT) and there is a certain urgency here. (Link)

    Dave has ditched a promise by Michael Howard for patients’ passports to subsidise around 60% of treatment in a private facility, saying ZaNu-Tory will commit to “improve [the NHS] for everyone, not help a few to opt out”.

    The many, not the few!!! What an exciting concept! How could you fail to vote for this original thinker?

    Is he barking? He’s going to promise to throw more billions of hard-earned taxpayer money at the lumbering, ever-hungry dinosaur of the NHS – the envy of the Third World?

    Adds The Telegraph piece linked to above, “Mr Cameron also promises to fight poverty at home and abroad and to “stand up to big business”.

    Well, there’s a relief! But … wait a minute … there is no poverty in Britain. Thanks to people who get up to go to work every day, many of them in boring jobs they get to on third world trains, welfare recipients have plasma screen TVs in their council flats. So poverty abroad, then … certainly a prime consideration for voters who would like their taxes to go to improving their transport system, their police “service”, their schools so at least their children leaving with seven A levels could actually write a simple declarative sentence, revising the tax system, the NHS (if they must).

    He also promises to further castrate and declaw the police, a welcome relief for those weary of constant night time sirens of police cars responding urgently to citizens’ calls.

    And thank god a Conservative government would finally stand up to wealth creators – “big business” – which takes risks and pays the salaries that keep the country afloat, and taxes! About time someone did!

    Well, it worked for Za-NuLab, didn’t it, Dave, you cheap piece of shit.

    And, another lesson well-learned, they even “buried” this news on New Year’s Day.

  • GCooper

    Congratulations, Verity! It’s good that someone keeps her eyes open while the rest of us doze through the post-NYE gloom.

    But what, as the saying goes, is the surprise? Cameron is just confirming what many of us here have been saying since before the boy wonder was appointed: that he is somewhere to the Left of most ZaNu-Labour cabinet ministers and has little to do with true Conservatism.

    No doubt some apologist will soon pop-up, pretending Cameron doesn’t believe this claptrap and that it’s only a ruse, but with every day that passes, that refrain sounds increasingly hollow. We have no option but to take the lad at his face value. Which isn’t very high.

    Probably the best test of Cameron is the rapid (if bewildered) acceptance of him by so many on the Left. Poor young Tomahawk is a typical example, but even one of the wannabe class warriors on last week’s R4 The Now Show (possibly the most openly propagandist of any of the BBC’s “comedy” programmes) was bleating positively about “Dave” last week – wishing he led the Labour Party. Quite!

  • Verity

    G Cooper – What do you think is going to happen?

    Here’s my reading: Dave will drive even greater numbers of Tories away from the party. However, this time, I predict that, fed-up with being disenfranchised, they will go out and vote, but they’ll flock to UKIP. UKIP can expect a bumper election and better get some good candidates in place, pronto.

    I have to add that, being institutionally stupid over such an extended period (beginning with the appointment of John Major as leader lo these many moons ago) the Tory party deserves to slide off the edge of the cliff.

    I don’t think Boy Dave will win over the Labourites or even the middle classes who were gullible enough to desert the Tories 10 years ago and vote for Tony B. Liar. I think those people will continue to be stupid and decide to give Gordon Brown a chance.

    So by my reading, the huge tranche that defected from the Tories to Labour will not return, as Brown’s the devil they know and they believe his own publicity that he’s managed the economy well.

    On the other hand, Cameron won’t get any votes from core Labourites because because they’ll already have, at that time, one of their own miserable tribe running their show.

    What do other Samizdatas think? I cannot believe he abandoned the plan to revolutionalise health care!

  • GCooper

    I’m hesitant to make predictions about politics – there are few better ways of offering hostages to fortune – but I think one thing that is absolutely clear is that Cameron will slaughter the LibDem vote.

    There is a mawkish, sentimental ‘middle England’ constituency, haunted by vague Sunday school notions of ‘fairness’ and ‘social inclusion’, which would never vote Labour but hasn’t the stomach for Thatcherism. In recent years it has increasingly turned to the LibDems and now it won’t. If Cameron does nothing else, he will reduce the LibDem vote back to its stronghold in the bolshie Celtic fringes.

    There will also be a swing from those who voted ZaNu-Labour with their teeth gritted, but who won’t be able to stomach Gordon Brown and the resurgent Left. They’ll vote for Cameron, too

    Will that be enough to win the boy wonder the next election? Probably not – but it might be.

    But whichever of the two parties wins, the UK will have a socialist, sclerotic government, paying Danegeld to the greens, beset with even higher immigration from the Third World, more unrest at home, still subjects of the EU, crippled by political correctness and with a reduced ability to compete and trade freely with the wider world.

    As for those who would have voted Tory, but either for libertarian or Right wing reasons feel they cannot any longer, some will join the UKIP, which probably will do better, as Verity suggests, though not in sufficient numbers to make much of a difference apart from in the next EU elections.

    Perhaps more importantly, this group will have to become the seedbed of the ideas we will desperately need to get us out of the swamp into which either Brown or Cameron will lead us.

  • John East

    Verity,
    Thanks for mentioning UKIP, you stirred up my interest enough to pop over to their website (ukip.org) and take a look at their manifesto.

    I was gobsmacked. Less government, lower taxes, autonomy for schools so that headmasters can select and expel as needed, build enough prisons (the number of extra prisons to be decided by sentencing needs and not budgets), build more nuclear power stations etc., etc.

    I’ve been preaching the UKIP manifesto for years without realising it.

    I recommend a visit to the UKIP site to those who have not yet looked at their wider policies.

    Thanks again Verity for pointing me in the right direction.

  • GCooper

    John East writes:

    “I’ve been preaching the UKIP manifesto for years without realising it.”

    Exactly! And that is why I’ve been suggesting it should change its name. As things stand, its libertarian-Right agenda is too easily brushed aside by socialists and other idiots as “Xenophobic”. Its name has also prevented likely supporters from even considering the party as a potential home.

    I might have switched back to the Conservatives, had David Davis won the leadership, but as it turned out, I’m going to continue to vote UKIP and support them in any way I can. I hope others will do likewise.

  • Verity

    John East – good!

    GCooper – Oops! I’d forgotten to take the LibDems into account! Yes, that will be significant. Of course.

    As of right now, it’s too close to call, but as you rightly say, it won’t matter which left of centre party gets in. I think I am probably more optimistic about the number of people who will flee to UKIP than you. But on the downside of my optimism is … the commie BBC who can’t mention UKIP without its patented snigger of dismissal and suggestion that it is the last refuge of racist loonies and euroloonies and is full of old white people (although they never mention why this is exceptional as Britain is 92% white).

    I think UKIP will be smart enough to recruit members of minorities, and run some as candidates.

    BTW, Melanie Phillips mentions, over on her site, what I also flagged the other day – Cameron is going to ape Blair’s babes and they will be sub-standard, as Blair’s babes are … second-raters funded as MPs by your hard-earned taxes.

  • Verity

    A question: What is William Hague doing in all this mess? Will he stay?

  • John K

    A question: What is William Hague doing in all this mess? Will he stay?

    I imagine he is biding his time until he can become the next Tory Prime Minister.

  • Verity

    Cameron’s young. Hague will have to have some long knives.

  • GCooper

    Verity writes: “Cameron’s young. Hague will have to have some long knives.”

    Hague’s young enough to wait by the bank of the river. As the Indian proverb reminds us, Cameron’s body will come floating by. Probably inside five years, would be my guess.

  • Verity

    GCooper – What Indian proverb? It sounds like my kind of proverb! Is it Indian from India?

    I am hoping that Mad Dave will be deposed before the election. They cannot let this horse run without becoming a laughing stock.

  • GCooper

    Verity writes: “What Indian proverb? It sounds like my kind of proverb! Is it Indian from India?”

    “Sit on the bank of a river and wait: Your enemy’s corpse will soon float by.”

    It’s my personal favourite – and yes, real Indian from real India.

  • Verity

    I love India. But they won’t let foreigners buy property, which seems a bit of bad sportsmanship, given that we let them buy property in our countries.

    Re the proverb, in my experience, it’s true.

  • RAB

    According to my Swys Welsh connections, mr Hague is playing a long game.
    He is planning to save the day when Cameron’s, !ve got a bigger tent than yours, balloon collapses.
    I live in Bristol. Ive seen Cameron balloons collapse before. Ask Richard Branson.

  • Verity

    Per today’s Telegraph, which I read while you were sleeping, Cameron has vowed to ditch Margaret Thatcher’s legacy.

  • Verity

    Melanie makes some similar points. She also makes the point that G Cooper made yesterday, that he intends to swallow the LibDems whole. She also notes, although I hadn’t seen this, that he supports mass immigration. But this socialist agenda will leave millions of Conservatives without a home, and we now have three Not-The-Conservatives parties. (Link)

    This is all going to end in tears. I hope.

  • GCooper

    Verity writes:

    “Melanie makes some similar points.”

    Thanks for the link, Verity. Ms Philips is as trenchant as usual.

    She is particularly right when she points out that Britain now has three ‘not the Conservative’ parties. What she doesn’t do (one imagines for reasons of space) is follow that through to ask what becomes of the millions (and it will be millions) of disaffected Conservative voters.

    I do hope the smarter brains at the UKIP are paying very close attention to this: it’s their best chance ever to make a significant impact on British politics, by broadening into a mainstream party of the libertarian Right.

  • Verity

    I hope so too, GCooper.

    Melanie will start writing her diary again this week, after the Christmas hiatus, and I suspect she will deal with the abandoned millions of Tory voters in it soon.

    Speaking of trenchant writers, here is another link, this one to the sainted Mark Steyn and a long piece in The New Criterion, in which he addresses with the West’s strangely dreamlike supine attitude to aggressive Islam. It may not be long before political parties in the West are irrelevant to the governance of the West.
    (Link)

  • Tomohawk makes me laugh. He clearly believes that right of centre parties actually win when they move to the left; it never happens. Right-of-centre parties win when they move to the right and act like what they are supposed to be. Voters will not vote for Nu-Labour-lite anymore than they will vote for Dem-lite in the US.

    Just look at Merkel; she was doing very well in the polls and then got cold feet about more rightist (for Germany) policies. As a result she didn’t get a majority and her country is doomed to more stagnation.

    On Hague: it is interesting to see that he still retains quite a bit affection in the Tory Party. Many people that I know think if he were in last time round the party would have done better. It is clear he peaked too early in his career; but then again he might come back. It is not unknown in British politics.

    I agree UKIP might want to consider a change of name; so as not to be seen as a one issue party. I think if the Tory Party continues on its mad dash to the left; UKIP will do extremely well at the Euro-elections especially if Cameron bails on his EPP pledge.

  • Ron

    How many of Cameron’s current policy announcements are based on the swing-voter requirements for his target seats for next May’s council elections?

    4 months away is more important than 4 years away.