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The Tories fight back

The Conservative Party has launched a fierce attack on cabinet minister Stephen Byers following the latter’s call for the abolition of Inheritance Tax.

According to the Party’s Shadow Treasury Spokesman:

“This is neo-liberalism gone mad, a selfish Thatcherite appeal to naked greed and self-interest”.

He added:

“This ludicrous idea of handing out tax cuts to the rich is outmoded and has no place in 21st Century Britain. We in the Conservative Party are committed to increasing the rates of Inheritance Tax in order to build a fairer society based on inclusion and social justice”.

Party Leader, David Cameron has confirmed that his party will “fight tooth and nail” to save Inheritance Tax and “conserve the post-war walfare state settlement”.

40 comments to The Tories fight back

  • Hank Scorpio

    I pity you Brits. While our conservatives may be unscrupulous whores who pander to the religious nuts, at least on some things they’re still conservative.

  • cubanbob

    Tell me again why anyone would vote for the Tories?
    How are they different from the Labor party? If they expect to win as the “lite” version of the “New” Labor Party, they ought to remember what US President Harry S Truman (Democrat=Labor) said “if you give the people a choice between a Republican and a Republican ( Tory) they will always choose the (real) Republican”.

    If I’m not mistaken, the demographics of the UK are rather similar to the US. With a lot of boomers now starting to inherit from their parents and the leading edge of the boomers now about to start passing their wealth to their children, even otherwise moderately lefty voters may not see an increase in estate taxes as such a good thing.

  • This is a joke, right?

    Please tell me this is a joke.

  • The Tories are using “Thatcherite” pejoratively?

  • CFM

    British “Conservatives” sound . . . confused. You guys are surrounded.

    CFM

  • Holy Shit! I haven’t been paying enough attention! These ‘conservatives’ are out of control!

    UNBELIEVABLE.

  • “The Tories are using “Thatcherite” pejoratively?”

    I’m lost for words. I couldn’t have gotten out of the UK soon enough. The need for another party is screamingly clear now. There are no freedom-loving parties in Britain anymore. It’s a damn shame, for there are plenty of freedom-loving UK citizens. My message to them: get up and fight these bastards.

  • CFM

    OK, I went back and read the quote again. It’s less believable on the second reading than the first. If ever there there was a time for a cheesy movie quote, this is it.

    Resistance is futile – you will be assimilated!”

    Damn shame.

    CFM

  • guy herbert

    Readers should note there is no citation. This post is sarcasm, not reporting.

    I’d suggest that the sarcasm is misplaced. The Tories avoided falling into the trap (which it very likely was intended as) of endorsing Byers or saying anything at all on the subject.

    Instead they responded in kind. Iain Dale was wheeled out as an informal, deniable, spokesman, to make a populist fuss about potential immigration form Bulgaria and Romania.

    This left the Treasury counterattacking a former Labour minister, and looking mean; whereas it would be a defender of redistribution and fairness against toff greed had the Tories piled in behind Byers. Byers, whom the political class know about, but of whom the man in the street has never heard, would be invisible.

    And meanwhile the Home Office is on the defensive again.

    A good sign that the Tories can box, I’d say.

    I pray you, ladies and gentlemen, to understand that democratic politics is not an exercise in convincing the voter of the rational merits of a consistent, clearly-stated, policy programme. It is about winning votes, and (when in power) persuading sufficient voters that whatever you are actually doing, it is whatever they happen to like.

  • Chris Harper

    Sigh,

    It just goes to show how perceptions have changed doesn’t it, when people, even on this intelligent, informed, insightful and euridite site, are prepared to believe that this is not a joke.

    Thaddeus, I am afraid in future you may have to keep your tongue firmly out of your cheek.

  • Well, I guess I’ve been had. :-) Funny.

    In truth, what’s more incredible (as Chris Harper indicated) is that we’re prepared to accept this as the fate of the Tories… we’ve gotten so used to hearing the conservatives not being conservative that it almost seems inevitable that a quote like this from Cameron Schmameron would crop up.

    Anyway. Thanks for the knee-slapper.

  • Sandy P

    Britain has a ridiculously low inheritance threshold and middle class people are starting to get slammed.

    Tories are wayyyy out of step on this, and Orrin at Bros. Judd was right, “Mr. Blair wasn’t about to let the Tories get to his Right.”

    Your other parties could have a field day w/this and gun ownership if they weren’t like the pubbie stupid party.

  • CFM

    Hey ! Just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean someone isn’t out to get you. Or something . . .

    CFM

  • Liam

    So very glad I am escaping this country in a few short months. As always British politicians trying to shame people with words like “selfish” and “self-interest” in to believing that state thievery is justified.

  • Damn my gullibility! Nice one.

  • Yes, it is a joke and therefore appropriately labelled with category Humour.

  • It got me going for a moment – just shows that the call-me-Dave Cons are already a bunch of.

    As for Byers, he has always been a lackey willing to do whatever it takes for whomsoever can throw him a bone.

  • Paul Marks

    Sorry Guy, but if you do not make the case for a smaller government before you win an election it is too late to do something afterwards.

    Take the example of George Walker Bush in 2001. In theory he was in fine position, the Republicans controlled the White House, the Senate and the House of Representative – and had a majority on the Supreme Court.

    In practice he could not cut government spending or reduce regulations – indeed he had to go along with demands for new government programs (such as No-Child-Left-Behind and the Medicare extention).

    Certainly Mr Bush was able to get some tax rate cuts through – but he was dead in the water in the opinion polls (before 9/11).

    Why so?

    Why were the Republicans trapped?

    Simple – because they had no mandate.

    George Bush had not campaigned on the basis that government was too big – so he had no mandate to even try and reduce its size and scope in office.

    And NO Guy, one can NOT pretend one has a mandate when one does not.

    I agree that before 1979 the Conservatives were not specific in what they would do if elected to office – but they were very clear that government was too big and should be reduced.

    So there was a chance to do that in 1979 – sadly that chance was tossed away (for example by accepting the Labour government’s pay promises made in 1978-1979 as Conservative government policy), but that is another story. And later on Mrs Thatcher did manage to do some good things (but only because she made speech after speech saying that this was what the Conservative party stood for – so she was able to force some good polices through by saying this is the SORT of government the people voted for in 1983).

    If one makes no clear statement of free market belief before one is elected, there is no way of doing anything (against the power of the media and internal opposition in one’s own party) in office – there can be no claim of a mandate.

    One simply ends up “in office, but not in power” a Conservative party (or Republican party) government following the policies of the left.

    As for David Cameron.

    He is sub human piece of shit and has been his whole life. If you can not see that I strongly advice you to get your eyes tested.

    He can not even do quotas straight.

    Notice today – it is not that there must be two women on the short list for candidates for key Parliamentary seats. It must be two women FROM THE “A LIST”.

    In short one can not just select a women candidate (or black man, or a homosexual or whatever) – it must someone who is also a shit (in other words someone like Mr Cameron himself).

  • Paul Marks

    By the way the only thing wrong with the post was that the ruling group in the Conservative party (Cameron, Francis Maude, “Gum Gum”, “Zak” Goldsmith, “Hezza”, “Ken” Clarke, and the rest of them) would never be so clear in the way they spoke or wrote.

    If you think there is any chance of a future Cameron government abolishing inheritance tax – well dream on.

  • Cameron is just a BBC stodge put it in to turn the Tory Party into a giant satirical program.

  • I guessed it was a fake but only just. Adriana, I know we should guess from the category, but on my RSS feed it doesn’t show up unless I click through.

    Worth noting that abolishing inheritance tax (and capital gains tax) was a campaign promise of John Major’s in 1995 in the leadership campaign against John Redwood. It was supposed to be in the 1997 manifesto, but I don’t recall if it was.

    I guess he lied. Again.

  • Dale Amon

    Just out of curiosity… when did the tories rename themselves the Communist Party of the United Kingdom?

  • Paul Marks

    John Major did sometimes say that he wanted to get rid of inheritance tax – but like Antonine I can not remember whether it was in the 1997 manifesto.

    It would have been less difficult for Mr Major that for Mr Cameron in one way – in that Mr Major was not a rich kid who had never worked a day in his life (I doubt Mr Cameron wants his work as a P.R. man for Mr Green at Calton television closely examined).

    But the basic problem was the same. Mr Major had denouced the “extremism” of voluntary interaction. His basic message was that he was going to be more “moderate” than Mrs T.

    Mrs Thatcher understood that to make any roll back in government at all (and, in reality, the reductions in statism under Mrs Thatcher were not radical – even when takes the denationalizations into accout the percentage of output taken by government in 1990 was only a few points lower than it had been in 1979) one has to create a climate of opinion.

    There have to be speeches, documents and so on.

    One may not win over most people – but they will accept that this is the SORT of thing that this government is going to do.

    If one plays a “moderate” (i.e. a John Major double the national debt) line, then is no mandate to do anything (other than follow the policy of the left as commanded by the media and the rest of the establishment).

    Even back in 1951 the Conservatives had to have a “Set the People Free” campaign in order to have a mandate for getting rid of rationing and so on in office (even though such nations as Germany and the United States had already done so).

    Of course politicians can not do the job on their own.

    There has to be a whole network of individuals and voluntary organizations working to counter the left in the struggle for opinion.

    Remember the work such organizations as the I.E.A. used to do.

    Even popular television can be used in the battle of ideas.

    Milton Friedman’s “Free to Choose” was a hit T.V. series.

    Many free market types managed to get on television back in the 1970′s.

    The ex Labour M.P. Brian Waldon (of “Weekend World”) showed that presenting hard information and serious ideas could get top ratings.

    Why only “talking heads” on news and current affairs shows? If it is just talk it might as well be radio.

    Even thirty years ago Waldon was showing how ordinary people CAN understand bar charts and pie charts (and other such) – indeed that such visual images are more useful that just talk on its own.

    First you have the presentation of basic information. And then you have the debate or interview.

    And the interview does not have to be the Sir Robin Day tradition (followed to this day) of just point scoring.

    Walden (and interviewers in his tradition) did not regard their role as snearing at the people they were talking to. They were there to first help these people explain their ideas to the viewers (even if they did not agree with these ideas) and then to present possible alternative lines of arguement.

    No abuse, no little games. Serious disscussion – and top ratings.

    There is a massive gap in the market for both information (which is simply NOT presented in the media – for example one can listen to an hour long programme on the National Health Service and have no idea how much is spent on this system, what percentage it is of the overall budget or ANYTHING) and for serious discussion (not Sir Robin Day – J. Paxman playing about).

    Most human beings are ignorant – but they are not insects or rats.

    The Guy Herbert line that most human beings can not understand political matters (even if they are given the information and the arguments by people skilled in this task) is simply not true.

    And (of course) if it was true, the correct course of action would not be to “play the political game” – it would be to work for a military coup (or whatever).

    If there is one thing I know for sure it is this – it is not through the elite that we are going to get greater freedom. The elite are statist to the core. Playing corrupt “insider” games benefits the left (they are simply better at such games – their ideology fits them better).

    The only chance for freedom is to reach out to ordinary people. Sure most people do not know the basic facts and arguments – but they are not incapable of understanding them if they explained. I say again that most people were not rats or insects.

    After all, if they were rats or insects, whether they were free or not would not matter.

  • Dale Amon

    Oops. Thaddeus got me!

    But I would not put it past Cameron, which is why it was believable enough to catch me out. The Tories party is just a bean bag chair that does not really stand for much of anything except office.

  • The “humour” tag was added post-publishing.

  • Long, long ago, I half-seriously suggested that Mrs. Thatcher continue her career by running for the US Senate from New Hampshire. She would have won in a walkover, had she run, but she would have had to take up US citizenship.

  • Richard Thomas

    Unfortunately, labelling an article about UK affairs with a “humor” tag is somewhat redundant these days.

    Rich

  • The fact so many people did not get that this was a spoof tells you all you need to know about the actual state of the ‘conservative’ party. It is entirely believable. The only thing ‘Dave’ Cameron wants to conserve is the welfare state.

  • Why is there no Fox equivalent, conservatve,free market TV channel in the UK? We have a free press with such views re Daily Mail etc but TV is a wasteland of liberalism.Until this is addressed we are living in a parallel MSM loonyverse where radical ideas never see the light of day.Surely someone with some £££ can get such a TV channel up and running.

  • I shall be billing the proprietors of this website for the ambulance and subsequent pace-maker costs.

  • Richard Thomas

    niconoclast: Since Fox is owned by Ruper Murdoch, who also owns the Sky empire, there is apparently no technical obstacle to there being such a channel. One must assume that the analysis is that the current Zeitgeist in the UK would not support such a channel.

    That said, there appears to be nothing even remotely pushing in the general direction so my assumption is that presumably, Fox News in the US is more about commercial appeal than having any real ideology at its roots.

    I do think the time is right for some of the bloggers out there to start making and distributing videos. The trick will be to not seem like radical crazies while still promoting a radical agenda. Not easy considering the cozy group-think that abounds.

    Rich

  • Puzzled in that the Daily Mail is one of the largest circulation papers in the UK I think and also the country is conservative with a small c at least.

  • Richard Thomas

    Unfortunately, the Daily Mail is a pile of poo.

    Rich

  • Paul Marks

    The Daily Mail is a mixture.

    Many (although not all) of its writers are fanatically antiAmerican, but some of its people are quite sound on economic policy.

    However, it is not worth buying – there is no information in the newspaper one does not get just by turning on the television or radio. And the arguments of its writers rarely stick to economics for long – they (with a few exceptions) go off into general death-to-America stuff.

    As to why Sky news is not vaguely proconservative as Fox is (although, remember, Fox is not very good).

    Simple – that would be unlawful in Britian. Where television and radio news have to be “unbiased” (i.e. leftist).

    I have heard more about Mr Cameron’s latest “reforms”.

    Having promised to get ordinary party members more involved (in his Conservative party leadership campaign) Mr Cameron has declared that a general meeting of local Conservative Association members will not decide the candidate for Parliament.

    However, the Conservative party will not go over to ballot of party members – no an Executive Committee will decide the candidate (as long as the committee approves a candidate who is on Mr Cameron’s list and fits in with various other things that he thinking up – such as race and sex and so on).

    But have no fear – the local Conservatives will then get a vote.

    One person, one vote, for one candidate.

    North Korean style “democracy”.

    The question now is why should anyone (who is not being paid by it) have anything to do with the Conservative party?

    Certainly voting Conservative is out of the question.

    “But if you do not vote Conservative, Labour will get in”.

    “If you do not vote for this lizard, the other lizard will get in”.

  • Howard R Gray

    The whorey Tories are doing what’s best, avoiding any sense that there are principles in governance. Why am I not surprised? It is blairingly obvious that Cameron panders to dim minds that have, dare I say it, a black and white view of the need to tax the rich. When will the lions eat the donkeys?

    Don’t they geddit? If you tax the rich, you merely rearrange their financial profile a jot or perhaps a tittle at best. The poor, often employees of the dastardly rich, end up being put out of work as a side effect of the tax burden. The rich don’t need, rightly so, to give up their standard of living, they merely adjust the margins of their personal economies, and bingo enterprise slows down and jobs downsize or out source to the third world .

    More germane, inherited wealth is fundamental to establishing small businesses that just might become big ones. Or perhaps that just isn’t what the Tories are about these days. Butskillism is alive and well. Bring back the Iron Lady with a lead filled hand bag ASAP! Though that might not do much good in the brain free zone at Tory HQ.

    Perhaps the anarchists are right in saying that voting only encourages them. I won’t be asking for a postal vote if this is the best these jerks can come up with. I noted that my new passport has the legend “European Union” rather than “European Community” on it. I really have to consider if I want to be a citizen of the EU. It may not be so fab over here, but at least I have the option to migrate to New Hampshire to Live Free and Die.

    I had the pleasure of watching Cameron on CNN here in Brooklyn, besides the plum in the mush accent (much like mine, though I am a bit more transatlantic these days ) he is smooth, but I did get a sort of feeling that he was a younger Ted Heath without the affected shoulder shrug laugh. Gawd help uz, luv a duck!

    Nuff said!

  • RobtE

    The fact so many people did not get that this was a spoof tells you all you need to know about the actual state of the ‘conservative’ party. It is entirely believable. The only thing ‘Dave’ Cameron wants to conserve is the welfare state.

    Yes, that’s true. But there are also at least two other possible reasons for having taken the post at face value:

    a) gullibility

    b) CDS – a British variant of BDS, characterised by a willingness to believe (almost) anything that casts Cameron in an unfavourable light precisely because it casts Cameron in an unfavourable light.

    Oh, and perhaps a third – Samizdata’s past form in posting solid, well thought out and generally reliable reportage and criticism.

    I myself fell solidly in the gullible camp. But there’s nothing new in that, I guess.

  • Cameron wants to win. Winning means selling the goods. Selling the goods is finding out what will sell and then giving people what they want.

    Politics should be about telling people what you believe and if people don’t want it, it is your job to convince them of your view, not to change your view to match what people think they want.

    “Centrist consensus”? “Group Delusion”, more like.

  • You get Fox on Sky satillite.

  • hardatwork

    Cameron whatever… he’s only a symptom of a deeper malaise.
    Where are all the reports (from say Centre for Policy Studies) and events which help drive and define the political debate. Do we not have a tory leader we deserve? In the old days the tories had a bit of freebee with the cold war in discrediting the left. I believe conservatives took that gift for granted when they should have been far more proactive in settting the agenda. Now it is the left who sets the agenda. The Republicans’ freebee is the religious vote but they also have a strong grassroots movement. UK Conservatives have neither.

  • Paul Marks

    The religious point is a good one. Nor is it just a matter of votes – an American who falls on hard times can turn to his local congreation and let it be known (via the Minister or in some other way) “I am in trouble, please find something for me to do”.

    Of course they may turn their backs on him, but at next Sunday’s meeting when they hear about Christian virtues they will know themselves to be false hearted people.

    Also there is the factor of firearm ownership. Whilst it is true that once the National Rifle Association and Constitutional Club network was stronger in Britian than in the United States (although it may be hard for Americans to believe that) the decline set in with million dead of the First World War.

    For all the decline of “cultural capital” (voluntary association and so on) in the United States the situation is worse in Britain.

    Even the family (traditionally Britian had a much lower rate of such things as birth out of wedlock than the United States) is now in worse shape in Britian.

    The difference between George Bush and David Cameron is not so much in the understanding of economics (neither knows about such things – the fact that Mr Cameron has a First Class degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford just shows the worthlessness of modern education). The difference is that Mr Bush shows sympathy for traditional society – and Mr Cameron says we must “move on” and embrace vice (although the word “vice” is not used).

    It is the parading of anticonsevative sentiment (anticonservative with a small c) by Mr Cameron – his acceptance of every “modern” docrtine that grates as much as his ignorance.

    As for Edward Heath. Shit though he was, he had a fairly humble background (so he had struggled to go up in the world) a good military record, and some cultural conservatism (for example his love of Church music) – Mr Cameron has none of these things.

    His one plus is rigged opinion polls.

    As Peter Hitchins is fond of saying – polls have become a way not of measuring public opinion, but of trying to influence it.