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The intellectual surrender of the UK Conservatives

When you read this passionate denunciation of the sheer intellectual cowardice of the Conservative Party over the issues of tax, public spending and the banking sector, ask yourself again: who gives a brass farthing as to whether David Cameron and friends win power next year? Who?

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40 comments to The intellectual surrender of the UK Conservatives

  • who gives a brass farthing as to whether David Cameron and friends win power next year?

    Me, I do, I care. I want them to lose.

    A Tory win will cement them as a left of centre party, but a loss might mean a leadership overthrow and a shift to sanity. Dave can go join Labour or the Lib Dems, where he belongs.

  • I agree Cats. I would rather suffer the current policies under the current government rather elect Dave to give us essentially the same policies under a fresh government.

  • MarkE


    If Cameron wins he will be vindicated and we will face a future with only three parties. all of which will be tightly grouped on the same piece of ground on the centre left. Eventually those voters who do not accept this consensus will do something about their disenfranchisment and I would not expect that to be pretty.

    Alternatively, if Cameron loses there is some chance (no more than that) of either the Conservatives returning to their home territory on the centre right or a new party party emerging from the wreckage (I suspect Cameron has so soiled the Conservative brand as to make the latter more likely). The new party will owe at least as much to UKIP as to the Conservatives, but when the Conservatives tear themselves apart after defeat in 2010 don’t expect them not to try to take UKIP down with them

  • Yes, I want them to lose. They’re not conservative.

    The three main parties have become entrenched and corrupt – more interested in media management, subterfuge and personal enrichment than good governance. Better that parliament gets a good flushing by electing small parties and independents.

  • Derek Buxton

    Agree with all the above, Cameron is a disaster and only defeat might get us back to some sanity. I am surprised that there is no backlash against the silly statements he makes, you know “the science is settled, some don’t agree but I am the leader”. Just too much arrogance for a “conservative” leader.

  • RRS

    To a very interested outsider, the question occurs as to whether or not the Parliament (in its composition) is actually representative of the electorate.

    In the U.S. that essence seems to have been evaporating steadily as we have accreted something comparable to the British “establishment;” that is, the unelected rather permanent legislative “staffs” which really design “policy,” since most of the “elected” are unable or unwilling (priority fund-raising) to deal with the complexities of governance.

    Of course there is some validity to the notion that the U S is becoming more comparable to France than to the U K, sadly (or not?).

  • On the bright side, the Chinese have shown a sudden penchant for helping the Amatuer Western Socialists from mucking things up too badly – latest example, the Copenhagen walkout.

    Three cheers for the Chinese, then severe confusion that we’ve had to rely on the Communists to save Capitalism.

  • UKIP now has a leader who grasps that “quantitative easing” is utter bollocks. There is no excuse for anyone who calls themselves conservatives to vote Tory ever again.

  • Kevin B

    RRS, the UK Parliament has been ridding itself of any role in representing it’s constituents for years. Some of the ways it has done this are :

    Handing over the bulk of lawmaking power to the EU such that EU bureaucrats have a much greater say in those laws and regulations that govern our day-to-day lives than the House of Commons. For instance, the Government are making all the noise in Copenhagen but the law that says it’s illegal to sell incandescent light bulbs comes from the EU.

    Handing over the rest of the lawmaking power to Government by way of statutary instruments and enabling acts. Thus although it took Parliament to pass the Proceeds of Crime act which allowed the government to freeze the assets of Terrorists and Drug Barons, they also let in an enabling clause that allows the Government to extend these powers without consulting Parliament. So now any bureaucrat working for a local council can freeze your assets for failing to pay a parking fine or putting your rubbish in the wrong bin.

    At the same time as power has been ceded to fewer and more remote people, the size of Government has boomed. Our brave MPs now have a much better chance of making Minister status with a concommitant higher salary and pension for life, as well as a better opportunity to milk the taxpayer for expenses, so it’s not all bad news.

  • Gareth

    Kevin B,

    Is The Civil Service ‘The Government’ and Labour Ministers are meant to largely just represent the Government – ie introduce the legislation the Civil Service has drawn up for MPs to give the due consideration?(With some reasonable leeway to enact manifesto pledges)

    It is afterall Her Majesty’s Government and Her Majesty’s Opposition.

    What we have at the moment is the people writing the legislation voting on it as well with the clique of Labour Ministers, advisors and their plainly partisan civil servants. If I have understood how our Parliamentary system should (and perhaps used to) work with something approaching an unwritten separation of powers, it seems to me at least our MPs are no longer high minded enough to appreciate what their role is and neither does the Civil Service.

  • Verity

    Counting Cats – Absolutely. I desperately want them to lose. Or that it’s a hung Parliament and the Conservatives will find their bottle and sack the egregious Cameron. What is more, I’ve been saying this for months over on The Speccie’s Coffee House, and people are no longer slinging things in my direction when I say it. There seems to be a severe, possibly irreversible, disenchantment with the Tories, and this is down the the smug drawing room pinko Cameron.

    Plus, we have around 1300 quangoes in Britain, and rather than promising to take an axe to them, he is going to add a few of his own – making governance even more remote.

    If Lord Pearson promises an In/Out referendum re the EUSSR, UKIP might cheer us all up by sweeping into power. To the utter amazement of smug, vapid, greedy Dave.

  • Kevin B

    Gareth, certainly the politicisation of the Civil Service has contributed to the ever growing remoteness of our governing class and, as Verity mentioned, the quango industry, whereby the government and EU sponsor ‘research’ the results of which are trumpeted by our fearless and noble media ‘forcing’ the reluctant government to pass yet more laws to tie us all ever more tightly to the state’s apron strings…

    It’s about now that I’m usually tempted to go off on a ‘march through the institutions’ rant, but truth to tell, we’ve brought much of this on ourselves.

    I’ve certainly lived through a golden age of peace and prosperity and I’m probably as guilty as most of shrugging off the clear signs of decadence and corruption in our polity and in Western civilisation. As long as the bread and circuses kept coming it was easy to moan at the liberties being taken, but fail to do anything about it.

    Now that the shit is hitting the fan it’s going to be harder than ever to claw back any worthwhile freedom, and our political processes are so debased that the only clear way to change things is likely to be pretty rough indeed.

  • Jim Vigotty

    As was said in an earlier commentary on the Conservative Party.

    “The party of Winston Churchill was also the party of Neville Chamberlain.”

    Where’s this generation’s Winston, or Maggie for that matter.

  • The only problem that all you young chaps have not identified in all this is….


    Cameron will buy libertarian activists a few months – pssibly even one or two years – of _/TIME/_ to get better organised for facing the full-on, triumphalist, British-left, statist onslaught.

    Cameron will go down, never you mind: he’s finished already and what you all say confirms that you all know it.

    But just imagine, just imagine, what will happen, to all sorts of people and things and institutions, if THIS lot, wins a _fourth term_ …

    And try to imagine how quickly, if you were in their shoes, you would try to carry it out….

  • Alice

    Is Dismal Davie Cameron the ailment — or the symptom?

    Since the Conservative Party could unload Davie in a heartbeat, he has to be seen as the symptom. The ailment is much broader — and since the ailment affects the entire Conservative Party with its myriad of ordinary citizen members, a preliminary diagnosis might be that the cancer has already metastasized.

    The situation may be terminal. Time to start thinking about “After the fall”.

  • David,

    That is true, another five years of this lot and Britain will be a full blown managerial fascist state, bankrupt and irrelevant.

    That is the downside.

    However, a Tory win will not provide time. As I said above it will confirm the tories as a party of the managerial left and leave Britain in their clutches for a generation at least.

    No, a Cameron win won’t provide time, it will set back the reform needed until the NEXT time the tories are out and then in again.

  • Verity

    Counting Cats – Your argument is irrefutable. And there will never be another chance, in any case, to save the right. Another win for the communists will seal the EUSSR – no ‘in or out’ vote on the EU,l and our history and our legislature will sink away … under a carbon melting ice cap perhaps. Eurabia.

    Two thousand years as a people…

  • Verity

    Mark this sentence from Kevyn B: “At the same time as power has been ceded to fewer and more remote people, the size of Government has boomed.”

    This in regard to quangoes.

  • RRS

    Not to be pedantic, but the question is:

    whether or not the Parliament (in its composition) is actually representative of the electorate

    While there is no doubt an issue as to where it may have gone off the rails or abdicated, there remains the question of what it reflects of the electorate.

    Any takers?

  • Jjamess

    If we all think Cameron is the problem, then our best bet is to try and unseat him at the general election. Who would people in Witney be prepared to vote for as a non-Cameron candidate? How can we pursuade him to stand? Would (s)he best run under the UKIP banner? If not, can we avoid splitting the anti-cameron vote? How can we get maximum media on this person? Will all the blogs (devils kitchen, guido fawkes etc) support him? These are the questions we need to be asking.

    First past the post has been a great way of keeping control in the hands of party leaders. Maybe in todays world of blogging etc, it can become a great tool to unseat those same leaders.

  • Verity

    Jjamess – OK. Who could unseat David Cameron? I believe Nigel Farage definitely could, but he is dedicated to unseating the Bercow individual. Anyone else? Any suggestions?

    It might be hard. Cameron’s one of those ingratiating, Uriah Heep types. Puts on a show of concern. Deep down, he’s very shallow.

  • Verity

    Oh, wait a minute! Daniel Hannan!

  • Jjamess

    Dan would be great! As would John Redwood and others. I suspect it would need to be someone in the media, in which case a Telegraph blogger might appeal to Witney voters – James Delingpole, Christopher Booker, Gerald Warner etc (though they might lose their jobs if they tried).

    I’m sure the right person with the right support could unseat Cameron and give us a chance (though only that) of a party in power who would try to undo the damage of a big state. And even if the person didn’t succeed, he might force Cameron to become more conservative in his fight for his seat.

  • Verity

    Jjamess, Yes, any of the three you suggest are mentally streets ahead of Cameron, although I’m not sure that they all have the stage presence and star quality that it’s going to take to unseat the egregious Dave. I’d go for Daniel Hannan, whose verbal agility and sang froid would be quite unsettling to a plodding, manipulative bully like Cameron. I believe James Delingpole would also be a disconcerting challenger to Cameron, who isn’t exactly fast on his feet.

  • Laird

    “Deep down, he’s very shallow.”

    Great Line!

  • Verity

    Laird – I pinched it from a very funny novelist called Peter de Vries.

  • I propose, and look for a seconder for, Michael Winning, to stand against deCameron Dave.

    Michael is a pig-farmer who lives near Accrington (Tory voters in the South may not know where that is) and who has just started bloggin for the Libertarian Alliance.

    Michael is a libertarian, but believes that a Tory win, in 2010, is needed to buy time for the libertarian fringe to properly organise its equipment, comms and infrastructure against things like armed DEFRA assault-squads, Victorious People’s Bureaucrats, Sondergerichte, and the like.

    Michael says he will come down in his tractor to canvass, so he won’t look out of place in Witney which I believe from distant memory is somewhat rural. I think even deCameron Dave’s house is sort of stony-browny-yellow-colour, like they have down there, no? (Ours are brick or grey.) Unless Witney now only contains bankers and Ferraris (which I doubt.)

    If the Tories won’t adopt him, which I guess they won’t, he’ll stand for the LPUK or UKIP, or as an Independent.

  • Anyway, Dave is from the wrong College. All Oxford PMs have been Bal or Ch Ch men. This is a rule. Thatcher ultimately got murdered for having impudently studied while at Somerville – and a _Science_, to boot.

  • Jjamess

    Michael should start campaigning to be the one to unseat Cameron. Since I’ve never heard of him I imagine many in Witney have never heard of him too, which doesn’t bode well.

    If there are lots of different people and groups trying to take the protest vote then Cameron doesn’t need to worry. If there’s a unified effort, centred on an individual, from those who want small government (expressed in terms of freedom from Europe, economic freedom, no AGW madness etc) then Dave needs to either start worrying, or get back to traditional Conservative policies.

    We need to find the top 10 candidates and work out which one should stand in Witney.

  • David and Jjamess: why not Hannan? He was the first one that came to my mind, even before Verity mentioned him, but I am not a Brit. Is Hannan too young or what?

  • MarkE

    As a Witney resident and former Conservative Association member (who hadn’t heard of Michael Winning, David), I have already offered to canvas for Daniel Hannan on his blog. I think the problem many people are ignoring is that of persuading their chosen candidate to stand against Cameron. I am beginning to suspect Hannan “doth protesteth too much” (per his beloved Shakespear) his loyalty, but that may just be my wishful thinking.

    I would be happy to do the same for any of those proposed by Jjamess. I doubt Redwood would want to leave Wokingham but the Telegraph bloggers listed would be very interesting.

    For my preference I’d go for Hannan first, then Booker then Delingpole because that is the order in which I think they would attract Witney Conservatives.

  • Nothing the matter with Danial Hannan at all, chaps! Or Booker or Delingpole. The only problem I can see is that the Tory Party will absolutely pull out all the stops, even the ones we hadn’t even predicted they hadn’t heard of, against Hannan or these others, to stop them.

    But they’re less likely to take an unknown Lancashire farmer seriously, and won’t stir themselves as much.

  • Heh, I hope they are not reading this, or you’ll have to barbecue them before they know what hit them…

  • Verity

    I think Hannan’s playing a long game and isn’t going to make any sudden moves. He may be hoping for what I’m hoping for … a hung Parliament that won’t last more than a year. Cameron will have been disposed of by then without Hannan getting his hands dirty. I would be equally happy with Redwood. They’re both outstanding.

    I now wish Nigel Farrage weren’t standing against the Speaker, because this man is a political bruiser and he could win against vapid, self-serving pr spiv Dave.

    So by 2012, we would have Hannan or Redwood as PM. And Sarah Palin in the White House. And we can get this climate garbage blown out of the water. (Let’s use lots and lots of explosives and leave a monster carbon footprint.)

  • Jjamess

    I think Daniel Hannan would be great, however I just can’t imagine him ever seeking to unseat Cameron. MarkE presumably you know other disatisfied conservatives in Witney, who would they like to see running against Cameron?

    I could imagine our candidate X saying he will support Cameron providing he:

    -promises a referendum on Europe
    -reduces tax
    -makes MP’s expenses completely transparent
    -reduces state surveillance, including DNA databases etc
    (feel free to add to the list)

    Every time Cameron refuses to commit himself to one of these issues he looses votes, every time he promises to act on these issues he becomes more like a conservative – thus even if he did get elected, his policies would be better than they are now.

    The key to this is one electable anti-Cameron candidate who everyone on the right will back as an alternative to Dave.

  • MarkE


    In simple policy terms there is a long list of potential challengers from the right who could unseat Cameron, but they would have to overcome two other handicaps; Cameron is the official Conservative party candidate and we are constantly being told (not least by Cameron who has a degree of self interest here) that only the Conservatives have a realistic chance of defeating Labour; Cameron also enjoys a high profile as leader of the opposition.

    The first of these needs to be debunked at every opportunity every time anyone refers to it, to prevent it becoming self fulfilling. Once upon a time it was true, but we have seen that the internet has given other groups a voice and campaigns can be organised to displace the establishment. A general election is a big step beyond creating a new religion on census forms or keeping a manufactured act off the number 1 slot in the pop charts, but not an impossible one.

    The profile problem might be the bigger obstacle. While John Redwood (say) standing as an independent or UKIP candidate would attract the support of disaffected Conservatives, he could not attract the less committed. In addition, anyone coming from a political background with a high enough profile has too much to lose becuase they will have a seat and a reasonable expectation of hanging onto it. What is needed is a Martin Bell figure who is well known to the general public. Bell had the advantage of the support of the BBC when he stood against Neil Hamilton; it is safe to say that support would not be forthcoming if Cameron faced a challenge from the right (they want a Labour victory, but Cameron is acceptable to them as second best; anyone from the centre right is beyond fearing). In Witney a Telegraph columnist or blogger might just have enough of a profile. Hannan has all of this but, much as I want to, I don’t see him picking that fight yet.

  • Verity

    “…much as I want to, I don’t see him picking that fight yet.”

    As I posted above, MarkE.

    I think Hannan will be looking for a hung Parliament, at which point Cameron, if he didn’t have the grace to resign for having failed to win a clear victory against the bin pickings that are the socialists, would have been given the opportunity to resign, or would have been sacked.

    That would be the ideal scenario for Hannan.

    I don’t know whether he has a Plan B. (I don’t even know that this is his Plan A.) But for sure he could draw the country together faster than any other candidate. (Not least because of his masterful public humiliation of Gordon Brown in the EU Parliament. Despite chances week after week for four years, we’ve never seen a performance even approaching that from David Cameron at PMQs.)

    I like John Redwood very much, and I like his somewhat aloof demeanour, but I think Hannan has more voter appeal – especially with the ladies. Speaking for myself, I would be equally happy with either man leading the Tories.

  • Paul Marks

    I have been an active member of the Conservative party for 30 years.

    My local M.P. in Kettering is a good man (for example he openly states that Britain should leave the European Union) and I will do what I can to help him be reelected.

    However, I can find nothing good to say about the Conservative party leadership – whenever I try and give them the benefit of the doubt they hit me over the head.

    Mr Cameron breaks his “iron clad” promise to allow the British people a vote on the E.U. Constitution (the so called Lisbon Treaty) – in what Peter O. of the Spectator (with admiration!) calls a “fine piece of statecraft” – i.e. a cowardly and disgusting breach of faith.

    Or Mr “George” Osbourne comes out with some crackbrained economic plan. Such as “if we require that that one billion in bank bonus payments be paid in shares rather than cash that will give banks ten billion Pounds to lend out – and we should make sure they lend the money to small business”.

    I do not know what to make of such people.

    For example, Mr Cameron did not win a single vote by breaking his word – as the people who support the E.U. would never vote Conservative anyway (hint – writing articles in the Guardian and Independent does not reach any potential Conservative voters). It was betrayal without rational purpose, a “cunning plan” that was not cunning at all.

    As for Mr Osbourne’s plans – at a time when banking credit bubble games are more discredited than ever before, he suggests more fractional reserve credit money bubbles.

    How can there be a polite response to such suggestions? Other than to say “you are mistaken”.

    “But Paul they are miles ahead in the polls”.

    Quite so – but that is 13 years of Labour Party rule, dominated (in economic policy) by Mr Brown.

    Never has it been more truly said that “oppositions do not win elections, governments lose them”.

  • Paul Marks

    Of course I would dispute some of what Mr Heath says in his Spectator article.

    However, it is a serious article – nothing like the sort of stuff Mr Osborne comes out with.

    This is a serious matter – Chancellor is an important post even in quiet times, and these are hardly quiet times.

    And yet Mr Cameron has appointed Mr Osborne Shadow Chancellor – it is Mr Osborne who will be in charge of economic policy should the Conservative party win the next election.

    Yet to call Mr Osborne a lightweight would be to wildly overstate his worth.

    What is going on?

    Is it really “G.O is a political ally so I will give him the Treasury, even though he knows nothing about economic matters”?