Monday, January 30, 2006

Real change? - Or is he simply playing to the press?

This is the question I get asked the most about David Cameron by our members and supporters.

Is he really changing our Party or is he merely trying to make us look and sound more moderate to keep the press on side?

The Conservative Party has always been the home of pragmatic politics. Since the days of Disreali the party has been kept in power by a survival instinct based on remaining up to date with public opinion and keeping our underlying philosphy simple.

In the 1970's the country was sliding into an abyss and the Party required a much more determined and strident set of solutions to combat trade union power and economic decline; but even under Thatcher real spending on the NHS went up, Grammar Schools were replaced by Comprehensives, major pieces of race relation and sex discrimination legislation were introduced and the level of overall tax in the economy stayed at historically high levels - hardly an extreme 'right wing' administration.

But since then the Thatcher Tories have been portrayed by our opponents as 'extremists' hell-bent on distroying the NHS and returning British society to some kind of Victorian class-ridden nightmare.

At last the Party has recognised that this parody of our politics has become the image of us that most non Tories have and are doing something about it.

Cameron has done nothing to change our basic philosophy - keep Government small.

What he has done is ruthlessly drop any policy that offers ammunition to those who would wish to mislead the public about our goals and to beef up the policies -always there but overlooked by the press and public- that stress our belief in a fair society.

A society where people have equal opportunity to make the best of the talents and abilities that they have; where we look after those for whom circumstances have made life difficult; and where we have a society that shows consideration for each other and for the environment we share.

Not new Conservatives, in fact just reminding people of long held priorities we have always had.


Anonymous said...

Norman Tebbit doesn't like the cut of his cloth very much, does he?

Anonymous said...

Whilst I respect what Norman Tebbit says, this 'attack' on 'Dave' is as likely to help him as hinder him.

Tory watcher said...

Norman Tebbit is very sensitive to the suggestion that David Cameron and the Notting Hill set are trying to dump the Thatcher legacy because it is so clearly his legacy as well.

The really intersting thing is that so many of the new 'inclusive' Conservatives are from upper class backgrounds whereas the Tebbit and Thatcher 'stormtrooper' variety are overwhelmingly Conservatives who are self-made and often from lower and middle class backgrounds.

Most of them became MP's by way of a previous 'modernising' process in the late 1960's that involved bringing candidates with a wider social background - these MP's became known as 'the Garagiste' because many of them had made their money through car dealerships.

As a Tory Mp ruefully noted at the time 'the Conservative Party used to be full of Estate owners, now it's all Estate agents...'

What goes around comes around, eh Marcus?

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Barrie Wood said...

See my earlier posts regarding Cameron on here or at my own blog. However, this from 'The Independent' sums up my own perceptions :

The Independent: David Cameron is under mounting criticism from right-wing Tories who accuse him of abandoning the party's traditional principles and policies.

He denied the charge of "betrayal" and accused his internal critics of "one- dimensional thinking". Mr Cameron's strategy has provoked a right-wing backlash at the private weekly meetings of Tory MPs, who are furious that he has downgraded tax cuts, and dumped policies such as setting up more grammar schools and subsidising patients opting for private health treatment.

The Tories - still the same 'under the bonnet' - supporting the priviledged and powerful !

Elephunt said...

Blimey Marcus, I hope you stuff the LDs in your patch but this is pushing it a bit.

You'd better hope the public really believes Cameron has changed the Tories otherwise you'll hit your head on that 33% ceiling again.

Barrie Wood said...


Mostly spin is the answer to whether the Tories have really changed. I give 'policy' examples on my blog should you wish to challenge my assertion.

What I would say is that you are making yourself look pretty foolish. Last May you enthusiastically endorsed a harsh and illiberal Cameron-penned manifesto, now you laud his new-found [supposedly] 'one nation' conservatism.

Before you rush to the local media again with your latest offering can you tell me which specific policies, put before the public last May, you now repudiate ? No waffle please, just answer the question !

Let's hope for your sake that a mixture of unrest in the parliamentary Tory pary and a possible downturn in the polls, don't result in a shift back to the right-wing Thatcherite agenda of 2005. Hague and IDS have both gone down this route to shore-up the core vote.

I hope you are pretty athletic Marcus because you are performing political summersaults already....and there's probably more to come.

Marcus, it is far better that conference decides policy, informed as that is by a shared political philosophy such as Liberalism, than play follow my leader.. wherever he may go and no matter how opportunist he gets.

Barrie Wood said...

To be fair David Cameron's comments on the royal perogate and a PMs 'war powers' are excellent. Let's hope they form official Tory policy. Credit where it is due !

Eric Cartman said...

Seems electors in Dunfermline are not impressed with Dave's pick amd mix make it up as we go along new Toryism.