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The Death of Fusionism – YAY!

By Sara Scarlett
May 27th, 2013 at 12:01 am | No Comments | Posted in Conservatives, Libertarians, Political theory

There’s an interesting debate going on over at Cato-Unbound.org regarding ‘fusionism.’ Or rather – both the tactical alliance of Libertarians and Conservatives and the suggestion that for libertarian politics to work, you need institutions and structures in place in civil society, and similarly, for traditional institutions and values to once again achieve prominence, you need a libertarian political framework. It makes for a good read and I am definitely on the ‘Death of Fusionism‘ side of this debate. My own reasons are thusly -

First and foremost – uniting with Conservatives has not furthered the aims of Libertarians whatsoever. Conservatives do nothing to reduce the size of the State when they are in office and continue with the cronyism and uphold the symbiotic relationships between government and special interests. Libertarians in America have been junior partners in an awkward alliance, that includes Christian socialists like Rick Santorum, and we have got nothing back in return.

Secondly – Libertarianism is a decedent of the Liberal tradition, not the Conservative tradition. Now is the time to assert our own identity more than ever. There has never been a better time to be a Libertarian so why should we rely on traditional institutions when our own are rising to prominence? We can and should rely on our own checks and balances and our self-limiting structures?

Conservatives have Churches – Socialists have Unions – Libertarians have the Internet. Our age is now. If we ever needed Conservatives before – we don’t need them anymore…

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The Littlewood Plan: An interesting piece of kite flying?

By Angela Harbutt
October 23rd, 2012 at 2:30 pm | 4 Comments | Posted in Conservatives, Election, Liberal Democrats

 

Conservative home has got hold the November issue of Standpoint magazine, (released on Thursday), which, they say, carries an article by Mark Littlewood, (formerly of this Parish) advocating a pact between free market Lib Dems and Conservatives after the next election.

The Littlewood Plan would see Conservatives stand down in a Lib Dem seat where the Lib Dem MP agrees to pursue deficit reduction and free market policies, and signs up for a new coalition. He says (presumably addressing Mr Cameron) :

“The arrangement he should seek with free market-leaning (“Orange Book”) Lib Dem MPs should be unilateral but not universal. It would essentially amount to an offer to withdraw the Conservative candidate from those seats in which an incumbent Liberal was willing publicly to take a pledge to continue the work of the coalition beyond 2015, specifically in regard to swiftly completing the process of fiscal consolidation, preferably at a rather more rapid pace than at present.”

Con Home reports that Mark Littlewood argues this arrangement would particularly suit those Lib Dems in ministerial office since they will find it harder to distinguish themselves politically from their Coalition partners, and also have less time to spend campaigning out and about in the constituency. He also suggests that such a scheme would benefit the Conservatives – allowing them to focus their firepower on target Labour seats.

This idea has clearly caught Con Home on the hop. Unsurprisingly they dismiss the suggestion (as do those commenting on the blog) in quick order. Yet they can’t quite articulate a reason why they are against the idea, beyond the fact that any Lib Dem seat in electoral peril should be seized by the Conservatives at all costs. That’s it so far. Hardly a compelling reason to dismiss out of hand. Maybe they will have a bit of a think about it and come up with a somewhat more robust set of reasons to say no.

For our  part we like this out-of-the-box thinking. This far out from an election, it is little more than a  fascinating piece of kite-flying. But there is plenty of time for variations on the Littlewood Plan to be kicked about and mulled over.

Of course what we really want to see is Ministers on both sides knuckling down to the job of getting growth going with some thoughtful ideas that will actually work. But if Vince can engage in cross bench flirting with Ed Miliband, via text or behind closed doors, we should expect, nay demand, a little flirting within the coalition too, surely?

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Of God and Conservatism

By Leslie Clark
November 25th, 2011 at 6:50 pm | 1 Comment | Posted in Conservatives, The Human Condition

*Correction: I may have been mistaken in entitling a recent piece on LV ‘Of God and Socialism’, highlighting Christians who equate their faith with socialist principles.

The TES have just reported that the Government allegedly plans to dispatch a copy of the King James Bible to every school in the country. Incredibly, the Bibles will also contain a foreword from that most notable of biblical scholars, Michael Gove. Quite what qualifies him for such a task God only knows.

The Government’s Bible-bashing surely raises the question: how much will this policy actually cost? To modify Friedman’s quote, there is no such thing as a free Bible.

Is this something the Government should be funding in 2011? On the surface it doesn’t sound like the actions of a liberal progressive government but more the wet dream of Patrick Buchanan.

And I wonder what liberal secularist champion Evan Harris will make of it all?

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Oliver Letwin: A Case Of J.S.Mill Redux?

By Leslie Clark
October 14th, 2011 at 4:29 am | No Comments | Posted in Conservatives

In a parliamentary exchange with a Tory MP in 1866, J.S. Mill famously said: “I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative.” But let us fast forward to 2011…

The Daily Mirror have caught Tory Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Letwin disposing of official government documents and correspondence – some of which relate to intelligence and national security – in the bin of a London park.

With such a lax and bumbling approach to the management of sensitive government information, it makes you wonder whether the Wikileaks phenomenon is that remarkable. A bin man could have been the next Julian Assange. Well, in a minor sort of way.

Oliver Letwin has of course got form on the idiocy front having once let two complete strangers use his toilet at 5am. Unsurprisingly, they proceeded to rob him.

While a brief peruse of his CV demonstrates that he is an intellectual par excellence, his latest gaffe just goes to show that even eggheads like Mr Letwin have no common sense and can act incredibly stupid.

The cat is well and truly out of the bag

By Angela Harbutt
October 7th, 2011 at 3:36 pm | 3 Comments | Posted in Civil Liberties, Conservatives

On the whole, as I reported previously, I thought we had a pretty good conference up in Birmingham. Having now seen Ed Miliband’s joke of a speech and the Conservatives fall out big time over a cat of all things, I take it all back. We had a brilliant conference!

How on earth the Conservatives have let the “cat” story (unimaginatively dubbed “cat-gate”) run for three or four days goodness only knows..but it has. The latest shock revelation today, in the Telegraph, is that the man at the centre of the Clarke-May row, Ranzo Avila, who admitted shoplifting from a high street store in London, in 2007,  received a police caution but was never convicted for shoplifting! Under Home Office rules, that doesn’t pass the threshold for deportation (which is when a foreign national has been sentenced to at least a year in prison). So no cat story at all then!

Of course dear old Ken did not exactly smooth ruffled feathers (or fur in this case) when he described May’s use of the cat case as “laughable and childlike”. (Though you’ve got to admit he has a point!).

You have to ask what on earth is going on at NO10. Not only did one of Cameron’s most important set-piece speeches have to be rewritten hours before delivery, after the briefed speech had to be binned, but now we are seeing a silly childish spat between the Home Secretary and the Justice Secretary being played out across the media. You would really think Cameron might have more important things to deal with – like the economy.

I am afraid that all this points to the fact  that Andy Coulson’s replacement – Craig Oliver- is just not up to the job. He may have been  safe pair of hands – but is he politically astute enough? – with enough clout to do the job? My bet that Oliver would not last the year is looking good.

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