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My Year As Tory Scum

By Sara Scarlett
December 26th, 2015 at 12:48 pm | 1 Comment | Posted in Conservatives, Liberal Democrats

After years of being told to ‘join the Tories,’ last year, I did! Here are a few thoughts…

I am still glad that Cameron is still Prime Minister despite his cowardice and “wetness.” I would rather have him in charge than any of the other Party Leaders who were around on May 2015 and any of the Leaders who are in charge now. Tim Farron strikes me as a nice man but ultimately he’s a charisma-free zone. Whilst I will admit the same could be said of Cameron, the Liberal Democrats need someone really special to decontaminate their brand and I don’t think Farron’s up to it. Cameron to his credit did decontaminate the Tory party brand.

The Labour party appears to have elected the cross between the President of a Polytechnic student union and a tramp. UKIP would be in a really strong position right now if they had changed their Leader and Douglas Carswell knows it… But the talent in UKIP may simply not be there. It could easily be the case that Farage is the best they’ve got. There are also other parties, I believe.

I’ve always been disappointed with Conservative party policy, a feeling shared by most of the classical liberals in the Tories, and I still feel disappointed with a great deal of it. Cameron hasn’t really brought in anything resembling sweeping reforms. To deal with the big issues like the deficit, health care, education, welfare, pensions and housing, there needs to be big structural change and if I have to make a predictation, I would confidently bet that the type of reform that’s needed is not going to happen under Cameron. He’s an okay caretaker but someone else is going to have to fix inherent problems in the system. Issues like a shortage of school places could be very easily with things like vouchers and profit…

I find myself, however, less angry at the Tories than the LibDems. The Conservatives are not Liberals and that’s okay because they’ve never claimed to be, or called themselves, liberal/Liberal. Conservatism as an ideology has always struck me as rather thin and unengaging but then someone in the LibDems will advocate sending smokers to prison and it will enrage me.

Unlike the left, the Conservatives are good when it comes to self-awareness. They are less good at framing the debate on their terms largely because the ‘unelected state’ – e.g. the BBC, the Arts, Academia – have a heafty left-wing bias and often define the terms of the debate before any political party gets a look in. Compassion should not be defined by how much money you throw at public services regardless of their effectiveness and outcomes. The Foreign Aid budget is a perfect example of this.

The LibDems are in bigger trouble than they realise. They’re not well placed to deal with a moderate Tory government. A lot of LibDem policy is surprisingly under-developed considering how long they’ve been around. The party caters almost exclusively to people working in the public sector and education with very little to offer those of us in the private sector.

More pertinently – I’ve also never heard a Tory say to anyone: “Why don’t you go join the Labour party?” Not ever. Not even once. The Tories will take your direct debit and cooly welcome you to tea and biscuits with the local council. There’s something inherently superior about about a political party that doesn’t alienate the very people who are giving it the money it needs to survive. What defines a Tory is whether or not you’re a member of the Conservative party not some arbritrary purity test. Despite finding myself drinking with a small subset of classical liberals and libertarians wondering why the party isn’t more into freedom – just like I did in the LibDems – the Tories are just so much more *together* with each other. The left-leaning Christian socialist wing of the party won’t try to expunge the neocons and vis-a-vis. In British politics broader churches are stronger churches and the LibDems inherent inability to manage that has been their downfall.

How many seats will the LibDems get next election? I’m going to go with four. Guesses in the comments section, please…

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George Osborne reveals his Whiggish side

By Alex Chatham
October 7th, 2015 at 10:00 am | Comments Off on George Osborne reveals his Whiggish side | Posted in Conservatives

On Monday, George Osborne set out his vision for Britain. Much of the commentary has focused on his political cross dressing. But there was something else going on in the speech. Osborne talked about how Britain has progressed. It was a Whig view of history. If Osborne becomes Prime Minister, we may see a more Whiggish government in operation. But if that is to happen he will need to deal with Theresa May’s view of immigration.

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Conservative Government: liberal scorecard

By Alex Chatham
June 1st, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Comments Off on Conservative Government: liberal scorecard | Posted in Conservatives

From time to time, it is worth judging the Governemnt on a liberal scorecard. So, how are they doing so far?

They score well on their commitment to significantly reduce red tape but poorly on their plans to monitor the public as part of the campaign on terrorism.

Here re are some suggestions on how they might up their liberal score:

  • Abolish some Government departments. Vince Cable wanted to abolish BIS before he got to run it, so that would be a good start. Other departments suitable for  the chop are Sport, Media and Culture, DECC and if you wanted to be very radical Education. After all John Stuart Mill argued that Government should fund education but not provide it.
  • Reform the Licence fee. Why are we paying a poll tax to consume entertainment?
  • Draw up a constitutional settlement that allows people to run their own affairs.
  • Stop telling people how to live their lives.

The Uber free market

By Alex Chatham
May 28th, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Comments Off on The Uber free market | Posted in Conservatives, Economics, freedom, Nannying

For some in the Conservative party, Boris Johnson is the libertarian saviour waiting in the wings to take power and reshape Britain. After all, the London Mayor recently told licenced Black Cab drivers that they had to accept the success of Uber because that is how a free market works. Liberals should applaud this championing of the market. For those who don’t much like markets, remember people collectively send price signals that tells suppliers what is and isn’t wanted.

Odd then that the same Boris Johnson has decided to put a cap on how many mini cabs operate in London. He has decided, no doubt based on expert advice, that we have too many. It might be worth reminding Boris that this is a free market and it is the people who should decide how many cabs offer their services to Londoners.

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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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