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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Blue Tory anger at David Cameron

The Telegraph is reporting that the ‘right-wing’ section of the British Conservative Party is unhappy with the Liberal Democrat coalition deal. They have a right to be unhappy, not just with the deal but with the election in general.

David Cameron followed what we would call in Canada a Red Tory strategy (they would say Wet Tory in the UK). Basically he presented a moderate front that is suppose to reach out to people that don’t traditionally vote Conservative. Specifically he was interested in gaining seats in Scotland, a region that is full of anti-Tory sentiment to such a great extent that there is legitimate fear that a Tory government could lead to Scottish separation by its very existence.

In the cause of winning Scottish and ‘moderate voters,’ David Cameron reversed classic Conservative positions on Europe, watered down Conservative economic ideas, and blatantly almost rudely distanced himself from Margaret Thatcher. Really it was a pointless exercise. Scottish Labour Party acted like it was running against Lady Thatcher not Mr. Cameron and the Scottish people voted to keep a neo-Thatcher from coming to power, even though Mr. Cameron is not a neo-Thatcher in any sense. At the same time traditional Tories, that would have wanted Mr. Cameron to defend Lady Thatcher’s legacy, were annoyed at the Conservative leader.

The proof is in the pudding. Labour has not been so unpopular in nearly thirty years and yet David Cameron failed to win outright. If it hadn’t been for the unpopularity of Gordon Brown and the tiredness of the Labour government, it is almost certain that David Cameron would have lost.

So the Red Tory strategy fell flat once again and now the Blue Tory (if I can call it that) section of the party has to swallow yet another pill: coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

I posted yesterday that there was some good in the Con-Lib coalition policy agenda. The civil liberty aspects of the deal alone will warm my heart to the new government. Still there are things that have conservatives legitimately irked. The greatest of these is the increase of the capital gains tax, which runs against all conservative economic theory for the last forty years. If David Cameron had tried to raise capital gains tax while holding a majority he would likely have faced a back bencher’s uprising.

Basically Conservative MPs and grassroots are both being told to hang tight for the sake of government. But governing is not the sole cause of a political party; the Conservative Party is more than a mere vehicle for David Cameron to win power. It is also an organization of ideological perspectives with a policy agenda.

Mr. Cameron should keep in mind that there is a limit to how much a leader can ignore that agenda.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on May 13, 2010 in International Politics | Permalink


I began to 'associate' with 'conservative' sites during the Iraq War Period, for the very good reason that they supported what I supported.
Now ---- not so much.

This article is typical of 'conservative' thinking, Very short term indeed.
The 'blue Tories' you are so fond of, are now in very extreme danger. They have very little influence over this new 'de-facto' Party except in the area of Foreign Affairs(where they are much more 'rational' than the Lib-Dems). Domestically this is a 'liberal' Government or if you prefer a 'Liberal' Government, and it will be very well accepted by both many Conservatives and almost all Lib-Dems.
What would happen say in 5 years(looking ahead) if after a 'successful' Coalition run, the 'centre' of the Coalition decided that the future should be them and not the 'difficulties' on either fringe of the Parties ?

Could not this emerging Lib-Con 'centrism' become the default position in UK politics, thus making 'blue Tories' as relevant as say UKIP ? Would it not therefore be the 'blues' that found themselves in the position of having to 'adapt' to the new norms, and not the 'norms' having to bend to them ?

I think it would. This 'new/old' Coalition is potentially the virtual death knell of both the most intransigent of 'blue Tories' AND the doctrinaire class-warfare oriented Labour Party. it is an existential threat to both extremes.

One can but be thankful for a glimpse of a MUCH better political future. I am for sure and believe that Canada's 'Conservative' Party could well learn some lessons from this Great Experiment.

Posted by: Dougf | 2010-05-13 5:59:07 AM

If they do not make drastic cuts in government employment, entitlements, pensions, EU power, immigration, deficits the debt crisis, going Greek, will destroy the Conservative Party. The sheeple will blame the party in power.

Posted by: Floyd Looney | 2010-05-13 12:28:59 PM

Let Scotland go. They won't leave, they are a welfare province, who'd pay the freight then?

Posted by: Floyd Looney | 2010-05-13 12:32:29 PM

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