New Tories

Some of you yesterday in response to my piece on Labour wanted to know about the Conservatives. That’s a sign of the times, when the Opposition is more important news than the government.

Some advisers to past Conservative leaders were so much the prisoners of Labour’s spin, that they tried to emulate Blair’s strategy in the 1990s. They were always wanting to find a Clause IV momnent, when their Leader could pick a fight with the Conservative party and win, showing it had changed. It was silly thing to want to do, because the Conservative problem was not a past policy problem that went to the core of the party’s identity as nationalisation was to Labour, but the mistaken economic fashion of the ERM they had adopted in the early 1990s which true Conservatives hated anyway.

They never found a way of copying the other part of the Blair strategy, by characterising the errors of their opponents and then remorselessly repeating the negative messages. Indeed, they missed the main point about NuLabour – it was primarily a way of attacking the Conservatives. Under Brown this has been extended, so that practically all policy statements and many government actions are also just traps for the Conservatives. We have an oppositon with a majority, a group of politicians who define themselves by their caricature of their opponents. As people cease to believe Labour generally, so they cease to believe their view of the Conservatives.

So what should David Cameron ‘s Conservatives do? They should move rapidly to the post Brown/Blair era, by showing that politics is about more than messaging and positioning. It is about preparing for government and governing well. What the public wants from the Conservatives is evidence that they have thought a lot about how to turn the country round, and are prepared to take the difficult decisions that will require. Today George Osborne will set out how they will tackle the mess that it is City regulation. That is what they should be doing.

It doesn’t matter if Labour try to steal the policies – many of them will be steps too far for the spinners and adventurers of the government, and it is probably too late to save their bacon even if they now do start doing the right things for a change. It is more important that the current disaster be turned round as quickly as possible for all our sakes. The country wants some competence from its politicians. It has had enough of the age of spin, where the only thing that happens is more money is spent on the government’s advertising and PR budget, and more messages are crafted,designed to portray the government’s opponents in a bad light.

This entry was posted in Blog. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

44 Comments

  1. Kevin Lohse
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    Dear John. Thank you for yet another informative blog on the essential differences between socialism and conservatism.

  2. Kit
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    “It is about preparing for government and governing well.”

    I would prefer the Conservatives to say: “This governing thing is way too complex for anyone to do so we are cutting the power and scope of the state down to a minimum.”

    • jean baker
      Posted July 20, 2009 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      A return to good government is simple. Playing the public as fools isn’t government, just a monumentally expensive ‘game’.

      • Kit
        Posted July 20, 2009 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

        “A return to good government is simple”

        If only good government was that simple I am sure someone would have done it by now.

        • jean baker
          Posted July 20, 2009 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

          It seems you have no recollection of Great Britain in 1997 and the disastrous changes and havoc wreaked upon it in the last 12 years.

  3. DBC Reed
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    It might help to get the Norwich bye-election results in and see if they shew anything interesting: there does seem to be an all-the- political-parties are the same mood in the electorate there.
    The expenses scandal did damage the reputation of the Conservatives: a lot of the best remembered troughers were old money landowner Tories who should n’t have needed tax-payer cash; the Labour offenders,being first generation people on the make, might be expected to grab anything that was going.

    Cameron should, on form,be a long way farther in front by now. He is faced with the dilemma of being radical or standing pat.As there is so little real difference between the parties: there is no argument over slavishly following the American foreign policy (Why? They undermined socialism only to shake world capitalism by poor banking& business practice);there is no argument about bank
    nationalisation and quantitative easing; all the political parties are
    sub-sets of the Homeowners’ Party desparate for another housing bubble ( it is the Conservatives at the moment toying with council housing);the build infrastructure programmes espoused by JR and some old-school Labourites are the preserve of the radical fringe.

    It would be easier in a situation of total political inertia (not active Butskellism) for Cameron to hope that light political winds will waft
    his damaged boat into power without him doing anything to rock it.

    • John Moss
      Posted July 20, 2009 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      “Cameron should, on form, be a long way farther in front by now”

      WE ARE as far ahead of Labour now as Blair was ahead of us in 1996.

      This is based on the ICM polls, who are the only pollsters who have has not changed their methodology since then.

      We are not as high as Labour, but they are consistently below 30% which we never were.

    • jean baker
      Posted July 20, 2009 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      The expenses ‘media strategy’ merely highlighted a corruptly run Fees Office according to reports of ‘improper’ authorization of expenses. Habits established by Blair were taken as ‘rights’.

      MEP’s expense payments are totally outrageous and no receipts are required – unlike the government’s appallingly managed Fees Office.

      Brown, reportedly, refused to answer questions in relation to the Fees Office raised in the House.

  4. Mike Stallard
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    The real culprits in all this is us, the electorate. Three times we were warned by the Conservatives what would happen if we elected Mr Blair. Three times we did our own thing.
    Three times we were tricked.
    What we got were silly schoolteachers who bossed us about and who wasted all our money. Then we find out that these same bossy people have been doing all the things which they told us were fatal. And we have also discovered that they have destroyed, perhaps for ever, our prosperity.
    As you say, we want people who, humbly and with respect will serve us with love and understanding and get our battered country into some sort of shape.
    Our big question is this: can the Conservatives do this?

    • jean baker
      Posted July 20, 2009 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      Three generational borrowings against taxpayers have been used to fund privileges to Labour friendly uncompetitive ‘elites’ via PFI’s. It’s the equivalent of the treasurer of a Trust Fund plundering it’s finances and then creating three generational debt against the beneficiaries.

      In the private sector, this would undoubtedly result in legal redress – embezzlement/fraud and imprisonment; ‘school teachers’ acting in this manner would not be exempt.

      ‘Love and understanding’ is provided by family and friends not politicians; they’re paid to govern in the country’s best interests, openly, democratically. There are alarming similarities between Nulabor’s behaviour and the mafioso – ‘a rule unto themselves and God help those who speak or stand against them’.

  5. Steve Hayes
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    I agree that it is absolutely essential to move away from spin and positioning. I believe that public are sick of politicians who merely say what they believe is useful. The public would like to see politicians arguing for what they know is right.

    I also agree that it is essential for the Tories to prepare for power. I think this means treating the electorate as sensible, mature adults, who do not need to be protected from uncomfortable truths. The most important of these is the fact that public sector borrowing is unsustainable. It is absolutely essential that massive cuts are made. This message must be got across as a matter of urgency. Moreover, there must be plans to show how the cuts will be achieved. Simple things such as getting rid of the special advisors, etc, may be small in financial terms, but the symbolic value would be immense. The neccessary reductions in front-line sevices would be rendered for more acceptable, if the public could see that huge areas of waste and bureaucracy were being removed.

  6. Alan Phillips
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    “It doesn’t matter if Labour try to steal the policies – many of them will be steps too far for the spinners and adventurers of the government, and it is probably too late to save their bacon even if they now do start doing the right things for a change.”

    How right you are…

    Remember the IHT/Non Doms announcement that stopped the election that never happened? An example of how the Brown government take an idea, tweek it to ***Create the dividing lines*** and the thing fails to work, from now to the General Election, NuLiebore will be playing catch up if the Tories start getting the message out. Sure save a biggy or two for the Conference but time has come to strat the drip,drip, drip of policy changes that are needed to move the country forward

    • TCD
      Posted July 21, 2009 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Unfortunately, I am not convinced that Cameron has the right policy ideas to start with, nor the courage to put forward the radical solutions that are needed. Will that change when he is in government? We shall see, but I am not optimistic given his performance to date. To guarantee that the funding of the NHS will be unaffected will restrict his options unnecessarily when in government, and his silly adherence to the global warming lobby is also going to be a hindrance. And then, by appointing Ken Clarke, there is the clear sign that he is going to cave in to Europe, so no change to the huge waste of money there, nor the overbearing bureaucracy and regulations. I am beginning to suspect that it not just tactics, but a lack of instinct about what needs to be done.

  7. Simon D
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    I believe that much of politics now comes down to executive competence in managing state activity. When the Conservatives took over my local council my ward representative (who works in industry) talked of “lopping low hanging branches.” There were plenty of branches to lop and the result has been that our Council Tax has been frozen for three years and real services appear to have improved.

    There are three imperatives for the next Conservative government: (1) abandon things that are costly and a waste of time (ID cards) (2) manage what you want to keep in a cost effective way and (3) don’t embark on new follies which will waste taxpayers money.

    The big challenge is (2). Far too many people work for the government and government funded bodies and our public servcies are world leaders in spending other people’s money in a profligate way. It is important to start with Parliament: too many MP’s and Peers and too much money spent on administration. Long holidays, short working weeks and not enough productivity. MPs must turn the knife in their own direction before they use it elsewhere.

    These day everything revolves around spin. The big spin challenge for the Conservatives is to get over two messages (1) that they will run things more efficiently whilst preserving front line services and (2) that NuLabour is absolutely hopeless at providing services in an efficient, cost-effective way and severely damages the wallets of taxpayers in the process.

  8. Waramess
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    This is precisely what is wrong with the conservative party.

    They failed to understand the reason why the electorate had abandoned them and they instead moved their policies closer to the centre where the electorate would be challenged to see the difference between them and Nu Labour. In doing so they created the traps you speak of

    If the Torys had well thought out right wing policies and a robust defence of them, Brown and his cohorts would be unlikely to follow.

    The electorate now want a clear choice, not more of the same, and the reason the Tory lead is not in the stratosphere is because you only promise more of the same.

    No good pointing to fifteen or twenty or however many policies where you are slightly different; you offer nothing different that the ordinary voter can see and you do indeed give the impression that you are the heirs to Blair.

    Cameron for all his bluster is scared of the shadow of Gordon Brown and so long as this continues he will continue to display to the nation that his policies are no different.

    Forget the last ten years when Labour captured the hearts and minds of the electorate; it is all over as is very plain to see. The Tory party must now clearly lay out conservative policies without fear of jibes from a failed Labour government or it will be chronically at risk from a future charismatic Labour leader.
    stealing centre stage again.

    • jean baker
      Posted July 20, 2009 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      Waramess,

      You appear to have missed or overlooked the results of the local elections.

      Media sleaze and spin were contributing factors.

  9. figurewizard
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    This is illuminated by the fact that for the last few months Brown has been reduced to employing a new tactic has been employed at PMQs, by consistently calling the Conservatives the ‘do-nothing’ party. Thanks to the parlous state to which he and his government have reduced this country there has presumably been nothing else for him to throw at them.

    However more recently it appears that even his own advisors have recognised that this is not doing the job so we now see a shift in the approach, this time by lying to both the House and the country at large about the level of enhanced public spending Labour are committed to as opposed to ‘Tory cuts.’

    If the rest of us weren’t staring into an economic abyss all this would be laughable. Instead it brings home how desperately we need the opportunity to vote Brown and his party into the oblivion they so richly deserve.

  10. Acorn
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Before George goes off half cocked on bank regulation, please get him to read Chris Whalen’s US Senate Committee statement.

    http://www.rcwhalen.com/pdf/StatementbyChristopherWhalen_SBC_062209.pdf

    Then ask him how he intends to move all the crap on the BoE balance sheet back to the Treasury, where it belongs. The Treasury is the one responsible for all these “guarantees” the government has issued, not the BoE.

    Also, will he legislate to make all bank “off balance sheet” activity “on balance sheet”. The Spanish did that and it had a very sobering affect on the likes of Santander. There are numerous derivative products that can only be priced by a computer model, they are not priced by open transparent markets, because they are so far removed from an underlying security. That’s if they have parties that are connected at all.

  11. Mick Anderson
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    One of the side effects of the Labour parties’ years of lies and broken promises is to reinforce the mistrust that the Electorate has of those in Westminster. The recent issue of expenses has made the matter far worse for all parties.

    This means that many will vote for “Anyone But Labour” which could theoretically split the vote, allowing Labour to remain with the most seats (if not a majority).

    Parties that want to be trusted should canvass on a manifesto commitment for radical electoral reform, with a full list of changes that can easily be understood. Personally, I don’t like the LibDem proposal for PR because it makes the parties more powerful. However, the primaries system proposed by some people doesn’t seem to be terribly British, and may cause fewer people to engage with such a system than is required for its legitimacy. Is there a third alternative, other than the status quo? I’d certainly like a box on the voting slip marked “None of the above”.

    Obviously, any party that wins power with such a policy must implement it in full in their first term, and with enough time left in that term for it to be tested and tweaked before the following General Election. Any changes in the upper house are relatively trivial when compared with the problems caused by the poor relationship between MPs and the Electorate. Introducing votes for members of the House of Lords is not going to improve the situation – there are already far too many elected politicians.

    I can’t see too many political turkeys voting for Christmas, though.

    • jean baker
      Posted July 20, 2009 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

      ” ….. mistrust that the electorate has of those in Westminster”.

      Not so – despite vile ‘muck raking’, good MP’s continue to maintain open, honest dialogue with those they serve, constituents. People judge representatives for themselves and also their good works.

      There’s a difference between a ‘policitian (John being a prime example) and a trouble making ‘thug in a suit’ posing as one.

  12. Jon
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    I wounder how much the spin machine was caught out more by the bloggesphere. I sense it gives better or more scruitiny.

    I am all for regulation being taken from the FSA and Treasury and put with the BoE. The FSA being under the Treasury was a conflict of interest from the start and a patsy for Brown.

  13. Steve Hemingway
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Another visionary entry, Mr Redwood. Congratulations. I feel very lucky that you choose this medium to speak directly to voters. What a pity that David Cameron chooses to be advised by the likes of Andy Coulson who will have no conception of how important direct engagement via blogs will transform the way politics in conducted in this country.

    • jean baker
      Posted July 20, 2009 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      No worries …. I expect Andy Coulson is au fait with ‘blogosphere’ activity, government media monitoring, ‘sock puppets’ etc. etc. etc.

  14. no one
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    yes

    just hope some of the policies are in line with my suggestions 🙂

    the decent people want a decent education for their kids, they dont want to be treated worse than muggers for doing 35 in a 30 limit, they dont want thousands and thousands of 3rd worldk folk here on inter company transfer visas subcontracted into out only high value industries, the want to be able to choose their own GP and get an operation when they need one without a 2 year wait (reality not nhs false stats)

    etc etc

    so much is so easy to sort out

    give the choices to the people!!!!!!!

    lets see the policies!

  15. oldrightie
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Please don’t talk of David Cameron’s Tories. The Conservative Party has always been dominated by charitable, church going and predominantly rural folk. The bad image portrayed by the Left and Labour was always done with a touch of envy and immaturity. Read “Dizzy” and his “Leftie Bloke” for a perfect example.
    There are arrogant and superior people in all parties. In The Conservatives there is very little hypocrisy, when the philosophy of left and right is examined. A Conservative Government will be Country first, Party second. Sadly that costs votes when repairing Labour’s damage.

  16. DennisA
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    What a pity they have an unworkable energy policy, supplied by Zac Goldsmith’s friends, based on the false belief that our CO2 emissions are warming the planet, when the planet is actually cooling.

    http://joannenova.com.au/2009/07/19/the-unwarming-world/

    Meanwhile Mandelson pours yet more of our money that we haven’t got into the green hole of electric cars, which will only be bought by those looking for and able to afford the “feel good about yourself factor.”

    Have you ordered your electric car yet? Don’t if you want to save the planet.

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-10231102-54.html

    The German branch of the environmental group World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) has conducted a study together with IZES, a German institute for future energy systems, on the environmental impact of electric vehicles in Germany. The conclusion of the study is that these electric cars only reduce greenhouse gases marginally.

    “What surprised us was that the carbon dioxide savings were so small,” Viviane Raddatz, vehicle expert at WWF Germany, said in a phone interview from Berlin.

    In a best-case scenario, the carbon dioxide emission reductions from these 1 million electrical vehicles in Germany’s transportation sector would be only 1 percent, according to the study, and overall national carbon dioxide emissions would only be cut by 0.1 percent.

    A worst-case scenario would be that the electric cars would run on electricity from coal instead of from renewable sources.

    That could be the case when extra electricity is needed to charge the plug-in cars in the early evening. That’s when commuters could significantly add to the electricity demand at a time of day when people are returning home and electricity use is already peaking.

    But the problem is that if they cause these peaks, we would have to have power plants that would be ready to start (as) the massive charging starts.”

    So you can charge your car but you can’t have a cup of tea at the same time. We are also facing a looming energy crisisis anyway, in large part down to the EU and the Large Combustion Plant Directive.

    Green? That’s the people who buy into this scam.

    Mr Cameron please ditch the NGO’s and give us an emergency energy supply policy which will include nuclear, gas and non-CO2 sequestered coal. There is plenty of clean burn technology to take out pollutants, which CO2 is most definitely not. Stop destroying the natural environment with expensive wind farms both onshore and off, against the wishes of the people.

    • Adam Collyer
      Posted July 20, 2009 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      The CO2 reductions from electric cars are a very complex subject. There’s quite a good discussion of it in Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_cars. It is certain however that electric cars would reduce pollution in cities and lessen our dependance on the unstable Middle East.

      They will however increase our dependance on electricity generation, so you are absolutely right that we need to make plans NOW to get more power stations built. I agree with you that nuclear is obvious. I’ve said it before and I take this opportunity to bore everyone with it again – we need to get started on The Severn Barrage NOW http://www.nce.co.uk/severn-barrage-debate/1340018.article. It could provide 5% of our electricity from 2020 and would cost £20 billion to build. About the same as the Trident replacement in fact.

  17. Javelin
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    My submission of the previous post failed – so here I go again.

    I think there are two strategic issues the Tories must address over the life time off their next administration

    1) Resources 2) Labor

    Resources will rise in price as they are competed for by the BRIC counties. We will import inflation. Importantly there is plenty of oil that can be extracted at $150. OPEC will try to keep the price of oil below this level, but at a level that will increase their profits. We need to be comfortable with oil at $150

    The biggest, biggest, biggest change needs to be a change in the supply of labour.

    New Labour has been allowed to increase the labor supply in the UK- simply to increase tax revenues, and add more Labour voters and please the elite of big business. If we are to become a nation of “value adders” we need to have a smaller population that is better trained. Anybody who is untrained and doesn’t have a right to be here should be made to leave. I say this because I want a shift in the balance between employer/employee relations towards the employee, and I see a high supply of labor as giving too much power to employers.

    I watched a program on the Black Death over the weekend – half the population of the UK died. The supply of employees fell and employers were forced to increase wages and landlords forced to lower rents. It spelt the end of feudalism and a better quality of life for the majority of people.

    I believe if the Government deliberately restricted the supply of labor then employers would be falling over themselves to offer better terms and conditions to employees. New Labours policy of increasing the supply of labor has meant any social “revolution” in employees standards and better social migration had no chance at all under their administration. Employers have had to take fewer risks with employees. New Labours vision of higher tax revenues and a higher supply of labor has led to lower wages, higher house prices and a highly taxed population.

    Look at the Scandanavian countries – their quality of life is better and they have better employer-employee relations. Women have more rights and are employeed in better jobs. Women are brought up to be independent and I believe are much happier than here in the UK.

    Forget the war, climate change etc, the most important strategic and influential issue for any nation is the supply of labour. New Labour has meant EXACTLY that – “new labor” – and lots of it (4.6 million unemployed) and several millions immigrants – and with that has come lower power to the employees and a lower standard of living and quality of life for all, except a few very, very rich elite. I earn in the top 1% and don’t feel better off and see social injustice particulary women, poor and the very young and old who have a poor self image and have come to rely in very real terms on the white middle class men paying taxes for benefits, supplementing patners part time jobs and tax credits. It’s a very sad state of our nation that we have gone down the wrong route to social justice.

    • Waramess
      Posted July 21, 2009 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Absolutely impossible to import inflation although our socialist government would love you to believe it is true. Rising prices of imports from overseas will force the UK public to make choices but that has to be good and might result in much unnecessary consumption being sacrificed.

      Inflation is always the result an expansion of the money supply and is one of the great evils of our time, transferring wealth from the poor to the rich.

      Nu Labour have caused a great shortage of quality labour in this country by employing so many civil servants Six million at the last count, and you do nothing to redress the balance by freely admitting immigrants to the work force.

      Nu Labour have much to answer for. They have removed quality labour from the workforce and they have allowed this economy to become too dependent on financial services and housing.

      When we emerge from this recession our oil resrves will have become further depleted, our financial services will lie in tatters and the economy will need to find other things to do to survive.

      The answer will not be higher labour costs but lower labour costs in order to compete and lower taxes to encourage entrepreneurial activity.

  18. A.Sedgwick
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    A good appreciation of how far our politics has sunk. It probably started with the disgraceful removal of Margaret Thatcher – did the French treat de Gaulle the same way – I don’t think so. This massive flaw in our political system whereby a PM can serve without being elected could have influenced the Blair/Brown relationship. Without this recent precedent Brown may have plucked up courage to stand against Blair in 1994, instead he decided to badger him virtually throughout his tenure.
    The recent expenses fiasco is a symptom of our flawed and decadent political system. In 2005 22% of the electorate voted for Labour and a 66 seat majority resulted. MPs have to be given real power and autonomy – the whole concept of Whips really is an insult to MPs and the electorate. The will of the people is regularly ignored. The two main parties principal aim is to remain in power, the day they are truly state funded totalitarianism will have arrived in this country. PR is working in Scotland, where their Parliament appears to be more grown up. Until we have an accountable government it is difficult to see any real change. PR, 4 year fixed terms, no whips, 25% less MPs, elected Senate (Lords ugh) of about 100 members, elected PM may see the will of the people transmitted into government as opposed to being regularly ignored by New Labour e.g. Iraq, EU referendum, immigration, “human rights”, law and order, welfare, council tax, grammar schools.

  19. Simon Denis
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    I entirely concur with your diagnosis. The Blair/Brown emperor was truly without any clothes. Far from being a great positive and popular victory, the landslide of 97 was essentially and profoundly negative. It represented a thumbs down to the conservatives and only the thinnest and most meagre belief in Labour. No more than sixty percent of the electorate bothered to vote, for heaven’s sake! Indeed, every one of the “New” Labour triumphs has been similarly insubstantial. Low turnouts could very reasonably be held to invalidate the whole expensive superstructures of devolution. As for the ratification of Lisbon…

    However, whilst we all long for an end to the age of spin, it is important to recognise that we are not out of the wood yet and many a spider lies in wait beside the exit. An ever more blatantly leftist BBC will do what it can to distort the Tory image. By all means, set out a sensible and practical stall; but be prepared to clarify, to refute, to counter attack at every turn.

  20. Tony
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    “So what should David Cameron ’s Conservatives do? They should move rapidly to the post Brown/Blair era, by showing that politics is about more than messaging and positioning.”

    Brown may have his faults, but surely you can see Cameron is just full of hot air. Time and time again he goes wading into things which he clearly doesn’t have a clue about to chase the next headline. I really do worry for the sake of the country should he ever get the keys to number 10, John.

  21. Whatso
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    I entirely agree with the sentiment of this posting but am concerned that we must be seen to practice what we preach – the fence sitting re MoD funding not being protected, tax rises inter alia to deal with the national debt crisis and inconsistent environmental messages need to be addressed so that the public has a clear and documented policy portfolio to consult – this doesnt require spin but a transparent explanation when we are challenged. The next issue will be when to play our hand to the electorate of firm policy positions in advance of the next election – the conference season is going to be v interesting…

  22. jean baker
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Dear John,

    You have highlighted a fundamental difference; conservative ability to acknowledge the effects of a poor policy decision (ERM) – honesty and transparency – lesson learned for the good of the country’s economy.

    The antithesis of honest, open government is New Labour and it’s ‘media strategy’ of spin, manipulation and ‘dirty tricks’.

  23. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Slightly off-topic, but I’m concerned that if this government does sell bonds which would be exchangeable for RBS or Lloyds shares three years later:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/5852797/UKFI-lines-up-banks-to-help-in-Lloyds-and-RBS-sale.html

    then that would make it more difficult for the next government to break up those over-sized banks into “not-too-big-to-fail” units.

    Not impossible, because the next government could still ask Parliament to pass an Act saying in effect:

    “These bondholders were promised RBS shares, if they wanted them, but instead they can only have these other shares”,

    but retrospective changes like that are bad for the reputation of the government and its relations with international investors.

  24. Lola
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been reading Osborne’s paper. May I ask what he’s been smoking?

    This paper is just a giant re-organisation of the deck chairs on the Titanic. He really just does not get it.

    Regulation, aka Nationalisation lite, is The Problem. It is not the solution. He seems to want to rely on more and more experts to ‘run’ the economy. Well, Georgie old son, let me tell you that the economy can run itself very well as long as you do a few simple things, and generally keep out of the way.

    1. RUN SOUND MONEY (if you insist on keeping the monopoly of it). This means listening to the market for the rates of interest to be applied, not fiddling about with them like some jumpy narco going through cold turkey. You don’t understand it, therefore don’t pick at it. It’ll get better all by itself. Picking at it will just make it septic.

    2. Provide simple straightforward banking supervision. Emphasise that they need to compete on security, not rates.

    3. Enforce the rule of law.

    4. Ensure that we can all enjoy the right of private property.

    5. Be an umpire – not a player.

    6. Break up the banking cartel.

    7. Enforce caveat emptor and professional responsibility.

    8. Do not control wages (you say you want to ‘regulate bankers wage structures.’ ) This is just a price control. Learn from the idiot PM – price controls never ever work.

    9. Ditto products.

    10. Maybe outlaw universal banks and separate retail clearance operations (a utility) from investment banking.

    11. Low and certain taxes that do not put a deadweight on labour or production.

    12. Be your own master – i.e. sort out the EU or get out.

    Other than that, just go away.

    • Adam Collyer
      Posted July 20, 2009 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

      Lola, this post is completely COOL! I am full of admiration!

  25. alan jutson
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Agree with your comments John.

    Not had a real chance to look at George Osbourns proposals today, other than hear the headlines that Banks should revert back to being controlled by the Bank Of England, and the FSA will have little or nothing to do with Banks.

    This sounds promising, at last we seem to be getting some meat on the bones of proposed Policy. Not before time.

    I await further news with interest.

  26. Steve
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    John,

    Have you read ‘The Plan’ by Carswell/Hannan? If so,what do you think?
    Yes – blogged about it when it was published – broadly supportive

  27. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    John,

    An interesting blog but I’m afraid I detect just a few disturbing signs here that even you have become infected with the political spin disease:

    1. This blog’s title – “New Tories”- sounds horribly like “New Labour”

    2. With an election less than a year away why is it surprising and “a sign of the times, when the Opposition is more important news than the government.”?

    3. Personalisation of the party by using the title “David Cameron’s Conservatives”. The party is surely more than one man.

    4. “They should move rapidly to the post Brown/Blair era” Again the continual personalisation of politics.

    On a lighter note, I heard a joke recently which made me smile and I have adapted a little:

    Question: “What is the difference between a Labour MP and a supermarket trolley?”

    Answer: “A supermarket trolley has a mind of its own.”

    Reply: I am not infected, but telling you how it is.

  28. Beacon
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    There are many who don’t want “New Tories.” They don’t like Cameron’s drag to the Blair left. What people want is strong Thatcherism. law and order, low taxation, immigration control capitalism and enterprise.

    None of these Tory policies has pasted Cameron’s lips. One gets the impression he would rather cut off his tongue than mention them.

  29. StevenL
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    The toried should be asking for a refund on all these marketing men they have hired.

    Newsnight have just led on ‘the future of the left’ with a load of labour and liberal has-beens discussing how to achieve ‘equality of capacity’ on the day Cameron announces detailed and massive top to bottom reforms to financial services regulation.

    Second story – vaccines on swine flu and more government announcements.

    Coming up – CCTV. Round up – James Purnell tells the BBC that ‘the party’ need to renew policy. Death of a serviceman in Afghanistan. Downgrading of terrorist threat.

    Oh, here we go – last item on the round up? No, just one headline on the tory FS regulation proposals, now something about the Audit Commission. Closing prices and estimate of 7.5% GDP fall due to swine flu.

    Back to CCTV.

    What do you guys pay all these marketing people and spindoctors for?

  30. Spent Copper
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    Got it in one Beacon. I spent decades voting for the Conservatives but now am a committed UKIP supporter. I cant see how any party with the likes of Zak Goldsmith and Ken Clarke holding prominent positions in it could seriously be considered Conservative. For me there are too many in the current Conseravtive party who still believe that the answer is more intervention and ‘better’ spending and just dont get it that Government, far from being the solution, is usually the problem.

    I would like nothing more than to be able to return to my ‘old political home’, but for me and many like me this is simply not an option at the moment.

  31. Derek W. Buxton
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    “Beacon” certainly has a point. I also agree with a previous comment that Cameron should drop the “green” nonsense. But I fear that he is only seeking power for himself not for the good of our Country.

    Derek

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page