The balance of the Cabinet

 

                     The Prime Minister was correct to seek the facts on Dr Fox before making a judgement. Dr Fox himself decided to resign as he reflected on the facts that were emerging about his case. The Prime Minister need not worry about the “backlash from the right” that the media have been trying to create  as the next phase of this story. The right accepts the Prime Minister behaved sensibly in a tricky situation.

                    I have never felt right-left is a particularly good way of analysing modern UK politics. It is, however, preferred by many in the media, so let’s try and shed some light on it. To me the one big division in modern UK politics is pro and anti EU, the division  between those who want the EU to do more and more, and those who want it to do less or want out of it altogether. This cuts across right-left and across party.  The unifying characteristic of those the media call the “right” is that they want a lot less EU or want out altogether. There are many more Eurosceptics in the Conservative party than in the other two main parties.  They are joined in this by figures on the “left” as well. The Bennites in Labour have the same view as the Better off outers in the Conservatives.

           The “right” of the Conservative party are perhaps best defined by who they vote for. They are the MPs who voted Graham Brady in as Chairman of the 1922 Committee. The establishment wanted a different candidate. The party choose a Eurosceptic, who also believes in selective education, lower taxes and other such causes. This election showed that the “right” has the majority in the Parliamentary party. That same majority in an earlier Parliament had voted for Iain Duncan Smith as Leader. Some of the “right” voted for David Cameron as Leader in 2005, believing him to be a Eurosceptic too.

            The “right” was not keen on a Coalition government. It did not want the issue of the EU blurred by Lib Dem enthusiasm for it.The “right” would have preferred a looser arrangement possibly followed by an earlier election. In the first Cameron Cabinet the “right” felt it only had three clear champions, Liam Fox, Iain Duncan Smith and Owen Paterson.   The Home Secretary has been giving Criminal Justice powers away to Brussels. The Foreign Secretary put through the expanded External Action Service and keeps saying now is not the time to sort out the EU issues and demand powers back. In areas like energy, environment and business we are effectively governed from Brussels for much of the time.

             The “right” saw that Liam Fox was determined not to let the EU take any more powers in defence matters, and to keep the UK as free as possible to make its own decisions. They saw that Iain Duncam Smith and Chris Grayling are trying to get more control over UK benefit and migration policy.

               There are other issues for the “right”. The right would like more cheaper energy, disliking the global warming ideology. They see the EU as a  major obstacle to commonsense on fuel. They are very strong supporters of the deficit reduction policy, and want this to be primarily achieved by spending reductions. They would like to have more cuts in selective areas, starting with the EU budget.

               The right felt the old Cabinet grossly under- represented their strength and views. The reshuffle does nothing  to correct that feeling.

               So how does the “right” feel about the new Cabinet? I will have a better view next week when Parliament is back. The “right” has no ill will to Justine Greening: nor does the “right” think she has been pushing for a more muscular approach to EU negotiation. Now she is in the Cabinet MPs will be watching to see if she will take up the cause.

               It will also be interesting to see if she wishes to redress the anti road transport and motoring bias in modern transport strategy, and to see how she tackles the highly contentious HS2 project. The BBC today were saying that Mr Hammond was a “safe pair of hands” at Transport. That’s not how the right saw him. They were very disappointed by his failure to end the war on motorists as promised, by his refusal to back more private sector investment in transport, and by his repeated defence of HS2, a very expensive project which many would like cancelled or deferred until the national budget is in good shape.

               Meanwhile, at Defence, there will be new concerns about how robust the government will be when dealing with the constant drift to more EU control.

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134 Comments

  1. lifelogic
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Justine Greening, being interviewed on the latest “Quantitative Easing” by Andrew Neil two weeks ago was completely hopeless – plainly totally out of her depth.

    She is however it seems a woman which seems to be the main quality Cameron seeks at the moment.

    She is also an accountant so hope fully she can work out, in about a day or two, that HS2 is total madness and that we need a new runway at both Heathrow and Gatwick a fast rail link between the two. Also a sensible energy policy for transport needs.

    I somehow doubt that she will do any of this and will toe the absurd current line at usual.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 15, 2011 at 6:44 am | Permalink

      You are quite right that the right and left division is meaningless the real division is sensible and insane.

      Sensible is less government of all types, less EU, lower taxes, fewer regulations, no deficit, real money, a sensible non green energy, strong defence and law and order, no pointless wars and free trade.

      Mad is the opposite the BBC/EU/Cameron, Huhne, Cable and Clegg insanities.

      • uanime5
        Posted October 15, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

        Lets look at all the points you raised in detail.

        “less government of all types”

        Which Government functions would you cut and who exactly is going to do the work the Government used to do?

        “less EU”

        Good luck trying to get the other 26 member states to agree to this.

        “lower taxes”

        Funded by more borrowing and a higher deficit?

        “fewer regulations”

        So you want to remove laws that prevent injury and save the NHS billions each year?

        “no deficit”

        This would require higher taxes or massive spending cuts. Both are politically controversial.

        “real money”

        As opposed to fake money?

        “a sensible non green energy”

        Anything that ignores science isn’t sensible.

        “strong defence and law and order”

        They tried this in the USA and it didn’t work. It was also very expensive.

        “no pointless wars”

        Okay this one is a good idea.

        “free trade”

        So you want to remove all the trade barriers that prevent China and India undercutting UK companies. Expect massive job losses.

        • Single Acts
          Posted October 15, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

          I could not resist:

          “Which Government functions would you cut and who exactly is going to do the work the Government used to do”

          1. Dept of Education ~ All schools become self governing and set their own prices.
          2. Dept of Health ~ All hospitals become trusts and set their own prices.
          3. Dept of Energy and climate change ~ Buy your petrol from shell and your gas from the cheapest supplier, sack all the hoons (sic)

          With the savings, abolish income tax, it might become attractive to work.

          ” “less EU”

          Good luck trying to get the other 26 member states to agree to this. ”

          I am British, I do not require the consent of French, Germans or anyone else.

          “Funded by more borrowing and a higher deficit?”

          No, funded by said abolitions, and while we are at it, never again borrow money.

          “As opposed to fake money?”

          Yes, as opposed to the fake fiat paper we have now. Why doesn’t the government create £75B of gold as QE? Oh right, it can’t.

          “Anything that ignores science isn’t sensible.”

          Yes.

          “They tried this in the USA and it didn’t work. It was also very expensive.”

          How many murderers doing a life long sentence have re-offended? That said, I agree, UK prisons are expensive, I would export our criminals to do their time in Kabul for two dollars a day. Come on you have to see the logic of this one? We buy t-shirts from India, why not send our burglars to Afghanistan?

          “Okay this one is a good idea.”

          Also agreed.

          “So you want to remove all the trade barriers that prevent China and India undercutting UK companies. Expect massive job losses.”

          No, expect massive wealth gains. It cannot be better to buy a t-shirt made in Birmingham for £20 when I can buy one made in Calcutta for £2. Trade barriers help governments not people.

          • lifelogic
            Posted October 16, 2011 at 8:03 am | Permalink

            Thanks for saving me the trouble and put better too.

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 15, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

          Loads of things the government does, at great expense, are pointless or worse just damage productive industry.

          By sound money I mean money that keeps its value.

          Regulation hardly ever saves the NHS money – indeed all the employment regulations clearly cost the NHS a fortune directly.

          Passing laws in general usually does more harm than good.

      • Peter
        Posted October 15, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        I agree, John is more or less correct. But both of you may be wrong about “no ponitless wars”. John because he ignores it, and you because you incluse it but do not refer to Mr Foxes dreadful record of whipping up war. Some of us are conservatives and “right” wing about economics while remaining quite liberal – indeed libertarian – about social issue, and very critical of Blair type interventionism. History will prove us right. The Iraq and Afgahnistan yopu and may be her is interventions have been naive, that in Egypt is unravelling to persecute Christians, and what on earth is the putpose of Lybia – the child surely of Liam Foxes’ fantasies. A disappointed conservative of the right who likes John’s economic views.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 16, 2011 at 5:19 am | Permalink

        I missed off: control of our own borders, some real democracy instead of the current sham (one vote every five years for one of two very similar people who will not do what they promise anyway – as many commands come from the EU bureaucrats anyway), plenty of jobs for all and substantive civil liberties.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 15, 2011 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      I assume Cameron in making these appointments went through all the usual maze of gender and other equality and employment rules he inflicts and handicaps every business with.

      He does seem to have done it all very quickly. Does he have an exemption from all these oppressive and expensive laws?

      Reply: No exemption, but a legal challenge from another passed over MP is not likely to prove a great career move!

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 15, 2011 at 10:09 am | Permalink

        Could someone else perhaps get a judicial review of this process.

        If Cameron were forced to go through all this equality and employment nonsense then he might finally realise the pointless inconvenience and huge disadvantage it inflicts on the whole of British industry. With a loss of countless real jobs in the process and yet more pointless parasitic jobs, for mainly for lawyers and admin, created in the process.

        Think how much the NHS alone could save without it.

        • uanime5
          Posted October 15, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

          Given how easy it is to comply with equality laws I doubt they will cause Cameron a problem. All he has to do is come up with a short-list of suitable candidates, then come up with a good reason why the candidate he choose is the best.

          Equality laws don’t cause job losses. Also if a company decides not to hire employees because of all the equality laws then they won’t need the extra lawyers and admin.

          • Single Acts
            Posted October 15, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

            Good luck on selecting George Osborne as the best possible Chancellor then. Really if he wasn’t Mr Cameron’s amigo?

          • lifelogic
            Posted October 15, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

            Clearly they do cost many jobs – it is another huge cost and inconvenience on business and therefore pushes costs up, so fewer sales as a result and so fewer jobs. How could this not be the case?

            Also tribunal claims even if totally invalid impose further costs.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 15, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Justine Greening’s opening statement (as just reported on the news) implies that she will indeed be continuing with the white elephant HS2 (to help the country’s growth as she sees it). Even, I assume, before she has had time to look at the numbers and consider the “merits” of this mad scheme.

      Are these people “ministers who decide” or just actors mouthing words handed to them by the EU and civil servants. One might as well just use actors or computer generated cartoon characters if they are not going to bother to look at the merits of anything they waste our money on.

      Also, if she has not looked at the merits, she will (when next on TV with Andrew Neil or similar) look very stupid yet again as she will be unable
      defend it rationally.

      Not that defending it rationally is actually possible.

      • uanime5
        Posted October 15, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

        It’s more likely they have the words handed to them by the Prime Minister or someone senior in the Conservative party.

  2. Mike Stallard
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Thank you for explaining so very clearly and with such inside knowledge the situation within the Conservative party. Actually, this is very difficult to do because everyone is terribly biased and cannot see their own weaknesses and strengths very easily.

    Personally, I can see that the Labour Party is doing what it does best – attacking the man not the ball. I can see from the gossip on, say, Guido Fawkes blog, that there was a lot of innuendo going round about Liam Fox and this has spread now to Oliver Letwin. the BBC went along with all this, of course. The picture of Liam Fox with a porn star was interesting. Who dug that out then?

    Reply: Dr Fox had plenty of enemies in Labour, the media and elsewhere. Anyone could have done so. I don’t think his evening with a porn star before he was married did any damage.

    • Single Acts
      Posted October 15, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      “The picture of Liam Fox with a porn star was interesting. Who dug that out then?”

      My bet would be Dr Fox’s spinners, to divert less flattering stories.

  3. Single Acts
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Re: the new transport secretary, if she has half a brain, she surely kicks HS2 into the long grass of an internal review to report next summer and then drops the project.

    Re: Dr Fox, really, what did he expect?

    • Paul H
      Posted October 15, 2011 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      Based on her interview with Andrew Neil – which was totally embarrassing to watch – she does indeed have half a brain. However I somehow doubt that is quite what you meant.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 15, 2011 at 10:02 am | Permalink

        Hopefully as an accountant she is better with numbers and spreadsheets than she is at being interviewed on TV. If she is she will abandon HS2 forthwith, get on with the new runways and get rid of the many road blocking/congesting measures/pointless traffic lights and bus lanes that waste so much of peoples time, patience and fuel.

        In short perhaps level the playing field between the over taxed car and the less efficient, hugely subsidised and very expensive (but fashionably politically correct) transport methods.

        • uanime5
          Posted October 15, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

          The more people who use non-car transportation the less congestion there is for those who do use cars.

          • lifelogic
            Posted October 15, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

            Not true – buses often cause more congestion per useful person transport mile than cars do.

        • Bob
          Posted October 16, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

          On one particular bus lane in the West Midlands, which I drive past 2 – 3 times a week , I have seen three buses over a ten year period, and one of those was broken down.

          I suspect that the congestion causing measures in the West Mids are a pre-cursor to congestion charging.

          • lifelogic
            Posted October 16, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

            Indeed allocating more than half the road, as a bus lane, for perhaps 2% of the traffic is clearly mad – even in c02 terms.

            It seems mainly to be been done to trap and fine car drivers as a source of additional government income.

    • John Wilkinson
      Posted October 15, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      HS2 is part of the E.U.’s T.E.N.T. programme so it it unlikely to be dropped!

      • Tarfu
        Posted October 15, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        Thank you John Wilkinson for reminding us that yet again the real driving force behind an initiative is once again the dead hand of the EU.

      • Steven Granger
        Posted October 15, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        Yes great point – yet another example of John’s so called Eurosceptic dominated party. It would be funny if it weren’t for the fact that us mugs are paying for it.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 15, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        Then the EU should pay for it all. No one sensible would want to.

      • uanime5
        Posted October 15, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        The EU’s TEN-T program only concerns transportation between EU countries. As the HS2 is between two English cities it is obviously not part of any EU plan.

        Though improving the transportation between London and Paris would come under TEN-T.

        • APL
          Posted October 15, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

          uanime5: “The EU’s TEN-T program only concerns transportation between EU countries.”

          Given that we have the channel tunnel into St Pancras, now the HS2 extention from Euston to … wherever. Is it too much to think that it will be extended from there to Edinburgh or Glasgow?

          Scotland is a country in the EU is it not?

      • lojolondon
        Posted October 15, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

        That comment makes a lot of sense! Especially as I have reliably been informed that the only reason the Tories are implementing the 80mph limit is not for any of the multitude of rubbish reasons we have been given, but to bring it into line with the 130kph limit in most European countries!

        “Europhile” doesn’t describe them so well as “subservient”.

  4. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    The danger is that Dr Fox and those such as Peter Bone MP who try and defend the indefensible are making the “right” look bad. At best Dr Fox’s behaviour showed exceptionally bad judgement. More is yet to be revealed which may show his behaviour to have been even worse. The resignation seemed inevitable to me a week ago and dragging it out has made a poor situation worse.
    We also see that Oliver Letwin thinks nothing of throwing away correspondence he received in a public park waste bin. Clearly members of this government don’t know how to act properly when doing their jobs.

  5. Electro-Kevin
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    HS2 – Part of the argument for it is that it will get people working again. That should be debunked.

    We should forget the idea of large, unskilled, work gangs with picks and shovels. When we do track laying and overhead electricity on long, straight stretches (as will be HS2) it is with clever Austrian machines crewed by clever Austrian engineers and a relatively small workforce.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted October 15, 2011 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      Interesting suggestion! As we have far more bodies than jobs, why not build HS2 with picks and shovels? I have thought for some time that garages should be persuaded to employ forecourt operatives and supermarkets to stop installing those very irritating automated checkouts. Youth unemployment solved overnight!

      • alan jutson
        Posted October 15, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        Backofanenvelope

        Auto till check outs. I simply refuse to use them, why do it yourself when you do not get the goods and cheaper.

        Auto check outs also seem to have huge problems with actually functioning properly, nine times out of ten you seem to need the assistant to to sort them out from what I have witnessed, indeed only yesterday whilst I was waiting in a line for the cashier, one lady on the DIY till, had to call assistance three times for just seven items.

        I seem to get a lot of support from the cashiers, when I say I intend to keep them in a job by using their services.

        • Single Acts
          Posted October 15, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

          Yes. “Unexpected item in the bagging area” i.e. the computer thinks you are stealing something

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 16, 2011 at 6:52 am | Permalink

          Waitrose zapper, as you go round the shop, then put them in the trolley works well, checks prices and keeps the children occupied too.

      • Sean O'Hare
        Posted October 15, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        Even better, and less damaging to the Chilterns countryside, we should make it the HS2 underground. It should be tunnelled out with dinner forks and teaspoons.

        • Bob
          Posted October 16, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

          Imagine the job creation possibilities!

        • Electro-Kevin
          Posted October 16, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

          God no ! If you made it the HS2 Underground you’d have Bob Crowe to deal with.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 15, 2011 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Anyway there is no point in borrowing money to employ people to build pointless things, like HS2. Especially when so many sensible, useful and profitable things are on hold in the private sector – all being prevented or delayed by lack of bank funding and/or the lack of confidence cause by Cameron’s actions and the negative hyperbole/actions of Mervyn King.

    • forthurst
      Posted October 15, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Maybe the way forward would be to extend the canal network; I’ll bet the Austrians and certainly the Swiss would not have machines for that. Would this not gainfuly employ droves of navvies whose employment has been appropriated by Polish builders and possibly divert them from transmogrifying into protected minorities specialising in setting up illegal settlements.

  6. Bill Chapman
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Brian Tomkinson is right. “Clearly members of this government don’t know how to act properly when doing their jobs.”

    The Government comes over to me now as tired, lost, and devoid of ideas. The Cabinet seems out of touch with the ordinary people of the country. I wonder how long it is before we have a General Election.

    • Tedgo
      Posted October 15, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      re next General Election, not until the new boundaries are in place.

  7. Tim Robson
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Another great post John. Remind me again – what is it about you that Cameron hates so much? Is it because you are ‘right’ (both senses, mate!). Are you unacceptable to the Lib Dems? To the coalition’s BBC image? Or are they worried that if they gave you some levers of power you might actually use them and cut some spending.
    Hope so!

  8. Amanda
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Not only are “the right” the major part of the parliamentary party, but I would guess it was also the major part of the Conservative vote in 2010, and the major part of the group who could have voted Tory and didn’t – so causing the coalition. However, it also seems that the establishment (who are left wing) want to erase “the right”, and will conduct their witch hunts where ever they can find a ‘hook’. The left wing establishment will be ably helped in this by the BBC; and indeed the defeat of the rights seems to suit Cameron, whose Government is now on a par with that of the Vichy Regime.

    I suggest it is time the majority ‘right’ of the parlimentary party got their act together and started to stand up for the majority right of the public, in England. You need a plan, and you need to get clever – and you need to stop key people like Fox doing stupid things (if indeed he did). The EU is showing its true colours, and now is the time for a major recruitment drive for ‘the right’. But people don’t just want to support, they also want to be able to do something – you could get that organized. Resistance will come from the grass roots, it just needs leadership.

    “The right” is not going to go away; it will not be silenced forever, because ‘the left’ have made such a mess of things. The country is in a complete mess, from the democracy deficit, to the economic one, to the freedom one – the left have implemented their ideology and been found wanting. Life cannot go on like this. Empirically, we conservatives, can now say, ‘the left’ doesn’t work, and degrades both life and society.

    So, ‘the right’ need to pick up on this and start the long march back to ‘the promised land’. Moses did it, he got Egypt to ‘let his people go’ – so ‘the right’, needs to find it’s equivalent of the seven plagues – number 1 = Greece.

    • ms m davies
      Posted October 15, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      Amanda, I so agree with you. … and the major part of the group who could have voted Tory and didn’t …

      “I voted BNP” and will keep on doing so until the Conservatives get grip and start behaving like a ‘Right Wing Party’ again.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 15, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      At the last election 36.1% of the population voted for the Conservatives, 29.0% voted for Labour, and 23.0% voted Lib Dem. Even though Labour lost 6.2% of the seats the Conservatives only got 3.7%. So the majority of the UK isn’t ‘right’ but ‘left’.

      Perhaps this is why the Conservatives under Cameron have been appealing to the left, rather than the right.

    • stred
      Posted October 15, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

      Two suggestions for the name name of a breakaway Conservative party.
      1. The English Bitter Party
      2. The Sense Party

    • Single Acts
      Posted October 15, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      Moses did it

      Er, No he didn’t. This is made-up stuff. Even serious Israeli archaeologists agree. There were no large numbers of Jews in bondage in Egypt and the idea they wandered around for forty years without anyone noticing nor leaving any evidence is fanciful.

    • Steven Whitfield
      Posted October 15, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

      Amanda,

      I couldn’t agree more – the left have been playing hard-ball for decades and getting their own way on every issue from the family to our membership of the EU.

      Now is the time for the ‘right wing’ to seriously raise their game. The economic crisis has exposed many left wing positions as being extremely shaky.

      I’m not sure why more of the ‘majority right’ don’t speak more clearly. William Hague seems to have turned into a different politician in the coalition.
      The sticking point seems to be the need for Conservative MP’s to be seen to be united. A popular myth is that the Conservatives lost under John Major because the party was split. My view is that the public like and respect free thinking MP’s who speak with conviction.
      John Major lost in 1997 not becuase the party was split as he would like to believe – but because he was an EU fanatic who alientated his core voters,didn’t listen and bundled us into the disastrous ERM.

      I say it’s better to be on the right side of a split party than in a united party with a dismal record of failure that is ultimately cast into the wilderness.

      • Phil H
        Posted October 16, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        Until some one sorts the BBC out the Left are always going to have a massive media advantage!

    • Max
      Posted October 16, 2011 at 2:55 am | Permalink

      The EU was “showing its true colours” some time ago when it tried to impose sanctions on Austria for having the audacity to vote for a right-wing party.

      You will see new parties starting up now. There is a gap in the market. Cameron “leads” his party round in circles within the play-pen that the marxists created for him to operate in.

      Up here in Scotland we can look forward to existence within a poverty stricken marxist collective unless a miracle takes place. At least you have some hope in England.

    • Bazman
      Posted October 16, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      You are a revisionist and a fantasist living in wonderland if you think the banking crisis was caused by left wing thinking. Labour in effect allowed banks as in business to do what they like and using the taxes to fund state projects not questioning where this money was coming from and was it real. The answers became obvious. The right wing blind belief in business by a Labour government put their by business leaders and bankers led to the collapse of the economy. How is is that left wing? Shaky right wing thinking or just uncontrolled greed I would say.
      Many of the projects carried out by the Labour government using these proceeds improved the lives of millions massively and it can be argued that these funds could have been used much more effectively, but the truth remains that a Labour government was right wing to the point of stupidity with business and left wing with the funds generated. At least we got something though as business does not share and sees no problem with large profits and poverty wages. The profits invested, and often not, in more poverty wage jobs and no infrastructure.

      Reply: It was a b it more than that. Clinton encouraged more lending by reluctant banks to low income people to buy homes. The UK government encouraged a boom in expensive PFI and PPP projects, where the private sector looked after themselves with the offer of so much cash around in future years. Both the US and UK authorities changed the rules on how much lending banks could do. Under Mrs T we only allowed around 20 times gearing. Mr Broad allowed 34 times. Why did he think that would work?

      • Bazman
        Posted October 16, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        Left wing thinking funding right wing fantasies John?

      • Steven Whitfield
        Posted October 18, 2011 at 12:52 am | Permalink

        I think most ‘right wingers’ have always argued that their economic policies are guided by more than just the belief in the free market, responsibility and sound money are of vital importance .

        Gordon Brown doubled state spending when he was in office from 1997 -2008 without much thought on how he was going to pay for it. He would still be in Number 10 now if by some miracle he had avoided the economic crash that he helped to create with his own stupity.

        His typically left wing act of destruction was the driver for the de-regulation of the banking industry. He needed the phoney money to bribe his own voters with largely ‘non-jobs’ and to fund a corrupt benefit system that ensures that recipients are condemned to a life of worklessness.

        I suppose this is what you mean by “improving the lives of millions”.

  9. Bazman
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Have nothing and be happy with it as long as this ideology does not apply to me.
    Them and us. Them being a rich elite and their toadys who believe this will in some way protect them, in pursuit of their own agenda of further enrichment by the erosion of wages, living standards and working conditions. And us.

  10. alan jutson
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Right, Left, Centre I simply do not care.

    All I want is honesty, so I know who I can really vote for.

    Then, and if they get power, they then do as they pomised.

    The track record of most, is not good.

    • Posted October 15, 2011 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      I care Alan,

      I am worried about this large and very vocal right wing group who seem to have very little life experience between them.

      They seem to be talking to each other a great deal until they are convinced that they are ‘deeply correct’ and the public are ignorant. There is a big gulf between them and the public because they haven’t sufficient experience to understand our concerns and are pro-actively dismissing us.

      At this time of austerity and cuts it is absolutely essential that those who are leading them can command the respect of those who are enduring them.

      It shouldn’t be forgotten that Thatcher achieved her reforms because when the intelligent representatives of the people brought their deeply grounded concerns to negotiations they found they were talking to people who understood and respected both them as people and their concerns and could engage in deep debate about them in a highly intelligent way.

      This ‘right wing’ bunch are way to the right of those who drove reform in the 1980s. Their blind belief in total free market economics being an absolute solution was not view point which had any influence on policy then.

      I think they are a liability because they are filling the airspace with stuff which is alienating them from the public and clouding out the intelligent debate we need.

      Personally I don’t care whether policies are left or right wing so long as the are grounded in reality, are well consulted and thought through. So this young, inexperienced, large and very vocal right wing group don’t worry me because their policies are right wing. It’s because their policies are deeply naive, are not consulted (except with each other) are not thought through and are being shoved through parliament very rapidly with the aid of media spin to cover for their lack of validity and consultation.

      Reply: The facts are very different from your view. The “right” have just approved two years of rising current spending. They preside over an economy that is very far from being a private enterprise free market.

      • alan jutson
        Posted October 15, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

        Rebecca

        I think you misunderstood the thrust of my post.

        Yes of course we both want grounded politicians, as I guess do many, but my point was:

        If they were completely honest, I would know in advance, what their views were on certain topics, EG
        For EU, Against EU,
        For Spending cuts, against spending cuts.
        For Lower taxes, against lower taxes.
        For greater central Government control, against greater control.
        For Quango’s, against Quango’s
        For more NHS spending, against more spending.
        For defence cuts, against defence cuts,
        For reforming the benefits system, against reform.
        For education reform, against education reform.
        Etc, Etc

        If you know these things in advance, you can then make an honest choice/judgement and vote accordingly.

        What we seem to have at the moment is a wishy, washy, lobby fodder view by most Mps who will simply do as they are told by the Whips, even if it goes against their own thoughts and what they campaigned for, which is simply in my view dishonest.

        I am fortunate in that JR is my MP, so I have very good idea as to how he may vote on certain issues, I do not agree with them all, but certainly most, and at least he is prepared to share his views on this open forum, so I can question his reasoning, nd listen to his arguments.

        Agree totally that Mps need to be grounded, but not just those on the right, all of them.

        I think I am correct in suggesting that the present Labour shadow cabinet, does not have a single member in it who has ever run their own business, indeed I do believe that some have never been even employed in any position in any competitive business at all, yet they bleat on and on, and suggest they know how business works, and suggest they now how to manage huge departments of personel, with a huge budget.

        I would not trust most of them to do my weekly food shopping, and I guess many of their wives/partners dont either.

        So honesty for what they stand for is a priorty for me.
        I cannot stand liers or turncoats, who say one thing and then do another.

        • alan jutson
          Posted October 15, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

          OOps, now, should be know how business….

          Sticky keyboard.

        • Posted October 16, 2011 at 9:05 am | Permalink

          We have to deal with a reality, Alan, that the world is such a complex and dynamic place that politicians cannot pre-determine their actions in all circumstances five years ahead.

          This raises the question of how democracy can operate in a transparent way given that MPs may need to change their positions because of unexpected circumstances such as a collapse in the economy, a coalition government, a war or whatever.

          I would agree with you that you are lucky in your MP because he is communicating pro-actively with you, so that you can follow his developing thinking and you have the opportunity to interact with it.

          I don’t see ‘for education reform’ or ‘against education reform’ as being a useful distinction because I understand the variety of types of reform available and that the most effective and efficient reforms emerge from consultations with people who deeply understand the systems they are trying to reform rather than from MPs.

          I find the wiki for democracy useful for prompting thinking about these issues. Democracy, at its best, is not just about having the chance to elect someone once every 5 years.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy

          Reply: the rule of law, continuous dialogue between government and governed, sensible sensitivity to public opinion – these are all part of democracy

          • lifelogic
            Posted October 16, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

            To the reply.

            Indeed but this does not really happen in the EU or the UK very much any more – just some almost meaningless occasional votes for pointless “cast iron promises”.

          • Posted October 16, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

            Perhaps someone could mention that to Michael Gove? I see he feels the need to clear out more people who haven’t made his dreams a reality.

            The very basics of the economics of a complete education system make it clear that if you perturb a system which understand the levels at which the reality of the management of education is different to the sum of the parts and within which the distribution of responsibility is appropriate with one which does not understand these aspects of the system it will self correct. It ‘aint nothing to do with people intervening to prevent it happening.

            It’s just blindingly obvious.

            Here’s a very basic introductory text for beginners for anyone in Gove’s team who can actually be bothered to read anything which wasn’t written by one of themselves.
            http://www.amazon.co.uk/Education-State-Study-Political-Economy/dp/0865971358/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1318801098&sr=8-1

            I still find the level to which he has blanked out both the entire academic theory of what he is trying to do and anyone who has experience in it.

            Now we’re on to the stage where he brings in people from outside education because the people who understand it are to stupid to make his masterplan work……..

            and of course then next stage is where he manages to get himself promoted before reality dawns.

            I suppose there is continuous dialogue between the government and the governed. It’s just that it would be nice (/sane/economically efficient and effective) if the governed who understood the subject up for discussion were allowed to be involved in the particular discussions which they will have to action the consequences of.

      • Richard
        Posted October 15, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        I just don’t recognise your belief that we have a right wing Government or even a “large and vocal right wing group” that have a good chance of taking power or greatly influencing policy.
        The Coalition could be described as social democratic or centerist but never right wing.
        If anything this Parliament is quite left leaning.

      • Posted October 15, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for your reply John,

        I agree with your comments about rising spending and our lack of a free market.

        I can see how it applies to education – which is the area I properly understand. Here they are ploughing ahead with free market initiatives with as much insight into their costs and consequences as the founders of the Euro.

        I would also agree that our economy – especially in areas of public services where location, complete coverage and high levels of altruism which challenge Hayek’s thinking militate against it – is far from being a private enterprise free market.

        But my view is that they have very little experience of life, society or the areas they are mandating for and that they live in a bubble where they agree things with each other and don’t test them in reality or properly consult. In other words that they are deeply ignorant and dangerous as their behaviour will alienate a public who are having to deal with austerity while watching ignorant and wasteful governance.

        The things you stated are natural consequences of this not contradictory to it.

        It may be that the facts are very different from my view but you haven’t presented any evidence to suggest that they are.

      • lojolondon
        Posted October 15, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

        Rebecca, as the left wing, and particularly the BBC, detest and fear the right wing in equal measures, they have vilified and mocked every sight of it. Witness the hostile coverage given to the very mild EDF marches and meetings, and the detoxified coverage of the Muslim group protesting V-Day. So they are driving the Right underground, where it will simmer away until it boils over, as it is denied free speech and access to the normal democratic facilities.

        • Posted October 16, 2011 at 9:09 am | Permalink

          I don’t think I am properly informed about these issues lojolondon. Have you got some references I can look at?

          I’m quite happy for the idealogical left and the idealogical right and any other people on a mission, ideological or otherwise to be driven underground so that political debate can focus on practical reality.

        • Phil H
          Posted October 16, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

          Please remember the EDF and BNP are not the “Right” as reguarly stated by the BBC but left wing racists!

      • Steven Whitfield
        Posted October 15, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

        Rebecca,
        I’m interested in the ” large and very vocal right wing group who seem to have very little life experience between them” that you identified. Who are they and why do you find differing opinions in a democratic society so troubling ?.

        Is this the same group that are “deeply ignorant and dangerous”. Is your charge just the standard left wing ad-hominem attack on any who is percieved to have a non PC or ‘right wing’ view . Conversely, perhaps you could expand a little more on why ‘left wing’ people are inherently more worldly wise and benign?

        Is the immensely more vocal left wing group that for decades has demanded the normalisation of mass single parenthood and the creation of a welfare system that condems millions to a lifetime of worklessness ill health and misery, any less dangerous ?

        • Posted October 16, 2011 at 9:32 am | Permalink

          Hi Steven,

          I am particularly concerned about the right wing group who believe profoundly in unbounded free markets in all areas as being the ultimate solution to society. They don’t hesitate to make their views very well know through the publications and speeches so I’m sure you can think of some!

          Having lived through the 80s on exposed to both the details of Conservative economic reform and its grim consequences on the ground, I know that monetarism and the hefty dose of free market economics which was applied then was done to a society which was vastly to far in the other direction and was done with caution and concern as being a broad brush solution which with many unpleasant side effects. There never was any assumption that completely free markets were a perfect solution or desirable (anyone with half a brain knows that there aren’t any ‘perfect or absolute’ solutions in economics). Indeed there was crystal clear understanding that free market economics could not achieved to a great extent in complete systems of location dependent services where altruism was an important determining factor for participant behaviour.

          My second concern about behaviour from this group is the way in which they have developed policies on the grounds they go down well as Daily Mail headlines rather than through any research of the areas to which they pertain or through consultation. I’ve written about the individuals involved in this before.

          Both of these behaviours will lead to ludicrously inefficient and ineffective policy and so I am concerned about them.

          Having been a single parent while working full time as a Head of Maths at a Secondary School I am extremely glad that I didn’t have to deal with any prejudice and that my employers were supportive of my being allowed to leave work early if I had a free last lesson (they ensured I always had one) and needed to deal with family issues that I couldn’t have otherwise addressed effectively. I don’t see the pursuit of policies which enable people who find themselves in the situation I was in to cope as being deeply economically naive or inefficient.

          Would you I’d been forced out of my job because my marriage failed for reasons beyond my control? If so could you justify why please?

          Reply: Unemployment and job losses were too high in the 10979-82 period. This was the period of large government spending and huge borrowing. The eocnomy started to work better and more jobs eventually came, once the excessive deficit was cured.

          • Steven Whitfield
            Posted October 16, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

            Hi Rebecca,

            I’m not aware of any “ right wing group who believe profoundly in unbounded free markets in all areas as being the ultimate solution to society”. Many groups believe in free markets but recognise they cannot be completely unbounded and are not an ultimate or ideal solution for ’all areas’ as you claim . That is nonsense.

            However the free market as an engine of economic prosperity is the best system we have.
            Unless you fancy driving a car made from cardboard or queuing up all day to buy a few vegetables to feed your family.

            John Redwood and others who may be considered to be ‘right wing’ railed against the relaxation of banking regulation that contributed to the 2008 banking crisis. It was Gordon Brown and Ed Balls (I don’t think these two could be considered in any way right wing) who wanted a more ‘unbounded free market’ in the banking system.

            Conversely I am more concerned that the majority of influential opinions comes from the left, centred on the belief that the STATE has the answer to all our problems.

            So maybe it’s quiet a healthy thing and not at
            all ‘dangerous’ for an alternative view to be expressed.

            I’m sure the troubles of the early 80’s can be traced back to the bankruptcy of the country, the IMF bailout, loss making industries,double digit inflation and a 80% top rate of tax…I’m not sure that the evidence points to “Conservative economic reform” as the main culprit.

            I am also in favour of policies that help single mothers to cope, especially when a women is put in that position through no fault of her own. No sane politician would disagree with that and it is a good thing that your employers were able to be understanding of your needs.

            However what I am not in favour of is an assumption in the tax and benefits system that all family units offer an equally good chance of a good upbringing to every child. Much research has shown that children coming from fatherless homes have a higher incidence of disruptive behaviour and under achievement in schools. It is quite right for the state to show that it strongly support marriage.

            There is no logical reason why the state cannot make it more attractive for couples to stay together and form stable family units for the benefit of the children and society as a whole.

          • Posted October 20, 2011 at 9:24 am | Permalink

            John it wasn’t just a case of cutting the spending and borrowing though, was it?

            There was a coherent plan as to to the nature of the restructuring of society and the economy which was to take place – with a shake out of unprofitable industries, the tranformation of labour relations and the development of a more entrepreneurial culture.

            To summarise it as being ‘cutting spending and borrowing’ misses so much and what you’re missing is vitally important.

            This government needs a coherent plan – what is it cutting and why? What more efficient vision for society is it hoping to achieve?

            p.s. Any chance you could publish my reply to Steven please? 🙂

            Reply: There are plenty of plans on how to reduce the rate of increase in public spending.
            I am considering your reply to Steven which seemed quite personal for publication, and mainly refers to a very long link which I have not had time to consider.

  11. JoolsB
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    John,

    Totall agree, the big division in UK politics today is whether to be in the EU or out but don’t agree it’s the only division. The other one is the undemocratic way in which England is being governed and treated by the UK Govenment, it being the only part of the UK without it’s own legislature. Cameron and the rest of our politicians with English seats cannot even bring themselves to say England let alone stand up for their constituents who are facing the brunt of the cuts and the only ones who will see their children enter a lifetime of debt if they dare to try and better themselves at university whilst Cameron has allowed Clegg to kick the West Lothian Question and skewed Barnett Formula into very long grass. Resentment is growing and Cameron is making a big mistake not to address the democratic deficit created by Labour’s lopsided devolution act. The Scots and the Welsh are asked over and over again how they want to be governed yet the English have not been asked once. I was a lifelong Conservative Voter and activist who will now switch to UKIP as I suspect many will because they are the only party to offer both a referendum on the EU and an English Parliament. Cameron has let us down on both.

    Now Liam Fox has gone, with the exception of Ian Duncan Smith and Chris Grayling, where are the real Conservatives in the Cabinet? There aren’t any. Cameron has shown himself to be more comfortable with Liberal lefties and Liberal Conservatives whilst true Conservatives like yourself and David Davies are left to languish on the back benches. What a waste whilst at the same time we have the likes of Clarke and Spelman on the front bench (don’t get me started on the Lib Dems) Unless the true Conservatives come forward and show themselves, and to me that means starting to speak out on Europe and an English Parliament, then I fear they will pay a heavy price come the next General Election.

    • A different Simon
      Posted October 15, 2011 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      “Totall agree, the big division in UK politics today is whether to be in the EU or out”

      I believe that you and J.R. are mistaken about this .

      The EU is only a division within the electorate .

      When it comes to divisions in The Commons it emerges that only 29 out of 650 MP’s are opposed to further E.U. integration . A massive majority almost to the point of unanimity .

      This and the fear of putting the issue to the people in the form of a referendum shows that the real division is between the political elite and the electorate .

    • uanime5
      Posted October 15, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      Cameron won’t try to introduce an English Parliament because it will severely reduce his power as Prime Minister. Could you imagine what the Government would do all day if they no longer had control over English agriculture, fisheries and forestry, economic development, education, environment, food standards, health, home affairs, courts, police and fire services, local government, sport and the arts, transport, training, tourism, research and statistics, or social work?

  12. REPay
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    The left/right prism is definitely not a useful prism through which to view the world. In addition to your more EU/less EU prism I would add a second: sustainable and unstainable. Many of the ourl ruling class, lets call them “metropolitan establishment elite” hold views are that are unsustainable in that they are either:
    i) unaffordable or
    ii) contrary to the will of the majority and therefore politically not sustainable or “anti-democratic,” as it would label ideas of which it disapproves.

    To date this metropolitan establishment elite has ignored the popular will – and does so successfully across Europe, but it will have more trouble ignoring the fact that the people’s money which has been the essential lubricant of its progress is in short supply.

  13. A different Simon
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    “Hammond was a “safe pair of hands” at Transport. ”

    Well he at least didn’t cave in to pressure from do-gooders to reduce the alcohol limit to such a level than anyone who has had 2 pints the night before would be over when they tried to drive to work .

    It should be remembered that the limit was originally set at 80 mg/100ml of blood because tests in America showed peoples driving actually IMPROVED with small amounts of alcohol and didn’t start to deteriorate till over 80 mg .

    “The Bennites in Labour have the same view as the Better off outers in the Conservatives.”

    You have to hand it to Tony Benn and Peter Shaw . They could see even back then exactly what the EU was destined to turn into .

  14. John B
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    The division in UK and European politics is surely between those who seek to make decisions without the consent of the People and irrespective of their wishes, and those who believe the People are sovereign.

    Between those who intend to transfer responsibility, discipline from the individual to a cabal of unaccountable bureaucrats and politicians, in order to regulate and order even the smallest functions of everyday life, and those who want to transfer self-responsibility, self-reliance, self-respect back to the People.

    Between those who believe in command economics and central control, and those who believe in a free market machine oiled by industrial capitalism with Government there to guide, facilitate and ensure a fair framework of laws in which this can be done.

    Between those who believe we cannot be trusted to make the best decisions for ourselves, and that they should decide what we should want and have and redistribute wealth accordingly from the centre, and those who believe we should be free to reach whatever level in life of which we are capable and willing to earn.

    Left and Right indeed is too simplistic.

  15. Greg
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    I agree that right v left is an outdated way of thinking of modern politics and that pro and anti Eu is more accurate but an even better way of describing the division is between those that think big government is the answer and those that think it is the problem. Personally I’d much rather we had vastly less of any sort of big brother looking over our shoulders be it in London, Brussels or Washington.

  16. Richard
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    The problem for Mr Cameron is getting re-elected.
    Moving the party to the right is plainly felt to reduce the chances of success and so dominating the center ground is the policy.
    Removing the media driven accusations of being “the nasty party” is the main ambition and I think drives much of the green agenda, the gay marriage idea and the keeping of the top rates of tax to name just 3 recent policies.
    He needs to be very careful the Labour party don’t come out and promise a referendum on Europe as this will outflank him and steal votes from UKIP and many Conservative voters.
    PS Just had my latest energy bill and notice my electricity KWh unit price went up 31.4% on July 14th and having tried two price comparison sites I find my deal with Eon is still listed as the cheapest!
    This makes our household gas and electricity costs now over £2000 per annum, so thanks a lot Mr Huhne.

  17. PJW Holland
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    The most important issue is HS2. It is difficult to see how Justine Greening can do an about turn immediately. Perhaps she will be persuaded to announce she is to re-examine the proposals and ask for further information on alternative routes etc.

    I seem to recall she appears obstinate where her new post requires flexibility. However… she has a history in the department controlling the purse strings so we can hope that will give her a miserly approach to the profligate waste HS2 would represent.

    Hammond was on the way out anyway. His occupany at the MOD is guaranteed to be short-lived.

  18. Posted October 15, 2011 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Greening has previously campaigned against green taxes on petrol, which is promising. She is also against expanding Heathrow (she is a local MP).

    HS2 is not a budget issue because it is an investment spread out over time. If you average it out it is just a few billion a year. Our country needs more infrastructure investment.

    Labour stripped the road budget on entering office in favour of rail. I believe the current government is restoring it to a degree.

    We should not be fighting HS2 on the grounds of affordability, the need for speed (it is actually extra rail capacity, the high speed element is secondary) or even environmental factors (I looked at the map and it is built close to existing rail or roads). The real question is which will do more for the economy, especially in the North – building more rail or building more roads?

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 15, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      Roads are clearly what is needed – that is where the demand is despite the over taxation of cars and huge subsidy of rail.

      I had missed that the new transport secretary is local to Heathrow so no chance of any sense in that new runway direction direction then. Lots of jobs in Amsterdam and Paris then.
      You say – Our country needs more infrastructure investment – yes but not silly white elephants like HS2.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 15, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      Whether rail or road is best in the North will depend upon which is most affordable for the people living there.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 16, 2011 at 8:07 am | Permalink

        So it is road then.

    • PJW Holland
      Posted October 15, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

      the real issue is whether or not this particular design will deliver the best solution or would another deliver better.

      A terminus entirely disconnected from the main railway system and local transport facilities is a white elephant. That is what is planned. Some people think this line will be extended from Brum to Manchester and Leeds. That is not the plan. The diversion to Manchester and Leeds happens before the line reaches Brum. It is the wrong design, the wrong route and it will damage the economy of the West Midlands.

      Before developing High Speed Rail there is a need to publish a design for a network. Then develop the least expensive stretches of it (for example Glasgow and Edinburgh to a point in the Midlands…. That would deliver vastly greater benefit than this absurd scheme.

      At the same time there is a need for additional capacity. To the Midlands this does not need to be high speed and therefore it can be achieved much more inexpensively. The scheme proposed reduces the quality of services to Cities such as Coventry, Lichfield, Wolverhampton, Stoke-on-Trent from “Inter-City” to suburban services. It increases journey time to London, for each, by about 20%. Hardly high speed is it?

  19. Posted October 15, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    I was hoping that this unfortunate event would allow Cameron to bring in more talent to the cabinet. Beyond the left/right, eurosceptic/europhile arguments we need an effective government if we are to be reelected.

    I guess there is always a balance between presentation and management ability and Cameron saw the need to beef up presentation, especially in terms of women and youth in cabinet roles. That is politics for you – you can’t ignore what the opposition do without risking looking out of touch.

    John, you were my preferred candidate for the Defense job. I think that Liam Fox did a great job of triage in fixing the immediate problem of filling in the budget hole, but he went before the real job began – sorting out our disgraceful procurement system.

    Cuts were needed, but we need cuts to budget not cuts to capability. It seems to me that we could actually cut defense spending a lot further (my target would be around 2% GDP) but still get a better, more thought out defense capability for that money. Dr Fox treated the symptoms but not the disease.

    We need to look at value for money in defense spending rather than job creation and the politics of spending money in marginal constituencies. We need to be cutting generals and admirals and making them work together to give us a functioning defense capability rather than building mini-empires. We need a lean mean fighting machine without spending so much that the productive parts of the economy suffer. There is no point in spending too much of our GDP on defence if countries like Germany continue to out perform us economically so that our relative GDP is lower.

    Perhaps at some point you could give us your thoughts on fixing the procurement system that turns a program like the Euro Fighter into a money pit? I wish Phil Hammond well in his new job. He is supposed to be a ‘fixer’ but I’m sure that he needs all the help that he can get from analytical minds such as your own if he is to fix procurement.

  20. Steven Granger
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Another load of nonsense John. Describing Fox as a Eurosceptic beggars belief. Where were his eurosceptic credentials when he was a vociferous supporter of the military tie up with the French? Describing any one of the current Tory MPs as eurosceptic is laughable. Your support for the fiction that we can somehow repatriate powers from the EU when you know full well that this won’t be allowed to happen shows your true colours. The likes of you, Cash, Hannan etc are merely useful mouthpieces there to try and con the electorate into believing that the party has a Eurosceptic outlook. In the end nothing will be achieved by the likes of you and your party will continue to hand more powers to the EU. This process has intensified if anything since the coalition was formed.

    Reply: If it hadn’t been for Conservative Eurosceptics you would be in the Euro now.

    • Steven Granger
      Posted October 15, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      I’m not quite sure how you work that one out! If it hadn’t been for Conservative “eurosceptics” we wouldn’t be in the EU in the first place (or common Market as it was called when your party took us in). Nor would we have joined the ERM, signed the Maastricht Treaty or be burning our money trying to bail out the Euro (as we are via the back door route of the IMF). Nor would we be destroying what’s left of our manufacturing industry by trying to meet the EU renewable energy commitments. I could go on with many other examples which demonstrate clearly that the conservatives are a Europhile party through and through.

      Reply: Conservative Eurosceptics opposed all those phases, and above all persuaded John Major to demand and use the opt out from the Euro which saved us

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 15, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        Saved us for how long?

      • rose
        Posted October 15, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

        Bilateral agreements are just what we should be making with the French, not being oppressed by the EU bureaucrats. We always get on well with them militarily, and their dining a la carte at the NATO table is a good model for our future relationship with the EU.

      • Paul
        Posted October 16, 2011 at 2:00 am | Permalink

        Eurosceptic conservative MPs (all five of them) are frustrating. They think they can change things when they can’t, they think they still belong to a eurosceptic party when they don’t, and they think their party is still worth sticking with when it isn’t. Just ask Lord Hesketh and many other conservatives who have put their principles first.

        Reply: And what has UKIP achieved? Why did some UKIP MEPs end up in so much trouble, or leave their party?

  21. oldtimer
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    I agree with the idea that the terms “right” and “left” are inadequate in todays world of politics. The issues which divide in politics have changed over the past 30+ years. It seems to me that the EU (for or against), sound money (for or against), immigration (for or against) and green energy policies (for or against) are the compelling, divisive issues today. To a significant degree some of the for or against positions are not adequately reflected in Parliamentary representation. Parliament is too dominated by group think; this causes a dangerous disconnect between MPs and a large section of the public who do not share this view and have the wit and gumption to think for themselves and say what they think.

    The lobby system and much of the media (including the dominant BBC) tend to reinforce this Parliamentary groupthink in their communications. Hence the growing sense of exclusion, denial of rights of representation (which referenda would help correct) and a sense that policies are impervious to argument and change.

    On the specific case of Mr Fox and the consequent ministerial appointments, I hope that the report by GO`D is published for us all to read. More light needs to be shed on lobbying and the lobbyists (including the single issue pressure groups who wield extraordinary influence in Parliament). I agree with others above that Ms Greening stumbled badly when interviewed by Andrew Neill at the recent party conference. She obviously had no idea what she was talking about – possibly because there was no policy, just a sound bite. On that form she is another accident waiting to happen. She will go a long way to redeem herself by making a clinical analysis of the economics of HS2 and conclude that, in out dire financial circumstances, sound money must prevail and HS2 be binned.

  22. SteveH
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    A very reasonable post on the whole, I can’t agree more on the blurring of the old ‘right-left’ divisions in British politics. I’d like to ask Amanda if we live in the same country. If she believes “However, it also seems that the establishment (who are left wing)” then I don’t think we do.

    • Amanda
      Posted October 15, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      You do not think the establishment are ‘left wing’? Then I suggest you take a good look at them, the BBC, the Civil Service, the Quangos, the Arts, schools, local government, the people who have a say in your life !! To be a radical these days is to be on the ‘right’.

      Neither do I think the line between what is called left and what is called right is at all blurred. It is very simple, the left believe in the state at the centre handing out its largess, the adopting the European legal system, and social engineering based on ideology. The right believe in a small state, low taxes, self-determination, common law and the conservation of what has proved empirically to enhance human happiness. The reason why the EU is the lynchpin, is that the left see the EU as the fountain of all they hold dear, and the right loathe it for standing against all their beliefs.

      • Richard
        Posted October 15, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

        Very well said Amanda. I totally agree with you.

      • Sean O'Hare
        Posted October 15, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

        The attributes you ascribe to “the right” I ascribe to libertarianism. The right as I see it encompass quite contrary views including fascism. The Conservative leadership nowadays are in no way libertarian which is why are they are haemorrhaging support.

      • ms m davies
        Posted October 15, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

        And so say all of us!” The Conservative ‘Right’ should grow some b*lls and rediscover their heritage!

      • uanime5
        Posted October 15, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        Your problem seems to be that you don’t understand what the left and right actually stand for. Judging by your definition it seems to be as follows:

        Right: everything I like.
        Left: everything I hate.

        The left has no interest in adopting the EU legal systems, you’re thinking of Europhiles which can be left or right.

        Both the left and right use social engineering based on ideology. The left feel that every child deserves the same education regardless of ability, the right believe that the rich should get the best education regardless of ability.

        Both left and right support self-determination and common law when it suits them.

        By “conservation of what has proved empirically to enhance human happiness” do you mean that the right keep all the money for themselves?

        • Steven Whitfield
          Posted October 15, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

          uanime5,

          I see you are using the extremely well worn ‘left wing’ tactic of using personal attacks to shut down debate whenever a’ right wing’ opinion is expressed.

          Your analysis is :-

          “Right: everything I like.
          Left: everything I hate”

          So you imply that a view is narrow minded and selfish.

          This is how you similarly skewed Amanda’s view to fit your ‘left wing’ stance.

          By “conservation of what has proved empirically to enhance human happiness” do you mean that the right keep all the money for themselves”

          Predictably you are again implying that a ‘right wing view is cold hearted and selfish.
          “The left feel that every child deserves the same education regardless of ability, the right believe that the rich should get the best education regardless of ability”.

          again – implying the’ lef’t view is good and
          wholesome and the right wing position selfish.

          Ofcouse these ad-hominom attacks are just the smokescreen that has kept ‘right wing’ ideas off the political agenda for decades. They are needed because the ‘left’ need to disguise the fact that often their ideas are unsettling and based on the politically correct truth. Factually correct truths are just an inconvenience.

  23. Derek Buxton
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    I quite liked your definition of left and right, up to a point. I fear there are less of you right than you appear to think, since on all fronts the left are in charge. I very much doubt that Fox was right, he did after all destroy our ability to Defend the Realm, a major priority for anyone claiming to be of a right wing persuasion.
    If, as you claim, there are many MPs of the “right”, will they please stand up and make sure they are heard, because they are not doing so at present and time is running out. For example I see that Mr. Osborne said “we will not save the planet by driving out business”, which is true, but that is what the policies are doing.

  24. rose
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    I don’t regard myself as right or left, and am not a member of a party. What disturbs me is how easy it still is to get a minister detached from the cabinet. Just bombard the news with selective and stored up material on him for a week, and the world says he must go. People say, “It looks very odd…” or “He has shown poor judgement…” etc. Of course it looks odd. It has been dressed up long after the events and released in a way that is calculated to make it look odd. And the crime of “poor judgement” is what people who spend their lives prying and spying, and rummaging through bins, hoping to destroy other people’s reputations, always come up with when they can’t find anything of substance to convict on. Mundane people wouldn’t be in the cabinet anyway, and if the implied charge is an excess of energy and not enough discretion, then how many valuable people in the past would have remained in office? What matters most in time of war is the morale and purpose of the troops, and whether they are properly equipped. During this particular wartime, there is the added urgency of dealing with the colossal debts and deficits, and the out of control state spending. Is there any evidence that Dr Fox had other priorities – apart from preserving the independence of his country? Talk about poor judgement. What is more important? All of that, or getting a good gossip going and embarrassing everyone so that normal public life can’t proceed?

    As for getting the lobbyists out of the government’s path – how on earth is picking on Mr Werrity going to do that? We keep our circuit judges wrapped up in cotton wool so no-one can get at them while they are sitting. At the same time we accuse them of being out of touch. Now we want to do the same with MPs. But it is one thing to stop judges coming across other people, but quite another to keep MPs in purdah and only seeing civil servants. It can’t and shouldn’t be done. We went through all this with the newspaper scandal. Anyway, what about the civil servants? Are they allowed to meet other people?

    • uanime5
      Posted October 15, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      What disturbs me is that a Minister took someone with no security clearance to meet with high level military official from other countries and didn’t stop this individual from claiming to be an advisor. Completely contrary to the laws passed by the Prime Minister.

      Your comment about circuit judges is incorrect. They may do whatever they like as long as it doesn’t prejudice the trial.

      • rose
        Posted October 15, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

        So what are the Judges’ Lodgings for, the chauffeurs, and the watchful eye of the Sheriff?

        You should be more disturbed by the discontinuity at the MOD at such a time.

        • rose
          Posted October 16, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

          By the way, the Judges turned up at our cathedral this morning for their Michaelmas service – their last, because the council isn’t going to pay for it any more. The full panoply of the law, in all its majesty and impotence: wigs, robes, gowns, plumes, with accompanying boots, shiny buttons, swords and maces, had to be smuggled in and out through the cloisters, as if they were in Rigoletto. No glorious processing to a welcoming fanfare through the west door, because some crusties were camping on College Green (motto: “keep on the grass”) and their rights to freedom of expression, non-confrontation, and non-harassment are paramount.

          Interestingly, the crusties say they want us out of the single currency. They say the Germans are coming out next, and that the whole thing is going to collapse. They also want the government to stop borrowing and printing money. But they were a bit vaguer when it came to government spending. Oh, and they know that the CIA has put Ahmadinejad into power! Apparently it has been proved.

  25. Dave B
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Re: HS2
    Mr Cameron made a point of name-checking it in his (very corporatist) conference speech, so I suspect Ms Greening will be aware of the line she is expected to take.

    http://www.conservatives.com/News/Speeches/2011/10/David_Cameron_Leadership_for_a_better_Britain.aspx

  26. Posted October 15, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    I regret that he is gone.

    There seems to be no reason to believe his friend seriously profited from the connection – he may have received a fairly modest wage but presumably have done that, or better, anyway. Nor that the donors did – we are not talking about major defence contractors. And certainly not that Fox did.

    Which leaves his only “fault” being having an unofficial advisor. If that means ministers will, from now on, feel they have to take onlythe sort of advice given by the civil service that would be a very bad thing indeed. The more innovative members of both Labour and tories have long fought to be able to have their own advisors rather than just whay Sir Humphrey wants and that seems to be beiong diminshed and shouldn’t be.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 15, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      Whether Adam Werritty made a profit is irrelevant. What he and Fox were doing was (questionable-ed)

      It is possible for Ministers to have advisors who aren’t Civil Servants (Cameron has had 18), though Fox decided not to make Werritty an advisor for unknown reasons.

    • APL
      Posted October 15, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

      JR: “Dr Fox himself decided to resign as he reflected on the facts that were emerging about his case.”

      Mr Redwood, if they were facts, they were known to Fox before he had to reflect on them. In other words he held on for as long as possible.

      Not the behavior of an ‘honourable’ man.

      Neil Craig: “There seems to be no reason to believe his friend seriously profited from the connection.”

      The Telegraph doesn’t seem to share your opinion Neil.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/8829655/Fox-affair-donors-fury-over-lies.html

      “the American chief executive of Atlantic Bridge has told The Sunday Telegraph that the organisation’s British arm, whose sole employee was Mr Werritty, “did nothing” and was “a shell game”

      The closer one looks at the whole affair, the more more it comes to resemble a festering sewer.

      Reply: I suggest we wait to see the results of the enquiry. I have avoided all claims, supportive or otherwise, as I do not yet know the facts of what Dr Fox and Mr W did.

      • Posted October 16, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

        APL nothing in that article says Werrity had more than “received a fairly modest wage but presumably have done that, or better, anyway”. On top of that the fund would have had to pay travel expenses but expenses are not profit. You may have personal information beyond that but I don’t.

        There are many many parlaimentarians, civil servants, friends and relatives thereof who have made astonishingly large amounts of money, often after “retirement” through contacts of this nature. There seems to be no evidence that Werity did so, let alone Fox.

        uanime5 we seem to be agreed that Fox’s only fault was that he did not make Werity an “official” advisor. I don’t know why he didn’t & speculation is inevitable but, absent any other failing, that is bureaucratic box ticking at its most bureaucratic.

        • rose
          Posted October 16, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

          The main complaint against Fox, lets’s face it, is that he believes in less public expenditure and state control. If his friend had been paid by the taxpayer or the party membership, as a SPAD, as any liberal or socialist would have been, all would have been well. Some people just can’t bear the idea of independence, financial or intellectual.

    • Derek Buxton
      Posted October 16, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      There was also the problem that he had no security clearance of any kind. It is beginning to seem as if he took money from investors because of the fact that Fox backed him. Unbelievable in an MP let alone a Minister of State.

  27. Ferdinand
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Justine Greening just about lives under the Haethrow flightpath. I trust this will not have excessive influence over her view that Heathrow needs a third runway ASAP.
    Gatwick just wouldn’t work with another runway as the airlines don’t like and don’t want Gatwick. Leave Gatwick to easyJet

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 15, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      We should have a runway at each and a high speed train between Gatwick and Heathrow (15 mins) so five runways “one” airport.

  28. Quietzapple
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Cameron should have asked Fox some pointed questions, checked with the Csbinet Sectetary and then required Fox’s resignation long ago.

    This “it’s ok if you can get away with it” approach to smooth Cameron’s way bs Eurosceptics is naive and dishonest.

    Fox’s plain silliness in imagining he’d get away with what I read as malfeasance is incredible! I wonder if any but the most pathologically conspiratorial will want him on their side.

  29. Steven Whitfield
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    An interesting admission that many in the Conservative party were duped by David Cameron into believing he was a Euro Sceptic in 2005. I hope they won’t be fooled again. It’s a shame they couldn’t see past a slick speech and vote for the less flamboyant but more worthy candidate, David Davis.

    David Cameron is a liberal sleeper who will send the Conservative party back into the political wilderness for decades unless the ‘right’ take back they’re own party,elbow a few noisy lib dems aside and re-connect it with reality.

    What will be even more galling for ‘right wing’ Conservatives is that the Labour Party spin machine will then blame ‘right wing thatcherite polices’ for the inevitable crash that Cameron’s liberal conservatism brand will cause.

    This is the ‘right’s big chance to show that the New Labour left got it badly wrong on almost everything they believe in from education, the family and the economy. Where are they ? – they should be more bold they are the majority of the party and their views are shared by the silent majority of the country.

    • BobE
      Posted October 15, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

      The next election will see the conservatives defeated and the Lib Dems destroyed. Its a labour shoe-in.

  30. Ralph McHendry
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for a very useful analysis Mr Redwood. It put things in a different way from my thinking and is more relevant as you’re closer to the action. All my instincts are “right wing” and I can’t say I share your view about IDS being sound.

  31. Quietzapple
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    He had to go in hope that he will avoid legal action:

    Malfeasance: The Crown Prosecution Service guidelines on this offence[1] say that the elements of the offence are when:

    A public officer acting as such.
    Wilfully neglects to perform his duty and/or wilfully misconducts himself.
    To such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public’s trust in the office holder.[2]
    Without reasonable excuse or justification

    If any Minister of the Crown arranges for a friend to be bankrolled and tolerates him purporting to be an official adviser, and so under the Civil Service Code, there is no need for pecuniary advantage to fall foul of the above.

    The deception is quite sufficient and we have a right to hear the matter out in Court.

    OUR Government, even though we are subjects rather than citizens.

    This must not be let pass or they will continue to do as they will, foreigners and billionaires, Cameron’s men and all.

    Reply: Dr Fox has said that he told him not to use business cards when he saw them. Dr Fox is innocent unless and until evidence is produced to prove allegations against him.

    • APL
      Posted October 16, 2011 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      JR: ” .. until evidence is produced to prove allegations against him.”

      Evidence will be ‘produced’ largely by the civil service. You lot, Party Members and MPs who would like this whole thing to go away, won’t be looking for the truth.

      It therefore boils down to how much Dr Fox was liked and admired in the Civil service, how many people are queuing up to ‘stick the boot in’.

      JR: “I suggest we wait to see the results of the enquiry.”

      We have all been around the block so many times to know what an enquiry actually means.

      Call an inquiry, we can then kick the difficult questions into the ‘long grass’ and by the time the enquiry presents it’s conclusions, the media circus will have moved on.

      Reply: Surely even you accept that allegations need to be backed up by evidence, and the accused given a chance to respond? I do not think the civil servcie wish to cover up anything for Dr Fox, so we will see what the findings are shortly, and then hear Dr Fox’s reply.Due process is an important part of fair law in a democracy. Even an MP is innocent until proven guilty.

      • APL
        Posted October 16, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        JR: “Surely even you accept that allegations need to be backed up by evidence,”

        I do. But pine for the days when we had more than a few parliamentarians of principle, if I am disillusioned, it is with good cause.

        At its best, what we seem to have here is a man with the most tenuous connections to the functioning of the government with the free run of the Ministry of Defense who happens to work for any old foreign company that’ll pay him a penny or two.

        If that doesn’t represent a security risk, I don’t know what does.

        Reply: there is as yet no evidence of security breaches or “free run”

  32. Gary
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    The real story is not left or right. The real story is how foreign interests apparantly buy influence in our govt in secret.

    When you vote for an MP , do you know who he or she may really be working for ? It may not be you.

  33. Bazman
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Don’t forget the Conservatives did not win a majority in the election. The British people, at least the ones who voted, are not as right wing as many on this site would like. Maybe it is the BBC brainwashing them and they do not want to believe. You do not want to believe.. Or maybe they are just skint. It is usually people who are wealthy and have secure jobs who believe in right wing economics not the guy on the dole or people struggling to make ends meet.

    • Richard
      Posted October 15, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

      And dont forget all who now depend on the largesse of the state for their income.
      Those who work in the salariat of Councils, Quangos, NHS, Education, Civil Service etc etc
      Good old Gordon added nearly a million to their ranks

  34. Posted October 15, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Pretty soon now the “right”of the Conservative Party will realise that by his actions they should judge their leader as not in step with their views.

    What then?

  35. Martyn
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    Left? Right? Centre? It doesn’t matter a single jot which side one feels aligned with. The fact of the matter is that the coalition government is following the same road as the EU whereby the voter can be and is ignored. Nothing will divert them from their chosen path of handing over the UK, lock, stock and armed forces to the EU and adopt the Euro as soon as they think they can get away with.
    The need for a new Treaty to bring closer integration will be announced as a simple adjustment of the existing treaty and that will be that – no need for a referendum – for Heaven’s sake, the people might not vote the way we want them to. Again…

  36. forthurst
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    I think Left-Right in British politics is very meaningful, but only in sociological terms. Thus the Labour party contains patriotic nationalists and the Conservative party, closet Marxists whilst the Lib Dems contains rabid Marxists, dilettante exhibitionists and ambitious opportunists.

    Until we have proportional representation and state funding for election expenses, it is unlikely that our parliamentary system will ever represent the people. We and the bigotted woman must remain disenfranchised.

    At the moment, the Conservative party is being directed by closet Marxists some of whom do early morning drops in St James Park.

  37. Steven Whitfield
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    I am suspicious of the circumstances surrounding Dr Fox’s departure. He hasn’t made himself very popular with Conservative HQ with his ‘leaked’ letters to the press. Perhaps a similar episode of paranoia that led to John Major calling a group of Conservatie MP’s B******* because of their views on Europe has also infected David Cameron.

    Thus it isn’t inconceviable that the unfortunate Dr Fox was put on the ducking stool by his own side.

    If the election of Graham Brady to the 1922 commitee reflects the overwhelmingly Euro sceptic make up of conservative MP’s, why cannot they use their influence to ensure that cabinet decision making reflects their views ?. The whips cannot lean on more than a handfull of MP’s – the establishment would have to change it’s position if the commitee showed some steel. A situation where Conservative Mp’s are routinely asked to endorse views and positions that is at odds with their own cannot be sustained.

    • rose
      Posted October 15, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

      The other thing you might ask is what Messrs Letwin and Fox have in common that they have both been singled out in the same week. After all anyone can be made to look foolish in the press if the press wish it.

      • rose
        Posted October 16, 2011 at 11:36 am | Permalink

        And now we must add Michael Gove. I can think of one politically incorrect sympathy they might all share.

  38. Posted October 16, 2011 at 1:08 am | Permalink

    I despair that is why I have been absent from here for a couple of days,about a week ago I said there was clear evidence from the left types on here,and all this just proves to me that they are in need of clinical Psychiatric observation,all I do is get depressed when I read them.(sentence deleted-ed) I am just glad i have only the last 20% of my life left to endure,the only thing that makes me happy is harassing govt officials whenever I can, as it is obvious Nothing
    will ever happen until the wheels totally come off.But boy oh boy if ever Captain Kirk’s
    enterprise was under my command in Earth Orbit there are thousands who would be Beamed into the centre of the Sun.

  39. Posted October 16, 2011 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Censorship again !!!!!!!

  40. SteveH
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Amanda,
    Again, I think that you are seriously deluded if you think that the establishment is ‘left wing’. Obviously we have different definitions of the term. Just for your information, if I had to define myself politically it would be as a libertarian.

    As for Fox, he resigned because he ‘blurred’ the distinction between telling the truth and hiding it. The press helped, but did us a favour. Its what its for in a free society, weeding out corrupt politicians. I bet Rifkind & co who spoke up for him last monday feel a bit stupid this weekend. Still, fighting the corner for your political allies, even when they’re in the wrong, is how things are done, we can’t expect anything less. Just helps the general consensus of contempt for the politicos.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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