I am a post moderniser


I have often sought to debunk the myth that splits within parties stop them forming governments. The large wet-dry civil war in the Thatcher Tory party accompanied three election wins. The rancorous and public Brown/Blair split in Labour did not prevent three good wins for a Blair led Labour party.

Since 1992 and the last Conservative General Election win, there have been stories of a split between modernisers and traditionalists in the Conservative party. Today I wish to explain why I am neither, and why I think the future of the party rests with those of us who see ourselves as post modernisers.

I agree with the modernisers’ central  perception. The Conservative party cannot win an outright victory in the next General Election by simply reassuring the core vote and stressing  just  the views of the core on Europe, immigration and social policy as some suggest. The Conservative party has to reach out beyond its core, to attract new and different voters to a broader coalition who think on balance a Conservative government is right for them and better for the country than a Labour one.

I agree with the traditionalists that the Conservatives will not do this successfully if the party identifies a few causes or issues that are different which annoy its core support sufficiently to put some of them off voting. Reaching out must add voters, not run the risk of producing net losses of voters. Some ultra modernisers have suggested policies in the past which they think are doubly good because they not only win over a few new people, but they wind up the old guard. That is bad politics, a misinterpretation of Mr Blair’s triangulation. A party needs to have some intellectual coherence. It will be a coalition of people and causes, but the causes have to be compatible.

Mrs Thatcher’s three big victories did not come from concentrating on a narrow Conservative agenda. The broader coalition came from her obvious support for all who wanted to get on in the world and saw the UK had to change the way it worked to earn a higher standard of living. Giving people with little or  no capital the chance to buy their own Council home or a share in their business popularised a Conservative message about saving effort and enterprise  in a way which brought new voters to support it. Abolishing a tax every  budget and cutting the rates of Income Tax for all was also an inclusive policy that built wider support. Enfranchising employees in the ownership of their firm and giving them more voting rights in their unions empowered more people. Standing up for the UK abroad and negotiating the EU rebate was popular beyond the confines of traditional Conservative support.

So what are today’s equivalents? I think the Conservatives should offer a freedom coalition. Our policies should embrace personal freedoms, civil liberties, and greater freedom of choice in public services. I will suggest more detailed policies soon  based on my idea of a manifesto for freedom.

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


  1. ian wragg
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    Where does letting HMRC rob bank accounts fit in with this John. Where does letting convicted murder’s roam the streets figure? What about failure to deport foreign criminals who’s” umanrites” surpass the peace loving majority.
    Where does financing foreign despots at the expense of our armed forces figure. It’s time to wake up John, the Tories can’t win a majority because your leader is a LimpDumb and look what’s happening to them.
    It’s no good shooting the messenger when its the message that’s wrong.
    I think Farage is correct in trying to destroy the Tories so we can clean the stables with a new right wing anti EU party.

    • Hope
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      Edward Leigh MP does a rather good synopsis of what the Tory Party should do. But he is deluded if he thinks Cameron will act upon it. Listening to Cameron this morning he is still way off target and will not be trusted by his comments. He even criticised Farage over expenses! The promise to introduce early legislation for the right to recall MPs and did nothing. The man who recently supported and defended Miller, the man who has made no significant change after the expense scandal despite promises to do so. The millionaire man who claimed about £21,000 a year for mortgage expenses and then there was the wisteria bush! Yes I do believe him when he claims to be a Liberal Conservative, I also believe him to be the heir to Blair.

      Blair interviewed in Sweden thinks Britain should be worried about UKIP and its anti immigration and anti EU stance. Well he would would he not for it was him who deceived the public by introducing mass immigration and introducing laws and policy to prevent the public speaking out. He gave up the rebate for what? President of the EU and failed? Time for Blair to be held properly to account, if for nothing else to shut him up. Why is Cameron letting him and Campbell represent the country in Egypt? He has done enough damage in the world (words left out ed) for what? His vanity?

      • Tad Davison
        Posted May 26, 2014 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        On the right of recall, this was taken from an e-mail I received today from 38 degrees:

        ‘Here’s what one Conservative MP, Zac Goldsmith said:

        “As an MP, I’ve seen how public pressure can force the government’s arm – and they’re particularly sensitive about public trust in MPs right now. A massive petition could give David Cameron and Nick Clegg no option but to go back to the drawing board – and produce recall with bite.”

        Funny how that Cameron man promises things when the public demands action, then quietly brushes them under the carpet when he thinks no-one is looking. And we’re supposed to keep trusting him!

        I should b**dy coco!



      • Anonymous
        Posted May 26, 2014 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

        The whole Parliamentary façade is a centrist/Blairist construct designed to ensure that people work for the politicians and not the other way around.

        There is no real choice and what we witnessed these past few weeks was banana republicanism.

        Biased BBC

        Lies about racism leveled at UKIP members and supporters

        Fake UKIP parties (why haven’t the BBC/Tories been honest enough to count their votes to gauge the strength of anti EU sentiment ? What would be the reaction if I stood as A Real Conservative Party ?)

        Tower Hamlets and now Mr Redwood telling us that we can’t have a solely ‘core supporter’ Tory party because it must have wide appeal. (To those with different democratic traditions, one presumes.) Either a party stands for what IT believes is right or it doesn’t stand at all. Election victory should not be the sole aim but a by product of conviction politics.

        We don’t want to see our Home Secretary in kitten heels and Dalek outfits while Mr Skull Cracker is at liberty and it’s taken ten years to do anything about old ‘Hooky'(his family still living better than most of us do owing to the politicians’ largesse)

        And just what is this celebrity/politico s**t ? Serving politicians permanently on BBC couches and reality TV shows.

        I have never known the political class to be held in such contempt.

        I thought the UKIP look alike party was formed by an ex UKIP person. It was not a Tory plot!

        • Anonymous
          Posted May 27, 2014 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

          Reply to reply to Anonymous

          This is what Norman Tebbit has to say about it:

          “There were some odd features of the poll, particularly the puzzle of who was really funding the “An Independence From Europe Party” whose title put it at the top of the long ballot paper which had Ukip at the bottom. Clearly the organisers and funders could have had no hope whatsoever that it would gain enough votes to elect an MEP, so what was their motive? I can only assume it was to catch out voters intending to support Ukip and lure them into precipitately putting a cross against its name before finding Ukip right at the foot of the page. One way or another it secured 1.49 per cent of the vote and if one adds even half of that to Ukip’s score it makes Mr Farage’s lead even more impressive.”

          Some 20,000 votes went to unknown UKIP like parties. I’m very suspicious about it. And nothing surprises me after the Tories colluded with the Guardian rather than give their core voters what they want.

          (Who better to front a flanking maneuver than an ex UKIP member ?)

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 26, 2014 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

        Indeed Edward Leigh has it about right.


        I would add why are we subsidising new very expensive and inefficient electric cars for the wealthy? They are not greener, use more energy than diesel cars, need expensive and short life batteries and emit more C02 (even if you do believe the huge Carbon exaggeration religion).

        Let the green loons spend their own money on their I am green badges.

        • stred
          Posted May 27, 2014 at 9:41 am | Permalink

          We are subsidised to buy expensive electric cars because, although we don’t have carbon free generation at the moment, unlike France and Sweden, we are building lots of windmills in the sea and Scotland but have nowhere to store the electricity when the wind blows. According to the DECC adopted book Sustainable Energy, there is a nice fit between consumption if we all have electric cars and peak wind output. Of course, they could just subsidise us to buy the batteries and then we could have cars that worked when we need them instead of to suit the wind speed.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      You’re correct. If it comes to UKIP holding the balance of power next year, UKIP members won’t, I am sure, allow a deal unless it is with a new leader and one who can stomach changes to recent Tory legislation like this HMRC-inspired drivel, all the half-hearted welfare reform, many of their tax increases, HS2, energy policy, foreign aid policy, regional government… the list goes on and on and is in addition to any EU referendum issue.

      The outlook for the Conservatives is far from good – squeezed by the Labour luvvies and multi-cultis in much of London, and seen as part of the metropolitan elite alongside Labour and LibDems outside London, where they will fighting against a wall of well-armed UKIPpers.

    • Timaction
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      When the EU Commission gives us over 70% of our laws. We did not elect them and we cannot remove them. Who cares if the Tory’s modernise or not as they like all the legacy parties are irrelevant. This is what the peoples army has revealed to the electorate. We do not control our own Country or its borders. Your Home Secretary claims to be thinking about tougher measures to reduce EU and other migration from its current gross level of 520,000 per year. That is a lot of people in just one year! There is a simpler solution…………leave the EU, rule ourselves and sign trade agreements with the other Countries. Trade and friendship nothing more. I see that our President Barosso thinks the answer to the elections with anti EU sentiment is ………..more EU!! Well he would wouldn’t he. Dictators always think the same.

      • Hope
        Posted May 26, 2014 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

        Recently moderniser Cameron allowed £18 million pounds of taxpayers’ money to be given to the EU to spend on ever closer union. He now wants to convince us this is one of his negotiating points! You could not make up the lies if you tried.

        Only last week he was telling us how he wanted EU workers, the public have a different view, but he does not listen or care. He cannot do anything about the quality or quantity of EU immigration ie whether they can work or not. Someone ought to tell Teresa May she sounds ridiculous even trying to justify the mass immigration that occurred last year and the year before and the year before that. Four years on and the number is increasing.

        Perhaps she could ask Boles to speed up on house building and cover very piece of land to make sure they have enough homes. The is no money for infrastructure, but that seems to escape them. Finally, the moderniser Clarke still thinks EU regulation is good for the country, anyone going to have a word in his ear, when he is awake that is, that he is still off message to deceive the public.

  2. Single Acts
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    Sorry to break it to you, but whether the conservatives are traditional, modern, post-modern or whatever else, is looking completely irrelevant this morning.

    There’s no point trying to re-animate the corpse that is the parliamentary conservative party. Now if twenty of you had the courage of your convictions and left i-dave and his pals, you could actually make a difference.

    Time for the long trousers…

    • Hope
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      Farage appealed across the country. Cameron appeals to the Lib Dems. They sadly were wiped out! Says it all really. Arrogantly carrying on as normal.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 26, 2014 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, the one surprise to me was that the Libdems retained any seat at all. They are, just like Cameron, wrong and out of step with public opinion on every single major issue.

        • Hope
          Posted May 27, 2014 at 7:15 am | Permalink

          Cameron’s first message on Radio was to criticise Farage and state he will stick to his plan. That’s listening for you!

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted May 27, 2014 at 9:54 am | Permalink

          It was always clear to me that the two aims of beating Labour and wiping out the LibDems would be partly in conflict, because most of those who desert the LibDems switch to Labour.

  3. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    To some extent we are all post modernists, talking about freedom and not being able to fully understand the responsibility which the perception configures. We are all post modernists because we live in the time which was thought to be modernist.Freedom means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.We are all aware of our own experiences and how we are trapped by conventions and sometimes when we compare those experiences to how others live their lives ,we psychologically put those ideas into a relative scale of what freedoms are. We could say a man in prison is denied freedom ,then progress to the notion that all those who belong to a social/ religious group of some kind are denied freedom as they live within the construct of its ethos and practices.We can talk about freedom from money concerns by having enough to bring comfort for the basics of life. We can look at life in other continents and see that their only wish is to live a life where they will not be slaughtered or tortured. To escape from these cruelties would mean freedom.
    Do you talk of free will , which is often a subject of much debate ,or do you mean as Rex Harrison sang in ‘My Fair Lady’ “I wish a women could be more like me.”

    I agree there needs to be some sort of collective regrouping of ideas where positives could be underlined as well as the things we are personally fed up with , but that in itself would be a political philosophy being remoulded and would put limits and boundaries to freedom of ideas.

    I was discussing the concept of freedom as opposed to institutionalisation just a couple of days ago after watching for the second time the film ‘Redemption’. I don’t know whether readers are familiar with the text. It looks at the nature of freedom in relation to imprisonment and how for some freedom becomes a source of agony which does not bear order and certainty and therefore an impossible lifestyle.

    I will read your proposals with interest.

  4. Mike Stallard
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    The problem the Conservatives face is exactly that of (New) Labour. Policies are decided in private and based on London Groupthink. Those of us who live outside London are simply told to believe what we are told about the Groupthink and we are called very rude names if we even question it.
    Conservatives used to be the party which had grassroots support. Now the clever dicks who do the counting do not need us any more. So they have dumped us. And they haven’t heard of the internet discussions and interesting thoughtful blogs like your own. Instead we get orders from on high – sheer propaganda – on Facebook.
    No wonder people (like me) are turning towards Ukip. They represent – round here – the people who feel that we have been taken for granted for far too long.

  5. The PrangWizard
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Do you think your party should prepare a Manifesto for England? Do you think there should be a Manifesto for England?

    • JoolsB
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      Don’t be silly Prang Wizard, the Tories would rather stick pins in their eyes than address the English Question and put an end to the lack of democracy and blatant discrimination against England, the one part of this Un-United Kingdom that actually votes for them, or used to!

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 26, 2014 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

        Maybe you should try to get UKIP to make a manifesto commitment to a referendum on whether we want an English Parliament. As you say there is little point suggesting it to the Tories, they are against it.

  6. Richard1
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Of course Margaret Thatcher was greatly helped by the split of the Left vote in 83 and 87. Let’s hope those people who voted for the loony left Green Party continue to do so at the General Election. Although he’s full of sanctimonious leftist drivel, I think we should also hope the LibDems replace Clegg with Farron. That way leftists might split their vote 3 ways.

    Let’s also take heart from John Major’s 1992 triumph, which was largely because Labour had an absurdly unelectable leader. Mr Miliband is clearly much more intelligent than Kinnock, but hopefully equally unelectable.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Majors triumph then was because few had yet realised what an ERM disaster, pro EU, high tax, (words left out)he was at that point. They thought he was a followers of Mrs T, not just yet another Libdumb.

      • Richard1
        Posted May 26, 2014 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        Let us remember that the UK entered the ERM under the Prime Ministership of Mrs Thatcher

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 26, 2014 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

          Let us not forget that Major was chancellor at the time and she was forced into it by the silly wets all ganging up.

          • Richard1
            Posted May 27, 2014 at 7:36 am | Permalink

            Sorry I don’t buy that. I’m a great admirer of Mrs T but she was a strong conviction PM and as PM she should either have stopped it if she thought it was wrong or resigned.

    • Hope
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Major w elected on Thatcher’s coat tails. The public realised what he was truly about and booted him out among a long list of sleaze. Clarke still thinks EU regulation is a good thing and he is in Cameron’s cabinet!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 26, 2014 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

        Exactly as are countless other pro EU, tax borrow and piss down the drain fake greenies.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted May 26, 2014 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

        Dead right! And that tells us much about Cameron’s true colours! He says he gets the message on Europe. If that is true, Clarke will be shown the door this evening before the day is out. What could be holding Cameron back?


    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      Lionheart–I hadn’t realised till watching Farron last night the depths of childish idiocy the LibDems have plumbed–and he is their Chairman, yet. He really seems to believe that he has a monopoly on what is “right” and damn the electorate who couldn’t have made it plainer that they disagree with him. If he had said that he was proud (oh so proud) of Clegg because he agreed with him that would have been one thing but he was so sure that he was all-but-Biblically “right”. Pity about the 5th place. Let’s rejoin and co-0perate with the rest of the World, as Daniel Hannan says, is a good way to put it.

      • Richard1
        Posted May 26, 2014 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        a leftward lurch by the LibDems would take some votes from Labour and could therefore be a good thing

  7. JoeSoap
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    That will be interesting to see.
    To take one snippet from one part of one policy in your blog yesterday, do you think that enforcing British landlords to enquire into the precise immigration status of all their prospective tenants under threat of prosecution means those landlords are a/ more or b/less free?
    We could go over thousands of little snippets in hundreds of areas, where the coalition has followed on from Labour in introducing laws and regulations which make us less free.
    If you want to turn the other way, I’d start thinking UKIP where their recent track record is more in line with what you’re proposing.

  8. Hope
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Shapes and Osborne added the word modern conservatives, it is toxic. It means new Labour pro spend and waste, pro EU, pro Gree quackery and pro gay marriage and anti all British values, customs and beliefs.

    Cameron must realise today there are an awful lot of fruitcakes and closet racists in the country! Despite the result, Shapps still thinks people want the Tories to remain the same to have an in out referendum in 2017 etc etc. The interviewer pointed out if that were the case why are the public not voting for Tory? May still thinks she will aim for her target on immigration which is getting larger each year and twice the number Cameron promised by cuts. Faliure to achieve any substantial reduction with the deficit as promised by May next year is a distant dream and the debt keeps growing.

    The Tory modernisers need to keep ploughing the furrow and their arrogant out of touch way. Who knows by next year the numbers of Tory members would have halved again!

  9. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    No comment about the EU election! No surprise, after all your party has come third in a national election for the first time in its history. Perhaps you would like to congratulate UKIP for topping the poll despite the concerted dirty tricks campaign much of which emanated from your party.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      Indeed and it will get worse from here on without a new compass for Cameron.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      spot on!


    • Anonymous
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      UKIP made gains BECAUSE of the dirty tricks. They weren’t even clever dirty tricks. (The Tories are not good at it and need to employ Lord Mandelson/Alastair Campbell)

      Again. I ask why aren’t the fake UKIP party’s votes (some 20K) being included in the anti-EU vote total (by either the BBC or major parties) ?

    • mick
      Posted May 28, 2014 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      How right you are Brian, but at least UKIP now know what smears and lies to look out for from the MSM in the next year on the run up to the GE, and hopefully UKIP will have there first MP next week, now that would be a massive earthquake in Westminster

  10. Gary
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Stop financialization including stop stealing savings, stop bailing out banks, stop printing money, stop giving financial fraud a free pass, stop financing housing bubbles, stop embarking on foreign wars, stop spying on us, stop patronizing us.

    Get out of the way.

    That is the real subtext of UKIP’s win imo.

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

      Forget ‘subtext’.

      The people voted overtly for less immigration and an end to EU membership.

      If the Tories want a landslide majority next year then they know the policies that they need to adopt.

  11. Lifelogic
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Cameron’s response this morning is totally pathetic. After 299+ tax increase he even claimed to have cut taxes, just how stupid does he think voters are? He still want uncontrolled EU immigration without any desire even to renegotiate it.

    A UKIP deal is the only way if he does not do one Labour will offer something on a referendum and the Tories will be destroyed. The only obstacle is Cameron total lack of credibility and his defective compass.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      Yes Cameron is delusional. He is still using his default training in how to talk (nonsense ed)and avoid the issue. Zero substance all presentation.

      • Hope
        Posted May 26, 2014 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

        I see bad news that IDS welfare reforms are in chaos and put out/ buried on the day of the election.

        What does that leave? Economy, deficit not being met debt increasing by the day. EU, well the public have a different view from Cameron. He ordered a three line whip to prevent a referendum taking place. Grammar schools not allowed to flourish, private hospital a success but Tories too ashamed to mention its success. Taxed too heavily. 1.2 million people forced into the higher tax bracket. Over 300 tax rises.

        Nothing to offer the working aspirational class.

        However, he demands we should be proud to be wasting money on overseas aid for Etheopia to sponsor girl bands, water park in Morocco, £1 billion on the dictator of Belarus to use against dissidents? Public services crumbling under the demand of mass immigration? Build on every piece of green land?Providing free housing to the rest of the world? Build HS2 to waste £80 billion and hide a report that criticises it while roads cannot cope or authorities cannot fund to repair potholes?

        • Iain Gill
          Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:23 am | Permalink

          I did tell John that universal credit was in serious trouble as a project, and that either IDS was lying or he was being lied to. The exchanges will all be on this site somewhere if anyone cares to look. How they can misrepresent a project status so badly in this day and age is a disgrace.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      A deal between UKIP and the Tories with Cameron in place is firstly worthless based on the rust on his cast-iron record, and secondly impossible because there would need to be so much in any such deal to make it worth doing from a UKIP viewpoint. I don’t think it’s going to happen. There might be a few individuals who are willing to run on a joint ticket, but clearly our host isn’t one.

      UKIP has a fair wind behind it- why not go for broke?

      Reply Neither Mr Farage nor Mr Cameron want or can deliver joint ticket candidates. I am just explaining realities again to people who always wish to ignore them

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 26, 2014 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        Our host has no need to contemplate a joint ticket, his majority is enough to protect him from whatever UKIP might try to do to him!

      • Hope
        Posted May 26, 2014 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        Strangely Cameron was quick to say he did not want a deal with UKIP! He did not answer the same question with the Lib Dems. You might call he called himself a liberal conservative. I presume the emphasis on liberal.

        Did he not do deal with the ulster unionists, not challenging for the same seat? If so is his and other ministers claims about not adding a deal another lie?

        We already know he does deals with other parties that is how he is in coalition. Did he not think we would notice this little fib?

      • JoeSoap
        Posted May 26, 2014 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        With all due respect your version of reality 6 months ago was that Cameron and Osborne didn’t think UKIP were worth worrying about. How’s that coming along these days?

        The world is an ever changing place. Fortunately we are not all held in aspic.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 26, 2014 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

        To reply: then Labour it is just a tiny bit worse than ratter Cameron. Far better though than watching Cameron rat a second time.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted May 26, 2014 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply:

        Best to vote for the real thing then John, not some pale pink Tory substitute.

        Remember, this is all of the Tories own doing. You have nobody else to blame but yourselves for watering down the party’s principles and going down the road of Euro-federalism. To alienate a once loyal support base is just madness by any measure, and will ultimately lead to disaster.

        If a captain of a ship cannot steer it properly, you get somebody who can, not keep sailing on regardless and keep believing his assurances to the contrary. Sooner or later, the ship passes the point of no return and hits the rocks. Throw Cameron over the side, but whatever you do, don’t give him a lifebelt!


      • Richard1
        Posted May 26, 2014 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        Given the well expressed views of John Redwood on the EU issues and the referendum only a fool would vote UKIP in Wokingham, so there is no need for any pact. Maybe its different for marginal constituencies.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted May 27, 2014 at 9:48 am | Permalink

          “… only a fool would vote UKIP in Wokingham … ”

          Not really, because JR got 53% of the votes in May 2010 and the leftish anti-Tory vote is divided:


          John Redwood Conservative 28,754
          Prue Bray Liberal Democrat 15,262
          George Davidson Labour 5,516

          On present showing Labour and the Liberal Democrats will swap places at the next election, but there will still be plenty of room for UKIP to improve on the 1,664 votes it got last time before that will pose any threat.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted May 26, 2014 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

        The Conservatives should not stand in Doncaster, Morley and Outwood, Sunderland, etc… just let UKIP win. The better of the possible options.

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted May 26, 2014 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply: Is the current reality that Cameron cannot deliver a joint ticket whereas Farage does have that flexibility if the Tories ditch their leader?

  12. Tony E
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    The lesson of the Thatcher years is that you have to be fortunate in your opponents – not that split parties cannot be elected – Labour were as terrible as Mrs T was good.

    But the real question, what can Conservatives do to attract new votes as well as keep old ones? Well the main thing is to promise a huge repeal of most of the social legislation that interferes in people’s lives, while offering a real Liberal economic ticket of simpler taxes and lower regulatory barriers to trade.

    It could also go back over the EU regulation that we have spent decades gold plating, and relax it back to the level that the French tend to exercise. Also, only enforce what our partners tend to enforce – we have the most effective EU enforcement in the whole Union. Work to the lowest denominator in EU issues, not the highest.

    In short, take your foot off our windpipe.

  13. JoolsB
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 9:08 am | Permalink


    The only chance the Tories have got of winning an outright majority is to address
    the English Question and the governance of England, something they have disgracefully refused to do and will come to bitterly regret when England is handed over to Miliband in 2015 whether she votes for them or not.

    The Tories’ only chance is a pact with UKIP, something your leader refuses to countenance because he ‘doesn’t do deals’ whilst conveniently forgetting he couldn’t get into bed fast enough with the duplicitous Lib Dums in 2010. Not that UKIP would entertain a pact with Liberal Dave anyway.

    The Tories under Cameron have continually stuck two fingers up at their core voters, they’ve disgracefully chosen to ignore the democratic deficit and blatant discrimination which exists in England and now they are arrogantly refusing to countenance the idea of forming an alliance with a real Conservative party, their only chance of hanging onto the keys to Downing Street.

    Clueless springs to mind. The Tories had their chance and they blew it.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      They blew it when they elected a pro EU, green crap, fake equality, tax borrow and waste, (words left out)as Tory leader.

      • Hope
        Posted May 26, 2014 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        This after a campaign of insults to UKIP and their supporters. The same is true with the MSM, some journalists should be collecting their P45s and the BBC should be investigated for institutionalised extreme left wing views contrary to the legal duty placed upon it by the Royal Charter.

        Now Cameron has introduced state press regulation what next, state sponsorship of select political parties? A bit like the left wing BBC. Making life difficult for political opponents through raiding their bank accounts by HMRC? Not farcical when we look at what went on with the IRS in the US under Obama. These two pieces of legislation need to be changed ASAP.

      • stred
        Posted May 28, 2014 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

        ‘Words left out’ is a wonderful device. It allows us to think of worse words in our heads with no fear of prosecution.

  14. oldtimer
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    After last night`s results the Conservative party certainly needs a rethink of what it is about and what it is for. Labels such as “post moderniser” will not do the job for you. They might mean, or come to mean, something inside the Westminster bubble but will cause eyes to glaze over outside it. I see that Edward Leigh has posted his views including the view that “modernisation” has failed. He seemed to have some sensible ideas.

    • outsider
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Agreed Oldtimer. Mr Redwood’s party might ask itself the question: is there any reason why a hospital porter should vote Conservative?

  15. JA
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    The Tory party cannot win an outright majority by appealing only to its core voters because the EU melting pot has been so effective at homogenizing the people:

    A) Core Tory voters are being out-bred and out immigrated

    B) Core Tory voters (being independent people able to stand on their own two feet) will form the largest part of those emigrating

    Both of these things can be slowed down if only the will were there. Control of immigration and a more traditionalist – less modernist – Tory party meaning that Tory voters won’t want to take flight from the UK.

    The focus on winning elections (whatever the cost) is what has got us in this mess. With one obvious exception we no longer have politicians prepared to stand or fall on their own core beliefs.

    Instead we get compromise and centrist politics and real choice denied.

    If things have changed so much then perhaps you could change the name of the Conservative party – you have changed much and tribal voting is yet another thing which newcomers like UKIP are up against.

    (Did you see Nick Robinson on TV last night ? Bug-eyed with incredulity over UKIP wins ? Isn’t this man meant to be impartial ???)

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Nick Robinson has come out with a load of complete drivel for years.

      • Hope
        Posted May 26, 2014 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

        The Reform Party came from a split in the Conservative party in Canada and Steve Harper is now in charge and has been since 2006. He started with one representative and rose from there to govern the country. The UK Tory party could make similar changes with the help of UKIP.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Yes Nick Robinson was like a NASA controller when Apollo 13 had the explosion, looked like he was operating completely outside where his world view thought it was possible to be

      Any of the BBC journalists been sacked or arrested for tweets which broke electoral law?

    • JoeSoap
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Rather like the female BBC broadcaster who seemed to have a face on her like somebody in the studio had just passed away, when the local council election results were being announced last week.

    • Cliff. Wokingham.
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      Spot on!

      The fundamental problem, is that the main parties all use similar market research companies to find out what people want. These companies come up with the same answers and present them to the party leaders. The leaders then try to appeal to these mysterious people who may or may not be interested in politics and may or may not vote…….It is akin to insurance companies and banks doing special deals for new customers only…..All of the main parties ignored their core voters in order to court those people the market research companies told them about and sadly, as the parties found out, many of the “new customers” don’t bother to vote and their long suffering core voters just go elsewhere, viz UKIP.

      The other thing that struck me was how Mr Robinson et al effectively ignored and belittled the democratic votes of various foreign citizens; I am thinking in particular about France. I may not like the French NF but, in a democracy, if that party wins, they win although, I do understand, regarding the EU and the left in general, that you only have democracy whilst you agree with the EU’s or leftie choice of approved parties and candidates.

      If Messers Clegg, Cameron and Milliband had any sense of decency, they would resign and allow their parties to have a good clear-out. You never know, I might feel inclined to back the Conservative Party again with Mr Cameron and his glove puppets gone because, after all, I am a lifelong Conservative supporter, who currently feels there is no Conservative Party for me to back under Mr Cameron.

      Something else I found odd; Candidates at our polling station here in Wokingham, told me that sixteen percent of people applied for a postal vote…..What is your opinion John? Do large numbers of postal votes help or hinder our democracy?
      I also noticed that the polling officers were filling out a form which listed a voters electoral roll number with their ballot paper serial number. Is this a good thing, especially in light of the recent WBC data scandal?

      I was surprised to see Mr Milliband eating a bacon butty; can you buy Kosher bacon now? 🙂

      • JA
        Posted May 26, 2014 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        The extremist BNP option has been open to us for decades.

        Despite being the most crowded European country we have never resorted to that option – we have never been thanked nor praised for not using it.

        The Continentals are respected by our own political/media class for their sophistry. We are ‘bigoted Little Englanders’. Our politician of choice (in truth a moderate) is smeared as a racist.

        It is those in Parliament who are the racists… against the English.

        • Iain Gill
          Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:26 am | Permalink

          It is certainly true that there is a lot of anti white working class discrimination in this society, mostly endorsed by the chattering classes who would be horrified if similar discrimination was taking place against any other section of society.

      • APL
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        Cliff. Wokingham.: “I might feel inclined to back the Conservative Party again with Mr Cameron and his glove puppets gone ”

        They can take Ken Clarke with them! (Why is he still getting a ministerial salary for doing nothing? )

      • stred
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:14 am | Permalink

        Mr Milliband (words left out ed)Whether he is Jewish is irrelevant. What is relevant is the fact that, although having studying physics, he cannot understand that generating much of our electricity by building windmills in the sea and burning American trees is going to put bills up and will not even save much CO2 or stop any global warming. Or that imposing price controls will stop investment in generation. And that rent control and long tenancy agreements will wreck the private rented sector, as it did when Labour imposed these before.

        When this all goes wrong for him in 5 years time, the opposition will be able to point to his actions as Minister for DECC. This may be during a house price crash, as over mortgaged landlords are forced to sell their investments. Any ‘conservatives’ like G.Barker or Lib Dems like Davey will hardly be able to hide their involvement in the shambles. Some Tories and UKIP will have a clean record.

  16. James Sutherland
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    I’d agree with that plan, for one. I have suspected for a while that David Cameron was trying to be the Conservative Party’s Tony Blair, in something of a “cargo cult” fashion – he saw that ditching Clause Four alienated the older far-left wing of the Labour party to some extent, but the resulting, more moderate party was finally palatable to enough of the electorate to win an election where the likes of Kinnock had failed.

    The problem, of course, is that there was no Conservative equivalent to Clause Four in the first place. Anyone who knew the BT or BR of old would have been mad to vote for a party wanting to revert to that setup – but where where the voters afraid Conservatives weren’t green enough or generous enough with foreign aid? Mostly in Mr Cameron’s imagination, I suspect.

    I’d love to see – and vote for – a manifesto on personal freedom (and responsibility), but could that ever be delivered with the almost literal Nanny State agenda of MPs like Claire Perry around?

  17. JA
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    It’s interesting that the one party which wore its Europhilia openly got dumped into 5th place.

    How tragic, then, that the electorate are being dragged in a direction they don’t want to go by the main parties. For this reason I do hope that Europhile Conservative MPs will do the decent thing and wear their EU badges proudly so voters know what they are getting and cannot put federalists into Parliament by mistake.

    BTW. Mr Cameron still doesn’t ‘get it’. Otherwise he’d be making a wholehearted apology to us.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      “It’s interesting that the one party which wore its Europhilia openly got dumped into 5th place.”

      Well, they did better than the Pro Euro Conservative Party in 1999, which only got 1.4% of the votes, slightly less than the An Independence From Europe spoiler party got this time:


      But their 1.5% was enough to deprive UKIP of one or two seats, on paper; except that it can’t be assumed that all those who put a cross against that spoiler party were muddled and meant to vote for UKIP, some of them may have deliberately decided not to vote for UKIP but instead for the new alternative.

      Meanwhile Nigel Farage claims that the Electoral Commission is “not fit for purpose”, but of course that all depends on what its purpose it taken to be.

  18. Steve Cox
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Rather than debating the case for modernising the party, which has been done to death many times, it might be more apposite given the recent election results to discuss the possibilities for forming a coalition with UKIP. Lord Ashcroft’s now famous poll seems to tell us clearly enough that that’s the only way the Conservatives are going to remain in government come next May 7. I actually think there’s a strong case for de-modernising the party in this way and getting back to Thatcherite principles, which after all is to a large extent what UKIP is offering and the modernised Conservatives have rejected.

    My own view is that on basic principles and beliefs there’s not that much separating the bulk of the Conservative party from many UKIP supporters. Certainly there’ll be rabid pro-Europeans like Ken Clarke who will be disgusted by the idea, and there will be ex-Labour UKIP supporters who will not wish to be part of an overtly right of centre alliance, but the gain in numbers from uniting the cores of the two parties will far outweigh these effects. The big barrier to an alliance lies in Mr Cameron himself. If he had been less puerile and hubristic and more diplomatic about Farage and UKIP a few years back then an alliance might be quiet easy to set up, but with him in charge I just don’t see it happening. A shame really, because it means that we will be stuck with Red Ed in No. 10 for five long years of socialist experimentation just because of Mr. Cameron’s petulance and refusal to eat humble pie and apologise to Mr. Farage and his many supporters who were deeply insulted by Mr. Cameron’s ill-advised jibes.

    One last point – we all know that the legislative programme is over and that, unforeseen crises apart, Parliament will be sitting on its collective hands for the next 11 months. There’s talk of Mr. Cameron giving Clegg some ‘wins’ in the coming Queen’s speech as a way of placating his party after their dreadful performance. This would be deeply offensive to many people, so why doesn’t the party tear up the coalition agreement and rule as a minority government for the last year of office? The only reason I can see is that Cameron has formed a deep and real bond with Clegg, in spite of all his protestation to the contrary, and that he is happily preparing for another hung Parliament and, God help us, another coalition.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      Far too late to think about a pact with UKIP, which has now extended its appeal across the political spectrum and will not risk shedding its newly gained leftish support by linking up with the Tories. At least, I hope it won’t, because it needs to be a broadly based patriotic party not a splinter from the Tories.

    • Hope
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      No, I think Labour will win in 2015. As the libLabCon cartel only want to implement EU law, policy and regulation, it does make a real difference. They can only act within the parameters of the EU. With UKIP making huge strides 2020 is the aim for real change.

    • stred
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      The problem with a UKIP/Conservative deal is mainly that the ex Conservative and Labour voters are mainly skilled trade, professional and SME business people who loathe the current government. They observe that the Tories are a liberal, pro EU, ex-public school bunch of PR boys and will not vote for them again under any circumstances, having been kicked in the teeth so many times and lied to.

      The better solution would be for the 50 MPs, who see extinction for the fag end of the Conservative Party, to desert, join UKIP and then fight their own seats. Few Cameron approved replacements would stand a chance.

      Cameron and his few Libdum friends would be up the creek for the final year. Then the electorate would have a genuine choice and debate.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

      Five years of socialist torture under Red Ed and having our wallets experimented on without anaesthetic is a sobering prospect.

      • William Long
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 8:35 am | Permalink

        I do not think it would be much worse than what would be on offer from Osborne; he thinks people get a kick from paying higher rate tax.

  19. Javelin
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    I’dike to repeat two comments I have made over the past 5 years

    First the EU is a democratic fortress. It is very difficult to oust a party.

    Second the paradox theory of change means that the EU by trying to stop disharmony will cause it.

    Third I can see the anti EU nationalists taking over the EU within 10 years and their being disharmony within the EU

    • JA
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      Javelin – Bear in mind that the latest reject will be given a safe sinecure somewhere in the EU, along with all the other rejects.

    • Chris
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      • Indeed Javelin. It is the question of sovereignty that is the key issue for so many of us. You are right – the 3 main parties have supported (and hidden, I believe)the very considerable loss of sovereignty that has already taken place, and the government is not being open with the people about the huge changes which take effect in November 2014. Those should have been put to a referendum as they in fact represent large scale transfers of power to Brussels as well as the relentless tightening of the existing grip of the EU.
      Cameron’s efforts at the EU table tonight will be of little impact. Those who suggest otherwise do not understand the nature of the European project and its founding principles. Those are not going to change fundamentally whatever Conservative MPs in the UK claim. There may be tweaking round the edges, but any major change would have to involve treaty change and there is not the necessary time to effect that before 2017. There are many procedures to follow including a Convention, an intergovernmental conferences and much more. The speed with which the EU operates is usually painfully slow, and would be even slower if a swift resolution might lead to splitting up of the EU. There would be the inevitable kicking of the can down the road and EU fudges, with claims that treaty changes weren’t really necessary and so on. This is not what those following UKIP want, nor will they tolerate it, I suspect. Invoking Article 50 is the only way forward and sooner rather than later.
      Let no man be fooled by the option of Associate Membership, an option for the UK proposed by the influential Spinelli group in their draft for the new EU treaty. It would still tie us in with the outdated and financially failing EU behemoth, subject to fallout from all the legislation associated with ever closer integration, and still required to contribute ever growing sums to the bottomless pit in order to help finance the grand integration project. No, that is not freedom, and furthermore it would necessarily entail even further loss of sovereignty.

    • Chris
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      I have tried to post a comment about the loss of sovereignty, which I consider to be so important, and the significance of the decision to transfer even more powers to Brussels without the electorate having any idea – takes effect beginning of November 2014. Hopefully my comment will be posted because this further loss of sovereignty should be out in the open – there is too much hidden from the electorate already.

  20. Alan Wheatley
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    I think we are living in a country that for a long time has becoming ever more prescriptive: we are told what we can and can not do, often by people who clearly understand less about the issues than we do ourselves. This approach is in marked contrast to creating an “environment” where conditions are favourable for individuals, groups and businesses to make there own choices as to how to progress and improve.

    This prescriptive political approach has been accompanied by reacting against people who do exploit the freedoms that are available to them but produce outcomes are not what the proscribers wanted, as exemplified legislation to stop aggressive tax avoidance. Surely a prominent example of an admission of incompetent government.

    So I welcome a manifesto for freedom.

    To be successful, I can think of two challenges where a freedom manifesto has to persuade the electors.

    Firstly, timescale. Providing the freedom does not of itself produce an improved outcome. There will be a delay while people exploit the freedom following which outcomes will improve.

    Secondly, inequality of outcome. Freedom can result in failures as well as successes. Have we erred too far into a mindset where people must not be allowed to fail? Or, indeed, not allowed to be too successful.

    So, a vote for freedom is a vote for for a concept. That could be too intangible for those comfortable with the prescriptive way of life. But it gets my vote.

    • formula57
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      Indeed a manifesto for freedom would be most welcome for the ways in which we are constrained are legion.

      Society is broken and the economy is broken and so the task is enormous.

      As luck would have it, there is hope from words written a long time ago: –

      ““Do you wish to know when that day is coming? Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion – when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing – when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you – when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming self-sacrifice – you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that it does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot.”
      –Ayn Rand
Atlas Shrugged, p. 385 (1957)

  21. Max Dunbar
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    ‘I think the Conservatives should offer a freedom coalition’.
    Is that code for doing a deal with UKIP? You need to give Cameron the chop asap. He can’t learn and won’t learn. Too arrogant.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

      Watched Heseltine interview by Paxman on Newsnight a short time ago.

      If ever a more effective recruiting sergeant were required for UKIP he must win the job hands down. What damage he is doing to your Party. The tone was one of an out-of-touch patrician who seems to have absolutely no insight or sense of awareness whatsoever. To be singing the praises of mass immigration whilst shedding crocodile tears for people who are struggling to live on a fraction of the wealth that he clearly has, and from what appeared to be a large and sumptuously furnished country mansion surrounded by parkland was breathtaking.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 9:03 am | Permalink

        And having done so much damage when he was an elected legislator he is now an unelected legislator-for-life. If Wharton’s Bill is reintroduced and passed by the Commons for a second time – which would need Labour and the Liberal Democrats to allow it to pass for a second time – then it will be down to people like him to decide whether to let it pass through the Lords or to make it necessary for the Tory party to try to invoke the Parliament Acts and by-pass the Lords, assuming that the Speaker would issue the necessary certificate.

  22. Lifelogic
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    So what are today’s equivalents?

    Personal freedoms, civil liberties, freedom of choice in public services (where they need to be public at all), cheap non green religious energy, get out of the EU & move to free trade and have cooperation only, abandon the absurd enforced PC equality agenda, sort out the institutionally biased, evil and bloated (and tax avoiding through service companies) BBC, abandon the Climate change act, lower taxes, piss far less taxes down the drain on green drivel, HS2, misguided overseas aid, bloated incompetent government and damaging pointless wars ……

    In short get Libdumb Cameron to turn round on every single issue. Oh and do not call 27.5% of the electorate “Fruit Cakes and Closet Racists” or morally repugnant, do not claim to have cut taxes when you have done the complete opposite 299+ times, do not reject a Greater Switzerland as they are far better off and more democratic than the UK, get rid of your silly “Heart and Soul” and look at the numbers and use some intelligence and brain instead for once. Not your hugely misguided “Gut feelings” that lost you the last election.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Back in December 2013 the Prime Minister said that delivering Conservative ambitions of tax cuts for higher-income households would have to wait until the deficit was “dealt with”. Only when the public finances are in surplus will ministers be able to cut taxes on the middle class, Mr Cameron said. A married couples’ allowance to the better-off would be a top priority when the money was available, he indicated. Despite proclaiming himself to be an instinctive tax-cutter, Mr Cameron said that delivering sound public finances was more important, insisting that balancing the budget was the “first duty” of government. On current Treasury plans, the deficit will not be eliminated until 2018 at the earliest, and George Osborne will tell MPs in the Autumn Statement on Thursday that several more years of austerity lie ahead.

      But he is still just pissing money down the drain hand over fist! An instinctive tax cutter? An instinctive Libdumb pro EU looser more like.

      • Hope
        Posted May 26, 2014 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

        He has nothing to offer the aspirational workers, savers, pensioners or those who take personal responsibility of their lives. He has demonstrated in four years that he has nothing to offer natural conservative thinking people. On the social front he is an absolute disgrace. Legally forcing people not to wear crosses in the work place while content for burkas, turbans and niqabs. Forcing gay marriage without a mandate and ignoring over 600,000 who petitioned. (Words left out)Getting unnecessarily involved in Middle East wars.

        • Narrow shoulders
          Posted May 27, 2014 at 7:25 am | Permalink

          Re Married couples allowance.

          A dual earning couple on £25K each are £4, 000 per year better off than a couple with a single earner grossing £ 50K. That is tantamount to stealng by the treasury and certainly not ‘all in it together’.

          The single earner on £50K is further deemed sufficiently wealthy to start losing child benefit (originally introduced to mitigate the taxation on earnings spent to raise the next generation of tax payers) but the dual income earners on median wages are not.

          Fair? Spin!

  23. Bert Young
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    There are so many things to say this morning in the wake of the election news . Firstly I agree that the Conservatives have to reach out for more support because it is very clear they cannot win on their present standing . The obvious way to get the most reliable support is to re-gain the lost votes to UKIP . The PR ” claptrap ” I have just read from Cameron will do nothing but harden the feeling against him ; he has admitted that he will vote to stay ” In ” and he will not allow his Cabinet to take or state alternative views . The upshot of not going for a referendum before 2017 is there will not be one ! – Labour will win . The most sensible decision is to have a referendum at the time of the General Election going to bat with a deal with UKIP – this would be a sure winner . Of course the likelihood of this happening with Cameron at the helm is zilch ; the Conservatives must elect another leader who will do such a deal and not put their faith in the electorate taking fright of a possible Labour win . Your wish for a ” freedom ” coalition is another way of saying that the Party Whip is a restraint on political liberty ; Cameron will use all his remaining threat condition to prevent this – he will put the cloak out on the need for Party unity . Ignoring the evidence of the way the public feels and has voted is the very worst case of his ego ; it is not just him , the public have had enough of the entire political establishment and want change . The EU equally has to absorb the message that has been declared and redesign its course ; the Commission is not democratic and its supporting bureaucracy is wasteful and , mostly , unnecessary . The design must concentrate on its original intention of a Common Market and drop altogether its efforts of creating a Nation State .

    • JA
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      Cameron is a leader who would sooner hand the Labour party victory than give his core voters what they want.

  24. Gary
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    A big factor in this seismic shift, is that for the first time in human history control of the message has been lost. For the first time people can see behind the curtain of power.The mainstream media is flummoxed, the politicians are naked,blinking in the glare.

    From around the paleolithic campfire, where the storyteller controlled the story that remained localized, to the publisher that controlled the print, to the conglomerates that owned the broadcast spectrum, the message has been controlled by the powerful for their own agenda. The message has escaped into the peer to peer wild. Nobody controls it, everyone can be heard. That is the change that never ever happened before.

    The genie is out. The world is going to be turned upside down, the previous relevant will become irrelevant and they are going out kicking and screaming.

    Cest la vie !

    • oldtimer
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      Well put…

      …but it also required a politician (Farage) with a clear and true message (the UK has lost control of its borders) that convinced those of the electorate who bothered listen to vote for his party.

      We must expect the political class, the EUrocracy and their apparatchiks to try to smother these results with their taxpayer funded propaganda machine and carry on regardless. Their initial public reactions suggest nothing less.

    • Martyn G
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      I’d like to think you are right, but being old and cynical I fear that instead of going out kicking and screaming ‘they’ will try to put the genie back in the bottle with a series on increasingly draconian lock-downs and further loss of our freedoms.
      As to the ‘people power’ of the internet, don’t forget that Mr C and Parliament concerning the gay marriage bill simply ignored the 600,000 signatures of people registering their objection to his proposal (other than calling them offensive and unprovable names).

    • stred
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

      They are seeking to contrrol the message. Keep fingers crossed.

  25. Neil Craig
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    The central issue, during peacetime is almost always “its the economy stupid”. With the LabCons boasting that they might, with luck and fair wind, get half the AVERAGE growth rate of the non-EU world’s 5-6% there is obviously a chance for whoever tries to win.

    I believe that the free market energy proposals of Roger Helmer (formerly a Tory but without honour in that land) would, on their own, guarantee at least that average.

    John, I believe that your economic understanding could likewise serve the country far better in UKIP than in your current party – certainly if it keeps Cameron as leader and remains committed to its present Luddite anti-enterprise policies.

  26. majorfrustration
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Its not just about immigration and benefits but about the silly things that Government/ MPs appear to allow and which incense the voters – why is it not possible to repatriate so many foreign criminals why is it that our justice system is made to look stupid

    • JoeSoap
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      That’s all to do with the Libdem influence, according to the Home Secretary. The problem is Cameron’ s failure to capitalise with UKIP-type policies in 2010 led to him losing the last election, after which the Tories shot themselves in the foot by going into coalition. To try to lay the blame elsewhere is disingenuous (in the extreme) of May, and chickens are now flocking back to roost.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 26, 2014 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

        A critical failure occurred in October 2007, when Cameron let himself be pressured into retreating from his unqualified “cast-iron guarantee” of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. He had a chance to correct that error in June 2008 when the Irish had voted against it, but chose not to do so.

  27. Bill
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    I am happy with the classic J S Mill formulation of liberalism as giving freedom to individuals up until the limit when one person’s freedom threatens another’s. What concerns me, as a natural conservative, is that some freedoms only show their threatening nature after a while. Thus if your agenda argues for freedom to take hard drugs because such behaviour is no threat to others, I would find that difficult to accept. In the end drug-taking, which may seem a private matter, impinges on social behaviour.

  28. Tad Davison
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Well I regard myself as a natural conservative, but I wouldn’t even entertain the idea of returning to the Tory fold with all the duplicitous pro-EU Heathites like Cameron at the head of the party. There’s no point.

    It’s a bit like a divorce from an errant marriage partner. I tried for years to salvage my relationship with the Tories. I tried to urge them to see sense. I tried to get them to accept that to adopt a pro-EU agenda was to go against the views and the wishes of the many, and that such a direction would ultimately end in rejection and failure, but they didn’t listen. Instead, they cynically gave the impression they were ‘true blue’ and batting for Britain, but all the time, they were double-dealing under the table, and espousing policies which held no attraction for me.

    Eventually, and despite putting a lot of time, money, and effort into trying to get them elected, I called time on the Tories. I now have a new partner, and one that answers my needs, chiefly, to be out of a political project that is damaging and detrimental to my country.

    Why should I want to go back to something that failed me, especially in such an underhanded way?

    To use this fitting analogy, a fool returns to his folly like a dog to it’s vomit, and the Heathite Tories who predominate make me want to puke!

    I ain’t going there, and I venture a lot of other people feel the same way.

    Tad Davison


    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      Indeed Cameron still does not seem to get it at all. I assume he is too busy trying to find a one legged, lefty greencrap, pro EU, high tax, big government, arts graduate, a lefty, Cameron think, female version of Lord Patten to Chair the BBC trustees.

  29. Anonymous
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    In order to win elections the Tory party must not just appeal to its core vote. How sad.

    I suppose it must appeal to a wider socio/racial demographic. Such as in some London wards which seem to need a UN observer presence ? Is it democracy for one people and a special type for another ? (In which case let’s give up the pretence of democracy now)

    Is it the case that millions of core Tory supporters are not allowed to have a core Tory party ?

    What price we have paid for EU membership !

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      As with lady Thatcher the people will vote for what actually works when they see it.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:12 am | Permalink

      ‘Is it the case that millions of core Tory supporters are not allowed to have a core Tory party?’
      Yes, it would appear to be that way in the Scottish Socialist Republic’s list of approved ‘permitted participants’.
      Outrage from SNP at the Scottish electorate’s choice to lob a Farage Cocktail into the smug and complacent ranks of consensus socialists here. They also seem to forget that outside contenders are up against four main parties here and not just three.

  30. cosmic
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    I believe the Conservatives are a toxic brand in much of the country, particularly in Scotland, and there’s nothing much you can do with a toxic brand by way of face lifts and relaunches.

    Cameron did have a difficult problem to widen the appeal but he seems to have alienated a lot of core support in the attempt to court folk who were never ever going to vote Conservative anyway. He certainly didn’t manage to create a message of the right which was of wide appeal.

    Tim Montgomerie discusses this in his Con Home article today

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 8:48 pm | Permalink


      An interesting thought-provoking post. I agree the Conservatives are a toxic brand. But Labour discovered after the turbulent days of Callaghan, Foot, and Kinnock, that the attachment of the word ‘New’ in the Blair years did much to disassociate the party from their past failures, and could and did indeed work. And with John Major’s considerable help, it got them elected with a landslide.

      As I see it, the main difference between Blair and Cameron, is that one could charm the people, but the other simply repels them. Both however, have turned out to be just as dangerous. Both have a penchant for foreign wars, both seem to want to fall over backwards to be the lapdog of the US, and both seem to want to ignore their core support whom they arrogantly took for granted.

      I very much doubt a re-branding of the Tory name will placate many people. They could purge themselves of all the lefties in Tory clothing, but we’ve been conned before. Major said he wanted to get back to basics, which a lot of us took to mean he would ditch all the pro-EU federalists, but beware of Tory ambiguities!

      I learned the painful lesson never to interpret vagaries in my own way, just as with their famous quote, ‘We will not let matters rest there’ with reference to the Lisbon Treaty. I thought the Tories would move Heaven and Earth to scrap it, but we now know it was just so much hot air, designed to con the very people like me who supported them.

      The whole Tory edifice is now so tainted and corrupt, they might have to pull it down and totally re-build it from the ground up. That way, they might even get a better calibre of personnel in future who puts the people before their careers. They might also wish to invest in large quantities of disinfectant to get rid of the slime trails a lot of their MPs have left behind them – too numerous to mention, but I would dearly love to!


      • cosmic
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:27 pm | Permalink


        This Nu thing has been done with Nu Labour and I can’t see it being applied effectively to a political party in the UK again for a long time to come.

        Secondly, Blair was a genius in his way (as was Mandelson in the background) and I doubt they could have pulled it off with a lesser pair. Labour has also a much more uncritical following.

        Cameron’s made some absolutely stupid errors, such as the fruitcakes jibe. A wiser man might have realised that a lot of his supporters had a lot of sympathy for UKIP; they might regard them as a bit old-fashioned, or too wrapped up with the EU or lacking the critical mass to make them worth voting for, but by insulting UKIP, Cameron was insulting them.

        I’m inclined to agree with you that the Tory party has to go and be rebuilt. Certainly their entirely duplicitous line on the EU, pretending to want all sorts of impossible reforms, but in their actions being clearly federalist, is a sticking plaster put over a huge crack and one which is clearly rotten.

        There and again, I’ve come to think that political parties are way that the will of power is presented to the people, rather than the way the people present their will to power.

  31. Terry
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Mrs T won the 3 elections because she recognised and sympathised with the aspirations of so many true Brits. Alas, the existing leadership have no such connection.
    Unfortunately, she allowed her success to go to her head and adopted a god-like approach to her decisions. She knew best at everything. (Regretfully, Mr Cameron started where Mrs T left off.)

    At least that is my perception of her, during the final months of her leadership. Only those with direct dealings know the truth.
    It was so unfortunate, perhaps bad judgement that she had surrounded herself with too many Europhiles who were to stab her in the back and bring her term of office to an ignominious end.
    It was an appalling disgrace to see and hear the dirty laundry being hung out on the floor of the HoC by such a vindictive, ungentlemanly person that his actions reverberated across the country and became the sad turning point for the party. The final straw of course was the ERM debacle.

    I appreciate your style of “moderniser”, John but I confess when I hear that phrase, a chill goes down my spine because that was one of Blair’s favourite spin/buzz words. His style of ‘modernisation’ did so much damage to us, much the same as his vacuous “Education x 3” and I would not want a recurrence.

    I’m sure you shall do quite the opposite and return the country to its roots. The citizens. Good luck with your task.

  32. Iain Gill
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Yes freedom absolutely. So folk should not be getting a list of three schools to choose from of which two will reject their child anyways on supposed religious grounds (often just cliques protecting the school for their own clique in practise). Folk instead should have buying power they can take anywhere.
    Folk should be able to choose any GP anytime anywhere. Let the money follow the patient consultations not the patient registrations. Patients should have state medical insurance where they can sue if they don’t get the pay-outs they are entitled to, and let them take those pay-outs anywhere.
    Folk should be able to take any housing subsidy they get anywhere, and remove subsidy from social housing so that queues and waiting lists are removed.
    Freedom from nonsense anti-car agenda pushed by the public sector, all these cameras are a nonsense, TFL sponsoring twitter to tell us all that we should slow down is a sheer waste of public money, look at policies of abd.org.uk a lot make sense.
    Other pressure groups do have a point too, “fathers for justice” are correct that fathers get a raw deal currently, why not adopt some of their suggestions? A royal commission to look at the subject headed by Bob Geldof seems a genuinely good idea to me, what are the liberal elite scared of?
    Immigration needs fixing big time too, don’t forget! It’s just not acceptable to pretend the status quo or anything like it is going to be acceptable.
    I think there could be a lot of simplification. So tax and benefits could be simplified easily, it’s far too complex, drop the cost of admin and make it simple. The equality rules are far too complex, just make it illegal to discriminate on anything but merit and bring back under your wing the white working class who suffer most discrimination at the moment.
    We need to recognise that the quality of the political elite needs to improve. It’s no longer sustainable for them to study politics at college, work as a political researcher, stand for election, become MP’s, and end up a senior minister having never had a proper job. There needs to be a review of the PPE degree syllabus. There needs to parties prepared to tell prospective candidates that they need to go work in the real world for a number of years, at least 5, before they will be considered as candidates.
    Good luck

  33. outsider
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood, I wish luck in this enterprise.
    I hope you will bear in mind, however, that to expand the long-term Conservative vote significantly, your freedom manifesto would need to appeal to such large groups as smokers, social conservatives (a group that embraces most immigrants) and city dwellers living on on slightly below average incomes incomes rather than just the self-employed and speculators.
    Your party was once the party of teachers and civil servants as well as the party of British business. You are now seen, rightly or wrongly, as the party of City finance and the enemy of the public sector. Becoming a national party again would be quite a post-modernist trick.
    I was a great fan of your idea of a mass share-owning democracy but, after initial success, it has proved a complete failure and that whole area needs to be rethought.

  34. They Work for Us?
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Most of our politicians don’t see themselves as temporary employees of the electorate.
    We need a simple hire and fire policy outside elections for politicians. The proper right of recall and deselection followed by a by election is the necessary answer.
    When controversial legislation is proposed, MPs should be able to tell the whips that “I dare not vote for this proposed measure my electorate won’t stand for it”- my job is at stake.
    On immigration many believe the country is “full up” and no further immigration is justifiable because we don’t want a country where, wherever you go you will be shoulder to shoulder with someone else and will be sharing and queuing for facilities. We also don’t want any further erosion of our “way of life or of doing things”. We are tired of imposed change for no good reason other than it reflects the view of a liberal so called elite. The liblabcon. Restore the concept of “landing” deeming anyone we do not wish to enter not to have landed.

    Net immigration is a red herring because it does not reflect the impact on our culture and way of of life.

    We need much less government because it is expensive, inefficient and dabbles in areas where there is no need for it to be involved at all. You could say “Please get out of our hair and do as you are told (by your electors).

    • JA
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      “Net immigration is a red herring because it does not reflect the impact on our culture and way of of life.”

      Another one of the great Tory deceits, along with “We will control immigration from *outside the EU*”

      Jeez. The more I think about it. As each day goes by – I am sooo not Tory anymore.

      I will not vote for a man I don’t trust and whom I don’t like.

      He goes on about Farage’s ‘man in the pub’ act being fake. Attacking Mr Farage really isn’t the smart thing to do at the moment.

  35. Tom William
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    If the Tories are regarded as “toxic’, remember that it was our Home Secretary who first said “we are the nasty party”. She has a lot to answer for.

    If Labour were to offer a referendum in 2017 they would at a stroke destroy the argument that UKIP supporters had to vote Conservative to get an in/out referendum and would guarantee a Labour victory (given the desire of much of UKIP to kick the Tories). But Miliband won’t.

    A Freedom Coalition could start by restoring freedom of speech provided it did not advocate or incite violence. If that is too difficult then at least a private opinion/remark should never be an offence, no matter how offensive. The concept of “Hate Crime” is Orwellian and needs redefining or abolition.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      How about this – instead of having to wait until some politician offers to sell us a referendum in exchange for our votes at the next election, have a system whereby if enough people sign a petition saying they want a referendum on a certain matter then we will have that referendum as of our legal right. Now there’s an idea which should go straight into the next UKIP manifesto, I’d vote for that.

      • APL
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        Denis Cooper: “Now there’s an idea which should go straight into the next UKIP manifesto, ”

        So would I.

        The problem is we have the political class that as Adam Smith once said; “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”

        We see that with MPs and their expenses, and their pay rise that has been decided in this Parliament, but will be enacted in the next – plausable deny-ability.

        And the fact that they are now largely a self selecting class, for example; Kinnock’s son being parachuted into a safe Labour seat.

        The graft nepotism and corruption is so blatant it is hard to recognise UK politics by comparison to just twenty five years ago.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 6:42 pm | Permalink


      If enough people voted UKIP at the next General Election, they would get their referendum, so this spouting by the Tories that they are the only ones who can deliver is yet another con.

      I voted Tory at the last General Election as it was a matter of national emergency to get rid of the disastrous Gordon Brown and Labour. Next time, it will be a matter of national emergency to get rid of all of the three main Westminster parties, not least because there’s so little to choose between them.


  36. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    A manifesto for freedom is an excellent idea. I am sure that the results of the Local and MEP elections will prompt many a good idea.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      I expect they will, and then the good ideas could be trailed in friendly newspapers, translated into carefully worded, and thereby subtly diluted, manifesto pledges, and then forgotten.

      Like the unrestricted right of constituents to petition for the early termination of their MP’s contract, for example, “recall”.

      I’m pretty sure that if we’d had a proper recall system in place in 2007 we would not now be subject to the Lisbon Treaty; once the petitions to remove Labour MPs in marginal seats had got started, they would have quickly decided that we should have the referendum they had promised.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted May 29, 2014 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

        If the newly elected UKIP and Conservative MEPs have their wits about them, they will move the repeal of the Lisbon ‘Treaty’ in Brussels and Strasbourg. There’s nothing like taking things at the flood.

  37. Mike Stallard
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    OK I shall have one more go.
    Just read the above comments if you will. they said much of what I thought I wanted to say before moderation.

    Something positive at last:

    In? And become part of the EUSSR? Nope.
    Out and break a treaty obligation? Nope. Re read Article 50 please and see that it will take forever and a day to get out if the Commission don’t want it to happen.
    How about joining EFTA and the EEC and becoming as rich as Norway?
    How about Mr Cameron haunting the Commons Tea Room for a change instead of all the groupthink of the No 10 ivory tower?
    How about rebuilding the Conservatives out here in the despised country?

  38. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    I don’t have any advice to offer to the Conservative party, JR; either it will survive and recover as it has done on past occasions or it will not. I will only support a party which agrees with me that the British people have the right to both possess and govern their own country, their homeland, and it is very clear that those controlling the three old parties do not share that fundamental view. And nor will I ever be duped into lending any of them temporary or tactical support, because none of them can be trusted.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      Agreed; I suspect most contributors to this site feel the same way too.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      I couldn’t have put that better myself Denis.


    • APL
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      Denis Cooper: “because none of them can be trusted.”


  39. Wireworm
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    John, it’s no use bandying talk of freedom unless you can distinguish the kind of freedom you want from liberalism. I take you for a conservative, not a liberal. Therefore tell us how conservative freedom differs from liberal freedom. If you can do that, we might have something concrete to work with. UKIP, not to mention the Front National, represent a revolt against liberalism, of which the EU is the supreme manifestation. You have to be a conservative to understand why the EU trammels freedom: liberals think it enhances their freedom. It must be possible to explain the difference.

    Reply I voted against EEC membership when we had a vote and am trying to get us all another vote so we can leave the current Treaty based arrangements!

  40. acorn
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    JR, why are you assuming that we want the Conservative Party, or any legacy political party; to offer us a “freedom coalition” or any policy re-cycled from a previous list of promises.

    Let’s face it, all three parties ran out of ideas decades back. You have all been at it far too long; got too comfortable with the pay and pension; forgotten who put you there and why. You have become the archetypal public sector behemoth.

    Reply Quite untrue. I always remember who votes me in. The local elections and the General Election polls show most people still choose between Labour and Conservatives. Why do you bother with my site if you have such a low view of me?

    • acorn
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      I am not having a go at “you” the person JR, but “you” the Westminster system. Frankly there is very little to choose between the legacy parties. One side campaigns on less government spending and taxation; the other side, more government spending and taxation. A middle lane option is currently available, I presume, and a new one is currently blowing its horn at foreign number plates in the outside lane.

      My mission is to re-engineer the system with stuff like a directly elected executive outside of the legislature. Primary elections where the candidate chooses a party, not the party choosing the candidate and smothering any non-party candidates. That way, some new coalitions of like minded people might arise; possibly form new parties that have fuel injected engines, rather than those old legacy carburettor models, that phut-phut around Westminster.

      We might even find a coalition of people, who understand how a modern sovereign fiat currency economy actually works, because none of them do at the moment.

  41. merlin
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    UKIP won the 2014 EU Election, a historic moment, the Conservative Party came third.

    • JA
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      Despite banana republic behavior from all parties and most of the media including the BBC.

      The fox is in the hen house ?

      ‘The cat is out of the bag’ is a more fitting phrase.

      I voted UKIP and it felt gooooood !

  42. Iain Gill
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    you heard the allegations from head of tower hamlets conservatives on lbc?

    wow you need to hear this

    • JA
      Posted May 26, 2014 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      Is this (Tower Hamlet style constituencies) the wider demographic the Tories think they need to appeal to ?

      A bit of creative destruction is in order in 2015

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 8:37 am | Permalink

        Yes, and that’s why the present government has continued with allowing postal votes on demand so that a male family head can fill out the forms for his entire family and none of them, especially the females, are allowed to cast their own secret ballot. Which may go some way to explaining the striking rise in the turnout in London, from 33.3% in 2009 to 40.1% in 2014, (etc ed)

        reply Interfering with someone else’s ballot is an offence and should be reported if it occurs. The most likely reason for the increased London turnout is more decided to vote.

  43. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    The Daily Teleg today:

    David Cameron has attacked Nigel Farage for claiming to be a “normal bloke down the pub” when he is in reality a “consummate politician” who is “supremely tactical”.

    Is this correctly reported? If so why is Cameron into this stuff?

    If Cameron now seems to get the message how come the foot soldiers of the Tory party (out in the wilds) didn’t connect him to such a message? Applies to the poverty for all party also. Seems they all didn’t get it for ages and ages.

    What a terrible way to run a (any) business…UK PLC. No wonder UKIP have achieved a 100 yr very big hit.

    Just wondering what modern means…often very poor quality/minimal standards, despite the wall to wall PC’s (machines). Needs better quality fleshware/brainware as usual.

  44. waramess
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Post moderniser, moderniser, traditionalist? It all sounds like a tops down agenda rather than a strategy.

    There are two options on the table

    1. you have strongly held beliefs
    2. you want to win

    The first is a risky but honerable option and you have to hope your arguments resonate with the electorate.

    The second is simple; just deliver what the electorate want.

    You really don’t need to study the marginals because post Blair I doubt even Ashcroft understands where the true marginals are.

    The Conservatives have become a very dishonerable party willing to do anything to win, and why? What exactly do we end up with?

    After having corraled the electorate into a one party system the politicians have forgotten what they are there for. They think they are there to run the country and have forgotten they are in fact there to represent the majority view of the people who elect them.

    Farage on the other hand has policies that resonate with the people and increasingly they will move their allegiance.

    The Conservatives on the other hand seem to not understand what is happening other than their need to focus on marginal constituencies and whilst that is understandable should their sole purpose in life be to win, a one point strategy is hardly likely to impress anyone.

  45. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    I think Professor Redwood is over-thinking the problem with his ‘post modernising’ agenda.
    What the Conservatives need to do is do something that they haven’t done for a long time – actually act in a conservative way. Stop the PR stunts, gesture politics and copying of New Labour. Stop telling us what they think we should say or think and listen.
    I agree the electorate do not care about disagreements in party’s only whether policy is correct. New Labour created the illusion of a booming economy bought on debt so the electorate could not care less about the Brown/Blair split.
    Similarly if Major had dropped out of the ERM before it was too late he might have sailed to victory in 1997.

    The votes show that well over half of those that voted were reluctant Conservative voters or UKIP supporters.

    ‘The Conservative party cannot win an outright victory in the next General Election by simply reassuring the core vote and stressing just the views of the core on Europe, immigration and social policy as some suggest. JR

    Sorry I don’t agree – the core small C c onservative vote IS big enough to give the Conservatives a majority.

    All they have to do is defend UK interests, roll back the EU, make work pay, ditch David Cameron and act not just talk about immigration.

  46. A different Simon
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    The Tory party has got to get rid of Cameron and Hague .

    Cameron is so much part of the problem that he can’t lead you out of it – all he can do is change the image and presentation , not the content .

    Claiming people will vote differently in a G.E. is a mighty brave or foolish assumption . I think they have had enough this time .

    The Lib Dems could replace the discredited Clegg and Ashdown with Jeremy Browne and Danny Alexander who have real talent and surprisingly conviction and it would represent an upgrade .

    Will the media campaign against UKIP be repeated as we approach the General Election ?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      The media campaign against UKIP continues and will continue unless and until those involved start to worry about the concomitant risk to their own jobs and decide to desist.

      Of course that will apply more to those working in the commercial media such as newspapers, where antagonising large numbers of readers is not a good idea, than to the BBC where staff can openly tweet their hatred of UKIP and are only told to keep quiet about it:


      “BBC News Warn All News Staff Over Anti-UKIP Tweets”

  47. Javelin
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    The current political party system of left and right wing is a hangover from the 20th century. Science and genetics are solving the questions of mature and nurture. In the past 20 years the problems of left-right politics have been solved and most parties are in agreement and it’s come down to polling in key marginals. The traditional left right problems are no longer problems. People used to vote for left or right policies because it wasn’t clear what the best solution was. Political parties have lost their entire purpose and justification.

    The problem is that the EU no-borders policies have created a problem of immigration and now this is now a bigger problem that the left right / nature nurture arguments. Nationalism vs federalism is now going to surpass the left right divide and nationalism will always win because democracy only exists at a national level. The EU has utterly failed the people and have resulted in the rise of nationalism.

    The only silver lining is that nationalism wants to destroy the EU. The danager will come if the nationalist political parties hijack the EU political fortress and they then turn on the non EU citizens. I believe this is an entirely feasible route.

    • Chris
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      Indeed Javelin. It is the question of sovereignty that is the key issue for so many of us. You are right – the 3 main parties have supported (and hidden, I believe)the very considerable loss of sovereignty that has already taken place, and the government is not being open with the people about the huge changes which take effect in November 2014. Those should have been put to a referendum as they in fact represent large scale transfers of power to Brussels as well as the relentless tightening of the existing grip of the EU.

      Cameron’s efforts at the EU table tonight will be of little impact. Those who suggest otherwise do not understand the nature of the European project and its founding principles. Those are not going to change fundamentally whatever Conservative MPs in the UK claim. There may be tweaking round the edges, but any major change would have to involve treaty change and there is not the necessary time to effect that before 2017. There are many procedures to follow including a Convention, an intergovernmental conferences and much more. The speed with which the EU operates is usually painfully slow, and would be even slower if a swift resolution might lead to splitting up of the EU. There would be the inevitable kicking of the can down the road and EU fudges, with claims that treaty changes weren’t really necessary and so on. This is not what those following UKIP want, nor will they tolerate it, I suspect. Invoking Article 50 is the only way forward and sooner rather than later.

      Let no man be fooled by the option of Associate Membership, an option for the UK proposed by the influential Spinelli group in their draft for the new EU treaty. It would still tie us in with the outdated and financially failing EU behemoth, subject to fallout from all the legislation associated with ever closer integration, and still required to contribute ever growing sums to the bottomless pit in order to help finance the grand integration project. No, that is not freedom, and furthermore it would necessarily entail even further loss of sovereignty.

  48. Cheshire Girl
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    I watched the interview with Michael Heseltine on Newsnight last night. He was interviewed in his lovely home in the country. When he was asked if he thought UKIP was racist, he replied that he thought that some in the party were racist. I was extremely annoyed when he went on to say ” The National Front have disappeared- now where have they gone! ” . I thought that remark for quite uncalled for and unworthy of a man in his position. Remarks like that certainly won’t encourage those former Tories who voted UKIP to return to the fold!

    • APL
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      Cheshire Girl: “I thought that remark for quite uncalled for and unworthy of a man in his position.”

      Par for the course.

      This is the fellow, privileged as you point out, who talks of the EU in terms that he thinks the ‘common man’ might understand, ‘we don’t want to be in the slow lane’, ( no, not at all like Spain ), ‘we don’t want to get left behind’, no, not at all like the Spanish youth, 50% of whom don’t seem to have jobs, or ‘ worry about the EU train leaving the station’, Yea, you can stuff your EU HS2 too, Action Man.

  49. Ray Veysey
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Unless I missed it, I can’t believe that no one has pointed out to you that you didn’t win the 2010 election, it wasn’t a road race, or presidential race, you got most of but not enough of the votes.
    You snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, and ended up in a destructive alliance with the muppets. Who was to blame for that? the same man who still pulls your strings, the same man who pulls the strings of all the so called sceptics because they will not cut that string. It doesn’t matter how many little groups you join, like the new one with the FA, there are too many full time (as opposed to the part time variety like you) sycophants supporting Cameron and his coterie for them to have any effect. Kites, flying in the wind going this way and that, sometimes together sometimes not depending on the political eddies of the day, but all on he same kite string held by the same man, who will wind you in or cut you loose as the mood suits him.

  50. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted May 29, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Professor Redwood,

    I have a problem with the term ‘Moderniser’ as it implies that the Conservative Party was somehow old fashioned and too traditional and needs to be modernised. This was the conclusion that the wrong headed grandees in the Conservative party came too after surveying the wreckage of the 1997 election and the resulting disaster.

    The correct conclusion was that the party followed poor policy under the disastrously pro EU leadership of the hapless John Major.
    If they had learned this lesson they might not have elected another Europhile leader. Under Major the Party was too new and modern – it tore up it’s Conservative roots and voted for Maastricht and flirted with the Euro. More of the same medicine will only make the Conservative party sicker than it already is.

    This is all so hanging on the coat tails of the New Labour agenda ..what is the difference between New Labour and a Modern Conservative..about the square root of zilch they are both unpopular, Liberal, Pro mass immigration movements. Is there anyone in the Conservative Party that STILL believes that the formula for electoral success is to copy Blair – David Cameron maybe ?

    It panders to the whole unhinged ‘nasty party’ tag that your home secretary so strongly agreed with – most of us here know what the real nasty party is.

  51. David McDonagh
    Posted June 3, 2014 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    It is true that party quarrels do not prevent success in elections as John Redwood says but Harold Wilson also had success with a divided party . He won 4 out of five elections.

    But modernisation for a Conservative Party is about as absurd as one can get. In any nursery group of four year olds, most will be conservative. In the next seventy years, few will go radical but more will go conservative.

    The Labour Party did have an unrealistic as well as an unpopular clause 4. The Conservative Party had no such thing.

    Yet from the 1950s there was a growth of what we now call Political Correctness [PC} in the Tory party with the likes of Chris Cattaway exposing racial discrimination on TV. This grew and grew, getting laws that effectively privilege the newcomers against the natives. It is now the PC “modernisation” that more than the expenses scandal is mustering contempt for Westminster amongst the public, and for the media too in this country, a public contempt for all parties as well as for the Conservative Party but it also makes the so-called Conservative Party an anti-Conservative Party in plain fact. That is why there was no overall majority last time and it might be why it is repeated next time and maybe forever. A new real Conservative Party may eventually emerge.

    It is PC that appeals only to the odd robot. An appeal to the traditional conservatives always will be to the majority of any population but Francis Maude lacks the wit to see that. He, and fools like Michael Portillo, especial in his new mode, harmed the Conservative Party greatly and their PC hemlock may even kill it off yet. It certainly cost the Conservatives an overall majority m the last election and the rejection of PC is also a big factor in the rise of the UKIP.

  • About John Redwood

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

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

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

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

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

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page