The modernising project

Towards the end of the John Major era a group emerged in the Conservative party who called themselves modernisers. My initial reaction was favourable, as I too thought we needed to modernise, to generate a new agenda for a new century. Some of what they wanted us to do made sense. They promoted a new tolerance, an enthusiasm for civil liberties, and a less restrictive attitude to people’s individual lifestyles. During the Labour years they sought to ensure that a future Conservative government would not wish to change Labour’s legislation on these matters. Many of us agreed we would not repeal Labour’s social legislation, though we also came to see that Labour in office was too authoritarian, permitting new attacks on the government where it took away our lliberties.

Modernising  came with a price, however. It was often  factional, seeking to caricature or write off people who held different views or who were more socially conservative.  It was also based upon a love of the EU, so that advocates of true modernising decided few Eurosceptics who wanted powers back or wished to leave the EU could be seen as modernisers, whatever their views on other matters. Modernising  usually included an interventionist military strategy leading to UK engagement in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Syria, despite the growing opposition to this on b0th Conservative and Labour backbenches.  Some of its adherents wanted to see a realignment of UK politics. They wished to see a new party emerge of modernising Conservatives with Blairite Labour, flanked on the right by a Eurosceptic Conservative grouping and on the left by a true socialist grouping. They saw themselves as centrist. Others thought their military interventions were far  from centrist,and many Eurosceptic resented the idea that wanting to stop the transfer of more powers to Brussels was either right or left.

As things worked out, they found themselves liking coalition between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives, as that restrained some Conservative policies and produced a government happy to recommend the transfer of more powers to the EU through the continuous drip drip of new EU laws and decisions. Quite often the Conservative /Lib Dem coalition had to rely on Labour votes or Labour abstention to carry its EU and Middle Eastern policies through.

In the referendum the Blairites and the modernisers came together as the core of the Remain campaign. The central axis of Peter Mandelson/George Osborne was backed by  leading personnel of the modernisers and Blairites.

Today it looks very unlikely that the Conservative party will split as its enemies might wish. The new Leader has united it by accepting the verdict of the UK voters on Brexit and by  promising to implement it. There were always far more Leavers and Eurosceptics than remain supporters or believers in the EU project in the unwhipped Conservative party. However, a split in Labour does look more likely. Mr Corbyn may well win his leadership election, whilst a large majority of Labour MPs may still refuse to serve him in Opposition jobs. Maybe the one  part of the modernising plans that will come to fruition will be the detachment of the Blairite Labour supporters and their attachment loosely or more directly  to the unashamedly pro EU Lib Dem party.

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102 Comments

  1. sm
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    I very much appreciate your ability to use stilettos to do an effective hatchet job, John!

    • forthurst
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      No mention of the Axis of Evil and its Project Fear.

      • Hope
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        The Tory party denied its supporters, and the country, a say over who should be PM. It was a hatchet job. We have a PM who does not believe in its central policy to leave the EU and a cabinet skewed towards remaining in the EU. She claims she will keep ECHR, Sharia law etc. No change in her views at 17 million people voted against!

        A large contingent of her cabinet peddled project fear and ought to be sacked, including but not exclusive, Hammond, Falon and Defintely Rudd. How could Rudd be rewarded with Home Secretary after her TV performance and interviews. She made apocalyptic claims that were purely deceitful to get her own way. She is not fit to be in any public office.

        A deceit is underway to play the long game for the EU change and the U.K. To be offered associated membership as was the plan all along.

      • hefner
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

        Silke Tempel, German Council on Foreign Relations, on the PM:
        “She has inherited this mess and is getting down to business while all the people who were actually responsible for what happened left the scene. And for that reason Germans have a lot of respect for her”.

      • Hope
        Posted July 21, 2016 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        Once more MPs have destroyed public confidence by project fear. Why would you think anyone would believe a word any of you said? May was same as Cameron with her lies and deceit about border controls, hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants lost to the system, could not deport suspected terrorists or prevent EU criminals entering the country! Worst record in history for immigration! Elected tonPMnwithoutna public mandate when her views are in stark contrast to the 17 million people who voted to leave the EU! Out of touch does not begin to describe the lying, self serving, greedy, corrupt politicians at Westminster.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      I read in the Telegraph yesterday that:- “High heels cost businesses £260million a year as women take time off to recover”.

      I assume this does not even allow for the fact that many women struggle to walk at a normal pace in them and cannot take short cuts across the grass or gravel. This must cost businesses even more.

      But then perhaps you meant the knife I think Gove is the expert on those!

  2. Mark B
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Moderniser =Fascist wolf in liberal sheep’s clothing.

    To me the ‘Centralist’ view of politics has been the one in which views before the Second World War would have been seen as Fascist. They were Socialist in basic concept requiring not the ownership of industry but the subsidising of it.

    Through the generous use of State largess can these large corporate’s be controlled. Of course this meant the dismantling of the aspiring Middle Classes.

    As I alluded to yesterday (sorry to see it put up so late again), consensus politics is more for the continentals and not for us Brits. We prefer and have a different system.

    The new PM has poured calming oil over troubled waters. I do not believe that she will keep her promise. I think her first job was to unite people and calm the markets. Her second will be to get back to business as normal. ie Do nothing without the EU’s say so.

    I am of the firm belief that we will never invoke Article 50. I am also of the firm belief that this government will procrastinate over leaving the EU until the EU has a new treaty and, we will be offered EU-Lite as favoured by Dan Hanna and others in the Tory Party.

    We will not be committed to EVER CLOSER UNION or the EURO but, we will still continue to pay into ever larger sums into the EU budget for a even small say. All so 650 MP’s can sit back and let someone else do the job we pay them.

    You heard it here first.

    • Graham
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      I have much sympathy with your prognosis unfortunately. Don’t trust the lady.

    • mickc
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I agree with you. I have no confidence in May.

    • mike Wilson
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

      Are you under the impression that Mr redwood’s job in life is to moderate this forum and, in particular, to make sure your comments are immediately made live? I think an MP hearing the views of people is a good thing, but I am sure he bS other things to do as well
      .

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 21, 2016 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      The government is going through the motions of leaving the EU but I won’t fully believe it until I’ve seen that formal Article 50 notice go in. Merkel has given May more time but I’m sure she’s well aware that the government’s hands are tied while that step is subject to court proceedings.

      I spent some time yesterday reading through eight hours of debate in both Houses before parliamentarians approved the date for the referendum. I wanted to see if any of them had raised objections to the government’s stated intention to trigger Article 50 straight after a vote to leave the EU, without any further reference back to Parliament, an intention which had been very clearly stated by that point and in fact was restated during the debate in the Lords.

      Both debates roamed over many matters other than the date of the referendum as proposed in the statutory instrument which was up for approval – JR spoke in the Commons debate – but no parliamentarian could be bothered to speak in defence of the sovereignty of Parliament – as the attempt to block Brexit is now being hypocritically described in the court cases – and urge members to vote against the statutory instrument and so stop the referendum unless the government gave a concrete assurance that in the event of a vote to leave it would come back to get prior parliamentary authorisation before it served an Article 50 notice.

  3. Roy Grainger
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    The glue that would bind an expanded LibDem party containing the majority of the current Labour MPs would be a policy to hold a second referendum. Some Conservative MPs would probably also join (Anna Sourby is an ideal candidate). This would be something of a risk for the Conservative party if they got to 2020 without near-irrevocable progress in leaving the EU.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      About half the Tories are lefty tax borrow and waste merchants, climate alarmists, Libdims at heart, and nearly 100% of those who supported remain. This or they are just the usually career seeking sheep.

      This is the problem the Tories have had at least since Ted Heath. About half of Theresa May’s ministers are also clearly Libdems in all but name. I have huge fears that Mrs May will flunk it yet again.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        LL,

        That makes me wonder about the Conservative party selection process at local level. It is reported that David Cameron alienated many grassroots supporters with his pro-EU stance, so it seems odd that so many pro-EU people were selected as their local parliamentary candidates.

        And your reference to sheep is an interesting one. I am convinced that those who support the idea of the EU, whatever party they belong to, can’t really understand the way it runs, or the dangers it presents, and are there as lobby-fodder.

        The way to move the political process forwards, is to have free thinkers with fresh ideas, not people who would chain us to something that is an abject failure just so they look like loyal servants of the party.

        Tad

        • lifelogic
          Posted July 20, 2016 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

          Indeed this group think lunacy is hugely damaging, look at the ERM fiasco or the lunacy of the hugely expensive climate change act where only a handful voted against it or now the HS2 group think absurdity.

          Sensible selection of sound Tory MPs is vital. But then not many sound people would want to be MPs. I certainly would not. I rather like saying what I actually think too much.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted July 20, 2016 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

          Indeed.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 11:32 am | Permalink

        Well, to give her her due, T May was rather better at PM questions than I expected of her.

        Still dithering over runways though we need one at Gatwick and one at Heathrow too (with a HS shuttle link between them). A five runway hub is desperately needed. Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted all also need to sort out the huge delays they have at security. This due to insufficient capacity to deal with demand. Why they know in advance what the demand it they are causing huge inconvenience and stress to the passengers?

        • rose
          Posted July 20, 2016 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

          But why did whe have to be so studiedly rude and aggressive to the leader of the opposition? The timing and the tone went awry and it reminded me of the over-rehearsed Amber Rudd attacking Boris instead of dealing with the serious questions to be discussed. What an embarrassment. What was worse, the media seemed to love it and compared it to Mrs T. Nothing could be further from the truth: Mrs T was a stateswoman who had a burning vision for the future of her country. She took on the status quo when the received wisdom was that you had to keep moving further and further left, and dragged the common ground back to where it should have been. No sign of that happening with the token woman. Has anyone any knowledge of a book or article by her, or a speech which is her own, setting out what she stands for? Other than promoting token women?

          • Lifelogic
            Posted July 22, 2016 at 4:55 am | Permalink

            True but perhaps she can reinvent herself, we can but hope. Her failure to use a lot of the leave talent still on the back benches is worrying.

        • hefner
          Posted July 20, 2016 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

          TM must be very pleased to have got this endorsement for very own LL.

  4. Antisthenes
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Things rarely come out as we anticipate. The political landscape may change but if it does it may not be as expected. We spend a lot of time wondering what the future holds and the MSM and vested interests especially expends considerable energy telling us in graphic details what awful things await us if we do not follow their advice. These people are not predicting the future but are aiming to shape it. It appears wanting to control others is part of our DNA which of course is the root cause of the worlds ills.

    We cannot change that but what me must guard against is allowing those who would cause the most ills anywhere near the leavers of power. The socialists, progressives and theologians. Beware of modernisers who wish repair that which is not broken but embrace those who would make existing well proven things work better and efficiently repair that which is broken. The former are mostly left leaning and the latter on the right but not always so.

    • scottspeig
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Those that cause the most ills being Socialists, progressives and theologians??

      I wonder where we would be without the former and latter (and will let someone else defend the progressives). Socialism is not all bad – they introduced certain workers rights etc and can articulate the virtues of empathy and generosity (although descends into authoritarian dictat). The theologians (or church?) gave us free education.

      A rather broad generalisation that I think is flawed.

      The balance is achieved by flip-flopping between the extremes. Never by being centrist.

      • Antisthenes
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        You have mentioned some good things that you believe they have done. Even if it was true it does not negate the evil past and present that they have and are perpetrating on us. It can also be argued that it was not the movements that brought about the benefits but the personalities in them and they were initially not looking to further personal ambition or foist alien ideologies onto the nation only to achieve specific goals. It was others who attached themselves to these movements who did that.

  5. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    “The new Leader has united it by accepting the verdict of the UK voters on Brexit and by promising to implement it.”

    How long before that promise goes the same way as the immigration promise?

    I can already hear the excuses. It was never realistic to promise that we would leave the EU. If that promise was kept it would damage our economy, we need to be in the EU. Leaving the EU has proved to be a lot more complicated and difficult than expected. We want to leave the EU but we haven’t yet persuaded Nicola Sturgeon. And the Lords are preventing it happening, so it will have to wait upon reform of the Lords which will need a constitutional convention … one excuse after another to keep us in the EU.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      Denis – Don’t forget London either. I heard on the news yesterday that Sadiq Khan is arguing that London Remain in the EU with Scotland, because these regions voted to Remain.

      I’m sorry. We voted as the United Kingdom, not os regional blocs. The regional breakdown broadcast by the news has been divisive.

      No. I correct that:

      The EU has been divisive !

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

        Windsor and Maidenhead also voted to stay in, so perhaps we can be a part of an enclave of Scotlandon which is still in the EU.

        • rose
          Posted July 21, 2016 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

          And so did Bristol – university in the West, community leaders in the East.

    • ian wragg
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      Sorry you’re so pessimistic Denis, I feel the Tory party are on probation. If they go down the EU playbook route, conceding a second neverendum then they are toast at the next election.
      People are now seeing that project Fear was in fact just that. All the great and the good prophesying doom and gloom and the end of the world have been exposed as shams.
      Geldorf and Izzard did more to encourage leave than anyone in my opinion.
      I really do think the country will become ungovernable if we don’t leave and if the government tries to keep us in the single market with freedom of movement.

      • Mitchel
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        I broadly agree with you although the fact that we haven’t had doom and gloom on the financial markets(after the initial knee-jerk reaction) may mean that the markets do not believe there will actually be a Brexit worthy of the name.

        Way off topic but the Telegraph is reporting on a video(which I will not be viewing) that shows members of one of the US-backed moderate Islamist rebel groups(and therefore presumably included in Mr Cameron’s 70,000 moderates) beheading a young boy from a refugee camp near Aleppo.What is our policy on Syria in the light of Mr Erdogan’s grovel to Mr Putin,the abortive coup and his apparent willingness to now accept Mr Assad’s legitimacy?Perhaps we are waiting for the Americans to tell us.

      • Anonymous
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        Geldoff and Izzard did did more to encourage leave… I agree wholeheartedly on that.

        Newmania’s hysterical postings do more to confirm that my vote was right than any other.

        Italy is about to go t**s up. Brexit will be blamed.

        (I thought we were too insignificant to break away from the EU !)

        • Mitchel
          Posted July 20, 2016 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

          Looking for something to pin blame on?”Brexit” is the new “Putin”.

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      I noticed that when the SNP in the guise of Angus Robertson said in PMQ’s today, at least twice, that Scotland would remian in the EU, Mrs May did not dispute it, yet she had the opportunity to do so. It is clear a deal has been struck and this was its public airing.

      • Know-dice
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

        I sincerely hope that all that was, was Mrs May keeping her “powder dry”. There was nothing to be gained at this stage in letting the SNP believe any more than they currently do…that is my theory…that is mine, to quote Monty Python Anne Elk 😳

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      Or the Cast Iron promise, or the low tax at heart promise or the £1M IHT threshold promise. The Tories do not have a good record on promises they are forgotten a day or too later.

      They should start to restore their credibility be keeping at least Osborne’s ancient IHT promise and in full.

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 21, 2016 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      When Scotland were voting whether to stay in the UK or not they knew that the UK was holding a UK nationwide Brexit vote, they were warned repeatedly that the rest of the UK could take them out of the EU, this was one of Alex Salmond’s key points, the nationalists were also told by the EU that they didn’t want an independent Scotland in the EU and Osborne told them they couldn’t keep Sterling. How come they are never reminded of this now, their electorate were told “THIS IS A ONCE IN A LIFETIME VOTE to leave the UK” over and over and over again, it was on our English tv news night after night even though we didn’t get a vote on it.
      I agree with you Denis I have a horrible feeling the Conservatives are going to settle some rubbish deal, we pay – no say. Is this the lie on the bus they were NEVER going to allow us to not pay in these massive sums to the EU. Giving up our presidency was crass too, why the hell should we give it up, we’ve paid our fair dues to have our turn, these tiny nations who just take out get such a big say and we’re expected to just leave when we haven’t even given notice yet! This was weak of Therese May and a failing to represent our Country properly.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted July 21, 2016 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      “Brexit means Brexit” sounds good but is a mere tautology.

      The words that I want to hear from Mrs May’s mouth are “My government will not apply to join the European Economic Area. We will reduce net immigration to the tens of thousands as promised”.

      Mrs May has heard from Mrs Merkel, the horse’s mouth so to speak, of the incompatibility of full membership of the Single Market and immigration control.

      So why not leave PDQ? What is she waiting for? If we trigger Article 50 now, we have to pay Brussels £14 billion net on 1st January 2017 and 2018. If we don’t trigger Article 50 until 2017, we will in addition have to pay £14 billion on 1st January 2019. It’s an absolute no brainer.

      Sorry, I forgot. Mrs May will be spending our money, not her own. Is there no end to the waste of money that the arrogant Remainers are prepared for?

      The benefits of the Single Market are grossly exaggerated. Free trade in EU-27 reached its zenith on 1st January 1987, when the Single European Act became law. Since then we have had the advent of the Euro and various treaties ushering in more EU competences, EU laws, EU directives and QMV – none of it in our interest.

      In contrast, the opportunities for bi-lateral trade deals have been underplayed. Until we are actually out, all Liam Fox can do is issue MOUs.

  6. oldtimer
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Thank you for that analysis of the shifting politics of the past twenty or so years. Although the new PM said she does not want her administration to be defined by Brexit, it would surely be undone if it fails to deliver Brexit. That might also undo the Conservative party if the “modernising”, EUrophile rump of the party becomes disaffected and makes common cause with the EUrophile LibDems and Blairites who want a second referendum – which it appears might be their new rallying cry. As for Labour it is easy to believe it could split if or when Corbyn wins the new leadership election or if the legal challenge to Corbyn’s place on the ballot paper succeeds.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      They don’t need a second referendum to keep us in the EU but they want it to hide the fact that they are undemocratic.

      If they want to overturn a democratic Referendum then they can bloody well do it without a second one.

      We must not – EVER – legitimise a decision to Remain otherwise this will give a full mandate for ‘ever closer union’.

      The British Leave result was the greatest gift to ourselves and to the European peoples. It must never be relinquished.

      At least by being in the EU without mandate (by virtue of the Leave result) we can be In and Against, which is the best I think we can ever hope for.

      With apologies to Denis Cooper: We Are NOT Leaving the EU. Remain have all the power.

      I would prefer the PM to announce “Sorry. We cannot leave the EU.” and give reasons. I do not believe that the Leavers would riot. Thereafter our position in the EU must be fought for by our leaders in respect for our patience and orderliness.

      • Mark B
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

        Then the referendum, as I always suspected it would be, was a complete sham and a waste of time ?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        Remain have the power because they have majorities in both of the Houses of Parliament, and we can’t even look forward to the most avidly pro-EU of them being kicked out at the next general election.

  7. Ian Wragg
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    If Article 50 is not implemented by next spring and immigration is still circa 300,000 then every by election will be won by UKIP.
    The country (majority) will not accept any backsliding. The travails of the Labour Party are a taste of what will happen to the Tories.

    • Richard1
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      Obviously there will be no change in free movement of EU citizens in and out of the UK until after Brexit

    • CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      Ian Wragg:
      Given the UKIP leadership’s individual desires to be Chief Leader, none of whom have the necessary qualities, as well as being granted Lord and Ladyship status, again not quite up to the mark there either, it is highly unlikely the electorate will be fooled into voting for UKIP.
      UKIP leadership contenders can only get 10% of turnout when they put themselves to the test in local Councillor elections. MEPs who have tried becoming MPs, apart from Farage have similarly got only 10%.
      The British National Party will wipe UKIP out electorally even without the mighty, Establishment-promotion, of UKIP on TV, radio and in newspapers. Yes, people have noticed how certain TV panels have regular UKIP members…just one of the boys. Just part of the Establishment

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

        Time will tell.

    • Mark B
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      They will say that a vote for a ‘Right-Wing’, populist party will damage the UK’s negotiations. You wait and see.

  8. alan jutson
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    I think perhaps you may have thought rather too much about the detail here John.

    The simple fact is the Politicians have lost most of the people.

    Years and years of manipulation of the facts with spin and lies, where MP’s and Prime Ministers have attempted to carve a legacy of some sort for themselves at public cost in both money and lives, has caused a huge rift of trust between the politicians and the people for whom they should serve.

    Many feel that our first past the post system (with safe seats) means democracy for them is dead and meaningless, because their vote is in effect worthless, the recent Referendum was their chance to make their feelings known because each vote actually counted.

    The establishment therefore got the kicking they deserved because they were still peddling yet more spin and lies with project fear, whilst trying to cover up the real problem of uncontrolled immigration.

    The Labour Party are in more chaos because their leader is being told (by the vast majority of his Party’s MP’s) he did not do enough to try to convince people to vote the opposite way to their actual thoughts, when what he should have done is represent his own party’s traditional values of its voting base.

    They say a weeks a long time in politics, the last month is certainly proof of that.

    Many Conservative Remain Mp’s also need to think very carefully about their futures.

    I wish our new Prime Minister well and hope she is not distracted with some Brexit Light arguments, otherwise your Party will also be in some trouble with the electorate.

  9. Lifelogic
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Well we shall see Mrs May seems like another Heath/Major/Cameron lefty to me (apart from her rather silly attacks on immigration with go home buses cruising the streets). Perhaps she can reinvent herself into a sensible real conservative. One who believes in low taxes, efficient government, cancelling HS2, cheap energy, growth, law and order with real deterrents, strong defence, new runways, new roads, selective sensible immigration and the likes we shall see.

    She say Brexit means Brexit – but that says nothing doubtless why the phrase was chosen. What does her Brexit actually mean, what is her timescale?

    Her workers and customer on company boards is damaging lefty drivel for a start. They are not her companies what does she know about running them?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      I see that Theresa May has warned ministers their decisions “affect people’s day-to-day lives” as she set out a clear direction for her premiership.

      But we can see that most MPs clearly do think it is a game. We saw Theresa May herself lying to the nation (that we had control of our borders through Schengen). This clearly to con them into a remain vote only a few weeks back. We saw the attempts to pin the death of Jo Cox on Brexit supporters and the Hyenas attacking Leadsom for just saying that having children gave her a different perspective on life (as indeed it does).

      Cameron clearly thought it was a game when he pretended to be a Eurosceptic to get the leadership. Then ratted on Cast Iron, and the Tories even claimed “a treaty was no longer a treaty once ratified”. He also claimed to be a real “low tax conservative at heart”, and he said he would stay on after a leave vote.

      Osborne also thought is was a game when he ratted on his IHT promise and threatened the nation with higher taxes if we dared to vote Brexit. Also when he kept claiming he was repaying the debt!

      About half of the MP’s clearly think it is little more than a game and a well remunerated career. Certainly when they were doing their innovative expense accounts a while back it was certainly a game to about half of them and rather a rewarding one.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Not much that was encouraging from Gavin Barwell the housing minister on the daily politics (even though he does seem to have a proper degree – Natural Sciences from Trinity College, Cambridge).

      He was wittering on about 20% of new developments having to be starter homes (just a back door tax on the other buyers/developers then making some developments uneconomic), Yet more command economy lunacy. Build for the actual demand in each area – that is the way to go.

      The problems causing the lack of housing are either too many people or too few houses. It you want more houses relax building controls and planning laws, relax employment laws, get some real competition in banking and undo the absurdly high stamp duties taxes, utility connection rip offs, LEA planning gain rip offs, the 3% extra stamp duty and other absurd taxes on landlords and tenants.

      The government is the problem as usual not the solution. Get out of the parasites out of the b***** way.

  10. Tony
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Well written John. I hope your trust in May will bear the fruit we all desire.
    Be ever watchful.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      I too hope she can reinvent herself. She need to go for a sensible smaller state, lower taxes, far less government interference, efficient public services where needed, cheap energy, no green crap and a far stronger & booming economy. There is no reason the Tories can win the next three elections if they handle it right and get the economy going.

      A signal now that she intents to would be very welcome.

      Step one abolish IHT and say we are moving towards simpler lower taxes undoing all the damage Osborne did.
      2. Scrap HS2 and Hinckley point
      Spending 5% of the cost of HS2 on simpler and better train ticketing would save far more time than HS2 for all train users. I have wasted hours in ticket queues at Gatwick, Liverpools St, Cambridge, Kings Cross and Victoria, just not enough ticket machines and far too complex for many to use.
      3. Announce two new runways ar Heathwick
      4. Announce some mew selective Grammar schools.
      5. Reduce stamp duty and give tax relief for medical insurance and school fee to reduce demand on the state and improve education and medical provision.
      6. Sort out the left loon, PC, dumbed down, pro EU bias at the BBC.
      7. Some new bridges and roads.

  11. Ken Moore
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    JR – They’ promoted a new tolerance, an enthusiasm for civil liberties, and a less restrictive attitude to people’s individual lifestyles’.

    They also trashed traditional Tory values that to many are non negotiable and sacred.

    They also created a giant mess in Libya and a great deal of debt. Arguably the whole neo-liberal consensus has brought the world to the brink of economic collapse.
    The whole project is unaffordable so they pushed down interest rates to make the debt affordable with many bad consequences.

    I do hope this isn’t posturing on the part of John Redwood to ‘fit in’ with the Amber Rudd wing of his party. He should be straining every sinew to oppose it.

    If even an experienced MP like John Redwood welcomed ‘modernisation’ , whole or in part, it is deeply worrying. How an agenda based on only permitting views which are deemed ‘politically correct’ can be described as ‘less restrictive’ I do not know.

    Unfortunately the ‘modernisers’ are stuck in a time warp in which Tony Blair was
    popular and seen as ‘progressive’. The Conservative party is stuffed to bursting with these types that decided if they couldn’t beat Blairism they would copy it.

    The problem with this combination of economic neoliberalism and social crusading is that it doesn’t work (either politically or economically).
    Blair had to engineer a ‘boom’ by the spending of borrowed money that continues to this day. How is Mr Hammond going to pay for the latest round of social crusading.

    I remain unconvinced that the prominent ‘moderniser’, Mrs May who described her party to it’s face as ‘the nasty party’ is the right woman to lead it in the right direction.

  12. Sean
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Mrs May might reunite the party, but today she is going to tell Merkel that she isn’t going to invoke article 50 until sometime next year.
    I knew she was going stall, she say that she needs more time, what a load of rubbish! She is weak and not for Brevity, I can’t trust her like you here.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      Because certain people, whose names we are not allowed to know, have asked the courts to rescue lazy inattentive parliamentarians from the consequences of their own past incompetence, and those cases will not be heard until the third week of October, Mrs May could not trigger Article 50 now even if she wanted to. That would be contempt of court, and it is also likely that the European Council would question the validity of the notice. So now we must wait on unpredictable judges to decide whether the will of the people as expressed in the referendum shall prevail, or parliamentarians shall be retroactively empowered to frustrate the will of the people, which they would very probably do if they could.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      Is it the triumph of hope over expectation. Still we can but hope!

  13. Lifelogic
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    So is Mrs May going to be PC, fake “equality” promoting, high tax borrow and waste, pro EU, greencrap promoting, open door immigration, libdim in the Cameron/Major mode?

    Or will she reinvent herself as a real conservative perhaps. To do this she needs to announce the abolition of IHT, two new runways, some more roads and bridges, the abolition of greencrap grants, some fracking, the cancellation or HS2, a very short timescale to get out of the EU, plans to halve the size of government and sort out the appallingly bad NHS and the education system. Also announce about 100 new selective “grammar” schools and a huge simplification of the tax system, relaxation of planning and a bonfire of red tape.

    I think she will flunk it as Cameron & Major did but we shall see. She has an excellent opportunity but is she a really a Tory? Cameron had two sitting duck elections yet threw the first one, and only just scraped the second one due to the dire threat of Miliband and Sturgeon. Such a wasted open goal.

    • Tom William
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      That would need facing up to the media, especially the BBC. Has she got the bottle? The jury is out but is likely return with a verdict sooner rather than later.

    • acorn
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      So far, 36 comments and only 8 of them are from Lifelogic, is he sick or something?

      • hefner
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        acorn, don’t be too harsh on our LL, he is the Dogberry of this blog.

      • John Bracewell
        Posted July 21, 2016 at 7:15 am | Permalink

        Life logic should try writing something slightly controversial as I did yesterday and it won’t get included in these comments.

  14. Yosarion
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    After the Referendum I remember there was an interview or two with Lib Dem voters who had voted for Leave, never quite understood that.
    Owen Smith in a statement said that he was a much better Person to challenge Corbyn because he was in a Normal relationship, did the press give 24hr News to this obvious attack on Eagle, No, they obviously Like an ex BBC employee like Oily, but makes you wonder why Andrea was driven from the Market.

    • ian wragg
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      Andrea wasn’t following the Bilderburger agenda so all forces were mobilised to destroy her.

    • rose
      Posted July 21, 2016 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      Mrs Leadsom was run over by the media and Westminster juggernaut because
      1) there was a very strong belief there should be a PM appointed asap before any further drift in the wake of Mr C’s resignation
      2) there was an even stronger belief the governing party should not be in the position of the Opposition, i.e. with a leader who didn’t have a majority of the MPs in her party supporting her.
      3) it came naturally to the Westminster bubble because they had convinced themselves Mrs Leadsom wasn’t quite 101% metropolitan elite.

      There was no conspiracy: Rachel Sylvester just did what Rachel Sylvester does and the faux outrage that followed reflected the near unanimity on the previous 3 points.

  15. Stephen Berry
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Interesting that John says the Tories were flirting with this accursed ‘Modernisation Project’ in the 1990s. I have always taken it to be Mr Blair’s most poisonous bequest to Britain and the Labour Party.

    When Blair took over the Labour Party, he wisely decided to ditch socialism but instead of leaving it at that, brought in the idea of ‘modernisation’. John lists some this agenda which I will briefly add to.

    1. It loves the EU and the cosmopolitan outlook generally.
    2. It favours a liberal interventionist foreign policy
    3. It promotes strict adherence to the tenets of political correctness. Certain groups such as women, ethnic minorities and homosexuals are felt to have a raw deal and they should never be criticised in any way.
    4. We should be relaxed about immigration and clear that the indigenous population is in the wrong on this question.

    I have always assumed that it was Cameron and co. imitating Blair, which led to the taking up of these ideas in the Conservative Party.

    Now, a question for the blog. Of all the groups in British society, which one is most likely to be offended by this agenda? Which group is not cosmopolitan, but parochial and very patriotic? Which group is socially conservative and hates PC like the very devil? Which group lives most closely to immigrants and wants immigration most strictly controlled?

    Yes, it’s the British working class, traditionally the bedrock of support for the Labour Party. When you understand this you understand why the EU referendum went the way it did and why Tony Blair may well be the last elected Labour PM. It’s amazing to me that even now, vast swathes of the Labour Party don’t see this.

    • acorn
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      You should take a look at how “Political Compass” has mapped the referendum vote. Some six formations have been constructed, that don’t exactly fit historically; er, but do they.

      Conservative Party members come in two basic styles; Cultural and Social. Labour splits, basically into the Marxist and Non-Marxist left. They all end up vying for the centre ground of voters. The centre ground is where the educated; moneyed and mortgaged voters are. No Party can afford to piss off this lot, (Cameron please note for your memoirs).

      Dickensian style right wing Cultural (nationalist) Conservatives, could in the past, generally be ignored; but, Brexiteers have awakened the Kraken in the Conservative Party. The bottom third of the population can look forward to being controlled and corralled in their public housing and state schools.

      “A daunting cloud will hang over the devastated political landscape for who knows how long? The Lib Dems are meanwhile uniquely placed to make hay while there’s no sunshine.”

      • Stephen Berry
        Posted July 22, 2016 at 8:45 am | Permalink

        Acorn, of course we can define voters in as many ways as we please and think is valuable. But I still think that the ‘working class’ is useful term. It refers to the sort of people who performed basic manual work in factories, used to regard the Labour Party as their party and voted accordingly.

        When I visit the north of England, I still chat with such people. There is much in the modern Labour party which does not, and can never enthuse these people.

        As for the referendum vote: I noticed that Hull (three Labour MPs) voted two to one for leave. OK, that was because of the fishing question you say. How about Barnsley? This is Arthur Scargill country and it does not come more Labour than that. The good citizens of Barnsley also defied Labour instructions and voted two to one to leave.

  16. agricola
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    I would like to see a distinctive Conservative party. No more heir to Blair, when party titles were the only indication of the difference between New Labour and Conservative. I also wish to see a greater move towards democracy as demonstrated by the Swiss. No more, ” You elected us, we will do your thinking for you until we take you out of your box in five years time.” Consequently many more referendums that politicians ignore at their peril. Politicians should be there to persuade the electorate, and then to enact their wishes. You need to get used to being servants of the electorate, not oracles living in the Westminster bubble along with compliant media people. As the Brussels burocracy are begining to realise they must have the consent of the people or suffer increasing chaos.

    I suspect that the Labour party, as we have known it, is heading for a split. Corbynistas on one side with membership support, but not much traction with the electorate. Then there are the majority in the H o C, left of centre, with the task of reconnecting with their traditional supporters among the electorate. This will be increasingly difficult as much of that support has moved to UKIP as will many Conservatives if they begin to feel that the present government does not reflect their wishes. A dilution of intent on immigration would bolster such a shift.

    Because past blandly issued election promises are unlikely to be fulfilled without damage to our economy and services , can I suggest that when publishing gross figures on immigration they are categorised so that the public know they are in the UK to work in various jobs and professions and not to further a criminal career in a more fruitful market. Absolute clarity on what happens to criminals, we are reputed to have 13.000 in jail at present, would also be reassuring. To achieve this, real border controls are paramount.

    • Mark B
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      I too am a fan of Direct Democracy. The problem with this referendum, is that it was not legally binding.

  17. Shieldsman
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    The statement that Brexit means Brexit is already falling apart. Boris and Amber Rudd already backtracking on immigration numbers.
    Amber Rudd is definitely not to be trusted, she believed every word of Cameron’s con trick – I have reformed the EU, the biggest lie of the referendum campaign.
    Gove did not stab Boris in the back, he merely stated the facts of life, the ex Mayor of London is not up to the job.

    The political scene is pathetic with the Media telling Parliament how to proceed, and together with the pollsters the Public how they should have voted. What DEMOCRACY?

  18. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    I believe broadly what you are writing about JR is what is called by journalists and in Parliament-speak: “The Westminster Bubble”

    I have just listened to a snippet on Sky News this morning by a Labour Leadership contender who relatively few will have heard of: Mr Owen Smith MP.

    He was complimentary about Angela Eagle throwing in the towel. Also in almost sentimental tones explaining how he tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade Mr Corbyn to resign his roll and become “President” of the Labour Party, a symbolic position, which he said Mr Corbyn deserved because of his life-long contribution to the Labour Party. Nauseous.

    Figuratively speaking, his words gushed uncomfortably out of my TV screen like animated grey slime, buckets of it, and attached its globular and gooey self to every wall, floor, ceiling and flat surface in my home and started growing reproducing itself and eating with slurps and snorts the very fabric of existence as we know it. Sickening indeed.

    172 Labour MPs think themselves Coca-Cola. “We Are the World” Unlike the refreshing drink, they do not invigorate.. If they did a survey in their Constituencies door-to-door by independent people, they would find that without prompting only a minority of even those who voted Labour could actually name them, guess at their ages, know if they were married or single or in a relationship of a kind, or describe how they looked, male or female.
    As to their politics, their opinion on anything, not at all.If they have a marginal seat, many will not know which Party they are in. Many will find the questions boring and unhelpful as “They are all the same”

    The 172 Labour MPs take themselves far too seriously. It is to be hoped the Labour Party, after Mr Corbyn stomps them into the ground, finds ways and means to have those dissident MPs who think so well of themselves, de-selected. This would be a great service to the nation. Never mind the Labour Party. And would allow us all to keep our foods within our greater digestive system if by accident we were to hear or see them on TV.

    • ian wragg
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Most of the 172 politicians are in constituencies which voted LEAVE. Our local MP is a vocal remainer always to be found spouting in the local rag.
      We voted OUT 70/30. He’s really in touch.
      Many sitting MP’s are going to be shown a red card at the by-elections and general election because Joe public now understands what duplicitous bas…ds
      they are.

    • Mark B
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      I dare say even fewer ever heard of CMD or the Iron Lady.

  19. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Parliament was surprised at the Leave vote.Mps were amazed. Shocked in some cases.

    Just think: all that pro-stay propaganda. It was massive. Comprehensively huge. Almost every person known including actors, rock stars, authors, scientists advised everyone to Remain.

    172 Labour MPs, almost to a man…they have an innate preference for this expression… almost to a man… advised Remain. Yet they still feel they have traction with the public as evidenced with their pompous pronouncements that they have “a duty to represent (their ) constituents”.
    The public cares not a jot for them and only wishes their salaries to be cut by half each and every time they criticise the Labour leadership..although it is true they care little for Corbyn but care much more now because of the supercilious 172

  20. forthurst
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Apart from the ongoing Wolfowitz Doctrine ME wars of aggression and the ongoing unmentioned Brzezinski Doctrine destabilisation of Ukraine by NATO and EU economic aggression towards Russia, the modernisers were busy in the last administration in changing by law the normally accepted meaning of marriage; it remains to be seen what effect the unplugging of CMD’s mainframe computer and its alien inputs has on the direction of further ‘modernisation’. If grammar schools start to reappear widely and teaching children nonsense about ‘gender’ ceases, then we can believe we are on the right track. (I was told by someone that their child was handed a questionnaire asking them to choose with which of a range of ‘genders’ they identified; being a boy and one of many, he and they competed to select the most bizarre ‘gender’ alternative they could find.)

  21. graham1946
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    If Corbyn wins his election, he should not worry overmuch about his dissenting MP’s. He should slim down his Shadow Cabinet to what he can achieve, possibly with each member taking more than one brief, especially as they don’t actually have to implement anything but merely shout down everything the government suggests. That is the way Parliament works isn’t it, shouting down the government’s proposals then doing nothing about it when they come to power? If he can do this and it gets near the election, the MP’s will soon come into line when they think their seats might be at risk or the smell of a top job is in the air if he should win an election.

    The real Cabinet needs slimming down too – there are far too many round that table. When I was young, (admittedly a good many decades ago, so thinking may have changed), when I had management training we were told that no executive could effectively take more than five heads of department reporting to him, as it was unwieldy, unfocused etc. That seems to be a pretty good description of government these days, modernised or not from over 50 years ago.

    As far as Mrs. May is concerned we must wait a bit until we hear what happens with Merkel/Hollande, but I am still worried about backsliding. It seems from what Boris and Rudd are saying that they will not longer count immigration an essential, as they can’t handle it. A bit like the railways who can’t run trains on time scrapping the timetables and saying everything is on time. But they do this already don’t they on some lines? I’ll wait a bit longer, but not much, before deciding Mrs. May is just like the rest who say one thing on entering number ten and doing the opposite when the SPADS get to work on her and won’t let her read the bits in the papers they don’t like.

  22. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    The murderous violence of ISIL with various people within countries feeling they should do their historic kin duty and ” Attack and kill the enemy” should be a wake-up call for MPs. Sadly, many MPs, and despite the murder of one of their colleagues Jo Cox, are still asleep.
    There is no “connect” between the 172 Labour dissidents and what they may think of as their “public”. If they, even borrowing part of the Labour Party name and calling themselves New Labour were to stand against the official Labour Party they would receive a trouncing. Many of the 172, have ideas which are historically NOT Labour and indeed more importantly are NOT the ideas of their electorates.

    Yes I know Mr Cameron and the Tory benches and quite alot of the Labour PLP hold Mr Corbyn as a weak comic figure. Laugh and laugh again by all means.And I am not a Labour Supporter. But he will win, again, his leadership battle, and probably take the Labour Party into power.
    Like the Westminster bubble, there is, despite whether we leave or not leave the EU, a massive economic problem. A bubble in housing, bank lending; the insidious QE of the ECB which has permeated British business.
    A classic Marxist-described downturn is in store. The pundits of our economics and politics, largely through lack of earnest study of Marxism, rightly dismissed the political solutions of Marxists but mistakenly rubbished Marxist and Anarcho-Libertarian critiques of capitalism
    Corbyn does not have the solutions but he actually does see with a clearer eye up to but not past “The Revolution” . Much more than the Theresa Mays of this world and certainly better than Mr Osborne who was it seems economically blind throughout his entire career. A man trapped in his very own Bubble, like General Zod from planet Krypton floating about in the vacuum of unknowingness for all eternity

    • zorro
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

      I love that….’like General Zod floating about in the vacuum of unknowingness for all eternity’. I liked Superman too! Still struggling to see Gideon as General Zod (well portrayed by Terence Stamp) though but nice comparison 🙂

      zorro

  23. ian
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    This country has always had it leaders chosen for it and the agenda of that leader has always been the same, immigration at the top, lowering of standards in education, taking away of civil liberties, lowering of the standard of living with wages and pensions of the working people cut, they spend most of there time thinking up ways of how to get more people into the country with the media backing them up with PC and sound bites of what good for you.

    As you can see when the people pick a leader like the new labour leader they do everything in their power to have him removed and replaced by establishment figure.

    Why are they like this because they are fearsome of there own people.

    That why i tell you it is a waste of time voting for parties because the result will always be the same and you if cannot change the way you think when voting there will never be change for what you want.

  24. Adam
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    I like Theresa May so far. And I never though I’d say that.

    It’s a time for real conservative leadership. We deserve it. So itd be nice to see her come up with a real idea not stolen from the opposition.

  25. Kenneth
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    It always seemed to me that the ‘modernisers’ were not that concerned which political party they found themselves in as long as they could continue Labour’s socialist policies and in particular some Marxist and extremist ideas put forward by some of our media.

    This, they thought, was the path to power. Not based on good policy but based on a ‘path of least resistance’.

    Notice how the opposition soon built up against modest proposals to reduce the deficit. This opposition came, not from the impotent Labour Party but from much of the media.

    However, see how silent the BBC and other powerful media have been about the government’s failure to control immigration and how voices against our eu membership have been marginalised.

    The Conservative Party was negotiating this path of least resistance until, thankfully, the People – who seem to be less reliant and less trusting of the BBC these days – came to our rescue and demanded we leave the eu.

    All of a sudden the ‘modernisers’ and its friends in the media found themselves on the margins.

    So who are the fruit cakes and loons now?

  26. Summers here
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    So readable. Going to see if the library has JR books or can get them.

    • CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Summers here:
      Yeah JR wrote them when he was much younger…. Very readable. Not got through them all yet. Even though I may disagree with him sometimes, still a joy to read if only because of his style of writing. Written with a surgical pointed and sharp instrument.
      If the library does not have a copy they can certainly order one. If that fails you can get new and old online. I got one muck cheap called Public Enterprise in Crisis: The Future of the Nationalised Industries which was originally a discarded library book, excellent condition! There’s a similarly worded other title of JR’s which I have not so far read.

      • hefner
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        You can get most of them for 1 or 5 p (+£2.80 for Post & Packaging) from the “used” books in Amazon. Most of those are nearly new as people might have read them once.
        And I agree, it is very important for one to have read all of JR’s opera (opus-es) from one of the country’s best thinkers.

  27. Caterpillar
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    [Too long I know] I suspect modernising cannot be happening much since we maintain the same political parties (supported almost as teams), with similar voting structure (though devolved assemblies for the non-English), and we still hear/read the traditional arguments (e.g. wasteful socialist vs. entrepreneurial capitalists).

    1. On capitalism vs socialism, capitalism has won the basic argument – it can get whole countries out of poverty, but then what? In the ‘west’ capitalism initially supported largely secular, democratic institutions; whilst state capitalism in China has delivered people out of economic poverty but a single party system remains. Beyond escaping poverty we now wait to see what African countries deliver with capitalism. In the USA and the U.K., some have become disillusioned with capitalism because of the distribution of gain, when growth in returns to capital (and / or housing) outstrips growth in median wage this disillusionment will continue. This isn’t an argument against capitalism, it is just the question – what is capitalism for?

    2. When a narrower few appropriate the economic value add then people will question globalisation. World markets allow an individual technology, app or sports star to appropriate much more than in a village market, arguments for pushing out a production possibility frontier by international trade does not convince when those benefitting narrows. This is not an argument against trade, it is a question about how all can benefit?

    3. Law should not be based on disgust and use shame as punishment (to paraphrase Nussbaum) and so a move to social liberalism is to be applauded. But social liberalism cannot mean that the intolerant can be tolerated. We have to understand why intolerance occurs, and sadly much of this can occur due to young age acculturation. Some will celebrate that the UK is open to faith based schools, others will fear that this means children are not educated within a broad mix of viewpoints (and the threat of acculturated intolerance).

    4. Tax arguments remain trivially at the level of taxation rather than structure of tax. Reform needs to occur, if tax is to be used as a better policy lever on demand, to be progressive, to reward behaviours that are supposedly valued and to avoid Corporate subsidiary based tax avoidance – Bradford X type taxes need to be seriously worked through.

    5. ‘What is the good life?’ is not just a question for the Oxford Uni classicist. Being able to feel life is worthwhile has become harder for many, no longer can we do an honest day’s work, have a couple of pints of mild and despair at our local team’s defence, life is not secure and not enough… “I want my country back”. If you are not secure you worry, when you worry your IQ drops a standard deviation, your decisions get worse your life can spiral down. There is no point celebrating more people being able to access HE, if more people are in poverty/insecurity, destroying their intelligence. This will grow and spread into the middle classes as AI takes service jobs, We need to plan for a basic guaranteed income.

    • hefner
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for that.

  28. Atlas
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Most of the PLP have thrown their toys out of the pram just because Corbyn would go along with their ‘Remain’ stance.

    Labour has a three way split now – their traditional electorate in the North, the Corbynistas in the Labour Party membership, and the PLP who still want to be run by Blair. Incompatible !

  29. Jerry
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Off topic, GP lists. Why can’t the NHS simply cross reference the various other Government databases to check if people are still alive and if so they still live at an address within the catchment area for the GP, after all if someone is still liable for Council Tax, still in receipt of a state pension, or still paying or liable for NI/Tax for example then surely they are still alive and present?!

    Also, as for checking, how are these private companies going to be paid, I hope it will be a fixed contract and not incentive driven, otherwise there will be a risk that proper checks will not get carried out and people will simply be removed from GP lists simply because employees are put under pressure to de-register.

  30. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Don’t be too optimistic. Mrs May has said “Brexit means Brexit”, which sounds good but is simply a tautology. She has not said “My Government will not seek to join the European Economic Area and will reduce net immigration to the tens of thousands as promised in our manifesto”.

    To me, this is a red line issue. If a Conservative government seeks to join the EEA, I will not vote Conservative.

    Nor is there any comfort in the composition of the Commons. Vote Leave won over 50% of the vote but 75% of MPs are Remainers. Since selection of MPs is made locally, not centrally, we have to rely on UKIP being the agent of change at the next two General Elections. UKIP should contest all Labour held seats except where the Labour MP is Eurosceptic (Kate Hoey, Graham Stringer, frank Field etc). It should also target those Conservative MPs who are still pro-European (Ken Clarke, George Osborne etc).

    We simply cannot afford to drop our guard.

  31. John Bracewell
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    The ‘ modernisers’ have taken a blow with the loss of their chief spokespersons, both Labour Blairites and the Conservative Notting Hill set, but the words being spoken now do not constitute anywhere near a victory. Two phrases which appear to be in direct conflict ‘Brexit means Brexit’ and ‘I support the Unionist part of the Party name’ need to be resolved, does 2016 Brexit trump a failed 2014 Scottish Independence? Only one deed will give the answer over the words and that is no delay in triggering Article 50 beyond January 2017. That can then be followed by a firm statement to the effect that Scotland is and will remain part of the United Kingdom. The form and the details of Brexit will only become clear during the negotiations, it is unlikely, I hope, that David Davies will make the same negotiating mistake as Cameron by making his stance clear before talks begin. If the consultations with countries of the UK, other Parties, Trades Unions etc.about Brexit are allowed to delay the invocation of Article 50 then there will be dire consequences for Brexit and in turn for the Conservatives. There are clearly 2 warring factions in the current Labour Party and less obvious but still detectable under the warm words about unity a fragile potential for splitting in the Conservative Party.

  32. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    A related topic: Am I the only Tory who finds the prospect of the left wing lets-have-a-second-EU-referendum lobbyist-for-Pfitzer Owen Smith a lot more abhorent than Jeremy Corbyn?

  33. BOF
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    ‘There were always far more Leavers and Eurosceptics than remain supporters or believers in the EU project in the unwhipped Conservative party.’

    How does this explain why TM, apart from the Brexit Trio, has stuffed the cabinet with Remainders? I agree with Mark B and do not believe that our new PM will ever invoke Article 50. A shame because it will mean another huge battle and division in the country. Until we have properly left the EU there will never be unity. Membership devides both main parties and society.

  34. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    From the Foreign Affairs Committee:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmfaff/431/43103.htm#_idTextAnchor004

    “Finally, in our April 2016 report on the implications of the referendum on EU membership for the UK’s role in the world, we described the FCO’s apparent lack of any contingency planning for a vote to leave the EU as “regrettable”. Since the referendum, the extent of the Government’s lack of preparation for a potential “leave” vote has become more evident. In the light of the appointment of the new Prime Minister on 13 July, the previous Government’s confidence that basic planning for the practicalities of implementing Brexit could be undertaken at a leisurely pace after the vote now appears at best naïve and at worst negligent. The previous Government’s considered view not to instruct key Departments including the FCO to plan for the possibility that the electorate would vote to leave the EU amounted to gross negligence. It has exacerbated post-referendum uncertainty both within the UK and amongst key international partners, and made the task now facing the new Government substantially more difficult.”

    At one time that might have been grounds for impeachment.

  35. JoeSoap
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    “Today it looks very unlikely that the Conservative party will split as its enemies might wish.”
    Most of us aren’t enemies of the Conservative Party per se, but of the characters and their ideas which have been dished up since 1992.
    The future will depend on T May’s adherence to the referendum result. Despite this early pseudo-enthusiasm, will it be kicked into the long grass? Will you still be supporting her if immigration is still as high in 2020? If she hasn’t stopped paying contributions to the EU?
    You should be demanding a timescale for stopping the contributions and possibly recovery of post-23/6 contributions as academics and others are told that their projects will no longer be EU funded.

  36. newmania
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Your favourable reaction to modernisers was well hidden at the time . I`m not sure if 1993 counts as the end of the Major period but this is pretty typical of the sort of thing you liked to say to tickle the Mary Whitehouse fan club”…..before granting state aid( to single mothers ), to pursue the father and see whether it is possible for him to make a financial contribution, or even a fuller contribution by offering the normal love and support that fathers have offered down the ages to their family.’ ….J Redwood . … bashing single mothers in a modernising way I expect
    In another piece of truthiness you have then sought to meld those Conservatives who understood just how dead in the water The Conservative Party were with New Labour . This may seem tempting now with so many Conservative voters disgusted with their own Party but it is an anachronism. The writing of this early group was against Thachterism in the sense of re-emphasising Conservatism , it was of an entirely different character to Blair`s Cool Britannia and at ease with Euroscepticism , just not with UK economic suicide and irrelevance .
    The entire Conservative Party supported the invasion of Iraq including you with or without weapons of mass destruction. I should hope so to. It was sufficient reason to support the US who would not soon have forgiven us had we not . If you now regret overthrowing Saddam Hussein and the worldwide rout of Al-Qaeda I `d love to hear why . We have had a policy of non-intervention for a while now . Worked out well hasn`t it
    My own feeling is that the Conservative Party has alienated a whole section of middle-class and younger opinion ( younger than the Conservative Party membership anyway) and will not soon be electable where they are a force . In this sense moderate Labour and moderate Conservatives find they have much more in common on a number of levels than they do with , let us say , John Redwood and there is a clear need for a third centrist Party .
    If we did not have the first past the post system then this would certainly have happened and the current collapse of our democracy is a direct result of this
    It is quite outrageous that I must now choose between Communists and anti business Daily Mail spouting ultras busily trying to put half the City out for work and make Britain an international laughing stock. This is why the townof Lewes is going to vote en masse against Maria Caulfield .

    • Edward2
      Posted July 21, 2016 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

      12 points ahead in the most recent polls.

  37. gyges01
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    A bit off topic but when appropriate, could you share your thoughts on the European Court of Human Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998, please?

  38. turboterrier
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    It never ceases to amaze me that with all the remoaners and modernisers that not one of them has the guts to actually say that they chose to completely ignore from Jan 2016 and even before at the time of the Greek crisis, the web was awash with facts regarding the financial problems within the EU they were still obsessed with keeping us in the Union.

    Why invest your future in an organisation heading for the cliff? Unless there was some ulterior motive way beyond my thought process.

    At the risk of losing by elections the government has got to give the ultimatum that it will be a case of sign on or ship out, because the train will not be stopping and if you decide it is not for you the jumping off or shove could be fatal to ones career.

  39. Colin Hart
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    Modernisation is one of the most dangerous words in the political vocabulary. Closely followed by sustainability, equality and social justice.

  40. anon
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    How many extra EU laws will be imposed on us whilst we are chained by our MP’s to the EU?

    It seems May to morphing into Conservative CaMAYron with promises not to be kept.

    Actions speak and there is none but shuffling.

  41. zorro
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    So no Article 50 before next year….. Really? So difficult? oh well, according to the BBC 10’o clock news it is…. There was an ‘international lawyer’ called ‘Miriam Gonzales’ who said it would all be too difficult and that each agreement with every country would need an army of lawyers which would make it effectively impossible for the UK to negotiate anything.

    This raises several points….

    1) Why have we allowed ourselves to be so denuded of lawyers/trade negotiators to function outside of the EU? Is this why the EU constructed itself in such a way that countries would be scared of their own shadow if they dared leave the EU?

    2) Then I thought…. no it doesn’t matter because why am I listening to the opinions of this ‘international lawyer’ who happens to be Miriam Clegg, the wife of Nick Clegg, former Lib Dem deputy prime minister and EU fanatic!

    Good to see Cast Elastic being thoroughly lambasted for his gross negligence and unforgivable duplicity as a supposed servant of the Crown.

    1) He faithfully promised publicly on several occasions that he would stay as PM whatever the vote and dutifully follow through the views of the electorate including triggering A50 quickly…. He didn’t and fled the field in ignominy.

    2) Everyone thought that he would undertake the duties of PM honourably and make sensible preparations for either outcome to professionally direct the country going forwards…… He didn’t and stopped civil servants from formulating policy positions to assist ministers in responding to new circumstances. Totally unforgiveable conduct and negligent in its effects on the economy. He is to blame for anything that happens and NOT Brexit.

    Of course, he was probably wanting to chillax and the thought of any real patruiotic work iun support of his country was too much like “hard s**t” and would benefit others and not him. Despicable…..

    zorro

  42. Iain Gill
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    The biggest fear both the main parties should have, and the BBC come to that, should be loss of support from the increasingly not so silent majority which has made crystal clear it wants out of the EU now, and not when Ms May can be arsed getting round to it, and which has made it crystal clear that immigration is out of control and there has got to be radical action to bring it under control. Unless the main parties start recognising these mainstream views of the public, and recognising that there are many legal, decent, honest people who feel this way, then there is a big chance that UKIP or a version of Trump will take many scalps come the next election. And if that happens it will serve them right. And I am tired of the BBC using bias and selective reporting to make it look as if everyone who holds these views is of low IQ or uneducated.

  43. Pat
    Posted July 21, 2016 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    I think the conservative party will split- eventually.
    Belief in socialism, whilst not yet dead, is in terminal decline. Mr. Blair found a way of extending the life of the Labour party by abandoning socialism. It appears that the socialists are in the process of taking over the Labour party, and hence driving away many Labour voters. They may go to UKIP, to the Conservatives, or just stay home.
    Once this has been evidenced by an actual election, then and only then, the Conservative party will split.
    I base this on the observation that people are motivated to vote to block the party they don’t like as often as to support the party they do. If, as I predict Labour becomes electorally insignificant, then those supporting the Conservative party to keep Labour out will review their options.

  • 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.

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