What do the Conservatives stand for?

On the doorsteps, and sometimes on this site, I get asked what would the Conservatives do about the economic problems?

David Cameron yesterday said ” We will never forget there is no such thing as government money. It is taxpayers’ money – your money”. He pledged to root out waste, get better value, and concentrate spending on the important areas. He wishes to start cutting the deficit as soon as possible if elected.

The Conservatives are – amongst other things – pledged to abolish ID cards, centralised computer projects, and English regional Assemblies and RDAs. They have said they intend to cut the overhead and administrative costs of Whitehall and quangoland by one third, impose a pay freeze for all but the lowest paid throughout the public sector in 2011, limit top public sector pensions, cut Ministerial pay by 5% and then freeze it, cut the number of MPs and Spin doctors, cut the government advertising budget, cut regulatory costs through regulatory budgets, cut the overhead and supervision of Town Hall from Whitehall and scrap Comprehensive Area Assessments. They would require Town Halls to list all items of spending over £500, and to list all senior staff earning about £58,500 a year with full details of their total package. They will move to a higher pension age for all.

Recognising the need to cut taxes on enterprise and jobs, they have said they will cut the Standard rate of Corporation Tax to 25% from 28%, the smaller company rate from 22% to 20%, abolish NI on the first ten jobs created by a new business for two years,and make further cuts in NI a priority. They would seek a two year freeze on Council Tax. They would reform welfare to provide better incentives to work.


  1. PHM
    March 7, 2010

    a good start. thank you. so why is Boris Johnson unable to say this on QT on Thursday? Why was Ken unable to say this on Any Q on Friday? Are you waiting for the election to actually be formally 'called' before you announce any policy? the story that you have no poicy is allowed to run and run.

    1. Derek Duncan
      March 7, 2010

      I am puzzled just as PHM is …

    2. APL
      March 8, 2010

      JR: "the story that you have no poicy is allowed to run and run."

      These are the policies you would get if Redwood was leader of the Tory party.

      Since he isn't you won't.

      What you will get instead from the Cameron leadership are fine words but no parsnips.

      Reply: The policies in this item are official Conservative policy. That's the point of it, in contrast to my recommendations which are the subject of other pieces I have written.

        March 8, 2010

        We recognise the distinction John.

        We have read the 48 blogs below and the one that strikes a chord is below:


        alan jutson Reply:
        March 7th, 2010 at 9:51 am


        “Vote Labour, Bankrupt the Country, then lose your job”.

        A sensible and SIMPLE phrase which many could associate with.

        As I have said before on many blogs here, the message needs to be kept simple and hard hitting.

        Labour have been better than the Conservatives at these soundbites for years, about time the tide was turned.


        A simple message is absolutely essential. We still advocate 'COMMON SENSE & COMPETENCE'.
        However we wonder if the Conservatives can promise this.

        We watched Nick Herbert on 'Straight Talk' at the weekend. He was dire. The worst of New Labour mush like Theresa May's in Brighton.

        We suspect that there are simply too many voices in the Tory leadership camp. Osborne, Hague, Coulson, Hilton, Samantha et al…a trait of leadership is to cut through the nonsense but is DC upto the task?

        1. THE ESSEX BOYS
          March 8, 2010

          ESSEX BOY 3 HERE!

          A reminder od our blogs 2 months ago…

          THE ESSEX BOYS on 10 Jan 2010 at 1:45 pm

          We watched DC with Andy Marr this morning and see why the commentators say that he has not yet ‘closed the deal’.
          Nice enough bloke, particularly compared with boastful barmy Brown, but he’s not fast enough on his feet in interviews.
          I’ve just had a phone around to my Essex Boy colleagues for reactions. We are ordinary middle/working class blokes and DC needs to speak to the VIEWERS, like ourselves, and not just to the interviewer from the Westminster bubble.

          Q: “Just what do you and the Conservatives stand for Mr Cameron?”

          A: “Your viewers are fed up to the back teeth with government plans that don’t work, introduced by ministers who have never had a real job via expensive consultants we cannot afford and who haven’t any proper experience of the job in hand.
          Those viewers are looking for the same British COMMON SENSE they use in their own everyday lives and you can bank on us to use that yardstick with EVERY plan that comes across my desk. COMMON SENSE!”

          “The second thing your viewers want is COMPETENCE. This government does not have the experience or ability to DO what they say they will. My team have been in their shadow jobs for 3 years and know their briefs far better than the regularly reshuffled Labour ministers. How many Secretaries of State have we had for Health, Education, Pensions or the Home Office in the past 12 years? Plenty. I have a settled, knowledgeable team with business experience outside Parliament. Even if we had to put LABOUR policies into place WE would do it twice as well as them! On top of that we have common sense policies that will work.”

          Andrew Adonis came on afterwards and used the Common Sense term 6 times in 2 minutes. He’s got to be kidding of course but don’t let Labour make the term theirs Mr Cameron because you can show how very much Labour has been lacking in it since they came to office. And devoid of competence too!
          Cameron fast on his feet? When the call came for another UK salt mine it didn’t need Galton & Simpson to see the quip that it would be a place for voters to send Brown and his inept team after the general election!
          Wise up Mr C, think faster and start using the voters’ lingo…or find yourself a writer who can!

          THE ESSEX BOYS Reply:
          January 11th, 2010 at 10:47 am

          …Maybe John Redwood even!

  2. Colin D.
    March 7, 2010

    We taxpayers want OUR money to be spent ONLY if it delivers value for money. Fools can spend someone else's money and boast how much they have spent if they are never required to demonstrate a return on investment. This is what Labour ministers have been allowed to get away with for years.
    So why is NHS expenditure not on your list? What about education? These are gobbling up money – borrowed money at that – with questionable return on great chunks of the investment.
    When the Conservatives have the guts to add NHS and education to the list, then we taxpayers might start to think you are serious about cuts.

    1. Stuart Fairney
      March 7, 2010

      This tax payer wants his money returned!

  3. Javelin
    March 7, 2010

    Labour has created hundreds of thousands of unproductive jobs. These jobs are bankrupting the economy.

    Gordon Brown would like this election to be "vote conservative and lose your job" David Cameron needs the election to be "vote Labour bankrupt the country, then lose your job"

    People in unproductive Government jobs (or benefits) need to feel shame, embaressment and guilt that they are taking tax payers money and bankrupting the country. Let's ask questions like "Are You Bankrupting Britain?"

    1. alan jutson
      March 7, 2010


      "Vote Labour, Bankrupt the Country, then lose your job".

      A sensible and SIMPLE phrase which many could associate with.

      As I have said before on many blogs here, the message needs to be kept simple and hard hitting.

      Labour have been better than the Conservatives at these soundbites for years, about time the tide was turned.

    2. Michael Lewis
      March 7, 2010

      Good point. Though it does lead me to think: Would the Conservatives be better off loosing this election? Whoever wins will have to enforce unpopular measures, if its Labour and they miss the opportunity, then they'll be finished as a force, if the UK has to go to the IMF.

      1. Javelin
        March 7, 2010

        The thing about leftwingers is they don't do responsibility, so asking them to act responsibity is like asking a pig to sing. The pig can't sing and you will just annoy the king.

        Psychologically left wingers logic works on the basis of guilt and shame. Leftwingers want to act like victims, receive benefits and call you an aggressor. To counter leftwingers you need to act like a victim and call them the aggressor.

        So the line I would use against unproductive Government workers and unnecessary benefits is …


        1. Steve Tierney
          March 8, 2010

          Sorry Javelin, but that's a bonkers idea – even if your argument for it is mostly right.

          Nobody thinks they are the ones who have an "unproductive" job.

          By being this directly aggressive you will just alienate people. Everyone would answer "no" but resent the question.

  4. Norman
    March 7, 2010

    I don't think any conservative could argue with any one of those items. If the Conservatives do gain power and could make a start on the majority of these early on it would be a good beginning and send out the correct message as to which direction they want to take the country in. Less government, less control, less taxes, more freedom of choice, more opportunity, more transparency.

    I did read a negative piece somewhere over the weekend, but for the life of me can't remember where possibly the Telegraph, which said that the corporation tax cut was simply shuffling money around as there were other new stealth taxes planned which meant that the tax burden on companies would remain the same.

    I really hope this isn't true as not only is this the type of thing we are sick to death of, being a favourite Labour tactic over the last 13 years, but it would also send the wrong message out about Conservative intentions.

  5. Simon D
    March 7, 2010

    There is too much noise in the election campaign and the public are very confused. It is not surprising that many appear to be playing safe by telling pollsters they will continue to support the Labour government.

    Team Cameron is not putting its message over. It needs to get its act together and match the formidable and awesome nature of Labour's spin machine.

    We Tories need three key sound bites to encapsulate our policy and three more subsidiary sound bites to flesh things out. Otherwise, how are the poor confused floating voters of middle England going to distinguish between the three parties.?

    Spin is not everything, but gloriously clear presentation is very important in winning elections and should be at the very top of Team Cameron's agenda.

    1. Slightly Green Conse
      March 7, 2010

      Amen to that. The message is currently not at all clear, and Labour's, it has to be said, well organised spin machine, is running rings round the Conservative party.
      Good points on the economy, but what about Law and Order, and Immigration, both areas where we should be stonger than the opposition, and that forgotten issue, transport? Whatever means you choose to get around the country, it's hell, yet not a word on it that I've heard.

  6. ThousandsOfMilesAway
    March 7, 2010

    Erm, sorry to quibble, but hasn't it already been pointed out that the proposed tax cut on businesses is a revenue-neutral Brownesque sleight of hand?

  7. Andy Hoff
    March 7, 2010

    All good but nowhere near enough considering the disastrous state of Britains debts. We need reductions in government costs by the tens of billions almost immediately to prevent the bond market collapsing along with sterling.
    DC has to start getting the message out that we are technically insolvent and if drastic action isn't taken we will be actually insolvent and begging for money from the IMF who will have no hesitation in forcing huge cuts.
    We also need root and branch reform of every aspect of government, taxation and foreign policy but the chances of getting that are vanishingly small with the vested interests that run this country.

  8. tally
    March 7, 2010

    This is the first time I have been able to read a list of policies from the Conservatives. best get it in the msm so everone knows

    1. Mike Stallard
      March 7, 2010

      I follow politics carefully. I warmly agree with this comment.

  9. Ken Adams
    March 7, 2010

    I feel there would be costs involved implementing some of these “promises”
    perhaps therefore the savings will not be as great as might be imagined.

    Of course, raising of retirement age would be the really big saver for government! but it should be noted that it will be the people who will be the ones who actually make that sacrifice!

    Somehow I do not think that after government and bankers actions have caused these economic problems “vote for us and we will force you to work an extra 5 years” is a slogan that is likely to garner many votes.

    There is also the prospect of much higher government spending being forced on us by the looming electricity shortages and the conservative’s insistence on meeting the EU green agenda, as explained by Booker in the Telegraph this morning.

    It is clear the conservatives stand for no change just more of the same, more EU intervention, more public spending, more taxes and more working years.

    1. A.Sedgwick
      March 7, 2010

      Generally in agreement with you particularly on the retirement age. One of the many skewed official statistics concerns unemployment and the euphemistically called inactive, which is nearer the true figure. I would guess a minority of men last until 65 in work, so the prospect of extra years of inactivity for some is not for their benefit quite the reverse. Having said that a true Conservative would encourage the delaying of pension age with serious tax and retirement benefits. Sticks are for socialists, carrots are for true Conservatives.

  10. Roger Helmer MEP
    March 7, 2010

    Every Conservative canvasser should have a copy of this in his/her pocket.

  11. JimF
    March 7, 2010

    And still this is vague and tinkering at the edges….

    Why not abolish NI, full stop, and incorporate it into income tax? It’s a tax on private sector jobs, when private sector jobs are what’s needed. CUT public sector pay to pay for it, don’t just freeze it….
    Your largest spend is the NHS, with its enormously expensive bureaucracy. Not a word about that.
    Corporation tax cut for small Companies by 2%, but allowances reduced to make this revenue neutral. How’s that going to encourage investment? Why not promise to keep it at the lowest level in Europe, and encourage investment by keeping allowances? Why not pay Companies 50% of the wage bill for 6 or 12 months to take on ex-public sector workers and train them to work in a money-making environment? You'd be saving half their current wage bill.
    I’m sorry to be hypercritical, but I really think you should be putting your name to some policies borne of imagination, rather than this rather tame anaemic portfolio.

    1. alan jutson
      March 7, 2010

      Jim F

      Did you not spot the words, all of these were listed as "-amongst other things-", which I guess means much more is to come.

      The starting rate of tax (personal allowance) at £12,500 and the merging of NI and Income tax would be a start.

      Its simple, it saves on administration, it encourages those on some benefits back to work, it helps the low paid most.

    2. Duyfken
      March 7, 2010

      JimF: I suggest it is better to keep NI contributions separate from general taxation. As a proclaimed insurance scheme, albeit an unfunded one, it does give the citizen some assurance of an adequate pension at the existing pensionable age. Without the specific NI contributions (= premiums), a government, any government, might find it much easier to dishonour the implied commitment, by arbitrarily increasing the pensionable age for all and/or reducing the inflation-adjusted level of state pension. I hope that some day, you will be old!

      1. JimF
        March 7, 2010

        I hope so too!
        I admire your sense of optimism, but the idea that the Country’s NI contributions insure our health, unemployment and guaranteed pensions benefits is no more than a romantic notion.
        NI is a rather quaint tax on employment, not paid on dividend income, pension income, capital gains or benefits but by all those nice supportive middle-aged middle-class waged and salaried folk and their employers.
        Surely the answer is to provide a minimum living income for all students over 18, non-workers and pensioners, according to their needs, from general taxation. Any extra should be funded from proper state or private insurance/pension schemes, rather than this phony insurance fund which is neither defined insurance nor a fund.

    3. Stuart Fairney
      March 7, 2010

      “Why not abolish NI, full stop, and incorporate it into income tax?”

      YES! tax honesty; we’ve had enough deceit on tax in the last decade. Just tell the truth.

      When people realise just how much tax they pay the apppetite for tax cuts might increasequite a bit

  12. Tuscan Tony
    March 7, 2010

    Good – now someone needs to get these points over to Joe Public clearly and quickly.

    1. Kevin Peat
      March 7, 2010


      Unfortunately Labour have succeeded in convincing large swathes of the electorate that economic catastrophy has been averted. Some people even choose to believe it in the face of all evidence to the contrary.

  13. Sue Doughty
    March 7, 2010

    Brilliant and informative list. Thank you John.
    And Labour, we are told, would cut NHS spending on patient care and close hospital wards while keeping their party placemen on the payroll. They would put VAT on food and make motoring even more punative so that honest unemployed young white males are further blocked from making a living. They would increase taxes right across the board and take on even more public service workers to administer it. They would cut school funding and further education money….. (another allegation left out-ed)

    Reply: Labour would deny these charges

  14. Derek Buxton
    March 7, 2010

    But little mention of the potential energy shortages expected in the next few years. I'm afraid that Cameron's dallying with the "green nut jobs" is not going to help anyone. The whole thing is rapidly becoming a scam of gigantic proportions, and the costs to us are being hidden….deliberately. His "mini generating" scheme is a joke, or would be if it wasn't so serious.

  15. backofanenvelope
    March 7, 2010

    OK Mr Redwood. We are borrowing half a billion pounds a day to just stay afloat. Actually, it is worse than that, we are just slowing down our dive to the bottom.

    So, what does your interesting list add up to? Half a billion a day by any chance? And when does it start to actually work?

  16. William Grace
    March 7, 2010

    PHM has it correct, if what you right is the case, then why are we not hearing the big Dave say this everytime he gets air time?

    I have not heard any of what you have written come out of big Dave…

    You air brush, you smile, you shake hands well, but….

    You need to have someone SPEAK the words that you type….

    I have a feeling you might have someone from CH tell you that you should stop promising things that they are not sure they can promise…

  17. Eleanor
    March 7, 2010

    I don't understand. If you abolish central computer systems how is that going to improve areas where the major inefficiency is the current backwardness of the current filing systems. Areas such as immigration records, doctor's records and I'm sure many other areas in which I don't have as much knowledge need to move forward into the 21st century and upgrade their resources.

    1. David Price
      March 7, 2010

      The biggest computer system in the world is the telephone network. There are many physical networks but no central control or database, just agreement between the networks how they will exchange information. You can go to virtually any country in the world with your mobile phone and make and receive calls, they don't all have the same equipement or even the same generation of equipment.

      You don't need a single central system or database for health or education or anything, just for the various departments to agree how they will format and exchange information.

      For the answer to why people are suggesting otherwise, the answer is boringly familiar – follow the money.

    2. Mike Stallard
      March 7, 2010

      When the lights go out in a couple of years' time, owing to the disastrous anti-carbon policy of Europe and the banning of coal and atomic power stations (!!!) it will not matter whether you are sitting at an iMac or a PC. Did you read Christopher Booker today?

    3. Simon
      March 7, 2010

      Eleanor ,

      You are right that keeping all data of a particular type in a single centralised database is by far the best solution from an operational standpoint .

      Horizontally partioning so that one patients medical records reside in a database owned by one NHS trust and another patients reside in a different NHS trusts database is problematic for many reasons no matter no matter who may claim otherwise .

      The situtation gets worse if the logical datamodels of the databases are designed by different vendors and are not logically equivalent .

      A manifest pledge to abolish (projects for future) centralised computer systems may prove popular rhetoric with the electorate .

      In reality I suspect it is a well intentioned fudge (to increase competition,devolve blame) which will not be managed in such a way that keeps the door open for future unification of databases .

      1. APL
        March 8, 2010

        Simon: "The situtation gets worse if the logical datamodels of the databases are designed by different vendors and are not logically equivalent ."


        But it doesn't have to be like that. You simply need centrally mandated standards for patient records. A patient moves from one GP to another, and that patients records can move with him because the patients new GP computer systems expect a standard format for the patient records.

        That is all the government need do, mandate the standard patient file across the UK medical services.

        1. Simon
          March 8, 2010

          APL ,

          Expressions such as "simply need centrally mandated standards" and "all the government needs to do"
          and "standard patient file" (singular) imply a gross over simplification of the problem domain .

          If following a localised approach with a choice of vendors then the vendor must have the freedom to implement their own logical datamodel so that logical designs do not have to be equal but should be equivalent at least at an interface level as David Price points out .

          You bring up the issue of stewardship of a patients medical records .
          On one hand letting a patient assign stewardship to a GP they trust is great for data protection but on another it's just computerising the current mainly manual system without re-analysing to see what is possible ; like the introduction of trafficator arms on early cars before the eventual solution of flashing indicator bulbs .

          APL , David Price , I am still of the opinon that a single centralised database could facilitate better shared access to more up to date data (less stale) of higher data quality than is achievable with local copies of data .
          However , it is very difficult to get accepted so perhaps you are right that it might be better for public efforts to be directed into preventing a localised solution from becoming a disastrous monster .

          Certainly to get efficiency and cost savings for the country as a whole and improve national policy decision making , allocation of resources , siting of expensive equipment etc it will be neccessary to have a data-warehouse with information about all patients/doctors/NHS hostpitals in the U.K. for statistical analysis and forecasting .

          Please feel free to email me offline if you like
          simon_striebig at NTLWORLD dot com .

        2. voice of reason
          March 8, 2010

          no let the patient carry their own data on a memory card or similar

          have it encrypted so that simply loosing the card is no issue

          let the patient decide who and when to share it with

          get it backed up somewhere neutral and secure

          let the people control their own health data not the state

          all much more effective, as it solves not just the cross nhs trust border problem but also the cross country border problem

        3. APL
          March 8, 2010

          Voice of Reason: "no let the patient carry their own [encrypted] data on a memory card or similar"

          That is entirely possible. I suggest there ought to be a protocol such that the original records at the first GPs office are not deleted until the patients new GP acknowledges receipt of his new patient's records.

          But it doesn't detract from my original point. The government does not have to build a massive central database and computer center, the government need, in the first instance to simply mandate the minimum set of standards describing the data in a patient record. It would then be up to the vendor to build a system that can interpret that data.

          Otherwise, I don't disagree with your suggestion.

          Voice of Reason: "let the people control their own health data not the state"

          No objection there. In the light of the many breaches of data security in the last couple of years, be it; child benefit details, Income tax details, military personal details, a distributed system where the only data you can lose is the smallest quanta of your personal data, seems much much more secure than the alternative.

        4. Simon
          March 9, 2010

          Voice Of Reason

          I have no objection to people asserting their right that their medical data is not held in any database anywhere .

          However what you are suggesting is very idealistic and very flawed .

          A certain amount of information needs to be held in healthcare systems to enable them to :-

          – identify candidates for preventative treatment like flu jabs
          – cross reference a patients conditions and treatments to act on the latest information
          – properly follow up a patient they are giving treatment to

        5. APL
          March 9, 2010

          Simon: "If following a localised approach with a choice of vendors then the vendor must have the freedom to implement their own logical datamodel so that logical designs do not have to be equal but should be equivalent at least at an interface level as David Price points out"


          The vendor should adhere to the standard prescribed by the NHS or other government authority.

          A vendor can implement the application that interprets the data record in any innovative manner it chooses. But the data model that describes the patients records must be complied with.

          Simon: "as David Price points out ."

          Let us remind ourselves what David Price said:

          "You don’t need a single central system or database for health or education or anything, just for the various departments to agree how they will format and exchange information."

          i.e. an agreed format for data. That sounds like my standard patient file.

          David Price: "For the answer to why people are suggesting otherwise, the answer is boringly familiar – follow the money."

          I disagree with Simon and agree with David Price.

  18. Rich
    March 7, 2010

    Those are all laudable aims. I personally don't believe that a Tory government would cut one single computer project or assembly. One the one hand you have a powerful political establishment working hand in glove with the professional services sector with literally billions of pounds at stake. On the other, you have a weakened Tory party where most of the prospective MPs – nonentities like Chloe Smith – don't believe in anything except getting elected and (enjoying the rewards-ed)

    If you believe that things will be any different under the Tories, you would also believe that replacing the head bartender with a different man would have made a difference to the ultimate fate of the Titanic.

  19. John Bowman
    March 7, 2010

    All good things to stand for, but how about getting the UK out of the EU and getting off the beach trying to hold back the tide (of global warming)?

  20. […] Originally posted here: John Redwood MP » What do the Conservatives stand for? […]

  21. Mike Stallard
    March 7, 2010

    This excellent and encouraging message is simply not getting through.
    The Labour are now, I consider the new Nasty Party.
    I admire Mr Cameron's sang froid. I do hope that you talented lot of veterans are warmly there in the background so that, when, for instance, a key player in the shadow team is caught drunk in a night club, there will be an immediate replacement.

  22. […] Continue reading here: John Redwood MP » What do the Conservatives stand for? […]

  23. no one
    March 7, 2010

    You know I was reading in the guardian, I was on the train and had already read the telegraph :), apparently the UK amputates more limbs from diabetics than anywhere else in Europe (leaves it too late to do anything better treatments)

    Apparently it's much cheaper to get proper foot care out to diabetics, and get foot specialists to visit all diabetics when they are admitted to hospital for whatever reason (as the rest of Europe does)

    You know stuff like this is natural conservative stuff, its cheaper, its better service to the public

    This is the kind of detail I wish we had in the conservative policies

  24. Y Rhyfelwr Dewr
    March 7, 2010

    An impressive list. But where does negotiating a repatriation of powers from Brussels fit into all this? Or, for that matter, a sovereignty bill and referendum requirement?

    That was Cameron's promise following the Lisbon Treaty's ratification, but my oh my, hasn't everybody been keeping awfully silent about it ever since? Now it would appear this pledge has been quietly dropped, and that it was never anything more than a bit of flim-flam to keep the Eurosceptics quiet. Which leads me to question whether his cast-iron guarantee was anything more than flim-flam. Is Cameron's "Euroscepticism" actually anything more than flim-flam? He does seem remarkably willing to cooperate with the EU and give it whatever they want.

    How can I trust somebody like that? I want a conviction politician, not somebody who tells me what he thinks I want to hear. I might still vote for him, simply because another five years of Gordon Clown doesn't bear contemplation. But I expect nothing from him and fuly anticipate that the best we can hope for is that, in five years, we'll be mildly less screwed than we are now. Finally, we'll surrender another massive load of powers to Europe in defiance of the popular will.

    Reply: The official Conservative policy of course includes the Sovereignty Bill and getting powers back from the EU. I thought everyone knew that by now.

    1. Y Rhyfelwr Dewr
      March 8, 2010

      Clearly not, because although I don't follow politics minutely, I'd say I'm probably better informed than most, and I was unaware.

      The problem is that no-one in the party has mentioned it, so far as I'm aware: no speeches; nothing on the Conservative party's website; not even a mention on The Blue Blog. When so many commentators note the huge degree of scepticism and disbelief that characterizes the public's attitude toward politics, is this not unwise for a party whose supporters are so strongly Euro-sceptic? The impression given is that Cameron would rather everybody just forgot about his pledges on Europe and sovereignty. Given the widespread disappointment felt at his Lisbon Treaty statement saying "We don't want a bust-up with Europe," and that same public distrust of politicians, do you not think the occasional reminder would be a sound idea?

      Have a word with Cameron, for heavens' sake, Mr Redwood. The Tory campaign is utterly inept, which is why we're struggling to gain a majority against one of the most incompetent and unpopular governments in this country's history.

    2. APL
      March 9, 2010

      Y Rhyfelwr Dewr: "How can I trust somebody like that? "

      The answer is of course, you can't!

  25. Simon
    March 7, 2010

    Means tested retirement benefits disincentivise saving and supposedly cost about 18 billion to facilitate the means testing .

    Since the prudent will end up paying for the spendthrift anyway would the prudent actually be any worse off if everybody was compelled to save by deductions from salary to establish a fund which would guarantee a better state pension ?

    Pensions of todays public servants must be fully funded by the current generation of taxpayers , not the next .

    Changing final salary to average salary defined benefit is not good enough . Public servants should have access to exactly the same properly costed pension as the private sector – defined contribution .

  26. hatfield girl
    March 7, 2010

    We have only to look at Greece (yes, it's a much smaller economy and inside the euro but that isn't relevant here) to recognize what is going to have to be done by the new government.

    The difference between Labour and Conservative is that Labour expects the IMF to do the fiscal necessaries (remember Mandelson has said already there is no shame in calling in global assistance in a globally caused crisis) and thus it will not be a 'Labour' policy choice but a 'necessary' choice, assisted by a global institution, springing from a global problem.

    Meanwhile the Conservatives recognize a Brown/Labour-created fiscal disaster and are preparing to deal with it, responsibly, ourselves. The refusal by Labour to cope with what they have done must be made clear. It is not good enough to allow them to hide behind 'global'-generated IMF requirements. Remember, they see no shame in IMF bail-outs in their global project.

  27. English Pensioner
    March 7, 2010

    The Conservatives have announced that they want to cut the country's deficit. As I understand it, the deficit is the overspend, or amount that is borrowed each year, and while there is an annual deficit, the gross debt of the country is still increasing.
    In order to cut this debt, surely we need no deficit, but indeed enough to spare to reduce the debt.
    Otherwise its just like someone with a a credit card saying that he won't borrow so much next month, but making no effort to repay what is outstanding. It only works when you haven't reached your credit limit, and it seems that in terms of the markets, Britain is well over the limit!

  28. Jamess
    March 8, 2010

    Forgive me for my scepticism: it's no reflection on you, but it is one on David Cameron. Could you link your election promises with published statements by Dave?

    From what I can work out he misled Hannan into thinking there would be a referendum on Europe and left his friend hanging. Has he done the same to you? Or is Dave willinging to stand by this list.

    Reply: This list is taken from official statements of Conservative party policies.

  29. Ken
    March 8, 2010

    Mr Redwood, the message just isn't getting across, is it? I'm a media junkie and a member of the Conservative Party, but there are items on your list that even I didn't know about. To the average voter, surely the list would appear a sensible and appealing one. If they knew about it.

  30. FaustiesBlog
    March 8, 2010

    The Conservative Party is barely conservative any more. Their policies are barely distinguishable from Labour's if you look at the fine print.

    What's going on?

    How can Gove's education be said to be conservative when he wants to nationalise independent schools and disallow selection?

    It's farcical!

  31. Stephen Oliver
    March 8, 2010

    This links with first 2 of the 6 policy priorities stated in Brighton and being reinforced at every stage by the party:
    1. Act on Debt
    2. Get Britain working

    The others are:
    3. Make Britain family friendly
    4. Back the NHS
    5. Raise standards in schools
    6. Change politics

    What we aren't getting from CCHQ is detail on how to make those priorities happen. This is where John's article is useful. We need more on how to make the other 4 happen.

  32. S Whittfield
    March 8, 2010

    The Conservative party hasn't anything of any substance to say on the whole. We hear the usual pap about the need for 'change' and 'modernisation ' within the party. Is Cameron really arrogant enough to believe that age old conservative values that have stood the test of time, and formed the bedrock of our society need to change or are no longer relevant ?.
    He has all but admitted the labour charge that the tories were indeed a party of privelidged toffs who wanted to grind the noses of the poor into the dirt,fat cas etc. etc. 'Same old conservatives' says the labour machine over and over.
    His second major mistake was copying labour spending plans. This was going to be Dave's very own version of 1997's Tony Blair/matching conservative tax rates moment but it has backfired spectacularly. The whole election campaign so far seems to have been characterised by weakness,indecision and a refusal to confront labour 's manipulation and spin…like stopping an elephant with a pea shooter refusing to talk about immigration or Europe.

    Who thought it was a good idea for George osbourne to go on prime time television and smugly tell hard pressed middle income tax payers their family credit was going to be abolished instead of attacking Labour's record. He is the poorest shadow chancellor I have ever seen which I find shocking when the country is in a severe financial crisis.

    If Cameron doesn't come out of his Notting hill cocoon and listen to the mainstream conservative voice of this country he is finished.
    The rot set in under John Major. His government (new labour light) signed the wretched Maastricht treaty and was far more left wing than Mrs Thancher's government. This ought to tell Cameron et al that sharing the centre ground with Labour isn't a very smart thing to do.

  33. Lindsay McDougall
    March 9, 2010

    On public expenditure it's a good start but fairly small beer. It will prove to be inadequate. The reductions in company taxes will, at least for two years, have to be more then compensated for by increases in personal taxation.

    Assuming that we are elected, we will – and this is an absolute minimum – need to reduce the £178 billion annual deficit by two thirds over 4 years. Let us say that 80% of the reduction has to come in public expenditure cuts, and the other 20% in tax increases. That implies public expenditure cuts of about £95 billion pa over the 4 years; a tall order but do-able.

    It's best not to be too critical at this stage. What is on offer from the Conservatives is a sight better than anything Labour or the LibDem's are offering. Has anyone noticed? Vince Cable is sounding more like Alistair Darling every day.

  34. Roger
    March 9, 2010

    Just some common sense please. Dont spend more than we can afford.

      March 9, 2010

      Well said Roger.

      COMMON SENSE is a means of assessing politicians that every voter can understand and a dividing line between what Labour has demonstrated in the last 13 years and what the Conservatives could, and should, be promising.

      Add the promise of COMPETENCE and the party could – and should – be cooking with gas!

  35. James Matthews
    March 9, 2010

    According to this: http://www.thisiswesternmorningnews.co.uk/news/TO

    the Conservative promise to abolish the RDAs is unravelling. I would like to believe the paper is wrong, but the non-referendum on the Lisbon Treaty does not inspire confidence. Any comment?

    Reply:A Conservative government will abolish the RDAs. It will allow but not require Councils to establish development partnerships. I assume in the South East, for example, largely Conservative Councils will have no truck with any such development. The price of localism is variety.

  36. wow gold
    May 5, 2010

    Thank you for your help!

Comments are closed.