What do Conservatives want from the Coalition?


                Based on doorstep conversations recently, and visits to speak to Conservative Associations, I encounter the following attitudes. Many Conservatives now see the Coaliti0n government as heavily Lib Dem influenced. They tell me they want changes in policy, to reflect the poor financial condition of the country and the preponderance of Conservative votes and MPs behind the government.

                They do not think it a good idea to increase taxes on hard work and enterprise. They want to see tax rates on income and capital gains that maximise revenues, rather than high rates which will deter effort and success and lower the tax collected. They prefer Tony Blair’s rates of tax on incomes and gains  to this government’s and think lower rates  would collect more revenue.

                 They do not think public spending should go up every year in this Parliament. They would like spending to be cut now and increased later when the crisis is behind us. In particular they think we should decline to lend money to Euro countries in trouble, we should cut out all overseas aid to nuclear weapons countries, saving that money, have another go at cutting the UK’s contributions to the EU, we should make stronger use of natural wastage rates to bring government overhead  spending down, we should return to the quango cull and abolish more, and should have a big repeal bill to cut regulation and regulatory costs.

                  They are apprehensive about the continuing Afghan and Libyan military interventions, and think it is time other UN countries did more and we did less. They would like the Ark Royal and the Harriers to be saved during the next few years of defence spending cuts. They are sceptical about large expensive projects like the HS2 railway and think this should be sacrificed to keep costs down.

               The Conservatives are fully on board to tackle the deficit. All agree it is too high and needs urgent attention. Many think this does have to be the  sole priority of the government, as success with this will determine what kind of economic recovery we have and how successful the government is at keeping interest rates and other costs down. That is why Conservatives want tax rates that stimuilate recovery and generate more revenues, and spending plans that are more realistic in the next year than the 2011-11 ones have proved.

                They would like powers back from the EU and are unhappy about the passage of further powers to Brussels under this government. Given the frequent Lib Dem criticisms of the tax, spending and health reform policies of the government they think they need to speak out more to provide some counter weight.

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  1. norman
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    In short, everything this blog (and the vast majority of commentators below the fold) has espoused for the last year. Why the Cameroons think conservatism is so unpopular that they need to continue New Labour policies in practically ever area with a bit of tinkering here and there is beyond me.

    The Lib Dems have lost half their vote to Labour so their (and the Vichy element in the Modern Conservative Party) objective over the next 4 years will be to win those back, so expect to see a lot more Lib Dem flavoured policies until the end of this Parliament (the Vichy Conservatives will justify this by saying to the Party that if Lib Dems don’t get them back Labour will win in a landslide).

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 1, 2011 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      Proper Conservative policies of small government, a level playing field (not a silly state subsidised religous green agenda), real democracy and self determination are very popular, actually work for the economy and are highly moral and best for all of society why do they not just start to deliver them. Instead they follow the Liberal, Blair, Major, Brown, Heath agenda of big government proven failure.

  2. Ian B
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    It is hard for me to believe that a pure Tory Cameron “progressive” government would have been significantly different. I don’t believe that the Lib Dems are to blame.

    Mr Cameron has shown little enthusiasm for slashing government; he is a big state progressive, even if he wished/wishes to subcontract some of the State to the “Third Sector”. He is a “nudge” enthusiast, and thus a nanny statist. The recent outrageous attack on smokers, in the budget and in new legislation, is not a Lib Dem invention. And he is an EUphile. The Lib Dems did not make him into one. He is one.

    So, maybe some things would have been a little different. But the radical Conservatism required at this juncture- Thatcherism on steroids, a revolution in a libertarian direction, has not been forthcoming.

    After the election, you had a go at those of us who voted UKIP for weakening the Tory vote. I voted that way, because i did not want the shame of voting for what was sure to come- a progressivist, pro-EU, social engineering government, continuing the interference of the New Labour regime. I could not change the outcome of the election with my one vote, but at least I don’t feel that some of its dirt is on my hands.

    I would like to vote for a party consisting of people like yourself, Douglass Carswell, Dan Hannan, Steve Baker, Philip Davies, and the like. But you are an excluded minority in your own party. Voting Tory meant voting for more big government progressivism, more spending, more erosion of personal liberties. We need a radical discontinuity in parliament. I don’t know where it will come from, but every day the need grows more pressing that it must come from somewhere, because soon it is going to be too late.

    • Robert K
      Posted April 1, 2011 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      Hard to argue with this. I based my voting decision on comments from Cameron such as “sharing the proceeds of growth,” which tells you all you need to know about his attitude to the balance between state and citizen. This problem is revealing itself now: as Clegg rightly said, “there is no bloody difference” between his position and Cameron’s.

    • acorn
      Posted April 1, 2011 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Ian, a radical discontinuity:- http://mises.org/books/TRTS ; the exit strategy needs another radical discontinuity; like Egypt and Libya.

    • APL
      Posted April 1, 2011 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      Ian B: “And he [Cameron] is an EUphile”

      A fact enthusiastically disputed by our host.

      • Andrew Shakespeare
        Posted April 1, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

        He may not have been before the last election. Since then, Cameron has clearly changed his mind.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 1, 2011 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Unfortunately we can’t visit a parallel universe where the Tories won an overall majority last May to see how differently Cameron would be approaching the EU if he didn’t need to keep the LibDems on board.

      However from what Cameron and other senior Tories said and didn’t say long BEFORE the election my conclusion is that at best a single party Tory government under Cameron would merely be taking a slightly less compliant line than that adopted by the coalition government.

      For those who noticed there were straws in the wind during the two years after Cameron became leader, but clear proof came in the early summer of 2008 when the Irish voted “no” to the Lisbon Treaty at almost the same time as Brown went ahead with formal ratification without having held the promised referendum.

      That was when Cameron should have stood up and said that the treaty must be declared dead and there should be no question of making the Irish vote again, and gone on to warn that if he became Prime Minister and the treaty had not been abandoned then he would put it to a UK referendum even if it had already come into force.

      Basically the LibDems now provide a convenient cover for Cameron to pursue pro-EU policies which he would have wanted to pursue anyway, and those who decided that to get rid of the Labour government they must hold their noses and vote Tory rather than UKIP have once again been let down.

  3. Antisthenes
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Any right thinking person wants exactly that but as we are not going to get it the road to impoverishment is assured.

  4. lifelogic
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Liberal policies were not designed with any intention that they would ever have to be implemented.

    More EU, Slower “cuts”, the 52% tax, and the great green religion and the anti nuclear agenda are all the exact opposite of what is actually needed by the country.

    • StevenL
      Posted April 1, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      What’s wrong with not subsidising nukes?

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 2, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

        The do not need subsidy.

  5. The Remittance Man
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    What do Conservatives want from the Coalition?

    It’s demise and replacement by a properly conservative alternative that will deal with the economic crisis, the eu and all the other appalling legacies left by the last sorry lot.

    • APL
      Posted April 1, 2011 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      The Remittance Man: “It’s demise and replacement by a properly conservative alternative that will deal with the economic crisis, ”

      Such a conservative alternative would by defination not include people like David Cameron, Teresa May, Kenneth Clarke, George Osborn. In short a completely other party would have to materialise from thin air.

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 1, 2011 at 11:40 am | Permalink

        Indeed there is only about 25% who are on the sensible wing of the party.

  6. Mick Anderson
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Do I see an implication that Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne are not real Conservatives? Perhaps it is the way I’m reading it – I’m sure our eternally polite host couldn’t comment. I certainly don’t believe that it’s just the LD influence on the Coalition that is influencing direction.

    However, the doorstep poll represents a lot of people in the Country, and many on this blog. It’s a shame that none of the votes that we might cast will go any way to actually bringing it about.

  7. JimF
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    A UKIP party, united in aims and aspirations top to bottom, will give both these people and yourself exactly what you have decribed. Let the leadership of the Conservative Party cut itself away from its constituency at the neck.

  8. foundavoice
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Which brings me back to a oft repeated point: the nation was ready for a real Conservative govt. and instead we got offered a lefty one.

    Thatcher polled 3-5 million more votes than Cameron, and Major something similar(or something like that – sorry, not got time to check the actual figures) – the fact is the Tories did not get out their natural voters because they didn’t offer strong Tory options (it seems they were too scared of frightening the horses).

    So, what you write above doesn’t surprise me.

  9. alan jutson
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    On all counts agreed.

    Rather than just speak out more, they should speak out with clarity and purpose, explain WHY all this belt tightening is required, and give some hard hitting facts.

    Would only add, simplify the tax system, simplify the benefits system (aware this is being looked at, but no action for another 3 years) and reward savers by making income earned on all savings tax free, to avoid all this nonesense of ISA’s every year

    • Robert K
      Posted April 1, 2011 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      To make this argument more convincing, avoid phrases such as belt tightening. A pound spent by the state is a pound less spent by the private sector. “We” do not need to tighten our belts – the state needs to get a grip on its own excesses. Bear in mind that a person on average income takes home less money each year in aggregate than he or she hands over in taxes. The proportion rises, of course, for the better off. Leave more of that money where it is earned and there will be less need for anyone to tighten their belts.

      • alan jutson
        Posted April 1, 2011 at 10:54 am | Permalink

        Robert perhaps I should have been clearer, what I meant was belt tightening by government, not by the population.

        It is government spending which needs to be reduced as I have posted many ,many, times over the past 2 years.

        I have also posted that Ibelieve tax rates are too high, and personal tax allowances too low.

        So in effect, I think we are in agreement. We need to keep more of our own money and the government needs to spend less, much less.

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 1, 2011 at 11:42 am | Permalink

        Indeed if slavery is bad (even the BBC agree with that) then why is 52% +slavery good as the BBC Tories and Liberals seem to think it is?

  10. Alte Fritz
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    The opinions you report may represent a slightly weighted average, but last night’s Question Time chairman referred to a poll reporting that 57% of the general public acknwledged the reduce to reduce the deficit with all that can entail in reducing public expenditure.

    So there is nothing suprising about the opinions you report. The real opposition comes from interest groups of all shapes and sizes but bearing a common feature of being viscerally anti capitalist.

    My take on the budget was that the message for economic growth sounded limp and, as such, serves to turn attention to cuts alone.

    • Robert K
      Posted April 1, 2011 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      limp indeed. Nothing on tax cuts so nothing will change.

    • APL
      Posted April 1, 2011 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      Alte Fritz: “The real opposition comes from interest groups of all shapes and sizes but bearing a common feature of being viscerally anti capitalist.”

      And largely, in the pay of the State. A true Tory government could close the lot of them down tomorrow if it so chose.

  11. Stuart Fairney
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    I may have entirely missed this but where are you personally on AV and is this a free issue or are the tories whipping their MP’s? For me any cause that has the Greens and Mr Ed on the same platform has an almost visceral reaction and so it would be so hard for me to vote Yes.

    Reply: I am campaigning for a No vote, along with most Conservatives. If Conservative MPs want to campaign the other way they are free to do so. Mr Cameron is campaigning with us for No.

  12. A.Sedgwick
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    ………and a Tory leader.

  13. Susan
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Sounds to me as though you have some very smart people giving you their advice, and you would be very wise to listen. Unless of course you would like UKIP to pick up the protest vote of disaffected Conservative voters. I have voted Conservative all my life, despite coming from a poor background where most voted Labour, because I believed they were the party of economic competence. This is the first time I have ever considered not voting for them.

    The only Countries which have been successful in cutting the deficit are those which engaged in deep cuts across all of the public sector, including health. Continual tax rises will only make the situation worse, as spending continues to rise. Cameron always says he wants to help all the people who do the right thing, yet it is these very people who work hard and save that your Government is punishing the most.

    The Lib/Dems, on the amount of support they enjoy, should have very little say on policy in this Coalition, yet all I ever see is Lib/Dems representing this Government. Or is it Cameron himself that is the problem, too far left, maybe.

    Forget about reforms at this time and get on with the cuts to the public sector and encouraging growth by tax cuts particularly for high earners. Make Britain truely competitive in the new Global age and the rest will come, including a second term in office. Hopefully you will be able to ditch the Lib/Dems along the way. At this time of financial crisis, a brave and bold Government is needed to see Britain through. Unpopular you may be for sometime, but good Government should never worry about that. Caving in, everytime the public or the Lib/Dems kick up is the road to ruin.

    A return to the nasty party, if that is what it was, would be very nice indeed.

    • cosmic
      Posted April 1, 2011 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      Some of the facts of life are nasty. Running up all this debt has been a way of keeping these facts of life at bay for a time. The problem is that keeping them at bay isn’t dealing with them, so eventually they impose themselves and are nastier than ever.

      The Conservatives have been lured into selling the comfortable fiction that we can have the penny and the bun.

  14. lojolondon
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    To be honest, John, most conservatives are deeply concerned that David Cameron is a LibDem in drag, and that the Conservative principles would be far better served by a proper Conservative. In very few months, DC :
    – did an about turn on a referendum on Europe
    – has been soft on the EU
    – was exposed as weak on the BBC
    – supports Chris Hune’s dangerous fantasy strategies for energy
    – the government staff reductions you pointed out last week could easily have been achieved if DC insisted on the simple solution you mentioned – not replacing leavers
    – the bonfire of the Quangos that had so much potential but is a wasted opportunity
    – DC is also Blair enough to start a war with Libya while cutting pilots and planes

    In short, we want a Conservative government, I suggest you look to all UKIP’s policies, they are the true conservatives now.

    • zorro
      Posted April 1, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      Instead of sensible natural wastage replacement, you get indiscriminate voluntary exit schemes to bribe people to leave with no real control on who is leaving. It is better to get rid of the deadwood, but that is often a nightmare in the public sector. So second best, is to plan natural wastage over 5 years, take on no new staff and restructure as necessary but try and retain talent. Instead we get schemes which pay people to leave and often those only a few years from retirement who would have gone within three or four years anyway. You couldn’t make it up.


      • FaustiesBlog
        Posted April 2, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

        What’s more, it is the good employees, with real prospects, capable of being head-hunted, who leave voluntarily. The dead wood and jobsworths remain, because the private sector would not want them.

        Incidentally, the same is happening in the US.

  15. Iain Gill
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    the do not mention immigration at the doorstep round your way?
    Reply: Not recently – I report what I hear. They do raise many local issues as well which I do not include on the main part of the site as it has a national audience.

    • zorro
      Posted April 1, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      It’s not such a local issue in Wokingham/Lower Earley, but nationally I think that it is still important.


  16. English Pensioner
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    I fully agree with all you say. But then how many of our leaders get out and hear what real people are saying? Most never meet members of the public, except those carefully selected by their aids for a photo opportunity. Nor do they have blogs or even personally read any letters sent to them. When did any of them last hold a meeting with constituents?
    I think Cameron made a great mistake in entering a coalition with the LibDems. He should have tried to “go it alone” with real Conservative policies; as it is the LibDems are making all the running and dictating policies, as the minority parties seem to do in all coalition governments.
    Yesterday, we had Clegg saying no nuclear power stations will now be built (but the Tories will get the blame for the resultant power cuts), we have LibDem MPs complaining all the time and undercutting the government. AV will be the last straw, no doubt giving us permanent coalition governments and endless squabbles. Cameron should tell his “partners” to “shut up or go” and risk a vote of no-confidence.
    No wonder both my daughters and their husbands have got their feelers out for jobs abroad, preferably outside the EU. They can see no future here except overcrowding, high taxation, EU regulation and constant pandering to minorities, all of which are likely to get worse rather than better.
    And the English aren’t likely to be very happy today to learn that England is now the only part of the “United” Kingdom to have to pay NHS prescription charges. It seems we’re the April Fools.

  17. Andrew B
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Sometimes I wonder whether it is only me who thinks like this, how refreshing to see that my views are shared by many people in the country.Great article.

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted April 1, 2011 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      I read that around 60% of the population want cuts (ie actual cuts not more increases in spending) and debt reduction, but you’d never know by listening to the political wing of the Labour party, namely Pravda/BBC and their reports.

      You are far from alone.

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 3, 2011 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        You say 60% want cuts and that is after the attempted indoctrination by the BBC, schools, many “so called charities”, the labour party, the state sector trade unions, quangos and all the other left winger who hang hungrily on to the giant state milk nipple.

        I assume of the 40% that do not want cuts are mainly state sector employee, benefit claimants and BBC types.

        Or perhaps are just a bit stupid.

  18. Richard
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    I agree with all you say in your article.
    Iwould just add education vouchers for all and a change to the tax/ benefits system to give those trapped on benefits an incentive to work.

    Many on this site feel that if only the Conservatives had been more radical they would have had a clear majority but Im not so sure this is correct.

    Here in the Midlands there have been hundreds of thousands of people added to the Government/Council/Quango payroll over the last 14 years and hundreds of thousands more who depend on the spending power of these organisations to keep their small businesses going.
    This has had a big effect on their voting loyaties.
    Then there is the effects of mass immigration, boundary changes and a biased media to fight against.

    Perhaps the policies and tactics chosen were the ones that were at least successful in getting into power.
    We can only wait and hope for a clear majority at the next election.

    Reply: Vouchers are an interesting idea, b ut not one which is ever urged on the doorsteps by voters. Benefit reform to promote work is mentioned and is popular.

    • norman
      Posted April 1, 2011 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      I’m just going on my gut instinct, and no doubt CCHQ has all the data at their fingertips, but my feeling is that even with the Conservatives moving to the centre (as George Osborne puts it) to try and win the election (so that he can then move to the right – we’re still waiting George) that very few of these voters would have changed their minds sufficiently from Labour to Conservative to make a real difference. Most still probably view the Conservatives with suspicion and will what they have seen so far persuaded them they are wrong?

      As you say, this is due to a number of factors, but what I’d like to have seen is a robust conservative government, governing on conservative principles. I believe such a government could be a success, economically and socially, and that people would see this success and be persuaded more by that than by stuff and nonsense about green technology, sharing the proceeds of growth, the end of the nasty party, punishing the rich, progressive budgets, fair shares, etc.

      This happened in the 1980’s, I can’t see why it can’t happen today. The facts of life are still conservative, let’s convince people of that by showing it to be true.

      I hope I’m wrong but I don’t think the path we are currently going down will get a majority Conservative government at the next election, which leaves the door wide open for Labour or the Lib Dem dream of a Labour/Lib Dem coalition.

  19. Anthony Harrison
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Fascinating! Quite a few years ago I moved toward more libertarian politics since, after becoming increasingly disenchanted with the Conservative Party I’d analysed the reasons for this and found the Conservatives had diverged too far from what I considered their core principles; this tendency has become exacerbated under Cameron.
    But the feelings of core Tory supporters outlined by John Redwood describe my position very accurately indeed, so I am left wondering why so many people have apparently stayed with the Conservatives when all the evidence is that there is a profound gulf between them and their party’s leadership.
    Commenter Ian B (above) is very close to my own position: I too voted UKIP and am on course to do so again, indeed I am close to joining that party. Given the schizoid nature of the Conservate Party, I consider there is no alternative.

  20. Cliff
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 10:06 am | Permalink


    As a traditional Conservative, I do not feel the coalition is too influenced by the LibDems, I feel we are far too influenced by Mr Cameron; the heir to Blair.
    He comes across much of the time as anything but a Conservative. He adopts, in my opinion, a condescending socialist attitude of Nanny Knows Best with his policy decisions, the most recent being regarding the EUSSR and his opinion, which appears to be the only one that really means anything to him on major issues, that it is in our nations best interests although, the vast majority of Conservative supporters and others, don’t believe it.
    It appears to me, that far too many true Conservative MPs have sold their soul to Mr Cameron for a government post. I remember Mr Hague’s first speech to conference during Mrs Thatcher’s time as leader and his policies when he himself was leader and compared to now, you would think he was a different person and he is not the only one that has moved towards the left.
    People joke about Nu-Labour and Blu-Labour under Mr Cameron, but it is no joke; the only reason why the party still has any support is because we all know that, under the current system, a vote for UKIP is a wasted vote even though, their policies are more Conservative than ours under our progressive Marxist leader; Mr Cameron.

    John, I have read on the web that Mr Cameron is a common purpose graduate; is there any truth in that?

    Reply: No idea, and I am suspicious of these conspiracy charges based on mysterious organisations.

    • APL
      Posted April 1, 2011 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      Cliff: “He comes across much of the time as anything but a Conservative.”

      Cameron is not a conservative, in the same way as Blair was not old Labour. As Blair rebranded the Labour party ‘New Labour’ so Cameron believed he had to rebrand the Tory party. Cameron resembles Blair inso far as he has no faith in what it is to be a Conservative and has the same lust for power as Blair.

      This was a thrust amoung prominent members of the Conservative party – note I do not call them Conservatives – and exemplified by the Teresa May ‘Nasty party’ speech for some time before Cameron became leader. A move from articulating the traditional Conservative principles of sound public finances and sober foreign policy, to one of perception – people think of us as nasty, so we must present ourselves as ‘nice’.

      The problem is, just as everyone was getting sick and tired of the Blair Brown ‘New Labour’ party and looking for a change, Cameron was elected leader of the Tory party, largly on the basis of one speech the BBC blew out of all proportion, and has continued with his programme of perception over substance .

      It’s what you’d expect from an advertising executive who has no other experience of the world.

      • zorro
        Posted April 1, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

        Why not believe what was said years ago and has now been clearly evidenced…..http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4375386.stm


        • APL
          Posted April 1, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

          Zorro, It’s no surprise to find the BBC supporting Cameron. Media lovvies together.

          Let’s see what Cameron has achieved so far.

          A NEW WAR, well WHOOP DE DOO! That’s just what we needed isn’t it? It’s not as if we haven’t got enough wars already.

          Gadaffi was relatively tame, but boy we’d better get rid of him now ‘cos if he is still there in a couple of months, he or his sons will have a few scores they’d like to settle.

    • Winston Smith
      Posted April 1, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      I too tend to be cynical on conspiracy theories. However, this organisation does get a lot stick on blogs. It is quite remarkable that a Worldwide management training organisation receives 75% of its funding from the State (from its website). Can you find out just how much that equates to? How does that sit with the austerity programme?

      • zorro
        Posted April 1, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        I bet it probably calls itself a ‘charity’ too….That’s something that needs to be looked at, all these ‘charities’ that are reliant on public funding, and suck at the teats of the public service to promote their services.


    • Cliff
      Posted April 1, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the reply…..I too find it hard to believe but, then again, I find it hard to believe Mr Cameron is the leader of the Conservative Party and that our own local authority uses Common Purpose; a fact I’ve raised with you privately in the past and something my local councillor discussed with me at my front door a few weeks ago.

      If it is untrue regarding our leader and Common Purpose, surely it is in his interest and that of the party, to have it corrected and if necessary, take action through the defamation laws.

      • zorro
        Posted April 1, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        John, why not ask Mr Maude and see what he says….and how a large number of senior civil servants were planned to be ‘instructed in the ways of righteousness’ by this organisation. Why does a freedom loving conservative government feel the need to have a ‘Behavioural Insights Team’ in the Cabinet Office? I am agnostic on conspiracy theories but I don’t close my eyes to what is clearly going on and can be evidenced. Cameron is an elitist and I suspect that the ‘Big Society’ is a useful vehicle under whose shelter many birds of heaven can gain shelter…..I think that it is also beyond doubt that, in his heart, he is a EU supporter, and his actions will display this more and more over time.


  21. acorn
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    How ungrateful such people are. Our government is working day and night to repeal useless laws; rules and regulations. Simplifying tax rules; benefit rules and reigning in HMRC which appears to make up its own rules, that may or may not comply with what the statutes intended.

    An excellent example of such simplification introduced this year. If your employer allows you to claim a meal allowance for work today; to buy your lunch time sandwich for consumption today; and, you made your own sandwich from a filling you bought yesterday; then your meal allowance is taxable. Unless you bought the filling today; assembled the sandwich today, for consumption today; when it will not be taxable. Naturally, you will have to keep the receipt for the filling you bought; which must be dated such that you can prove that you bought the filling on the same day as you claimed a meal allowance from your employer. The taxable element of the above shall be included on form P11D by your employer. Simples!

    • Anthony Harrison
      Posted April 1, 2011 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      Beautiful! You couldn’t make it up – Kafka, eat your heart out. Well, it is April 1st…

  22. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    In short the people you have spoken to are questioning why they bothered to vote Conservative, just like I am. I do not see David Cameron as a strong leader. This has been exemplified by the numerous policy U-turns and hopeless public communications. I don’t see any real evidence that they are dealing with the deficit and burgeoning debt, other than increasing taxes and I can see more spending ahead not less. There seems to be more concern for democracy in far away places than here where our politicians are giving it away to the EU – we don’t want to have to have a “European Spring” to get it back. Apart from knowing that things would be even worse under Labour I cannot think of anything good to say about the performance to date.

  23. oldtimer
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    To the points mentioned I would add the cost of the green policies that are about to engulf and sink us all. I read Carbon Plan the other day and concluded that I could not support the policies described therein or any of the parties that promote them. That excludes the Conservatives, the DimLibs and Labour.

  24. Michael McGrath
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    I was going to join the litany of howls and whimpers on this blog but then I rebelled and rewrote my comment.
    Your observations are, no doubt, an accurate reflection of the views of many but the time is surely here to do something decisive for the sake of the nation. If the Cameroons cannot or will not take the unpleasant decisions whic are ever more desperately needed each day, get shot of them and form a re-vitalised Conservative administration.
    I am sure that there are many readers of your blog, and those of Daniel Hannan, Douglas Carswell and many others who will be prepared to stand and be counted

  25. Neil Craig
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    “What do Conservatives want from the Coalition?”

    The chance to be in government. That is why they voted for Cameron (“Blair lite”) in the first place. Be careful what you wish for….

  26. Geoff not Hoon
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood, Your doorstep conversations echo the views here but how on earth does the party except to see out the next four years with the apalling reputation it has gained both from the right and left? I have said here before we are rolling towards the next election simply to hand it to Labour on present policies.

  27. Damien
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Permalink


    As if to underscore all this the budget announced a further £250m taxpayer giveaway with house builders while the second largest house builder in the UK successfully raised $980 m from the sale of its overseas operation which it now intends to use to buy land!.

    Even as the US recovers it is now accepted that there is a double dip in housing prices yet the major house builders interviewed by Tom Keene on Bloomberg admitted that the housing tax giveaway simply distorted the proper function of the market and deferred the correction in house prices.

    Government interference with the housing market through social housing building programs and low interest rates is unsustainable. Our banks have not undergone the rigorous stress tests necessary to reveal the true extent of the phantom mortgages debt they are carrying.

    The European Monetary Committee has now agreed last week that member states can restructure debt with their lenders in good faith and inevitably this leaves the door open for the Irish as it faces insolvency. What will the impact of that be on the UK? There is no time to waste in addressing all of the above that you have covered in your blog.

    • zorro
      Posted April 1, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

      That stupid giveaway to buck the housing market and not allow the necessary correction is typical of this government and tells you all you need to know about their resolve and ability to solve our country’s problems.


  28. Mike Fowle
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Nigel Lawson said about the budget that Osborne should have gone further economically but probably went as far as he could politically. Probably the most pernicious legacy of the last government is the manipulation of the media. The howls of protest are already deafening (from all sides of the media – and they do shape people’s perceptions) and there would be civil unrest if a truly conservative agenda was implemented. However much I agree with the sentiments expressed.

  29. Derek Buxton
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    I am not surprised that the people you spoke to wanted a “conservative” administration and are unhappy that they did not get one. However, if Cameron had got a majority, it would still not have provided what they want. It was obvious before the election what he would do, so obvious that many people, including me, could not vote for him. He is basically fiddling while Rome burns, shutting his eyes and ears to what the people are saying. You, it appears do listen, but are not one of the insider “yes” men. Which is a shame, no one should run anything on the basis of only having sycophants around.

    • zorro
      Posted April 1, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      He will play at being CEO of UKPLC for five years and then toddle off to some other sinecure (probably EU related) afterwards.


  30. Dr Bernard Juby
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Totally agree with your feed-back John. Why don’t your colleagues get the same messages?
    Why don’t we save ourselves a lot of un-necessary expenditure and up-grade the existing Great Central Line out of Marylebone? The track (twin) is already there and won’t need vast swathes of new land to create it.

  31. cosmic
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    I can’t see there’s any point at all in considering taking powers back from the EU or stopping further powers being transferred, unless you have a credible position on what to do if the others say no. That credible position has to include getting out of the EU, a position specifically excluded by the Conservative Party in the manifesto for the last EU elections. If you don’t have that, you ask, they say no, and you walk away with your tail between your legs.

    Furthermore, we haven’t seen any attempt to repatriate or limit the further transfer of powers, quite the opposite. For example, no concessions were gained for going along with the bailouts which were contrary to the treaties.

    The Conservative Party plays a very dishonest game by occasionally showing a bit of leg on this issue.

  32. Winston Smith
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    House prices in many areas of the South-East, and especially London, are already well up from the late 2007 peak. This will quickly spread to the West and parts of East Anglia. It is all immigration and foreign investor driven. Hundreds of thousands of migrants will continue to arrive every year, no matter the spin and lies emanating from the Government, pushing up demand and prices in desirable areas, as the nation increasingly divides.

    • zorro
      Posted April 1, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      Having lost a case in Europe on marriage, any Tom, Dick or Harry can marry here now, and the only sanction they are relying on is enforcement which will not keep up with the increase – big business.


  33. John Ward
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Most of what you say is commercially and ethically sound, but we have in power at the minute a tiny oligarchy that is on transmit only. From my own very limited contacts within that minute elite, the following seems to be reliable information:

    1. The Tory leadership has no intention of withdrawing from the EU, and never did.
    2. Its cynical calculation is that people won’t like this, but don’t get particularly worked up about it…and think Farage is a bumbly.
    3. The Lansley ‘reforms’ are a prelude to hospital sell-offs.
    4. The Newscorp scandal is seen as a storm in a teacup.
    5. They believe the much-vaunted ‘Tory Resistance’ is overrated in terms of both size and bite.
    6. They’re gambling that the AV supporters will lose the referendum.
    7. They have no intention on reforming banks whose income and assets exceed their own.

  34. Bazman
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    I thought it was obvious? To get rid of the Lib Dems and to get back to basic Tory ideology which has little to do with people or the good of the country.
    I suspect a lot of Conservative supporters are miserable pensioners and others that the economy has no real effect on. Dave, George and Nick are the high priests of this, basically products of an Oxbridge system of wealth families, a ruling clique who have never had a proper job, or been sacked from one. If you ask Man in the Pub you will also get the same answers as above and any further questioning will result in the stock answer of ‘not for the likes of us’ which is the backbone of Conservative Britain. Some people did not buy their own council houses as they where Tories at heart, despite the huge financial incentives they did not believe in the idea, a kind of reverse socialism. The days of Cap doffing are over though and the Conservatives are finding out the hard way that people who are effected by the cuts will not take it lying down no matter how much they are ‘educated’ that is for their own good. You have only got to threaten the upper and middle classes with a tax rise never mind no job, benefits, healthcare cuts and they are squealing like stuck pigs.

    • Cliff.
      Posted April 1, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      “I suspect a lot of Conservative supporters are miserable pensioners and others that the economy has no real effect on”

      It is rather naive to suggest that the econmy, in its present state, has no effect on “miserable” pensioners; Mamy “miserable” pensioners worked all their lives doing the right thing, working, saving, bringing up families, funding an ever increasing state sector etc etc only to find those savings real value reduced due to interest rates of 0-5% and Gordon’s raid on our private pension funds.

      You may have suggested that I was stupid on another thread to talk about the politics of envy and that you were driven by “social justice” but, your comments, as far as I can tell, appear to have little to do with “social justice” but more about, “they’ve got something I haven’t got so they shouldn’t have it either” which sounds a lot like envy to me oh, and by the way, it is 2011 and the “Class War” is over and as a result of the Nu-Labour government, everyone can be as poor as the next man.

  35. BobE
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    John I would vote for a party that said those were its aims. The only party that seems remotly close is UKIP. Cameron is a eurofile, that has become very clear.
    But well written John, even though its all just a wish list.

  36. Martin
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    One thing I thought the Conservatives would be hot on would be immigration tax dodge scams:-

    (refers me to a website which sets out how IT workers are thought to be allowed a better tax deal if they come from overseas. ed)

  37. Pedro
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Looking at the Tory party last May, there was no way I could have given them my vote. Cameron failed to inspire and the manifesto was woolly. Since then what I’ve seen and heard has further confirmed my view and although some might consider that my vote for UKIP was wasted, I have the satisfaction of not supporting any of this rag bag of a coalition. This will mean a one term only Tory involvement in Government. Sad, but that’s down to Cameron. He can’t be trusted.

    • zorro
      Posted April 1, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      His inability to perform effectively in the debates and bury Brown was very prescient…too busy wanting to cosy up to his new best friend, Nick Clegg (fellow public school, Oxbridge type)…..The Civil Service has plenty of these types, thinking that the world owes them a living and should fall at their feet (‘fast trackers’)


  38. Yarnesfromhorsham
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Well lets keep it simple. Lets have real deficit reduction. Real red tape reduction.
    Real cuts in the civil service. Less EU. Less PC and less H&S. Less MPs with less expenses.

  39. Malcolm Edward
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    Well said. I’m sure John Redwood speaks for many people in our country.

  40. John McEvoy
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    I agree broadly with all those with whom you have had doorstep conversations. And full marks for making the effort to go out and talk to people. The politicians in power have shown once again that once in their five-year jobs, all ‘pledges’ are abandoned to the expediency of the day involved in looking after themselves and their treasured positions. True men capable of bringing wisdom and wealth to the United Kingdom exist, but are not in power. It is time that the likes of Redwood, Hannan and Carswell stopped just talking and took action towards a new movement. Tens of thousands are waiting.

  41. Tim
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    The JR blog every day never fails to cheer me up, a lone sane voice it seems in a country that I fear is drifting into an irreversible abyss. I fear real Tory policies will never appear, and this dreadful debt and public spending profligacy will never be truly addressed. I am actually now thinking of becoming a UKIP follower. I never thought I would say this.
    Blair and Brown should be in the Hague on charges of utter managerial incompetence and fiscal crimes against the nation. Anyone agree?
    Plus, they have both published books recently – they have nothing worthy to say, who would want to read such rubbish is beyond me!
    And where is Blair re Libya et al now ?? – a peace envoy isn’t he?
    Sorry for the rant, but the terminal decline of this country is hard to take.
    BTW – please get back into front line government John, and shake the system up for all of us, and our grandchildren!

    • APL
      Posted April 2, 2011 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      Tim: “Sorry for the rant, but the terminal decline of this country is hard to take.”

      Yes it is. Now ask yourself, Who has been in charge during the decline?

      My answer, the professional political class.

  42. Anne Palmer
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    You are saying all the words I, and probably many more people want to hear, but that is not, sadly, what your two leaders want at all.

    I doubt any of them realise (or care) just how angry the people are with having to put up with the vicious cuts, losing their jobs and some their homes yet having to pay more for everything they can afford to buy, yet our MP’s do not, and cannot do the job which they should be doing. Governing us according to our Constitution.

    The Localism Bill going through Parliament started its Journey in the EU with its elected Mayors etc. But what happens when the people find out that the new Local or Regional Authorities have to pay or contribute to the massive EU fines imposed upon this Country every now and then? No innocent until proven Guilty, just massive fines for some misdemeanour. That will be the first time in the history of this Country the EU has been given the authority to fine the people DIRECTLY, absolutely contrary to our Constitution. It has been bad enough watching our own once “sovereign” Government being clobbered with EU fines never mind the people directly. Is this to bring home to the people that we really are all EU citizens rather than British Citizens and the EU can fine them directly? The first real hold directly on the people? The EU’s (real) citizens?

    And do you know some-thing John, the people will be so angry that they may not pay. What then? But what will make the people more angrier than anything before, is that they will realise their own Governments have allowed this to happen, to pass the EU laws, yet afraid to tell the people the truth of what this Bill is really all about. The really awful dreadful truth is that, for the first time in the history of this Country ALL THREE MAJOR POLITICAL PARTIES ARE NOW IMPLICATED in what the people will see as sheer TREACHERY, and the people will have no one to replace them with any political party with experience of Governing this Country to sort out the mess all three political Parties will have left it in, and that is the greatest tragedy.

  43. Anne Palmer
    Posted April 2, 2011 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    I thank you John Redwood for printing my comments in full. And now may I ask you Sir, and your fellow contributors to your Web-Site to question what I have left out of my comments above. Touched on but skirted round, and that is the full consequences on our Constitution and the permanency of EU Governing of this Country through a British Government allowing (yes even “welcoming”) the EU’s direct contact with the innocent people of this Country in placing fines-without any court appearance or the ability for them to plead guilty or not in a country where everyone is still, or was, ‘innocent until proven guilty’. Particularly and perhaps even more importantly, the by passing of the once sovereign Government of this Country by those that will always remain “foreigners”, to deal directly with the British people. This I see as only the beginning until there is no need of a British Government and Parliament at all.
    Is it possible to accept this massive constitutional shift without causing a second glorious revolution? I believe that if the Government does not fight this legislation, or continues to put it through, the people will indeed rise against it, for no matter how bad a British Government is or has been, the people will still prefer their own they can “kick out” rather than a foreign entity that they have absolutely no control over.

  44. Robert K
    Posted April 2, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    I couldn’t help laughing the other day when I heard a radio news comment about a new government initiative to encourage (which means pay, I think) big businesses to help small businesses to expand. The emphasis was on how difficult it is for small businesses to navigate the myriad regulations they have to comply with. How about scrapping the regulations?

  45. Simon
    Posted April 3, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    A lot of political choices are being dressed up as economic ones so as not to let a good crisis go to waste .

    It’s pretty clear that our own defense capability is being wound down in preparation for ramping up a European defense force .

    The Harriers are our most useful and effective plane , the Tornado’s have never worked properly .

    Aren’t the Harriers going to be cut up so they could never be recommissioned at a later date ?

    Yesterday I was on board the USS Wisconsin which served in the WW2 , Korea and was recommissioned for the first Gulf War , replete with nine 16″ guns and Tomahawk missile capability . It is decommissioned now but the option remains to press it into service in a future gulf war .

    Isn’t the 20% VAT rate for harmonisation accross Europe ?

    Not the sort of harmony patriotic Englishman or Britains want to hear .

  • 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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