Conservative thoughts and Coalition policies


                  The Sunday Telegraph and ConservativeHome published this week-end an important ConservativeHome survey of Conservative members’ opinions. There were 1348 replies to the survey, which included MPs and MEPs as well as Association members and volunteers. (There is a link to the ConservativeHome website on this blog’s links for those interested –

                The survey showed that there is very strong support for making getting the deficit down the main task of the government.  Cutting welfare bills by boosting employment is seen as one of the prime ways of doing this, and these two aims  are close to controlling the deficit in people’s minds.

                           Members want the government to go further and faster in cutting the rate of growth in public spending. They recommend by a margin of 4 to 1 freezing overseas aid instead of putting through large increases. This is despite the obvious big push recently to explain some of the purpose of overseas aid and to highlight the best examples of its work. It looks as if the more Mr Mitchell highlights it, the more it reminds Conservative members that this is spending which could be better controlled with increases delayed. The survey is also against spending money on HS2, the new railway.

                              59% do not want to send  UK troops to Libya, partly for political and partly for financial reasons.  72% are strongly against dearer energy. This probably reflects the prime concern many voters have about their own surging energy bills, and a realisation that more manufacturing jobs whcih we need will be made more difficult by a dear energy policy. I expect many think we could make more rapid progress in cutting welfare bills, with getting more people into jobs the best way of doing this. Conservatives want more action to create jobs, and more action to ensure people living here in benefits get those jobs. The survey did not ask about the course and conduct of immigration policy.

                            The strongest support of all came for two policies which the goverment is not following. 93% want powers back from the EU, instead of seeing more and more power drift to the EU as we have done under this government as well as under its predecessor. A similar 93% want the UK to abolish the Human Rights legislation, and presumably our entanglement with the European Court of Human Rights in its current form and guise, replacing them with domestic arrangements to uphold our human rights.

                           I am also publishing today a copy  of a letter I am sending  to George Eustice, who has announced he is forming a new group of Eurosceptic MPs, with an emphasis on those elected for the first time in 2010. They will be most welcome allies in getting powers back and establishing a more suitable relationship for the UK with emerging Euroland. This letter explores what we should be asking of the government as it negotiates over the future construction of the EU and Euroland.


  1. lifelogic
    August 29, 2011

    Good but all the actual action from Government is completely in the opposite direction. A pointless dear energy policy, waste all over the place, more employment laws and regulations, taxes too high to compete, n0 normal banking, more EU concessions, 52% and the rest.

    We have Ken Clark, Huhne, Cable and many similar plus Chris Patten at the BBC – the direction of travel is very clear indeed – backwards,

    1. Derek Buxton
      August 29, 2011

      I could not agree more with what you say. I too have been asking why we have two mutually contradictory policies, wanting growth but then cancelling it out by the energy price and shortages. By the bye, no one has yet suggested why this is being done.

      1. lifelogic
        August 29, 2011

        It is being done because of the new green “God” with its many expensive rotating cross temples. The green God’s good book says we will all fry if we do not control C02. Even though there is no real science to show that controlling just one the millions of variables that affect the weather will have any real positive effect. Also ample science to show it is almost certainly pointless and the money would be far better spent on health, clean water and basic inoculations and good basic nutrition.

        Many other countries will ignore it and hot is probably better in any event. Also there has been no significant warming since 1998 – despite the CO2 rising.

        1. APL
          August 29, 2011

          lifelogic: “Even though there is no real science to show that controlling just one the millions of variables that affect the weather will have any real positive effect.”

          And even if there were and there was a significant CO2 impact, destroying the British economy to reduce the World out put of CO2 would have infinitesimal effect to achieve the goal, but catastrophic for us, real people living in the United Kingdom.

          1. lifelogic
            August 29, 2011


        2. sm
          August 30, 2011

          Scientists are now discussing if wind energy is really is without negative effects on normal climatic actions? ( I like wind power,its has no fuel or import cost and needs people to maintain them)

          1. lifelogic
            August 31, 2011

            No but it has huge capital and maintenance costs relative to the power actually produced and that power is not “on demand” so is worth far less.

  2. Public Servant
    August 29, 2011

    What is most striking about the results of this survey is how far apart the membership and leadership of the party are on policy. Al three main political parties are anti democratic and are fearful of allowing the membership of the party to determine party policy. If they did so electors would have a very clear choice come a general election. Instead we have three factions of the political class pursuing broadly the same agenda with a slight change of emphasis here and there. Most of the arguments between the parties in Parliament centre on trivia such as whether the PM should have returned from holiday sooner or whether he should apologise to the nation for making an ill judged appointment. These are spats about management style and not about philosophy. Surely any political party seeks power to put into effect its own policies and ideas. Why is this not true in the UK?

    1. Jon Burgess
      August 29, 2011

      Wholeheartedly agree. Tories, Labour and Lib Dems have a Rizzla paper’s width between them on the vital issues of the day, so a vote for any of these is a vote for a continuation of the same old leftist nonsense that has got us in this mess.

      Then again, voters could choose to vote for a party that has conservative policies – that’ll be UKIP, then.

    2. lifelogic
      August 29, 2011

      I agree fully. But the trivia is there to distract from the real issues and from the – say one thing do another – approach of this and many other governments.

    3. sm
      August 30, 2011

      Anti-democractic that just about sums it up. Get elected on advertising (pro-referendum) and then do something else- where is the ASA (oh no not another quango).

      Why was the immigration question not asked? Would that have got 93%+ or is the embarrassment to much?

  3. Martin Cole
    August 29, 2011

    In framing your letter to Mr Eustice, you may wish to consider the comment thread to a posting on the blog ‘Autonomous Mind’ on the topic of exchanges with Roger Helmer MEP.

  4. Epigenes
    August 29, 2011

    It comes as no surprise that 72% are against dearer energy bills. This is because of the subsidy for windmills. The reason for deploying windmills is that the climate will change as a result of a minute increase in the trace gas, CO2, as a result of burning fossil fuels.

    Empirical evidence for this is non – existent and the Catastrophic Anthropological Global Warming hypothesis is based on computer models.

    I think that I am right in saying that not one member of the government has a science degree. They have to make a qualitative judgement on this matter and rely on advice from so – called scientific experts. There is no doubt in my mind that much of this advice is tainted by self – interest and political belief.

    Government energy policy, started by Labour, and being perpetuated by the current administration is a calamity that will cause major damage to the economy.

    1. Derek Buxton
      August 29, 2011

      In my early years as an engineer, I had a better “guessing stick”, for the younger amongst you that is a slide rule, than the met office computers. My calculations were right and stood the test of time.

      1. alan jutson
        August 29, 2011


        Ah yes, remember them well.

        A time before calculators even existed !

        And we even managed to do a maths examinations without them as well!

        1. Derek Buxton
          August 30, 2011

          And still get the right answer!

    2. uanime5
      August 29, 2011

      So according to you the problem is that no one in the Government understands science and that all scientific experts are biased. But if someone in the Government was a scientist wouldn’t they share the view that climate change is real because all the evidence shows that it is?

      Either all scientist are wrong or the Government is wrong because they lack scientists. You can’t have it both ways.

      1. lifelogic
        August 29, 2011

        All scientist are not wrong it is just that the ones that make the right noises for the current “green God group think”they get the grants and produce the most noise.

        No one wants to hear that the emperor has no cloths so no one tells him.

        Any have decent physicist/engineer can clearly show with little effort that the solutions being pushed – PV cells, wind farms, electric cars, walking, bikes and heat pumps do not usually even give real reductions in C02 – all things considered.

        1. APL
          August 29, 2011

          ” electric cars, ”

          Where do the Green Droids think that the electricity required to charge an electric car originates?

          1. lifelogic
            August 30, 2011

            and that wasted in the transmission, charging and discharging the battery and the voltage conversions.

        2. lifelogic
          August 30, 2011

          Sorry “half decent”.

      2. APL
        August 29, 2011

        uanime: “that climate change is real because all the evidence shows that it is?”

        Climate change is real. It’s just the industrial anthropomorphic origins of Climate change that are fantasy.

        Second, your assertion that a thing is what you say it is, is not factual nor evidence of anything.

      3. Epigenes
        August 30, 2011

        You need to read my post again because I cannot be bothered repeating the relevant parts it.

        I never said all scientific experts are biased – many are objective, unlike you.

        As an aside, the Chief Scientific Advisor is not a scientist.

        Your last sentence is incoherent drivel.

      4. Derek Buxton
        August 30, 2011

        Not all scientists go along with the AGW scam. to start from basics if there were no greenhouse gases, the earth would not be habitable. Of such gases, water vapour is the most potent, there is also a lot more of it, CO2 is roughly 0.04% so is negligable. It is not rocket science, but then I am not after a grant, just follow the money!

    3. Electro-Kevin
      August 29, 2011

      If windmills were efficient we’d still be grinding wheat with them.

      1. lifelogic
        August 29, 2011

        In many ways wheat grinding by wind is more efficient than wind electricity generation. At least you can grind the wheat when the wind blows you cannot store the electricity generated cost effectively.

  5. Brian Tomkinson
    August 29, 2011

    Clearly, Conservative party members agree that this government’s performance has been very disappointing in its first year in office. Sadly, there are no signs that they are going to feel any better in one year’s time.

  6. lojolondon
    August 29, 2011

    John, the main problem with our democracy is the whip system. If MP’s were allowed to think for themselves and vote with their conscience and in line with their constituents wishes, instead of the way they are told to, I would guess that about 93% of Conservative MP’s would be voting the same way as the survey points. Then the EU would not be the problem that it is and the ECHR would not be the problem that it is.

    1. APL
      August 29, 2011

      lojolondon: “If MP’s were allowed to think for themselves .. ”

      I don’t disagree with your opinion about the whipping system. However it isn’t the only problem.

      The fact of the matter is the Whips couldn’t do very much to influence other MPs if they were unable to suggest a creative way to pad out the expense account or a cushy little number as the deputy PPS to the deputy leader of the sub committee convened to discuss the extinction of polar bears at the South Pole.

      Government is too big, there are too many plush offices which beckon and with a nod and a wink it’s in the gift of the Whip to make sure such a deserving candidate will be at the top of the short list for consideration. Just vote thus tomorrow …

      And of course the rotten expense system didn’t just miraculously appear, the party leaders knew what it was and its potential. They made good use of it for their own ends.

  7. Edward.
    August 29, 2011

    What’s wrong?

    I have to admit that, I actually agree with some Tory opinions, Wow!

    Pity of it is, the political party don’t agree with their right-on opinionated grassroots support.

  8. alan jutson
    August 29, 2011

    All sounds a reasonable result, and no different a response to most of the questions than I would have expected.

    Why with Immigration so much in the news, no question on that at all.
    Perhaps because as members of the EU we can not do much about it at the moment, (Government is powerless to stop it) unless we remove ourselves from EU control.

    I often wonder if any good at all comes from any of these surveys.
    Is any notice taken of them, or do we keep having them with the same question asked in a different manner until they get the answer they want.

    The simplist form of a survey is a referendum, we could have had a whole load of questions when we had the new election system proposal, at then no extra cost whatsoever to the taxpayer.

    Another opportunity blown, or is it a case of DC knows best.

    1. backofanenvelope
      August 29, 2011

      Didn’t I read yesterday that 80% of immigrants are from outside the EU?

      1. Jon Burgess
        August 29, 2011

        This is from Migration Watch’s website (under FAQs):

        Over the ten years 2000 – 2009 net immigration from the EU accounted for only 20% of foreign immigration to the UK.

  9. Mike Stallard
    August 29, 2011

    In the past I have been a Libdem. I even stood as a Councillor for them way back in the 1990s. I found that they were neither liberal nor democratic, so, luckily, I was not elected!
    Having said that, I must now confess that I am growing more and more Conservative politically. I am most certainly with majority views expressed above.

    Actually, I think the Libdems have once again made the mistake of joining a coalition. Their best bet, looking back, with all the wisdom of hindsight, would have been to lead the Socialist Labour party into some modern way of thinking after the disaster of New Labour.

    But – hey – who cares! The Conservatives are now the radical party, which is why I am fully in their support.

    1. lifelogic
      August 29, 2011

      “neither liberal nor democratic” nor sensible nor workable in any way nor consistant from consituency to constrituency. The only policy I see that the LibDems have that makes any sense at all are a few of their civil liberty proposals.

    2. Jon Burgess
      August 29, 2011

      Radical in what way?

  10. waramess
    August 29, 2011

    I wonder where democracy went, when the Prime Minister is unable to control the Civil Service; when the politicians voted in by the people have an agenda that is different to the Government and when the Liberals who polled so few votes are able to exert such a significant influence on policy?

    Why the pretence? Democracy died a long time ago when politicians lost the stomach for a fight

    1. Derek Buxton
      August 29, 2011

      Unfortunately you comments are correct, we do not do democracy any more!

    2. uanime5
      August 29, 2011

      Given the Lib Dems got 23% of the votes, while the Conservatives got 36% it’s not unreasonable for them to have a significant influence on the legislation. Especially since the Conservatives can’t pass any laws without the support of the Lib Dems or Labour.

      1. alan jutson
        August 29, 2011


        The First past the post system says different, the Lib Dems had their opportunity to cahnge it, and the population rejected it, so they came a long distant third i number of seats.

        The whipping system leads to, lobby fodder, thats the real problem, we do not have a true democracy we ave an elected dictatorship where they all do as the leader says, or else no promotion.

        What sort of democracy is that when Mps are not allowed a mind of their own, we never get a true vote.

        1. APL
          August 29, 2011

          Alan Jutson: ” .. that when Mps are not allowed a mind of their own .. ”

          Alan, you’re going to make me feel sorry for those poor mindless MPs, if you keep on like that!

          The system the Parties have, between them conspired to introduce – party lists, ‘minority’ preference and all that ‘tosh’, mitigate against independent thinkers, to think ‘outside the box’ means you will not be selected by the central committee.

          The system now conspires to put malleable weak willed ignorant people into the commons.

          Any MP could stand up against the Whips, he or she would simply have to reconcile himself to not getting a government post or a nice little number on a committee somewhere quiet.

          1. APL
            August 29, 2011

            APL: “The system now conspires .. ”

            That is not to say there never were stupid weak willed people in the Commons, they are after all drawn from the population at large.

      2. lifelogic
        August 29, 2011

        Perhaps not unreasonable on that basis – just not very good for the country or anyone else.

  11. cronshd
    August 29, 2011

    John, as many others are commenting, there is now a disconnect between government leadership and the people. I suspect that many LibDems and some Labour voters would also share these views.

    (Indeed if we had an English Parliament things would be so much easier. It is only the position of Scotland that has forced us into this position).

    This is the time for strong and bold leadership. Alas, all I see is reactive, Tony Blair Mk II style at the top of government. Do you feel we need a different kind of leadership in these times – particularly with the looming Euro-Tsunami about to crash.

  12. Mactheknife
    August 29, 2011

    Mr Redwood

    I’m a first time Conservative voter at the last election. I made this decision as I believed that Labour had followed policies that were celearly detrimental to this country – many of which you mention above. I had hoped that, based on what I was hearing before the election, the Conservatives would address these policies immediately. Many of these policies are interconnected, for example our ludicrous energy policies which are hurting business and families are being introduced to meet EU commitments – even though many leading EU nations are not doing the same thing. Germany has had a recent re-think on costly and inefficient wind power and now say that clean coal and gas generation are now back in favour. We destroyed our mining industry putting hundred’s of thousands out of work and destroyed whole communities in the process, yet we are sat on billions of tonnes of a potential secure UK energy source. I fear with the likes of Huhne, Beddington etc at DECC and their support from LibDems, the lemming like approach to energy policy will continue unabated.

  13. Viv Evans
    August 29, 2011

    For some time now I’ve been looking at these surveys as a pacifier for party members: they can let off steam while ticking the survey boxes. That will keep them from writing angry letters or e-mails – well, for a short while anyway.
    I came to this conclusion because the survey results never are turned into policies. We might as well shout into a well.
    If this holds true for the Tory party, it does doubly so for the nation at large.
    And politicians are wondering why the electorate becomes more and more cynical and disengages itself from the political process?
    We keep being told that party leaders ‘are listening’ – they listen, but don’t hear. Above all, they don’t ‘do’, they don’t act on what we tell them – heck, they don’t even act on their own ‘promises’.
    When will Cameron see that neither the BBC journocracy nor the Parliamentary Labour Party are the places where his votes in the next election will come from?

  14. Steve Whitfield
    August 29, 2011

    Alan Jutson “Why with Immigration so much in the news, no question on that at all.
    Perhaps because as members of the EU we can not do much about it at the moment, (Government is powerless to stop it) unless we remove ourselves from EU control”.

    That is the politically correct truth.

    The factually correct truth is that most immigration into the UK comes from outside the EU that could be controlled. It is indeed telling that immigration and population growth, an issue that I believe to be the most serious challenge facing the UK is not mentioned in the report.

    An intelligent man like Mr Redwood can do the arithmetic and knows that the current steady exponential population growth in the UK, even at current rates of a fraction of a percent cannot continue indefinitely unless we wish to see a population of 70 – 100 million and beyond within a lifetime or two. The consequences would be catastrophic on our standard of living and make our current problems look like a mere storm in a teacup. How are we going to feed, transport, educate, treat, etc. 70 or 80 million people extra people ?, has any serious thought been given to this at the top level of government or do the politicians just think ‘let the future take care of itself’ .

    But even Mr Redwood who has shown the courage to speak out about other important matters seems squeamish talking about immigration seemingly because of fears about dividing communities. I say it is better and kinder to speak now than to wait until a much worse situation develops. Professor Albert Bartlett puts the argument across much better than I can (unchecked link removed -ed) (I do argue for and support lower rates of migration and Uk control of her own borders-ed)

    I don’t believe the Conservative party really believes any of the views of John Redwood and probably despises most of them. Pick any issue and the default position of the party leadership is to take the politically correct view and ignore the factual correct version.


    Conservative leadership politically correct position .

    Poverty, disease and famine are caused because the West does not give enough aid. It must be increased to an arbitrary value of 7% GDP (0.7% -ed) because it is morally indefensible not to do so.

    Factually Correct Truth

    Poverty ,disease and famine are caused by out of control population growth and bad/ corrupt government wasting the massive sums of money that are already spent. Aid spending props up evil regimes and in many cases does more harm than good by suppressing economic growth.


    Conservative leadership Politically correct position:

    Increasing levels of public spending are good for a society because it shows we care about the most disadvantaged in society and helps redistribute wealth from the wealthy who can afford it to the needy helping to eliminate poverty. Increased spending always results in an improvement in public services.

    Factually correct truth

    Excessive public spending destroys enterprise and it destroys lives and motivation by trapping people in a vicious cycle of despair and worklessness. It encourages wastefulness and inefficiency in our public services transferring money from the productive to the non productive sector of the economy often for no real benefit.
    Benefits have become too generous and badly targeted allowing individuals to make a lifestyle choice of living on benefits often by ‘playing the system’ . This in turn offers incentive for the formation of widespread unstable family units lacking the bedrock of work and discipline as evidenced by a large prison population and the recent riots.

    David Cameron and George Osbourne were proud to boast about matching Labour’s unhinged spending levels that contributed to the severity of the recession so is anyone really surprised about the slow progress they are making with the spending cuts ?


    Conservative leadership politically correct position:
    Air strikes are to be targeted on the evil Gadaffi empire to help the noble rebel movement overthrow a vicious tyrant that would have definitely slaughtered many of his own people if left unchecked.

    Factually correct truth.
    We do not know if the outcome of the intervention will result in an administration that is better than the Gadaffi regime in terms of human rights and forming a harmonious relationship with other countries . We have already seen evidence of indiscriminate shootings by untrained civilians seemingly firing at random in civilian areas. After the air strikes the hospitals are full of dead bodies, water and food is in short supply – I thought NATO went in there to prevent this happening ?. Perhaps sending in troops would make the situation even worse.


    Conservative leadership politically correct position:
    By being at “The Heart of Europe” the UK can exert a strong influence and secure a better deal for the UK. Anyone who disagrees is motivated by racism, xenophobia or is stuck in the past and a ‘little Englander’.

    Factually correct truth:
    We have little or no influence in the EU, it is largely a stitch up between France and Germany. The UK gains little or no benefit from being a part of this organisation but is left to count the cost of the billions of pounds in contributions and bureaucracy that is imposed on our business. We have lost much of our democracy because we have allowed ourselves to sleepwalk into a a position where many of our laws are made by politicians not directly elected or accountable to us.
    The end game is to obliterate member states so that we, our children or our children’s children call ourselves European’s and not British subjects.
    We could remain outside the EU and remain a free trade partner and occasionally collaborate on defence and environmental issues when needed but this fact is suppressed where possible so as to disguise the true nature of the organisation as being political not economic.

    1. uanime5
      August 29, 2011

      I’m always amazed that people believe that if there was no welfare everyone would magically be able to get a job. There are 2.5 million people unemployed and 500,000 jobs available, so at least 2 million people are on welfare because there’s no alternative.

      40% of our trade is with the EU so we do get some benefits by being in the EU.

      MEPS are elected by us and members of the Council are our elected leaders. The view that the EU is most unelected is completely wrong.

      1. lifelogic
        August 29, 2011

        Of course most would get a job if they were not specifically paid by the state not to get one! The number of jobs available will increase without doubt it is not a fixes number. I might like my house extension or my ironing doing but it depends on the price whether I go will ahead or not.

        MEPs are elected yes but even if all the UK’s MEPs were all against something it would change nothing.

      2. APL
        August 29, 2011

        uanime5: “40% of our trade is with the EU so we do get some benefits by being in the EU.”

        Assuming that statistic is accurate, I would dispute it but can’t be bothered. Even if it was accurate, we run a trade deficit with the European Union so if we left, they would hardly be likely to cut off trade with us. That would be the classic cutting of the nose to spite the face.

        Of the 40% you cite, much of it goes goes through Rotterdam in container vessels destined for elsewhere outside the EU.

      3. zorro
        August 29, 2011

        Your simple calculation on the seeming number of jobs available and the number of unemployed belies your misunderstanding of how a dynamic free economy works. I can assure you that your figures would disappear if benefits were not so readily handed out to those who had contributed nothing.

        Your calculation on trade with the EU evidences your misunderstanding of how global trade works.

        (unanime5 logic)…40% of our trade is with the EU, if we were not a member we would all starve and die as they would refuse to trade to trade with us.

        I’m not sure of your age unanime5 but I can assure you that we traded very healthily with countries in Europe before we joined the EEC. If we were not in the EU the same trade would still occur….unless you know otherwise….

        Oh, who elected Herman van Rumpuy and Catherine Ashton….just saying.


      4. Epigenes
        August 30, 2011

        There would be a significant increase in employment if reduction in welfare spending was accompanied by scrapping NI contributions. This would reduce employers costs allowing them to take on more staff and leave more disposable income in the hands of the employee so encouraging people to take employment.

        NI is a tax on jobs.

        1. lifelogic
          August 30, 2011

          All taxes (beyond those needed for a minimum provision of defense, security and law and order) are a tax on real jobs.

      5. Derek Buxton
        August 30, 2011

        That 40% of trade is mainly imported goods, exports are very low and cause a trade deficit. But then we must keep the French, Dutch, Spanish in the style to which they are accustomed via CFP and CAP, both of which cost us dear. We once bought on the World market and should get back to that. Unfortunately we upset our commonwealth brethren by joining the Common Market and stopping trade with them. Now we are suffering, or at least the poorer sections of our society are, but Caneron’s table will still be full.

    2. Jon Burgess
      August 29, 2011

      I agree with you.

      As I keep saying, I can’t see how a conservative like Mr Redwood can continue to remain in a party that has moved so far to the left and just doesn’t agree with him on anything much any more.

    3. lifelogic
      August 30, 2011

      Good realistic summary of the Cameron conservatives so far.

  15. Electro-Kevin
    August 29, 2011

    “Conservatives want more action to create jobs, and more action to ensure people living here in benefits get those jobs. The survey did not ask about the course and conduct of immigration policy.”

    We were told by you in a previous thread that we’d voted in successive elections for mass immigration.

    We did not.

    We abandoned a Tory party which had ceased to represent its core voters. That is not the same as the populace voting for mass immigration. That is not what happened.

    Where it went wrong was that the abandonment by Tory voters did not go far enough. A convincing exodus of voters would have caused the Tory party to split and for a real Tory party to emerge. As it is the tribally loyal voters kept the party afloat – just.

    This was our gravest mistake.

    The immigration issue is clearly out of control. It cannot be brought back under control. Britain will continue to change beyond all recognition.

    The question is why should ordinary people engage in politics any more ? Why should we ever vote again ? What difference will it make now that all of the most fundamental issues are decided and beyond reversing ?

    Reply: Democracy remains the best system of government. If enough people want change they can vote for it. The truth is too few people wanted to change from the Labour government 1997-2009.

    1. Mactheknife
      August 29, 2011

      I did move away from Labour Mr Redwood, but what we are seeing now is not democracy. Right now its about keeping the LibDems on board and the policies are reflecting this. This is why ordinary people do not engage in politics anymore. Parties promise change and do nothing

      1. Jon Burgess
        August 29, 2011

        I don’t believe this is all about keeping the Lib Dems on board. I honestly think cast iron Dave would be pursuing much the same course had he won a majority; he thinks and acts like a Lib Dem because either:
        – deep down he is one, or
        – he mistakenly thinks/has been advised it is his best chance of a majority next time

    2. Iain Gill
      August 29, 2011

      john this is NOT true

      show me ANYONE who supports ICT visas “as is”?

      show me ANYONE who supports mass use of marriage visas to move large parts of the Indian continent here?

      show me ANYONE who believes work visa holders should get free NHS when equivalent Brits in their home country do not?

      the facts do not support this nonsense

      the guardianistas are wrong

      you should not be supporting this nonsense view

    3. Susan
      August 29, 2011


      Although you are right to point out that immigration levels are far too high, I would like to make one point, Britain does need skilled workers from abroad. The education system in the UK is not producing suitable candidates to take some of the more high profile jobs. Indeed older workers who are engineers etc are encouraged to stay on in certain jobs instead of taking retirement because there is no one to replace them. Due to students taking easy degrees in subjects which are of little or no use to employers, has left the UK in a position of needing certain workers from abroad. A lot of skilled jobs are left unfilled until a suitable worker can be recuited from another Country.

      In a sense it is right to say that the UK did vote for mass immigration, when they voted Labour for 13 years. It was obvious that this was Labour policy in order not to force those on benefits to go to work, instead allowing immigrants to come in and do the jobs British people were not prepared to do. The average person in Britain was too busy enjoying an economy built on easy credit to consider the real agenda that Labour had towards immigration.

      The damage is however done, and Britains population rise for the future will make it virtually impossible for the services, housing, roads, jobs etc to cope in the future. Indeed I would say it is the biggest challenge the UK economy will face.

      1. sjb
        August 29, 2011

        Susan –

        How many Labour voters employ Czech nannies, Polish plumbers and Filipino care workers?

      2. Electro-Kevin
        August 30, 2011

        It seems that it’s the policy for the Tory party too. I was told not to vote Tory because ” They’re pro mass immigration too.”

        Just who does one vote for to stop it ? The BNP ?

        Of mainstream parties “They’re all the same.”


      3. Derek Buxton
        August 30, 2011

        Then first change the Education system, but guess what, “Call Me Dave” will not accept a tried and trusted method. Why no? I can only assume that either he believes the socialist rubbish of Crossland or it is a case of “I’m alright Jack”.

      4. sm
        August 30, 2011

        The answer is fix the UK system – not allow the short term fix at cost of long term problems.

    4. Electro-Kevin
      August 29, 2011

      Thanks for the reply.

      It didn’t help, of course, that we were going through a false economic boom at the time and that Conservative voters were broadly happy with their lot.

      We were all well aware that the education system and the benefits system had failed to the point that ‘…competence had to be imported.’ and many shrugged their shoulders.

      Mr Redwood. Are you telling us that if we want to get the message across we must vote BNP or UKIP ?

      Perhaps that’s what it will take. But then I suspect that the BNP would get banned if it got within a sniff of power – that rather than the Tory party follow a serious immigration policy.

      It seems that putting my cross against Tory has resulted in me – unwittingly – contributing to a mandate for mass immigration. Your party is about to cut the UKBA; ignores a new clandestine immigration route via Cherbourg, Ireland and Scotland and refuses to repeal the HRA as promised.

      Immigration is booming under your government as never before.

      If I were to vote Tory at the next election I’d be endorsing further mass immigration based on recent record.

      Yes. Democracy remains the best system of government.

      So why haven’t we got it ?

      Reply: No, I am definitely not saying that! As I have often pointed out on this blog, Eurosceptic parties who target the Tories and claim the Conservatives are the problem have made it more difficult for Eurosceptics to have enough seats in parliament.

      1. Anthony Harrison
        August 30, 2011

        ..Eurosceptic parties who target the Tories and claim the Conservatives are the problem have made it more difficult for Eurosceptics to have enough seats in parliament.
        I do not accept this. The Tories are insufficiently Eurosceptic by a very long way, and it is their fault – not anyone else’s. If they wish people not to vote for other Parties which are overtly, transparently and sincerely Eurosceptic, then the Tories know what to do about it.

    5. lifelogic
      August 29, 2011

      “Democracy remains the best system of government.” So why are the Tories destroying the last remaining vestiges? Is one vote, every five years, for a someone (over countless issues) who responds more to party than people Democracy? Certain our “democracy” can be bettered hugely – but clearly there is clearly no existing mechanism for it to self improve – quite the contrary.

    6. lifelogic
      August 29, 2011

      “The truth is too few people wanted to change from the Labour government 1997-2009.”

      Yes but only as Cameron (the only other real choice) failed to provide a sensible alternative vision – just more of the same Blair light!

      reply: it was Hague, Duncan Smith and Howard until 2005.

      1. lifelogic
        August 29, 2011

        To Reply:

        It was other leaders too. But all that voters could remember for those elections was the pathetic figure of John Major and his betrayal. Major had buried the party for three elections with his entirely predicable ERM fiasco, also Lamont’s chucking taxpayers billions down the ERM drain (rather like Cameron and Ireland/Greece), his economic and general incompetence, his pro EU two faced stance and his failure even to say sorry after his ERM mess ended as all expected. He only ever, as I recall, apologised for historical matters for which he was clearly never responsible in the first place. Never the many things he was entirely responsible for.

        Yet still the BBC inflict his absurd, value less opinions and droning voice upon us. No one disliked him for being working class (as he seemed to believe) just for being incompetent and dishonest over his incompetence and his agenda.

      2. Susan
        August 30, 2011

        Lifelogic and Electro-Kevin

        I do not agree, I voted Conservative all through the Labour years. It was very obvious were Labour policies were leading the Country economically and with regard to immigration.

        Michael Howard did identify the problems with capital to lending in banks and too much private debt. William Hague had tried to speak out on the subject of immigration and was closed down by the Labour party and the media. The British public were too busy spending in the economy built on credit and service industries resulting from that credit to listen.

        The difficulties of Britains overpopulation will be very difficult to solve now as the only people who are likely to leave the UK will be those needed, such as high earners, investors and skilled workers. The retirement to places like Spain etc for ordinary people is now out of reach or not suitable anymore. Therefore the population will rise in this way as well.

        However, it is to be noted that Scotland encourages immigration as it would like to see its population increase due to people leaving over the years. Therefore problems are not always shared by all Countries of the UK.

        The UK has a Coaltion not a Conservative Party in Government, with one half, the Lib/Dems, who favour more immigration, this will make the problem even more difficult to solve.

        1. lifelogic
          August 30, 2011

          I voted Tory too with the exception of Major’s second time (how could anyone?). But many Tory voters could only remember the Major betrayal and 15% interest rates destroying businesses just for Major’s DM at 2.95 nonsense political vision.

          If only he had not evicted Thatcher and then she had lost the election and Labour would have had all the ERM blame. The we might have had sensible Tory party rule and no Brown and Bliar.

    7. APL
      August 30, 2011

      Electro-Kevin: “The question is why should ordinary people engage in politics any more ?”

      Take an interest in politics, or politics will take an interest in you. The latter clause is where we are now!!

      We need to take back control from the Party.

      Redwood says he will effect change from within, that strategy has clearly been an abysmal failure!

      I am afraid the Tory Party is only useful as an instrument to stop Labour from getting power. The problem is you don’t get a suit of Tory policies when we get a supposedly Tory administration.

      We get F****d!

  16. uanime5
    August 29, 2011

    I’m not surprised that the Conservatives want more control over our rights by reducing the power of the EU and ECHR, just disappointed.

  17. Iain Gill
    August 29, 2011

    members of the pubic want immigration common sense

    most of the world dont hand out visas like confetti like we do

    ah but we are frightened of our lib dem friends and have lost the will to stand up for and defend the wishes of the british people?

    conservatives are currently heading straight for electoral defeat at the next election and until and unless common sense mrs t style is brought in across the board we are all going to suffer

    poor old eric pickles wheeled out as the token non public school boy to do something about the rioting plebs? give me strength

    come on john we know you have more common sense than this, they clearly not going to let you in the cabinet, you may as well say it as it is?

  18. Bazman
    August 29, 2011

    Would immigration not be like banking, climate change, power generation, transport and housing? As in entirely self regulating and as the country became to full and living standards got worse would be a disincentive to would be immigrants? Thought not. Imagine how low wages could go and how competitive that would make the UK as long as other services where cut. The rest you can make up yourselves.
    Went to the beach today there must be about thirty wind turbines out at sea. Very windy and only about five at most working. Funny Huh?

    1. Iain Gill
      August 29, 2011

      you went to the beach

      i went to scotland

      bowel cancer screening for everyone over 50

      free student tuition

      free nhs prescriptions

      old age care with no threat of your house being sold to pay for it

      good to know my taxes are going somewhere

  19. Barry Sheridan
    August 29, 2011

    Dear Mr Redwood, the results of this survey could have been written before it was taken. Few can pretend they do not know what is wrong in the key areas, excessive and hostile immigration, the EU, Human Rights Laws as well as the institutional broader social and economic problems. Alas there is no sign that either the electorate or parliament are willing to reverse Britain’s rudderless drift towards further crisis. And to think, I had such hopes a year ago. I cannot convey how dismaying this conclusion makes me feel.

    1. Jon Burgess
      August 29, 2011

      The more people realise this and vote for an alternative party at the next general election, the better.

      The only thing that will change this cosy left wing love in is for the majority of voters in the UK to turn their backs on all of them and vote for someone other than Lib Dem, Labour or Conservative.

  20. English Pensioner
    August 29, 2011

    In spite of all the facts about how the public feel, this government is clearly going to do nothing for fear of upsetting the LibDems.
    In my view we should have an immediate referendum on withdrawal from the EU and the Human Rights Legislation.
    If the LibDems refuse to agree (and refusal to have a referendum is in itself undemocratic), I believe that the government should call an immediate general election using this survey as a basis for their manifesto.
    But they won’t, because I believe that Cameron is inherently lazy, being a good at talk but poor at action. He is simply enjoying the prestige of being Prime Minister and won’t rock the boat. He will do all he can to squash this Eurosceptic Group of MPs to prevent them disturbing his relatively quiet life.

  21. Steve Whitfield
    August 29, 2011

    Mr Redwood,

    I note that you have called for more controlled levels of immigration and for the UK to retain control of it’s borders. What I think would be helpful if you made a detailed case for the urgent reasons why this is necessary using your economics background and knowledge – as you have done on many other issues. I think such an analysis is urgently lacking in this debate.

    According to the official World Bank Estimates the UK population is currently growing at a rate of 0.7% per annum. This rate has been growing steadily since the mid 80’s but lets assume it stays at the current 0.7%.

    The time taken to double the UK population (T) from the current 61 million to 122 million is given by the formula T=70 / % growth per year.

    So T=70/0.7 =100 years

    So in just over a lifetime the population of the UK will double if the population continues to grow at the current rate and immigration and birth-rates remain as they are. This is an undisputable mathematical fact.

    What I would like to ask is :-
    Will a much larger population inevitably reduce standards of living ?
    What would be the likely costs involved in building the housing, hospitals, sewers, etc. to accommodate large increases in population ?
    Will the economy be able to grow sufficiently to provide enough jobs and pay the pensions of so many extra people ?.
    If so will we be able to maintain comparable pay and conditions or is it inevitable these will be driven down ?
    Will there be enough land for agriculture food production , the new roads, hospitals, houses, schools and leisure facilities and open green spaces needed ?. How do you think the inevitable conflicts will be resolved between these competing interests ?.
    How will we be able to generate enough energy for a much larger population when we are supposed to be reducing carbon emissions substantially ? .
    Have you a view on the maximum population that the UK can accommodate and how increases can be limited to this level, Do you foresee the need for family planning controls or strict limits on immigration in the future ?
    Does governments have a long term population management plan to deal with these issues or do they only look to the next election ?.
    Do you think there is a serious contradiction in a government that oversees population growth but also wants to be seen as green and friendly to the environment ?

    1. lifelogic
      August 29, 2011

      All very good questions indeed for JR to address in his usual intelligent way – alas most politicians tend to think no further than the next election – if indeed that far ahead.

    2. alan jutson
      August 30, 2011


      All good questions, which many of us see as the real problem, not only with immigration but with increasing birth rate as well.

      Can the infrastructure stand more people, when we are (I think) the third most densly populated country in the World already.

      Government should already be considering all of these points and should be making plans (already have plans in mind) to resolve this scenario.

      Given the above, Immigration control HAS to be under our own rules and requirements and needs to be enforced, otherwise we store up all of the problems you suggest for years hence.

  22. sjb
    August 29, 2011

    JR wrote: “[…] 93% want the UK to abolish the Human Rights legislation, and presumably our entanglement with the European Court of Human Rights in its current form and guise, replacing them with domestic arrangements to uphold our human rights.”

    Well, as the party of consumer choice, surely the thing to do is set out these arrangements so that the electorate can make an informed decision.

  23. Steve Whitfield
    August 30, 2011

    As a contributor to many important issues such as the decision to adopt the Euro, and business competitiveness I would very much welcome John Redwood also making a serious contribution to the debate on migration and population growth.

    In the questions I put to Mr Redwood I deliberately made no reference to the cultural aspects of migration – my view is the case for lowering migration should be made on an economic basis in terms of the availability of resources available on our small island and the effect of population growth on the standard of living, of everyone legally settled in the UK.
    I cannot think of a more important task for a government than to safeguard our future prosperity but I think for too long these sort of questions have been ignored.

    Some may say that it is too difficult a subject to speak about openly and honestly. But we already have Sir David Attenborough as the chairman of the Optimum Population Trust speaking openly about the need to control population growth.
    Sir Andrew Green of Migrationwatch UK regularly draws attention to the scale of the problem. I don’t think anyone would regard their views as being offensive.

    What I think is urgently needed is a proper assessment of the implications of increasing the UK population from 60, to 70 or 100 million in terms of jobs, energy supply , healthcare, pensions, transport, housing, per capita income, education, drinking water supply etc.
    Clearly allowing the population to expand by 250,000 each year is unsustainable as at some point resources will outstrip supply. As Dr David Starkey put it, the stance of our politicians has been ’ not in front of the children’ whenever immigration concerns are raised.

    I suspect the majority ‘gut feeling’ is any significant population expansion will have a negative impact on many aspects of what we value as contributing to our quality of life . I can‘t think of a single problem that could be made better by adding another 10 million to the population – but lets see a proper un-biased and informed assessment so that we can make up our own mind up.

    One would assume this has already been done at Westminster as this is the path that has been set for us by the actions of recent governments. But I have seen no evidence of this. If the government has no answer to important questions like how much extra clean drinking water the South East can provide we are in more trouble than I thought.
    At the moment all we can be certain of is that recent large increases in population will have to be halted at some point and that the longer we leave it the more urgent and painful this transition will become.

    Reply: it is not too difficult to speak out on this issue. The Conservative party spoke out on it as a main plank of the 2005 campaign – when we lost – and included a big reduction in immigration in the 2010 campaign when wthe Conservatives became the largest party without an overall win. The Coalition government as a whole is committed to much lower levels of immigration. That is why I am not spending time or energy on making that case, as the argument is accepted. The issue is how to achieve it, not whether to achieve it. That has been the point of giving you the chance on this site to exchange details with Mr Green over how to do it. As Mr Green is discovering it is difficult to do in an open society. I also myself want powers back over EU migration, which the government do not accept. Giving away control of our borders, carefully protected by the previous Conservative government, was part of Labour’s large give away to Brussels.

    1. Steve Whitfield
      September 1, 2011

      Thank you for your reply Mr Redwood.

      I remember the Conservative campaign in 2005 and it was pretty muddled and lacklustre. The ‘main plank’ about immigration degenerated into a childish conversation between Labour and the Conservatives over whether it was or wasn’t racist to even mention migration. I don’t think it’s surprising that the electorate didn’t feel sufficiently switched on by this spectacle to ditch Saint Tony Blair
      It is a fashionable view that |the Conservatives lost in 2005 because they sounded too right wing and this turned voters off. This is total and utter claptrap but probably explains why the centre ground of politics is now so crowded and politics held in such low esteem.

      Again the Conservatives didn’t do well enough in 2010 .….mainly because Cameron et al. implemented his dull PC ideology on a range of policies that were deeply unpopular outside Guardian reading circles. The result would have been even worse if he hadn’t given his pledge on capping immigration – one of the few genuinely popular policies he was willing to endorse. What happened to the Border Control Police we were promised ?

      I strongly disagree that the argument is settled on immigration. Liberal Conservatives , Vincent Cable and many of the Liberal Democrats do not wish to see tighter controls imposed on immigration. They will no doubt cite the growth of demand and jobs in the economy produced by each wave of new arrivals, however unsustainable this is. This despite the House of Lords publishing a report in 2008 that fundamentally demolished the view that the economy benefited from migration.

      Incredibly this report also admitted “there has been no empirical research that has evaluated the effect of immigration on the per capita income of the resident population”. While such important questions remained unanswered ,the void can only be filled by misinformation and spin.

      I don’t doubt your view that the “Coalition as a whole is committed to much lower levels of immigration”. But this could mean anything from a firm commitment with an action plan and timetable to something that is just desirable to do if it‘s not too inconvenient . I sense we are again being taken for fools by this administration.

      No doubt the coalition is also committed to reducing bureaucracy on business , helping manufacturing industry compete , abolishing Quangos and a host of other things, but again, these pledges are formed of the same weasel words.

      David Cameron pledged to reduce migration to the ‘tens of thousand’. So a reduction to anything between 0 -100,000 over an undetermined timescale is the clearest indication we have from our great leader. Or perhaps this pledge means as much as his “cast iron pledge’ to give us a referendum over the EU constitution?.

      So in light of all this spin and uncertainty, lack of facts and clarity , why do you assert Mr Redwood, that it would be a waste of your time and energy to explore the economic issues around migration, with the same rigour you applied to the debate on the UK joining the Euro ?.

      There is none so blind as those that do not want to see and I believe future generations will judge us harshly if we don’t even attempt to present an honest assessment and maybe open a few eyes.
      Mr Green’s task is proving a difficult one it would seem – I don’t think this is surprising considering the climate he is operating in, when so much of the debate is effectively closed by political correctness and a the lack of proper analysis/
      If in time, EU laws prevent us taking the necessary action why can’t we change or ignore the offending rule or regulation ? What is the worst Brussels can do? .. Fine us even more of our own money or throw us out of the whole wretched club. Great missing you already Mr Van Rompey!.

      If we don’t present clear and concise, cool headed facts explaining why migration needs to be reduce and make the difficult decisions the debate will again be dominated by the human rights industry and a host of other vested interests. The battle to protect democracy, human dignity and the prospects for a decent future for all our citizens will be lost.

      Reply: I have hosted a substantial debate opn this site on the general topic and on the more specific topic of IT migrants which concerns many readers. I have put points to the Minister, and had meetings with him. I have been assured that it is the government’s policy to implement the Prime Minister’s words which you quote, and am told more action is coming to do this.I have made clear my support for that aim. I myself do not research migration in the way I research the general economic, spending, tax and deficit issues – I can only do so much.

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