Should the Conservative party lurch right or left?


           There will be all manner of calls in the next few days for a change of direction by Conservative Ministers, in the wake of the big swings to Labour in the local elections. The main feature of the elections was a swing to the left as conventionally described. Labour took many votes off the Lib Dems, and some votes off the Conservatives. It extended its hold on many northern towns and cities, and showed an ability to win some seats in the south as well.

            Less remarked was the big surge in support for the Greens. It did not translate into many extra Council seats, but it did propel the Greens into the challenger role in more places. In my local Wokingham contests the Greens rose from 1% (2010 General election)  to 7.9% of the total vote, whilst not contesting all the seats available. In its best ward performance the party shot into second place with 31.4% of the vote.  The Greens came third ahead of the Lib Dems in the London Mayoralty, though only managing  4.5% of the total first preference vote.

            If you believe politicians have to follow the votes that implies the Coalition should move in a Green and Labour party direction to reconnect with voters who have detached. That I think would be a mistake.

             I think most people want to feel that their own living standards are rising. They want to know there is hope and opportunity for their children and grandchildren. They want some relief from the daily pressure on family budgets from higher taxes and higher prices. The Green party’s insistence on much dearer energy to try to make people use less of it is not a policy I can recommend. I want us to reduce what Labour calls fuel poverty. I want us to have cheaper energy so industry can stay and grow in the UK, as energy costs are crucial to manufacturing.  I would like to see the Coalition government introduce more competition and a better climate for gas as a cheaper fuel, so we can get fuel bills down.

          Labour did well apart from the Mayoralty in London. They are the first to admit they have much more to do to persuade people to trust them to run the economy again. It would be an unwise move to want to go back to Mr Brown’s massive levels of extra state borrowing, or to think we can ignore the deficit and let it increase. It might be a good idea to go back to the tax rates on enterprise and effort favoured by Mr Brown as Chancellor, though today’s Labour party does not seem to support these any more.

           Some say the government should move in the opposite direction to the voters – it should become more “right wing”. As I have often commented before, “right wing” is a term of BBC abuse for a wide range of views, many of them conflicting.  You are said to be right wing for believing people need more freedom from the state, or for wanting a tougher more authoritarian state. You can be right wing for wanting less regulation of economies, and right wing for wanting more regulation of media, pornography and the like. You can be right wing for backing the views of the Churches  on a range of moral topics.  Strangely you can be right wing for wanting more democracy in the UK and less power exercised by  the EU, though this kind of right wing view is popular with Labour party Bennites as well. You can be right wing for wanting the reintroduction of tougher sentences , and right wing for wanting more of our civil liberties returned as David Davis has argued.

          I would not recommend a lurch to the “right” as an smart ideological move. I think the governemnt should concentrate on the tasks in hand. It needs to get the deficit down. It will find that easier to do if it can speed up growth.  It should be pragmatic about how it does that. This site has set out many of the means to do so in recent weeks and months.

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  1. Freeborn John
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    One would have thought the Conssetvatives could talk and chew gum at the same time. Reducing the deficit, protecting the environment and renegotiating our relationship with the EU are not mutually exclusive benefits. If the Conservatives ignore the issues associated with those parties that are increasing their share of the vote, and instead narrowly focus in deficit reduction or policies desired by the party (libdems) that lost most of its share of the vote, then you should not be surprised to lose yet another general election.

  2. lifelogic
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    You are certainly right on the use of the term “right wing” the BBC just use it as a term of abuse for anything they do not like at the time – racism often particularly in relation to UKIP when they can indirectly imply it.

    What is needed is fewer, but sensible, regulations, sensible law and order with some actual deterrents, less government, less EU, lower taxes, less transfers to the feckless, more individual freedoms, functional banks and cheaper energy – whatever you call it right or left. I just think it is “obvious and sensible”.

    The move to the green is caused by dissatisfaction with the Libdems and that is where they go to show it. It is a religion not based on science even the Gaia priest James Lovelock now sees to have realised he has been talking very, very expensive job destroying rubbish for much of the time and is now in favour of nuclear.

    I too want to preserve a pleasant clean environment and (without bat & bird killing wind monsters and ugly green bling houses). It is just that as a scientist, and being numerate, I can see and calculate that wind, wave, tide, PV, carbon capture, bikes, green deals and buses do not really work in practice. We need nuclear, extra vests, jumpers, efficient road vehicles, insulation, fracking, decent & uncongested roads and eventually nuclear fusion.

    • lifelogic
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 6:51 am | Permalink

      Indeed it will be “easier to get the deficit down if it can speed up growth” – first on the list is to stop the banks, RBS in particular from sucking back capital from industry. It is paying back 164 billion pounds (times any gearing factors). This it has, I assume, dragged back from its good sound customers. This alone is a major cause of the lack of growth. The billions thrown away on the IMF, the Pigis and HS2 needed to be used to get some functional banking going. Only three years left and counting.

      • Bob
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 8:39 am | Permalink

        Where did RBS suddenly come up with 164 billion pounds?

        It’s not from this years profits. Did they borrow it? If so from who? Or have they been selling their assets?

        Will the government be using this money to prop up the Eurozone, or will they use it to build a high speed railway line which could cut 15 minutes off of the London to Birmingham route. Or will they they take some of the funny money out of circulation that was created by QE?

        • lifelogic
          Posted May 7, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

          As far as I can see they pulled it back from good borrowers who then had to scale down, cut back and delay expansion hence the “growth” figures.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic, have you looked at the science and numbers over the lifecycle for nuclear energy?

      I am not against nuclear in principle, indeed, having been in on the science at the beginning I think it is an expertise that the UK should have retained by continuing with a limited nuclear energy programme. But over the lifecycle nuclear is far from clean energy, and I do not mean as regards radiation hazard. Also, the fuel source is limited and the cost likely to rise significantly with increasing demand. And it does not help that fuel sources are not compatibly located for our needs.

      What’s your take on this?

      I do heartily agreed with eventually nuclear fusion.

      • lifelogic
        Posted May 6, 2012 at 11:11 am | Permalink

        I am certainly not a great expert on Nuclear energy costs. I do think however, from what I have read on the subject and with modern technology, it can me made both very save and cost effective.

        Certainly far more so than wind and PV with current technology – unless their is a large break through in technology in these areas.

        Fracking, nuclear, oil, gas, heat pumps, combined heat and power, efficiency, insulation, extra jumpers and coal in the short to medium term.
        Fusion (and perhaps PV with a real cost break through) in the long term seems most likely.

        • lifelogic
          Posted May 6, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

          Mind you much of the cost is caused by the political opposition an absurd and very slow planning system and the lack of decisiveness of governments and a lack of leadership in giving it the green light. Just get on and do it and do the Heathrow and Gatwick runways at the same time.

          People at the end of the day want what works. They usually do not know what works as they are not engineers and do not have the relevant skills. Cameron’s idea of sampling what people want is the wrong approach – on technical matters they simply do know how can they. They have however correctly worked out that Global warming is at best, a huge and highly speculative exaggeration.

        • Bazman
          Posted May 6, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

          Nuclear power like wind power is an energy source of last resort. A nuclear powered submarine is nuclear powered for this only reason. Right wing enough for you?

          • lifelogic
            Posted May 6, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

            Submarines are nuclear powered so they can go a long time without refuelling and does not need air to burn fuel or give its position away.

            We can have nuclear power on a submarine – how much easier and safer to do this on land?

          • outsider
            Posted May 6, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

            Dear Bazman,
            Why is atomic power right-wing?

          • Bob
            Posted May 7, 2012 at 8:45 am | Permalink

            “Why is atomic power right-wing?”

            Because it allows poor people to heat their homes without burning fossil fuels, when the wind isn’t blowing.

        • Alan Wheatley
          Posted May 7, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

          A significant cost is getting the uranium out of the ground and converting it into usable fuel rods. Also the supplies are being used up, rather like with oil, so what remains is more difficult to get.

          The low carbon argument usually looks just looks at the electricity production process in the power station and ignores the through-life carbon costs.

          So I think some nuclear fission is OK, but it is not THE answer.

          Solar PV could indeed become very attractive. Currently panels are very inefficient in converting solar energy in to electrical energy out. However, as clearly the principle works, that means there is enormous scope for more efficient implementations in the future, and combined with cheaper production and rising energy cost the financial balance may well improve substantially. It makes more sense as part of new-build rather than retro-fit.

          As the UK is an innovative sort of place, this ought to be an area where we could do well and I would think some government support would be a good investment. But offering a come-on tariff and then summarily chopping it in half is not the way to encourage investment.

          • lifelogic
            Posted May 8, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

            PV was a silly subsidy it should never have been in place at all and should go.

            You say “It makes more sense as part of new-build rather than retro-fit.” It does not make sense even then certainly not in cloudy UK.

            Doing R&D on future potential and for new developments is one thing. Spending a fortune installing technology that does not really work yet in economic terms is just mad. Giving government grants to encourage it is even madder. Almost a government fraud against the foolish & gullible.

      • forthurst
        Posted May 6, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        People who imagine that the MSM keeps them abreast of what is happening are way off beam: suppression and disinformation is the order of the day.

        There is an inherent safety problem when selecting materials for energy creation based primarily on their production of WMD-making by-products. Add to that the belief of pariah states that introducing suxnet worms into reactors is a legitimate act of self-defence and the world needs to take a long hard breath before deciding that appeasing the AGW hoaxers is sensible statemanship. Thorium was not selected as the basis for nuclear energy because it did not create bomb making material.

    • Bazman
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      Yeah! Blame it on the ‘Fecks’! Most people are pretty feckless when offered a job that pays next to nothing and I would say that individuals and companies with large amounts of money in the bank, banks that are not lending are also feckless. They where less feckless however when easy money was to be had from the housing bubble despite all the ‘pointless’ and ‘absurd’ regulation/taxation involved in building, funding it and physically finding tradesman/suppliers who actually want real pay above levels of benifits to bother building a house. The answer being to create more desperation or ‘Desps’ whether they be rich or poor. You could say it is not desperation but raising the level of fecklessness. A feckless tax no less is required if anyone could be bothered to pay of collect it.

      • lifelogic
        Posted May 6, 2012 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        I do not blame the feckless (in the main) rather I blame the politicians who use tax payers money to encourage the feckless. They are just using the system that pertains.

    • David Kelly
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      What nobody in public life will admit is that the biggest problem facing the environment is the fact that there are simply way too many people, not just in England, but across the entire globe.

      • Nick
        Posted May 6, 2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink

        Not the case.

        The problem is government debts.

        Governments running frauds.

        For example, why would you hide the amount owed for the state pension unless you couldn’t pay it?

        That is the action of fraudsters.

      • oldtimer
        Posted May 6, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

        In fact quite a lot of people do. Indeed the Royal Society is very keen on global population limits and says so. It is an idea that has been around a very long time. What some find disagreeable are the means suggested to achieve this, often involving compulsion by sterilisation. The other day I posted a link to a report that the UK aid programme was funding a compulsory sterilistion programme in India. This is not a proper use of UK taxpayers money.

        It is a well established fact that the quickest route to smaller families is economic prosperity.

        • LBS
          Posted May 7, 2012 at 9:52 am | Permalink

          Previous version accidentally altered to become unintelligible. Please scrap!
          For a long time we have depended economically on continuous moderate inflation. In a somewhat similar way, we also depend on a steady increase in population to provide a convenient distribution of age. A declining population has unfavourable demographics, as most European countries are discovering. In this country the native decline is masked by huge net immigration. There doesn’t seem any sustainable ideal levelof population for us to aim at.

      • rose
        Posted May 6, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

        Hear, hear. Otherwise I am with Lifelogic – except on his blind spot about bikes. Obesity and pollution accompany congestion, and he doesn’t suggest how to get rid of those three evils if we all go everywhere by car, van, or lorry.

        • lifelogic
          Posted May 6, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

          I do not have a blind spot about bikes. I even like biking & bike quite often. It is however clearly not efficient in C02 terms because of all the food (which is after all the fuel used). Its production, transport, packaging, shortage, freezing, cooking etc. makes them worse than a full car by very a long way. It is also well over 10 times more dangerous to life. Otherwise are you suggesting a steak, chips and claret car might be efficient?

          Obesity – just eat less and stop the endless pushing of food and drink at people.

          Pollution – just make cars cleaner – gas cars are very clean and petrol & diesel can be too. C02 is not pollution anyway it is tree & plant food. The other pollutants can be dealt with.

          • lifelogic
            Posted May 7, 2012 at 6:00 am | Permalink

            Also make the road wider, more efficient and less congested and reduce the need for travel with IT technology where possible.

          • Bazman
            Posted May 13, 2012 at 7:35 am | Permalink

            Almost all people have a problem in consuming more calories than what they use causing obesity over time, because of this the idea that they would cause global warming by eating more food because they ride a bike is laughable. They need to eat less and ride a bike. Is this supposed to be ‘scientific’? I suspect you are taller when you lie down lifelogic. On your bike.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      lifelogic, no real need for me to post, you have said most of it for me. Except maybe to make up the numbers to give your words impetus.

      Left and right is a bit of a nonsense. There’s only right and wrong. Bureaucracy is altogether wasteful, so why do we attach ourselves to the mother and father of all bureaucracies, namely the EU?

      It has a strong socialist bias, and as we have seen many times, socialism doesn’t work, therefore, it’s wrong!

      Ministers say they are listening, and have taken Thursday’s rejection on the chin. But I don’t see any government minister coming out and saying what the public are actually telling them, that we want out of this wasteful EU hell-hole. That is why so few have faith in the voting system any more. They know that regardless of which of the three main parties they vote for, they are all basically pro-European social democrats.

      Others will con us with the mantra that to change the EU, we need to be at the centre of it. Really?

      The EU is not weighted in favour of common sense. There’s a massive majority of ‘Jam for everybody, just sign up’ socialists to overcome. Best then, we steer our own course and let them see the error of their ways, and then follow our example.

      Tad Davison


      • lifelogic
        Posted May 6, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Permalink


        • lifelogic
          Posted May 7, 2012 at 8:51 am | Permalink

          Indeed Right and Wrong, what works and what does not work, the application of real science & logic not what is just an irrational belief system or a way of immorally garnering the many votes of envy spite and wishful “green” thinking.

    • Bazman
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      I too want to preserve a pleasant clean environment, but only for yourself if you believe all green issues are nonsense. The electronics industry will never change unless regulated on a world scale. This would also make. if implemented properly, electronics cheaper and longer lasting. Ram it.

      • lifelogic
        Posted May 6, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

        I would not mind some regulation to make product last longer and be repairable and to stop the “designed in” redundancy in much modern electronics, cars and other appliances and many other products.

      • lifelogic
        Posted May 8, 2012 at 5:37 am | Permalink

        Not “all green issues are nonsense” just most of them. They are mainly following a religion not real science – most believers understand little science at all – just get a glowing feeling as they drive 5 miles to the bottle bank each week.

  3. colliemum
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    You say that “right wing” is a term of BBC abuse for a wide range of views, many of them conflicting.” – and that is correct.
    In the same way, asling if the party should “lurch” to the right or left or towards green is also language used by socialists in the MSM.

    I’ve been staggered by the various comments in papers and on the Beeb of journalists ventilating about how the ‘Party lurching to the right’ would be terrible and lead to losing the coming GE.

    I wish you could point out to Cameron and his cronies that any ‘lurching’ will be seen by us 68% as more spin. We find this utterance by Cameron despicable:
    “The Prime Minister will produce a series of measures that he hopes will give “red meat” to Conservative backbenchers, who are calling for action to appeal to their core voters after poor local election results.” (DT online this morning).

    The Party must stop letting the left dictate the terms in which conservatives talk, be it from the red, yellow and green politicians or from the journalists populating Westminster Village.
    Boris Johnson won because people understand that he’s not driven by spin, PR, focus groups and ‘narratives’.
    People have had enough of being treated like mindless buyers of a ‘brand’ of politics, and we’ve had enough of being treated like stupid children who only need to be offered more shiny glass beads or ‘free gifts’ by PR driven politicians in order to vote for those with the most dazzling ‘offers’.

    No lurching, no accommodation with left-speak – people want proper conservative policies, and not some ‘red meat’ distributed by Cameron. And don’t ever forget that words are not enough: people want to see actions based on conservative policies.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      colliemum, here, here!

    • StevenL
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      People have had enough of being treated like mindless buyers of a ‘brand’ of politics

      I concur, a lot of this so called ‘spin’ is counterproductive, politicians might do well to take the advice of their marketing executives with a pinch of salt.

    • lifelogic
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      Indeed not talk and happiness indexes, forced equality and fairness. We want efficiency and something that works life never was or ever will be fair.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      Very true, but it is precisely because the Tory party has allowed itself to be dominated by the so-called ‘left’, that they have become so detached from mainstream man, and are becoming unelectable.

      We have Heath, Heseltine, Hurd, Howe, Clarke, and a host of others to blame for it all. If the party cannot re-connect with their core supporters, then it’s time their otherwise loyal supporters shifted to a party that properly represents them. Anything else is a travesty.

      It is no longer good enough to claim to be true blue, when all the time, they’re pale pink!

      Tad Davison


      • lifelogic
        Posted May 6, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

        Not even “pale”.

    • Timaction
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think the Tory leadership get it. It’s not left or right, but doing the correct things on behalf of the Nation that should be policy by instinct from a Conservative led Coalition. The fact that it isn’t shows all that is wrong with the current Tory leadership under their “modernisation” agenda.
      Stop all immigration, not net, we are full up and cannot support the whole world and his dog here. It hugely impacts our quality of life. Why should we house, educate and look after everyones health needs? England is full!
      Give us our In/Out referendum so that we can get away from a dying EU Eurozone. Trade and friendship. Fullstop. Repatriate our fishing and agricultural policy saving £50 million a day and £9 billlion annual costs of their directives. We still have a £50 billion trade deficit with them annually.
      Take us out of the jurisdiction of the EU Human Rights Court and deport Qatada!
      Reduce foreign aid to an absolute minimum. The public can decide if they wish to give to charitable causes. Not Government borrowing to give away to improve the Tory brand to nations with nucleur and space programmes and huge armed forces. It’s ridiculous in these austere times.
      Cut out of work benefits further. A £26,000 cap is an insult to everyone working for less on £35,000.
      Keep our armed forces and stop the EU armed forces creep. How could half an aircraft carrier surrender anyway?
      Simples really.

      • uanime5
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        The UK has a trade deficit of £50 billion with the EU because it imports more products than it produces. The best solution to this make more domestic products so less imports are needed or make more products that can be exported. Leaving the EU is unnecessary.

        Also cutting the benefits of the unemployed and forcing them to live in poverty won’t magically create jobs, nor will it make them more employable.

        • lifelogic
          Posted May 8, 2012 at 5:39 am | Permalink

          If they get any job they will slowly become more employable as they learn.

  4. Antisthenes
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    “It needs to get the deficit down”

    Indeed but how to do that without shrinking the size and role of the state. How to do it without encouraging growth through deregulation, lower taxes, less intervention in markets and liberalising politics with more democracy and less illiberal legislation. In fact how to do it without lurching to the right or at least lurching to what I perceive the right to be.

    • lifelogic
      Posted May 8, 2012 at 5:40 am | Permalink

      Without shrinking the size and role of the state – it cannot be done

  5. Mike Stallard
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    The lazy press uses terms like “lurch to the left/right”. Well, it doesn’t seem to have done much good to the Conservative Party – all this green tree stuff – in your parish, does it!

    ” I would like to see the Coalition government introduce more competition and a better climate for gas as a cheaper fuel, so we can get fuel bills down.” Fat chance of that! Shale gas, as the government knows (it knows everything) causes earthquakes and we cannot risk that.

    The ballooning debt cannot be reduced as it might cost the election.

    The Civil Service is put in charge of education and knows that Free Schools are a risk too far. So it is banning them, very politely, as I find from the linked in correspondence where people are wondering why their application is taking so long!

    Meanwhile the people in the North, on State benefits and the State payroll are looking for “investment” to “kick start the economy”.

    In rainy weather, you see, I feel just like lifelogic!

    • uanime5
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      Shale gas won’t change anything. Expect profits to rise, rather than gas prices falling.

      Free schools are nothing more than failed private schools bailed out with taxpayers’ money. This money would be far better spend improving local comprehensives.

      Well the private sector is supposed to be saving the economy by creating millions of jobs.

      • Bazman
        Posted May 6, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

        Subsidising private school with taxpayers money. Exactly.

        • Mike Stallard
          Posted May 6, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

          I really do hope that all your children and perhaps grandchildren all (yes all) go to the local State Comprehensive and that none are sneakily and safely tucked up in Private Schools like most of the politicians and other Comprehensive supporters I know.

        • lifelogic
          Posted May 6, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

          The people paying for private school are subsidising the state sector pupils by not making the state pay for their children too.

          • Susan
            Posted May 7, 2012 at 10:47 am | Permalink


            That is true, however ideally the State system should be brought up to the standard of private schools. Otherwise the best jobs in the UK will always go to children of wealthy parents or immigrants who have had the benefit of better education.

            This will only be achieved if there are better teachers in the State system. This could prove difficult as the intake of new teachers will most probably have come through the inadequate State system themselves, in which case they will not have had the benefit of good education to pass onto their pupils.

            Lack of discipline in the classroom and poor parenting is still a problem for the UK to solve also.

          • Bazman
            Posted May 7, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink

            If you believe that you believe anything.

          • uanime5
            Posted May 7, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

            So you support using taxpayers’ money to bail out failed private schools?

          • lifelogic
            Posted May 8, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

            Susan, I agree state school should be as good as they can be. A mechanism is needed to ensure this happens. You cannot make them as good as the private ones if you cannot get rid of disruptive pupils, useless teachers, pay more for certain subject and have regional pay. Also they have fewer teachers per head due to all the overheads of LEAs and too many managers and a “BBC think” political agenda too from the top.

            Let good teachers teach give them some freedom. I would not want to teach if I were forced to teach nonsense as so many are.

      • A Different Simon
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        I admire Holland for saying he is going to recruit 60,000 extra teachers .

        The children of politicians rarely go to state schools so it’s nice to see a commitment to recruiting more teachers .

        I’d like to see the UK have a purge of all the innadequate teachers who cannot improve .

        They should be compensated very generously for having to find an alternative career . It’s not their fault that the standards were so low to let them in in the first place .

        In tandem , there should be a drive to recruit a higher standard of new teachers .

        I went through the state system and a comprehensive myself but what the kids are getting now doesn’t appear to be anywhere near as good .

        (complains about a local school he knows where he says standards are very poor-ed)

  6. Duyfken
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    In the world according to Duyfken, there is a nexus of three (at least) essentials to good government. They are DIRECTION, ASPIRATION and COMPETENCE. If one or more are faulty or lacking, then the whole edifice should crumble.

    Direction is the intended policies to be followed – the mission statement of what the government sets out to do and which path to take, to the left or to the right. The present government has been misguided in a number of cases, to my mind caused by just seeking votes regardless of principle, and so far as concerns the major care (“it’s the economy, stupid”), it is still to be seen whether it is broadly correct.

    Aspiration is the general philosophy being followed, the old main divisions of capitalism v socialism having been contorted by other issues such as “environmentalism” and federalism (as in the EU), political correctness and others. It includes also such factors as trust and even public relations, these being what should have been strong points in Cameron’s favour given his background but where he has gone so wrong, and where Boris has been so successful.

    Competence in implementing the measures needed to achieve the direction and aspiration is the final sine qua non. Generally this is bounded by the level of cooperation from and general competence of the Civil Service. To my witness, both of those factors have deteriorated over many decades and now our servants have become our masters and one of the largest obstacles. The inability of government Ministers to get their Departments into good order and fit for purpose is the greatest indictment I have for the present (and previous) administrations.

    I have no faith in the Cameroons succeeding with any of these three essentials and they should be increasingly aware themselves of their failure record and of those failures which will surely proliferate the longer they remain in office. It is a disaster for us all.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      I empathise with ” the world according to Duyfken”. Rearranging you get:-

      Aspiration (or objective) – the place where you would like to be;

      Direction (or plan) – the way to get from here to there;

      Competence (management) – the sound implementation of the plan.

      These concepts will be familiar in all well run businesses, which perhaps explains why you have little faith in the “Cameroons”.

    • oap
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      A good, perceptive post.

      • outsider
        Posted May 6, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        Agreed. An example might be student finance. Moving away from state funding (to accommodate more college numbers) might be an aspiration. But the overriding direction was to cut the deficit and, as Mr Redwood pointed out at the time, moving straight to £9,000 a year raises state borrowing in the short term. The move was also incompetent as ministers wildly underestimated how many universities would go for the maximum fee and managed to alienate a whole cadre of students and future electors.

  7. Andy Man
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Surely the problem for the Conservatives is that people can’t see much difference between con/lab/lib so they feel they can switch from one to the other on a whim if they bother to vote at all.
    Perhaps you can explain further, Mr Redwood, how going “back to Mr Brown’s massive levels of extra state borrowing” is different to staying with the massive levels of current state borrowing under Dave and George.

  8. Caterpillar
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    I agree on the comments of definition of ‘right’, the reason why I questioned policy delineation yesterday (I am socially liberal, but believe in strong law and order).

    Also I believe in aiming for best recource coordination – hence I tend towards being economically liberal as markets seem to fail less than governments. Nonetheless I recognise in some areas there are quite probably advantages to government undertaking market corrections (e.g. childhood vaccines, deposit insurance to prevent runs on banks, obligation for third party insurance for drivers to limit adverse selction etc). I also think the monopoly breaking role of transport infrastructure does this – if, as reported (read in Daily Telegraph), the PM has now backed out of HS2 legislation – that’s it for me. This was one of the few no-brainers (though too slow) and so … well that’s me gone.

  9. stred
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Re. the upsurge in Green support. I have noticed in my town that a larger proportion of young people support the Greens, as their election posters are put in the windows of rental houses. These voters are often without an real scientific education, having taken the easier subjects or combined science. Often schools preach the global warming agenda and this is swallowed by unquestioning minds. Also, they are further left than Labour and so the socialist revolutionary element in education moulds their attitude. The numbers will therefore increase and it will take an energy production disaster to make them think of changing.

    The practical attitude to reducing CO2 and other green agenda seems to act in the opposite direction. The houses with green stickers that I know have much higher heating and electricity bills and the windows are left open in cold weather, possibly to let out the cannabis smoke. The bin bags are slung out the night before the recycling operative arrives, unsorted and are strewn over the street by seagulls and foxes. But then Greens have always been been capable of hypocrisy, supporting measures which waste power, or as in Germany, closing nuclear generation and importing it long distance from France with all the line losses.

  10. Alan Wheatley
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    I agree the government should concentrate on the tasks in hand. The coalition’s strong hand is that it was formed by pragmatic politicians to tackled the economic crisis created by Labour. If it gets that right they should get the plaudits they will deserve.

    What they would do well is to avoid policies on which they are ideologically opposed. Pressing on with compromises pleases no one.

    The politicians in government have shown themselves to be coming up short in the skills required for government, and they, and us, would be best served by them doing less and getting right what they do do.

    It was interesting to hear on the BBC Radio 4 news this morning that they led with a story about the widespread unhappiness over gay marriage, House of Lords reform and HS2, which should bring a knowing smile to many of the readers of this blog.

    • lifelogic
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      I am personally quite happy to see gay marriage and even some sensible House of Lords reform. But they are very far from priorities given the mess, the unemployment, the deficit and the lack of growth Cameron’s policies are giving us at the moment predictably.

      • stred
        Posted May 6, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

        In some parts of the country we need menage a trois marriages. =3 votes.

  11. matthu
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    The surge in support for the Geens can easily be explained by the fact that no major party seems prepared to criticise the madness of any of their policies leading the electorate to assume that the Greens represent everything that is simultaneously positive and acceptable and pro-life and environmentally sound and jobs-creating and anti-banking and anti-rich and economically sustainable.

    No-one reading this blog needs to be reminded how far from the truth this is – but perhaps if senior MPs want to stop the haemorrhaging of their support they could ponder why they are so reluctant to draw attention to this.

    • matthu
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      Roger Helmer in his blog today (Alleges-ed) one of the members of the BBC’s Dragon’s Den “promoted by the BBC on prime-time television, using her connection with Friends of the Earth to persuade the public to lobby a government minister in favour of an industry in which she has a direct stake.”

      He asks “Hasn’t she seen the disaster of “green energy”? We need government ministers posing the same question – but on national television. Why aren’t we seeing more of this?

      • lifelogic
        Posted May 6, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        The BBC is endless promoting itself, private businesses, lefty pop bands or charities.

      • forthurst
        Posted May 6, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink

        Business people aren’t choosey: money from taxpayers is as bankable as that from taxearners.

        • lifelogic
          Posted May 6, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

          Indeed that is why you need good and honest government.

          • Bob
            Posted May 7, 2012 at 9:08 am | Permalink

            “…that is why you need good and honest government”

            And we haven’t had one of those in many a long year…

      • lifelogic
        Posted May 6, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        Roger Helmer seem to have grasped the reality of the renewable con unlike Cameron, the BBC, the libdems, Hulne types and many charities.

        Do we really want government giving grants to people to do daft things like put PV cells over all their houses.

        • Bob
          Posted May 7, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

          “Do we really want government giving grants to people to do daft things like put PV cells over all their houses.”

          Perhaps, if we lived closer to the equator.

  12. roger
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    John not sure what a ‘lurch to the right’ means. What would be popular however is as follows: European referendum (in/out or repatriation of powers), Tougher law and order (more prisons, longer sentences, more rehabilitation, drug free), Tighter borders (reduce imigration), Replace human rights with a British bill of rights (throw out Abu Qatada now), Promote manufacturing (cut red tape), Sell of nationalised parts and reform banking, Continue with reforms of Education (more grammars less emphasis on universities more on apprenticeships), Police (more visiblity less paperwork), Welfare and Pensions. Reduce further and quicker spending and borrowing to allow for tax cuts, rebalance the economy between the public and private sectors, bring in more MPs with a business background into parliament. Voters dont like Mayors, inappropriate overseas aid,incompetence (of which there has been a long list recently), social engineering, waste, quangos, quotas. the cost of green issues, gay marriage and lords reform. Voters do want lower energy prices, interest rates and inflation,some tax relief, a cap on bankers salaries, more homes at affordable prices and better communication from government as to it’s ideas, aims and actions. To achieve much of this DC must be much tougher with the Lib Dems who are holding us back and will prevent a Conservative goverment next time around.
    None of the above is Left or Right just what the majority of us want and expect.

  13. Alex
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    IMHO it’s the wrong question.
    Does this help?
    The Conservatives campaigned as being in the bottom right quadrant.
    Once in power they moved up into the top right.
    The other major parties are, of course, in the top left.
    Most people in the bottom right quadrant will have voted for the Conservatives in the last general election. Many are now supporting UKIP because the Tories have moved up into Authoritarian Right.
    That’s my view, for what it’s worth.
    So, in answer to your question, John, the Conservatives should lurch DOWN, back to where your party claimed to be 2 years ago.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      Some years ago when I took that test I came out close to the origin, but I’ve still been condemned as too “left wing” as well as too “right wing”, too “libertarian” as well as too “authoritarian” ….

      I think there’s at least one other dimension missing, a spatial dimension ranging from local to global as the context in which decisions should be made.

  14. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    JR :”They want to know there is hope and opportunity for their children and grandchildren.”
    Your government’s plan to increase the debt by at least 80% in 5 years doesn’t seem to meet that aspiration. Mind you we do have a prime minister who continually talks about paying down debt when he is increasing it. I take it from this blog that reports I read that you and David Davis had produced an alternative Queen’s speech were erroneous. Never mind, we can look forward to House of Lords reform and gay marriage taking up parliamentary time whilst your incompetent ministers stumble from one fiasco to another and the debt rises inexorably. One thing I do agree with Galloway is that the three main parties are just three cheeks of the same backside.
    We await Cameron’s spin and the return today of Macavity Osborne – just where has he been hiding? Real changes in the government are long overdue but I doubt that Cameron has the leadership skills to do what is required either for your country or your party. We shall see.

    Reply: Conservative Home is I believe working on proposals they think should go into a Queen’s Speech. I haev set out my ideas on what the government should do next on this site and in the media. There can only be one Queen’s Speech!

    • forthurst
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      If the Queens’ Speech is being produced by Cameron’s ‘mainframe computer’, it will be ‘garbage out’ again.

  15. Jonathan
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    “If you believe politicians have to follow the votes….”

    I wish they’d follow their convictions rather than chasing votes, obviously they’d need to believe in more than platitudes to start with though.

    • outsider
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      My impression is that ministers follow influential lobbies rather than the votes. To take a couple of current examples, there are no net votes in making cigarette branding illegal and few in forcing opt-ins for internet pornography. These may or may not be good ideas but ministers are just following a state-aided lobby on one hand and a Daily Mail campaign on the other.
      Lord Tebbitt has suggested that politicians should occupy “common ground” rather than converge on the “centre ground”. This makes sense because, even if politicians have few convictions, most will share the common ground before they enter office. Of course, there can be strong arguments about what is common ground ( and not everything advocated in this blog, let alone by Lord Tebbitt, would qualify) but it is pretty obvious that neither the government nor the opposition occupy it.

  16. APL
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    JR: “Greens rose from 1% (2010 General election) to 7.9% of the total vote, ”

    Yes, ‘total vote’, an easily glossed over term, but what was the turnout? Is it true that 60% of those eligible to vote didn’t bother?

    What is your strategy to encourage those to vote?

    Leave the feast on the table and fight over the scraps if you must. But don’t draw any particular conclusion from a three or four percent swing in what must probably be the most politically active population of voters.

    For a professional cadre who are supposed to know politics, you all don’t know much!

  17. A.Sedgwick
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    I admire your tenacity but the Conservative Party have no chance of forming the next Government with Cameron and Osborne in charge. This reality is beginning to dawn generally but more particularly on MPs who do not have a 10,000 majority.

    The duo, who would not even be interviewed for a top FTSE 100 job, are making the expected complete mess of running UK Plc, and have shown an amazing political naivety bordering on the outright dumb during their six years running the Conservative Party.

    As a Terry-Thomas character might have said “you both are an absolute shower”.

  18. matthu
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Peter Hitchens in the Sunday Mail tries to explain what changes (if any) you will notice when Labour wins the next election.

    “Political correctness will rule over all, as it does now. Crime and disorder will flourish, as they do now. Mass immigration will carry on, as it does now. The EU will continue to steal our independence, as it does now. The married family will continue to be besieged and undermined by laws and the active promotion of fatherless homes, as is the case now.

    The welfare state will continue to swell far beyond our ability to pay for it, and children will carry on emerging from 11 years of alleged education barely able to read and count. New grammar schools will be illegal, as they are now.

    The one good thing is that the Cameron delusion ought now to reach an end. But will it? Or will Britain’s conservativeminded people carry on voting stupidly and pointlessly for the Tory Party, which hates and despises them and everything they care for? All the pillars of the Cameron delusion have now collapsed. The Tory Party cannot win a majority by any method. Nobody trusts it, and it stands for nothing except getting posh boys into office.”

    • Bob
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Hitchens has hit the nail on the head.

      • lifelogic
        Posted May 6, 2012 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        Peter Hitchins usually hits the nail on the head. Other than when he addresses religion where is brother Christopher (alas no more) was rather more rational.

  19. merlin
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Summarising then what we actually need is a truly conservative government as in the old days i.e the government of Margaret Thatcher. What was interesting about that period of time was that politicians actually had real life experience and were not professional politicians, and real policieis were implemented and the the economy actually grew and socialists were kept out of office for 18 years which I hopw will happen once more. Let’s get back to real conservatism which is the most successful political philosophy of the last 400 years. The sooner we do this the better.

    • Bob
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      There is only one party promoting conservative policies at present and it’s not the Tories.

  20. Pat
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    This is the first piece I’ve actually seen that points out the fatuousness of believing that all political ideas can be represented by a point on a line. The description “Left” is as idiotic as the description “Right” of course.
    If this one point were hammered home, such that it became generally accepted then it would become possible to have a sensible debate as to poverty.

  21. NickW
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    The protest vote is now against all three main political parties; that is part of the appeal of Green, UKIP, and Independent. Copying their policies won’t guarantee their votes.

    The Government cannot afford to have its policies dictated to it by the BBC; if we have come to that point, a formal Monopoly investigation is needed.

    Cameron said on gaining office that he did not care if he was a one term PM, provided that he did what was needed to rescue Britain from financial collapse.

    Would Cameron like to explain to us how Gay marriage, Foreign Aid and House of Lords Reform, contribute to the halting of our flight into financial ruin?

    Single mindedness, determination and focus are needed. Any Government activity that does not contribute to deficit reduction and growth should be abandoned; ring fences should be removed.

    If the BBC is such an influence on policy that Governments can no longer do what is necessary to rescue the economy, the BBC should be taken on and cut down to size; there is no choice. They will apply the label of “Right Wing” to any policy they do not like, whatever the circumstances.

    The BBC is anti-Conservative and shares Labour’s determination to make sure that no Conservative Government is elected, and if elected, does not remain long in office.

    Personally speaking, I do not wish to be governed by the BBC.

    • NickW
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      It should be noted by the Liberal Democrats in the coalition that Clegg’s preoccupation with House of Lord’s reform and other Lib Dem trivia is not exactly going down a bomb with the electorate either.

      Clegg’s original and only justification for going into coalition was deficit reduction and restoring the Country’s finances. Will this be another broken promise?

      Clegg needs to restore his priorities every bit as much as Cameron. If the coalition ends with the economy in the same mess it is now, the Lib Dem’s will have gained nothing from coalition, and their raison d’etre as the third party will be publicly destroyed.

      The Parliamentary Labour Party needs to work out how to make a positive contribution to the Country’s problems as well. Labour MPs are elected to serve their constituencies; playing silly party political games to the exclusion of all else is not going to gain much credibility with the electorate either.

      All three main political parties have worked hard to alienate the electorate and earn the contempt with which they are viewed. (Hence the rise of “Anybody but LibLabCon”)

    • lifelogic
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      But who appointed Lord Patten to the BBC – Cameron?

    • Andy
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      Correct: the BBC should be cut down to size. It’s a monopoly and abuses its power in a far worse fashion that it accuses Mr Murdoch of doing. Of course no one will take on the BBC because they are frightened of the power it wields.

      • Bazman
        Posted May 6, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        What do you propose to do about Channel 4. Openly anti Tory. Do get back to us on that one Andy.

        • Bazman
          Posted May 9, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

          Never did get back..

      • NickW
        Posted May 6, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

        Anybody who has ever been involved in real life knows that if you confront a bully with the prospect of savage and determined violence, they will usually back down.

        If fear of the BBC is constraining policy, that is a truly terrible state of affairs which must be rectified whatever the cost. If that is the position; our politicians need to address it.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted May 6, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

        The BBC troubles me. You should hear the commentator’s enthusiasm for the newly-elected socialist French president as if he were the new messiah. What they don’t seem to grasp, is that the discredited socialist philosophy gave us the problems we now have.

        There’s something prescriptive and Stalinist about the way the BBC is funded. You WILL pay the licence fee, whether you watch the BBC or not, and we will keep on with our leftist slant, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

        At least with a subscription, a person can choose not to pay the fee if they don’t like the content. What happened to freedom of choice?

        I often complain to the BBC about their left-wing bias, and I don’t even get a reply. How arrogant and unaccountable is that?

        Tad Davison


        • Bob
          Posted May 7, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

          “…a person can choose not to pay the fee if they don’t like the content…”

          You can apply the same approach to the BBC if you feel strongly enough about it (as do I).

  22. waramess
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    How is it possible to examine the entrails when, as you correctly observed yesterday, 68 percent of the voters stayed at home?

    Were they keen socialist supporters? Then why not come out in droves and support Cameron?

    Ponder on why 68 percent had not voted and you get closer to the problem than examining why 32 percent voted as they did.

  23. Geoff M
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    There is also a presentational problem with the tories as displayed by the cut in the 50% tax. MPs appear on radio & TV and when asked to defend the cut they fail to state that brown went 13 years without 50% and only raised it just before the 2010 election so the current treasury team are maintaining the status.
    Also, in any case they are going to cut spending and then reduce the top rate to 35%, abolish employers NI which is a disinsentive to employment and raise the level to £13,000 before income tax is paid.
    Thats the Queen’s speech sorted then.

    Is not right wing anything the deputy PM fails to agree with.
    Finally for good measure BBC privatiesd.

    • uanime5
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      Reducing the top rate of tax will result in less tax revenues and more borrowing, the opposite of what the Conservatives are trying to achieve.

      • lifelogic
        Posted May 6, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

        No it won’t.

        • uanime5
          Posted May 7, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

          So you deny anything you don’t like without any real reason. No surprise there.

      • libertarian
        Posted May 6, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

        No it won’t, as usual you’re wrong.

        If you’d ever done anything useful like started or run a small business you would know why you are wrong too. Seeing as you’ve never done these things you will remain stuck with your flawed thinking

        • uanime5
          Posted May 7, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

          Please explain what reducing the top rate of tax, only paid by the richest 1%, and running a small business, whose owners do not pay the top rate of tax, have in common.

      • NickW
        Posted May 6, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

        The opposite is true.

        Reducing tax rates has been clearly shown to INCREASE total tax revenue.

        Increasing tax rates to high levels results in emigration , avoidance, disincentivisation, and falling revenues.

        The rich will pay more tax if the rates are kept low.

        • Bob
          Posted May 7, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

          High taxes will create a brain drain, and people will follow in the steps of Bono and Ken Livingstone to defend their money from the squandering government.

        • uanime5
          Posted May 7, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

          No it hasn’t. George W Bush’s tax cuts didn’t increase the amount of taxes paid by the rich. It was only after Obama removed these tax breaks and started clamping down on tax avoidance and evasion that tax rates increased.

          The rich will always try to pay as little as possible no matter how low tax rates are.

  24. Alan Wheatley
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    The terms “left” and “right” used in political debate can be complimentary or derogatory depending one your point of view. So, a lurch to the left/right could be a good/bad thing depending on where you stand, left or right.

    The addition of the adjective “extreme” seeks to dismiss as unworthy of consideration the views of those so accused, and to do so without the need for thought from the user of the term nor from the recipient.

    Terms such as “left” and “right” become meaningless, as has “eurosceptic” and “multi-cultural”. Meaning is in the eye of the beholder, which is a guarantee of misunderstanding. “The Big Society” is another categorisation without understanding.

    Happily there are still some places where clarity of thought and expression can be found. And I do my best to keep up the standard!

  25. oap
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    The terms right and left our now meaningless except as terms of abuse directed at political opponents. That is clear from their use by the political class and political commentators.

    Lurching is not a sensible way the proceed. There does need to be a change in direction is towards policies and actions that actually work, towards pragmatic solutions not solutions driven by ideology. On the Andrew Marr show Mr Osborne has just said the government is “doing absolutely everything” to get the economy right. I simply do not believe him. There are many other things that the government could do but is not doing many of them discussed daily on this site.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      To believe Osborn is even more depressing – he really does believe he is doing everything, at least everything he can think of!

  26. Electro-Kevin
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Lurch Right most definitely.

    The whole UK political spectrum has been dragged Leftwards by stealth and the ‘center ground’ (so called) is well into Socialist territory.

    Personally I think it’s all too late. Cameron really was our last hope but he’s turned out to be yet another fake. The UK, once stable and rational has now lost all sense. In the hour of need the Tories offer nothing but a good beating to its own core voters and offer us nothing in the way of hope.

    Give up politics, Mr Redwood. The horse has well and truly bolted.

    I can’t see a better campaign for you – seeing as this country now has a chronic housing shortage – than making a stand against the educational establishment which seems to think that teaching our children degree level in media studies and nail polishing is more important than teaching them how to lay bricks.

    That would be useful for all of us, even if it still doesn’t give us proper industry – surely it isn’t too much to ask.

    • Steven Whitfield
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think Mr Redwood should give up politics but he should seriously consider abandoning the un-Conservative party and his reform from within approach. We now have a party that is more pro federalist and left leaning than in the days of John Major. Overall, how much progress has been made with this strategy ?

      If are banging your head against a brick wall…banging it harder isn’t going to make it fall over

  27. Anthony Harrison
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    I agree entirely with your disquistion on the absurd abuses of the term “right wing”: it is so hackneyed as to be meaningless, and indeed I prefer to classify people or Parties according to the degree of liberty they espouse. More than a few of my ideas might well be classified by the BBC or The Guardian (pretty much interchangeable) as “far right” yet I see my politics as libertarian-conservative…
    As to the Conservative Party, it’s in a cleft stick. People like yourself are marginalised, both by a leadership which espouses soggy social-democrat touchy-feely meaningless “centre Right” ideas, and by the MSM which is pretty much Statist in varying degrees. If Cameron were to “lurch” in either direction it would be seen by everyone as simply the latest manifestation of his childlike desire to be all things to all voters and/or flagrant, specious opportunism.
    But if your Party stays the way it is, it will continue merely to attract mingled contempt and indifference for failing to act vigorously in the pursuit of economic soundness and in defence of fundamentally conservative beliefs.
    Many people think the end is nigh for the Conservative Party, and it will fall apart before too long under intolerable internal stresses – much like the late unlamented USSR and the Warsaw Pact…

    • Bazman
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      We all understand the term ‘right wing’ make no mistake.

      • forthurst
        Posted May 6, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

        …but do we accord it the same meaning; that was JR’s point?

  28. FrankFisher
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    I’d think lurching to the Right is better then lurching from crisis to crisis.

    If Dave wants to win the GE, give us a EU in/out vote. A solid commitment, a date, a question. Instant landslide.

    Be interesting to see how the BBC would spin asking the public as ‘a lurch to the right’.

    In any event, anything the BBC is for, I’m pretty much against…

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      Frankfisher, how would you react to a Conservative government that gave us an EU referendum and then campaigned for “IN”, consistent with their declared policy?

  29. Steve Cox
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Call it a shift to the right or left or whatever you wish, but IMHO the Conservative Party needs to start seriously reconnecting with the people who should be some of its core supporters, but who have been sadly ignored and badly damaged by the government’s (and the Bank of England’s) response to the financial crisis. I’m referring here to the prudent people who tried to put away enough for a decent pension, but have been robbed of that prospect by the lowest annuity rates ever, courtesy of the Bank of England and QE (blessed by George Osborne). I’m referring also to those who saved what they could for all of their lives, hoping that the interest on their savings would provide them with a few luxuries in their retirement. Of course, they have largely been robbed of that by the Bank of England’s ZIRP policy (blessed by George Osborne). Add to this toxic brew, for what should be natural Conservative supporters, highish and apparently uncontrolled inflation (to judge by the Bank’s ludicrous inflation forecasts), and you have a mix that may not drive past Conservative voters to the Labour party, or even to UKIP, but it may well drive them to apathy and a disconnection from the electoral process. Cameron and Osborne should realise that a lifelong Conservative voter who gives up voting is every bit as damaging for the party as a swing voter who opts for Labour. I believe that many of the people I am referring to have decided that the current Conservative party doesn’t care one jot about them, and so will simply stay at home rather than vote for a party that has, after all, done its best over the last two years to impoverish them and steal their savings and pensions. But don’t just take my word for it, here’s Peter Hitchens in today’s Mail on Sunday:

    “Because so many people foolishly trusted Mr Cameron in 2010, we have wasted several precious years. But we can bring about the collapse of the useless Tories in 2015 by refusing to vote for them any more.

    If you must vote at the next Election (I shan’t), vote for the absurd Dad’s Army of UKIP if you want to.

    At least it does no harm.

    But the real business of constructing a new pro-British party to speak for all the abandoned, honest, patriotic, gentle people of this Disunited Kingdom can begin only when we have chucked the Tories into a suitably stout wheelie bin and slammed the lid down on top of them.”

    (See for the full article.)

    And that, remember, is coming from a columnist noted for his ‘traditionalist conservative stance’, to quote Wiki. I am certainly starting to feel like that, as are friends and other people I talk to who would probably generally be considered to have a similar traditionalist conservative stance to Mr. Hitchens. No doubt, Cameron and Osborne will ignore this, as they have foolishly ignored the hemorrhaging of ordinary party members, preferring to court the more glamorous (if less bothersome) captains of industry for donations. They will learn their mistake in 2015, or possibly sooner, when people like myself and Peter Hitchens stay at home rather than trekking out to the polling booths to vote Conservative. I don’t want another Labour administration, but neither can I vote in all conscience for a party that has caused me so much financial harm. Of course, you can say that they are only fixing the damage caused by the execrable Gordon Brown, but then you miss the point. They could have fixed it in ways that protected their own people and passed the pain onto the natural supporters of the Labour party. That, after all, is what politics is all about. Instead they have continued to favour mass immigration and the client state and ever more public spending, while taxing and robbing their own people to pay for it.

    • Steven Whitfield
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

      Credit to Peter Hitchens he has been consistent on this matter. There were plenty of his readers that were sceptical of his views before the election and gave David Cameron the benefit of the doubt. Event’s have proven Peter Hitchen’s to be 100% correct about Cameron.

  30. backofanenvelope
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Mr Cameron might be more popular if he stopped upsetting people. For instance – gay marriage. Although most Christians are non-practicing, something like 75% of the electorate think they are Christian. Why upset them for a few thousand (at the most) homosexuals? Why upset Moslims, Hindus and so on?

    Then there is smoking. Something like 28% of the population smoke. Although the composition changes, the percentage seems pretty stable. Why on earth upset 28% of the electorate by hiding fag packets or insisting they are plain? There is no evidence either of these measures will make any difference.

    Constant nagging over diet, smoking and gay rights is very wearing. Give it up Mr Cameron.

    • APL
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      backofanenvelope: “Give it up Mr Cameron.”

      Maybe it isn’t common knowledge yet, if they stopped nagging about inconsequential things having ceded all power to Brussels, we would rightly see the current batch of British Politicians add nothing of value.

      Then we’d all have to make the decision, go with the revolutionary thrust of the last 30 years and embrace the EU, in which case we might as well get rid of Cameron, Miliband and the other fellow, whatisname – and the 650 of their fellow hangers on and camp followers, saving a lot of money in the process.

      OR, get rid to the treacherous lot of them and elect some citizen tribunes to govern the country. No longer select our representitives from a Party preselected slate of candidates.

    • Steven Whitfield
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      Exactly – I don’t care how much money David Cameron has or where he went to school but I do care that he doesn’t understand or have any sort of empathy with real people. We don’t all share his stance as the guilt ridden liberal crusading against percieved ‘injustice’.
      For all her faults, Mrs Thatcher had the ‘common touch’ , Blair in his early years also did.
      Mr Cameron must be replaced by someone who has more than minority support sooner rather than later.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      You do not have to be even the tiniest bit religious to be against gay marriage.

      It is wrong to change the use of language to make that which is inherently different appear the same.

  31. norman
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    It’s not rocket science. Most people don’t care about politics and the overwhelming majority don’t care about policy.

    What people want is to have the impression that the country is being well ran by a group of people who know what they are doing and are acting in a consistent manner, see things improving for them and that their will be good prospects for their children as they grow up and that their parents / themselves will be taken care of as they reach old age.

    That’s it, and, sadly, the coalition are failing on every one of those criteria with u-turns and conflicted messages on virtually every policy area, most strikingly on economic issues where we can’t seem to decide if we want ‘Keynsian’ (a gross misuse of his thinking but the term seems to have stuck) stimulus or cut backs.

  32. Leslie Singleton
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Beyond belief, that’s what so much talk about so-called Left and Right is. Again, is this a false dichotomy meaning no obligation whatsoever to be one or the other and that’s assuming the terms have meaning, which they don’t? Your article talks only in these terms so is inadequate by definition LOL. What we want very simply are policies that are not idiotic. I don’t need to put in the next few words because everybody will know what I mean and what that proves is that it is a bad place to be when everyone takes it for granted that this daft government is going to talk nonsense. In simplistic Left/ Right terms, faute de mieux, I cannot believe that even dopey polititians, present company excepted of course, could believe that voters have “gone Left” because they like the look of “Left” policies; rather of course they are revolting, including not bothering to vote at all (witness the huge stay at home), at what passes for policy by this government. The nadir was not just the gone bananas about Gay Marriage but Cameron’s saying that he believed this baloney “because he was a Conservative” [shudder] ie not even doing it as a price to keep the Coalition going, which would have been bad enough. Psychiatric country so far as I am concerned.

  33. MajorFrustration
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    I certainly do not expect the Government to swing towards Labour/Greens. What I expect is that they refrain from pandering to non essential issues such as the reform of the HoL and gay marriage. I expect the Government to actually achieve deficit reduction rather than talk about it – “difficult decisions” and all that rhectoric. Actions always speak louder than words. Cut the PR and lets have more implementation. I also expect the Government to stick to its promises – like bonfire of the Quangos – reduction of red tape. I also expect the Government to have some balls when dealing with the EU, immigration and the benefit culture.
    What we need – rather akin to the new HRMC statement of “where the tax you paid has been spent – is a annual balance sheet of – what we promised and what has been achieved year on year. Hold the political class to account.

  34. David John Wilson
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    The swing to the Greens in Wokingham together with the Conservative loss os seats to the Libdem and the independent were as a result of local issues. These were in the main concerned with the Conservative Council plans to remove so much green space around the borough by building large housing estates and desecrating the main area of park in the centre of town.

    Wokingham seems to have been one of the few areas of the country where a number of people were prepared to vote on local issues rather than national issues that had little relevance in a local election. It is regretable that even in this blog you are using the results of LOCAL elections in a discussion on NATIONAL issues.

    • alan jutson
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink


      Agree with many of your comments.

      Local elections should be about local issues, problem is the majority of people do not think and vote that way usually.
      Thus many hardworking local Councillors get turfed out.

      Perhaps time we excluded National Party’s from contesting local elections ???
      Now there is a thought !

    • rose
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      I am very glad to hear the people of Wokingham are prepared to defend their precious and dwindling green land. Sometimes people with gardens, and cars to escape to the country in, don’t do that.

  35. James Sutherland
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    The short answer is of course “no”: it shouldn’t lurch in any particular direction. On some things a move “left” might be appropriate, “right” on others: stiffer sentences, lower spending on some areas (foreign aid, “green” wastage).

    Is fixing the slow checking of passports at Heathrow “left” or “right”? I don’t know, but it’s a good idea. Putting an end to the proposed mandate for semi-effective net filtering? That’s probably “right wing”, but hard to classify.

  36. alan jutson
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 10:31 am | Permalink


    “Lurch to the right or the left” ?

    Neither !

    What we need is a controlled move to do “the right thing”, which we so often hear about, and which many out here have done, and been screwed for.

    Do not go left and chase votes, as the voters were in the minority, you need to claim the ground of those who did not vote at all (the majority) as they were the ones absolutely peed off !

    As matthu has already outlined, David Hitchens (mail on Sunday) sums up what is/has gone wrong.
    Cameron’s Government has no real differences from the last Labour lot, so why vote for them.

    Cameron has wasted two years, I guess he will waste the next three, then he will be out.

    See Nadine is getting a lot of press recently, nothing worse than a woman scorned, and taking revenge for a childish and silly put down, but in many cases she seems to have struck a chord, which the public have taken notice of, and in many cases agree with.

    If Cameron follows the current course of policies he is done for, either soon or in three years time.
    Time for the real Conservatives to make a stand if they want to be in government in three years time.

    • alan jutson
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 11:36 am | Permalink


      Peter Hitchens not David Hitchens.

    • Andy
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      You mean Peter Hitchens. He writes for the Mail.

    • rose
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      It wasn’t a childish and silly putdown. It was made out to be that by interested parties. Not at all the same thing.

      If being an Etonian Bullingdon Boy in one’s teens spells electoral disaster in middle age, how come Boris wins?

      Don’t fall for this contrived and convenient class hatred.

      • alan jutson
        Posted May 6, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Permalink


        I think we are talking different issues.

        Class as you call it, does not come into it, common courtesy is surely the issue.

        If you make a public putdown for cheap laughs, then expect repayment with interest.

        • rose
          Posted May 6, 2012 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

          But it wasn’t – it was respun as that by others.

      • Cynfeeaarr
        Posted May 6, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        I couldn’t have put it better myself Rose.As you say a contrived and convenient class hatred.

  37. Anne Palmer
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    If you want to lurch anywhere, then I suggest you lurch towards the freedom of this Country to Govern itself. Where I live there was no vote at all, yet as a once Conservative voter, although I have never been in any Political Party, I, along with many other people did not vote for any of the three major political Parties at all in the last general Election, for I recognised that all three want to remain in the European Union. That, I guess, is why we ended up with a Coalition. However, I, along with many other people resent paying my taxes that go towards such a Government that wants our money yet doesn’t want to governing of our Country.

    Was Lord Stoddart correct in what he said about a proposed President of the European Union? Corrrect about one person speaking for the whole of the European Union? Is this really what the Treaty of Lisbon that Mr Brown signed and that the people were not told by anyone?

    I quote, “With the creation of the two new posts of a semi-permanent President of the European Council (PEC) and a High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy (HR), the Treaty of Lisbon has changed the institutional arrangement of the European Union (EU). The Rotating Presidency of the Council (RP) conducted by the Member States has lost protagonism, transferring competences and functions to the new figures and their underlying structures.” etc.

  38. Sue
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    “Lurching to the right???”… you would do well to read Peter Mullen’s column in the Daily Telegraph entitled “This Conservative Party is more socialist than any government I have seen in my lifetime”. This Conservative Government has lurched so far to the left, it’s no longer a conservative government.

    Then, I suggest you take a quick look at the whole of UKIP’s manifesto’s and policies :

    You may then just get a spark of what “conservatism” really is. Surely, you must remember….. rebuild our armed services (without the EU), low taxes, get our utilities back into British hands, kill VAT on gas and electricity (they are not luxuries), freedom of speech, the right to defend yourself and your family, no political correctness (sticks and stones, I’m so sick of people whining…. ), stop banning everything, smoking, light bulbs, herbal remedies, reclaim control of our farming and fishing, stop all unnecessary immigration until our infrastructure can sustain what we already have. Stop the big brother monitoring, get rid of the European Arrest Warrant, kick out foreign criminals, stop giving benefits to all and sundry and put BRITONS FIRST! In short, stop stealing so much of our wages to ensure the worlds feckless don’t have to make an effort for themselves.

    Of course, half of what UKIP suggest will not be possible unless we leave the EU. The EU is and always has been a left wing, socialist/communist construct which is rapidly becoming a very dangerous dictatorship.

    Those European governments that call themselves “right of centre” (including you lot) are no such thing, purely because if they were right of centre, they would not hold their electorate to ransom by denying them a say on membership of the EU.

    At the moment, the only discernible difference between a left of centre and right of centre government in the EU, is how much they are prepared to tax the workers (rich and poor) to support the state welfare systems. All other policies are of course already taken care of by the EUSSR.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

      I’m getting to be a fan of yours Sue! I like the way you tell it!


    • Susan
      Posted May 7, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      Sorry Sue and Tad I am not a fan. The voters fear the rabid right as much as they do the rabid left. Where is the money coming from to make all these changes that you want to see on VAT etc? Easy to say, hard to do.

      Britain has over recent years become a much more socialist Country, therefore the Conservatives, if they are to have broad appeal, must try somehow to appease both traditional Conservative voters and the socialists. This is not going to be easy. It is perhaps the realization of this fact that made David Cameron want to go into Coalition with the Lib/Dems in the first place.

      No political party is going to take the UK out of the EU at the moment, I doubt if UKIP, if they were to attain power, would either. I do agree that Britain should try to gain some powers back. However it is the UK Government which often blames the EU for problems, when actually it is their own fault by following the rules of the EU so slavishly when other EU countries do not. As to immigration the EU would simply say the British are as free to come to other EU Countries as others are to come to the UK. It is perhaps therefore, again the UK Government which is at fault for why so many immigrants want to come the UK and not to other EU Countries. Even if a referendum were to be held on the EU there is no guarantee that the UK would vote to come out. You are blaming the EU for everything, when in fact it is only a small factor in why the UK has so many problems.

      All that will happen if Conservatives vote UKIP, is the vote will be split and Labour will be returned with a strong mandate which will include further integration into the EU.

  39. Liz
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    As only 32% of the electorate voted no real conclusions can be drawn as to what the general public really think – some over excited TV commentators do not even mention the low turn out. A lot of people think voting is a waste of time when so much power is in the hands of the unelected EU commission and the British Civil Service and also that politicians taken no notice of their views. If any lurching needs to be done it is in the direction of public opinion which is currently being ignored by all three parties. The LibDems cannot expect to get anywhere when they have such unpopular polices on the EU, Court of Human Rights, Immigration,Overseas Aid , Constitutional reform,crime are very anti Business, which hardly help to get people employed. Their views have been given preference in the first two years of the Coalition Government. Whether they press on with Lords’ reform and Gay marriage will be a test as they are certainly not the top two things the public wants the Governemnt to do!

  40. Sue
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    You would also do well to remind the LibDems that they are now dead in the water and have very few members left. They should think themselves lucky to be part of the coalition. They really have far too much say and that is a contributing factor to your losses!

  41. Spinflight
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    It doesn’t appear that Cameron really believes his party can win overall in 2015….

    Do you want a conservative-led government….. That is quite a telling slip.

  42. Manof Kent
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    I would like to think that all new bills /edicts from Brussels are reviewed by our Civil Servants from various viewpoints .

    As an aid to informed debate it would be helpful to attach an Appendix to each proposal covering costs and benefits to various parties viz the Exchequer,companies ,individuals and others.

    This might just put a brake on implementing measures that merely increase the deficit and accelerate those that decrease it.

    We are in such a dangerous position that surely we should have deficit and debt figures published on say a quarterly basis to rank with inflation ,employment and GDP numbers .
    The full disclosure of how well we are doing [or the converse] should at least concentrate attention on the biggest problem of modern times.

    It would also highlight the difference between deficit and debt which is again conflated by George O in today’s Mail – hopefully to the embarassment of those failing to deliver.

    • Martyn
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      Good idea, but…….

      – The civil service has no interest in doing so, being now totally embedded in the EU way of business.
      – If they were forced into doing so, Ministers would be warned that it would take so long and divert the civil servants (ho! ho!) from essential other work so that it could not be done within the EU-imposed timescale for implentation and the EK would be heavily fined as a result.
      – And if they actually managed to do so, the results would be skewed to show a benefit to the UK in adopting yet another EU edict.

      It also begs the question, is the modern civil service sufficently competent to do so without contracting in yet another raft of consultants?

    • NickW
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

      It would be a good starting point if all new Parliamentary Bills from our civil Service were reviewed by Parliament.

      A Civil Service which thinks it is in Government seems to be part of the problem.

      • uanime5
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        They already are. All statutes have to be approved by Parliament and all statutory instruments have to be approved by the relevant Minister.

  43. Steven Whitfield
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    I think Mr Redwood needs to look back further than the recent elections to answer that question. The polls showed many Conservatives stayed at home or fragmented leaving them exposed to the core labour vote.

    There is no doubt that Cameron attempted to move the Conservative party leftwards onto the ‘centre ground’ of politics in a doomed attempt to mimic the popularity of the now discredited New Labour. Despite all that waffle about ‘not fixing the roof when the roof shines’ ,disgracefully it was the Conservative party that all by itself copied Labour’s unhinged spending plans. This was before they decided to shackle themselves to the Liberals so no the situation is far worse.

    The Tory ‘modernisers’ in shifting the position of the party have had the effect of moving the centre of politics further to the left- thus making what used to be percieved as ‘left wing issues’ dominate the concensus at the centre.
    Because of this shift in political ground ,the core Conservative voters and many MP’s like John Redwood have been pushed out further right. Only by ditching David Cameron and positioning the Conservtives more to ‘the right’ of Labour will the the party see an improvement in popularity.

    It’s no coincidence that whenever Cameron does something that what may be percieved as being ‘right wing’ ie vetoing EU treaty’s does the party’s position improve. Talking to his London clique about minority issues loses him support. Come on Conservative MP’s, wake up ,see the big picture and get rid of Cameron!.

  44. David Saunders
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Getting the deficit down is a given for any Party and Labour would do much the same as the Coalition, which is why the Tories must articulate clear policies that differentiate it from the others. Boris showed the way in |London and banging on about modernisation and homosexual marriage is not it. Cameron has no political conviction and governs by focus group. His curious collection of chums try to lead from the centre left but without the support of the centre right he will not win elections. The Tories can no longer depend on their right flank for electoral success and the sooner that is addressed the better.

  45. forthurst
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Norman Tebbit in his DT column recently suggested that rather than seeking the centre ground between competing political philosophies, our politicians should be seeking the ‘common ground’ on which the majority of voters stand. The majorty of voters want lower taxes, less bureaucracy and waste, no further mass immigration, cheaper fuel, less interference from Brussels, proper, safer banking in which spivs go to gaol rather than be given taxpayers’ money, stricter law and order based on the detection and punishment of actual crime rather than thoughtcrime, etc. The fact that Cameron is not thinking along these lines proves that he is in hock to people whose aspirations for this country are not patriotically derived: e.g. ‘gay’ marriage is concerned with creating a new ‘normality’ to replace the ‘old’ normality. Only vile unEnglish people are concerned with that.

  46. Alan Wheatley
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    On the World at One today was a most interesting (and for me revealing) interview with Lord Ryder, former Conservative Chief Whip. I learnt that Cameron and Osborn meet once or twice a day to discuss tactics, and that Strategy is the responsibility of a former pollster. No wonder there is no sense of direction!

    Clearly in such circumstances any “lurch” would shortly be followed by a counter-lunch as policy wobbles about trying to find an elusive happy mean but with no sense of where to go.

    Lord Ryder thinks Cameron’s destiny is in his own hands. But while Cameron, presumably, has a good idea of what he would wish for his own destiny I cannot detect he has any idea of the practical destiny for the country.

  47. uanime5
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Osborne has currently exceeded the massive levels of extra state borrowing by Brown so the Government is already following this policy.

    Personally I feel that the Conservatives will have to lurch to the left if they want to win the next general election. Given how popular left wing policies are in Scotland, Northern England, and South West England the Conservatives are effectively giving a large number of seats to Labour and the Lib Dems by not offering an acceptable alternative policy. Wales and Northern Ireland are also areas where the Conservatives will need more support if they want a majority in Parliament.

    One of the main problems with Conservative policies, such as income tax cuts and welfare cuts, is that they’re mainly beneficial for people who are in employment and earning a medium to high wage but not for the unemployed and those earning a low wage (they pay very little income tax and rely more on welfare). As unemployment is increasing and wages are falling in real terms this means fewer and fewer people will receive any benefits from voting for the Conservatives. Unless employment levels and wages rise the Conservatives will struggle to attract enough voters at the next election.

    • Jon Burgess
      Posted May 7, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure Dave will do as you say and lurch ever more left, but there are just too many who will never vote Conservative for this to be effective and give him a majority. Can’t have him splitting the leftist vote, now can we?

      If you want more left vote Green, Labour, Lib Dem or Conservative – each option is as left as the next. A few years ago a coalition of this lot would have been unimaginable. God help us.

  48. Barbara Stevens
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry John, buy there are still people in your party who do not, have not, got the message that has been sent by these elections. Mr O appears to be in that camp, followed by Mr C. Activists on the ground know the true feelings of the voters, they meet them every day; and what they say is how most of the country feel. We are not interested in reforming the House of Lords, or gay marrige, is it really that important while our country is being taken over slowly by Brussels. We cannot see the point of H2, the expense while we have such debts. We cannot understand why this and the previous government is compelled to give our money away, without our consent, on foreign aid. We get angry when we hear of cancer patients begging for new drugs, yet, foreigners have NHS treatment and don’t pay up front before receiving the treatment, like they do abroad.
    Most of all, we hate the waffle, and lecturing coming from Downing St at every occasion with out any action. We see immigration getting worse and nothing really concrete to stop it, and a border force weakened by sackings when it’s needed more than ever. Why not cease all immigration until we have it all under control, as would any sensible person would do. Hard decisions, but decisions that would have impact on voters sense of being heard. There lies the problem, we are not heard, we are in fact ignored, pacified, and politicans walk away and carry on as before.
    As I see it the Conservative party can do several things, take action on what we want in this nation, or face the prospect of UKIP, come the next election getting stronger and taking votes they will need. Its your parties choice, we’ve have shown ours by the last election results, it’s really a warning shot across your boughs, ignore it and you’ll allow Miliband to get into Downing St, and all what that implies. I sincerely hope you heed the warnings for all our sakes.

  49. Andy
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    The Tory Party should ‘lurch’ towards reality. The economy badly needs a programme of liberalisation which will gradually deliver economic growth over the medium and longer term. This means taking an axe to a lot of employment law and the ‘entitlement’ programmes so beloved of politicians. It is an unfortunate fact that there is a disconnect between giving an ‘entitlement’ and the economic consequence of that decision. Someone has to pay for it. None of this will happen of course.

    In other areas I think the Government has been made, by its own actions, to look stupid. The silly LibDems leaking most of the budget was a case in point. It was just juvenile as per. Then we have Abu Qatada. How can it be that the Home Office calculated the date incorrectly ? One could almost think that the officials did it to make the Home Secretary look an idiot. Well they succeeded. One could go on and on, but why bother.

    • uanime5
      Posted May 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      Don’t expect anyone who has to suffer because of the loss of their employment protections and benefits to appreciate it in the short, medium, or long term. No political party can introduce policies that will alienate their supporters.

  50. Atlas
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    What we want is a Conservative Party leadership that is not tainted by its dealings with News International. No probity – no support.

    • Bazman
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      Interesting to know why they are still scared of Murdoch. You would expect him to be flicked off by now?

  51. Spinflight
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    It strikes me that whatever Cameron is going to do, he has to do it soon.

    Let’s ignore the council election, as they’re pointless, and assume that the polls are roughly correct putting UKIP on 9% and the Tories on roughly 31%.

    Our correspondent, and it would appear a great many angry conservative blog posters, think the UKIP vote is there for the taking with the right policies. With the wrong present priorities I’d posit that they are likely to lose more votes to UKIP. I personally disagree with their optimism regarding voter’s disloyalty to UKIP however…

    How long will it be, given the Euro area is going hell in a handbasket, before UKIP actually overtakes the conservatives? It clearly isn’t a zero sum game, except in the matter of a finite number of voters. I have seen it said that every 2% increase in the UKIP vote decreases the conservative’s by 1%.

    Counter-intuitively I think Cameron’s best tactic would be to call a referendum. All the ‘main’ parties in overdrive, threaten the civil servants with their jobs, he can rely on the BBC in particular and the MSM in general to rally the vote, threaten the unemployed with losing their benefits etc. In short use every dirty trick in the book.

    He’d stand a chance of winning that’s for sure.

    • uanime5
      Posted May 7, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      If Cameron tries any of that he’ll deliver Labour an easy victory. People won’t vote for those who threaten them and they won’t tolerate them either.

  52. Rebecca Hanson
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    The group of politicians who are demanding a significant move to the right seem to be a group of young, inexperienced and testosterone driven ideologues who adhere to the ideology of anarchic libertarianism and therefore believe that ‘Britain will be fixed’ if only we more rapidly shut down all the infrastructure of state and that anybody who doesn’t see that is a stupid socialist ideologue.

    I’m sure the vandals were equally well intentioned anarchic libertarians.

    This group of politicians should never have been recruited by a mainstream political party. They should be systematically marginalised and sent on projects which will ensure they come to understand a bit more about the realities of life in Britain and modern history (such as raising their own children for a start) until they have enough life experience to know instinctively that it is wise to take the time to carefully analyse the reasons for the status quo before you shut it down and that it is not necessary to label anyone who has an intelligent point to make as being an ignorant ideologue in the process of the construction and adoption of worthwhile policy.

    Reply: Who do you mean, and which views do you so hate?

    • Rebecca Hanson
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      I’m not voting for a lurch to the left or the right by the way. I’m voting for an emphasis on ensuring policies are connected with their implications in reality.

      • Christopher Ekstrom
        Posted May 6, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        You will no doubt of enjoying the success of being in the majority of a rump party soon! The Vikings are moving on to UKIP…lots of nanny time & encounter group sessions for the Mod Majority. Enjoy JR!

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      The word “should” rings alarm bells. “Systematically marginalised and sent on projects”?

    • libertarian
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      What a ridiculously bad thought out post Anarchists and Libertarians are two completely totally different things.

      Oh and for the avoidance of doubt Libertarians believe totally in national infrastructure. The only point of disagreement is how its paid for.

      • Rebecca Hanson
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        Have a look at the Wiki for libertarianism Libertarian.

    • Steven Whitfield
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

      ‘The group of politicians who are demanding a significant move to the right seem to be a group of young, inexperienced and testosterone driven ideologues who adhere to the ideology of anarchic libertarianism and therefore believe that ‘Britain will be fixed’ if only we more rapidly shut down all the infrastructure of state and that anybody who doesn’t see that is a stupid socialist ideologue’.

      That’s an interesting point of view Rebecca . I wonder if the Conservative veteran Peter Bone falls into the camp of the ‘testosterone driven ideologue’ for calling for a return to traditional Conservative values. If I had a few minutes to spare I would find out what ‘anarchic libertarianism’ actually is but i have my doubts that cap fits either.

      Who is this radical group of young hot heads that want to shut down ‘all the infrastructure’ ?. Hopefully if this is true Mr Redwood will ensure that Scotland yard and MI5 are informed.
      The debate seems to be about keeping on increasing the size of the state, maintaining at it’s present size or perhaps rolling it back to the size it was a few years ago. I’m not sure how testosterone and the anarchic vegetarianism are relevant.

      • Rebecca Hanson
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        I’d love a return to traditional Conservative values Steven. Let’s have all Conservative politicians personally commanding respect through their substantial philanthropy and or intellectual leadership in their own neighbourhoods.

        Let’s get rid of those who live in the Westminster bubble and command no respect at all outside of its trappings.

    • Steven Whitfield
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Permalink


      ‘They should be systematically marginalised and sent on projects which will ensure they come to understand a bit more about the realities of life in Britain and modern history’.

      It’s refreshing to hear an acknowledgement from the left that those they do not agree with or fail to obey the doctrine of Political correctness should be ‘systematically marginalised’ and more sinisterly ‘sent on projects’.

      I suppose a Soviet style secret police type operation would be needed to make arbitrary decisions on views that are deemed ‘acceptable’. Perhaps newspaper editors that published unacceptable views could be heavily fined or detained indefinitely by HM ?

      • Rebecca Hanson
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

        Absolutely not Steven.

        You are posing this as being a competition between ideologies and by doing so you are totally missing my point.

        A politician needs to be able to engage appropriate processes of consultation to ensure that their policies are fit for purpose. I will work with any politician who respects the importance of this process.

        The Conservative party contains a group of anarchic libertarians who have chatted only to each other and to a disturbing community of ‘think tanks’ who seem to believe it is best that policy is generated by mainly very young people with no credibility to anyone who are supposed experts at being expert at things. The seem to have organised themselves into a group which has many of the attributes of a cult – most obviously that they demonise anyone who makes intelligent points about reality as being some kind of left wing ideologue.

        It’s this group who think it’s fun to run a ‘Cultural Revolution’ on Britain and that they are somehow good and noble and intelligent for getting rid of all the dedicated people with profound ability who can actually command the respect of society.

        I’m against political idealists of all varieties. The point I’m making is that there are a particularly dangerous bunch of them on the right of the Conservative party at present and it would be exceptionally unwise to listen to their demands.

        That may seem illogical as I’m a Lib Dem and a sudden Tory move to the right would clearly be to the great advantage of the other main parties but more than being a Lib Dem I’m a human being who can’t bear the horrors which are going on in education and other areas of British life. This bunch who are so disconnected from reality are creating class war with their ignorant comments and policy. They need to be stopped.

    • Rebecca Hanson
      Posted May 7, 2012 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply: The plan and all that John. Having been at the heart of Tory Policy in the 1980s and seen how it was developed this ungrounded ideology repulses me.

      I know it was spun that ‘ending the closed shop’ was an idea Maggie just came up with one night out of nowhere and decided to implement but the truth was, of course, very different. I remember that you were scouring the country for the best minds, bringing them into Downing street and generating and scrutinising policy from that. Sadly somehow it seems this lot have bought the myth and think policy really is wished up in moments and is not scrutinised.

      So in education we have whim after whim after whim of policy which appears to have come from a consultant at the Centre for Policy Studies who as far as I can tell simply pays £100 a year to be their expert and invents whatever exrement of policy he likes for Gove to implement. Do the Centre for Policy Studies actually check that any of the self declared qualifications of their experts are true John? The very easily gathered evidence suggests they don’t.

      Millions of children and teachers in education are having the infrastructure of education shut down and the effective systems of school improvement replaced with relentlessly being put into special measures. We have anarchic liberalism in state education John.

      IT IS HORRIFIC. HOW HAS THIS BEEN ALLOWED TO HAPPEN? IT’S COMPLETE LOONACY. It’s come from the ignorant energy of this deeply ignorant right wing group. That’s how. 🙁

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted May 10, 2012 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        Talking of whims in education, for years we have been pedalled the line that all we had to do was reduce average class sizes and everything in the garden would be lovely. Imagine the shock to the educational establishment when data came through from Korea suggesting that the idea was complete and utter bunkum. So goodbye to lots of new jobs for all the boys and girls in the teaching profession. I’ve got a better idea – fewer and BETTER teachers. Set the bar high to enter the teaching profession, pay them more and demand more of them.

        I went to one of those nasty elitist schools where we had a six day week; Wednesday and Saturday afternoons were devoted to rugby, cricket etc. The teachers were expected to support these activities and WILLINGLY gave their time. It was a Direct Grant school – fee paying but with a fund to finance pupils from poor households – and it worked very well.

        Just think: get all those labour costs under control (including all the local authority bureaucrats) and the state could afford better buildings.

    • APL
      Posted May 7, 2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Rebecca Hanson: “This group of politicians should never have been recruited by a mainstream political party. ”

      I take the same but opposite view of the current obsession of the ‘Tory’ party with left of center policies, these people, Clarke, Hestletine et al should really be in the Liberal-Democratic party, but for the fact that Labour has displaced the Liberals as a force in British politics, they would be.

      In short they are not Conservatives, they are idealogical rats that have left the hulk of what was once the Liberal party.

      • Rebecca Hanson
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

        Could you explain to me the aspects of their personal ideologies which concern you APL? I’ve joined the Lib Dems because the basic philosophy seems to be a pragmatic libertarian one – you see to actively devolve power as your scrutinise and re-examine the systems of state but you organise if it is effective and efficient to do so – ensure that any organised systems are as transparent and accountable as possible.

        Where I hold different views to other Lib Dems or I wish to challenge policy I feel issues can and should be analysed on these grounds.

        I’m interested to hear your criticisms this position.

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted May 10, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

          Your Party is in love with the European Union. That is emphatically NOT about devolved power. It is arguable that one of the reasons that Westminster interferes so much with local government decisions is that they have surrendered 75% of their decision making to the EU.

          Here is an example of an organised system which should be subject to an analysis of its transparency and accountability: the European foreign office headed by Baron von Rumpey Pumpey and Baronsess What’s-her-name. I look forward to your report.

  53. matthu
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Another policy the government appears to be toying with is censorship of the Internet (and porn in particular).

    Two my mind, there are two strong objections to this.

    Firstly, it cannot be implemented without unintended consequences. I consider myself to be reasonably technically proficient, but when I tried to safeguard my (learning disadvantaged) son from being able to access web sites associated with gambling, pornography or bomb making – found myself continually having to override the technology in order to enable him to access sites such as Showcase cinemas, facebook and even CBBC.

    And secondly, this cannot be introduced without it beiung overtaken by PC creep which would ultimately try to prevent every user from accessing anything which might offend absolutely anybody. Furthermore, any government would soon be tempted to use its new powers to prevent the broadcasting of political views which it considered to be offensive and soon we would see the suppression of even scientific opinion that was not considered to be mainstream.

    (If you think this is too farfetched – you only need to consider what has happened to the BBC.)

    I have lived under an oppressive regime that controlled the media and I don’t wish to see it being practised here. I certainly wouldn’t vote for any government that is considering introducing such practices and I would expect ministers to speak out against this.

    • matthu
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      (Any reason why this message is still in moderation, John?)

  54. waramess
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    “It needs to get the deficit down.”

    A well worn phrase that seems to have lost much of its meaning over time.

    The government thinks this means more taxes and seems oblivious to the fact that the deficit is caused by spending more than it receives. It continues to do so.

    Personally I find greater sympathy with the sentiment building over Europe that governments got themselves into this mess and there is no reason why the people should get them out of it.

    You often proscribe lower tax rates as a way of increasing revenue. Frankly givernments should be left to their own stupidity and declining revenues, which might more quickly bring them to their senses.

    Never before have I thought that tax evasion was other than wrong, until now. Cash in hand will become more of a way of life across Europe as the people show an increasing unwillingness to bail out their feckless governments.

    Perhaps the lurch to the left might hasten the process

    • NickW
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

      The Greeks have demonstrated what happens when you combine a large State with systematic tax evasion.

      The people will pay a terrible price for failing Governments; Politicians won’t.

      • waramess
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 8:14 am | Permalink

        The way to stop the state spending is to cut off the supply of funds. Not being able to pay their Civil Servants will be the first wake up call. This will happen eventually if they continue to spend in excess of their income, and a default on their debts will also cut off the supply of funds.

        Printing money will not be a long term solution so, I say we might as well see the end game sooner rather than later.

        The Greeks are an altogether different scenario and are already experiencing the end game

  55. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    The Tory party could try lurching away from half a century of eurofederalism and towards the restoration of our national democracy with the exercise of our national sovereignty no longer impeded by purportedly supranational institutions, that might help.

  56. Martyn
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    I did think briefly about saying ‘for Pete’s sake grow up’, but that would be a bit unfair. However, there is no point in lurching either way, that simply indicates weakness of character.

    Some interesting observations were made on R4 lunchtime about the Chancellor’s lack of strategic thinking abilities – he is thought to be OK on tactics but weak on strategy. I don’t know how true that is, but it does seem that he and Mr Cameron are both more interested in their daily tactical meetings to decide the next sound bite or TV appearance in reaction to whichever straw was blowing in the wind that day than in taking a strategic view.

    The bottom line is that almost all of the Cabinet have the bad habit of opening their mouths before properly engaging their brains, hence the series of what turn out to be rather stupid announcements on their part – as the Chancellor has freely admitted this very day concerning his very poor presentation of the budget…..

  57. David Langley
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    You might have set out the means and ways to return to growth and prosperity, but regretfully we do not seem to be set on the correct path.
    I must repeat what I have said before, to sack a working man and demean him and his family because of the so called world recession is unbelievable when we give away such vast sums of money. Being a simple person it does not make sense to me when my child asks why they can’t have supper and I say its because we have given it to some other country or rich people.
    Nor does it make sense to say this recession is because a lot of greedy people robbed the country of its inherited and earned wealth and savings.
    Is it any wonder we cannot believe the present government want to worry about the house of lords and some fiddling VAT issues, when we can see the real issues confronting us and worse see the way out which seems to be ignored. Its is all very well talking about being competitive and focussed on wealth creation, we have done that and its been nicked.

  58. James Matthews
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    A lurch towards its own supporters might be in order.

  59. Leslie Singleton
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Once again, I appear to have failed Mods but don’t know why.

  60. Bazman
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    A reduction in welfare, healthcare and jobs paying real wages without any balance to the recipients is right wing. Thats cleared that one up.

  61. David Langley
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    What does all the political shambles in Europe have in common, the EU, thats the Elephant in the room that no one is facing up to. I am and so I hope are many others, come on Cameron give us the referendum we all want on the EU. The question on the paper should read: Do you want the government to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act and all subsequent amendments.? Yes or No.
    All European Governments and leaders are being slowly booted out as failing look at the French latest.

  62. Max Dunbar
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    The word “lurch” is used for both a move to the left or the right, but have you noticed that the media also use the terms “left leaning” and “far right” to describe opposing views of more or less equal vigour? The term “far right” is used pejoratively to describe patriotism, a halt to immigration, tough law and order enforced, a reduction in union power, Thatcherism and, in fact, anything that the Left consider unacceptable.
    On the rare occasions that the Tory Party has taken robust action under Cameron the public appear to have responded positively. If you get it wrong so what – we all make mistakes. But at least provide strong leadership and conviction and stick to real principles, not those ersatz ones acquired from the Socialists and promoted from socialist ground.

    • APL
      Posted May 7, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Max Dunbar: “anything that the Left consider unacceptable.”

      Led by the BBC.

      Two years and this so called ‘Tory’ administration have done nothing about the organization.

  63. Bert Young
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    The Conservative Party is led by the wrong person and Cameron must be challenged by a vote of “No Confidence” – as proposed by one of the Conservative M.Ps this morning . I hope Dr. JR will lend his support to this .

  64. Christopher Ekstrom
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    You certainly are correct about the incredible abuse of the term “right wing ” by the kindly souls at BBC. They have already transitioned to an imagined euro-mentality that only Warsi Racist types reject. But methinks your chosen term “lurch” betrays the mind of John Redwood: obviously you are not a tree-hugging buffoon & so the lurch left is not on your mind. No it seems after all this UKIP rot it’s a Lurch to the Right that MP Redwood is concerned by…well if that’s what one the best of the (formerly big C) conservative party stalwarts thinks of as a “lurch” then you “pragmatists” holding fire at Rourkes Drift might contemplate firing at bloody will & (nod to dear heart Warsi) with a mind to “terminate with extreme prejudice ” the last loyalty in your heart to this anti-English party.

  65. Jon
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    In my local area I like the Lib Dems, they have not increased the council tax for a while and have kept weekly bin collections. Thats what I would expect from the Conservatives but when the Lib Dems locally delivered on that it wasn’t a lurch on my part in any direction other than common sense.

    I want the Conservatives nationally to cut public spending, they get my vote nationally but are they cutting enough?

    There are many perhaps better examples than this but when I saw the public information adverts on smoking re appear I just thought someone has got too much of our money to spend again. Behind it probably lies a big quango etc. Does anyone not know smoking is bad by now?

  66. Iain Gill
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    its not a case of left or right wing

    its doing whats right and what the vast majority of legal, decent, honest, hardworking folk want

    that includes action not words on important issues like immigration and that means for a start stopping the massive influx of folk on ICT visas and stopping giving folk indefinite leave to remain simply for being here a few years

    that includes not allowing foreign nationals to work here and pay less tax than brits have to pay

    and so on

    i could sketch on the back of a cigarette packet some blommin obvious policies which if the electorate actually thought someone would follow through with delivery would win a landslide victory, why oh why is nobody doing this?

    the political bubble in london has got to be balanced with real people with real jobs from the rest of the country

  67. Amber Astron Christo
    Posted May 7, 2012 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    We need to stop following an EU agenda. Left/right polarity is not relevant. Stop Depts. wasting money on unnecessary spending (civil service treats; the EU bloated budget; wind farms; green ‘hectoring’ this would save billions).
    Instead invest in job development–small grants for self employed/business start ups; get rid of,or tell the nation to ignore, all mad EU business regulations; develop real training schemes–we should not be subsidising the training in large Cos.; cut transport costs to enable workers to afford to travel to work; encourage real energy innovation/engineering==could we not develop co-operative investment Cos. to reclaim energy production from within the EU==we could be held to ransom in the future. There should also be a reversal of the policy of writing-off parts of the UK,(it is obvious that is what the current position is!), and instead we need to stop focussing on the requirements of global Cos. trying to swallow up all in their path, and look to what is best for the UK.
    People need hope and the truth, not lies and mirrors which is what is currently being handed out!!

  68. Matt
    Posted May 7, 2012 at 5:14 am | Permalink

    Good to hear someone in mainstream politics talk about the meaninglessness of the whole left/right labelling thing.

    It really does tribalise and hobble discussion to the point where you could wonder if that is the point.

  69. Alex
    Posted May 7, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile, government policies continue their relentless efforts to push voters away from the coalition and towards UKIP.

    Another few thousand votes gone …

  70. peter
    Posted May 7, 2012 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    I agree the term ”right wing’ is loosely used. We know both main parties fight middle ground politics now with labour pretending to be normal but we all know what lurks underneath.

    I would rather refer to it as doing the ‘right things’ – these include stop the clobbering of people and businesses with stupid things like caravan and pastie taxes – stuff that Brown used to do.

    Getting real on the EU and stop throwing money at them via the IMF whilst at the same time cutting our own budgets would be a start – the Euro cannot keep going as it is and any amount of money we throw at it will make no difference – accept its doomed and the PIGIS etc need to revert back to their own currencies in an organised way if they are to avoid poverty for the next 20 years or so.

    Also any budget increases by the EU should be put to parliamentary votes (without whips) so it has the support of all parties

    Get rid of treaties that impede deportations and stop the abuse of the legal aid budget (i.e suspected terrorists and organised criminals where the case is strong enough against them do not get it – PERIOD)

    In addition to the things you say John with fuel its about having government ministers with common sense that apply common sense solutions to common problems – if the libs don’t like it they must remember they form a small part of the coalition.

    All in all I don’t agree with these terms because they are loosely used and open to interpretation.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted May 8, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

      You mention “what lurks underneath”. Here in Glasgow there is not much lurking. We have just had a very large red flag flying over the City Chambers for the past few days to celebrate May Day and the victory of Labour in the local council elections. No doubt the Saltire will appear shortly to replace it once again. So much for Labour being a party of the Union.

  71. Gewyne
    Posted May 7, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Speed up growth ? I will give you one example of 1000’s across the country.

    In South Bristol there is over £92 million pounds gathering dust to build a new football stadium. The ground has planning permission and is part of a chain that has already rec’d planning permission. It includes:

    Tearing down a Sainsbury superstore.
    Building homes on the stores site.
    Tearing down a football stadium.
    Building a new larger store on the stadium site.
    Building a new football stadium with facilities.
    Transport and road link improvements.

    1000’s of jobs in the construction / retail / hospitality industry all waiting – £92 million investment (not including the millions from Sainsbury’s). Homes, council taxes, construction jobs, the chain of suppliers for parts, fittings, plumbers, electricians. So what is holding things up (it should be built by now).

    A Town Village Green application that is claiming a 42 acre village green !! 42 acres, of landtheft. Legislation for cricket pitches and playgrounds is abused by a handful of people to prevent any development. The legal fees and time delays in these projects (Brighton had the same problem delaying a similar project by 13 years) shows we are joking when we say Britain is open for business.

    There is so much red tape, legal wrangling and delays that only large scale developments can afford to hang around for over a decade to get something built – smaller developers and firms do not stand a chance.

    So if you want to help thing rolling – how about scrapping for example the ridiculous TVG legislation that even steels car parks from NHS properties (just out of interest does the Government include property / estates as assets (land value) because with current TVG laws I suggest that figure would need to be reduced by probably half).

    • rose
      Posted May 7, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

      There is another side to this question and the people of Wokingham gave similar voice to it in their local elections recently.

      The more overcrowded and overbuilt the country becomes, the more desperate people are to hang on to the little pieces of undeveloped land near them. Green belt too. In this particular case there is support for the locals right across the city, and it comes out to show itself at the Council House as well as in correspondence and campaigns. It most certainly isn’t a handful of people.

  72. Backwoodsman
    Posted May 7, 2012 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    My previous attempt at posting having disappears into the ether,I will try again out of sheer doggedness.
    The terms,left and right applied to politics,as I am sure you know,come from revolutionary France,and originally applied to seating arrangements which favored ideological blocs.In Britain they came to be applied to two main groupings,which De Quincey who thought and wrote about such things ,and was a Conservative, described as the party of stability and order,and the party of change.Thanks to Burke,Disraeli,Salisbury and a series of other influential politicians and writers,the party of stability in Britain ,was supportive of change that was essential ,moderate,considered,and preservative,or occasionally restorative.On this basis the Conservative party managed a successful transition to democracy,and put down roots in all classes,including in the North and Scotland.It was intended as Robert Peel ,who was certainly no reactionary explicitly said as an answer to ‘radicalism’,and by that he did not primarily mean ‘socialism’ which was marginal at the time,but a brand of capitalist radicalism which cared a great deal about ideology and little about nation,heritage, the constitution,social harmony and the condition of the poor, ,faith and values etc..What the Conservative party needs to do is not to lurch anywhere…but to rediscover the meaning of Conservatism.The real threat to the survival of the Conservative party is not is not out-of -touch ‘toffs’,or the ‘swivel-eyed’,or ‘rednecked’ Chavs,it is the grandiose pan-European or global visions of intellectuals,especially young ones,and their dramatic,and often ill-considered ‘radical’initiatives,combined with their lack of any feel for the emotive side of Conservatism,and the distinctiveness of its British variant.

  73. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 8, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    What is absolutely off limits is any relaxation in the rate at which the public sector deficit is being reduced in real terms. In two years, we have only reduced annual borrowing from £160 billion to £126 billion in nominal terms. However, if you allow for inflation, that £126 billion is £118 billion in 2010 prices, so there has already been a 26% real reduction in the annual deficit.

    John Redwood wants more expenditure on infrastructure and lower taxes. Good, but the implication is that current expenditure must be reduced more rapidly to achieve the deficit reduction targets. Are you up for it?

  74. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted May 12, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    “As I have often commented before, “right wing” is a term of BBC abuse for a wide range of views, many of them conflicting.”

    BBC standards have appeared to reduce dramatically in the last few years.

    The BBC is no longer a benchmark of excellence for other Broadcasters. Their educational service “The Learning Zone” is supposed to help teach the younger members of our population how the World works. Instead, they portray misinformation as if it were based on facts and reality when it appears that the Presenters just make it up as they go.

    If the BBC cannot communicate correct information to the public then what use is it except as Entertainment without adverts ?

    Example one:
    Stephanie Flanders explanation of QE stated that “The Bank of England creates money at the press of a button, as only a Central Bank can”. The “as only a Central Bank can” was removed from the explanation in a subsequent reworking of it after the BBC realised that Private Banks create money all the time.

    Old Version:
    (with “as only a central bank can”)

    Revised Version:
    (with “as only a central bank can” phrase removed)

    Example Two:
    Robert Peston’s clip “How do Banks Work”
    This wrongly assumes that Banks act as intermediaries between Depositors and Borrowers. This is aimed at A-Level Economics students. Robert Peston frequently comments on Banking and Finance in the Business World but does not seem to understand how a Bank works. How can we rely on the BBC for accurate information if they don’t understand how things work?

    The BBC is portrayed as an authority on the truth – this is very dangerous as they clearly get their facts wrong.

  • 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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