Modernising the Conservatives


           I was an early moderniser. In the  mid 1990s I felt the Conservative party needed to change.  The old fashioned approach based on supporting the pro European UK establishment in conjunction  with Labour and the Lib Dems  had led to national economic crisis  with the Exchange Rate Mechanism. The Tory brand was damaged by association with the high interest rates, decline in output and the boom and bust which our membership of the ERM caused. Far from being too detached from the EU by the Eurosceptic wing of the then Tories, the party had come too close to the EU sun and its economic wings had melted. The Conservative party allowed its opponents to tell a story as if Conservatives revelled in making economic life tough, instead of the truth that the whole UK establishment  including the leaderships of all three main  parties had just made one of their worst collective mistakes which had cost us dear. It was the ERM, Euro ideology, which caused the high interest rates and the damage of the early 1990s recession. Once we cut free we ushered in a long period of expansion.

            With some others I began to seek change and modernisation. We fought and won the battle to keep the UK out of the Euro. Maastricht was the first EU Treaty the UK signed where we managed to keep out of the main point of it. I felt we needed to go further, and show that if we kept or restored more of our economic independence from the EU we could use the powers wisely, in the wider interests of the people.

            Of course I agree that Conservatives should be proud of the UK as it has become, and keen to unite the people who now share the fun of the Olympics and wish this country well. I do not think the Conservatives ever had the problem which Labour tried to pin on them. Conservatives do not wish people ill or seek to make life less pleasant. There is a long tradition of Conservative welfare policy to help those in need.   Many Conservative members have long had a proud tradition of being volunteers in other causes and charities. Mr Cameron’s Big Society is just recognising an old truth about Conservative concepts of public service and volunteering. Conservatives are often the ones who will roll up their sleeves and get on with whatever needs doing, instead of demanding a grant from the government.

           To me modernising is spreading the word that greater freedom can bring greater happiness and prosperity. The message should be that we want more self employed owning their own businesses, more successful small businesses, more people owning their own homes and other assets. We want a country of owners, a country where most people have a stake in our society, a country where hard work and enterprise are rewarded and risk taking admired, not condemned. Modern Conservatives need to be freedom loving, and to encourage individual and family enterprise and responsibility.

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  1. lifelogic
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    But under Cameron we are a country where nearly every last penny is grabbed off people through 50% income tax, 28% CGT(with no inflation allowance), 40% IHT, NI both employers and employees, fuel tax, insurance tax, flight tax, alcohol tax, VED, 20% VAT, 7% stamp duty and all the rest. All wealth is sucked away from individuals and wasted on thing like the Green Religion, transfers to the feckless or the PIGIS/EU, the jumped up sports days, HS2 and endless other nonsenses. Meanwhile they deliver second/third rate services of very poor quality and little real value to most people. Mainly run like most of government in the interests of the staff running them.

    The combined taxes will take nearly all your wealth after just a few years. They say, very clearly, (unless you are non dom perhaps) the rich and wealthy are not wanted in the UK unless they wish to be rich no more the government thinks they are morally repugnant.

    Most sensible people think it is this government’s tax borrow and tip down the drain that is morally repugnant.

    • JoolsB
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      I feel sorry for ENGLAND’s young, especially the truly gifted ones, if they go to university. In three years time when the first ones affected graduate, inflation and the raising of personal tax allowances will have reduced the value of the £21,000 payback threshold and yet if they get a job that pays over £34,300, their tax take will be 40% plus 9% plus interest plus 12% n.i. That’s 61% minimum the state will take from their earnings for a large chunk of their working lives and that’s before they get a foot on the property ladder or start families of their own. What a way to start off in life with this millstone hanging over them. Blair’s 50% quota was totally unsustainable but Cameron’s solution seems totally unfair. What chance have they got unless they move abroad and then our idiot politicians will wonder why there is a brain drain – but only in England of course, the one part of the UK whose young, sick and elderly are still being discriminated against even by the Tories who ironically mostly ‘represent’ English constituencies.

      Meanwhile, Cameron would rather give billions of our money away in international aid and to the EU without even asking us and the Tories wonder why support for them is dwindling and we are turning away from them in our droves.

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 18, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

        Indeed not really worth unless you are going into one of the over protected professions law, medicine, politics – unless that is you can find a nice, and/or rich/pretty/clever husband or wife there. History of Art, Music or PPE perhaps the best bets for this. But they can be a bit dim, over emotional, irrational and rather irritating.

        Or simply go abroad to work somewhere sensible where taxes are about 20% of GDP (a sensible level) and employment and other regulations are sensible. Outside the EU if possible unlikely to have to pay the loan back then. Alternatively find a good (morally repugnant according to Osborne) tax account to help stop your taxes being endless wasted by him and Cameron.

        • Bazman
          Posted August 19, 2012 at 10:36 am | Permalink

          Explain why so many companies and rich people are here then? Like banking they can just do one, and lets see how many do. If to many go then we will rehire them on better terms. Remember the managers mantra: “We don’t respond the threats..”

          • lifelogic
            Posted August 19, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

            Companies can be in the UK and not pay too much tax Google/Vodafone for example. Rich individuals too if they are nondoms or go to very great lengths and expense with tax planning.

      • APL
        Posted August 18, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        JoolsB: ” Cameron would rather give billions of our money away in international aid and to the EU without even asking us ”

        Illustrating the one most important area where Parliament has utterly failed in its duty to control the budget and the executive.

        It is the Commons that needs reform, not the Lords.

    • APL
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      lifelogic: “But under Cameron we are a country where nearly every last penny is grabbed off people through 50% income tax, 28% CGT(with no inflation allowance), 40% IHT, NI both employers and employees, fuel tax, insurance tax, flight tax, alcohol tax, VED, 20% VAT, 7% stamp duty and all the rest.”

      And yet all that IS NOT ENOUGH TO SATIATE THE BEAST it then goes on to recklessly borrow in order to gratify its insatiable appetite.

      • Christopher Ekstrom
        Posted August 19, 2012 at 7:18 am | Permalink


    • Dennis
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      Don’t forget the use of fines too.

    • Jerry
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      To right “lifelogic”, unless you’re super rich (with clever accountant) or dead poor then you are just a tax number to Whitehall, the only people who are of any interest to government or opposition are the NEETs. Even the ” feckless”, as you call them, can’t better themselves unless they are also NEETs. Those who would like to start their own business are being put off, either due because there is such uncertainty about the economy, business development loans or the amount of pointless regulation they might face -especially if they have to rent business premises- or the lack of good training/help schemes.

      If the Conservatives want to modernise then they actually need to look to the past, to the time of the little state, the time of only really necessary regulations etc. The UK government might think that the UK is open for business but for many it doesn’t feel that way.

  2. Jose
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    All laudable but you missed out the part about a ‘smaller state’. We also want less interference from a centralised government that sees everything in London eyes.

  3. Mike Stallard
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Great. We all believe in this freedom.
    The problem is that the people who are running the EU do not believe in it at all. Why should they? Their history, their philosophy and their training in life have all proved that it is wrong. Weimar? The Third Republic? The Spanish Republic? The March on Rome?

    So they deliberately use our taxpayers’ money to funnel cash into a lot of national bodies (like the BBC) to make sure they are on side.

    They have our civil service well in control and push directives, regulations and advice straight through to us down here through statutory instruments.

    They believe in regulating our businesses thoroughly and completely in minute detail.

    It really does not matter what you think, Mr Redwood, MP. They know best and they have got us by the b**ls.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      This seems about right.

    • APL
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      Mike Stallard: “They know best and they have got us by the b**ls.”

      We have one thing in our favor, and one thing against us.

      The one thing in our favor is that everything the EUrophhiles touch, turns to s**t.

      The thing against us is that everything, every institution that used to underpin the UK stability and continuity has been eroded by Common Purpose, Blair, Mandleson, Edward Heath and the likes of Ken Clarke masquerading as a Tory.

      When the EU finally does collapse, unfortunately there will be little of the cohesive structure that used to bind the United Kingdom together, I think we will have to relive the civil war to forge a new settlement.

      It is sad, but that is what Kenneth Clarke and his running dogs have stored up for us.

  4. Steven Granger
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    And you want all this whilst presumably remaining in the EU? That would be the same EU that has introduced an avalanche of regulations that make it virtually impossible to start a business or to employ people. Such regulations continue apace under your government and your leadership’s stated aim of repatriating powers and “not letting matters rest there” has come to nothing. Yet you continue to spout the above nonsense, apparently with a straight face.

    Reply: I want a referendum and have made clear I do not think our current relationship with the EU is in anyway acceptable.

    • Steven Granger
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      We don’t have a relationship with the EU, we are in it in the same way that Manchester doesn’t have a relationship with the UK, it is part of it. As long as we are in, then, like any club, you must abide by its rules. If you don’t like the rules, the solution is to leave. You can then (and only then) start to negotiate the kind of relationship you profess to want. Why can’t you grasp this basic truth?.

      Reply: I am seeking a way to resolve this agony. That is why I am trying to secure a referendum. The problem is voters keep electing Parliaments that block change.

      • Boudicca
        Posted August 18, 2012 at 8:07 am | Permalink

        If “the problem is that voters keep electing Parliaments that block change” why don’t you start the ball rolling by leaving the Conservative Party and joining the one Party that does advocate leaving the EU – UKIP.

        We can only vote for the people which Lib Lab CON choose as candidates – or the one party that will get us OUT.

        All the cards are stacked against US and in favour of the pro-EU elite. Until someone in Parliament starts the demand for change, nothing will change.

        reply: because that will not help me win a single vote in the Commons – it would make it worse!

        • Alan Wheatley
          Posted August 18, 2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink

          Re reply

          And so the message to the electorate has to be to vote for a parliament that does want this change. I expect you would be a leading member of such a parliament.

      • Roger Farmer
        Posted August 18, 2012 at 10:02 am | Permalink

        Were it that simple JR. You know full well that the three major parties foist on the electorate candidates of whom the heirarchy of the party approve. Only when the electorate choose the candidate will you get an MP whose loyalty is to his constituents first and party philosophy second. Then you might get government that reflects the aspirations of the majority of the people.

        Reply: A Conservative association will have plenty of candidates who oppose the current EU arrangements to choose from, including Better off out and pro referendum candidates. Indeed, I would have thought it very difficult for a candidate against a referendum to get selected now.

        • lifelogic
          Posted August 18, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

          To reply: if this is so why do we get a pro EU, fake green, ever bigger state leader like Cameron?

          • Jerry
            Posted August 19, 2012 at 9:28 am | Permalink

            “lifelogic”, because the party membership voted for him, I expect!

            So the next questions is, did the members vote for the current (party, not coalition) policy positions or have the stated party policy positions changed since Mr Cameron was elected? I don’t expect anyone from within the PCP to answer that…

        • Roger Farmer
          Posted August 18, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

          So why are you only supported by 80-100 in your own party. All credit to you and them, but the rest have been bought off. What associations might do in the futur is way too late and will lead to the return of the millipede. The perception is that Cameron and his cabinet are indistinguisable from Blairites and will continue with the EU nightmare irrespective of logic and the needs of the British people until it is too late. They remind me of appeasing government in 1939, do nothing Brussels is a pussy cat. I say listen to Danial Hannan and David Starkey, the lone churchillian voices kept as far as possible in the wilderness. The time has come to clear out the appeasers and revert to positive government in line with the instincts of the people.

          • Christopher Ekstrom
            Posted August 19, 2012 at 7:23 am | Permalink

            That’s not for JR. He is a loyal Tory. HIS leader is Cast Iron!!!

        • Acorn
          Posted August 19, 2012 at 7:47 am | Permalink

          Nice one Roger. Let’s hear it for Primary Elections. Disconnect the Candidate from the Party. Let the Candidate convince his voters as to his preference for a particular philosophy or ideology; or, if he is fully whipped party lobby fodder. .

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 18, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        Voters keep electing Parliaments that block change – why because Cameron put a left wing, pro EU agenda and so lost the election against dead in the water Brown. He also stuffs the party with his silly place women/men. The voters have little option given the party structures and voting system.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted August 19, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        Not entirely. There are Europhiles well dug into positions of power and influence – mainly in candidate selection roles – inside the Conservatives. They are to be found in Conservative HQ and in constituency parties.

        You will have seen my recent blog – sourced from conservativehome – describing the procedure for selecting Conservative candidates for MEPs in 2009. It was blatently biased in favour of incumbent Europhiles and against challenging Eurosceptics.

        Modernising the Conservatives is not just about a good way of thinking, it is about ditching those that oppose the good way of thinking, especially among the Candidates and candidate selectors.

        Your proposals are …………………… ?

    • Timaction
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      I’m afraid its action NOT words we want to see on the dreaded EU. Your leadership doesn’t want that, just the same old rhetoric which will be punished at the polls.

      • Sebastian Weetabix
        Posted August 18, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        Mr Redwood’s voting record on the EU is impeccable. The trouble is not enough of his colleagues vote alongside him. My own local Tory MP is yet another weasel on the subject of EU membership; he said all the right things to get both selected and elected and now spinelessly lines up with the rest of those voting for pro-EU measures. Next time it’ll be UKIP for me. If that deprives Cast-Iron Dave of his premiership then so be it.

        The sooner the Tory leadership realises that all it needs to get an absolute majority at the next election is a referendum on leaving he EU, the better.

        • lifelogic
          Posted August 18, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

          You say:- “My own local Tory MP is yet another weasel on the subject of EU membership; he said all the right things to get both selected and elected and now spinelessly lines up with the rest of those voting for pro-EU measures.”

          Are you in Cameron’s constituency by any chance?

        • Jerry
          Posted August 18, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

          Next time it’ll be UKIP for me. If that deprives Cast-Iron Dave of his premiership then so be it.

          I don’t care what happens to your local MP, my local MP nor DC, I do worry about what this might bring though, could be like cuttings one own nose off to spite a face – “Good Evening Mr Milliband and how are you finding your new residence, is the N0. 10 flat to your liking? Your train to Brussels levels at 10am tomorrow, your meeting with HvR is at 3pm”…

          • Jon burgess
            Posted August 19, 2012 at 8:02 am | Permalink

            Jerry, you’ve already got a pro EU socialist coalition which snatched defeat from the jaws of victory from a pro EU socialist majority government, soon to be followed by another pro EU socialist coalition. All three main parties have a hairs breadth between them, so anyone who wants out of the EU has to deny LibLabCon their vote.

          • Jerry
            Posted August 19, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

            All three main parties have a hairs breadth between them, so anyone who wants out of the EU has to deny LibLabCon their vote.

            Jon, I studied all four of the 2010 major manifestos, I can assure you that there is plenty of clear water between the parties, especially on the EU – this is not to be confused with the current coalition agreement, I doubt that DC could offer a referendum or do much about the EU and stay in government very long if he tried hence I suspect the reason for the whip re the backbench EU motion.

            The best UKIP can hope for is being (one of) the smaller party in coalition with the Tories after the next election, they will not be in any other coalition, as their basic reason for being is only supported by the Tories, any other coalition will be broadly supportive of the status quo if not outright pro to the EU.

            It is UKIP who needs a strong parliamentary Tory party, not the other way around. UKIP supporters need to be very careful of what they wish for, they just might be the spoilers who actually allow the UK to become part of a USoE!

            I don’t say any of this off-the-cuff or in the heat of the moment.

        • Jon burgess
          Posted August 19, 2012 at 7:55 am | Permalink

          Maybe not as impeccable as it might have been – look up the voting record for the Maastrict treaty, you might be surprised.

          Reply: It was a question of when I timed my resignation from the government putting it through,depending on what guarantees I got that we were opting out of the main point of the Treaty, the Euro. When it was clear we were not getting the guaranteed opt out in perpetuity I wanted I resigned.

    • Vanessa
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

      A referendum is not going to guarantee anything. Your idiot leader cannot even bring himself to ask the right question. What hope do we have that any of you will do the right thing?

  5. Boudicca
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    The Conservative Party sold the country out when it allowed Heath to drag us into the EEC. It compounded the error with the Maastrict Treaty, which we should have vetoed; and Cameron betrayed the country (again) after reneging on holding a post-ratification Lisbon Treachery Referendum.

    We do not belong in a politicised union which is seeking to create a European Superstate – whether the people want it or not. All we ever voted for was a Common Market which was ‘sold’ to us as a free trade area – even though it wasn’t even that.

    It is no longer a question of modernising the Conservative Party. The main purpose of the Conservative Party must be to regain our independence and the right to self-determination. If the Conservative Party isn’t prepared to do that, then it doesn’t deserve to exist.

    Reply: Labour recommended Yes to staying in in 1975 and carried that vote, they signed up to Nice. Amsterdam and Lisbon which represented huge transfers of power. All 3 political parties have got us to where we are n ow.

    • Boudicca
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      Yes – all 3 branches of our EU-obsessed one-party-state HAVE got us to the situation we are in now.

      Which is why the ONLY Party worth voting for is UKIP. The CON branch has no more intention of ever getting us out of the EU than Lib or Lab.

    • Bob
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      “All 3 political parties have got us to where we are now.”

      I’ve been waiting a long time to see you utter those words in that order.

      I am now waiting for you to follow up by saying that the Tory Party is dancing to the EU’s tune and so you will therefore be moving to the real conservative party a.k.a. UKIP.

      Reply: That would not give us any more votes in the Commons to resist EU advances.

      • A different Simon
        Posted August 18, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

        John ,

        I’m not a Conservative but a floating voter who has voted for all three major parties in national elections and UKIP too .

        You can count the number of Eurosceptic Conservative MP’s on one hand – of a boxing glove .

        What is going wrong here ?

        Are the Eurosceptics standing for selection and being blocked or not are they not being selected or are they not standing for selection at all ?

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted August 18, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

        Comments on JR’s Reply–Please try to look beyond the end of your nose. To me it is obvious we need an enormous shake-up and if you and a few others were all to move to UKIP making a lot of noise about it as you go it might be very different at the next election. Worth a try anyway, we cannot go on as we are–I doubt you can deny that all that is necessary is some kind of big event to break the jam and UKIP MP’s will start getting in and the sooner the better. There will not be anything to conserve if the Conservatives stay in much longer–amazing the level of contempt the Conservatives have created in recent years. There is precedent for ratting and then re-ratting as you will know.

      • Vanessa
        Posted August 18, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

        Resist EU advances ?!!! Don’t make me laugh !

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, all three parties but perhaps if anything the under the Tories most of all, Under Heath, even under Thatcher and certainly under the (ERM fiasco and no apology) foolish Major and now under Cameron and soon back with Labour.

    • Jerry
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

      JR: Reply: “Labour recommended Yes to staying in in 1975 and carried that vote, they signed up to Nice. Amsterdam and Lisbon which represented huge transfers of power. All 3 political parties have got us to where we are now.

      Did they? My recollection was that it was the Tories who were emphatically for the ‘Yes’ vote, the best Mr Wilson could manage within his own party was to allow Labour MPs to campaign on their personal belief (or their union whip…). Had more Tories realised the true intent of the Eurocrats even then, like Powell had, and shared a platform with the likes of Foot, Benn and (I think) Powell we might not be were we are now. The treaties of Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon all followed that of Maastricht so its not correct to pin all the blame on Blair/Brown’s Labour government.

      That said, I do think the worm has turned and that the Conservative party is far more Eurosceptic than it has ever been, the trouble is many within the parliamentary party know nothing of life outside of the EU, either as residence of a non member country or of a time before 1973 and our accession to the EEC/EU, thus are a little nervous that the Europhiles and their dire ‘warnings’ might be correct.

  6. WitteringsfromWitney
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    “Conservatives do not wish people ill or seek to make life less pleasant. There is a long tradition of Conservative welfare policy to help those in need. ”

    Before throwing money, which we haven’t got, around the world helping others should we not look after our own elderly, vulnerable and disabled people? The message should be that we want more self employed owning their own businesses, more successful small businesses, more people owning their own homes and other assets. We want a country of owners, a country where most people have a stake in our society, a country where hard work and enterprise are rewarded and risk taking admired, not condemned. ”

    Governments do not create growth, people do and to enable them to do just that Government needs to ‘butt-out’ of their lives. People are quite capable of creating their own ‘Big Society’ and they do not need Government stepping in and ‘ordering’ how they do that.

    While the political class maintain that they are our rulers, the people will remain enslaved. Under the system of representative democracy, MPs do not ‘represent’ their electorate – they act as elected dictators.

    • Sue
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      These discussions are beginning to bore me. What is the point of going over the same ground time and time again?

      For the last time now: We want out of the EU and in a position where we, the people run our country again. We want the politicians to stop telling us what to do, YOU WORK FOR US, REMEMBER? Leave us alone and we will create wealth and you will be able to call this country “Great” again.

      Get rid of Cameron, get us out of the EU and give us our country back!

      • Alan Wheatley
        Posted August 18, 2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink

        I sympathise with your feelings, Sue. I too have been bored on on several occasions.

        However, hang in, as I think the EU issue will have to run on a while more before the final conclusion. The more people who visit the site and read the blog AND the comments the further the good message will be spread.

        So as not to be too bored I now pick out the comments that are informative, constructive or entertaining, and skip the repetitious.

        • Jerry
          Posted August 18, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

          I was going to post my own reply to Sue but you said it all Alan, so I’ll just say “+1”.

    • Bob
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      “There is a long tradition of Conservative welfare policy to help those in need. “

      I can understand the desire to provide a safety net for people who face hardships, but where it all went wrong was the introduction of the term “relative poverty”, which gave the socialists a licence to continue extorting our money even when those in poverty live in four bedroomed houses with en-suite bathrooms, several cars, expensive home entertainment systems and the latest fashion items.

      Get back to providing the basics for survival and encourage the less successful to make their own way in life.

      “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
      or in today’s Britain:
      Give a man a fish and and he’ll want you to cook it for him and serve it with chips and pickled onions (or mushy peas for those of you living in the north of England).

  7. alan jutson
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 7:27 am | Permalink


    You suggest we need self employment, small businesses, and I would agree.

    Many a large business started from a small business, which started from self employment, which started from part time work at home or a second job.

    But for decades successive Governments have done their best to crucify those who want to do any of this, who have this get up and go.

    The tax system, health and safety, employment laws and the like do not like non conformity, and that is what entrepreneurs are like, that is why they they think differently, think outside of the box, see an opportunity when others see problems.

    The very people who are self employed and run their own businesses for the main part, do not think the same as most politicians, but this independent thinking has to a large degree for years been crushed under the weight of regulation.

    If you do not conform then you must be punished, fined, taken to court.

    Banks used to have Managers who knew local businesses and businessmen, could make a judgement on their charecter and thus lend money on that basis, as well as for business reasons.
    Now virtually everything goes to a Regional manger who knows nothing about the local situation, if you do not tick the right boxes and have a house to put on the line, then forget it.

    Things will only change when politicians have the courage to take the shackles off, simplify our tax and employment laws, and release the spirit of we can do.

    Reply: I agree – and that does mean dealing with the EU problem

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      But no movement in this deregulation direction either from Cameron quite the reverse.

    • Jerry
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

      JR Reply: “I agree – and that does mean dealing with the EU problem

      Not all though, a lot could be done at the national level, it’s crazy that a self employed person, working by themselves can technically break H&S laws designed for workplaces with multiple employees for example – we were promised a bonfire of pointless and over zealous regulations but two years in and nothing has happened – perhaps now that the next parliamentary legislative session is light due to the dropping of lords reform we might get some place – I don’t think I’ll hold by breath though.

  8. The Prangwizard
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    There must be a Parliament for England if English aspirations are to be met. It is British the Establishment which denies them this. That is how real change can be brought about.

    • JoolsB
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      Totally agree but the problem is our “there’s Scottish blood in these veins” Prime Minister who “doesn’t just want to just be PM of England” and thinks we are all “sour little Englanders” who should not be allowed to “nurture our grievances”if we dare to ask for what the rest of this Un-united Kingdom already enjoys – some form of representation and self-determination.

      Our PM and MPs with English seats can’t even say the word England, let alone allow us an English Parliament where heaven forbid our elected representatives might just start standing up for their English constituents for a change.

      • Christopher Ekstrom
        Posted August 19, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        Precisely. This “Prime Minister” is an outright traitor. His final address will be Traitors Gate!

  9. Rebecca Hanson
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Good post.

    But freedom doesn’t just come from getting rid of organisation.

    My liberal philosophy is that we should use the underlying principle of devolving decision making to the lowest level, but we should provide minimum and appropriate state organisation where it is clearly proven to be efficient and in the benefit of society to do so. This organisation should be transparent and accountable.

    To achieve this requires those in authority to be better connect to the implications of policy and generally better educated in a wide and connected way. I see mass online discussion (through blogs like this, general discussion forums and consultative forums) as being an essential tool in improving the quality of the politicians we have and the work we do.

    This is why I abandoned my plans to write a PhD on a detailed aspect of maths education and am instead investing my energies in discussion forums.

    I think mass online dicussion is game changing in that it challenges the traditional distinction between economic liberalism and social liberalism by offering people positive freedoms that were previously unthinkable at a very low cost.

    • alan jutson
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 11:02 am | Permalink


      You can have all the discussion you like but while the Party leaders choose the candidates from their list you are wasting your time.

      What we need are local candidates chosen by the local Party organisations plus a smattering of independents, who we can then vote for.

      That is the only real way forward.

      Reply: The Conservative party does have considerable flexibility at local level about who to choose.

      • Rebecca Hanson
        Posted August 18, 2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink

        There are often issues with the quality of the candidates who are prepared to stand – to the extent that it doesn’t really matter who chooses the successful candidate.

        These issues are being exacerbated by the general level of dissatisfaction with the three main parties because good people don’t want to get involved with any of them. But it’s exceptionally difficult to get into politics or to achieve much as an independent.

        Reply: there are some very talented people who entered Parliament as Conservative MPs for the first time in 2010 – people who have achieved much in life prior to coming into Parliament. If people are so disparaging about the talent currently on offer, then they should step forward and strenghen the talent pool available.

        • Rebecca Hanson
          Posted August 18, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

          “Reply: there are some very talented people who entered Parliament as Conservative MPs for the first time in 2010 – people who have achieved much in life prior to coming into Parliament. If people are so disparaging about the talent currently on offer, then they should step forward and strenghen the talent pool available.”

          I agree – there are “some”. There are also rather a lot of bright young things with very naive views about society and little experience in anything – particularly in the Conservative party. It’s okay to have some bright young things in the mix provided they are surrounded by people with plenty of experience. The problems come when they surround themselves with each other.

          I agree with your second statement too. In my case I am engaging with politicians to the maximum extent that I can in order to try and raise their skills and enhance their insights into society and their ideas for ways forwards. I work very hard on local issues with our local councillors and I intend to stand as a candidate for local council. Given that my husband works away, three of our children are still young, my work commitments and our limited resources I feel this is all I can do, but I’m open to suggestions regarding what else I can do. I would also like to encourage others to get involved.

          • Bob
            Posted August 18, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

            Louisa Mensch.

            There, I said it.

          • Rebecca Hanson
            Posted August 18, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

            Why did you say it Bob?

          • A. Headhunter
            Posted August 18, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

            Yup, you are right. I am white skinned, born in London in 1952, both Grandfathers sedrved in the First World War, one in the Royal Flying Corps (He lied about his age when he was 17) and the other as a Medical Officer from 1915-1918 – imagine the broken bodies he saw, fresh out of Medical School – My father did National Service and narrowly missed the Korean War as a Medical Officer (think a British version of MASH) and I went to public school, spent 10 years in the music business, 10 years as an insurance broker in the City, 6 years in the Territorial Army, 20+ years as a Headhunter in the insurance industry (One of our greatest invisible exports) and now as a management consultant in some of our most successful new inventions as overseas exports. I reckon that is a pretty good CV. Conservative party reckons not. Mensch goes onto the A-list and thence to New York. I go onto the rubbish tip. You just lost my vote and my subscription. UKIP – Bring it on. I am going to Australia. Cameron go to Hell.

          • Rebecca Hanson
            Posted August 19, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

            What would you have liked to offer to parliament which would have improved what it does A. Headhunter?

            I’ve been grateful that Louise has raised the issue of cyberabuse. It is horrific. When it is organised and at its worst it shakes you to the core. Some nights I’ve ended up sitting on the floor and shaking due to what’s happened to me. It’s a difficult issue to address – cyberspace if like the wild west – some places are policed by good sheriffs like John’s blog here but others are run by self interested thugs.

            It’s a straight question by the way – different people offer different things. I’m giving Louise credit for what she has done and I’m genuinely also interested to know what you would have liked to have done.

          • APL
            Posted August 20, 2012 at 8:44 am | Permalink

            Rebecca Hanson: “When it is organised and at its worst it shakes you to the core.”

            Don’t like the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

            Rebecca Hanson: ” Some nights I’ve ended up sitting on the floor and shaking due to what’s happened to me. “.

            Yet you go back for more?

          • Rebecca Hanson
            Posted August 21, 2012 at 9:01 am | Permalink

            “Yet you go back for more?”
            No I don’t APL. I effectively stopped using the TES forum months before they banned me.

            “Don’t like the heat, stay out of the kitchen.”
            As far as I’m aware it’s pretty much impossible for current teacher to post in an insightful and connected way about what’s going on in education on forums.

            (Goes into long complaint re TES forum – I don’t have the time to check out all this and suggest it is pursued with them-ed)
            So that leaves me posting and people coming to me to tell me what’s going on. If anyone thins I am exaggerating how bad it is they are very welcome to come and look through my correspondence with people who don’t now post and why they don’t now post. Please don’t think I’m just talking about ordinary abusive comments on forums. Do I look like those bother me? 🙂

          • Rebecca Hanson
            Posted August 21, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

            Your right – it is complicated! If anyone wants to know the details or advise me or support me on how to take action please do get in touch.

            But to make the positive point again – I think the Conservative party should engage with the potential of mass online discussion (such as by looking at how consultative blogs could be run with the help of parliamentary assistants) and look at policy to militate against its worst excesses.

            This is a very positive way of modernising the party and I’m happy to help by talking to anyone who wants to understand the issues in depth.

            This blog gives some insight into some of the work I’ve done in the past: Among other things I’m currently working with the US dept for education who are investing heavily in promoting online discussion between teachers and that’s leading to some very interesting insights.

    • Christopher Ekstrom
      Posted August 19, 2012 at 7:03 am | Permalink

      This is just the sort of nonsense that should signal the end of Toryism. Please just vote UKIP & allow Miss Hansen to get back to the Phd.

      • Rebecca Hanson
        Posted August 19, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

        It’s Mrs Hanson Christopher 🙂

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      “Power devolved is power retained.” (J Enoch Powell)

  10. A.Sedgwick
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Cameron politically is not just a lame duck, he is floating lifeless on the pond. Interesting that you mentioned Big Society, another of his jolly wheezes that is slipping below the PR water line. It is very difficult to see how he can rescue his political career. How he can continue the Coalition with the reneging of Clegg is typical of the man who wants to cling on to the job at all costs. His prime motivation was to become and now stay PM. All the electorate can ask of politicians is to have ideals, stick to them and deliver as best they can. I am no clearer what Cameron stands for today than I was in 2005.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      You say “I am no clearer what Cameron stands for today than I was in 2005”.

      Well I am now I am quite certain he stands for an undemocratic, socialist EU supper state, a BBC that pushes for more ever more EU, ever more government, more green tosh/bling religion, more regulation, a happiness index, a devaluing currency, moe oppression of the private sector and tax payers/savers and ever higher taxes to fund the malignantly growing state sector.

      Perhaps an EU job in 2015 for him too when Miliband continues in the save vane.

  11. Paul Danon
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    The trouble is that, for some people, modernising the Tories means being like Labour. Real modernisation would be Randian libertarianism. The electorate have been taught to think government is the fount of wealth, yet it’s them – the people themselves. Depressingly, Mr Johnson is calling for more public building, as if that would make our goods more competitive overseas.

  12. Simon George
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 7:50 am | Permalink


    Why have you blocked all comments to your previous article where you stated that your constituents “have to drive into central Reading and park their cars to be able to use the Great Western service at all”?

    Reply I have not blocked all comments.

    • Simon George
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      Correction, I see my comment is blocked but there are a couple of new ones now.

      Reply: It is not necessarily blocked. It just takes time to read and post.

      • Bob
        Posted August 18, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply.
        Some blogs have a email option to let others see the comments that were held in moderation and only released after a long delay.

        • Jerry
          Posted August 19, 2012 at 10:31 am | Permalink

          Bob, whilst frustrating for all, Mr Redwood has to take the legalities of what he (via his server) publishes very seriously, just as any newspaper or magazine does, emailing unchecked content would still count as publication I suspect. Please don’t start giving him a hard time over it! I just wish more MPs would follow Mr Redwood’s example of open democracy.

  13. peter geany
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Most of what I want to say is spelt out above. People create wealth, NOT Government. Regulation has strangled our country to the benefit of Government and the Corporates. Taxation is now obscene, yet all the rhetoric is over a few tax dodges. Everything about the Coalition is the opposite of what we need and indeed want.

    John action is what’s needed, not words. Cameron will never get my vote, even if he promises a referendum. He simply cannot be trusted.

    • APL
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Peter Geany: “Cameron will never get my vote, even if he promises a referendum. He simply cannot be trusted.”

      You’d think an advertising executive might know something about brand contamination, wouldn’t you?

      Perhaps we are finding out why Cameron left Advertising.

    • Bazman
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      Any government puts in place the conditions to create wealth or create wealth for a few.

  14. A.Sedgwick
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 8:07 am | Permalink
    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the link, A.Sedgwick, and as you say David Starkey says it all.

      Watching his TV series on the Churchills, and now reading his Daily Mail article, makes me think he is a wordsmith of whom Winston would approve. Lets us hope that David Starkey’s fears that we are in the national end game are not realised, and that cometh the hour, cometh the man (or woman).

    • oldtimer
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      An excellent article -and,sadly,all too true.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps if the media was less hysterical politicians could be more honest without having to worry about everything being blown out of proportion.

      • Jerry
        Posted August 19, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        “uanime5”, one man’s hysteria and another’s reality…

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      Good old David Starkey he is, surprisingly, even allowed on the BBC very occasionally.

    • Christopher Ekstrom
      Posted August 19, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      No one bothers to mention Clegg: why should they when it is all down to Cast Iron? Perhaps the “delusion” ala Peter Hitchens is really only a veil of Maya to preserve the totally absurd posture of loyalty adapted by JR. There is no Tory party to be loyal to. John Major torpedoed that quite some time ago. He was playing Flecher Christian to Captain Bligh (the Vile & Destestable heseltine,etc etc traitor). Meanwhile the HMS Bounty (ENGLAND) is off to an off the chart destination with outright lying (bad people ed) at the helm. The Sex Pistols “Bus to Nowhere”. Unfortunately it’s “No Fun” on this ride of despair into utter oblivion.

  15. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    I strongly agree with your last paragraph John. Unfortunately I cannot think of a current political party that the electorate should vote for to achieve those values and objectives?

    • Caterpillar
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Glenn Vaughan,

      And without the Conservatives wishing to modernise that electoral system from FPTP to, something like, two vote MMP there will be no way for a new party to gain sufficient traction.

      (I had hoped that a LibDem party with a socially liberal view, and a Conservative party with an economically liberal view, would together in coalition support freedom. I now realise that coalitions formed within a FPTP context will have very different existential concerns to those that would form within an MMP type context.)

  16. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    When I see the expression “modernising the Conservatives” it makes me groan. It is a meaningless expression. It is adman jargon, as is the use of the expression the “Tory brand”. It reminds me of the quote by Groucho Marx: “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others”. Cameron has managed to seduce you onto his turf. As laudible as your ideas may be, they will never see the light of day because you are not the “brand manager”.
    All three main parties are trying to “sell” themselves to the electorate but there is no real competition. Despite the rhetoric (advertising) you all offer the same failing product.

  17. Martyn
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    “The message should be that we want more self employed owning their own businesses, more successful small businesses, more people owning their own homes and other assets. We want a country of owners, a country where most people have a stake in our society, a country where hard work and enterprise are rewarded and risk taking admired, not condemned. Modern Conservatives need to be freedom loving, and to encourage individual and family enterprise and responsibility”.

    No chance of that, then. Successive governments have lied to us, surrendered our national sovereignty to the EU and surrounded us with endless penalizing laws that undermine or chances of people acting as you suggest, conservatively, economically effectively and responsibly to make our world a better place. Governments, including the present one have used political advisers such as Alastair Campbell to propagate their lies – the word spin is a misnomer – and deceit to hide the truth from us. Our fundamental right to govern ourselves and our Laws based on precedent, common sense and habeas corpus have been betrayed and our long held and dearly defended position that no foreign power should ever be able to tell the British people what to do, have all been set aside.

    Under Heath, a Conservative Prime Minister, we betrayed our brothers and cousins in the English speaking world upon whom we had always been able to call in times of trouble, and they on us. We turned our face to a bunch of disparate European countries and abandoned countries like New Zealand, Australia and Canada to their fate. With hindsight, that did them more good in the longer term than it did us, being shackled to the EU. Off-topic but sort of related to my ranting, did anyone else spot that Germany is reaching a trade agreement with Canada ( to enhance the German economy? I wonder what dictatorial EU rulers think about that?

  18. merlin
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    To put it simply

    1) there is too much government

    2) there is too much taxation

    In 10 or 20 years will this change-I doubt it, for the simple reason that politicians enjoy power, the power to tell you what to do and how to behave and there is a queue of people waiting in the wings to do just that.

  19. S. Donald
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Your last paragraph describes exactly why I have voted conservative ever since I was old enough to put my cross in the box.
    Perhaps John you can explain why this government has consistently refused to give any help to the beleaguered pub trade. No I,m not talking about financial help. I,m talking about realising that these places generally are good for the local community, they are closing in vast numbers, with many reasons given for their demise, however the two main problems, in my opinion, are the interference and legislation brought about by Nu -Labour. Namely the hikes in alcohol tax and the smoking ban.
    Do Publicans not fall into the category of small businesses? Should ordinary folk not have the freedom to be able to socialise together without being ‘ priced ‘out of the market, or even
    worse, banned out because they smoke.
    To date I,ve seen precious little to determine that this government is any different from it,s predecessors.

    Reply: Yes, pubs are important busiensses and social centres. I guess the government has not helped on alcohol duty because it needs the revenue to apy all the bills.

    • S. Donald
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      Sorry, would that be the extra bills CAUSED by pubs closing, unemployment benefit for their staff, loss of associated jobs, ( draymen, taxi drivers, loss of sales in the clothing industry, hairdressers ect, ect, ect.
      Think a domino effect.
      It could also be argued that you will collect less in the long run if so many people are not spending.

      • S. Donald
        Posted August 18, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        and just to add, you have,nt commented on my other point. I notice that you voted moderatlely against the smoking ban. Are you of the opinion that it has been a success or would you be inclined to agree that it,s done a great deal of harm to the hospitality trade, a great deal of harm to the general economy, thinking domino effect again, and has,nt resulted in the required outcome of masses of people stopping smoking.

        Reply: I did not comment as there is very clearly a strong majority for the ban in the Commons and I do not think that is going to change this Parliament.

        • Bazman
          Posted August 18, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

          Stinking habit and good on any MP who voted for the ban. Have the same attitude as smokers who could not care less who had to breathe in their shite. It’s the right one.

          • APL
            Posted August 18, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

            Bazman: “Stinking habit and good on any MP who voted for the ban. ”

            1. Not stinking, aromatic.

            2. Any MP worth his salt would have consulted his constituents, a good number of whome would likely a) have been smokers, and thus likely against the ban, b) not had an opinion on the matter.

            3. Smokers contribute more tax revenue as a result of the punitive excise and taxes levied on their pastime. Thus they likely do more to support the Health Service or the Welfare System than you do.

          • S. Donald
            Posted August 18, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

            Typical ‘ I,m all right Jack ‘ comment.
            I hope you,ve got deep pockets. Let,s not worry about others less fortunate who are struggling to keep their heads above water.

          • Bazman
            Posted August 20, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

            Jerry is another non smoker defending the rights of smokers without fully understanding the habit of smoking and then using it to forward views on political liberties and curtailments. How much choice do you think smokers have in smoking or not smoking? They are addicted and all you are dong is speaking for their addiction. You do not understand the word addiction, but the vast majority of the population do not. That extra chocolate or coffee is not an addiction though may well feel like it.

          • Jerry
            Posted August 20, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

            Bazman, you make a very good case for banning just about anything, even s-e-x can be addictive, can harm the health of either or both parties- were would this socialist ideology of banning things stop…

            Why not just educate and inform, smoking has not been banned outright yet those who wish, with the right help and support, can give it up as “A. Headhunter” has already admitted…

            By the way Bazman, I know exactly how additive smoking can be, I grew up in a house with a father who smoked very heavily and paid the ultimate price for doing so but then it was about his 10th life after fighting in a war so to protect the right to personal freedoms, that we can have this sort of discussion so I really do think that you owe me an apology.

        • lifelogic
          Posted August 18, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

          I would let them smoke, if that is what they want to do, but just in ventilated smoking areas. It is absurd to push them outside like lepers or make them smoke at home with their children.

          • Bazman
            Posted August 19, 2012 at 10:13 am | Permalink

            They could always stop smoking and any inconvenience to smoking helps this. The revenue argument is a red herring, millions have died of smoking related disease over the years and you do not need to be a doctor to see the health effects as it is self evident. If they want to smoke then smoke in private and stop stinking. Aromatic?Is that what smokers are? Most defenders of smoking don’t smoke. I wonder why? Liberty freedom, choice? This is what smokers do not have as they are addicted. Ram it.

          • Jerry
            Posted August 19, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink

            Lifelogic, how about just making such buildings have a sign outside that basically sates “People are permitted to smoke on these premises, if you object then please do not enter”?

          • sm
            Posted August 19, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

            In a special room with negative pressure.

          • uanime5
            Posted August 19, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

            Scientific testing has shown that ventilated smoking areas are ineffective at preventing passive smoking. This is why this idea was rejected by the Government.

          • Bazman
            Posted August 19, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

            Ave’ a tab luv.

        • A. Headhunter
          Posted August 18, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

          As a son of a doctor who smoked 20 per day for 40 years ( In rebellion) I wish I had not. The ban helped me to quit and I have not smoked for 12 months. Sorry to all my smoker friends who, like me until recently, banged on about liberties, but it really is a killer. I nearly lost a leg due to peripheral valscular disease caused almost entirely by smoking. Today I walked 12 miles over the South Downs – England at its best. In the immortal words of John Lennon: (from the ‘White Album’) “and curse Sir Walter Raleigh he was sucha stupid git”. You will understand that Lennon did not die from smoking-related diseases but was shot in the head by an American. I rest my case.

          • david
            Posted August 19, 2012 at 10:44 am | Permalink

            Your case regarding your illness relies on assumption rather than proof. As for your other assumption, John Lennon’s proven cause of death was through loss of blood as a result of being shot four times to the back. Sorry to be pedantic, but facts are facts whereas assumptions (by definition) aren’t.

            Indeed, the smoking ban itself was introduced largely on the back of assumption, as is the move towards plain packaging. You have the right to your assumptions so long as you are never in a position to try to forcibly control other peoples’ lives, which is precisely what our current nanny government is doing on a regular basis – as I stated above, by simply kowtowing/adding to what Nu-Labour instigated – the Who’s lyrics ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss’ are more apt today than when they were written…..

          • Jerry
            Posted August 19, 2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink

            So lets ban driving, after all how many people die each year or are seriously injured, driving also has other health effects such as not getting enough excessive – on that count, let’s ban computers too!

            The law should never be used as a personal crutch, the law before hand didn’t make you smoke and the law since hasn’t made you give up…

            Oh, and before you ask, no I’m not a smoker and I do object to breathing in of second hand smoke but who the hell am I to tell others how to live their lives.

          • Christopher Ekstrom
            Posted August 19, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

            You have just made a fine case for restricting your own freedom. Unfortunately Americans occasionally shoot the wrong people in the head. Perhaps not so much when they were Jerry who would have spared you the smoking whilst not sparring the bayonet on your gambols around the countryside.

          • Iain Gill
            Posted August 20, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

            Re “the Who’s lyrics ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss’ are more apt today than when they were written…..” absolutely, pete townsend is genius wish this country had a few more like him

    • David John Wilson
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      The pubs need to be given a level playing field. One of many arguments for minimum alcohol pricing is that it would hopefully move more of the consumption back to the controlled environment of the public house.

      Licences for shops to sell alcohol are granted far too freely and rarely removed or suspended when they are abused. We also need to move to the situation found for example in Canada where alcohol cannot be sold at the same till as groceries and other goods. Alcohol and tobbaco should be sold at seperate tills manned by sales assistants over the age of 25.

      • Bazman
        Posted August 19, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        You are proposing that supermarkets sell beer for three quid a pint? The pubs need to lower their prices. The breweries have been bleeding their landlords for years and now we are seeing the results. How many have closed in your area.

        • APL
          Posted August 20, 2012 at 8:46 am | Permalink

          Bazman: “The breweries have been bleeding their landlords for years and now we are seeing the results.”

          Now there may be a large element of truth in that statement.

    • Bob
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      ” I’m talking about realising that these places generally are good for the local community… “

      They are dangerous breeding grounds for subversive ideas.
      That’s why the government want to usher us into cyber space where we can be monitored and controlled.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      Here are some other major causes of pub closures:

      1) More TV channels and TV ownership means that people no longer need to go to the pub in order to watch sporting events.

      2) Women now work, have money to spend, and prefer to go to bars rather than pubs. As bars contain young women, while pubs generally don’t, young men are more likely to go to bars.

      3) More people now drink wine than beer. This favours bars more than pubs.

      • Bazman
        Posted August 19, 2012 at 10:55 am | Permalink

        We would anyone pay more than ten quid for three pints, especially the young with little money? They tank up at home and then go to the pub or don’t go to the pub. The only one surviving are the ones offering ‘entertainment’ in whatever form you like be it socialising, sport, or food.

      • Jerry
        Posted August 19, 2012 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        I think you will find that many people now go to pubs to watch -for free- what is no longer on free-to-air television, not everyone (can) have either a satellite or cable TV. Indeed the coming of such sport subscription channels and big screen TV’s has been the saviour of many a pub, even at the exorbitant price and anti competitive business practises being used by the rights owners and broadcasters.

    • Jerry
      Posted August 19, 2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      There is no need to change alcohol duty, just reduce the number of places were alcohol can be bought, not only would this revitalise the local pub trade but would decrease the current problems with anti-social alcohol consumption – many pub and club goers are already half-cut on cheap supermarket (or on-line) bought alcohol before they step out of their front doors in the evening…

      The British version of “Café culture” hasn’t worked. Supermarkets often have less choice in bottled water than they do Larger, a minimum unit price might help but it is not the solution.

      • Bazman
        Posted August 20, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        They will just buy booze wherever it can be bought and if not how easy do you suppose it is to make?

        • Jerry
          Posted August 20, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

          Bazman, The UK didn’t used to have the problems we do today with the miss use of alcohol, something changed, I strongly suspect that it is being able to buy 3 for the price of 2 case loads when buying the cornflakes, rather than neither having to trundle off to the pub or to proper off-licence -this was the only thing that did change so it is quite rational to suggest that it the problem and not just a symptom.

          As for home-brewing, yes people could make their own alcohol, but again they need to put some thought (not to mention learn a skill or two, as anyone who has done so will know), not just pick up a case or three between the crisp-bread and the soap powder isle’s…

  20. merlin
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Over the last 20 years all I have seen is:-

    1) More national government

    2) More local government

    3) More European government

    4) More local, national and european taxation

    5) More and more regulation

    The tragedy is that people think that we can reverse all of the above and the simple answer is that it is too late and the excessive government and over taxation are permanent. Far too many of our freedoms have already been taken away and the inexorable desire by bureaucrats and politicians to control our indiviual lives never ends. The best we can hope for is the return of a truly Conservative Government with a Churchillian type leadership, but I’m not hopeful, the present mob seem like left leaning socialists and it looks like we are going to get a labour government led by a marxist influenced leader, resulting in more trade union power-you couldn.t make it up.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

      I fear you are right.

    • A. Headhunter
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

      I am terrified: Milliband and Balls were Brown’s “advisors” – what an unholy trinity! Meanwhile Cameron and Cleggie are doing everything they can to make sure these cretins get back in at the next available opportunity. How so? I am torn between France and Australia as my next home.

      • Christopher Ekstrom
        Posted August 19, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

        France for you: Cast Iron will soon join you.

  21. Matthew
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    The economic recovery that followed our exit from the ERM wasn’t credited to Mr Major.
    Voters, many already perceiving him as being out of his depth, thought that he had found himself back on the map by accident. Then the perception that he blamed Norman Lamont afterwards didn’t do his credibility much good.
    Mr Cameron made a lot of good noises before the election. His decision to enter into a coalition could be his undoing.
    He already went back on the Lisbon referendum, which he announced as policy without qualification, only to withdraw it.
    Now Conservative pro growth policy has been significantly watered down with the Lib Dem pact.
    In the debates leading up to the next election it will be hard for Mr Cameron to argue that he had been constrained by the Lib Dems these last few years. That without them he would have made the UK more competitive by taking powers back from the EU, lowering taxes further…
    Voters are unlikely to buy it; they will view Mr Cameron and Clegg as a partnership. Probably the only hope of getting elected is a steady economic recovery – so Mr Cameron needs to start being radical now Instead of him always saying “Do the right thing” he needs to get on and do it.
    The Lib Dems can come along for the ride.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

      You say:- The economic recovery that followed our exit from the ERM wasn’t credited to Mr Major.

      Well why on earth should Major get any credit, whatsoever, for this post ERM recovery – it happened due to the predictable failure of his absurd policy and he did not even say sorry for the pointless damage, business closures, repossessions and suicides and that he caused.

  22. Atlas
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    In addition to what you have said, we need less of the police state. The sight of so many coppers decending on that woman at her home who was the mental health adviser for Brady seems an overreaction to the circumstances.

    We could also do without the European Arrest Warrant (signed into law by T. May I note – an EU appeazer?). This is to give primacy to British Law. The Home Office is not fit for purpose in the matter of defending our centuries of legal protection from the action of Tyrants abroad.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      I have always disliked the self publicist, Teresa May, with her silly shoes and her “nasty party” agenda, perhaps I just have a problem with silly token women. I see she also suffers from religion, so perhaps we should make some allowances for her.

  23. Alan Wheatley
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    I am pretty comfortable with all that.

    The thing I would take mild issue with is the use of the term “modern” (in its various forms). It is not a mast to which I would choose to nail my campaign colours.

    The problem with “modernising” is that it one of those comfortable words that has positive connotations, but in reality the comfort is superficial and at heart it means nothing. “Radical” is another such word: perhaps reasonable to be used in historical judgment, but straight out of the lexicon of spin when applied contemporaneously. Being “prepared to take the tough decisions” is from the same lexicon.

    The other problem with modernising is that once you have done it what do you do next? Even if you consider modernisation to be a continuous process, as sort of political evolution, then in what way is it different to basic good management. And the danger is once the buzz word is “modernise” the danger becomes that change is sought and pushed for changes sake.

    As for the mast I would choose, I am not sure I know, and fortunately I am not in the mast nailing business. But how about pragmatic realist: idealist as to the objective, pragmatist as to the plan to get there.

  24. merlin
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 9:41 am | Permalink


    Spot on, totally agree with your rant, my mother voted ‘no’ to joining the EU all those years ago because she wanted to maintain our relationship with old friends in the Commonwealth-look how well these countries are doing now compared to the EUSSR which is a rotting corpse. We were betrayed and we are now paying the awful price of membership of a communist tyranny. The word spin basically means lie in common parlance and they will not tell us but the power of the UK parliament is being nullified day by day by relentless directives from the EU and you will never hear about it.

    • Martyn
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      I am sure that we are not alone in our views, Merlin. I am old enough to have voted in the Heath era and voted no because I too thought that we had so much more in common with our English-speaking world than would ever be possible with a bunch of european nations against whom we had so often had to curtail in their expansionist and dictatorial ideas.

      But we, the people, have been made powerless to change things. Forget about EU and UK elections, those who stand appear all to be on the same path towards a federal superstate and suppress the people of the nations involved. It is quite unbelievable that our so-called leaders (puppets would perhaps be a better description?) refuse to see and object to that which most sensible people can see, which is that the EU is a vast, money grabbing, sclerotic, ignorant assembly of self-seeker power hungry unelected dictators. All of them, and including most of our politicians refuse to acknowledge the real world and refuse to accept criticism – including the results of referenda – as they try to erect a federal state under the umbrella of the Euro, the EU anthem, EU flag and so on, all without any form of demos.

      A rotting corpse it may be, but unless and until we find an inspirational national politician with the guts to present the people with the real facts and ask us what we think should be done, the UK will descend deeper into the maw of the EU. Time for another peasants’ revolt, perhaps?

      • A. Headhunter
        Posted August 18, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

        You describe Daniel Hannan

        • Christopher Ekstrom
          Posted August 19, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

          He is far to pro-American for you; you need a Nanny like Hollande to set strict rules & 75% marginal tax rates. No wonder England fell from grace with “Patriots” like you!

          • Jerry
            Posted August 19, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

            He is far to pro-American for you

            Mr Hannan seems to be pro the world, not the USA, I some how doubt he would advocate for the UK to peg the pond to the US$ or joint NAFTA…

  25. Electro-Kevin
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    The narative from the broadcast media is still controlled by New Labour I’m afraid. This was all too clear at the Olympic ceremonies.

    This is why we have the youthful, photogenic and acceptable-to-the-left wing-media Cameron at the helm of the Tory party.

    About the only thing New Labour are good at is controlling the message and attacking the Tory party and its economic reputation. This is especially easy as many of your supporters suffered 15% interest rates in the ’90s having been brought closer to the EU against their will.

    I feel we’re too obsessive about house prices and property ownership btw. This is a key reason why many people felt entitled to take on such large amounts of personal debt and spent beyond their means.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      “Conservatives do not wish people ill or seek to make life less pleasant.”

      I agree. However, there appears to be a cross-party failure to treat their fellow countrymen as special and distinct from the rest of the world. And so we are treated equally with newcomers and our taxes are shared with those abroad.

      We do not look to our politicians to create a level playing field and there should be no surprises when we abandon the ballot box when they do.

      At this rate of educational and economic decline we shall not return to growth until our pay matches the £12 per day of the Chinese and we live five to a room.

      I fear that this is our future.

      It did not need to be so as Australia and Canada both demonstrate.

    • Sebastian Weetabix
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      I think you’re right. I also think we won’t have any economic recovery in this country until we see house prices collapse. That’s the corrective we need.

      • Bob
        Posted August 18, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

        Do I take that you’re in the market for a house then?

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted August 18, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

        We now have various Tory MPs declaring that British people are lazy.

        In some respects this is true. Particularly of those who think they can pick or choose not to work when there is work available. On the other hand many work incredibly hard – and then add a three hour commute to their day.

        Australia is known for its relaxed attitude both at work and at home. When I visited Canada I didn’t notice people slogging their guts out Chinese style – they seemed to have a good work/life balance. The Scandanavians seem to have a clean and healthy lifestyle – the French are known for their leisurely lunch breaks and eating out at night …

        I’m not saying that we Brits won’t (or shouldn’t) end up working for a bowl of rice and live crowded, multi-generational lifestyles in small homes – there is no law which states that we should be shielded from the harsh world and our politicians have seemed to embrace this fact. When our people decided they weren’t going to drive buses for a pittance they didn’t put up the wages – they undercut our workforce instead by importing the labour.

        They’ve even exposed us directly within our own shores to make us compete with the world for the education and healthcare we’ve been good enough to pay for.

        My point here is that countries such as Canada and Australia show us that it need not have been this way and it has bog all to do with slogging our guts out.

        It’s about working smart – demanding minimum levels of effort and behaviour from everyone in return for which your own people are protected before all others.

        The stipulation in both Canada and Australia is that new immigrants must be able to contribute more to their economies than the average citizen can. I doubt they flog off key industries for a fast buck either.

        It works. Our ideas don’t. Look how their economies boom and look how easily they do it.

        • APL
          Posted August 20, 2012 at 8:49 am | Permalink

          Electro Kevin: “We now have various Tory MPs declaring that British people are lazy.”

          You get what you pay for. Foster an environment where it pays to do as little as possible, and you’ll get people that do as little as possible.

          It still sticks in the craw to hear hypocritical MPs on £60000 a year excluding expenses, which many use to employ their families to do not very much at all, lecturing the rest of us how ot be more productive.

  26. Robert K
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Admirable sentiments, but what is needed is for our political masters to accept that the state has grown monstrously out of porportion and must be hacked back. No-one on the Tory front bench is arguing for a substantial shift in the balance between state and citizen in the form in which it is most obvoius: reducing the proportion of state spending to GDP from its current level of almost half.

  27. Neil Craig
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Modernising the Conservatives would not just be a matter of policy shuffling, it would be a matter of making the membership something more than a cheering section for the leader du jour.

    Members of the party have no influence whatsoever on policy which is why membership of all the parties is being hollowed out. It is also why UKIP exists,

    In the US the Tea Partyists, because their candidates are selected by members in the primary system, have become part of the Republicans & though the Presidential candidate is not from their wing they have clearly determined much of the agenda. In the UK. In Britain libertarians, opponents of the EU and those opposed to technological Luddism have been actively driven out of the party into UKIP.

    Which is why Romney is likely to win the next US election and British Tories are facing meltdown. The best, probably only, chance the Conservatives have would be a union with UKIP based, not only on whatever UKIP policies are better than and more popular than the Tory ones (ie most of them) but on the members setting policy not just being cheerleaders.

    I suspect the Tories will choose meltdown, which may be or may not be what they deserve but the country deserves a real choice.

  28. Mike Wilson
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    What does ‘modernising’ a party mean? It means that what you used to espouse is no longer popular so you are going to change with the times.

    But if what you believe has not changed – then people will see through the modernising. And, in an attempt to be all things to all people, you end up being nothing to most people.

    Which is what is happening now.

    You’d better get your ducks in a row pronto or we are going to be treated to 5 years of New Labour – enough time for them to finish the job of destroying the UK.

    What/who are you for?

    Your political message is incoherent. Most people think you are more concerned with gay marriage than you are with running the country.

    Reply: I do not usually get that criticism personally!

    Most people think you have no vision.

    • Sebastian Weetabix
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think you can fairly accuse Mr Redwood of being incoherent or being overly concerned with trivialities like gay ‘marriage’. If he were the BBC wouldn’t go out of their way to dredge up that film of him mumbling the Welsh national anthem at every opportunity in order to ridicule him.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted August 20, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        I was not accusing Mr. Redwood personally – my comments were aimed at the Conservative party in general.

  29. david
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Not one of your better posts John. The simple truth is that with regard to personal freedoms the current Conservative party largely carried on from where Nu-Labour left off. Indeed, things have got worse. Your party’s good intentions will make many peoples’ lives as miserable as possible. Be they be smokers, drinkers and/or those considered to eat unhealthy foods. Let’s face it, not only do most fall into at least one of those categories, but most are voters (not that it makes much difference whoever they elect). Besides, it seems that NGOs, fake charities and the EU dictate most health policies in the UK. So much for good strong governance. For goodness sake, your lot couldn’t even get a majority mandate -particularly pathetic in the light of what you inherited. Bottom line is, many traditional freedom loving Conservatives have been betrayed and have thus abandoned you. Unless things change many more will undoubtedly follow suit.

    Reply: I am setting out what some of us are seeking to do. As readers know, I think there ‘s a lot more change to policy needed, especially re the EU.

  30. forthurst
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    The Conservative party is all about appeasement; for modernisation, read ever more appeasement. It embraces multiculturalism and the continuing ‘need’ to suppress the English with thoughtcrime law whilst offering those of alien extraction undeserved and dangerous privileges; it’s cool about continuing significant third world immigration because, as we know, foreigners simply can’t wait to slough off their old loyalties, emnities, and quaint customs in their headlong dash to embrace ‘britishness’; it pretends it has no natural supporters who would wish to be represented by one of their own, rather than one more representative of those who never have and never will support it. In foreign policy it creeps and crawls to the crazed neocons whose alien intemperence they purport to embrace as their own. In European policy, it’s tough with talk and grovellingly compliant in its every action. In short the modern Conservative party is about neo-liberal internationalism and an unspoken contempt for ordinary English people and their reasonable desire to keep their country, their ancient laws and customs and their history.

  31. TrevorC
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Everyone seems to be ignoring the hidden power and influence of the Civil Service and the UK’s administrativce bureaucracies – National and Local – in keeping power and change out of the hands and control of those who want it and those who always, ultimately pay for it.

    The status quo – their status and their quo – is the only administrative and governing order that the Civil Service and Local Government recognise and they do anything and everything in their power and the ways in which they use power, position to keep it that way. Local businesses paying vast amounts in business rates are completely disenfranchised from local strategies and decisions.

    As a further example of the use of unaccountable and un-attributable central Civil Service power and influence look at the preposterous, scaremongering, widely-published Treasury assumption put out recently to the effect that if Greece exits the Euro it will cost this country £100bn of GDP.

    Completely without backing facts or rationale.

    There actually is no hope.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      Given that the UK’s GDP is £1.55 trillion ($2.43 trillion) a loss of £100bn would be a loss of 6.45% of GDP. While this is a large loss it’s not an impossible loss given how much of the UK’s trade is with the EU.

      • Jerry
        Posted August 20, 2012 at 8:22 am | Permalink

        uanime5, I think you mean how little trade is done with the EU, 40% is the headline figure [1] but some of this trade (as has been pointed out before on these blogs) is actually UK RotW exports that are being routed via Rotterdam and thus count (due to warped auditing) as exports to the EU, thus the true figure is even less than the headline.

        [1] even without the distortion caused by Rotterdam that is still less than the ROTW export figure, 40% is less than 60%!

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

      You can have any party as long as it’s red.

      • Jerry
        Posted August 20, 2012 at 8:24 am | Permalink

        That bodes well for Mitt Romney then 🙂

  32. Tad Davison
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    I liked the sentiments John, but some of us have got long memories. Some of my friends had the whip withdrawn because of their stance on our relationship with the EU. They were treated abominably by the parliamentary party, not least by that arch Europhile, John Major. A man who was not, and still is not, fit to be called ‘Conservative’. He and his ilk are nothing short of traitors. They sold Britain out in pursuit of some unworkable psuedo socialist federalist dream that the British people didn’t want and would never accept.

    On this business of the people keep electing pro-EU parties to office, we need to look at the turnout. It takes a while for a new party to make any inroads into an established party’s traditional territory, but UKIP are the only ones consistently saying the right things, and will get there eventually. But with an entirely different leadership, and a solidly anti-EU message, the Conservative party would, in my considered opinion, be absolutely unassailable. And if you and I ever get to have a natter to ourselves at Westmenster over a cup of coffee some time, I will let you know who else thinks so. The list reads like the latest version of ‘Who’s Who’!

    There is something seriously wrong with a party when so many prominent figures within it, won’t speak out against an obvious iniquity for the sake of party and coalition unity. I would absolutely LOVE to reveal to everyone, some of the thoughts that have been revealed to me in private about one David Cameron, together with his inept chancellor. We really can’t go on like this.

    The British people stopped being bought off with hollow platitudes long ago. It won’t wash anymore. We want it recognised and endorsed that the Eurosceptic position has been right all along, and then given policies to lever ourselves away from this prescriptive, federalist, madness once and for all. Given Cameron’s past record, and the absolutely appalling record of past Conservative governments who have cheated the people so much, can we really feel confident that either will deliver?

    Tad Davison


    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Occasionally, it is possible to get ones own back. You may recall that Norman Lamont, once he had returned to the back benches, asked a serious question about fiscal control with a single currency. It was on the occasion of a Labour No Confidence motion. He initially asked the Prime Minister, early in the debate. Major said that he would deal with the question later in his speech and never did (typical Major!). So Norman, being a persistent sort of chap, repeated the question to Douglas Hurd, mentioning that the Prime Minister had failed to answer it. Hurd make the mistake of giving a haughty and supercillious reply – and didn’t answer the question. That did it. Norman supported the Labour motion. The worm does occasionally turn. Major and Hurd richly deserved their fate.

  33. Ashley
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Surely the key question is why most traditional Conservatives feel more in common now with UKIP than the Conservative party?

    I am a life long Conservative voter just like my father and his father but under Cameron I feel a vote for the Conservatives is about as useful as a vote for the Lib Dems or Labour, since all three main parties compete for a so called middle ground that is basically left wing; taking the country towards economic and social bankruptcy.

    At the last election I voted Conservative because I was desperate to get rid of Brown but I need not have bothered with spending higher now than it was before the last election and no perceptible difference in the ever growing onslaught of EU meddling, health & safety and other nonsense.

    The only party that now represents sensible people who want a more dynamic and successful Britain is UKIP. In my view the only truly progressive party in British politics.

    • David John Wilson
      Posted August 18, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      The problem with UKIP is that they cannot distinguish in their manifestos between local, national and European elections. While their prominence of get of Europe can be understood for national elections they seem incapable of sensibly interpreting this view for local and European elections. I cannot understand how anyone can vote for their lack of valid policies particularly for the latter.

      • alan jutson
        Posted August 19, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink


        They also lack people who could speak sensibly on a whole range of orther matters.

        Who are their spokesmen and who would represent:
        The Economy
        Welfare and Benefits
        Law and Order
        Foreign Affairs

        Mr Farage cannot do it all.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      People have to address the practical question of how to get the 31% Consevative support and the 9% UKIP support to vote for a single Eurosceptic party capable of forming a government, at the 2015 election. That can only be the Conservative Party, putting forward a European policy that has some appeal to UKIP. Initial ideas for that policy should come from the grass roots and I am working on that right now.

      After the 2013 Finance Act is safely delivered, and the survival of the coalition is no longer important, then the heavyweights within the Conservative Parliamentary Party will need to show their hand.

  34. Bert Young
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Dr. JR , Getting others around you paid off in the past ; I hope it will work for you in the future and you will endeavour equally hard with your mission – it smacks the right cord with me . Our local Conservative MP has just produced a letter in support of “gay” marriage ; the rumour is he is in the frame for some junior ministerial role and wants to show his support for DC . I think his fate was sealed before this step , however , he has now committed political suicide with the electorate . My next-door neighbour has already made his feelings known about this to a Conservative fund raiser who approached him yesterday ; he blew his top – told her where to get off and , vowed to vote UKIP next time ! .

  35. uanime5
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    I can’t agree with the statement that the Conservatives don’t want to make like more unpleasant for people given that they chose to closed down Remploy, which provided jobs for the disabled; introduced medical examination for disability benefits, which declared tens of thousands of disabled people fit for work so they could be paid a lower level of benefits; and voted to treble tuition fees.

    Regarding volunteering it’s only volunteering when the person freely chooses to volunteer and can freely leave without any penalty; so the Mandatory Work Activity, where people are forced to work for private companies for free, can’t be considered volunteering.

    • Bazman
      Posted August 19, 2012 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      Same old same old. Many in the party believe that if conditions are made desperate enough then work will be somehow created. This rule does not apply to them as they are on middle class social security.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted August 19, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Can we never persuade you to show even the tiniest bit of fiscal responsibility? The annual deficit bequeathed by Labour was £160 billion in 2010 prices, roughly £171 billion in today’s prices.

      What are the cuts that YOU would have imposed? If instead it would have been tax increases, say WHICH tax increases. I’m not going to allow you (or Bazman) to ride on the back of the Coalition “cuts”, because you’ve opposed the b____y lot.

      • Bazman
        Posted August 20, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

        What they need to do is collect the taxes they are supposed to collect and stop letting many individuals escape their tax bills. They do not have to like paying, just pay. Lets see how many actually leave. I notice London property is not in freefall at the moment. You seem to be under the impression that the rich are able to ride over democracy by threatening to leave. Bluffs need to be called. The banking system is trying to put the blame on anything and anyone as well as expecting the working poor to face the austerity. No austerity for them.

    • Jerry
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      Didn’t Labour also close parts of Remploy? I think that one might have to look behind the headlines on this, there is obviously something more to all this that is first apparent. What can’t happen is that these (ex) Remploy works be expected to compete on the open jobs market but there isn’t anything to stop the private sector from supplying a similar role to Remploy – indeed a company I used to work for used such a private company as a supplier of per-picked and packed components for their own product range.

      As for the disabled, yes the bar was lowered to far, but the fact is there has been far to many people put on DLA when they are still capable of some sort of work – of course there needs to be the jobs there in the first place. So whilst supporting the crack down on DLA in general I do think that there other saving that could have been made first elsewhere in government spending until we start getting the investment and new start-ups in the private sector.

      In general, I think that the UK population is going to have to wake up to the fact that the party is over (as other nations are already having to), living standards will be at best stagnant and will most probably slip back. As Lindsay says, there needs to be cuts and there will be cuts, don’t assume that any government can carry on with a tax-and-spend regime as this will just cause money to go off-shore were taxes are lower (no I’m not talking about avoidance or evasion) and what money remains will not be used to fund new those investments/start-ups.

  36. Iain Gill
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    It’s not just what’s in the sales brochure (manifesto) it’s what gets delivered if you place an order (what really gets delivered in practise if you get into power). The electorate are disengaged and cheesed off with all politicians and parties, and the London centric media and political bubble is very out of line with what most decent hardworking folk expect to see. The cynical presentation needs to give way to some straight talking.
    It’s not just about evolving policy I think it also needs to be about getting more experience of the real world into politics.
    I think the Conservatives can win majorities amongst the voters on the big no hope sink estates but it involves offering those folk genuine empathy and hope, and fighting just as hard for their rights as you do for gay rights or rich members of the ethnic minorities. First and foremost the right of the young generation to a first rate education so they can break the cycle and break out and turn the next generation into net contributors instead of overheads on the productive economy.
    I think the Conservatives could have a majority of MP’s in the North East of England, but some obvious stuff needs doing to achieve that starting with some visible Conservative spokesfolk on the media actually having the accent and background of the majority of the population.
    I would shake up candidate selection big time, but in a way that would scare the living daylights out of Cameron and friends.
    Needs to be an inclusive party.

  37. David
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    Indeed, it is as clear as night turning to day that there will never be a Conservative majority government under Cameron’s ‘leadership.’

    We who post here all know it, so one would think that most Tory MP’s do too. Which beggars the question, why do they seem so content to see this eventual outcome? Granted, it is probably too late to reverse, so perhaps they have decided to simply bunker down.

    Cameron’s experiment has failed miserably – try to draw in the Guardianista types, (who would never vote Tory anyway) whilst taking for granted the core vote – ‘because they’ll always vote Conservative.’

    How breathtakingly stupid.

  38. A. Headhunter
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    I could not agree more. We need to evacuate from EU political control and moderate its economic restrictions. EC was OK but EU is not acceptable to Brits. If Cameron had been more robust in defending and espousing traditional Conservative principles we would not be suffering from coalition government now, with little Cleggie having hissie fits all over the place. We would be looking at a stonking Conservative majority. I am fed up with being ignored by lily-livered political scientists like Cameron who regard Bliar as the yardstick of success. I have just returned my membership renewal invitation to my local Conservative Association (now re-named “Campaign Headquarters”) with the words “NO GAY MARRIAGE” inserted where my address should be on the direct debit. No money, no cheque, no standing order, no cheque, just a message. Deaf until now I hope they hear me. I allowed my membership to lapse. I did not vote for Boris for this reason only, although I support Boris and did not vote for anyone else. If the Gay Marriage and EU issues are not addressed and corrected before the next General Election I shall either abstain and emigrate (I have that option) or stay and vote UKIP. I am not alone. Cameron needs to listen or resign. Do I make myself heard?

    • Christopher Ekstrom
      Posted August 19, 2012 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      Hopefully the USA will lead the way on fighting homosexual “marriage”.

  39. Ben Kelly
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately modernising relates to even more briefing and being ahead of the news cycle to get your message out.

    I am fed up with hearing “Mr Cameron will today say” I want to hear the speech and its content rather than having it explained to me by political correspondents.

    Without the media filter it is quite likely that Cameron Clegg Miliband and the others in their ivory tower might actually deliver a speech with more content and fewer soundbites.

    They really shouldn’t worry about the news cycle they should worry about how I am others in the country are coping with our day to day misery inflicted by the largess of government on our behalf.

    Reduce how much you take from us (take it from corporations if you must), reduce how much you give to others and decide what we really need to provide. That can’t be too difficult can it?

  40. Vanessa
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    I am amazed you mention our “freedoms”. They do not exist any longer. And as the Conservatives took us into the EU it is in their DNA – they will NEVER take us out. How could they ever admit they were wrong to make such a massive mistake?
    Britain has not benefitted from EU membership. The crime list is now as long as an elephant’s trunk and most of the laws we are supposed to abide by we do not even know exist so it is easy for us to “break” them according to the EU.
    We are fast living in a Police State and the Conservatives have done nothing to claw back any legislation, laws, directives or anything else the EU dictates. Even our local goverment is now run by the EU and the Regional Assemblies are run by people who are appointed, not elected, and they will soon be the equivalent of our local government. The tories are a sham (albeit with one or two decent people in it) but nevertheless a sham party who pretend to uphold decency and honesty – oh, and freedoms!!

    • Martyn
      Posted August 19, 2012 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      Vanessa – the Regional Assemblies have been removed, but what many do not realise that those employed on the assemblies are still in business in a different guuise. Also, many do not realise that County and District Councils – our local government – are now run by hundreds of ‘officers’ and so much of the elected councillor’s authority has either been taken over by these ‘officers’ or delegated to them by the councillors themselves.

      For a good example of how this has undermined local democracy, dig into what is and has been going on at St Marys’ island in the Scillies…..

    • sm
      Posted August 19, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      Yep..Freedom… had to choke more than a little on that one.

  41. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    “With some others I began to seek change and modernisation. We fought and won the battle to keep the UK out of the Euro. Maastricht was the first EU Treaty the UK signed where we managed to keep out of the main point of it. ”

    Few other Politicians showed such wisdom. I must admit that – at the time; I was brain washed into thinking that being locked into Europe was a good thing. I’ve changed my opinion on that now. You did the right thing then, with many people not realising why you did it. Many people now agree with what you did, but it took a couple of decades for them to catch up with you.

    Well done.

  42. merlin
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    As a strong advocate of retaining the uk as an independent self governing nation what are my options as a voting memeber of the British public?

    1 Labour-totally pro europe

    2 Liberal Democrat-totally pro europe

    3 Conservative-split 3 ways- a) federal europe
    b) renegotiation of powers back from europe
    c) leave europe

    What is crystal clear is there is not one single party in the UK parliament that is completley in favour of leaving the EU. Conclusion if you vote for any political party in the present UK parliament the probabilty is that the UK will remain in the EU. Therefore if you wish to withdraw from Europe completly UKIP is the only hope for the future. UKIP has no parliamentary seats and no power so logically there is no point in voting for them either.
    The final conclusion is that if you would like to get out of europe under the present parliamentary system it will never happen.
    On point b) renegotiation of powers back from the EU is unlikely to ever happen.

    • APL
      Posted August 19, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      Merlin: “3 Conservative-split 3 ways- a) federal europe
      b) renegotiation of powers back from europe
      c) leave europe”

      That is very generous of you. Our ‘Eurosceptic host’ doesn’t want to ‘leave Europe’* is there anyone else to the right of John Redwood in the Tory party (who hasn’t already been purged)?

      *The European Union, I expect you mean.

      Reply: I opposed entry and voted against it. I am trying to get us out of the EU’s current political embrace. Why keep fibbing?

      • APL
        Posted August 20, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        JR: “Why keep fibbing? ”

        But I am not ‘fibbing’, Mr Redwood. You have gone down on record as saying:

        1. You want a new relationship with the EU, you appear to have excluded independence of the EU from that ‘new’ relationship. I conclude so because you are negotiating with them to obtain the new relationship, if it was independence you were after, you would just take it.

        Everything we need after the seperation, is provided for under the WTO, EFTA, NATO etc.

        2. You talk about negotiations first, knowing as you do the EU can stall for as long as they like. Our negotiations will be stalled, Ken Clarke and his poisonous cohorts in the Tory party will be busy destabilizing the Tory leadership that has such a policy.

        3. We know that the treaties have been abrogated, powers assumed that are not provided for under the treaties, in short the treaties are not worth the paper used to scribble the preamble. The EU habitually acts outside its permitted powers, yet you still want to be part of an organization that willfully acts unlawfully.

        4. You have implied that common law is not the fundamental law of the United Kingdom.

        Reply: More fibs. I want people to have the option of voting to leave the EU. I have never condemned common law but have pointed out that past Parliaments have given a strong position to other types of law including Treaty law. I voted to leave the EEC when we were given the chance to do so. Did you?

        • APL
          Posted August 20, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

          JR: “I voted to leave the EEC when we were given the chance to do so.”

          Interesting question, to which the answer is no. Meaning I have never had the opportunity to vote on our relationship with the EEC.

          JR: “I have never condemned common law but have pointed out that past Parliaments have given a strong position to other types of law including Treaty law.”

          Treaty law is law BETWEEN States, that is why our relationship with the EU is through the Westminster prism translating international agreements (largely agreed by the civil service, and rubberstamped by MPs*) into British domestic law.

          If an MPs is on record as admitting he has not read the treaties before voting, isn’t that misfeasance in public office?

          Treaty law and domestic law are distinct.

          By the way, I have not accused you of ‘condeming common law, your words not mine, I did say you have implied that common law, including Magna Carta is no longer supreme law in the UK.

          As far as the legalities of the UK translating EU directives into domestic law, it all hinges on the ’73 act.

          *Another reason why it is the Commons not the Lords that need reform.

          Reply: Another reason why we need a new relationship with the EU so we have control over our own laws back in the UK

  43. Bazman
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    yESS YOUU!!> lol!!!

  44. Geraint
    Posted August 19, 2012 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    There is another ground swell on which you, alongside a few others, should be capitalising. I believe that there is widespread disdain for many senior politicians, across all parties, because they appear to be – and in many cases certainly are – fools.

    Company shareholders generally couldn’t care less about the personalities or personal views of directors. They do like to see that the directors are educated, intelligent and demonstrably capable of making competent decisions. Most people have political views, but more than anything they wish to trust that those in Government are capable of sound judgement.

    People will lend their ears to those who clearly have authority to speak (such as those who have ever been admitted to a duck-related institution), and once debate is heard, it is clear to all who should be in charge.

  45. Max Dunbar
    Posted August 19, 2012 at 1:50 am | Permalink

    Nobody here appears to be interested in having “Modern Conservatives”. They equate that with Cameron. The daily Cameron hate-o-meter has been pushed towards the red zone on this posting.

    • Conrad Jones (Cheam)
      Posted August 19, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

      Members of my own family have met David Cameron and said that “he is a very nice chap”. It is possible to like somebody and not agree with their views and – especially; their policy decisions, believing that the policies that they are pushing are not right for the British Public.

  46. Christopher Ekstrom
    Posted August 19, 2012 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    I read this post & perceive despair as its inspiration. The old Tory party hardly needed “Mods” to end it. Those people were passing away. The legacy of Thatcherism was rejected. Game over. What exactly are you going on about? Cast Iron was the final nail. The future is UKIP.

  47. Sam
    Posted August 19, 2012 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    “It was the ERM, Euro ideology, which caused the high interest rates and the damage of the early 1990s recession. Once we cut free we ushered in a long period of expansion.” I have always been highly receptive to Redwood’s thinking and ideas and, not surprisingly, enjoy his blog. The first sentence, however, is quite wrong. Why? Let’s not re-write history!
    Thatcher presided over ERM entry in October 1990 for one reason alone, namely to reduce, first of all, the stubbornly high level of short term nominal interest rates. That fall indeed took place on entry as the UK benefitted from the Bundesbank’s credibility in holding the ERM mechanism together. Had we not entered ERM, it is hard to see how, short of deepening the recession, our short interest rates would have dropped.
    All that said, once we (correctly) abandoned the ERM in Sept 1992 when we were asked to raise rates — for “Europe”! – UK rates understandably collapsed as we shed the fixed exchange rate stranglehold of Oct 1990 – Sept 1992. Thanks to that devaluation from late 1992 to the mid-1990’s, and much much lower interest rates on escape from the ERM , the UK recovered nicely.
    Could the UK have done, in 1990,what it did from late 1992 onwards, thereby avoiding entry into the ERM in the first place? One for yet another doctoral thesis — I know my answer!
    Moral: stop re-writing history in saying that the ERM caused high interest rates in the UK. Short rates (and hence mortgage rates) fell between 1990 – 92 and, yes, fell even further thereafter as we opted to devalue big time in the face of major unemployment and significant unused capacity.
    One major concern now is why the UK has not benefitted more from the devaluation of sterling post 2008 until recently. For the record, our export performance matches that of Spain which has not had anything like the same currency depreciation.

    Reply Shadowing the DM and entering the ERM caused the high inflation in the first place! The ERM gave us boom and bust, just as Brown economics and bad bank regulation gave us boom and bust twenty years later. I wrote extensively on this at the time warning the then government not to shadow the DM and not to enter the ERM. At least we few who took this line won the big argument over a similar problem with Euro entry. The ERM after all was a dry run for the Euro.

    • Sam
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      Not quite, John.

      The 1988 Budget / fiscal stance was the prime cause of, sufficient in itself for the boom and bust that characterised the late 1980’s. Sure, Lawson’s desire to shadow the DM made little sense then and his current defence of that policy, that it was always meant to be “temporary”, is risible. To be fair, he lost his job as Chancellor in late 1989 and the DM shadowing went too (more or less).

      Hence, the high inflation (RPI) was a result of the misguided policy stance of the government at an advanced stage of the economic cycle, aided and abetted for a year or so, by the DM shadowing. Moreover, the inflation rate remained stubbornly high as inflation expectations refused, understandably, to soften.

      Hence, Thatcher’s dilemma in the autumn of 1990: an economy in recession with few signs of recovery plus an inflation rate that was unacceptable. Letting the currency go (down!) at that stage would have refuelled inflation expectations and raised interest (and hence, mortgage) rates even higher.

      So, what can we do, she asked, to get interest rates down? Join the ERM, at least get short rates and mortgage rates down, and hope for some sort of recovery before too long. The first bit happened, no question. The rest, excuse the cliche, is history.

      Am on your side, John, truly. As a bad historian, the ERM departure in 1992 helps understand why, when asked to do something for “Europe” we understandably refused — except for a couple of hours on that fateful day. Hence, we have actually ended up with some strong evidence — if such were needed?! — to show why even thinking of joining the euro is an imbecilic step for Britain.

      Reply: The shadowing caused the inflationary bubble – the govt were forced to intervene in markets to buy up foreign currency and sell newly printed pounds to try to keep the exchange rate down, which fuelled the credit bubble. Then the process reversed once in the ERM, with the government having to buy up pounds and destroy them in a futile attempt to keep t e exchange rate up to its newly bloated level, causing the crash. Madness.

  48. David Langley
    Posted August 19, 2012 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Well it may be too late to modernise because when you selected your MP,s especially the new lot , you sowed the seeds of failure at the next election. I think it would be better to look for MPs of the right calibre before the election and groom them into the life at parliament. If they are the type of person that fits the bill and then they say “no way” you would have to take notice of their reasons. The way you select your current candidates is ridiculous they read and learn what you want now. Then they spout it and spin it into a selection winning spiel. These are the people who are hungry for fame and to hell with the electorate when they get in. These are the candidates who will not modernise but follow the ancient party line, and “be on message”. They will do the constituency thing etc, but a lot of them are parachuted in, what use are they to us their new and strange constituency in many cases.
    Those candidates who are likely to be winners for you will be kicked out of the selection process at the early stages. Raw talent is often abused and shunned for the safe pair of hands.
    So John what do you know about selection does any of the above ring true?

  49. peter davies
    Posted August 19, 2012 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    I agree with your conservative aspirations, pretty much aligned with most sensible people however given the fact that Europe is rightly seen as a huge threat to democracy and our way of life which unfortunately many cant see coming lets not forget it was conservative governments who led us down this path in the 1st place from Heath taking us in without a mandate to Thatcher signing the Single European Act (which she later regretted) to Major signing the Maastricht treaty leaving the door open for labour to come along and put in the bits that major left out.

    If the tories want to restore some credibility on this issue then lets put all the facts from both sides to the people and let the UK as a whole decide because its clear we won’t get this from the leading 3 parties who whip their MPs into line with the threat of their careers within their parties.

    Im sure there are also many on the more sensible wings of LD and LAB who see the EU gravy train sucking the life out of everyone by creating a top down straight one size fits all jacket.

  50. Spartacus
    Posted August 19, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Your vision of a thriving private sector producing opportunities and jobs simply does not chime with Conservative policy.

    Take my circumstances – a private sector worker- Save to buy a property and provide for yourself,you find its all printed away and given to the rich and corrupt.

    This Government is all out to exterminate the prudent and savers, and, by simple extension the private sector worker who has little choice but to save for a home.

    Or as xMPC member David Blanchflower says Savers will simply have to take the pain and think about other people like the poor BTLers and Landlords.

    From 2007, Savers have lost 16% just through inflation. Many of these savers are private sector workers – just the people the Tories should be targetting, unable to get a mortgage on as good terms as a government worker, no choice but to save for a property, which is being grabbed by the corrupt BOE and given to support Landlords and BTLers while they get NO SUPPORT.

    So, under the Tories there is ;
    – No such thing as saving for your own independence from welfare,
    – Stopping mass immigration,
    – No say on whether we are ruled by a undemocratic EU elite.

    Unlike Labour’s captive base of voters – welfare, public sector, etc.. The Tories do not really have a captive voter base and have to represent the private sector worker – 80% of the working population (ONS:2008 figures).

    Yet, thanks to the Tories successful war on destroying modest savings, most private sector workers are now far better off voting for a larger welfare state, to help offset the losses on the £50k or so they may have saved for themselves,their own lack of pension etc… – and for taxing the rich till they BLEED.

  51. Barbara Stevens
    Posted August 19, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Well Mr Redwood you make, again, some good points about the Conservative party, but not enough to swing the votes your way. We have been betrayed by Cameron many times with broken promises.
    Has for a party who cares for the unfortunates, well that’s where we differ greatly. Its how this help is given that I’m angry about. My son and daughter in law have worked since they left school, my son since the age of 14 with part time jobs. He’s never been unemployed and works long hours, he was told at an early age if you want things in this life you have to work for it. Now unemployment as hit them; no pay for three weeks, and so sign of ever getting it. Is this the reward for working and paying ones dues and taxes. There are no children to worry about, so their needs will be classed as zero. Yet, my neighbour with three childen, never worked, as his rent paid some £550 per month, council tax, and his living all for free. Please tell me Mr Redwood where is the justice for my son and daughter in law in this country. Where foreign shores get more help than citizens here. There is no justice, and no wonder many are turning to UKIP to get that justice. I’m just sick to death of it all, while many have never worked and live of others, those that have are ignored.

  52. Jon
    Posted August 19, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    The problem for the Conservative Party is not what its about or believes in, that is all responsible thinking, logic and sound, its PR.

    The Conservatives fight with Queensberry rules against a foe that lies, cheats with many a low blow as it lacks the intellect to form proper coherent strategies and governance. Its a Bruno against a Tyson but where the Tyson camp have won the PR battle that low blows and head butts are good.

    Those attacks need to be countered properly.

    One example. By the 1980s in the mainstream media it had become unacceptable to broadcast bigotry so for example if someone came from a council house it was no longer permitted to be ridiculed. However, even this weekend it has been fine for the BBC to have bigoted views aired of those born to parents with a bit of money.
    This is never challenged and so the low blows continue. Until the Conservatives address this and others head on and with more force they will lack the defence against it.

  53. Robert Taggart
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Cannot disagree with you Johnny, but…

    Some of us – Scroungers – are also quite happy to do less and settle for less !
    Let those who want to strive for more strive, but, accept that some of us are by nature indolent – and quite content with our ‘lot in life’ !!

    The Tories / Conservatives have their third new logo in our memory – the oak tree – how about a third new name ?!

  • 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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