Lancaster Conservative Future Website
You know there are Tories who are more left wing than me!!! :
Its an article written in February 2009 by Philip Blond arguing for a radical One Nation Conservatism, he calls his creation ‘Red Toryism’. Its an attempt to remove neo liberal economics and consumerism from Conservatism and repair the damage its done to our society. It draws on pre 1970 party traditions. Since the release of the article he has set up the think tank Res Publica (which ran several events at the Conference this year) and has released a book called ‘Red Tory’.
Its easy to reject Res Publica as a left wing organisation but its not. It suggests policies that go against much of what the left stands for – the big state, forced wealth redistribution and damage to the family as a unit. It however does take the left wing togetherness, community and care those around you and merge these values with Tory values of pragmatism, fiscal conservatism (no tax and spend left-handedness) and an acceptance of the limitations of government. Its an impressive blend of values which after a year has already had an effect on Tory policy (e.g. the big society, communities having the right to buy community assets and the reforms and mutualisation of the post office network).
In favour of the deep hatred that Bryn has towards the snow I though I would start a quick thread to gauge opinion on snow. Is it just simply a British disease to anticipate the arrival of snow each year, and then moan as soon as it snows?
What’s your view?
Ever since I first expressed an interest in politics, I have been constantly slapped in the face with Thatcher-bashing. No, “bashing” is too kind a word. Thatcher HATRED. And I, for one, have had enough. Wes reminded me that it’s been 20 years since she resigned and I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone of reasons why I cite her as one of the best Prime Ministers this country has ever had.
First and foremost, she lowered the income taxes. The higher earners paid 98p to the pound in 1979 and Mrs Thatcher brought that down to 40p in 1988. Once all the lefty students wake up and realise the buzz around the clean cut Nick Clegg was all just hot air and start earning their own money, they will notice that paying taxes is not actually all it’s cracked up to be. They’ll long for it to be 1988 again when the government wasn’t squandering their hard earned cash on benefits for the work shy and the rest. As if that wasn’t enough, she sold off state-run firms, making them competitive and cutting taxpayers’ costs, not to mention the rise in privatisation which created new shareholders with a stake in the country’s wealth.
In addition, she put Britain back on the map. After the failing Labour government, she made Britain competitive in world markets for the first time since the 1930s. During her time in power, gross domestic product rose by 23.3 per cent and within three years of her first term, inflation was at 8.6 per cent: down from highs of 18 per cent. Maggie saved this country: just think if she hadn’t opposed Nigel Lawson’s plans to adopt the single currency, we would have ended up like Greece, or worse.
Most of the people complaining about her would probably not be living in their houses if it was not for her. With her right-to-buy law, over 1.5 million tenants were able to buy their council houses after her legislation in 1980. Labour changed the rules when they came to power.
Many are reluctant to admit the fact that she was popular. She is wrongly billed as dividing the country and topped a poll as the greatest post-war Prime Minister with 34 per cent of the vote. She is also the only 20th century Prime Minister to win three elections, and they were landslide victories as well – the 1983 election being the most definitive victory since the Second World War. The thing with Mrs T is that she had an uncanny ability to connect with people of all different classes. This is a rare gift: Blair had a seed of it but later Tory leaders like Michael Howard and I would even argue David Cameron do not share this ability.
And the legacy of Thatcherism still lives on today. She had a massive influence on the Third Way and Blair’s New Labour which embraced capitalism in all its glory. We may never see a Prime Minister like Thatcher again, so please don’t forget the fact that she saved this country from financial ruin.
I argue this not because they promised it in their manifesto; a manifesto pledge for the Liberal Democrats is little more than a negotiating position for coalitions. The real reason why they have betrayed students is all but one of the current Liberal Democrat MPs signed individual PERSONAL pledges not to vote for an increase in tuition fees. The 4 Conservative MPs who did the same are also betraying students in they vote for it.
Signing such a direct personal promise was an attempt to increase their support in university towns. They cannot use the excuse of the deficit – it was the main issue in the general election and they signed their pledge knowing that the country faced a £155bn deficit.
The one Liberal Democrat MP who did not sign a personal pledge against tuition fees has every right to vote for an increase as their manifesto is now void because of the coalition, the rest are betraying their voters because of their personal pledges which they promised to stick to regardless of the outcome of the election.
Breaking this sort of pledge and then using convenient political excuses is precisely the reason why most people do not trust politicians.
I keep hearing that the Lib Dems and/or the Conservatives “betrayed” some particular section of society or other.
The Lib Dems didn’t win the election. Therefore how are they expected to implement a single one of their manifesto pledges? If they can manage to soften what they consider to be the harshness of Conservative policy, that’s pretty amazing for a party that lost seats and didn’t better previous results percentage-wise. You might as well blame Labour for not being true to their manifesto.
In a coalition situation, manifestos have to be compromised and the Lib Dems and their supporters should be very very happy with what they have achieved so far.
The National Union of Students now wishes to “decapitate” prominent Lib Dems for breaking the pledge about student fees. They didn’t do that with Labour MPs who INTRODUCED fees, despite specifically pledging not to. Blatantly partisan nonsense.
One of my pet hates is that most left wing peoples solution to every financial problem seems to be to tax the rich.
Its grossly hypocritical. Generally if you ask someone to define who ‘the rich’ are its usually anyone with significantly more wealth than themselves. In my view the truth of the matter is that the majority of the country is rich, if you own a house of any kind, have a job that allows you to pay the bills, buy food etc etc and have a bit left over for luxuries then you are richer than over 95% of people in the world and have a standard of living they can only dream of.
Yet many in the UK support punitively heavy taxation on ‘the rich’ (in reality ‘the richer’). In order to pay for public services. Firstly this is bad economics because if taxation is prohibitively high then ‘the rich’ either leave the country or stop trying as hard to make money – e.g. if you are only keeping 18% of anything extra you earn then why bother? Secondly if you are comfortable then why assume others should pick up the tab? Resorting back to “they have more than me” kinda misses the point – if you support the capitalist free market system then you shouldn’t complain about others having more than you, if you don’t support it (e.g. if you are a socialist) then whats wrong with you paying lots of tax for good public services?
As a Christian (and a moderate one) I often get asked why I support the Conservatives when Jesus told people to give money to the poor. The simple answer is this, he asked people to give THEIR money to the poor – not other peoples. I think I should be generous and charitable and set a good example and hope people do the same. I don’t think Jesus calls Christians to jealously hound the rich but to set an example for them and hope they follow. In the end if your happy to be richer than 97% of the worlds population you can’t really complain when 3% of the population are richer than you. Socialism has moral integrity, support for capitalism combined with jealous attacks on those with more with you doesn’t. I am not saying the rich shouldn’t pay their share but that is 40% to 50% income tax not 70% or 80%.
In the 1960’s, John Cowperthwaite was sent over to a tiny fishing port, one of the last bastions of the Great British Empire, an Empire that was dying, he was ordered to do effectively nothing, and yet improve the life of the people there. They enjoyed vastly worse life styles than those of the Imperial counterparts. And yet a mere 50 years on, there lifestyles have vastly overtaken ours.
Where is this? Hong Kong. And what facilitated this? Well it was Cowperthwaite. For what he did was simple. He did nothing. Or more importantly, he made the state do nothing. Now 95% of the people of Hong Kong pay no taxes at al, no VAT, no income tax. Only the very richest pay tax in what can be argued is the most progressive tax system and incentive laden system on the world.
And in this lies proof, the only true way to create long term prosperity is to remove the state. Not entirely, but mostly. And though you may cry that this is only the case in the far flung east, well we can see a case closer to home. In fact even closer than you may think. The North of England. Since the introduction of spending on a massive scale by government into the North, by Labour, we would have expected the life styles and standards of living to have jumped massively for these people, if government did it. However, we have seen the opposite, a total reliance on state welfare, on state jobs. The once prosperous private enterprises of the North have been squeezed out as government expenditure has taken over.
We need to go back to the times of small government, we need to allow our economy to grow. We have to return to the ideas of a man sent to a small fishing port on the other side of the world in order to transform, like he did there, the fortunes of the British people.
A trend over the past thirty years or so which the coalition arguably highlights further is that the Conservative Party is becoming increasingly Liberal (with a large L) and I see this as a negative thing.
Thatcherism is in my view Liberalism, a near absolute belief in the power of the market to solve nearly every problem, it is not in my view Conservative. The liberal devotion to the free market has damaged many other Conservative values such as having strong local communities or helping everyone in society based on the idea of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tory_Democracy. Ultimately there is much more to Conservatism than a belief in the free market, its a good thing but other Conservative values should be placed before it on occasions.
I welcome a tolerant society but I do not agree with is a morally relative society were government or people cannot argue that something or situation is right or wrong. I believe we are approaching this situation. A good example is the governments half baked attempts to introduce a marriage tax allowance. It would reduce tax by £150 for some married couples and will cost £500m. Its not a significant amount of money its mainly a symbolic attempt by the government to say it supports marriage. Its only being introduced because David Cameron promised to introduce it to win support from the Cornerstone group of MPs in the 2005 Conservative Leadership Election and to keep them loyal to the coalition.
The reality is that most Conservatives are really Liberals who hate the thought of the government telling people that marriage (or civil partnerships) is the best type of relationship, as 1) they have no right to say something is good or bad and 2) it could offend single mothers and cohabiting couples. While I believe it is wrong to judge individual examples it makes sense that young people and particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds have an ideal to pursue even if life doesn’t end up that way.
In summary I argue that most current Conservatives are both economically and socially Liberal (not just tolerant). I often think that David Laws is closer to the majority of Conservatives than traditional Conservatives are. Parts of the modern Conservative Party have more in common with the late 19th Century Liberal Party than it does of Disrealis’ One Nation Conservative Party. I believe it is wrong to describe such views as old fashioned and I believe they should be the basis of a modern, tolerant (but not liberal) Conservative Party.
After the first election defeat in a generation, back then William Hague offered a fresh start for the party, to keep our core message which had won us multiple elections, but which seemed stale and old for the ‘new age’ of politics embodied by Blair.
I personally think that much of the failure of William Hague’s leadership was summed up, but not entirely to fault, was presentation. However, I want to focus on the positive message of conservatism he brought into that election. Here is a video that demonstrates that. Enjoy.
I would probably stand largely alone on politics by saying the following. The cuts are too shallow. Far too shallow. Government expenditure should be slashed by 50%.
We don’t hear this in the media, and we can’t even blame them as our party refuses to change the terms of the fight. We still argue for cuts on the basis that public sector spending promotes economic growth. But we can easily refute this by simply saying that the Government has no money of it’s own, only our money. Therefore the Government believe they can spend your money more wisely than you can. Though this may be true in the case of certain services like the NHS, this is certainly not true economically.
The idea that Government spending promotes economic growth can be rejected in a simple example. If the Government takes your money away from you, but then gives it back to you for providing a good or service, the Government believes that it is promoting economic growth. This is far the case however as you are simply getting your money back from them but have to take time to provide the good or service which may also cost you in buying the raw materials.
Instead, in the private sector, if your then bought a good worth the original money, not only are you just aswell off, as have a good you value to be worth what you spent, but also the producer of that good has made money. They then spend it and so on. This is how we create economic growth, this this is how we create jobs, through the private sector.
(There is a great show on channel 4 called Britains Trillion pound Story, which looks at this. Well worth a watch. )
To take one final example, in Lancaster, public sector spending accounts for around 47% of spending here. If Government spending worked then this place should be booming. But take away the students, and it is dead. Allow local business to spend the money on investment and growth will follow. In Northern Ireland, public sectors spending now accounts for 80% of spending. More than in some Eastern European countries during communism. Let businesses spend. Centrally planned economies didn’t work then and they don’t work now.
So I ask you to join me in standing up for the private sector. I ask you to join me to stand up for jobs and growth. I ask you to join me in calling for bigger public spending cuts.