Monday, March 23, 2009

Conservative Party will ‘move heaven and earth to show that we are not the party of the rich’

So said a ‘Tory strategist’ following a BBC interview with Shadow Business Secretary Ken Clarke.

And while they are busy moving heaven and earth, all hell breaks loose with talk about Mr Clarke being off message; having usurped George Osborne by telling him what he cannot do, being at odds with David Cameron on inheritance tax, contradicting Boris Johnson on the 45p band, and betraying the Conservative cause by proposing to penalise the wealth creators during in a time of unprecedented economic turmoil.

The strategy, according to the ‘Tory strategist’, is to take an ‘anti-rich’ position in order to ‘buy room for acceptance of public spending cuts’, because ‘only when the party has decontaminated itself as the party of the rich will we have the authority to attack the size of the state’.

This is a curious way of conducting strategy, and this strategist ought to be sacked.

It is one thing to pretend to be ‘anti-rich’ in order to ‘buy’ the confidence of the public; it is quite another to place such a carefully-laid strategy in the public domain and give the impression that the public are being deceived by a superficial ‘decontamination’ process: it is all about image. The ‘Tory strategist’ is plainly saying that Tory strategy is to ‘attack the size of the state’. But the hint of deception, the whiff of hypocrisy and the admission of style over substance are unacceptable.

Howard Flight was sacked for far less.

Yet the strategist is right in the aspiration: it is the logical pursuit after the Thatcher reforms, and one which all Conservatives should embrace. During her first term, Mrs Thatcher focused on monetarism as the antidote to orthodox Keynesian economics, to which the ‘wets’ were wed. Only by targeting inflation could a sound economy be built. Her second term was focused on privatising state assets, democratising shareholding, and encouraging home ownership by permitting council tenants to buy their houses. In an epic struggle with the unions, she also re-established the principle that HM Government runs Britain. Only in her third term did her agenda extend to social policy, by reforming education funding by giving schools the ability to opt out of local authority control, and also by introducing some free-market thinking into the monolithic NHS.

Yet these reforms were nowhere near as radical as those she achieved in the realms of economics, industrial relations, private property and personal wealth. She rejected education vouchers, avoided much-needed reforms to the NHS, shackled local government with central targets, and eschewed the expansion of means testing to pay for welfare benefits.

David Cameron shows every sign of radical thinking in precisely those areas where Mrs Thatcher was timid. His premiership will be the ideological continuation of where she left off.

There is little doubt that David Cameron is proposing a revolution in social policy. Under him, the quango state will be decimated: it will cease to monopolise provision in education, welfare and health; local councils will be headed by elected mayors under the principles of subsidiarity; and it is intended to introduce a degree of democratic accountability in policing.

In an article for The Spectator last week, Mr Cameron talks of a ‘massive transfer of power from central government and its agencies to individuals and local communities’ and decries ‘the arrogant belief that the political élite...really do know best’. He believes policy should be informed ‘by our instinctive Conservative optimism about people’, and says he has ‘faith that most people are good and will do the right thing if only you trust them’. Those on the political Left, however, are ‘essentially pessimists, believing that people will do the wrong thing unless told what to do...’

Cranmer must write to this ‘Tory strategist’ to discover if this is an ‘anti-autocracy’ bit of Lockean spin in order to conceal the reality that the Conservative Party has massively transferred powers from local associations and individual members to central control, because the Hobbesian political élite at Conservative Campaign Headquarters really do know best.


Blogger Sackerson said...

Why should we listen to Fatty Fag-man? All I see is a translucent veneer of synthetic bonhomie overlaid on a thick concrete layer of egotistical, bullying greed and ambition.

23 March 2009 at 08:30  
Blogger Jomo said...

Do you really believe that the founding member of the new political elite or any of the Cameroons will give up power if they get their hands on it.

Gove was prescribing opening hours for schools and working hours for teachers only last week.

Put your trust in God - lower your expectations and see through this crowd of pseudo-Blairites.

The medium is the message and they can't even sing from the same hymn sheet!

Who on earth is going to deliver this revolution in social policy if its not the existing institutions.

Privitisation of the utilities has ended up with people trying to sell gas and electricity in Marks and Spencers.

To coin a phrase "its the economy stupid" and Cameron et al have no policy while Brown destroys the Country

23 March 2009 at 08:56  
Blogger Theo said...

"'massive transfer of power from central government and its agencies to individuals and local communities’ and decries ‘the arrogant belief that the political élite...really do know best’"

Can we read into this statement that Dave will curtail some of the excesses of the EU? Both central and local government use the EU as an excuse for their unwillingness to carry out the wishes of the people who elected them.

Is Dave now going to put a stop to these excuses.

23 March 2009 at 11:21  
Anonymous Michael Canaris said...

Unlike Locke, Hobbes was a proper Conservative.

23 March 2009 at 11:31  
Blogger Gnostic said...

So what does Cameron's instinctive Conservative optimism say about the EU? I saw no mention of that in Your Grace's post. How can Cameron even hope to deliver on this agenda if Brown mires us even deeper into Europe which he appears to be doing right now under the aegis of G20.

Cameron's rather hypocritical about decrying the arrogant political Labour elite since he seems to give them a crutch whenever they need one. People tend to notice these things and have a longer memory than MPs think.

He still seems to be dancing around the subject of immigration. It's a serious issue that needs addressing especially since it's high on the national agenda. He needs the stomach to deal with this otherwise people will drift to fringe parties who are promising to address the problem of our porous borders.

To compare Cameron to Thatcher doesn't wash. I'd say Cameron has more in common with Major, a weak and ineffectual walking disaster zone. People are sick and tired of listening to politicians spinning up a good argument. We rarely get to see a positive pay-off, just empty promises and a political wrecking ball. We've had it up to our ears with spin and the devolving of power to the EU. Let's see some delivery for a change. Let's see Cameron taking up Maggie's handbag and laying the arrogant elite low with it. He can start with the Colleagues in Brussels.

23 March 2009 at 12:23  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Kenneth Clarke, Deputy Chairman of BAT lives on his overdraft and is a QC Slob wallowing in self-satisfaction. The Conservatives will build more quangoes just as it was Mrs Thatcher that created "Next Steps Agencies" and Michael Howard who argued the point whether he as a Minister was any longer accountable to Parliament for The Prisons Service.

Labour has simply built on the foundations of the Thatcher-Major Anti-Democracy. Centralisation came from Thatcher with rate-capping, abolition of the GLC; and imposition of central control on schools and universities.

It was the Conservatives that commercialised education and debased the system; it was Conservatives who introduced GCSEs to replace O-Levels and CSE.

Labour has simply carried on the work and raided the filing cabinets for ideas the Conservatives left behind.

Cameron will do nothing but sweat bullets hoping he can fund his budgets and wondering if inflation can be hidden as debt is monetized and savings are destroyed.

The country is going into that tunnel of the 1945-51 Labour Government when rationing and austerity were necessary to service huge debts and half the 1947 GDP comprised Marshall Aid.

I don't think future governments have anything but the treadmill ahead as Britain slides down the ramp that Portugal descended.

23 March 2009 at 19:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

KennetheClark is a fat piece of boozy shit

23 March 2009 at 23:21  
Anonymous len said...

Kenneth Clarke has only one agenda, his own, probably like most politicians.

24 March 2009 at 07:32  
Blogger OurSally said...

Don't always knock the EU for everything gone wrong in Britain. Germany is rather more firmly in the EU and does not have half your problems.

Maybe it's the way your elected leaders interpret the rules for their own advantage (and to the detriment of the taxpayer).

24 March 2009 at 08:50  
Blogger Gnostic said...

No, Germany has Angela Merkel which is far worse...

As for the UK government, they can't give away our sovereignty fast enough. It's the price we are all going to pay so that the elite can rule us without any recognisable mandate. Take for example the fact that it will be a crime to criticise the EU, a blatant killer blow to freedom of speech. Who the hell voted for that little gem? It wasn't the UK electorate. We aren't allowed a referendum because we'll tell the unelected Colleagues in Brussels where they can stick their EU.

If Cameron puts an EU referendum on the table and delivers on it then I'll return to the Tory fold. People should be given the right to decide whether we retain our nationality or become a vassal state, something that we are 80% on the road to already.

24 March 2009 at 09:22  
Blogger Theo said...

Neither must we forget the secularist/satanic objectives of the EU. We are caught up in the worship of the creation rather than the Creator in the EU's environmental policies.

There is no escape, even at local level, from the madcap obsession of recycling - we simply have less and less choice as to how we discard our rubbish. The fervour of these environmentalists and of local councils to placate them has reached the proportions of becoming a religion; and we are all expected to bow at this altar of paganism.

BTW, the Germans find the EU just as irritating and anti-democratic as we do as attested by a friend in Berlin this very morning.

24 March 2009 at 10:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cranmer I like what you say about Cameron, as much as I like many of the things Cameron says himself. However I no longer believe, even if Cameron's intentions are sound, that he has the slightest chance of delivering virtually any of it.

"Events dear boy " have a habit of dictating policy even when a potential or actual bullet in the brain does not. As JFK found out in Dallas, and Thatcher almost did in Brighton. ( nobody still believes The IRA were behind the bombing at The Grand, do they? )

This country is already bankrupt, and will without doubt be eternally so by 2010.

IMO, anyone who still wants to be Prime minister of this now non-existent nation at this time, is either a profoundly corrupted crook, on a total hiding to nothing, certifiably insane, or an upper-class idiot with a death wish.

If that was not bad enough?

Given that The BBC and The Trades Unions will make Cameron's job infinitely more impossible from day one, and every second of every day after wards. IMO, Cameron may well turn out to be all of the above at the same time.

I will however vote for Cameron, simply because he says many things I like and agree with. However I take absolutely no responsibility for what his government actually does in power. Mainly because I know he has as much control over the real 'AGENDA,' as one of Jackie Kennedy's hairgrips.

Atlas shrugged

24 March 2009 at 23:31  

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