Sunday, May 21, 2006

True-Blue Dave

Matthew Parris in the Times (20/5/06) is arguing that the Conservatives have moved to the right in two policy areas since David Cameron became leader: Europe and Foreign Policy. He identifies Fox, Hague, Osborne and Michael Gove as rightists on these issues and concludes "...we could be just a few years from a Cabinet in which the PM, the Foreign and Defence Secretaries and the Chancellor of the Exchequer are to the right of Margaret Thatcher in their view of Britain's place in the world". I suspect the Conservatives at heart remain pretty right-wing on domestic policy also: the move to the centre is so far mainly all spin and image. We should never forget Cameron's role in drafting the Conservative Manifesto at the last election: a thoroughly nasty right-wing document if ever there was one.

14 Comments:

Blogger Shaun (ed.) said...

We should never forget Cameron's role in drafting the Conservative Manifesto at the last election

He was basically told what to write by Howard and the shadow cabinet, but Labourites love to use this soundbite - a nice example of NuLab spin and exaggeration.

a thoroughly nasty right-wing document if ever there was one

Howard's heavy focusing on immigration wasn't tactically astute, but what's so morally wrong in wanting to control immigration properly. I don't believe in limits on immigration, but the system need radical overhaul in order to sort out the illegal immigration and asylum problems. You may not care about such issues, but poorer Britons do worry. What is Labour's solution?

5:16 pm  
Blogger dreadnought said...

Mr C may be cultivating this fluffy, green, man of the people image but he is truely a wolf in sheep's clothing; who has absolutely no idea of the lives of working people. Today's big idea is about more happiness and less emphasis on creating capital. So when he is PM we can expect a cut in the working week, more bank holidays, an increase in the minimum wage, a reduction in utility prices, less profits for foreign utility companies, funding for the welfare state etc, etc. I don't think so. Cameron is all hot air and would sell his own mother to get the tories back in.

11:30 am  
Blogger Shaun (ed.) said...

Cameron is all hot air and would sell his own mother to get the tories back in

Perhaps, but he can't be any worse than Blair (who's just like his buddies Berlusconi and Clinton). Just heard today that Cherie Blair and Alastair Campbell are auctioning off copies of the Hutton report. So typical isn't it. Released of any blame for Kelly's death and then they sell the verdict docs like they're girl guide cookies.

11:43 am  
Blogger politaholic said...

Manic Minarchist:
The Conservative focus on immigration and race in the 2005 General Election had precious little to do with trying to encourage a rational discussion of these questions. The Tories opted for a “core vote strategy” and highlighted these issues because they thought it would play well in the tabloids and the Mail/Express (with an irresponsible disregard of the consequences for race relations). There was a “nudge and a wink” towards the baser instincts of the Tory lumpen middle-class (“Are You Thinking What We’re Thinking?” Thankfully most voters weren't). Incidentally, I gather from your other post (on Eric Forth) that you are a libertarian. From a libertarian point of view, shouldn’t where someone chooses to live be a matter of individual choice? There are good arguments for – reasonable and humanely enforced – controls on immigration, but are any of these libertarian arguments?

8:05 am  
Blogger Shaun (ed.) said...

From a libertarian point of view, shouldn’t where someone chooses to live be a matter of individual choice? There are good arguments for – reasonable and humanely enforced – controls on immigration, but are any of these libertarian arguments?

Well, I speak as a minarchist* rather than a crude libertarian. I believe in the unlimited and free movement of labour and that the state shouldn't pick and choose those who enter the country according to wealth, skills, language or culture. Pragmatically speaking, however, there should be stricter control so as to know who the immigrants are and to keep out criminal or terrorist elements (the government is clearly failing in this regard). This is consistent with the minarchist belief that the state does have a role to play in ensuring law and order and protecting each individual.

Of course this is a different view from what Howard's manifesto espoused (and the general Tory line on immigration)and he was wrong in following Crosby's immigration strategy, but it was petty mudslinging for Labour to have claimed that this was extremist or even racist. Remember, many Labour voters hold such strict views on immigration and asylum(but they refuse to vote for the Tories on economic grounds).

*Minarchism - different from crude libertarianism in that we believe some minimal government is needed to ensure each and every individual's liberty

4:40 pm  
Blogger politaholic said...

Manic Minarchist:

1: What you mean by "minarchism" is what I mean by libertarianism (i.e. minimal statism). I call no-statists "anarchists". I'm sure your libertarianism is not at all "crude" or "vulgar" but is frightfully "sophisticated". You advocate the "unlimited and free movement of labour" and seem to want to exclude only criminals and terrorists. This is not quite my own view but it seems to me to be properly libertarian; but we were talking about the Conservative Party, and, as you concede, this is not the Conservative Party policy on immigration (nor is it likely to be).
2. You seem to concede the substantial point about the Conservative 2005 Election campaign. I'm glad we agree.
3. Your comments on the Labour Party are not without some force. Of course there are racists who vote Labour: that is true of all the main parties. The record of Labour in Government is also not without blemish: there were (some, few) principled Tories who voted against Labour's 1968 Commonwealth Immigration Act. Labour's treatment of asylum seekers over the past few years has also been pretty despicable at times (requiring them to use food coupons, refusing to give them the right to work, threatening to take their children into custody). But I doubt if the Tories would have been any more humane and Labour's record on race, overall, is inestimably better than that of the Tories. Remind me: how many black and Asian Tory MP's were there before the last election? How many now? When is the last time a black person sat on the Tory front bench? Why are Conservative Associations so reluctant to adopt black candidates? To what party did the MP who joked about Chinese cockle-pickers belong? Or the one who talked about people from Bongo-Bongo land? Which party leader in the 1979 election talked about being "swamped" by people of another culture? Which parties MP's were most likely to cosy-up to the apartheid regime? And then there is the 2005 election campaign...
4. I am assuming you are a genuine libertarian and not one of those phoney-libertarians who want the state to be absent when it comes to the rights of employees or equal rights legislation, and so on, but summons the Big Brother state when its a metter of bashing a trade unionist on the head with a truncheon. If so, and you are a genuine libertarian and not a phoney, you should not be wasting time trying to defend the Conservative Party.

9:02 am  
Blogger Shaun (ed.) said...

you should not be wasting time trying to defend the Conservative Party
Of course the Tory Party's policies of governance has never and will not in the near future (esp. with "one-nation" Cameron in charge) espouse a true libertarian world view, but it is the only party in parliament that comes close to it, as well as being a more competent alternative to this Labour government. I also associate myself with the libertarianism of David Davis (a civil and social libertarian + an economic neoliberal).

who want the state to be absent when it comes to the rights of employees or equal rights legislation, and so on, but summons the Big Brother state when its a metter of bashing a trade unionist on the head with a truncheon

Anyone should have the right to strike, dissent and protest, but when a striker impedes a non-striking worker from going to work, he is violating that person's basic liberty. Same goes for a rioter who causes violence to other people or vandalises property. In essence, every individual should have freedom until he threatens another person's freedom. That is why there is role for the state in ensuring law and order.

You seem to concede the substantial point about the Conservative 2005 Election campaign. I'm glad we agree

Not really - I did not agree with the limits on immigration campaign, but I disagree with your view that it was nasty, extreme and racist. The majority of the population has such anti-immigration viewpoints and they are not all racist or nationalist. I also disagree with your statement that it was a core-vote strategy. Howard was actually trying to attract voters outside the Tory base who have previously voted for Labour's economic welfarism, but were anti-immigration. Obviously this failed, because Britons mostly vote on economic rather than social issues.

1:09 pm  
Blogger dreadnought said...

manic minarchist

We've heard all this before; from 1979 to 1997. There endeth the lesson....

1:30 pm  
Blogger Shaun (ed.) said...

from 1979 to 1997

Dreadnought, would you admit that by 1997 Britain was in much better shape than it was in the 1970s and the Winter of Discontent? Would you admit that the current economic stability is built on the radical and necessary economic reforms of the 1980s?

2:28 pm  
Blogger dreadnought said...

Manic Minarchist

That depends on where you live....

3:26 pm  
Blogger Shaun (ed.) said...

That depends on where you live....

Yes, but the overall condition of the country could have been worse than it is now had it not been for Thatcher.

And Welfarism is not a long-term solution to uplift the impoverished regions, for it does not empower the poor to uplift themselves. Long-term increases in social mobility through the trickle-down effect of economic growth provides real empowerment. Blair and Brown often claim current employment levels and economic stability to be down to them, but they will never admit that it is the reforms and sacrifices paying off. However, Brown is squandering this economic inheritance, while a true Tory govenment (Cameron's 'one-nationism' makes me wonder) would be putting it to good use.

8:20 pm  
Blogger dreadnought said...

Manic Minarchist

Ah, the buzz words of the 80s: impoverished regions, social mobility, trickle-down and Thatcher. I thought we, as a nation, were trying to consign all this to history. Anyway, I think you are saying all this to get a reaction. It is highly amusing nonetheless.

11:11 am  
Blogger Shaun (ed.) said...

Anyway, I think you are saying all this to get a reaction.

It is unfortunate that you think that anyone who does not hold social-democratic views must either be a troll or an extremist. Why don't you play the ball instead of the man?

12:12 pm  
Blogger dreadnought said...

Manic Minarchist

Play the ball instead of the man!! Indeed. I don't believe I have used the words 'troll' or 'extremist' in any of my comments.

1:36 pm  

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