Thursday, September 30, 2004
Sep 30th 2004
From The Economist print edition
What people say they want the Conservative Party to be
HOW can the Conservatives change from a party that just holds on to votes to one that goes out and wins them? As Tories gather in Bournemouth for Michael Howard's first conference as party leader, many of them think that the answer is simple. Over in Bristol, the UK Independence Party (UKIP), which wants Britain to pull out of the European Union (EU), will also be holding a conference. There, the message that foreigners are only good for trading with will be clear and loud. Surely, Conservatives wonder, we should be tougher on Europe and foreigners too?
Our Economist/YouGov poll shows why they think they are right. More than a quarter of voters say they would be more likely to vote Conservative if the party committed itself to withdrawal from the EU (see chart). And 44% say they would be more likely to vote Tory if the party took a harder line on immigration. If winning an election was like baking a cake, all the party would need to do is add those two ingredients and watch its vote rise steadily.
But the Tories are in more trouble than this quick fix suggests. Voters don't identify with the party and are not attracted to Mr Howard. Though they have sometimes harried the government effectively, the Conservatives have failed in an opposition party's other job, namely to charm voters by using the freedom that not being in power brings. After seven years of a government that is now widely disliked, 60% still say that the Conservatives do not understand their needs. Mr Howard has not yet found a way of talking to them.
| Britain's failing Tories
Sep 30th 2004
Why Tony Blair and Gordon Brown will have less to argue about
Sep 30th 2004
How politicians fit on the political spectrum
Sep 30th 2004
Iraq, Labour and the war
Sep 30th 2004
Mr Howard's leadership may be part of the problem, however. Female voters seem particularly unimpressed by him. Only 7% of women say that having Mr Howard as leader makes them more likely to vote Conservative, compared with 13% of men. The other front-runners don't do much better: 33% of women say they would rather have someone nameless and younger, compared with 29% of men who feel the same way. This antipathy is particularly bad news for the Tories, since the party is normally better supported by women than by men.
At last year's conference, gloom about the party's prospects was lightened by the feeling that Iain Duncan Smith, the party's then leader, would soon by replaced by someone who could unite the Tories and make them loved and successful. Mr Howard has managed to save the party from itself. But if he doesn't begin to show how he will rescue the party from the public, Mr Howard's first conference as party leader could also be his last.
This article is reproduced as it appears on the Economist website LINKED HERE
Peter Hitchens article in this week's The Spectator, linked here, is worth reading in full ahead of the Conservative Conference. For those without the time I give this sample:-
Just as I said a year ago in an article for this magazine which has never been rebutted, let alone refuted, by any Conservative thinker, the Tory party is now a train-wreck, not a train, an obstacle to the cause it pretends to serve. The reasons are both mathematical and political. Only an unimaginable miracle could give it a parliamentary majority ever again. If it achieved such a position, it would in any case fail to pursue conservative aims in foreign, economic, social or cultural policy. It cannot agree on any such aims because its different wings hate and despise each other. Ice and steam can compromise, it is true, but the result is just a tepid wetness. Its collapse and disintegration are essential, so that this country’s civilised people understand the urgent need to form a new political instrument which can defeat the anti-British, anti-marriage, intolerant, multicultural, amoral rabble of New Labour and which would use its victory to some purpose.
I set out this position just before the sordid manoeuvre that placed Michael Howard at the head of the party. A change of leadership, as I predicted then, has done nothing for the party’s popularity or ability to win an election, and still less for the great causes of national independence and liberty, justice, order, honesty in public life, rigorous education and the rest.
AND the conclusion:-
The rejuvenated Labour party is in the hands of blithe, shameless cynics who are delighted to endure the attacks of stupid leftists who think they are ‘right-wing’ if they can convince enough dim Tories to believe the same piffle. The successful advance of a breathtakingly radical programme proceeds unnoticed and unopposed. New Labour is indeed a new danger, but it can only be beaten by people who both understand its nature and fundamentally disagree with it. That will not happen until the wreckage of the Conservative party is cleared out of the way.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Centrally directed Conservative policy is beautifully illustrated in these excerpts from speeches by two shadow mimisters last weekend both of whom reportedly dismissed the EU question under the mist of 'it's not relevant at the moment' (both are as reported by Andy Edwards) :-
Firstly: Caroline Spelman (MP Meriden) Shadow Secretary of State for Local & Devolved Government Affairs. No funny jokes about the second half of her title, please! She is, apparently, the 'shadow' for 'Two Jags'Presclott.
Speaking at the autumn dinner of the Ledbury Conservative Branch, she brushed aside questions on the EU with an aside, carefully camouflaged in the usual ramble of 'health, education, crime' - yawn yawn, - "of course I am against the Euro and the EU Constitution".
All this was prefaced with the assurance that if the Conservatives returned to power they would immediately reverse any anti fox-hunting Bill. On closer questioning as to whether the Party could be more explicit on a theme of 'no more EU, reshape the obvious benefits and scrap the rest', she ended discussion with a curt, "I'm not going to answer that"!
Secondly: on Sunday evening, Bill Wiggin (MP Leominster) Shadow Secretary for Wales.
He was speaking at a cocktail fundraiser/rally the troops meeting, on behalf of the Conservative Candidate for South Herefordshire.
Mirroring Caroline Spelman, his opening remark was that 'all would be well with fox-hunting if they returned to power'. Probably thought the yokels would be satisfied with such platitudes! Then the assembled faithful were subjected to the same dreary record (or maybe it's on CD
these days) of health, education, crime, and not a mention of Europe in any context. When the subject was raised from the floor Wiggin replied that only 15% of the voters were interested - one has to wonder what that would be if MP's like Mr Wiggin, as well as all of the other front
benchers gave voters the facts?? He made much of the Tories having established a Referendum for 'us', and, after they had won the next election, would go back to Europe to 'renegotiate'.
If these two are as representative of the Tory Party in Parliament as many already think they are, then rumours that the 'smart money' seems to be heading towards the Conservatives possibly running into fourth place at the forthcoming Hartlepool bye-election is not an over
'Does the leader of the Tory Party hate us behind our backs?' is the title to this article in Asians in Media magazine linked from here. Its conclusions are as follows:-
By doing the rounds of Asian religious groups in the UK Michael Howard hopes to get the Asian vote, but going by his latest rhetoric there's little reason why we should provide it.
In order to have any hope of being elected he needs to have original policies that adequately define the party, not a series of reactionary ideas borrowed from others that pander to the xenophobic elements of the press. That alignment won't last long once the Tories get upstaged by UKIP and the BNP, who will inevitably go even further in their bid to demonise non-whites.
Sunday, September 26, 2004
As UKIP's Deputy Leader demonstrates his party's total unsuitability to lead the eurorealist cause in Britain, (see recent posts on Ukip Uncovered) attention must once again be focused on the Conservative Party. (Although yesterday's Daily Telegraph would have us believe we could put faith in Gordon Brown).
At the time of the undemocratic ousting of Iain Duncan Smith this blog strongly pushed the case for John Redwood, who is now back in the Shadow Cabinet - with a role clearly aimed against the EU!Those looking for other names to trust could do worse than read this paper by David Baker of the University of Warwick 'The Shotgun Marriage: Managing Eurosceptical Opinion in British Political Parties 1972-2002' delivered in Tennessee last year. It is linked from here.
A crucial quote:-
'Indeed, most sceptics have been keen to accept government posts and have been reluctant to resign from government office when they have found themselves opposing government policy.... even in John Major's divided government of 1992 to 1997, only John Redwood resigned his Cabinet post to fight the Prime Minister for leadership of the Conservative party with David Davis and David Heathcote-Amery the only junior minister(s) to resignand James Cran standing down as a PPS.....'
Friday, September 24, 2004
The whole front page of today's Daily Telegraph is given over to a huge, unattractive photospread of the haunted Howard and his latest desperate ploy - a commitment to reduce inheritance tax.
I would provide a link.....but as the article says nothing - and bearing in mind we have heard such pledges before - I don't think I will bother.
Howardseems now Blair's best weapon and guarantee of re-election!
Thursday, September 23, 2004
More Tory disarray as highlighted in this morning's The Independent, linked here, amongst others. Some quotes in support of my headline:-
Mr Kilroy-Silk told BBC radio: "I made a policy announcement two weeks ago, saying we would limit immigration to 100,000 and that we would have a points system, where people would be selected on the basis of their skills, their aptitude and ability to integrate into British society and make a contribution to it. He is saying virtually the same thing. He is plagiarising it."
A Conservative spokesman denied the claim of plagiarism, saying: "We have been working for months on this. If UKIP also study the Australian plans, they are likely to be the same, but we haven't stolen their clothes."
However, Liam Fox, the joint chairman of the party, confirmed he had told a recent meeting of the Bow Group, a right-of-centre think-tank, that the Conservatives had to take action to counter a drift of voters to the UKIP.
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
The Daily Telegraph, linked here, has an item on the Conservative's plans for reversing the loss of our national independence. A quote:-
"For many people, it was tempting to let the Prime Minister push Europe to the periphery of their field of vision. But that is not an option for the Tories, whose divisions on the subject have been so traumatic mainly because they instinctively sense its overriding significance. Mr Howard is right to force the issue back on to the national agenda before the election. If he means what he says about renegotiation, he will need an explicit mandate."
Monday, September 20, 2004
The fact that Michael Howard is being treated as a pariah by the White House is put about as being of no consequence at all to the now clearly interim leader of the Conservative Party.
I came across this report of a meeting of the International Institute of Strategic Affairs on 26th June 2003, over the weekend and the almost grovelling introductory and concluding remarks of the opposition leader amply illustrate how deeply this loss of contact must really now be felt. I quote:-
Sir Michael Howard
Ladies and Gentlemen - If there is anyone here that needs to have Condie Rice introduced to them they are here by some great mistake and they ought to go away.
I will not take up any of her precious time with an introduction - I’ll only say that it is an enormous pleasure and privilege to be able to entertain somebody, however briefly, whose activities have provided the Institute with so much material to work with over the last year or so - Condie it’s wonderful to have you and thank you so much.
I’m afraid we’ve run out of time. I’m sure Dr Rice could speak for hours. I apologise to all the people I couldn’t get to. I’d just like Sir Michael Howard to say a few words.
Sir Michael Howard
I just want to on your behalf thank Dr Rice - we could keep her here all afternoon but she needs lunch and she has problems even greater than those we can present to her. I think and I know that we’ve all been enormously impressed Condie not just by your inspiring address and by your skill and frankness with which you’ve answered our questions, but I think even more by the courage and the energy and the sheer intelligence which you have brought to dealing with these problems which do give us a kind of confidence and support to provide you with when you go out on your mission. God be with you and I think you will need his help and our prayers, but I have no doubt whatsoever that you’ll have both.
Those with the time will find the whole report of interest, it is linked from here in pdf format.
Sunday, September 19, 2004
As the conference season is about to get underway, the dreadful lack of choice facing the British electorate will be increasingly exposed. The dire situation of the Conservative Party is mentioned in passing in this local article from Teesside on the LibDems linked here, from which this is a quote:-
The Tories' new leader Michael Howard seems to be doing even worse. At last year's Conservative conference the party's then leader, Iain Duncan Smith, basked in the cheers of 20 standing ovations.
Within weeks, though, senior Tory plotters had ousted the hapless IDS because they reckoned they could never win under him.
Suddenly Michael Howard was the delegates' delight, swept into the leadership without even the pretence of an election.
Fat lot of good it's done them. Twelve months ago the Tories boasted a two-point lead over Labour with the support of 37pc of the electorate. Now, according to the latest YouGov poll, both Labour and Tories have slipped back and are neck-and-neck on around 34pc.
Not much of a ringing endorsement for Michael Howard's vote-winning qualities.Conservative party treachery in deliberately appearing to wish to sabotage the NO campaign for the North East Assembly referendum next Novemeber, described in detail by ChristopherBooker in today's Sunday Telegraph linked here, raises yet more questions as to the true motives of those who dumped IDS when the certain outcome was electoral suicide as repeatedly pointed out on this blog! Surely ordinary Tory party members must now realise that their party, like UKIP as presently led, seems to mainly serve the purposes of the EU federalists.
Saturday, September 18, 2004
The Journal Newcastle's daily paper carries this latest report, linked here, of accusations that the recently formed Conservative controlled grouping is controlled and run by 'Quango Addicts". There is also to be a challenge to a statement from the Electoral Commission that the final decision was only taken on Monday. The following is an extract from a Journal article of 17th September:-
Conspiracy theories have suggested that Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott influenced the decision in favour of John Elliot's NESNO campaign, because it has backing from the Conservative Party.
But that was immediately dismissed by the Electoral Com mission, with a spokeswoman saying the Government played "no part at all in any decision. It was a decision made only on Monday September 13."
For all the latest news put Neil Herron's blogon your 'favourites' or 'bookmarks':-
www.neilherron.blogspot.com or the real NO campaign www.northeastnocampaign.co.uk OR simply click here or here
Thursday, September 16, 2004
Try this link and see what you think. What is your view, vote below if any of our views match yours:-
Saturday's Daily Telegraph has an article describing the warped thought processes and details of how the change was made. It may be read from this link. Is this yet one more step in the path to ensuring the party's permanent unelectability?
Monday, September 13, 2004
Apart from the matter of whether it is really possible to 'Shadow' a government department that does not exist, (or did I miss its creation?), what else arises from this surprise announcement from the normally uninspired Michael Howard?
The choice of post is intriguing ESPECIALLY recalling the well-known euro-sceptic credentials of the MP for Wokingham, who readers of this blog might recall I strongly urged to run against Michael Howard for the leadership (here) - in how much better a state might the Conservative Party now find itself had their MPs had the sense to select such a contender.
Given that regulation now almost entirely originates from Brussels, 'Deregulation' in this context therefore has to involve significant disengagement from the EU - the job title might well be a mere euphemism for the true objective. Developments will be reviewed with interest.
The Monday interview with Mr Redwood from The Independent may be read from this link.
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
This blog with its associates is taking a break for a week or so. THOSE STEALING OUR FREEDOMS AND DEMOCRACY ARE NOT. Read these past posts on the topic of the Civil Contingencies Bill and contact one or more of their Lordships.
5th July Smacking debate to distract public attention aided by the BBC linked from here!
August 4th Civil Contingencies Bill
'Stopping the CCB' with contact details for members of the House of Lords from here.
Try these links as well: Statewatch and New Alliance