Conservatives continue to delude themselves

I like Jonathan Isaby, the co-editor of ConservativeHome.  He is a genuinely nice guy and he is a good writer too.  But then, he should be having been on the roll at the Telegraph.  He is also an optimist and clearly as loyal as an eternally patient schnauzer.

But it seems of late that his loyalty is clouding any sense of realism in his public pronouncements.  The Times yesterday carried an Isaby opinion editorial about the new faces of the Tories, which contained the following section:

While they are generally socially liberal, sympathetic to localism and in favour of reversing Labour’s erosion of civil liberties, they are Thatcherite on Europe, tax, enterprise and defence. They are not, in the main, especially moved by the green agenda that Mr Cameron has so personally embraced.

There is an understandable rationale to Isaby’s plea because Thatcherism was the most successful form of conservatism and Cameron is no Thatcherite.  He is not even a conservative.  He is a frustrated liberal of the Orange Book wing who is using the wider electoral appeal of the Conservatives as a vehicle to realise his personal ambitions.

But the problem in Isaby’s written appeal to centre right is that while the new Tories who could be returned to Parliament will not be clones of Cameron, they will be completely subordinate to him.  Cameron is an authoritarian paternalist who believes he knows best.  He will brook no dissent from the new intake.  On Tory climate change policy, in accepting the flawed scientific argument and resisting doubters of the consensus, Cameron bared his teeth by saying:

“A very small number of people take a different view on the science, but the policy is driven by me, and that is the way it is going to be.”

What ambitious Tory fresher in Parliament is going to take on the leader and risk the frosty marginalisation that would follow?  Sadly Isaby is ignoring the reality of the situation.  And he was at it again today back on ConservativeHome in an article about UKIP possibly standing candidates against Conservatives even if they support the ‘Better Off Out’ campaign for withdrawal from the EU.  There is simply no basis in evidence for the argument made by Isaby:

All the same, I would argue that for anyone who agrees with UKIP’s principle aim of getting out of the European Union, their preferred direction of travel will be infinitely better represented by a Conservative Government than by a Labour one, and that voting UKIP is merely aiding and abetting the europhiles in Labour and the Lib Dems.

Time and again David Cameron has made it clear he sees Britain’s future as being in the EU.  Because it is what Cameron wants, it is Conservative policy and will remain so until any future leader has the courage and good sense to change it.  No voter who wants Britain out of the EU will be any better represented by a Conservative than by a Labour socialist or Liberal Democrat federalist.  To claim otherwise is to engage in the politics of delusion.

A Cameron government will not do anything that tilts towards the direction of travel sought by those who want the United Kingdom to be a sovereign independent nation once more.  I will not say Isaby is being dishonest for I think he really believes what he says; but he is deluded like so many other Conservatives who cling to the hope that once in office Cameron will suddenly reveal himself to have been anti-EU all along.

As for UKIP?  Yes, they want to take us out of the EU.  But as a political party with elements that are quite unsavoury, they do not appeal to me any more than the Conservatives.  The fact is there is a large proportion of the UK electorate that simply doesn’t have a political party they feel able to support.  The choice between consensus politics and extremist or intolerant parties is not much of a choice at all.

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4 Responses to “Conservatives continue to delude themselves”


  1. 1 Bob Sykes 23/01/2010 at 3:56 pm

    It seems that many of your countrymen agree that the UKIP is not an alternative to the Conservatives. Unfortunately, they seem to be choosing the BNP. Did I read somewhere that BNP has 20% support. That’s within striking distance of the Nazi’s 35% in the early 30s.

  2. 2 AM 23/01/2010 at 5:20 pm

    In opinion polls that record BNP support they are hovering around the 3% mark. Only in certain council wards, where former Labour voters are looking for a socialist alternative are the BNP getting anything in double figures.

  3. 3 JohnRS 23/01/2010 at 6:32 pm

    “What ambitious Tory fresher in Parliament is going to take on the leader and risk the frosty marginalisation that would follow?”

    If it was just one dissenter you would probably be correct. But the recent poll of PPCs shows that Cameron is hugely out of step with the majority of them. The next Parliament will be the least experienced for 50 years, which for the country is probably a very good thing as the new boys and girls wont be overwhelemed by crowds of old fogies who’ve been there for years.

    I suspect that once the new kids on the block realise that they are the majority in the Parliamentary Party Cameron may well have more of a job forcing issues through than he thinks.

  4. 4 Mike Spilligan 23/01/2010 at 8:32 pm

    On the Tories’ “green” policies and the arrogant statement by Cameron “….the policy is driven by me…….” etc., I challenged my safe-seat Tory MP on this, saying that his party just isn’t up with this rapidly moving (here and USA) scandal, which could easily blow up in a lot of faces before the GE.
    The reply I got was largely a repetition of Cameron’s statement – so he doesn’t even realise how damaging it could be in the marginals.
    I certainly won’t be voting Tory (“disenfranchised” abstention?) and the only conclusion I can come to is that Cameron doesn’t want to win the GE.


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