Cameron to kill off the Conservative Party?

Could the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats merge to fight the next election as a single force? asks Paul Goodman on ConservativeHome.  Many people will immediately dismiss the idea as unworkable or unsuitable.  But if there is one thing that David Cameron and Nick Clegg have shown since negotiations commenced to create a coalition government, their hunger for power and authority trumps any manifesto promise and anything akin to ideology.

There is an irony in Cameron’s migration of the Conservatives away from the centre right of politics.  He has long argued that the Conservative Party had to change.  The subtext was that if it failed to do so it would die.  As he said:

“We know we have to change. I stood for the leadership because I’m fed up with hearing that this party is out of touch, backward-looking and lacks compassion”

Cameron rammed his personal vision of necessary changes through without any reference to the people who comprise the party and used it as the opportunity to tear up long held conservative principles, so the party reflected his social democratic mindset – a process that accelerated in stunning fashion in order for him to reach his personal goal of taking up residence in 10 Downing Street.

But now that change process has brought Cameron to the point where he is without doubt considering a merger with the Liberal Democrats, an act that by its very nature will kill the Conservative Party as we know it.  In a coalition electoral merger the centre right conservative policies and principles that have been jettisoned by Cameron, seemingly for convenience, will remain permanently consigned to the bin of history because he simply never believed them.  As Tim Montgomerie has previously argued, to keep the Lib Dems strong enough to play their part in keeping the coalition afloat the coalition will have to move further to the left.  It certainly won’t be allowed to fall apart because Cameron wants to cling to Number 10 at any cost.

For Cameron the Conservative Party was never anything more than a flag of convenience to be used to achieve his personal ambitions.  Now he has reached his desired destination Cameron is showing his true colours.  By openly revealing his barely concealed natural affinity with the centre left values of the Liberal Democrats, Cameron seems ready to cast off the Conservative vessel in favour of a new hulk created jointly with Clegg’s Liberals. He is on the verge of killing off the Conservative Party.

The losers in this – in the short term at least – will be the genuine conservatives who despite everything have clung to the party’s apron strings in the hope that in power Cameron would unveil a genuine conservatism.  It remains to be seen how long many of them will tolerate a government that is demonstrably devoid of conservative values before rediscovering the courage of their convictions.

While Cameron may have perpetrated a confidence trick on a large part of the electorate that thought it would get conservative government if it voted for his party, he perpetrated nothing less than a wholesale fraud on those who loyally trusted in him and campaigned to deliver him to Downing Street.  On both counts there will eventually be a reckoning.

8 Responses to “Cameron to kill off the Conservative Party?”


  1. 1 I Albion 24/07/2010 at 12:22 pm

    Lets hope the Conservative Party kills off Cameron first!

  2. 2 WitteringsfromWitney 24/07/2010 at 6:53 pm

    AM,
    First, nice to see a post from you – seems to have been some time?

    As to Cameron, I have always maintained that he is of ‘left’ tendencies and that if he thought he could get away with it and ‘sell’ the idea he would propose yet more of the ‘Brown’ remedy!

    He is ‘shallow’ and sooner, rather than later, the electorate will come to realise that. To that end, I posted some time ago that a merger twixt the Cons and LibDems, to form a ConDem new party was his aim and that in so doing he hoped to force the extreme left of the LibDems and the extreme right of the Cons into ‘minority’ parties, thus bringing ‘divide and rule’ to ensure that he remains in office.

    Cameron is an out and out ‘self-interest’ politician!

  3. 3 Autonomous Mind 24/07/2010 at 9:36 pm

    Thanks WfW. Been having some work enforced absences from the blog I’m afraid.

    I recall your post. However I think Cameron misreads the situation. There is a glorious opportunity developing for a genuinely democratic centre right party to emerge from the principled wing of the Conservative Party. The more people see of this self serving arrangement between Cameron and Clegg, the more the appetite for an honest alternative will grow.

  4. 4 jameshigham 25/07/2010 at 11:37 am

    Interesting you wrote this because I’ve just come over from Andrew Allison and he is saying similar.

    It is so sad. I was happy to be Tory when it meant Conservative values. Now it’s a group of demoralized conservatives cowed by the socialists in the party, led by Cameron, Clarke and Osborne, the latter far more powerful than his position actually entails.

  5. 5 WitteringsfromWitney 25/07/2010 at 12:24 pm

    AM,

    One can only hope that UKIP get their ‘act together’ and capitalize on the situation as they do, I feel, remain the country’s only hope for some sensible, economically-sound, self-governing, centre-right small government.

  6. 6 kenomeat 25/07/2010 at 11:32 pm

    WfW

    I used to agree with your view that UKIP was the only answer. However, the defeat of Farage (a true patriot who should one day be knighted) in Buckingham finally convinced me that UKIP wouldn’t make the breakthrough. AM had earlier replied to a post from me that a genuine right of centre party, though not UKIP, might emerge from this sorry mess that Cameron has created and I think he’s right. Perhaps David Davis could lead a split.


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