June 19, 2005

Conservative Leadership Election

The number of people mentioned as possible candidates for the Conservative leadership is quite ridiculous. Damian Green has now indicated he won't take part, but the following remain:

David Davis (the current front-runner)
Malcolm Rifkind (Tory centrist who served in the Thatcher/Major government's)
David Cameron (38yr old yr old Shadow Education Secretary and apparently backed by Michael Howard)
Liam Fox (possible right-wing candidate)
David Willetts (intelligent Tory moderniser nicknamed 'two brains')
Alan Duncan (again a moderniser and the only openly gay Tory MP)
Andrew Lansley (current Shadow Health Secretary – key moderniser)
Ken Clarke (left-leaning former Chancellor, the most popular candidate with the public)
Tim Yeo (another moderniser – he recently resigned from the Shadow Cabinet)
Michael Ancram (Tory grandee)
John Redwood (hard-line Euro-sceptic)
Theresa May (who some think may stand on the grounds that there needs to be a female candidate)

I remain to be convinced that David Davis understands the extent to which the Conservative Party will have to change if they are to form a Government again. They need to reform and modernise as radically as Labour did in the late 80's and 90's. They must become a party that looks and sounds like modern Britain. They need to be diverse in character and generous in outlook, a party that combines the best of the 'one-nation' paternalistic Tory tradition with the social liberalism necessay to put them back in touch with the Britain of today. As Alan Duncan has put it, they should be a party of liberal economics and liberal attitudes

It is vital that a reinvigorated 'new' Conservative Party not only occupies but dominates the centre ground. This does not mean becoming identitical to Labour. Conservatives should care just as passionately as Labour about poverty and injustice but use different means to conquer it: such as taking the poor out of tax, and promoting a partnership between government, business and voluntary groups to help the most disadvantaged. They should care just as much about the environment as the Liberal Democrats but focus more on market orientated solutions. They should be 100% committed to state funded health and education but rely on decentralisation rather than a target driven approach. They should take a tough line on law and order but combine it with a strong defence of civil liberties and a genuine respect towards everyone in society, regardless of sexuality, gender, race or religion

The Conservative Party are still seen by many as 'the nasty party'. They must now lead the intellectual debate and show how they can promote both economic prosperity and social justice in the 21st century. They must stop their obsession with Europe and immigration and provide a broad agenda for multi-cultural Britain.

- 5 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Peter J Thomas

    Davis all the way – conservative way forward!

    20 Jun 2005, 10:17

  2. Peter J Thomas

    Sorry yes my personal view differs somewhat. I think that just as Labour have adopted a social democratic pro-liberalism politics similar to the dems in the US so the Tories must stop preaching the small govt shit – go read Leo Strauss and adopt a neo-con approach – play govt welfare state card and the capitalist freedom at the same time. The form and ideals haven't changed as of yet to meet new demands in a different society to that of 80's Thacherism. I think as you have mentioned davis can achieve this – just because Cameron is younger it doesn't mean his sheltered background will make him any more in touch with the entire electorate. Ken Clarke is too left-wing and i just can't see anyone else fit to challenge. That said Yeo has made some interesting points with reference to the broadening of the party – just not enough to make him a viable candidate.

    20 Jun 2005, 10:27

  3. Justin Greaves

    Maybe Davis will prove me wrong. I don't, however, agree that Clarke is too left-wing. It is sometimes said that Thatcher proved you don't have to be in the centre ground to win elections. I think, however, this misses two key points. Firstly, the Thatcher government was not quite as right-wing as often supposed (she signed the Single European Act taking us further into Europe than ever before, she promoted many 'wets' to the Cabinet, she increased taxes when necessary, she didn't really reduce the size of the state etc). Secondly, Thatcher could afford not to occupy the centre-ground as Labour were seen as far more extreme (especially under the leadership of Michael Foot). Now that Labour occupies the centre ground the Conservatives will need to take them on in this area if they are to ever win.

    20 Jun 2005, 10:53

  4. Peter J Thomas

    Valid point but the difficulty lies within taking back the centre whilst not isolating the grass-roots core of the party. If they achieve this then it will be a gain of more than 33 next time round

    20 Jun 2005, 15:36

  5. Justin Greaves

    There are a few points here. Firstly, the Tories need to rediscover the will to win. Blair managed to move Labour to the centre and keep the left on board because of the party's desire for a Labour government. Secondly, the Tories need to broaden their membership: so that it is more centrist, younger, metropolitan etc. Thirdly, the changes I have advocated do not mean the Conservatives have to ditch their beliefs in a limited state, lower taxes and so on. They simply have to adapt such beliefs to the challenges of today: in particular, creating a socially just society where people feel safe to walk the streets, where they can rely on decent schools and hospitals, and where the least well off are lifted out of poverty. A policy of taking the working-poor out of tax altogether, for example, could prove attractive given the current problems with tax credits.

    23 Jun 2005, 00:51

Add a comment

You are not allowed to comment on this entry as it has restricted commenting permissions.

June 2005

Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
|  Today  |
      1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30         

Search this blog



Most recent comments

  • Marx is the greatest!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! by chaney on this entry
  • Is this the same David Botterill that worked as a residence director at Warwick Univ. in the 1980s, … by ptabar on this entry
  • The greatest philosopher of all time has to be Plato for his ideal forms. by Nathan Prophet on this entry
  • Ha ! I just came across this post by googling him. God that takes me back many years ! Still a legen… by DanB on this entry
  • I was doing an internet search on variouus people I know and came accross it! by Justin Greaves on this entry

Blog archive

Not signed in
Sign in

Powered by BlogBuilder