Friday, May 24, 2024
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Laura Perrins: Time for the Conservatives to be a party of ideas, not just power


With the children in bed I had time to flick through my Twitter feed on the Conservative Party Conference #CPC14 from the comfort of my couch, just before Downton came on.

I was interested to see if anything of substance could be offered by the Conservative Party. I found the following.

Courtesy of those self-proclaimed ‘liberal conservatives’ (I know – beyond parody) Bright Blue, I was told that Neil Carmichael MP believes: ‘We have to think about the European approach to energy.” Do we? Really? Why is the British approach not good enough? Are the British people not to be trusted on the issue?

Geoffrey Lean of The Daily Telegraph believes that: ‘The green issue is not going away and a government that thinks that won’t get elected.’ Sure, because that is what you hear people complaining of all the time – the environmental issues are not government priority number one.

People moan all that time that they do not pay enough green taxes in their astronomical gas and electricity bill and in fact want more wind-farms ruining our green and pleasant land. Please let’s resurrect the photo of Dave hugging a husky – it is sure to be a vote winner.

Elsewhere, William Hague (annoyed he did not make the Clooney wedding with his mates Brad and Angelina) announced that:  “Our party is a party for everyone.” How comfy.

I think that is part of the problem. The Conservatives have attempted to broaden their appeal so much, they have diluted the brand and left the grassroots to rot.

There was a lot of anger of course. Some group hugs were needed. Tory co-chairman Andrew Feldman got a cheer at #women2win for slamming “Mark Reckless’s attempts to piss on our parade.” Poor diddums.

It is not like the Conservatives would ever behave so strategically. I am sure it was a total coincidence that they raised the terror alert straight after Douglas Carswell’s defection, and again pure accident (and not a trick straight from The Thick of It) to recall Parliament on the day of the Ukip Party conference.

Lord Feldman should realise politics not a game of croquet. Oh, and it wasn’t an attempt. Ukip rained good and proper on your parade and if your leader cannot hold on to his MPs you should direct your ire at him.

Unbelievably I also saw this: Nick Boles: “What kills parties is ideology”. This view that acting on ideology is a bad thing is something straight out of the Nick Clegg handbook.

I thought politics was all about ideology – you know, having an actual philosophy that you seek to advocate and persuade others of its rightness. Is Nick Boles MP just admitting that the top brass do not believe in anything? You are supposed to make some attempt to hide that fact, Nick. Do try.

Are the Conservatives now saying they do not have an ideology that involves advocating for a small state – are we just chucking all these principles in the bin? Best just to have an unquenchable thirst for power. And you wonder why you have hardly any grassroot supporters there and they are at home on the couch instead. Goodness how did happen?

So there we have it. All pretty uninspiring stuff.

I thought to myself, if I asked any of these MPs what three things the Conservatives should stand for, they would struggle to answer. So I offer the following, from the couch.

The Conservative Party. Definitely a party of ideology and not a party where ‘all are welcome.’ Communists and Socialists to name just a two are most certainly not welcome.

Conservatives should offer the following:

Securing Britain’s economic future by cutting the deficit

Securing Britain’s borders by withdrawing from the EU

Protecting British families by not paying couples to live apart, not punishing marriage in the tax system, not loading the dice against single income families.

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