Tag Archives: conservative party

David Cameron’s speech: meh, bah and hmm.

David Cameron - head in handsI missed David Cameron’s speech to the Conservative party conference today. Or, rather, I didn’t see or hear it, which isn’t quite the same thing as missing it.

Meh

But it sounds like, by missing it, I didn’t miss much. There were no dramatic announcements, no new initiatives. Yes, there was talk of the need to “nag and push and guide” young people to either “earn or learn” – the Department of Work and Pensions reports over a million people between the ages of 16 and 24 are …

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Take a good coalition environmental move and Owen Paterson will undermine it

Paterson in Carrier BagPutting an acknowledged environmental sceptic in charge of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs was always going to be bad news. Shropshire MP Owen Paterson’s sympathies lie with industrial scale farming and fracked landscapes. He hates windfarms and is a global warming sceptic. Now he’s trying to restrict the scope of the carrier bag charge.

It’s no surprise then that he is reluctant to introduce a charge on supermarket carrier bags. Previously, Defra sat on its heels. Its ministers claimed it needed better evidence about the impact of a charge. That’s an ironic position to take given that Defra has launched a badger cull against the scientific evidence of the Krebs trails.

It is true that under the former Labour government, Defra became obsessed with carbon emissions at the expense of the contribution of the environment to wellbeing and biodiversity – as did much of the environmental movement. It fretted that a one use paper bag used more carbon than a well-used plastic bag. Everyone but CPRE and few other charities ignored the impact of plastic bags on landfill, the landscape, our streets and the seas.

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Cameron plans second coalition, or does he?

The Daily Telegraph is reporting today that David Cameron is planning for a second coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

The Prime Minister has held private talks with Cabinet ministers over new Conservative Party rules which would make it easier to strike another deal.

This is all very sensible. In the absolute monarchy mitigated by occasional regicide that is the Conservative Party, tighter rules to clamp down on the backbench naysayers to a coalition would be very prudent, just in case.

Under the plans, backbench Tories would be consulted on the new power-sharing agreement with the final text being put to

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Page 3 and the Tories: showing their modern, enlightened face

page 3 news in briefsPoliticsHome’s Paul Waugh reports the Tory distress at the axing of one of their favourite parts of The Sun:

the long-running News In Briefs section of Page 3 of the Sun (it’s been going since 2003) is, I can report, no more.

The section was missing from today’s paper, now under a new editor, and I understand there are no plans to resurrect it.

Several Tory MPs are already in mourning. The party’s popular ‘Breakfast Club’ of MPs (which numbers ministers as well as backbenchers) has a tradition whereby

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The “affair” is none of our business – but how did it get in the papers anyway?

Today’s Daily Mail carries a story of a love affair which, apparently, has shocked David Cameron so much and got Downing Street panicking to the extent that they are worried about his political agenda being derailed.

From the story, which has no names or much in the way of detail, we can deduce that two middle aged people had an affair which is now over and which caused distress to others. No current cabinet ministers are involved and, from what I can gather, no Liberal Democrats either.

When you get down to it, it seems that the Mail has published a story …

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Opinion: Could there be a “Tory SDP?”

The right of the Conservative party, who have protested so destructively over gay marriage, might do well to remind themselves that their party itself is a marriage and marriages sometimes split up.

The damage that has been done to the Tories’ standing in the country over this issue can be seen in the latest Survation poll that has UKIP on 22% of the vote. This is only two per cent behind the Conservatives and if repeated at the next general election would result in a loss of around a hundred Tory seats.

UKIP would be unlikely to elect more than one …

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“They’re all mad, swivel-eyed loons”: a top Tory on the Tories

Conservative Party logoHere’s the remark attributed to ‘a member of the Prime Minister’s inner circle’ according to the Telegraph:

“There’s really no problem,” the Conservative figure said about the parliamentary turmoil. “The MPs just have to do it because the associations tell them to, and the associations are all mad swivel-eyed loons.”

There is an obvious point here (and it’s the reason why whoever said it will soon be resigned): don’t diss your own supporters. ‘Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican,’ was Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment. It was as …

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A Tory-Ukip pact? Up to you, guys. But you do know there’s an easier way, right?

farage and cameronUkip’s spectacular showing at last week’s local elections has got the Tories spooked. The full realisation is sinking in that this may not be a one-off eruption of popular protest.

Nigel Farage’s band of modern-life-is-rubbish disciples will likely top next year’s Euro polls. Such momentum may propel them towards a double-digit general election performance in 2015. If so, the Tories’ hope of a majority is dead: Ed Miliband will become prime minister as leader of the largest single party.

Though the local elections were scarcely a bundle of laughs for …

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Nick Clegg MP writes… The Labour and Tory exodus

Something is happening on the centre ground of British politics. An exodus. The Conservative leadership is being lured to the right. Ed Miliband is pulling his party to the left. Only the Liberal Democrats are holding firm.

That creates an opportunity for our party. Over the last twenty years the centre has become a crowded place. First New Labour pitched up, determined to demonstrate a new found credibility on the economy. Then followed a detoxified Conservative Party, hugging hoodies and frolicking with huskies. Yet now – in what, in time, may prove to be a highly significant political shift – the …

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A reply to Dan Hodges: why it’s not surprising some Tories aren’t bothered about winning in 2015

dan hodgesThe Telegraph’s token Labour blogger Dan Hodges has a typically punchy post today – Do the Tories actually want to win in 2015? – highlighting the fatalism of some Tory MPs who think victory next time is possible but not worth it:

Hardly worth it? What, just managing to scrape a win at the next election, just managing to govern for another five years, just managing to drive through your agenda on health care reform, welfare reform, education reform, etc?

The Conservative Party is currently in the middle of the biggest

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Julian Huppert MP writes…..The Preamble, 25 years on

25 years ago, our party agreed its new constitution – and the preamble to that constitution, setting out our core values and vision.

Many of us will know some of it – ‘The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, … in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance, or conformity’.

This extract – the bit that appears on membership cards – is in my view truly poetic, and captures brilliantly what we are trying to do. We are concerned about people, and empowering them to do what they can and want to do. …

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George Bridges: my part in the Tories’ downfall. As a Lib Dem, I approve this message

There’s a fascinating article today in the Telegraph by George Bridges: The Tories have gone astray – and I helped. Who’s George Bridges, you ask? Here’s his summary of his political career to date:

First a researcher for the Conservative Party machine, then a tour of duty in the bunker of No 10 for the last three Major years, followed by a few years advising Michael Howard and David Cameron.

It’s a hefty 1,000-word ‘Consevatism: my part in its downfall’ mea culpa, and it’s fascinating in two ways.

First, for its call to arms for Conservatives to ignore the polling …

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Chris Heaton-Harris and the Tories’ discipline problem

One of the increasingly notable (and in many ways remarkable) things about the coalition is the stark difference in the levels of party unity and discipline in the two parties. While Liberal Democrat MPs and members have committed – often selflessly – to the implementation of the coalition agreement, the same cannot be said of the increasingly fractious Conservative party. Old wounds over Europe have clearly not healed, and the salt of equal marriage and the prime minister’s commitment that this should be the greenest government ever are making many on the Conservative fringes increasingly uncomfortable.

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LibLink: Menzies Campbell – Europe is the glass jaw of the Tory party. It has taken a hit

In the Independent, Sir Menzies Campbell gives his perspective on the latest Tory shenanighans on Europe:

Europe is the glass jaw of the Tory party. Some of their dissidents have been heard to say that Mr Cameron should behave like Margaret Thatcher. But it was her “No, no, no” to Europe which was the straw that

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Paul Tyler writes: Progress postponed

There was no talk this year of banning champagne at the Conservative Party Conference. Perhaps there was no danger of exuberance among delegates. As recalcitrant Tories sought one-in-the-eye against Nick Clegg by erasing Lords Reform from the Coalition Agreement, their party’s treasured redrawing of the UK electoral map was duly jettisoned too. Without a stronger second chamber to challenge the executive, it would have been wrong to reduce the size of the House of Commons, thereby increasing the proportionate dominance of the government’s ‘payroll’ within it.

Clearly, the failure of the most comprehensive attempt to reform the composition of the Lords …

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“Tory membership in crisis” – Independent

Today’s Independent reports:

Conservative Party logoThree-quarters of local Conservative associations are losing activists as the party suffers a recruitment crisis which has seen membership halve since David Cameron became leader.

The latest estimates put Conservative membership at between 130,000 and 170,000, compared with almost 300,000 shortly after Mr Cameron succeeded Michael Howard…

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Lords reform: did we really expect any better of either the Tories or Labour?

All three main political parties fought the 2010 election promising the electorate that, if elected, they would reform the House of Lords. All three promised the same in 2005, too. And 2001. Yet in 2012 only one party is staying true to that promise: the Lib Dems. The Tories and Labour, in contrast, are happily indulging in party politics to block progress in advancing legislative democracy.

The Conservatives living up to their anti-reform name…

The Conservative Party has fought the last three elections promising to introduce a mainly/wholly elected second chamber to replace the current House of Patronage. They signed up …

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Europe Day Special: Avoiding the slippery slopes towards euroscepticism

Today is Europe Day. The Treaty of Rome, the EU’s founding treaty was signed 55 years ago; post war Europe sought a new strategy to end old enmities and forge shared prosperity through economic growth. However one measures the achievements of those goals, the conclusion has to be the European Union has delivered on both counts.

For those of us who believe in the EU’s objectives and feel that Britain should be leading in Europe, these are turbulent times.

Restoring faith in a political structure which may appear removed from the citizen, and rebuilding an economic framework which has been proven inadequate …

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When did the Tories stop supporting Lords reform?

From all the debate and angst within the Tory party over the issue of House of Lords reform you’d imagine the plan to inject an element of democracy into the UK parliament had been foisted on David Cameron by sneakily obsessive Liberal Democrats.

Yet the reality is somewhat different. The Coalition Government’s pledge to overhaul the revising chamber (after Labour’s successive, botched failures) built on Tory promises to the electorate over a decade or more — recognising perhaps that such reform is in fact in their own interests.

Here’s what the Tory manifesto said as far back as 2001:

In

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Dear Conservative MPs, Re House of Lords reform here’s what your manifesto & the Coalition Agreement say

It’s almost enough to make you feel sorry for Conservative MPs — it appears some of them have only just read their own party’s manifesto and the Coalition Agreement they signed up to. That can be the only explanation for the sudden fit of vapours which have apparently afflicted three of their number over the issue of House of Lords reform.

So as a reminder to them, and as a service to their Tory colleagues, here’s a reminder of the Conservative Party’s promise to the people back in 2010 in its manifesto:

We will work to build a consensus for a

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The Tories’ and Labour’s collective tax omnishambles

Labour is against reducing the 50p top-rate tax to 45p for those earning more than £150,000. What could be clearer? As it happens, quite a lot could be clearer.

First, the omnishambles…

Given how widely predicted George Osborne’s decision to reduce the top-rate was you would have thought Labour would have anticipated it and worked out their line. They failed to — as Mark Pack noted here, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna contradicted himself within 24 hours, while Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls declined to declare his hand.

When Labour did …

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Opinion: we can not allow ourselves to be used as scapegoats by the Tories

It was an amazing coincidence that Lady Warsi’s interview on BBC2’s Newsnight spoke so lamentably about the state of the coalition the evening before YouGov put the Tories 11 points behind Labour. The Conservative Party chairman without hesitation accused us of being immature and failing to accept collective responsibility within the coalition.

Patrick Wintour’s article in yesterday’s Guardian  highlights the despicable manner in which Lady Warsi, as a cabinet member showed no loyalty to her coalition partners by putting the boot in as soon as the going got tough and the Tories started struggling in the opinion polls.

The whole episode …

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LibLink: Chris Rennard – David Cameron wants nothing less than Tory hegemony

On the Guardian’s Comment is Free, Chris Rennard warns that Libdems should beware becoming part of a grand plan to secure permanent Conservative domination:

Thirteen years of opposition were especially painful for those Tories who formed their political opinions in the years when Margaret Thatcher appeared to reign supreme. Opposition from 1997 was humiliating and served to increase the fiercely competitive instincts of the Cameron circle. Time in opposition helped them to plan to try and ensure that, if Labour let them win back power, they would never lose again – even with historically low levels of support for the

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10 things you might not have known about party political funding over the last decade

The Electoral Commission website is a data-mine of information for those interested in all aspects of party political funding.

For those who’d rather not get their hands dirty doing the mining themselves, below you’ll find 10 interesting (in my opinion) facts I discovered there.

But for those of you interested in excavating further, I’ve uploaded Google spreadsheets of the three main parties’ donations received between 2001 and 2011 (incl.):

And here are those 10 interesting facts I promised you…

1) In total, the Lib Dems raised £33,742,984 in donations from 2001-11. This compares with £173,742,956 for the Labour Party, and £182,418,146 for the Conservatives.

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Liberal Unionism in 2012

There’s no escaping history in our party, and current debates of nationalism, unionism and secession should prompt Liberal Democrats to delve back into the Gladstonian past.

The Liberal Party split over the Union. Gladstone favoured Home Rule for Ireland, Liberal Unionists didn’t, and ultimately joined the Conservative Party. This cemented the Conservative Party as the party of the Union, and it is a position the Conservative Party still holds.

The purpose of this article is, however, to challenge the Conservative Party’s stranglehold over being British.

The existing Conservative argument goes that a Conservative Britain is a Britainthat stands proud and takes no nonsense …

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Haggis, Neeps and Liberalism special: Dramatic independence referendum duel in London and Edinburgh

It’s been a torrid few days in Scottish politics.

Since the SNP won an overall majority in the Holyrood elections last year, there has been much talk of the independence referendum they pledged to have in the second half of their term. They have been tight-lipped on their plans.

There has been uncertainty on the legality of such a referendum. Even respected legal blogger Lallands Peat Worrier, himself an SNP supporter, has expressed that the terms of the Scotland Act may not allow it. And amid all the bluster of this blog post from senior SNP strategist Stephen Noon is …

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Opinion: The Tory Party has mutated. It is for us to say Europe is our hope for the future

David Cameron’s renunciation of a Treaty not even yet fully negotiated was the culmination of a process that began around 1992.

In 1992 a small group of Tory ultras, “the Maastricht Rebels”, began fighting their party’s traditional pro-Europeanism. It has taken 19 years to make their fringe views a normal Conservative Party and conservative press position. 1992 has led to 2011 like a river flows to the sea.

Anti-Europeanism’s hold on a major political movement has caused a poorly informed anti-Europeanism to take hold among many of our fellow citizens in the UK, as it has among some of …

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Nick Clegg – Europe: Britain is stronger, better, greater when we lead

Nick Clegg has emailed party members this afternoon, following the EU summit last Thursday:

Support for Europe has always been a cornerstone of what our party stands for. Recent days have been tough for pro-Europeans in our country, but I am clear that it is in Britain’s national interest to remain at the heart of Europe.

As I have made clear since Friday, I am bitterly disappointed by the outcome of last weeks summit, which ended with the UK in a minority of one. There is now a real danger that over time the UK will be isolated and marginalised within the

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged and | 22 Comments

Tim Farron MP writes… EU referendum: the Conservatives are not acting out of patriotism

This is not likely to win me any votes, but I am proudly pro-Europe and in favour of our continued membership of the EU. That doesn’t make me an apologist for every aspect of the EU: the EU could definitely operate more transparently, efficiently and effectively, and we as Liberal Democrats should say so more often and with more conviction.

Nevertheless, our main challenge has to be to win hearts and minds in favour of our broader membership of the EU, and reverse the completely poisonous anti-European narrative. So many of those who were so indignant this summer about Mr Murdoch’s …

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What do you think was the second most important reason why people didn’t vote Tory in the Cotswolds?

Between us, Stephen Tall (he of the Oxford Comma cartoon) and myself (purveyor of news about commas in election law and academic research), appear to be carving out a niche in political punctuation coverage.

I fear it is all going to end in tears when someone puts our own punctuation habits under the microscope, but before it does I have exciting, related news to report.

I have blogged before about the fall-out amongst Cotswold Conservatives following their big losses to the Liberal Democrats in May’s local elections, including their fear that they are seen as “toffs legislating for …

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  • User AvatarRoland 28th Nov - 2:22pm
    Jonathan - I'm not sure if I am misinterpreting the result, merely trying to shed some light on the thinking behind a particular group of...
  • User AvatarWilliam Summers 28th Nov - 2:20pm
    A blog post on whether or not you should have done a blog post on another blog post. Political blogging has finally eaten itself!
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 28th Nov - 2:20pm
    @Paul Walter "Nick Clegg is a great leader and it would be most unwise to ditch him this side of May next year." And the...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 28th Nov - 2:19pm
    As Jo Grimond said ...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 28th Nov - 2:19pm
    @Denis Loretto - As Jo Grimond, liberals should be on the side of the governed, not the governing. Nick's unwillingness to do this when in...
  • User AvatarManfarang 28th Nov - 2:16pm
    Tez “Without education, we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.” As I said get to the library.