Monday, 15 October 2007

The Upside Of Brown’s Bottle - A guest post by Prague Tory

The following is a guest post from the Prague Tory:

The Upside Of Brown’s Bottle

As a member of a party in opposition, it’s probably a banal comment to say that it’s necessary to reach out to voters who have previously voted against you. But there, I’ve said it. And as a lifelong Conservative, I think that new converts such as Steve Green can really invigorate the party/movement. Watching a former Labour voter taking an interest in politics, then picking a new side and now making a strong case for a Conservative government has been a fascinating spectacle.

But Steve is an exception. Unfortunately, apathy remains a feature of the British political landscape. Although we are ready for a change in government, believe that Gordon Brown lacks political legitimacy and have banged the drum for a 2007 election, I must admit to ambivalence. As my blogger profile says “I believe the Conservatives need to do a lot more than just gain power to change the UK for the better” and that comment stands – a passion for politics should primarily be about making a positive difference (i.e not just winning elections) - which usually involves tough decisions and long-term thinking.

And this is the root of my ambivalence. If Gordon had called an Autumn election that the Conservatives had won, would they/we be in a position to make the necessary political reforms that the UK is crying out for? I’d hope so, but I’m not sure. Even after the latest debacles, almost 50% of the voting public still see Gordon Brown as a trustworthy politician. Gestures such as his early return from holiday during the summer floods still resonate.

The current climate of apathy against a background of a generally Left-leaning cultural establishment is not conducive to delivering the positive difference that the Conservative Party could provide. There must be a hunger for change and the offerings from the Left need to be thoroughly discredited. Of course, by stealing our policies Gordon Brown is helping that cause. As David Cameron said, Gordon Brown’s vision is a vacuum. Former Cabinet Ministers are opining that the Labour Party appears to be an empty vessel, not just policy-lite, but policy free. And whilst I sympathise deeply with those affected, it helps the Conservative narrative that from Northern Rock to Maidstone hospital to the foot and mouth emanating from a government lab, symptoms of the failure of Gordon’s top-down approach are legion. These messages are striking a chord, but will take more time to crystallise in the public imagination. It wouldn’t shock me if Steve’s transformation is a microcosm of a process that is happening more slowly in the country at large.

My view is that we need a national consensus built around a sensible set of policies that protects the law-abiding majority, returns power to the people, rewards enterprise and industry and promotes social cohesion. Don’t listen to the political elites - attacking this incompetent excuse of an administration isn’t dirty politics or going personal, it’s truthful - and should be seen as a necessary element for the political change we aspire to. So, in conclusion, I’d like to thank Gordon for delaying the election. Now, we’ll be even more ready when it comes. We have a chance to hone our manifesto for change. We should relish the opportunity to show Gordon and his party up for what they are between now and then and ensure that he can’t dodge the blame for the failures on his watch.

My Comment: I'm a little embarrassed to be putting up a post that I'm mentioned in, but I think I should add a little background on my decision to swap party allegiance.

I was brought up in the Coal mining town of Barnsley on a large council estate. From that you can probably guess that my family and all their friends voted Labour. Up until the last couple of years (2005 election) I have been a staunch Labour supporter, though like many others my knowledge of politics was pretty thin. On the lead up to the last election I found myself disillusioned with the way the Labour party were running the country, but I still considered myself a Labour voter. I knew when I voted for Labour that year, I was not voting for a party that I was sure would be good for the country, I was voting for a party that I hoped could learn to control the huge money sucking beast they had created. They didn't.

A year into Tony Blair's third term, I found myself growing more frustrated with his cabinet's inability to manage our public services - all of them. It was about this time that I discovered blogging. Many who have followed my progress from the first post I wrote will remember that I announced in my profile that I had no real party allegiance. By that time I did not, I was in political Limbo. I was blogging to learn more about politics and to figure out which party would be most capable of running this country.

What I have come to realise is that there is a need for balance in politics. Socialism has its good points, but so does Conservatism. I believe this is why the political parties are drifting towards the centre ground - because that's were the vast majority of the people are ideologically.

And so we come to the reason I've turned Tory: Through a year of blogging I've come to realise that I lean a little to the political right. But that is not enough to drive me to blog as passionately as I do in favour of the Conservative party. Labour have had two and a bit terms, and a vast amount of money to improve this country's public services and they have failed miserably. Their socialist vision of large government has gone too far and is now uncontrollable. We now need balance and control, and I can only see the Conservative party achieving this.

David Cameron is right, it is time for change - but not too much. What we need from the Conservatives is a reduction in this large government and for someone to grab the reigns of our run away public expenditure. We need capable management, and in ten years Labour have failed to come up with the goods. At some time in the future the need for a Labour government may come again, but that time is not now. The socialist dream, like communism is an ideology and is just not practical in the real world. In 1997 I thought there was a need for some socialist input but it has gone way over the top.

I've gone on far too much now. There are other reasons for my change of heart, but I had better leave them for another time.


Praguetory said...

Thanks for hosting my post and elaborating on your personal journey.

Daily Referendum said...


You are welcome. Sorry I hijacked it at the end, but I felt that my change of party needed some explanation.


Anonymous said...

Well I am much like Prague Tory, having been a recent member of the "None of the above" party since the end of the last tory government. I gave up on the tories because of what I saw as the pure self interest of the tory parliamentry party and absence of any concern for our country or people. For me there was never any question of supporting the labour party, direct decendents of the communist movement. At my age one remembers the anti british antics of Benn, Foot, Bevan and all the rest of the heralds of ruin for the british people. One remembers the ruination of the best system of health care in europe, the striking Bevan boys during the war, the ginormous industries of steel, coal, shipbuilding, and the most varied motor industry in the world all brought to ruination by the socialist denial of the market and the unwillingness to work, and the extortion of employers to pay ever higher wages financed by socialist governments by the simple expedient of printing money. No, I never was so simple as to believe in socialism.
My view of politics is influenced currently by the teachings of the Austrian School of economics, and by the book of James Bartholomew "The Welfare State We're in".
Politicians of all parties must know that to provide prosperity for virtually all, we have to follow the economics laid down by Hayak, Mises, Hoppe etc. No argument, no question, just action. A vibrant private independent charity structure would provide for the rest. And for education the systems of giving vouchers to parents as practiced in Scandinavia would solve all problems as long as the state were excluded from interfering.
Constitutional reform reducing MPs by 50%, lords by 50%, a federal system of UK government for N.Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and England, and a decimation of the civil service would revitalise Britain.
The path is obvious but the politicians are happy to suck on the teat of the treasury, and have no wish to end their gravy train. It matters not one whit which party you support, since the democratic system is totally corrupted. Read "The death of democracy" by Hans Hoppe.
Also, remember, 70% of our legislation comes in directly from Brussels, and checked by parliament only in the most cursory manner. That is of course about to change when the Greet Broon signs the European Treaty (after making sure we have our red lines firmly in place, of course). Then we shall say goodbye to any further sham of democracy.