Friday, May 23, 2008

A Conservative General Election win should now be the consensus

Congratulations to Edward Timpson MP. His election to parliament may go down in political history as the moment that the Conservative Party proved it could win the next General Election.

The results:

Edward Timpson (Con) 20,539 (49.49%, +16.93%)
Tamsin Dunwoody (Lab) 12,679 (30.55%, -18.29%)
Elizabeth Shenton (Lib Dem) 6,040 (14.55%, -4.03%)

CON MAJ 7860

The swing was 17.6%, Lab to Con.

I think the figures speak for themselves. Remember that this seat is the 165th most marginal for Labour. If we can increase our vote by nearly 17% here, ANYTHING is possible. This isn't just a poll based on asking people for whom they would vote. This is a Westminster seat. It's the real thing.

After all the electoral disappointments and humiliations of the last fifteen years or so, as we watched our Party crumble, and then failing in opposition, David Cameron has proved that our decision to elect him in 2005 was truly inspired.

It is good to be Conservative again.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Murder on the Today programme - again

Terrible stuff from the Prime Minister on Today this morning. He stuttered, he floundered, and was skewered repeatedly by Humphreys. He had nothing new to say, nothing reassuring, and in the end, this whole media 'tour' will end up changing focus from policy to personality. Brown's appearance on TV and radio will carry, as Mike Smithson will undoubtedly agree, a reverse-Cameron effect. The more the public see Brown on their screens, or hear him on the radio, the less they will like him. The more they see Cameron, the more they warm to him.

Let's hope there are many more of these interviews in the future.

Friday, May 09, 2008

From ConHome: A Victory for New Labour?

'If we have a resounding enough mandate, we must play it safe to start with (see Lab, 1997-8) but we must then propose radical public sector reform, and not simply conform to the consensus that investment in public services is most important, and that to suggest 'cuts' is somehow a faux pas.

But we must remember that the Conservative Party is the whole reason New Labour exists - Thatcher's success forced Labour to consider generations in opposition. They had to change. The truth of the matter is, New Labour is not a political doctrine - it is an opportunistic hybrid of left and right, whose popularity, Blair and Brown believed, could consign the Conservative Party to decades in opposition. They were unprepared for government and have disappointed the millions who voted for them.

We must ask ourselves: where does New Labour go after a 2010 loss? If, by then, the public view it to have failed resoundingly, and after a 2010 election the Conservatives prove that improvement in public services can be achieved without wasting £millions, I would suggest that there is no need for New Labour to exist.

It depends upon the Party to show that New Labour has not created a new political consensus - we have to make that crucial distinction between waste and effeciency.'

Thursday, May 08, 2008

CON 49 LAB 23 LD 17 - 26% AHEAD

From ConHome:

'I don't have the required vocabulary to describe a 26% lead without heavy doses of euphoric swearing. I've reserved that for phone calls to fellow Tories.

UK Elect has fun with this:

Con 451
Lab 141
LD 21
SNP 12


On these figures, Labour are obliterated pretty much everywhere, even losing two seats in Nottingham, Leicester West (!), Wallasey, Bury South, Stalybridge, Oldham, and.... Darlington!

We now need other pollsters to fall into line. They must all show leads of over 15%, preferably 20%.

We have come so far over the last 2 and a half years. But there must be no let-up - we have to destroy this terrible government once and for all.'

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Labour's Future

There may have been many grand predictions over the last week or so forecasting the demise of the Labour Party. The Conservative Party was already doing well before last week, but since the brilliant Local Election and London Mayoral results, it seems that we must now prepare for government with altogether more realism and purpose. It seems apt, then, to see what ideological grounds there are for the continuation of the Labour Party as a viable force in British politics.

I would argue that New Labour, as a political entity, is ideologically bankrupt. When Labour won in 1997, it had a clear mandate and yet was not remotely prepared for power. After keeping to Conservative spending plans for a while, the Chancellor went on a biblical binge of public spending. Their mantra appears to count them in as both Conservatives and Social Democrats - 'Tough on crime; tough on the causes of crime', 'economic stability and fiscal prudence'; but also - 'education, education, education' and '24 hours to save the NHS'. New Labour chose what it liked from the left and right and slung them together into a melting pot of bare-faced opportunism, commonly known as the 'Third Way', a theory also espoused in times past by Bill Clinton and Gerhard Schroeder. New Labour has had considerable difficulty marrying the market economy with its so-called 'social justice' - I consider its approach to be electorally unsustainable, and ultimately, a failure.

The reality is, New Labour despises the populism of tax cuts and is fundamentally wedded to the expansion of the public sector, come what may. It is, hence, still dedicated to providing full employment. This fundamentally Keynesian principle is incompatible with the market economy. Full employment cannot be provided by any body but the government - it cannot exist as an objective in the private sector. New Labour has created thousands of new public sector jobs, many of which, I'll wager, are completely extraneous to the needs of struggling public entities, such as the NHS.

The failure of Labour to provide sufficient improvement to the NHS should, in theory, put the nail in the coffin of increased and unchecked increases in public spending. The NHS is a bloated and financially ravenous state monolith, the third biggest employer in the world, and completely unsuited to 21st century Britain. Labour have failed to convert it into a modern health service because they have relied solely on investment to achieve this - torrents of money have been buried in a bottomless pit of bureaucracy. Management structures were not reformed in time, leading to confusion, further layers of pen-pushers and, above all, monumental WASTE.

My point is, the Conservative Party cannot allow the issue of increased public spending to become an unspoken consensus between the political parties. We have to fight for lower taxes and radical reform of public services. If we can beat Labour on this issue, there is no longer the need for it, and there is no further reason for the electorate to vote for it. Its only plan in government was to maintain 'economic stability' at all costs - the famed 'stability' that Gordon Brown still crows about to this very day, even as it is unravelling before his eyes.

I do not expect Cameron and Osborne to conform to these ideas straight away once the Conservatives are returned to power. In fact, I'm glad that they're aren't doing. Even if the public are convinced that this approach is the right one, the Labour Party may still be able to use its age-old accusations of 'cuts' to hurt the Party, and jeopardize the outcome of an election. As New Labour did in 1997, the Conservatives must not rock the electoral boat to start with. However, if the mandate is as clear as I hope it will be, we must adopt a gradually more radical economic policy if we are to banish Labour to electoral oblivion. We must provide REAL improvements. Labour have failed to do that, and will never succeed with their current policies.

Unless something truly miraculous happens in the next two years, Labour will lose power in a 2010 general election. If Brown is still PM at that stage (which I hope for our sake he is), he will be forced to go - after which, the fun will really begin. Labour, I predict, will deal very badly with opposition. It is possible that the remaining socialists in Party (many of whom hold very safe seats) will break away to form a separate Party. Those on the right and in the centre of the Labour Party may join the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, and/or form a pseudo-New Labour 'social democratic' Party. The trouble is, will any new centre-left bloc realistically have a chance of regaining power if the Conservatives are successful? Unless they establish a more substantially left-wing position (trade union power, abolition of private education, nationalisation of railways, etc), I doubt it. It is also worth considering that in the First Past the Post electoral system, that if Labour does split, it offers the Conservative Party the real possibility of long-term political hegemony.

With economic consistency comes political survival. New Labour's contradictory economic approach is irreconcilable. New Labour (not, necessarily, the Labour Party) cannot survive. Conservative notions of lower taxation, public sector restraint, economic freedom, fairness and entrepreneurialism will, and must, win the day. If we can prove that these values can be the basis for a public service revolution, Labour need never return to power.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Local Elections 2008

Ah, there's nothing like the smell of 44% in the morning.

Last night's BBC's coverage made for mostly excellent viewing - excluding, that is, Jeremy Vine's toe-curling and, frankly, patronising presentation of the results as they came in. Why on earth do people need to be shown the progress of the Liberal Democrats in the context of a shooting range on a Texan ranch? WHY? Where is my license fee going? It was awful.

Anyway, it rapidly became apparent that it was going to be a better night for us than many thought. Had we reached a glass ceiling? Was 40% the limit? No. The Southampton gain was, perhaps, the biggest surprise. Bury, of course, was symbolically the most important, where we gained 3 seats and finally took overall control of the council.

There are still around 50 results to come today, and, of course, the London mayoral race. The counting for that has begun this morning. I still think Boris must win to finish off a brilliant 24 hours for the Party.