Sunday, February 25, 2007

Wrecking the party?

It is going to come up again and again over the next few months and years, so I thought I may as well address it now. There are going to be claims that people like myself - who are (ex)Tories but deeply dis-satisfied with the Cameron leadership - are going to wreck Cameron's chances of seizing Number 10 from the clutches of Gordon Brown.

Well, bollocks, as far as I am concerned.

There are a number of different points I would make to that claim. First of all, a Cameron victory is by no means certain. Owing to the massive electoral mountain Cameron will have to climb an outright Conservative victory is highly unlikely, even given the current poll lead he has over our visually challenged Chancellor. If Cameron does win a minority victory (and let's not forget there is a real difference between what people tell pollsters and what they actually do in a voting booth) then he will have to form an alliance with Ming The Merciful's Lib Dems - and coalition governments in this country just plain don't work. So for all of you shouting "go, go Cameron!" and imagining our pudgy faced friend sweeping into Number 10 after the next election, I would advise a hint of caution.

Furthermore, my vote is largely irrelevant. I live in a constituency that is Conservative through and through and the chance of my vote allowing anyone else to get in is, frankly, nonsense. I know we are talking about more than just my vote here, and about what would happen if lots of people like me changed their votes. But I maintain that my vote is not going to change the course of the next election. I will still vote, but am under no illusions that my constituency will return the Conservative candidate regardless of how I vote.

But thirdly, and most crucially, there is the argument that anyone like myself, who is right wing but doesn't vote Tory, will be electing by default a further Labour administration. This is just so much horseshite. Because my counter-argument is simple - there is no point in electing a Tory party that is just a photo-copy of the Blair administration. Which, I am sorry to say, the Conservative Party under Cameron are.

I am tired of hearing about how the Conservatives are the best we have got, or how politics is the art of the possible. Bollocks. This country has elected radical governments before (see Attlee and Thacther) and those radical governments are the ones, regardless of whether you think their policies were right or wrong, who actually managed to acheive something. Crazy when you think about it, but there was a time when political parties actually aspired to something other than good headlines and a nice photo opportunity. The fact that Blair has spent the last ten years terrified of moving from the middle ground - and in doing so has terrified Cameron into exactly the same position - is no reason for us to accept this post-Blair consensus that offers nothing other than more of the same to the British people.

Here is the brutal truth - it doesn't make a blind bit of fucking difference to me if Labour win the next election over a Conservative Party that is indistinguishable from that Labour party. I don't care whether it is Labour, Conservatives, Liberal fucking Democrats or even the bloody Monster Raving Looney Party in power. It is not the name of the party in government that matters to me. It is the ideas and policies of that government that matter. Heath was elected as a Conservative Prime Minister. Great! The Tories in power - except, as must be obvious too all bar the politically myopic, Heath was to the left of Blair. It is the policies that matter, not the party.

I've said before but I'll repeat it here again - there is no point in winning power if you have abandoned the ideas and policies that made you seek power in the first place. I reject the idea that politics should be achieving power to the detriment of everything else outright - and, sadly, this seems to be the guiding idea of both Cameron and Blair.

By voting for someone else at the next election it won't be me wrecking the party for Cameron. It will Cameron wrecking the party for himself, by forgetting that he is a Conservative and that the valid, workable ideas for improving this country actually come from the right of the political spectrum.

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At 2:51 pm , Blogger Devil's Kitchen said...

*applauds wildly*

Bravo! And spot on; this is precisely how I felt. That I found an alternative is irrelevent; what is relevent is that I left in the first place...


At 10:26 am , Blogger Jackart said...

I'm Afraid I've Fisked you...

At 12:33 am , Blogger HercĂ© said...

hullo there. hope you don't mind my asking for some more detail on why you are so certain of the following....

"and coalition governments in this country just plain don't work."

At 2:23 pm , Blogger The Nameless Libertarian said...


No worries - more than happy to expand on my sweeping generalisations and statements. There are two main reasons why I think coalitions don't work in this country:

1. Our main parties are already broad coalitions - my current gripes with the Tories shows the breadth of political interest in those parties. The same is true of Labour, and also of the Lib Dems. In order to keep themselves together as a coherent political force parties already have to compromise and cut back on some of their beliefs. If you asked the Tories to join with the Liberal Democrats (which could be a real possibility after the next election) then you are looking for two broad political parties to further compromise and risk breaking their political unions for the sake of a coalition government. The price of embracing enough Liberal Democrat policies would be harsh for the Tories, and by embracing some of those policies the Tories would be alienating their own voters, and risking their chances at acheiving further political parties.

2. The post war historical precedent of a coalition government is not great. In fact, the Liberal-Labour alliance after the inconclusive election results of 1974 stands as one of the worst governments in recent memory. Wilson, then Callaghan, were forced to compromise with the Liberals at every turn and when the Liberal leader, Jeremy Thrope, ran into serious scandal (he was accused, falsely, of trying to have an male lover murdered), Wilson was tainted and weakened by the alleged actions of someone in a different party. The country was paralysed under the 1974-1979 coalition, and this paralysis led to the demand for radical reform under the Thatcher administration. Ultimately the government fell victim to a vote of no confidence because it simply did not have enough loyal MPs to back it up.

Effectively British politicians lack the art of compromise required to form a workable coalition government, and I think rediscovering those skills will be a long and diffficult process that our political leaders will try to avoid at all costs.

Our electoral system tends to produce a clear party of government even if the actual results do not - I am one of the few who actually likes this certainty, even when (as has happened over the past 10 years) it produces a clear majority for a party I do not like.

All subjective comment, of course, but I think a clear majority works far better for the UK than a coalition government.



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