Friday, September 28, 2007

Heir to Blair, or matcher of Thatcher?

The Daily Telegraph is reporting that David Cameron is about to distance himself from his tree-loving, hoodie-hugging, tax-raising, image, and make a distinct appeal to the ‘core’ Conservative supporters who have not been unimpressed with the conviction of Prime Minister Brown this week. There are even rumours of imminent defections, but rumours are nothing but gossip, and Cranmer discourages indulgence in the pursuit.

Except, of course, in matters religio-political.

The Conservative Party is reported to be relishing the prospect of an autumn election, asserting that if the Prime Minister does not call one, he will have ‘bottled it’. In preparation, the Party is ditching many of the recommendations of the Gummer/Goldsmith report - all talk of matching Labour’s public spending commitments, making families pay to park at out-of-town supermarkets, and taxing internal UK flights. Instead, there are rumours of abolishing inheritance tax and reforming stamp duty. There will doubtless also be a few noises about immigration, cleaner hospitals, more discipline in schools, not run 'by Europe'... Mr Cameron will no longer refer to himself as the heir to Blair, but the true heir to Thatcher.


Cranmer does not need to be gifted with prophecy to bet his ashes that if there were to be a general election in October, David Cameron’s Conservatives would be humiliated. Perhaps unlike his immediate predecessors, he would neither resign nor be pushed, but there would be certain demands for a change in direction, and a conviction change at that. The concerns are with his honesty, integrity, his perception of truth, and his consistency.

Cranmer is not saying that the Leader of HM Opposition lacks these qualities, but the all-important public perception is that he manifestly does. And the decision to u-turn (if it be true) on his recent centre-ground strategy in order to appeal to ‘core’ voters simply perpetuates the perception that the Tory Tree simply blows with the strongest wind.

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear' (2Tim 4:3).

David Cameron’s problem is that (for all its cuteness) Labour's 'chameleon’ campaign has paid off, as has the drip-drip-drip of the ‘flip-flop’ mantra. No matter how much Mr Cameron refers to himself as a conviction politician, or ‘an admirer of Margaret Thatcher’, or asserts that the present Shadow Cabinet is made up of the ‘successors of the Thatcher inheritance’, people simply do not believe him. And those who believe least are many ‘core’ supporters, not least because what he says on one day is frequently contradicted the next, and any who criticise him, no matter how experienced, how credible, or how senior, are arrogantly and pompously dismissed as being 'out of touch'.

How can the heir to Margaret Thatcher criticise Lord Tebbit and declare that he is ‘out of touch with where the Conservative movement is’? It is not only a naïve assertion; it is fundamentally wrong. There is a vast chasm between David Cameron’s ‘Conservative movement’ and that constituted of thousands of loyal Party workers. The real ‘Conservative movement’ is neither the Shadow Cabinet nor CCHQ, but the tens of thousands of members and millions of ‘core’ supporters, many of whom respect and admire Lord Tebbit. When Mr Cameron attacks him, he pours scorn upon them all.

No-one calls for justice; no-one pleads his case with integrity. They rely on empty arguments; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil (Isaiah 59:4).

The Conservative Party has become a Party without true conviction. Announcements are made off the cuff, amended or disowned within days, and there is a feeling of a weekly policy shift. True to the heir-to-Blair strategy, style is perceived to have triumphed over substance. While this reported change in direction may be welcome, it comes far too late for an autumn poll.

Or could a manifesto pledge to hold a retroactive referendum on the EU Constitution / Reform Treaty save him?

Yet if the pledge were made, would any either believe or trust him?


Anonymous nedsherry said...

Heir to Blair, or matcher of Thatcher?

Etonian phoney 'un, IMHO. Heir to Blair, in other words, but we don't someone to match Thatch either. She wasn't a genuine conservative. "Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

28 September 2007 at 15:12  
Blogger AethelBald, King of Wessex said...

Are there any Tories left who would hold up and say "This is what we believe"? I mean, it's not something you can imagine DC saying, is it? Or any NuTory that I'm aware of. Maybe the real conservatives have moved to UKIP.

28 September 2007 at 15:48  
Blogger Livingsword said...

Wouldn’t conservative people want to conserve trees, etc…?

“Cranmer does not need to be gifted with prophecy to bet his ashes”

…Wonderful line!...

…and nice injection of 2 Tim along with a nimble wielding of Isaiah 59

28 September 2007 at 17:41  
Blogger Dean McConnell said...

Hear, hear! We have the same problem in the USA with the Republican party Your Grace.

Too few political leaders have the right way of seeing the world and even fewer have the excellent character we hope for in statesmen.

Many "conservative" politicians go through a cycle here: 1) in office they fail to do the right things; 2) at the election they claim to be conservative; 3) remembering their record, nobody believes them; 4) the core base does not vote and the fake "conservatives" loose; 5) professional political advisors tell the politicians still in office to rule to the left because the left did well in the last election; 6) repeat 1 through 5.

28 September 2007 at 19:34  
Anonymous 4micah said...

"Heir to Blair, or matcher of Thatcher?"

Phony version of Tony, ie not a virtual Churchill.

28 September 2007 at 22:08  
Anonymous Ken Stevens said...

Ah, wise words indeed, Your Grace.

I trust that your last sentence was ironic?
"Yet if the pledge were made, would any believe or trust him?"
As folk constantly mutter in the smokefree snug of our pub -
"There's nowt so sacrosanct and inviolable as a politician's pledge"

Btw, are you actually an EU fifth columnist? The handy hint just below this comment box says "Sie können HTML-Tags verwenden" which I suspect is an exhortation for greater European political union.
Bet you ain't Cranmer at all; you're that old German geezer Martin Luther King, wot wrote 'Ich hab ein Traum' hundreds of years ago.

28 September 2007 at 22:33  
Blogger Wrinkled Weasel said...

I have already ranted on about Dave being the "Sultan of Smarm" so I'll give it a rest. His Grace has clearly made the point.

I think they have fundamentally failed to read the demographics.

It comes down to the way that the Tory leadership understands and interracts with the rest of us.

I once travelled through the town of Retford (please bear with me). I remarked to Mrs Weasel that these people don't realise that they live in Retford. Retford is nowhere. It is everytown with a Smiths and a Woolworths and a Tescos and people who drive battered Rovers. And the place is shabby and the earnest inhabitants shuffle around in polymer leisure suits. Mrs Weasel and I were hungry and lunch had "finished" so the only place we could eat was at a dreary hotel with an empty restaurant that took half an hour to provide us with something-horrid-and-chips.

Everyone has been to Retford, or somewhere like it, (they are legion) but not, apparently Dave and his chums. The demographic used as a tool of policy making stays within the boundaries of Islington and Chelsea. How can they imagine the grey drizzle of Retford? How can downsizing be an option for someone whose main aspiration is a cheap week in Benidorm? How can car parking be an issue for someone who uses a bus and yearns for the money to drive a car? To them a carbon footprint is the skid mark of a cheap trainer on the kitchen floor.

Where I come from, Grammar School meant an exit visa to leave Nowhere like Retford or ..Grantham.

The Conservative Party used to be a party of aspiration, something the current leadersip does not need. When they sit around in the smart bars of N1 and SW3 they have the luxury of inventing asirations just to pass the time; it's mimesis, and Retford is another world.

29 September 2007 at 02:00  
Blogger Livingsword said...

Ken Stevens;

Perhaps you meant Marin Luther not “Martin Luther King”?

29 September 2007 at 06:32  
Anonymous Ken Luther Stevens said...


Yes, I am aware of the difference, thanks.
Shan't try weak jokes again, though I had imagined that even non-German speakers would have caught on to the "Ich hab ein Traum" bit.


29 September 2007 at 08:44  
Blogger Livingsword said...

Ken Luther Stevens;

An easy mistake to make…mine are many.

29 September 2007 at 16:50  
Anonymous Ken Stevens said...


..though probably fewer than mine!

felicitations :-)

29 September 2007 at 17:54  

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