Monday, May 10, 2010

A Lib-Con ‘Change Coalition’ augurs well for Compassionate Conservatism

According to Michael Portillo, the election stalemate is David Cameron’s opportunity to destroy ‘the Right’. According to Simon Heffer, the whole election was a ‘con’.

Whatever it is, Cranmer is quite sanguine about it.

The rain is the rain: it’s neither good nor bad; it’s just the rain.

We are where we are.

In forging a government in the national interest – which is the grown-up thing to do (notwithstanding that Cranmer always thought that politicians always governed in the national interest) – there is no reason at all why one may not have Liberal Democrat voices to help shape the agenda. The reality is that there are many Conservative-minded Liberal Democrats and quite a few more Liberal-Democrat-minded Conservatives: there is a line of coincidence with distinct points of Whiggish convergence around which the two great political traditions of Toryism and Liberalism naturally coalesce.

Should they manage to do so, they could keep Labour’s Socialism at bay for a generation, if not eradicate it forever.

If we examine David Cameron’s great vision, his political raison d’etre, his principal policy emphasis since he became Party leader – that of ‘Progressive’, ‘One Nation’ or ‘Compassionate’ Conservatism – there is no reason at all why he may not secure a parliamentary majority with each Bill that comes before the House of Commons. Of course there are divergences in the policy details, but liberal philosophy meets a distinct strand of conservative philosophy at the point of individual liberty.

And we are at a time of such a Conservative and Liberal expression and understanding of the role of the individual that legislation would be protected from extremist expressions: the freedom of the individual is tempered by his or her responsibility to society, even if, at the moment, society has got the better of the individual. The poor need to hear the message of personal responsibility and self-reliance, the optimistic assurance that if they try – as they must – they will make it.

The Conservative Party is intent on empowering communities because the sense of political community is intrinsic to people’s sense of the need for social community. The narrative focus is on welfare, family breakdown and ‘social justice’ in the context of traditional conservative themes like low taxation and the small state. Proponents of Compassionate Conservatism aver that social problems are better solved through cooperation with private companies, charities and religious institutions rather than directly through government departments.

David Cameron’s stated intention to make Iain Duncan Smith the Minister for Social Justice indicates that the Conservative Party is now concerned with the moral and spiritual health of the nation just as much as Margaret Thatcher was concerned with its economic health: economic reality and moral concerns are no longer in conflict. Thus David Cameron talks not only of economic recession but of ‘social recession’ and ‘moral failure’. He writes:

When parents are rewarded for splitting up, when professionals are told that it’s better to follow rules than do what they think is best, when single parents find they take home less for working more, when young people learn that it pays not to get a job, when the kind-hearted are discouraged from doing good in their community, is it any wonder our society is broken? (The Guardian, 2010).
There is nothing here with which the Liberal Democrats would disagree.

David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ is both liberal and democratic: his plans for free schools are both liberal and democratic; his plans for a ‘pupil premium’ for the most challenging pupils are both liberal and democratic; his desire to redistribute NHS funding to the areas with the lowest life expectancy is both liberal and democratic. His opposition to further taxes on jobs is both liberal and democratic; his desire for lower personal taxation is both liberal and democratic; his opposition to ID cards is both liberal and democratic. And what liberal and democrat could possibly resile from the Conservatives’ proposed reforms to Parliament – that of granting the electorate the right to recall their MP, and petition for a parliamentary debate?

David Cameron’s conservatism is further expressed in his desire to increase ‘localism’ and to build upon the liberal strand of conservatism: ‘What the State can usefully do’, said JS Mill, ‘is to make itself a central depository, and active circulator and diffuser, of the experience resulting from many trials’. When a Tory espouses Mill, a Liberal can rejoice. The Conservative Party’s ‘Social Justice Policy Group’ was established to encourage initiatives by various local organisations, including charities and churches, and to examine which governmental functions presently exercised at Westminster may be placed in the hands of local government made more accountable to the local electorate.

What Liberal Democrat could oppose that?

All of these policies are intrinsic to and consistent with a programme of Compassionate Conservatism for they are all concerned with theo-political matters of social justice and the imperative of loving one’s neighbour.

And loving does not demand liking.

But loving does demand engagement, understanding and tolerance of those whose personality we do not like or of whose worldview and beliefs we disapprove.

Not all Christians are the Cameron sort of Christian, that is of ‘a fairly classic Church of England faith, a faith that grows hotter and colder by moments’. But it is this expression of Anglicanism which will now bring him to Downing Street: it does not seek to polarise by setting one moral or political philosophy over another; it seeks consensus in accordance with its traditional via media, or, in the words of the preface to the 1662 Prayer Book, ‘to keep the mean between the two extremes’.

David Cameron’s approach is moderate: it is consonant with his paternalistic Anglicanism that the Liberal Democrats can be embraced as part of his ‘broad church’. It was observed last year that ‘Cameron is not an enigma, he’s an Anglican’, which ‘gives him considerable (some would say contemptible) flexibility as far as dogma is concerned’. But his constant appeal to Disraeli stems from his awareness that under Margaret Thatcher the Conservative Party was perceived to have a harsh attitude towards the poor. His ‘Compassionate Conservatism’ has a distinct focus on those who have little, with policies on health and education in particular to ensure ‘social justice’.

We are on the brink of an economic crisis. Carpe diem.

The post mortem on the election campaign is for another day.


Anonymous Christian Socialist said...

Your Grace, you have in the past done nothing but slate the liberal democrats. Are you now getting your orders from central office?

10 May 2010 at 09:03  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Certainly not.

When the context changes, adaptation is the mature and reasonable thing to do.

10 May 2010 at 09:06  
Anonymous Cameron Cutie said...

Cam promised me a seat which was safe, but I was outvoted. These bloody provincial cretiens eh? Not the sort of reaction one would get in notting hill.

10 May 2010 at 09:34  
Anonymous Martin Sewell said...

I recall Michael Nazir Ali talking once about the need to "work with the grain" of human nature and in the election aftermath it does us no harm to think in those terms. We argued for what was right and so did our opponents, the Court of public opinion has spoken and it makes sense, as Your Grace explains, to seek to work together in those areas in which there can be seen to be a greater consensus.

I think that it will turn out to be a reasonable outcome and certainly better than the alternative.

Our Lib Dem necessary 'allies" might turn out better than we feared - and at least we have jettisoned the dreadful Evan Harris which was a ray of sunshine on Friday morning.

10 May 2010 at 09:55  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

‘And we are at a time of such Conservative and Liberal expression and understanding of the role of the individual that legislation would be protected from extremist expressions: the freedom of the individual is tempered by his or her responsibility to society, even if, at the moment, society has got the better of the individual.’

I cannot see how it would be protected from extremist expressions given that the Left-liberal hegemony have shifted the centre of political gravity on to ground that is littered with Left-liberal assumptions. No one can insert a playing-card between the Conservatives and New Labour and between New Labour and the Lib-Dems.

The freedom of the individual is hardly tempered by his responsibility to society. We have an entire generation that has grown up in a rights-of-man culture. Given that individuals have rights (Human Rights Act 1998) then it is the State’s duty to fulfil those rights – not the duty of a neighbour (for example, adults fear asking teenagers to remove their feet from bus seats – stigmatization has been effectively extinguished). Society has not got the better of the individual – but the State has got the better of the individual; the more rights there are the more State bureaucracy there must be: Big State – small society – Big Individuals. An entire generation has been taught, through human rights case law, that they cannot achieve anything unless they first secure victim-hood status.

Any message about personal responsibility and self-reliance to the poor means: what State form must they complete in order to be served by tax-payer State funded officials.

Mr Cameron has a desire ‘to redistribute NHS funding to the areas with the lowest life expectancy’. Why do some areas have a lower life expectancy compared to others? Tobacco, gin and cheese-burgers fuelled by some of the most generous welfare payments in Europe. A man can survive, like the great Russian dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn proved, on one bowl of soup and a piece of bread. But the Left-liberal hegemony assumes that the poor must be free to live on beer, fags, fry-ups and welfare payments.

In any event, why have Cabinet meetings about redistributing local State resources to poor areas? Why not implement s.1 Equality Act 2010 (public sector socio-economic disadvantage duty): socialism in one clause and let State officials conduct redistribution and force the relatively well-off into gated-communities?

Drive past any pub on a sunny afternoon in the inner-city, and witness the poor drinking with their children adjacent to parked prams.

But of course the poor (8.1m) cannot, even if they wanted to, for the sake of self-respect, secure jobs; those have gone to ‘the principle of the free movement of labour’; there is no such thing, under EU law, as British jobs for British workers: there are only EU jobs.

‘All of these policies are intrinsic to and consistent with a programme of Compassionate Conservatism for they are all concerned with theo-political matters of social justice and the imperative of loving one’s neighbour.’

Behind net curtains the majority of the population are drinking themselves to oblivion. They cannot love their neighbour as they do not love themselves: the Socialists have destroyed (by ridiculing and then extinguishing Judaeo-Christian values) the care of neighbour for neighbour and replaced that care by State provision and coercion (‘Smoking verboten!’ leading to the closure of pubs as community hubs of social intercourse and mutual help).

Hardship brings families, brings men, brings neighbours, brings communities, brings villages, and brings towns and cities together: it divides the chaff from the wheat so that men may at long last understand they cannot live by bread alone.

10 May 2010 at 10:18  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

"When the context changes, adaptation is the mature and reasonable thing to do."

In other words - 'make it up as you go along'!

10 May 2010 at 10:19  
Anonymous Left liberal said...

con/lib alliance it is then, in any case the new conservative party is very close to the lib dems anyway. A good move for the UK.

10 May 2010 at 10:35  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

This Nation is at crisis point. The aftershocks and fall out from years of greed and deception by opportunist politicians has left the electorate disillusioned, sceptical and fragmented.

‘Society’ is not broken it is merely suffering from the malaise of neglect, brought on through the application of the false notions of selfishness and multiculturalism; neither of which are irreversible given time.

Our focus must be drawn to addressing the greatest danger which is the potential failure of the economy. All other considerations will pale in to insignificance if there is not a united front to address the financial future with common cause.

This threat is bigger than any parochial Party politics or vote tempting catchpenny promises, and needs to be approached in the same gritty manner of 1940s Britain.

I think Cameron's greatest threat will come not from Lib-Dems or Labour but from within the blinkered old guard of Conservative Party supremacists. The politicians have been forced to come together in what in the future may come to be regarded as a serendipitous coalition of necessity. To achieve the maximum potential of the opportunity, they need the universal support of the electorate and the fourth estate if we are to regain any semblance of our national identity and pride.

The old two party slugging match needs to be confined to the past. Neither of the old hierarchies exists any more to the same definitively partisan degrees any more. This could be the moment for UK PLC to break out of the moribund mould of entrancement that has led us to this sorry state of disunity and public antipathy towards politics and politicians.

His Graces comment here is an incisive take on the post election realities and, if He is in any way representative of a new wave of political thinking, we may just about come through the next ten years a fitter and stronger 21st Century democracy.

10 May 2010 at 10:53  
Blogger Owl said...

Crannie, you are an optimist to the end.
We need to restore families as the basis of society. that means "small society" not "big society".
LibCon means AGW and EU so forget the UK except, of course, that the UK must keep coughing up to support these insults to intelligence.
I cannot see where Cameron is serving the people, can you?

10 May 2010 at 11:03  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Cameron’s “hug a Libdem” comes as quite a surprise as does the attitude of other prominent Tories like Gove who says he is willing to offer his Cabinet post to his new best friend Lawes. The problem for all the political parties are the backwoodsmen (of which there are many Tory examples posting here, who place ideology before pragmatism.

Similarly surprising is the statesman like way Clegg is putting the national interest before the opportunity to change the electoral system as whatever deal they may do with Cameron, PR is unlikely to be part of it.

One can imagine the entire political discourse changing from confrontation to collaboration. How refreshing that scenario would be and what a threat to the tribal loyalties of the Fleet Street press who thrive on conflict. With their political influence in decline (as well as their revenues) they may disappear altogether.

10 May 2010 at 12:23  
Blogger Gnostic said...

In the national interest? Do Cameron and Clegg even know what that means?

10 May 2010 at 12:24  
Blogger English Viking said...


The National Interest is about £4500 per second, and rising.

10 May 2010 at 12:31  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Viscount Singh said...

Drive past any pub on a sunny afternoon in the inner-city, and witness the poor drinking with their children adjacent to parked prams.

Your excellence may I offer to remove the poor from your view lest their smell offend you. And to avoid this offence in the future might I suggest forced sterilisation of the working class and I could throw in atheists, gays and socialists for good measure.

10 May 2010 at 12:34  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.

10 May 2010 at 12:38  
Blogger Gnostic said...

English Viking: Good one! :D

Now, do we storm Parliament, cleanse it of vermin and install people who can actually do something to sort out this mess?

10 May 2010 at 12:39  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

Mr Michael Portillo wrote: ‘If the result is that the party [Conservative] gains power, the internal argument is over before it starts.’

In other words, Cameron has nowehere to run except into 10 Downing Street – because the grass-roots conservatives are waiting out here – ready for a confrontation.

10 May 2010 at 13:36  
Blogger K said...

It is interesting to see so much change and renewal from both the Lib Dems and Tories. I believe that this has a lot to do with the fact that a new generation is leading both parties. Regardless of how this electoral mess gets sorted, the likely outcome of Thursday’s election is that a new generation will take over power in our country. The passing of the generational torch doesn’t happen that often in history, and it matters. Baby Boomers Blair and Brown have been running the show, with primarily Boomer-filled cabinets, and with a Boomer-dominated Parliament. The new Parliament, as well as the new cabinet, will be filled with members of Generation Jones (the new media-popular generation between the Boomers and Gen X). And the new PM is likely to be a Joneser as well: either Cameron or a GenJones Labourite like David Milliband or Ed Balls. My interest in GenJones was prompted by this very interesting article last week in the Independent about Clegg and Cameron as Jonesers:

10 May 2010 at 16:56  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

Ha, ha, ha! So now Cleggie has turned his blushing cheek towards Compo, having not got on so well with Foggy.

How appropriate that the MP from Holmfirth has just given his opinion to the BBC.

All that Lib/Con stuff is beginning to look like a puff of wind.

The audacity of these people is astonishing: the party that came third is making overtures to the party that came second in order to frustrate the party that came first (bearing in mind that they all lost).

And isn't it amazing how all these frauds have suddenly discovered a long-held desire for electoral reform?

This would be nothing more than a soap opera if they were not affecting the future stability of our economy, our wealth, our prosperity.

This is what 13 years of Blair's unprincipled snake-oil sales has brought us to.

I am very proud to be one of the UKIP effect voters in a UKIP-effect seat.

10 May 2010 at 17:25  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Thanks for the link K

As a boomer myself I was wondering when I/we were going to get unseated, it seems that time is nigh!

10 May 2010 at 17:53  
Blogger English Pensioner said...

I think the Tories should try to form a minority government. It is not a question as to whether they have a majority, but whether the others would be able to agree sufficiently to all agree to vote against him on a vote of confidence.
Would the LibDems want to associate themselves with Labour to overthrow the government?

10 May 2010 at 18:01  
Anonymous Katy said...

We had an election and 3 voters out of ten voted that they wanted a Labour government, 4 said they wanted a Tory government, one couldn't stand any of the options and two voted for a LibDem government. Any arrangement by which the person who got the backing of 2 out of ten people gets to decide whether the person who got three or the person who got four gets to govern is seriously flawed. Let me put that another way. The person who got only 1 in 5 votes is going to get to decide who runs the country, and on what terms. Abysmal.

And I think the context has just changed again.

10 May 2010 at 18:08  
Blogger len said...

I think it bizarre that a lib/lab coalition could end up running the country while the party with the most votes gets left out in the cold.
A recipe for disaster.

10 May 2010 at 18:16  
Anonymous graham Wood said...

"I think the Tories should try to form a minority government."

Well, with the breaking news this eve that Brown will be staying on as 'premier', and not resigning for several months, that alters everything.

As I understand it therefore HMQ cannot now "invite Cameron to form a government whilst Brown remains in office as PM, and claims he can form a stable and strong government with the LibDims.

But then, negotiations between the two worst losers could break down, and once again, anything could happen.
For Labour and Libdems to attempt to go it alone with perhaps little support from minor parties, putting the "winning" party into Opposition, and worse, without any moral authority to do so, is an enormous political risk.
It smacks of political opportunism and a power grab at any cost.
I don't think we all voted for musical chairs did we?

10 May 2010 at 18:25  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

As someone ➜
once said, ‘I’m enjoying this! I’m enjoying this!’

10 May 2010 at 18:43  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

4 months we've got before the leader of what should be Her Majesty's loyal opposition resigns. This will be to pave the way for a coalition of Lib/Lab. I hated to think it was possible, but now I think it may well happen. This is an utter disgrace. We have politicians on television telling us that we voted for a hung parliament, that we 'obviously' don't want a Conservative Government. If that's true simply because they are 20 seats short of a majority, then we're damn well sure we don't want a Labour or LibDem Government.

Politicians don't choose the PM, the Monarch does. She has the right to appoint whomever she wishes. As it is traditionally the leader of the biggest party, I think the choice is obvious.

I say go it alone. Hold a minority Government for a while, then call another general election. Supposedly the Conservatives would have had a majority with just 16,000 more votes (according to BBC I've lost the link sorry). Many people will see the problems with hung parliaments by then. They'll see the desperation of Labour and the arrogance of the Liberals and perhaps they'll notice that sacrificing their protest vote for UKIP may stave off a pathologically pro-European alliance.

10 May 2010 at 19:43  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Well, Cameron cannot/will not ''destroy the right''....half of 'old Labour' constitute 'the right' if only they'd admit to it; let alone the true Tories out there!

10 May 2010 at 19:52  
Anonymous no nonny said...

Yes, Your Grace; I think you are so right: "Economic reality and moral concerns are no longer in conflict."

So I'm searching for a nugget in the Neu Context of Pragmatic Paganism:-

The more we pay to euroland, the better off we are. (The divine right of Caesar).

None of the neu politicos has a majority. (Having no choice, we rendered the first of them Equal among euroLords).

The biggest minority party has the most power (the Last has become First and will reform the "system" - the further to disenfranchise the Vulgar British).

Those who extract most from the British have the right enrich themselves and render the rest to rich eurolanders.

Rich foreigners know best: especially about extraction from the British (ideological Theory works wonders because Adjectives enhance the True Art of making-it-up-as-you-go-along).

Justice is different from and inferior to social justice (and the neu minister can temper whatever that is to suit his Master).

'Low life expectancy' is a concern (for Priests of the NeuHS? Maybe the Master is coining reform to ensure sacrifice supplies: let's farm the British geese and their golden eggs...).

The more we pay to euroland the better off we are.

Oh, and: Claptrap is the thing,
To catch the coinage for the King.

[[I think there's something in the water that blinds the British People to our own suffering. Who, oh who, will guide us to Dover?]].

wv: beljkahn

10 May 2010 at 20:15  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

I trust all Conservatives are down on their knees, giving thanks for the BNP. The Tories would have had thirteen seats fewer if the BNP hadn’t been around to take votes from Labour.

Amber Valley: Con maj over Lab 536; BNP 3195
Broxtowe: Con maj over Lab 389; BNP 1422
Carlisle: Con maj over Lab 853; BNP 1086
Corby: Con maj over Lab 1895; BNP 2525
Dewsbury: Con maj over Lab 1526; BNP 3265
Lancaster and Fleetwood: Con maj over Lab 333; BNP 938
Lincoln: Con maj over Lab 1058; BNP 1367
Nuneaton: Con maj over Lab 2069; BNP 2797
Sherwood: Con maj over Lab 214; BNP 1754
Stockton South: Con maj over Lab 332; BNP 1553
Thurrock: Con maj over Lab 92; BNP 3618
Warwickshire North: Con maj over Lab 54; BNP 2106
Weaver Vale: Con maj over Lab 991; BNP 1063

The Liberal Democrats must be blessing the BNP, too.

Bradford East: Lib Dem maj over Lab 365; BNP 1854
Burnley: Lib Dem maj over Lab 1818; BNP 3747

10 May 2010 at 20:23  
Anonymous no nonny said...

The link I use is:

Right now Darling is rabbiting on about a 'strong and stable' government. And Gordo is being responsible in providing continuity and taking government forward....
So he's euros sub-King (Queen), then.

Give me strength.

10 May 2010 at 20:50  
Anonymous not a machine said...

I find the dilemma difficult and compassionate conservatism in some ways does not reach far enough into the mess the country is in , but that would open the door to the iron fist .
Perhaps we are being drawn into the second fight with a Labour obama type campaign and the tories nostrils flared , which suggests that the stakes are high for Labour .

But your grace outlines how a window may pass by as the guarded and crafted words are draughted in huddled meetings the frustration burning the very souls with contempt .

The liberal democrats given that mere manfesto pledges mean little do not have an immediated reputation for many conservatives to consider being of the right quality , yet they also have the oppertunity to part run the country in a difficult time . I do not want the EU , immigrant numbers lassitude , or the feeling that some necessary medicine can be avoided with lib dem balm , in that respect they seem none too keen to put country first , knowing full well that any tactical voting deal with Labour would lead to many dividers and splits and may well taint there own party .

David Camerons big society idea has not transfered well in the popular mind , but perhaps that is because the socialist atomisation of society still has its grip .

There are some past speeches from Lib dems which were little more than oil to the labour platform , there may well be agreement on the things that they can work together on , but it is of course how much of a clean fight they can put off on the things they disagree on .

If a working arrangement actually worked , the libs could take up a bigger political position , but they would need to drop all the fence sitting and certainly admitt that not all that they have told the people of the UK was sound .
They dont so much have to eat humble pie, just never offer it up on the menue , if they cannot bare holding a national unity goverment to deliver the ecnomic remedies then they will have failed as a UK political party , and got incurably drunk from supping from labours chalice once too many times.

The conservatives must not lose sight that Nick clegg may trigger another general election and as such must not reduce there options in submerged anger at the scoialists card games or house of cards .

If the theory is right that Labour intend to run the real campaign and we have had a phoney one , whilst they have gathered important data , then the next campaign will need much thought.

10 May 2010 at 22:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

would a cameron-clegg partnership work better than a milliband-clegg partnership? hmmm...

10 May 2010 at 22:27  
Anonymous photo ex machina said...

Come on Cranmer, the Tories are hardly appetising

10 May 2010 at 23:02  
Anonymous no nonny said...

Well whatever they decide for us --we'll get a referendum!!!

Not the referendum we want or need - but one that'll make it even more pointless ever to vote again!

That'll larn us.

Come to think of it - isn't that what the first referendum accomplished anyway? (The ECM one...)

10 May 2010 at 23:40  
Anonymous not a machine said...

I dont think a Milliband-clegg partnership will work as it will show that the Liberal democrats are not the differnet party , that they told us all they were, socialists in disguise ! besides the coalition is so subject to corruption , and implode and its back to the polls.

The other idea of clegg becoming PM in the deal , could equally implode him and his party .

besides will ed balls ang yvette give up cabinet positions ? and put vince up to be a dull puppet chancellor so killing the libs ace trust card ?

11 May 2010 at 00:54  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

not a machine said:

‘David Camerons big society idea has not transfered well in the popular mind , but perhaps that is because the socialist atomisation of society still has its grip .’

It is time to give the ‘Big Society’ idea a right-wing make-over that is in accord and consistent with the thinking and vocabulary of social conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic.

When we social conservatives speak of ‘the Big Society’ we mean encouraging and making Social Capital work. The billions of hours of unpaid voluntary work that is done by individuals and charities all over the country is social capital at work.

Remember: social capital works for you!

11 May 2010 at 08:02  
Blogger priestxman said...

Your Grace,
America has seen what “compassionate conservatism” brings through the evangelical GWB, Perpetual war, a Police state, and economic plunder. Your grace we have a phrase for that “putting lipstick on a pig” I hope, Your Grace, England won’t fall for these shenanigans.


11 May 2010 at 11:40  

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