This blog is a political blog from a left-of-centre perspective. This is not specifically a party political blog, but does have a Lib Dem orientation. Constructive enagement with radical liberals, social democrats / democratic socialists and greens is particularly welcomed.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

'Big Tent' Tories

Early on Tony Blair decided that the way to electoral success was to be perceived to adopt the centre(-right) ground figuring that enough traditional supporters could be retained for the electoral arithmetic to pilot him to Downing Street. The tribal nature of party politics meant that a majority did stay on board, especially prior to the Iraq war, despite having in straight policy terms arguably greater affinity with the Lib Dem policy programme, as the GE voting intentions expressed in the traditionally pro-Labour 'New Statesman' suggested.

It seems like David 'call me Dave' Cameron is attempting the same tactic. Sod principles and core values, lets pretend to be New Labour-lite. Make announcements, but crucially not policy itself, that **suggests** a shift to centre politics. This is surely premised on the belief that the Torygragh vote has no-where else to go and that UKIP and [God-forbid] the BNP are not only unpalatable choices but FPTP voting makes voting for them a wasted vote.

Will the Tory press let him get away with this ? Still it's good to see right-wing commentators like Simon Heffer and Melanie Phillips and their ilk foaming at the mouth. How far can he go before the grassroots and parliamentarians revolt ? What happens, as may be starting to happen, that the opinion polls aren't drastically improving the Tory position ?

The public should be remined of the volte-farce that is Cameron's current pitch based as it is on his prior authorship of the dismal, reactionary list of grumbles about modern society that was the 2005 Tory GE Manifesto.

For the Lib Dems I think it's a case of presenting a Liberal case opposed to the other two authoritarian parties, remaining steadfastly independent and playing to their strengths of civil liberties, progressive taxation, environmental concerns and diffusing power from the centre et al.

Time to start puncturing that tent !


Blogger Marcus Wood said...

Barrie, see my blog on exactly this topic.

Cameron is only re-stating long held Tory beliefs.

Its a long overdue return to 'One Nation' Conservatism as opposed to the more right wing style adopted by people like Norman Tebbit and Anne Widdecombe.

1:53 pm GMT

Blogger Barrie Wood said...

As PPC ion Torbay last time out you gave no indication that the Cameron authored right-wing manifesto was out-of-kilter with your 'one nation' conservatism.

Are you just going along with the new 'mood music' once more ? Pity you spend more time bashing Adrian Sanders MP than articulating what stripe of conservatism you represent.

10:35 am GMT

Blogger Marcus Wood said...

My views have always been on the left or 'one Nation' wing of the Conservative Party on most issues.

If you read the interview done of me by John Kiddey in 2004 on my website ( will see that my views have been consistant.

There was only one policy in the manifesto that I felt unhappy with, the patients passport was a clever but misguided attempt to limit demand for NHS services.

Unfortunately it looked to too many people like a 'cop out' for the rich.

All political parties (including the Lib dems) are basically rainbow coalitions and there are a range of opinions in every party.

I'm sorry you don't like it when I criticise our MP - but he has hardly covered himself with glory recently especially over the way he 'totally supported' Kennedy in the Herald Express one day and then signed a letter demanding he resign the next!

11:25 am GMT

Anonymous Anonymous said...


I have never voted Tory in my life but I plan to vote for Marcus Wood. I have got to know him well over the past seven years. Long before we heard of Cameroonies, people like Marcus were busy re-building the Tory party after the disaster of the Major years. He is a genuinely good guy with one-nation values. He is not a toff, he is a democrat and he fights on principle, not on slur. Labour will need to rebuild itself after Brown is beaten - that is the nature of politics.
John Kiddey

9:10 pm GMT


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