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, February 07, 2006

Letter to The Herald Express 060206

Marcus Wood, Tory candidate for Torbay at the 2005 general election enthusiastically endorsed the harsh and illiberal Cameron-penned manifesto last May. Now, he rushes into the local media lauding the supposedly 'one nation' conservatism of the self same David Cameron. In doing that alone, he displays an astonishing degree of political gymnastics. So which specific policies that you stood on just last May do you now repudiate Marcus ? A straight answer please Marcus !

When policy is decided only in the leaders office and is influenced by focus groups, rather than decided democratically by members at party conference, it leaves would be candidates like Marcus looking incredibly silly as policy direction is decided on a whim ! Both William Hague and IDS both courted the centre ground of politics initially but soon tacked back to the right to shore up the core Tory vote when the polls refused to move much in their favour. If this happens again Marcus will need to show yet more political 'flexibility'.

Conversely compare the record of consistency over many years of our incumbent MP. Adrian Sanders has a voting record in accordance with Liberal Democrat manifestos and a genuine Liberal philosophical belief in progressive taxation, enhancing civil liberties, protecting the environment and diffusing power from the centre. Add to this a formidable record of service to constituents then it is clear that Adrian Sanders has earned respect across the political divide in representing his native constituency.

Despite having a high profile in the media since he arrived here I still do not know what Marcus Wood's personal politics are. He has a long way to go before he can gain the trust of people in the bay who want honesty and consistency in their elected politicians. Marcus belatedly needs to explain what he is for, what kind of conservatism he genuinely represents, other than the political opportunism offered thus far by him. Denigrating Adrian Sanders and playing 'follow my leader' does not offer any kind of coherent political alternative. Over to you Marcus !


Blogger Marcus Wood said...

Barry; if you cannot work out my politics from reading my blog and from my website ( then you have a serious problem.

11:46 am GMT

Blogger Barrie Wood said...

No Marcus you've got the problems

a) you stood on a platform at the GE that was ill at ease with your now declared 'one nation' conservatism. Hardly a model of consistency !

b) prouncements are being made on a daily basis by Cameron that hint at dumping the Thatcherite orthodoxy that has captured your party for 25 years plus, but significant swathes of your parliamentary team may well not 'sign up' to this.

Leading Tory commentators like Simon Heffer and Melanie Phillips, plus a number of senior Tories like Lord tebbit accuse your party of 'betrayal' of conservative ideas.

c) I have pointed out on my weblog of contradictions in the new moderate 'liberal' (sic) Tory facade that Cameron is trying to create (Europe, road building 'environmemtalism', selection by ability in schools... etc)

d) Look at Adrian Sanders' record. It is in keeping with Liberal Democrat manifestos. He does what it says on the tin !

In contrast, if you'd been elected you'd be now trying to shy away [in 9 months] from most of ideas you put before the people of Torbay at the GE.

e) policies endorsed at conference and embraced by party activists are one's that carry conviction. Lib Dem national policies are woven with a green and liberal thread. Ideologically Cameron seems to be trying a 'greatest hits' brand of politics. A dose of one nation-ism here, a bit of authoritarian New Labour-lite and a slice of faux liberalism. A confusing cocktail of opportunism this all adds up to.

Look at 'Dave's' actual **voting record ** - there's hardly a trace of centrist, liberal or progressive politics to be found.

9:03 am GMT

Blogger Marcus Wood said...

I am not going to wade through every one your points and I am not going to reply to your letter to the Herald, but I must correct some innaccuracies in your posts and your letter.

1) The general election manifesto was not 'at odds' with one nation Conservatism - I never doubted the need for cleaner hospitals, school discipline, more police, controlled immigration, lower tax and less interference from Europe and neither does anyone else in the Party.

2) Tebbit (who I know well) has never accused Cameron of 'betraying Conservative ideas' -you have made that one up all by yourself. And Heffer and Phillips are not members of the party they are commentators, - like you, entitled to their opinions - with whom I don't agree.

3) There have been no policy changes yet. Cameron has announced a number of policy reviews, none of which will report before 2007, and all of which will need party support at Conference.

All political parties review policy after general election defeats, even yours Barrie.

4:27 pm GMT

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm very amused by how flustered Marcus gets when he is asked to answer a few questions and rebut a few points. Surely if marcus was an erudite and articulate politician then this would be no problem- I'm very interested by both your blogs.

4:37 pm GMT

Blogger Barrie Wood said...


You are so right. I don't mind robust debate or stridently differing opinions, but marcus is more keep to bash the Lib Dems that to say what he is for. If you challenge him he rarely responds to the points one raises !

Of course the Lib Dems are reviewing policy after the GE, especially with a new leader imminent. But these policies will be informed by Liberalism. The Tories seem to have no philosophical basis to base their 'new direction' under Cameron on.

Most of all look at his voting record. There's little that is moderate or progressive to be found.

4:25 pm GMT


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