I received a LOT of messages about an article I wrote last week on how Conservative advocacy groups and activists wouldn’t know conservatism if it hit them square in the mouth.
Some good, some bad. Some calling me a mentalist (well, one). Some calling me a hero (well, one). But I wonder what the people who mocked my assertion that the Tory Party was a New Labour redux would say now, just a few days later, after ConservativeHome editor Paul Goodman made the case for Blairites from the Labour Party to flock to his dear leader David Cameron.
On the formerly influential Tory sycophant site, Goodman wrote yesterday:
“The Blairies could simply leave politics altogether. But if they are fighters and not quitters, as Peter Mandelson once put it, they will reject such quietism… This leaves only one logical course for them to take. They should join the Conservatives.”
Ding ding ding ding ding! Goodman nails it. Mr Cameron’s party is no different to that of Blair and Mandelson. He and his Australian attack mutt have continued the legacy of New Labour – debt and destruction – while the “swivel eyed loons” have long argued that there’s no difference between them.
“This proposal is not as shocking as it seems.”
Well, quite. And more…
“The Tories are no longer the party of Margaret Thatcher…”
A pretty stark admission. But an honest representation at least. Instead of the babble you hear from young Tories and those who belatedly hitched their wagons to Lady T…
“They stand for gradual deficit reduction (the Chancellor decided in the Budget not to accelerate its rate), overseas aid, more women and ethnic minority MPs, the NHS, same-sex marriage – and now, yes, for that great Blairite device, the minimum wage.
So like… what’s the difference then? I mean, the deficit reduction part didn’t even go according to plan. So even financially, given the doubling of the national debt under George Osborne, we’ve got the same. Let alone on social, economic, foreign policy, and “social justice” issues.
“I am not saying that David Cameron is a social democrat leading a government of social democrats.”
That is exactly what you’re saying. And you’re right, Mr Goodman.
“There are lots of differences between liberal Conservatives – to use his own self-description – and Blairite Labourists, not least the Chancellor’s drive to downsize the state.”
Yeah I’m so glad all those CCTV cameras have disappeared since 2010. And the Terrorism Act was loosened up. And… oh wait… no, the state hasn’t shrunk under the Tories at all.
“Nor am I saying that it would be good for the Tories were the Blairites to join them. It wouldn’t be. (This site would oppose any such development.) Nor that it would be good for British politics as a whole. It wouldn’t be, either. But I am saying that the Conservatives now offer the least unpleasant home for Blairites.
Ugggghhhh. Now comes the bluster. Of course “modern” Conservatives want the Blairites to join them. ConservativeHome opposing “any such development” would be another of those matters of perception, rather than ideology. Remember, most Westminster Tories backed Obama, and most still want Hillary Clinton in the driving seat for our greatest ally.
But Goodman’s right about it being a blow for the Tories, in the sense that the party members outside London and other cities would pack their bags and leave. Probably for UKIP. But even that party has its own internal struggle against those trying to “diversify” it, and “appeal to the centre ground”. More on that later.
Indeed the Tory-New Labour love-in is likely to give rise to the far right again, as frustrated voters (read: Calais) search for somewhere to vent.
Let us hope it doesn’t. And let’s hope that UKIP stays the course instead of veering off into some liberal dreamworld concocted by failed Tory candidates and MPs.
Goodman’s article is a stark reminder of how Nigel Farage’s party must remain visibly different to the rest of the political class. And it should come as an embarrassing wake up call to those in the Tory Party who long fought against Tony Blair’s government. You’ve been assimilated.