BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom — The oldest conservative think tank in the United Kingdom, the Bow Group, has announced that it is boycotting the Conservative Party conference as Tory grandee Lord Tebbit and party favourite Daniel Hannan MEP have both refused to attend.
The Bow Group has today launched its manifesto edition of Crossbow Magazine, laying out a “new conservative vision” for the Britain and the Conservative Party, “and explaining why [they] won’t be taking part in Conservative Party Conference this year.”
Bow Group Chairman Ben Harris-Quinney said: “Party Conference season should be a critical, indispensable time in the British Political calender for the nation’s most prominent political movements to come together, listen to each other and the nation, remember core principles and make a pitch for better government.
The Bow Group says it won’t take part in Conservative Party Conference because after a long campaign for greater freedom and democracy in the Conservative Party – meaning a greater say for party members it has found that a “genuine forum for conservatism and Conservative Party members remains absent from the event, in favour of a corporate venue for press and lobbyists”.
A keynote speaker at Party Conference in 2009, leading MEP and Bow Group member Daniel Hannan will not be attending either, and speaking to the Bow Group recently, former Party Chairman Lord Tebbit expressed concerns that Conservative Party Conference was no longer “anything to do with Party members”.
London Mayor Boris Johnson argues in the Bow Group’s latest publication that “a new paradigm of localism is required, far beyond the “English votes for English Laws” solution to the West Lothian Question.”
Mr Johnson said: “The reality is that there is already a fundamental unfairness in the way England is treated under the devolutionary settlement. And if we are to go any further with devolution north of the border, that unfairness must be sorted out.
“The idea in a nutshell is to give city governments – at all levels, boroughs and mayoralties – more responsibility for raising locally some of the tax money they spend locally. This would encourage those politicians to go for policies that encourage economic activity; it would encourage them to be prudent (and should therefore help Conservatives get elected); and if handled right it would lead to higher tax yields for the Treasury.”
“But I think it ought to be so narcoleptically uncontroversial as to become the settled wisdom of everyone who believes in localism and devolution and trusting people to run their lives.
What’s good for Scotland should surely be good for England too.”
The full publication is available at: www.bowgroup.org