What do British Conservatives want?

Some vote Conservative because they always have. Others because they believe in certain principles. But what principles?

by Gandalf the Blue on 2 August 2013 18:17

The crisis at the heart of British Conservatism can be stated in many ways. But there's no real controversy in saying that British conservatives don't like David Cameron, hate the EU, want lower taxes... aren't sure about UKIP... er... so?

The Europe issue is obviously neuralgic. But again, what in hell's name do Conservatives want? In opposition, or in the bowels of activism, it's easy to say: Let's leave the EU; cut taxes etc. But why does every Conservative leader (after Maggie Thatcher) find it hard to articulate a coherent, real world vision for practical politics?

Maybe this is all about having to defer to the likes of the BBC in order to find a case that works for our Guardianista friends. That's probably it. Almost...but it sounds like an alibi.

Who has the courage to forge a serious agenda; think it all through and fight the good fight to make some headway? Tough stuff in a political society which is little better than a bidding war for votes, no?

The answer to that question is contained in the rhetorical nature of the question. It really is easier to attack a pantomime-villainn --  David Cameron, grovelling before centre-Left agendas, so he can say he is not head of the "nasty party".

But that's too easy. Cameron has held the line through an unprecedented economic crisis. He may be no right-leaning activist's idea of an ideologically pure leader. But, apart from anything else, if you want purity, what is that you want to be pure?

So, in this Conservative ideological quagmire, who is going to come through with the next big idea, and, crucially, the action plan to push it into real politics? Very easy to criticise, and Gandalf the Blue is highly critical, but that's your challenge.

Or we could all whisper a few criticisms over a beer. Sorry, not serious.

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