Monday, 7 January 2013

Cabinet Biscuit Budget Slashed

Crikey, sometimes one feels really old. Idle was at school with Tom Strathclyde and has kept in touch with him, off and on, ever since. In those crazy, far-off days when it seemed like a good idea to become a (Conservative) MP, Tom was kind enough to be one of my two sponsors. Most recently, I have encountered him at the country club where we were both extravagant enough to send our daughters to boarding school.

Now he has decided to retire from politics AFTER 25 YEARS ON THE FRONT BENCH in the Lords. Crumbs! Are we really as old as that? Strathclyde thinks he has time for a bit of a career in the private sector, so we’re not dead yet.

Whilst there will be more Hobnobs and Custard Creams for the others around the Cabinet table, this is a blow. He learned his trade at the knee of the then Lord Cranborne, who out-grandees most holders of office in the Lords in the past generation. Tom is a proper old-fashioned Tory, loyal and steady. He shares a pragmatic outlook with the Prime Minister, but I don’t think this leads him into Social Liberal territory as it does with Cameron. His instinct is that of a Tory, not a PR flimflam merchant. This may be proved by his resignation, which some commentators are saying is down, pure and simple, to his exasperation with the clowns and political re-treads who make up the LibDem benches in the Lords. He’s well out of it, surely. At least we can be sure that the ridiculous and immature Clegg reforms are dead and buried.

Now that he has more time to himself, I think I’ll invite Tom for lunch at my club. It might have to be after bonus day, though.


Blue Eyes said...

One can't be a social liberal and a Tory? No wonder I don't get more involved.

Elby the Beserk said...

Blue Eyes - if it leads where Cameron has gone, then ... no, it would seem. Tho' I would class Cameron as more of a Social Democrat than a social liberal.

Once upon a time, I knew a lot of teachers, all I think, excellent. One by one, they all packed it in or embraced with joy voluntary redundancy. All utterly exasperated with the profession. It can't be a good thing when this extends to the field of politics, that the worthy ones, of which there are far too few as it is, pack it in as a result of frustration.

Blue Eyes said...

I find this anti-Cameron rhetoric quite hard to understand. What is it that old-fashioned Tories don't like about him? Do they think that if he went really right-wing he'd become wildly popular and win a landslide like Michael Howard and William Hague did? Do they think that the country would be a lot better without the gays? Do they think that there is some magic bullet with which the EU question can be solved?

Surely not all of these people can be grumpy childish people who think that by thumping their fists a bit louder on the table the world will just bow down to them?

I just don't get it.

I also don't understand what teachers and the teaching profession have to do with whether social liberals have a place in the modern Tory party.


idle said...

Blue Eyes, are you Matthew d'Ancona in disguise?

The stale old argument that to be a centre-right Tory is to be 'really right-wing' is hopeless.

Adopting popular-majority views on Europe, immigration, green taxes etc, particularly if they are in line with long-held and non-contentious Tory policy, is NOT 'really right wing'.

Cameron professes to have 'always been passionate about gay marriage', despite there being no evidence in any speech he has made or manifesto he has written. It is an irrelevance and no one has suggested that the country would be better off 'without the gays', whatever that means.

Cameron and Osborne signed up in 2007 to Brown's spending plans 2008-2011. This, apart from being idiotic, was deeply unconservative. They recanted when the crisis hit, but showed themselves to be grossly opportunist.

Hague and Howard (who won the popular vote in England) were up against a clever politician who was had dragged his Old Left party onto the centre ground and had been bequeathed a very healthy economy. They were bound to lose, and did.

Cameron was up against a deeply unattractive misanthrope who had damaged the economy recklessly. All he had to do was to put the ball into the net, but he chose to campaign as a liberal and suffered the obvious consequence, which was to be forced into coalition with liberals.

We old tories feel mightily let down by Cameron. Those of us who voted Davis in 2005 are less surprised than those who voted Cameron, but the party as a whole is demoralised and shrinking fast.

Blue Eyes said...

"the party as a whole is demoralised and shrinking fast"

This I am sure of. I re-joined and tried to get enthusiastic but I got put straight off by rabid wasn't-Britain-great-in-the-1950s fools like Andrew Lilico.

Why would I want to deliver leaflets for such tossers?

It's quite right-wing to have as your main election slogan "it's not racist to talk about immigration", I would suggest.

Popular majority views? Maybe in suburban Hampshire. To win an actual majority a party needs to win over people who aren't natural Tories. Young(ish) London professionals, small l liberals. I meet these people all the time and they do not agree with rabid anti-Europeanism or fantasy immigration policies.

Instead of looking at past elections why not look at the present day. Boris was re-elected in London even though the consensus view was that he won the first time around almost by accident. How did he do that? Not by moaning about gay marriage, that's for sure.

lilith said...

How is it "quite right wing" Blue Eyes? I think it is just a practical reminder. The Brits are naturally conservative if not naturally Tory. They may not care much either way about gay marriage, but they find it extraordinary that Cameron would devote so much energy to it when it is

a) changing the meaning of a word by statute (!)

b)not particularly popular with gays themselves, not least because it fosters resentment where there had been tolerance/friendship and it awards them more rights than heterosexuals.

c) the least of the country's problems

They wonder why Cameron insists on pouring money into useless and hideous energy projects that mean well off people benefit from tax payer subsidies whilst the poor cant afford to put the heating on.

They wonder why the Tories don't cut away more of the expensive garbage we pay for, why we give Europe so much money so that the EU can piss it away?

But most of all, the unnatural Tories, of which I am one, wonder how is it that Cameron doesn't appear any more substantial and up to the task than Ed Miliband?

Electro-Kevin said...

Good for him and bad for us.

Please let him know that there are still many of us proles who understand the need for a class system, in no way resent it and who are most unhappy with they way Nu Labourites - in ALL parties - used equality as an excuse to dissolve our country, culture and even our ethnicity.

I think the old method of climbing the ranks - starting with a rigorous and selective education system - was the best for both the individual and for the country.

The Cameroons seem more interested in quotas than quality. Now the answer seems to be to import it instead.

Electro-Kevin said...

Blue - "It's not racist to talk about immigration."

It's quite right-wing to have this as a slogan ?

No it isn't. Yours is a typical reaction to close down a debate on a subject that you don't like being talked about.

5 million Daily Mail readers (at the very least.) Millions more Sun and Express readers.

How many BNP votes exactly ? And after decades of provocation from the political class ?

The Tory party and its natural supporters have been the model of restraint in fact.

BTW I have never voted BNP. I am just about thinking of voting Ukip.

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They recanted when the crisis hit, but showed themselves to be grossly opportunist.
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