Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally

The Conservative Party fightback against the Cameroons has begun


I am not attending the Conservative Party conference for the third year running. I foresaw disaster coming over the horizon in Manchester in 2009, which was proven correct in May 2010 when David Cameron jumped into bed with Nick Clegg and formed a Conservative-Liberal Democrats Coalition Government. Funnily enough, I have since become reluctant to part with £1000 to have to listen to vacuous Cabinet minister speeches in an expensive city like Birmingham. The fact the conference is even in Birmingham, not Bournemouth, sums up the contempt the Cameroon metropolitan-elite have for the ordinary party member.

Cameron had hoodwinked his Party in 2005 into believing he was “one of them” and he just needed to talk about hugging hoodies and spending quality time with huskies to make people like the Conservative Party again. All well and good when Blair had just won a massive third majority earlier in the year.

But then came the economic meltdown in 2008 – largely caused by Gordon Brown’s reckless public sector spending and encouragement of personal debt to prop up the economy – and all bets should have been off. Cameron should have immediately ditched the “sharing the proceeds of growth” ludicrous strategy and realised the country in 2008 was not the same country in 2005. The public had woken with the biggest hangover since the Great Depression of the 1930s and were very anxious indeed.

So, what did David Cameron and George Osborne do. They continued on with their “detoxification” of the Tory brand, banging on about non-existent anthropogenic climate change and something (which no one has ever understood) called the Big Society. Was it so much of a surprise we LOST the General Election in 2010?

The electorate were ready again for a centre-right Conservative Party on the side of strivers. On the side of the vast majority who rely on public services (i.e. they are not in Cameron’s Chipping Norton set who always go private) but still want to see efficiency in our NHS and competence in our teachers. But Cameron and his campaign “guru”, Steve Hilton, failed to spot what ordinary activists had seen years before. And the party hierarchy slept walk in to a fourth successive DEFEAT in 2010.

David Cameron could have done the decent thing and stopped, formed a Minority Government, and after a re-think of campaign strategy, gone to the country again in October 2010 with the policies the public were crying out for: economic reform (especially in the bloated public sector), a serious crackdown on unskilled immigration, welfare reform and a huge shake-up of education. I believe if Cameron had done this we would have had the working majority we needed come the Autumn of 2010.

But what did our illustrious leader do. He didn’t stop for a millisecond: Cameron could see the door of No.10, if only he dropped the rest of his principles. Which he duly did. And as dark fell on 7 May 2010, he slipped into Downing Street with his Eton schoolboy grin and met his only objective: to become Prime Minister.

Well, today the fightback begins in earnest to reclaim OUR Conservative Party. Conservative Home – backed by Lord Ashcroft’s money and his passion for a Conservative victory – launches a plan to win the first Conservative Majority since 1992. It feels like an Opposition campaign. Hmmm, perhaps it is?

There is something missing though: a real Conservative leader.

It pains me to say this but despite Conservative Home’s excellent campaign, the Conservative Party will be defeated in 2015. But then the groundwork for a successful Conservative Party will have been laid. We will just need a new Conservative Leader to take it to the electorate in 2020. That leader must come from the 2010 intake.
Who will it be?

Author: gavinmaclure

IT professional; political blogger, former Conservative councillor

4 thoughts on “The Conservative Party fightback against the Cameroons has begun

  1. Gavin, you were one of the Cameroon's, if I recall. I seem to remember you telling me that the other candidates simply couldn't win a General Election, and reminding me that, given our position after the 2005 election, we were unlikely to win an outright victory in 2010.Cameron achieved a terrific turnaround in getting to over 300 members, despite such a low start. We didn't fail to win the election because the Tories weren't right wing enough, however, just like we didn't win in 2001 or 2005 because we were perceived as a right wing reactionary rump.I agree with you that the next Tory Prime Minister probably does come from the 2010 intake, an intake of remarkably good talented candidates. I don't agree with the ridiculous idea of getting Boris back into the commons, or with the Guardian's suggestion that it should be Michael Gove, and I do think that the Tory leader who will win the 2020 General Election is probably already a junior minister in this Government.I'd also question what exactly you don't like most about Mr Cameron. Do you dislike the 20million people given a tax cut in the last budget? Do you dislike the major education reforms being undertaken by Michael Gove? Do you dislike the cuts that have led to removing 25% of the structural deficit since taking power? I may be wide of the remark, but idiots like Mad Nad would rather spend their time in opposition than in Government putting policies into action.The alternative to coalition is a minority Government. But you wouldn't get any Tory policy through the house of commons then. Because they'd just be voted down by the Libs and Lab. Don't lets forget that in Oct 2007 you were all worried that Brown would call a General Election. It was all down hill for him from then. In mid term of Mrs Thatcher's first Government, Michael Foot's Labour were more popular than Ed Miliband's Labour are now. In the mid term of her second Government, Neil Kinnock's Labour were further ahead than Ed Miliband is now. Heck Kinnock was further ahead in 1990. As soon as people see the economy return to growth, realise that unemployment is down, employment is up, and the Tories start communicating that, I think I can see the Tories winning in 2015. I don't think changing horses right now would help the jockey.

  2. Ben, I agree with you but would like to expand on 1981.I suggest that Gavin reads some newspapers from that year without hindsight and discovers their predictions. Up to this point, the external impression was of a Government more divided than this one. Cable excepted, the LD ministers today are to the right of Gilmour, Pym, Prior and others. 1981 also saw a radical Budget and an iconic reshuffle that rebooted the Government totally, although not reflected in the media at the time.Mid-terms come and go and those who have lived through them have a sense of perspective.In 2010, there were about a hundred net Conservative gains, the most for eighty years and we would have had a workable solo majority except:1) Labour's client state – over half a million extra bureaucrats and a lot of middle earners now entitled to state benefits – turkeys and Christmas.2) Constituency boundaries that favoured Labour – had they been seven points ahead and not behind, they would have led by a hundred seats.Gavin, you obviously remember 1983 onwards well but those events would not have been possible without the 1979-83 foundations. We are at that stage again, not so far behind in the polls as autumn 1981 and will be ready to build on today's achievements as well.

  3. Gavin isn't the only one who doesn't remember 1981 Stephen, I don't either, personally. But looking at the polling position, even whilst realising that polling has improved significantly since back then, I do not think a comparison could be made with any mid-term.Look, the economic situation is closer to that of the 79-83 Parliament than the 92-97 Parliament. But the difference is that we wouldn't have won in '83 without the Falklands. Economically we're in a similar position to where we were in '94, although much worse. So long as the public continue to understand that Labour are responsible, we'll win in 2015. Had we been able to blame Black Wednesday on Neil Kinnock, we'd have won in '97. The problem back then was that our economic woes were blamed on the Tories. It is time the whingeing right needs to remember that without Cameron they'd still be in opposition, with David Miliband and Nick Clegg in Number 10. The right wing Tories never got more than 34-36%. Elections in this country are won on the centre ground. Shifting to the right in answer to a boost for Labour is just madness.

  4. Should say "political situation" for the second paragraph, not economic.

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