Sunday, 25 January 2009

Ken Clarke - A Good Appointment

I'm as died in the wool Eurosceptic as they come. The EU is corrupt, wasteful, pathetic, interfering and in every way (in its current incarnation) worthy of contempt. I'm a passionate European. I do business in Europe; I love European history; I love visiting Europe; I love the diversity and the rich culture in such a small area. But Tory policy towards the EU is really pretty small fry in the general scheme of Conservative policy - and that's the only area that Ken Clarke disagrees with most Tories about.

Ken Clarke is a heavyweight politician with serious views and the most serious economic credentials of any MP now sitting in the Houses of Parliament. It would be insane not to have him on the front bench and it is absolutely right that he plays a key role going forward.

My non-aligned friends say their one concern about the Tory party is lack of Government experience. Clarke brings that in spades. Forget the irrelevance of the EU idiocy. Clarke will help bring back a Tory government and that is enough.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Philosophical incoherence of the Lib Dems

Every so often I ponder whay the Lib Dems think they exist. There is a case for a genuinely liberal party in the UK. However, if by that we mean a party espousing social and economic liberalism (and I don't know how else to define it) then Tories are the most liberal. They are as liberal socially as the Lib Dems (near enough) and certainly more liberal economically (no party calling itself centre-left as Ming does the Lib Dems) can claim to be economically liberal.

The Lib Dems seem to be a weird mix of social liberalism and economic interventionism which is simply philosophically incoherent. Either you accept a certain relationship between individual and state or you don't; you can't just pick social issues and say 'laissez faire' but as soon as you reach into the individual's pockets say 'now I know best.'

In the end they just seem a permanent protest party for people who don't like Tories or Labour. Go on Lib Dems: split into (proper) liberals and join the Tories, and social democrats and join Labour.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Why Labour struggles with the Internet

The creation of LabourList has seen much debate over why the Labour party and left wing generally have such a weak presence on the web. It seems to me there are several reasons. 

First, the Labour movement has always been a protest movement ever since Keir Hardie et al. It has never, until Blair, truly been the established party of Government. This means that every Labour activist has 'attack dog' etched on their heart. The only way they have to define themselves is to attack the Conservatives and nobody really wants to read nasty little attacks to the exclusion of positive debate (I call the Labour Home blog as evidence).

Secondly, the Conservatives have always been a broad church but Labour are actually broader. They encompass champagne socialists to eco-warriors to some of the most racist, narrow minded people in the country. Blair overcame this with 'the message'. By forcing activists to work to 'the message' holding out the horror of Conservatism as the penalty for not doing so, Blair created a party that is deeply respectful of its leadership. Most Labour activists simply dare not be anything other than yes men and this makes for an uninteresting read. The level of debate on Labour blogs about Labour direction is far less fruity than on equivalent Tory blogs.

Thirdly, Labour is in power. This makes a big difference because they want to hold onto it. The Tories are engaged in a debate about how to win power and, to an extent, anything goes in that debate. But Labour cannot afford to do that because if Labour MPs start blogging comments like some of the Tory MPs do then they fear what may happen at the next election. This fear is of course compounded by the opinion polls.

So, they're fearful, 'on message' attack dogs who after a decade in power still philosophically act like an opposition attacking the Tories at every turn. It's no wonder nobody wants to read their nastiness.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Conservatives and Heathrow

I'm just amazed how many Conservatives agree with Labour about a third runway at Heathrow. Presumably they think the greening of the Tories is just so much window-dressing to seem cuddly. You cannot, repeat cannot, think that man-made global warming is any kind of reality and support the expansion of Heathrow. Personally, I think man-made global warming is bollocks but I'm still against the expansion of Heathrow for a reason that it's disappointing more Tories aren't talking about: the right to own your own home. If politicians, by fiat and without even the fig-leaf of a parliamentary vote, are alllowed to knock down your home then freehold and property rights in this country mean absolutely nothing at all. Oh sure, greater good and all that, Conservatives need an infrastructure too. No. Not without parliamentary approval, specifically. The state is greater than no individual. That's why I'm a Conservative. All those Tories supporting Heathrow...what do you believe about the role of the state versus the individual?