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Julian
Tory Leadership in Crisis. Again.

Following Tony Blair's third General Election victory in the UK, and their third consecutive defeat, the Conservative Party, nicknamed the Tories, in the UK is once again fighting amongst itself over its leadership and direction. Since the early 1990s, it has gone from being one of the most formidable ecletion-winning machines in Western history to being a constant hotbed of barely concealed internal feuding.

Two wings seem to be forming, based around the by-now traditionalist "Thatcherite" ideology, which has, in large part, been the core of the policies that have been rejected at three successive elections, but which probably forms the core beliefs of the wider party; and the more moderate "Modernisers" who seem to want to move away from the legacy of Thatcherism and fundamentally re-think what the party is about.

From you own perspective:
What would you say was the problem with British Conservatism?
What paralells would you draw with other parties in other countries (or others in the UK)?
How would you suggest, or like, to see the Tory party resolve its deep-seated unpopularity?
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Ptarmigan
What would you say was the problem with British Conservatism?

There biggest problem is that Blair has shifted the British political scene to the centre, so forcing the Tories to move further to the right than the majority of the party (and electorate) are comfortable with. Their other main problem is that Blair took all of their good ideas (Blair's reforms are essentially Thatcherite ones) and mixed in progressive policies and social libertarianism, so, if you like, taking the 'best bits' of Conservatism and mixing in the 'best bits' of Labour ('best' in the eyes of the UK electorate).

What paralells would you draw with other parties in other countries (or others in the UK)?

The most obvious parallel would be with the 'old' Labour party that went to far to the left and was kicked out of power for 12 (?) years. They had the winter of discontent, the Tories had (amongst others) unemployment and poll tax riots.

How would you suggest, or like, to see the Tory party resolve its deep-seated unpopularity?

I believe that Blair has dragged the British political debate to a very central position and that this is the best place for it. As in the US, the average UK voter holds mixed views on most issues and sits in a fairly 'central' position.

However the main drawback of the Labour party is that it is too centralising. Whilst centralisation can help ensure broad equality of services and opportunities around the UK, it is also very inefficient.
My pet peeve is a nationalistic one - under Labour the Scottish economy has been declining and so it receives subsidies from England every year. The Scottish Parliament, for all the fanfare has limited powers and has limited spending / taxation powers.

I think the Conservative party would do well by sticking with Labours economic reforms currently in place, but offer greater regional decision making.
They need to drop the immigration rant, because the problem with the UK is that whilst the Southeast is increasing in population, the North, Scotland and Wales are all losing population. So they make themselves look like racists and also very London-centric.

Socially liberal and economically conservative. Thats what I'd vote for! not sure if they are compatible, but its worth a shot.

And they could ditch Labours target culture too... tongue.gif
carlitoswhey
QUOTE(Ptarmigan @ May 10 2005, 10:56 AM)
I think the Conservative party would do well by sticking with Labours economic reforms currently in place, but offer greater regional decision making. 
They need to drop the immigration rant, because the problem with the UK is that whilst the Southeast is increasing in population, the North, Scotland and Wales are all losing population. So they make themselves look like racists and also very London-centric.

Socially liberal and economically conservative. Thats what I'd vote for! not sure if they are compatible, but its worth a shot.

I'd second these thoughts. The immigrant rant was so scary Margaret Thatcher left the country rather than comment. A losing proposition for all the reaasons listed.

How would you suggest, or like, to see the Tory party resolve its deep-seated unpopularity?
I would add strong law-and-order reforms to Ptarmingan's suggestions. Hooliganism, Neds, Thugs, whatever you call them, it's a real problem. Given the aging population, people want to be able to walk in the city centre and shop without fear of being mugged. Property crime and assault are huge problems and getting bigger. Guns are starting to become more prevalent in street crime, and the libertarian bent of Labour could leave this as an opportunity for the Tories to exploit.
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