Let’s have the courage of our convictions

I have heard one or two senior people in the Conservative Party saying that we should not engage on the issues raised by single-issue or minority parties, for fear of giving them an advantage by “fighting on their ground” or by “accepting their terms of trade”.  This is, I am afraid, a very dangerous view.

Take the BNP.  Their key issue is immigration.  But we know from polling that the majority of the British people, and of Conservatives, and indeed of ethnic minorities in the UK, are concerned about immigration and want tougher controls.  Even the Labour Party is edging towards this view.  It is no concession to the BNP to adopt rigorous policies on immigration.  On the contrary, it is an entirely proper and responsible reaction to the genuine concerns of our voters.

The same goes for UKIP, and the EU.  The great majority of the British people want a referendum on Lisbon, and would vote No.  The great majority would favour a looser and more flexible Europe.  To adopt robust policies against Lisbon and against EU integration is no concession to UKIP (least of all during the Euro-election, which is only seven months away).  Again, it is a proper and responsible reaction to genuine and well-founded public concerns.

I have heard it argued that for each BNP or UKIP vote we redeem through a tougher stance, we will lose fifty waverers in the middle.  But the numbers do not support that view.  If the great majority of the people want tougher immigration rules and a more euro-sceptic policy, it follows that waverers in the centre will want those policies too.  Only Polly Toynbee and the Guardian tendency will disagree, and they will never vote Conservative anyway.

Our “softly softly” stance is prompted by the desire to be seen as cuddly and soft-focus.  But faced with serious problems, the public are not looking for soft-focus and cuddliness.  They want clear polices and leadership.  Arguably it is because, in our fear of looking “nasty”, we have tip-toed around these sensitive issues and failed to address them properly, that we have allowed space and air-time for UKIP and the BNP to prosper.

Frankly, if we are to come up with tentative, politically-correct, milk-and water policies, if we are going to skirt around the issues that matter to voters on the doorstep, we will deserve to fail.  The public respect honesty and conviction, and that is what we have to demonstrate.

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9 Responses to Let’s have the courage of our convictions

  1. Backbench Warrior says:

    Roger, while what your saying is of course perfectly rational and once again demonstrates how much more in touch you are than the swathes of your Parliamentary colleagues – I hope you can understand from my point of view why I would view you as a man who is now simply in the wrong political Party, yet simply doesn’t want or hasn’t yet realised it.

    Would it not be fair to say that the likelihood of a new Tory leader resonating with your sound opinions stated here and more importantly, acting on such thoughts, is virtually zero (and shrinking)? I can only see literally a handful of any such MP’s (including those seeking selection at the next General Election) existing, none of whom command wide Parliamentary support. Such characters in that Party are now longer welcomed, they are simply “more trouble than they are worth”. With devices such as the A-List dictating the practical interior workings of the Conservative Party, this is set to continue.

    I do hope that UKIP once again obliterates the political establishment at next year’s European Elections. It is not a perfect Party, but it is growing with a leadership increasingly professional and a Leader of whom Tories should be deeply fearful of.

    If, on the other hand, the trendy Westminster establishment’s fear of real substantive debate causes scum like the BNP to win seats and secure funding and profile, then you are your Conservative colleagues need not to consider political strategy, but how far your morale fibre will bound you to the side of a feeble group of faceless politicians who have willingly let these detoriate to such a point. That will be something that the Conservative Party, along with the Labour and Liberal Democrats, may have to finally consider not only as a collective of politicians, but as a bloc of people who supposedly entered politicians with good intentions. Their good intentions will have led to a dismal reality.

  2. Paul Biggs says:

    “Frankly, if we are to come up with tentative, politically-correct, milk-and water policies, if we are going to skirt around the issues that matter to voters on the doorstep, we will deserve to fail. The public respect honesty and conviction, and that is what we have to demonstrate.”

    Well said. Cameron has strangled what was the Conservative Party with political correctness and ‘consensus’ politics. He has few clear policies. He is failing to provide an alternative to big government and the associated big taxes. He deserves to fail, and will fail. Failing to oppose the £240 billion King Canute ‘climate bill’ is his ultimate folly. I voted Tory for 30 years, but I’ll never vote for Cameron’s Blue Labour. Let’s have Boris Johnson as the next leader.

  3. Roger Helmer says:

    Let’s celebrate the five Conservative MPs who voted against the Climate Bill — Peter Lilley, Ann Widdecombe, Andrew Tyrie, Christopher Chope and Philip Davies.

  4. Backbench Warrior says:

    It comes to something, does it not Roger, when you can only congratulate five MP’s from the Conservative Party?

  5. Roger Helmer says:

    OK, Back-bench warrior. And how many Labour or Lib-Dem MPs voted against?

  6. Backbench Warrior says:

    The “lesser of three evils” argument really proves my point Roger – the Tories that you want and I would vote are dead and never to return, at least for a significant set of years yet. The Etonian Blue Labour lightweights have taken over and will be calling the shots in your Party for at least another decade – just look at the disgusting development of New Labour for the evidence of such.

  7. Wilko says:

    what, like David Cameron laying off the issues of the Green Party?

  8. Mandy Worrall says:

    As long as Cameron is leader and the career politicians who want to win at any cost, inhabit the Conservative party, I will consider it dead. When it is reborn it must have enough bite to make a proper impression. Well done on standing up for common sense to Roger and also Peter Lilley, Ann Widdecombe, Andrew Tyrie, Christopher Chope and Philip Davies. Many thanks for a little sanity in a sea of BS.

  9. Mandy Worrel makes a good point. Roger, you should consider taking over from Cameron!

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