Conservative Party hits the self-destruct button

Last night I did the Stephen Nolan show again at midnight on BBC Radio Five Live.  Love the show — but I hate getting to bed at two in the morning!  I was on with David Banks again, former Mirror editor.  He’s a hard-bitten leftie, so I’m slightly embarrassed to find that we frequently agree.

It was of course the papers review, and for once we got a whole lot of hard politics and not too much human interest stuff (although the previous hour had hosted a very moving debate on the Liverpool Care Pathway, and the experiences of listeners).  There really was no getting away from politics in the headlines, and I guess that David Cameron (and many Conservatives) are having a rather bilious Sunday morning.

The Sunday Times had “Tory alarm over No 10 meltdown”.  The Observer: “Tory Grandee in assault on ‘this dog of a government’” — the Norman Tebbit story.  The Mail: “Cameron says Time to Mug a hoodie” — the PM’s desperate attempt to get back onto the front foot with a populist dog-whistle issue.  He says his new policy is “tough but intelligent”, which you may regard as another U-turn.  And the Indie has “How new Tory MPs knifed Mitchell”.  Well done those guys.  There’s also a lot of play for the “George Osborne and the First Class Ticket” story, including an “exposé” in the Sunday Telegraph of the widespread use of first class travel by MPs.  I personally don’t have a problem with the Chancellor of the Exchequer travelling first class — provided he pays for a first-class ticket.

This follows on from Saturday’s devastating Mail headline “Who do they think they are?” over a photo of three Tory MPs — Mitchell swearing at police, Osborne using a second-class ticket in first class, and my own MP Andrew Robathan, who reportedly called for Army veterans concerned about defence cuts to be removed from the Palace of Westminster.

Following the “omnishambles” of the summer, with one disaster following hard on the heels of another, these gaffes are appalling for both the government and the Tory party, and raise real questions as to how long the Coalition can last.  Clearly the government has lost the confidence of the people, and (to paraphrase Brecht) maybe it’s time for the people to dissolve the government, and to appoint a new one.

I feel genuinely sorry for Conservative activists (remember I was one for years) who raised funds and worked their socks off to get Conservatives elected, and now see a Conservative-led government descending into farce.  All I can suggest is that now that all three of the old parties have been discredited one way or another, perhaps it’s time to look for a new party with common-sense policies.  As I did.

Many people have been asking if Cameron is really a Conservative.  He’s answered that in recent weeks.  His intervention in the energy pricing debate was not only capricious and unprofessional.  It was un-conservative.  They tried state price control in the Soviet Union.  It resulted in shortages, bread queues, poverty, and a flourishing black market.  Yet not content with price fixing in energy, he went straight on to intervene in the retail wine business, proposing to ban six-bottle offers.

Cameron simply doesn’t understand markets.  He imagines he can solve problems by proposing initiatives.  But it doesn’t work like that.  Utility companies forced to offer the cheapest tariff will simply raise their lowest prices.  Supermarkets, no longer able to offer six-bottle deals, will offer single-bottle deals — which will make wine more, not less, accessible to the casual binge drinker.  But let me finish at least with a piece of good news.  The Sunday Times reports that “the new policy of minimum prices for alcohol has been shelved, because of fears of mistakes in the detail”.  Maybe they’re learning.  And let’s hope that the ban on six-bottle deals goes into the long grass alongside minimum pricing.

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4 Responses to Conservative Party hits the self-destruct button

  1. Phil J says:

    Roger, please excuse me for saying this but I do think that you have missed one very important point regarding ‘call me Dave’ and that is the simple fact that he has absolutely no idea of what we people in the real world go through on a day to day scale! Oh I forgot, he nearly pulled a whole pint for a photo shoot in his local pub-and then left his child in another!
    Pre-election 2call me Dave’ informed the nation at large that he wanted to “talk to the man on the street”, to get ‘his’ views on the country as it stood. I was bold enough to respond to that call, after all, ‘England expects everyman to do his duty etc’. In fact I applied 7 times for that meeting but never even got a reply-so ‘call me Dave’ was obviously not a man of or even for the people, he was simply yet another product of the career politicians school; ie, simply too far removed from reality – and that is why why we are now half way up/down the river without a paddle.
    He has allowed the NHS to become a shambles, various lobby’s to destroy the very culture of this country and completely failed to close those gaping great immigration doors – tell me that is a man with grass roots knowledge!

  2. maureen gannon says:

    Roger so what is the alternative ? we have Chamelon in one corner and Millibrain in the other and if you need to see bumbling Cleggy watch “Last of the Summer Wine , then Nigel Farage yes there will be a very large protest vote in the next election but in the main defection surely will be from the tory side , so I can see another mish mash of a goverment which is like a blind man going through Hampton Court maze , “dither dither which way what way governance.” if Salmond wins of course that will halve the [hard] labour vote, but untill we get politicos of substance and not a body of advisors pulling the strings , it is in my opinion much of the same.

  3. Ammonite says:

    As an aside, 1st class travel North of Inverness is nonexistent. It is good to see the locals make good use of seriously comfortable chairs and have a socket for whatever chip technology a body may cart around… I travel regularly and have never seen an MP make use of this abberation. As the Highlands are about the same size as Wales it is pleasing to have time to have conversations along the way with other travellers. Perhaps this is the real reason for those few that might be gently cross-examined by their electorate. There really is nowhere to hide! Mr Osborne would have been congratulated here for his stance on making train travel comfortable for all.

  4. Ian Hills says:

    “the new policy of minimum prices for alcohol has been shelved, because of fears of mistakes in the detail” means “the EU said NO.”

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