James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire - Strong leadership needs to stand up for principles (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire - Strong leadership needs to stand up for principles
12:00pm Thursday 7th March 2013 in News
I will not add too much to the acres of newsprint spilled speculating over the Eastleigh by-election.
Were voters forgiving about Mr Huhne and Lord Rennard? I think not – the Lib Dem vote fell 14.5 per cent, and they would have lost hands down had it not been for the UKIP protest vote. (Many of which were Labour voters who will return to their fold come the General Election.) Both governing parties are unpopular mid-term – it was ever thus.
The Tory machinery on the ground was weak, the Lib Dem machinery (as ever in by-elections) well tuned up. A host of thoughts jostled through the voter’s mind, and it defies any other than a psephological psychologist to analyse what they really were.
There are, however, lessons to be learned by Mr Cameron and we Tories. The constraints of coalition coupled with the horrendous economic mess left to us by the outgoing Labour government have prevented us from doing what we would like to do and, on occasion, forced us to do things which we would very much rather not do.
We have issued mixed messages, tended to blow with the wind of public opinion, sought to appease the metrosexual, liberal-minded North London intelligentsia of the media rather than our own voters on the ground round the country. You don’t win elections by trimming, blowing with the wind, being all things to all people.
The politician’s job is to spell out clearly and unambiguously what they stand for. In our case that is less government, lower taxation, freedom of the individual, respect for our great old institutions, a strong Pound, decent defence of the Realm, tough punishment of criminals, immovable controls over immigration, and compassion for those less able to look after themselves and those on a low income.
These and others are the age old principles of Conservatism, and it is our job to explain them clearly, and to apply them rigorously in every aspect of government. Doing so may not make us popular on a daily basis; it may not endear us to the luvvies; but it will provide good, decent, strong government. And the people will vote for it come the General Election – even if it may be bitter tasting medicine.
We don’t need a lurch to the right, a lurch to the left or a lurch in any other direction. We don’t need a new leader. We’ve got a very good one already. But we do need strong leadership standing up for those age-old principles of good government.