3:00pm Thursday 5th April 2012
Mr Cameron must be greeting the Easter Parliamentary Recess with a sigh of relief. A Budget whose good news was largely leaked, allowing the press to focus on inevitable bad news; a cack-handed Treasurer making absurd claims about ministerial access; a minister advancing the dopey advice about jerry cans causing an unnecessary panic; and a playground squabble about pasties – it’s all a load of tosh at a time like this.
Not only does this sort of stuff further diminish the public’s respect for the body politic; it’s also an unnecessary diversion away from the real world. The government has a huge intray of massive problems to be dealt with, and their time should not be wasted on this sort of nonsense. It also obscures some of the very good things we have already done – like getting a grip on the real economy, hammering benefits fraudsters, starting to sort out immigration, reforming the education system.
It seems that my great Party has made a couple of strategic mistakes in recent weeks. First, the only purpose in a political party is to have a common ideological thread. We all need to believe the same things, and they must also be things which most of the ordinary people want to see happening. So the Tories must restate our basic principles – smaller government, lower taxation, respect for our great and old institutions, a sound economy, stout defence of the Realm, an instinctive dislike of ‘change’. Second, we must be ready to state those views and principles clearly and without trimming. And if, for example, our dear friends and colleagues in government, the Liberal Democrats don’t like it, then there are plenty of competent Tories who would quite happily take over their red boxes and ministerial limos.
Next, we must get those views over to the people who elected us – and even more importantly to those who did not, but whose votes we need in order to form a majority government after the next election.
Gorgeous George Galloway’s spectacular victory in Bradford North is a devastating blow for Labour. But there’s an important message there. Political parties must reconnect with the ordinary people of Britain.
Let’s get some decent, ordinary, true, old-fashioned Tories on it too. Away with the flash tieless politically correct youngsters. We need a bit of grey hair, a few grammar school types, some knights of the shires with farm mud on their boots. Away with the guacamole and iPads.
Let’s have aspiration, hard work, determination and clear headedness.
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