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Discussion > Did the Tories make a mistake in electing Cameron as leader?

I am becoming more and more convinced that they really made a huge mistake.

I think I wrote in another thread somewhere that I believed the Tories thought they were choosing some sort of Blaire clone, if they did then they were wrong. Cameron has charisma but not Blaire's ability to lie through the teeth while looking totally honest, in addition Blaire was consistant in his lies.

Some of Cameron's mistakes are noticed in all areas of the party; his many policy u-turns and the related willingness to make up new policy on the hoof. The recent promise to enshrine in law that all electricity customers will have to be offered the cheapest tarrifs are evidence of his problems!


The promise made to lead the greenest ever Conservative party evidenced the huge spaces filled with fresh air that exist between Cameron's ears. On a daily basis we discuss here on BH the consequential pain suffered by the UK, its citizens and its industries.

For me the worst mistake of all was his attitude to the EU and this week his inept handling of UKIP.
The percentage of the UK population who wish for us to leave the EU is growing constantly as is the percentage of Tory MPs who want the same thing.
Three long years ago in the MEP elections UKIP got 16.5% of the vote, just beating Labour into 3rd place on share of vote. Support for UKIP has grown since then, so Cameron's latest gaff could destroy his party's chances at the next election.
In 2006 Cameron branded UKIP as A Bunch Of Fruitcakes, Loonies And Closet Racists. This week Nigel Farage asked Cameron to withdraw that remark and Cameron refused! It is no secret that UKIP is stuffed with lifelong Tory voters who have become sick of the party's pro Europe stance. This latest gaff pushes the Tory party's one natural ally away from them, pushes wavering voters closer to deserting to UKIP and also pushes his eurosceptic MPs closer to deserting the party or to actually trying to remove him as leader.

Nov 26, 2012 at 7:47 PM | Registered CommenterDung

The Tories made what I call the M&S mistake - aiming to attract a market they don't traditionally appeal to (middle of the road politics). Labour did the same. Unfortunately for both of them, in grabbing for the same small block of people in the middle they neglected the people already on their side, many of whom have voted with their feet if not their X.

Cameron is merely a symptom, not the disease.

Nov 26, 2012 at 9:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

A small group of people in the middle? Ever heard of a bell curve?

Nov 26, 2012 at 11:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Oh Nooooooooooooooooes! BB has found my new discussion hehe

Nov 26, 2012 at 11:36 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Whatever his failing, given the other candidates at the time.
Do you really believe someonelse would now be prime minister, allbeit in a coalition

Looking back, anyone else might have tempted Brown, into a snap election, that he bottled

Nov 27, 2012 at 6:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Barry

Always impossible to say what would have happened but what we have now is at least as bad as labour in many areas. A different leader would have had a different view on the EU, David Davis would have pulled us out and would not have allowed all this climate rubbish. UKIP voters would probably have come back to the Conservatives.

Nov 27, 2012 at 8:33 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Since when did the Conservative party elect their own leader rather than their paymasters 'arranging' the outcome? All supposition I admit but there must surely have been some VERY influential high-monied backers who recognised an opportunity for manipulation. Colour me cynical etc......

Nov 27, 2012 at 11:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave_G

In a situation like this, one way of looking at it is to say where we are, where do we want to go from here and how do we get there? Judging by the posters on BH, the place we want to move to is cut off by a road block called Cameron.

Nov 28, 2012 at 12:55 AM | Registered CommenterDung

BB - Not all normal distributions are the same, and the area in the middle is quite narrow in this regard. I know folk who will always vote one way or the other no matter what. It was obvious the week before last in Rotherham that even a donkey with a red rosette on could hold the line. And the same can be said for many Tory constituencies.

Of course when considering bell curves (and we have said this before) - and you consider how stupid the average person is, you do well to remember that half of them are more stupid than that.

Dec 9, 2012 at 8:23 PM | Registered Commenterretireddave

Dave_G - Always believe the cock-up theory rather than the conspiracy. The Lib/Lab/Con couldn't organise a good conspiracy between them.

The Tory party thought (after a few beatings by Bliar) that they needed to be further to the left - certainly that was Camoron's view and a lot around him.

I think they were wrong - when the electorate eventually realised that Bliar/McRuin were snake-oil salesmen handing out your own money - what they needed to have on offer was a solid right of centre option, based on smaller government, sound handling of money, but a caring attitude in hard times. Hard times that were mostly caused by Brown and his fiscal incontinence, ably abetted by a group of unregulated bankers.

What we have is the worse of all worlds - a poor excuse for a PM with the LibDumbs hung around his neck like a millstone.

Problem is - All this spouting assumes that the average citizen understands what a smelly place we are in. A government increases spending by 50% above inflation in a decade, by taking 10% more of your income in tax, by borrowing in the good times, pinching £5bn a year from pension funds, and shoving a huge future burden on a credit card called PFI. And nobody wants to cut back to even 2007 spending levels . Sheer madness.

Usually when the children on the left in the UK leave office with finances in a mess (5 times now), the nasty party of adults has had to be unpopular to clear it up. This time the Tories are not lead by an adult.

Dec 9, 2012 at 8:45 PM | Registered Commenterretireddave

Dave, are all normal distributions really not the same? It doesn't sound right to me. And your thoughts on stupidity sound a bit condescending - I mean everyone thinks they are on the better side of the average (just like most people think they drive better than average), including you.

You destroy your own case. You say that what was needed was a solid right of centre option. But you go on the admit that nobody wants spending cut back to 2007 levels - in other words, voters don't want what a solid centre right option might offer. So had the Tories been any further right they would probably have fared worse. Parties have to sell themselves to the electorate they have, not the one they wish they had.

Dec 10, 2012 at 1:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Tony Bliar admitted he made the mistake of keeping to the Tory spending plans for the first 3 years, not much changed and when they finally started spending it all got wasted as any chance of changing vested interests was done. David Cameron moved left to get rid of the nasty party, got lumbered with the Libdems and not much has changed, the economy is stuck in a rut and the chance of radical change is again gone. Once you gain power you have a honeymoon period known as the first 100 days, that is when you get all the fundamental changes in place after that you get nowhere. So new leader is now required, hey Boris.

Dec 10, 2012 at 8:40 AM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

...So had the Tories been any further right they would probably have fared worse. Parties have to sell themselves to the electorate they have, not the one they wish they had.

Dec 10, 2012 at 1:52 AM | BitBucket>>>>>

At 3000m above sea level you don't even live in Britain so why comment on our politics?

Dec 10, 2012 at 10:47 AM | Registered CommenterRKS

I've made a formal complaint about the disruptive activities of the BB troll.

I suggest any others who find the deliberate disruptions to threads intolerable do the same via the 'contact' label at the top right of the page.

Dec 10, 2012 at 1:55 PM | Registered CommenterRKS

RKS

..So had the Tories been any further right they would probably have fared worse. Parties have to sell themselves to the electorate they have, not the one they wish they had.

Not only do I not agree with the idea that parties have to sell themselves to the electorate, I actually think it is a big part of what is wrong with politics at the moment. ^.^

In times gone by politics was about setting out your beliefs and standing by them, Labour and Conservatives were ideologically opposed. Now parties try to find out what the public wants and make policy statements that indicate that people might get what they want. We need to get back to beliefs.

On intelligence; there are some incredibly bright people on BH and hardly any stupid ones and so they would be well to the right of centre on any bell curve of IQ. However IQ alone counts for nothing, not even a well educated IQ ^.^ The hindbrain still exerts such a huge influence on how we behave and view the world. IQ is just a tool like a pocket calculator or a spanner which man picks up to help him achieve his objectives. The desire for wealth, power and influence are not usually functions of intelligence.

Dec 10, 2012 at 2:37 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Dec 10, 2012 at 2:37 PM | Dung

Hi

I'm afraid you've confused me with the BB troll.

The quote you argue against:-

"...So had the Tories been any further right they would probably have fared worse. Parties have to sell themselves to the electorate they have, not the one they wish they had.

Dec 10, 2012 at 1:52 AM | BitBucket"

was, as can be seen, by the BB troll and was merely commented upon by me to ask why a mountain troll living at 3000m above sea level, and therefore not living in Britain, was commenting on British politics.

I do, by the way, concur with much of what you say and feel disenfranchised by the modern version of British politics. The days of one nation conservatism are long gone and UKIP seems to be the only party which cares about the British anymore. A vote for them may well weaken the Tory vote and allow a LibLab coalition of hate at the next election, but I feel I must make that vote to help sway the Tory party to adapt British friendly policies in the future.

I note that Osborne, with his encouragement to exploit fracking, seems to be one of the few real conservatives in the government, and may well take over when Cameron is inevitably removed as party leader and Prime Minister.

Thanks for the thread. I don't discuss politics much in public and only do so using my usual acronym, even though that may incur the wrath of the 'nym' police and their ubiquitous representative at BH.

Dec 10, 2012 at 3:09 PM | Registered CommenterRKS

"In times gone by politics was about setting out your beliefs and standing by them"
Yes, in the good old days of Thatcher v Kinnock they had principles and you knew pretty much where they stood. Whether you agreed with one or the other or neither, they deserved some respect for maintaining their principles. The current crowd care about nothing except getting elected, hence the rush to the centre of the bell curve, leaving space at the sides.

Dec 10, 2012 at 3:13 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

20th Century politics 'worked', in as much as the working class gained education, opportunity and wealth, and the hereditary class lost its right to keep all its money and had to start considering the rights of others in order to maintain what they were left with. Everyone moved towards the centre during that time.

The 'problem' for politics, as Tony Blair noted, was that the 'working class' were now quite rich, compared with their founding fathers, and were developing needs and aspirations which were traditionally of the right. They didn't want the Union-led power outages and bin-bags piling up in the street any more. They didn't want big government and inefficient state-run services. Labour moved right towards the centre. During the Blair years, the Tories realised that 'working class Tories' and the aspirant were being well-served by New Labour and had deserted them, so they moved left to recapture them. Labour didn't lose the last election - Gordon Brown did. As much as he was hated for the various military interventions, and by the media, most people look back on the Blair years as a golden age (because Brown was quietly spending the family silver to finance it, no doubt!)

It's not that we've lost principled politics so much, it's that the polarisation of the 20th century into left and right is not as marked as it once was - the bell curve got tall and narrow, if you like. Most people are somewhere left or right of centre. It's less about left and right now, and all about positioning specific policies within the centre-left-right ground. Yes, it was simpler when you looked at the colour of a politicians's tie and you knew his opinion on every separate branch of policy without asking, but those days are gone, man. Deal with it.

Dec 11, 2012 at 11:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

RKS

I apologise for mixing you up with our mountain troll, I deserve inprisonment or worse for that.

BigYin

I still think the policies of the right are there to be occupied but they had been vacated until UKIP came along. Defence, Independence from the EU, Small government, Grammar Schools and standards in general, low taxation, pragmatism in energy and business are all policies adopted by UKIP which were once core Conservative policies and people are moving to UKIP. I think the only thing that stopped UKIP getting seats at the last election was the fear of Labour getting back, people have to stop doing that and vote for what they believe in.

Dec 11, 2012 at 6:36 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Dung, what is stopping UKIP gaining more seats is that they represent the old right wing, and unfortunately as the electoral bell curve has gotten narrow and tall, this tail-end has gotten less. There will never be enough people under that curve to make UKIP a mainstream party, and they also suffer from false hope that many people articulate annoyance with the centre right by pretending to support them as a bit of sabre rattling.

The electorate has changed. They will no more vote in a hard right party than a hard left one.

Dec 11, 2012 at 9:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Yes a big one, he's just a Blair clone. He is no radical or visionary.

Dec 11, 2012 at 9:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

BigYin

I think we must agree to differ hehe. However I think the fact that a majority of UK voters want an in/out referendum on the EU does support my views.

Dec 12, 2012 at 12:09 AM | Registered CommenterDung

Time will tell Dung :) Of course there is a highly intellectual and well-thought-out aspect ot the UKIP policy, but I suspect the only reason they are seeing a rise in popularity is a rather nasty tendencies of the ignorant classes to become xenophobic when times get hard. I wish I could believe that people are voting UKIP for the economic reasoning, but sense tells me it's the hardline on immigration they are voting for.

I see something very similar in my old homeland of Scotland - for some reason they think all their woes will be solved by separating from the 'evil English' - it's no surprise to me that nationalism/separatism in all its garish forms, always becomes popular during a recession.

Dec 12, 2012 at 8:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

BigYin

A good number of highly intelligent people on BH have recently committed to voting UKIP and even to becoming card carrying members. I dont think they are all racists ^.^

Dec 12, 2012 at 6:25 PM | Registered CommenterDung