Archive for the ‘Cameron & Old Tories’ Category

Freedom of Movement within the EU - by Robin Baker

Jeudi, novembre 6th, 2014

The freedom of movement of workers within the Community and the freedom of establishment of nationals of one member state within the territory of another are, as we are frequently reminded, fundamental principles established by the then EEC in 1957 and maintained by the European Union today.

Currently they are increasingly questioned by the Eurosceptic wing of the Conservative Party. To me that means that is has become time to go back and ask why these principles were established.

There are two key reasons. One is the question of individual liberty. Governments should not dictate to citizens where they can go and where they can live and work. The benefit of that hardly needs emphasising to UK members of British Conservatives in Paris; we take advantage of it either just to live or to both live and work here. Many French citizens do the same in Great Britain.

The second is that this liberty is an economic benefit, to individuals and to the economy of Europe as a whole. It permits workers, particularly the most motivated and the most valuable among them, to go where the contribution that they make is most valued and most appreciated. That maximises the economic benefit that they make to Europe as a whole. Many of the French who work in the UK are a good example of this. Their economic contribution is more appreciated in our country because our lower level of bureaucracy enables it to flourish and bear fruit whereas in France it could be stifled by control and regulation. That benefits the French concerned, the UK in general and in time it may benefit France itself if it eventually forces the Government here to reduce their regulatory controls.

What I do not understand is how any Conservative can oppose these principles of individual liberty and the prevention of government imposed rules leading to sub-economic decisions. Both are fundamental to the Conservative Party. In the 1960s and 70s, leaders of the Conservative Party such as Macmillan and Heath understood that. These principles need re-asserting now so that our political leaders can learn to understand them again.

Robin Baker
BCiP Member

A French message to Britain!

Mardi, juin 24th, 2014

A French message to Britain: get out of Europe before you wreck it!

This article by French Socialist and former Prime Minister Michel Rocard was published in Le Monde on 5th June, 2014 and then on-line in English in The Guardian (www.the guardian.com) on 6th June, 2014.

“The European Union is on its knees but you, the British, want to block even small steps to democratic legitimacy.”

“Now you pretend to want to exit; the majority of your people are in no doubt about it. But you have a banking interest in remaining to capitalise on the disorder that you have helped to create.

So go before you wreck everything.

There was a time when being British was synonymous with elegance. Let us rebuild Europe. Regain your elegance and you will regain our esteem.”

Facing up to Tory Eurosceptics

Jeudi, février 6th, 2014

Adam Boulton writing in The Sunday Times senses that for Prime Minister Cameron, Chancellor Osborne and Foreign Secretary Hague, staying in Europe has become a major priority.

George Osborne speaking at a recent “Pan-European” conference hosted by the Open Europe think tank and the Fresh Start group of Tory MPs, apparently gave the clearest indication yet of what the Prime Minister might be aiming to renegotiate before his 2017 referendum on continuing EU membership i.e.
1. The Euro: To seek guarantees that EU member countries not in the common currency area can remain so, without strictures on them being imposed by the Eurozone members.
2. Welfare: With the support of Germany in particular and other richer EU members, to introduce curbs on migration within the framework of “freedom of movement” for more control at national level of the associated spending on welfare.
3. Single market: Accepting that the EU needs to become more competitive globally, to accelerate completion of the single market e.g. for services, by allowing Britain and other large EU states to integrate more quickly while smaller states can still protect their home markets.

It will be interesting to see whether such an approach will allow PM Cameron to out-manoeuvre the estimated one third of total Conservative MPs who are exploiting the rise of UKIP to promote their euroscepicism. At constituency level Tory activists are also said to be generally more Eurosceptic but actual Tory voters seem more in tune with the general public in that the EU does not appear in the top 10 of their major concerns!

Reference: N° 11 signals a way to halt the Eurosceptic express, Adam Boulton, The Sunday Times 19.01.14.

How to Widen Tory Appeal?

Mercredi, juillet 31st, 2013

Tim Montgomery writing in The Times July 29th 2013, proposes Five Ways to Widen the Tory Appeal and Win the next general election in 2015.

He assumes that by 2015, voters are likely to see the Tories as a party of deficit reduction, welfare control and Euro-scepticism. The party’s 2015 election campaign would then need to reinforce these strengths as well as counter an anticipated Liberal Democrat claim that, but for them in the Coalition, the Tories would have governed for the rich and powerful. Therefore, he suggests the five key pledges below for the next Tory manifesto which must also put concern for the lower-paid at its heart.

1. No more tax on petrol or home energy bills
2. A higher pension and a lower welfare cap.
3. Help for more first-time buyers to own their own home.
4. More apprenticeships for Britain’s youngest workers
5. A referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU.

These pledges are aimed at reaching more voters (e.g. private sector workers, home owners and the grey vote) than at the last election in 2010, while leaving the door open to the possibility of a second Lib-Dem Tory Coalition, instead of driving the Liberal Democrats into the arms of Labour.

The article also identifies other issues on which the Tories could still be vulnerable and which are generally the major concerns of voters such as the Economy, Health, Education and Immigration. However, on the major issue for the Conservative party itself (but not necessarily the voters) of an EU referendum , the author could be considered rather optimistic in suggesting that by 2015 it is likely that both Labour and the Liberal Democrats will have matched Mr Cameron’s EU referendum promise to “trust the people”.

The risk still remains of the party descending into civil war over Europe e.g. if Mr Cameron has to compromise on his EU referendum pledge during Coalition negotiations in 2015. The Conservative party also needs to more clearly differentiate itself from UKIP by not linking the issue of uncontrolled immigration to membership of the EU.

The Younger Generation of Voters - by Michael Webster

Samedi, juin 8th, 2013

An interesting addendum to the article in The Economist, from which I quoted in a recent submission on the need to rejuvenate our Party (PM Cameron’s relations with the old Tories), appears in this week’s (June 1st/7th) Economist: The strange rebirth of liberal England. It discusses the rising liberal attitudes of the 19-to-34 year old generation in Britain.

They hold more tolerant views on gay marriage and immigration than their elders and are more opposed to governmental interference in their lives. They do not share the same degree of pride in the creation of the welfare state as the “baby boomer” generation and are much more inclined to believe that it leads to a demotivation to work.

The young tend to be ahead in adopting the trends of the future and are, of course, the voters of the future. But they tend not to be heard in a political world where the average age of an MP is 50 and in the House of Lords the average member is 69.

Michael Webster

PM Cameron’s Relations with Old Tories - by Michael Webster

Mercredi, mai 29th, 2013

Bagehot, an editorialist of the Economist, paints a gloomy picture of Prime Minister Cameron’s relations with the Tory old guard.

The Conservative Associations around Britain are growing increasingly disgruntled with his policies on immigration, defence cuts, a too weak exit strategy from Europe and, above all, gay marriage. Their members’ average age is approaching 60 and they cling to the old values of sound economic policies, Church, family and strong policing.

David Cameron, after three successive Tory electoral defeats, felt the need for change. Hence, his “modernising” campaign (which he sold as a reaffirmation of Conservative values), included favouring gay marriage and renewable energy. However, he failed to obtain an outright majority necessitating a coalition with the Liberals and the adoption of policies which further watered down Conservative ones.

The population is ageing and senior citizens are more likely to vote. Yet it seems to me that there is a great need to rejuvenate the Party and make it an important priority to increase our appeal to a younger generation, if we are to have a hope of winning the next election.