Thinking For The Individual

Formerly known as 'Thinking For The People', this site offers some reflections on the state of British society and her people from the perspective of a libertarian Conservative with a passionate belief in the pillars of freedom and responsibility.

Monday, August 15, 2005

A Conservative 'Three-Point Plan'

An interesting 'ten-point briefing' at Conservative Home on the Tory Party's electoral problems and varying theories on how we can move forward in the future. I wrote a comment on the site about what I felt the Party needed to do to win an election. My own 'three-point plan':
  1. Develop a platform of radical policy ideas to reform every aspect of society, from health and education to policing to welfare to local democracy. The right-wing is full of ideas which, if implemented, could breed a great era of free enterprise and the development of a civil society.
  2. Use compassionate words. I am a compassionate conservative in the sense that I want tax cuts first and foremost for the poor, not the rich (although the rich wouldn't be made to pay billions, as that has a devastating impact on the economy too). We should not seek to be thought of as a nice party, but as a party which stands up for the poorest, not let them fend for themselves. "I believe that people should work for themselves and look after their own lives and their families without help for the government." That is the first and last statement for the Bible of libertarian conservatives like me, and anyone else who believes in free enterprise. A party which developed a more compassionate spirit would not put it like that, but would say, "I believe that people should be free to keep their own hard-earned money, without let or hindrance from the State, and that the affluent should seek to protect the vulnerable themselves, as philanthropy will always triumph over the will of the State." Perhaps changing words like that is simply Blairesque spin or semantics. But the right-wing has always had a problem with communication. That needs to change, and with the right words it should be very easy.
  3. To fulfill these goals and ultimately to bring our party to power, we need to have what is known as a strong 'grassroots army' to support the campaign. Every day should be treated like a campaigning day for senior Conservatives in a new Shadow Cabinet. The new leader should draw up a rota for his team so that each weekday of the parliamentary year, one or two shadow ministers are out in a particular consituency putting the case for our radical vision, canvassing along the main street, speaking to the local press, and making sure people see their faces! We also can't be scared of making our faces seen and our voices heard in those parts of the country where the masses would spit on you if they knew you were a Conservative. Whilst we should privately develop a carefully choreographed and targeted strategy for winning an election, in public we should be bold and declare that we are fighting for the rights and freedoms of all people, most of all the poor in the inner cities of the old industrial heartlands: the places we have a moral duty to act, not just a political one. I read a piece in The Times today which showed how parents desperate to get their children into decent schools are in uproar against the Labour-led council in Reading. I would have my Shadow Education Secretary in the town tomorrow, stating the case to any and all who will listen about the virtues of school vouchers, how the Conservatives want to liberate parents and how the Labour Party has a proud history of treating the wishes of the citizenry as secondary to its ideological dogma. What's more, I am convinced that when he comes back from the town, the Shadow Education Secretary would declare that he had Reading's two Parliamentary seats in the bag! We have to put forward our message every day of every week of every month of every year between now and the next general election, because I am convinced that the greatest election victories are won well before the Prime Minister drives up the Mall to ask the Queen to dissolve Parliament.

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