I’m a reasonable man – some might say too reasonable. I believe in debate and compromise. I believe in steady progress not revolution. I’ve never seen politics in black and white but recognise that most of the time reality operates in shades of grey – or even the full spectrum of colours.
That’s why despite leaning to the left I can respect the views of some further to the right. But only some: those that I call ‘good’ Tories.
Good Tories have varying views but they can largely be characterised as fiscal conservatives and social liberals. They believe in a smaller state, they believe that markets are the best motivators of progress and efficiency, they believe in personal responsibility. I may not agree with them but I can respect Good Tories as people of principle, who believe what they believe based on sound logical arguments that they can articulate.
This puts them in contrast to the bulk of the current government, who I believe are working on ideology not principle. I make an important distinction between the two: the principles that I respect in good Tories are approaches based on logic applied in the right situations. They have been tested and reaffirmed by their experience in life and business.
The ideology of the current government is more like a faith, applied rigidly and with a missionary zeal. It is unchecked by any real life experience that might have caused them to temper their principles with a dose of reality.
Hence we get suggestions like the unrestrained entry of business into state operations – something that no good Tory that I know would honestly countenance. We get the relaxation of tax laws enabling banks to move much of their trade offshore. We get the blind slashing of the Disability Living Allowance wiping out a large proportion of the income of some of our most disadvantaged citizens.
As I said at the start, I am generally someone of pretty balanced views. But I find it increasingly hard to keep a civil tongue when talking about this government. I don’t expect them to swing wildly to the left, and I am not denying the financial problems that the country faces. But when taking decisions that will undermine the livelihoods of thousands of people I just expect a little more thought, consideration and honesty to go into decisions and their communication.
- Drop this ‘Big Society’ sham. Philip Blond may well believe in it but I don’t believe that Cameron and Osborne see it as anything other than a thin veil behind which to slash the state.
- Stop presenting local government cuts as the fault of councils not being able to find ‘efficiency savings’ fast enough. Comparing wealthy, Conservative Trafford with poorer Manchester is hardly a fair comparison.
- Don’t present cuts as ‘corrections’, and claim that the recipients should never have been receiving the benefits anyway, as Maria Miller did with the mobility aspect of the DLA. That doesn’t change the fact that people have been reliant on them and somehow need to make up a large gap in their income.
Good Tories are honest, principled, and logical. I don’t think that is a lot to ask of a Government.