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Author Topic: Are the Conservatives conservative?  (Read 3535 times)
Fmr. President & Senator Polnut
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« on: October 25, 2006, 03:03:59 am »
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Ignorance? lol. Please Al. Your coal schtick is funny and all but claiming the Tories are "conservative" is just beyond the pale.

They're the traditional old school conservatives... not the psychotic libertarian cowboys or the arch-Conservatives who want to control everything everyone does... as long as you don't touch their guns.

The American political definitions are off kilter for everywhere else in the world.
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« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2006, 03:10:52 pm »
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What are the Tories conservative about?
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« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2006, 03:23:01 pm »
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What are the Tories conservative about?

I could ask the same question of the GOP
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« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2006, 03:29:31 pm »
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That's not an answer.
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« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2006, 03:43:51 pm »
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That's not an answer.

True; but it does present one point that I think is quite important, what is considered as 'conservative' varies from nation to nation, and indeed within the US and the Republican Party itself
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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2006, 02:52:37 am »
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I think it's safe to say the GOP is more conservative than the Democrats. Republicans have spent like drunken sailors but the Dems would spend even more, and on most issues it's not a close call.

In the British case, I truly don't understand how the Tories are any different ideologically from Labour. I realize they have different positions on various issues, but there is minimal philosophic cohesion.

I mean, at some point, using the term "conservative" is misleading because there are no conservatives in the picture. At least in the US we can safely say that numerous politicians at least espouse a conservative ideology (whether they successfully act on it or not). But Britain is more like the late '80s USSR... I mean, Ligachev and Gorby disagreed but it was more of a practical than ideological difference.

The Tories may want to do a few things differently but, from what I read and see at least, they see the world pretty much like Labour does. Not so in the US, between GOP and Dems.
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« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2006, 07:25:53 am »

If you do not understand the rather large ideological differences between Labour and the Conservatives (which are actually greater than between the Democrats and the Republicans), then you are in no position to make any claims about British politics.

Interesting fact about British politics; whenever a new party takes office, a very high proportion of the policies of the previous government are either reversed or modified to be unrecognizable. This doesn't always happen very quickly, but with the exception of the incoming Conservative government of 1951, it always happens (and even in '51 the Tories denationalised Iron and Steel). It happend in 1997 (the changes to economic development, welfare & etc policy was especially stark, btw) and it will happen whenever the Tories next get a majority in the Commons.
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« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2006, 09:28:43 am »
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It seems evident to me that history is repeating itself in British politics.  In the 1980's, Labour were consistently defeated for being far too left-wing, right up until they got themselves a shiny new leader who pretty much abandoned many of the key principles of the party (i.e. socialism) and aimed for the middle ground instead. 

In the late 90's and 00's, the Conservatives were consistently defeated for being far too right-wing, right up until they got themselves a shiny new leader who pretty much abandoned many of the key principles of the party (i.e. conservatism) and aimed for the middle ground instead.
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« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2006, 11:36:23 am »
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They're not really anymore. Cameron's tories are to the left of Menzies' Libdems.
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« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2006, 11:43:12 am »
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They're not really anymore. Cameron's tories are to the left of Menzies' Libdems.

You have got to be kidding me.
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frenger
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« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2006, 11:45:29 am »
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They're not really anymore. Cameron's tories are to the left of Menzies' Libdems.

You have got to be kidding me.
Evidence: Menzies, very shortly after taking leadership, came forward supporting lowering the top income tax rates. Cameron says there is doubt weather there is a margin for lowering taxes. I rest my case.
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« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2006, 11:52:01 am »
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They're not really anymore. Cameron's tories are to the left of Menzies' Libdems.

You have got to be kidding me.
Evidence: Menzies, very shortly after taking leadership, came forward supporting lowering the top income tax rates. Cameron says there is doubt weather there is a margin for lowering taxes. I rest my case.

Firstly, if you don't support tax cuts you are automatically not a Conservative and if you support them you automatically are? If so that is a very narrow definition of what it means to be Conservative.

Secondly, the Lib Dem policy was to lower the top rate, but increase the threshold so in fact the top 10% of earners (which is what seems to entice you most) would pay more including a tax on aviation and the possibility of increased road tax and fuel duty.

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« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2006, 11:55:22 am »
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They're not really anymore. Cameron's tories are to the left of Menzies' Libdems.

You have got to be kidding me.
Evidence: Menzies, very shortly after taking leadership, came forward supporting lowering the top income tax rates. Cameron says there is doubt weather there is a margin for lowering taxes. I rest my case.

Firstly, if you don't support tax cuts you are automatically not a Conservative and if you support them you automatically are? If so that is a very narrow definition of what it means to be Conservative.
No but it's a very strong indication, especially when the tax rate is as high as it is in the UK(not that Portugal is any better).

Quote
Secondly, the Lib Dem policy was to lower the top rate, but increase the threshold so in fact the top 10% of earners (which is what seems to entice you most) would pay more including a tax on aviation and the possibility of increased road tax and fuel duty.



Raising the thereshold makes the rate flatter. I would need to know the specifics on the aviation tax, but the others are user fees and cunsumption taxes, which are always preferable to an income tax.
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« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2006, 11:58:10 am »
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So if a party decided to cut income tax but raise consumption taxes to the extent that the total tax burden is altogether higher, thats okay?
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Comrade Sibboleth
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« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2006, 12:00:03 pm »

It seems evident to me that history is repeating itself in British politics.  In the 1980's, Labour were consistently defeated for being far too left-wing, right up until they got themselves a shiny new leader who pretty much abandoned many of the key principles of the party (i.e. socialism) and aimed for the middle ground instead.

No, it didn't happen like that at all. What actually happend was far more complicated and part of a longrunning internal civil war (which began right after the 1970 defeat). But that's certainly what the New Right and Hard Left in the Party like to pretend happend...

Warning: the following is not neutral and does not pretend to be... people from other wings of the party would doubtless disagree over much of it. Regardless...

Basically: following the 1979 defeat, the leftwing grassroots of the party grew in power and were able to pass a load of very leftwing motions at the 1980 Conference. Callaghan resigned as leader because of this (note that at this point Labour were probably heading for victory in the next General Election... that irony is still quite painful...), leftwing academic Michael Foot (a very clever man, but a dire leader and with no ability to connect with the public whatsoever) was elected leader over rightwing former Chancellor Denis Healey, the civl war broke out in earnest, was extremely messy (I can go into details if you want...), the liberal Right broke off and formed the SDP, the Falklands happend, Labour got crushed in the '83 elections and Foot resigned. He was replaced by Kinnock (on the left, but more old left than new left) who spent his time as leader (which lasted for almost a decade) trying to shift the party back to where it had been before 1980 (both in terms of policy and electoral appeal), and trying to kill of the Trotskyite sh*ts who had been infiltrating the party (with disturbing success in some areas) since the late '70's. You also had the beginnings of the rebranding of the party during this period; the red rose got adopted as the new logo and so on.
After Kinnock resigned as leader, the new leader (John Smith) did a lot to moderate party policy and to change party rules and organisation. Had he not died suddenly, Labour would still have won a landslide in 1997.
There never was any need for The Almighty And Wonderful Dear Leader And Clinton Clone, and Blair didn't actually change the party much, at least not in a postive way.
What happend after Blair took over was a load of entirely cosmetic changes, including the entirely symbolic battle over the rewriting of Clause IV of the Party Constitution (which committed Labour to public ownership. In theory. Up until Gaitskell tried to get rid of it in the early '60's, it had never been of any real importance (the nationalizations of the '40's were not done for ideological reasons), and even after then it only had a link to proposed Labour policy in one General Election; 1983), which, contrary to the claims of the Hard Left, did not mark a formal ditching of Socialism (the first line of the new Clause IV reads: "The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party") it just meant that the commitment to Socialism become much more vague (bringing us into line with most other European Socialist parties). As it happens, I prefer the old Clause IV, not that it matters much.
Anyways, Blair used to have a great deal of appeal for certain sorts of middle class voters (not anymore o/c) and as it happens, these are exactly the sort of voters that Cameron appeals to (apparently these people will vote for anything that looks shiny and new) and having him as leader helped boost Labour's majorities in '97 and '01, but we would still have won without him.
The negative changes brought by Blair have been greater control by the leadership over the party (nowhere near Tory levels yet o/c; he would never have got away with doing what Howard did to Flight) and a nasty tendency to try to piss off the party that he leads, the result of which has been a sharply declining membership (although even now the state of the party grassroots is better than the Tories and LibDems; not that that says much... 20% of Conservative Associations and 40% of local LibDem parties have less than 100 members per constituency). Membership would have declined anyway (it always does when we're in Government) but not that sharply.
At the moment the Party seems to be swinging back towards the left; the main Hard Left slate won the NEC elections and Jon Cruddas's deputy leadership campaign has got us on the Soft Left quite excited.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2006, 03:50:15 pm by Al y Sosialydd »Logged



Richard Hoggart 1918-2014
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« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2006, 12:26:07 pm »
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So if a party decided to cut income tax but raise consumption taxes to the extent that the total tax burden is altogether higher, thats okay?

Depends on how higher. Of course, but you have not shown that hat would be the effect. I am merely stating that consumption taxes are better than income taxes.
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« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2006, 12:32:21 pm »
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So if a party decided to cut income tax but raise consumption taxes to the extent that the total tax burden is altogether higher, thats okay?

Depends on how higher. Of course, but you have not shown that hat would be the effect. I am merely stating that consumption taxes are better than income taxes.

There are some who believe it would do so when costed, and indeed some within the Lib Dems themselves who strove to retain the high tax rate and and swung due to the consumption taxes.

I also believe consumption taxes to be faier, but I'm won't allow myself to be duped with a small cut in income tax and a hike in consumption tax from a party that, to be honest, doesn't need to do the sums because they will never achieve power Smiley
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« Reply #17 on: October 26, 2006, 12:34:52 pm »
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So if a party decided to cut income tax but raise consumption taxes to the extent that the total tax burden is altogether higher, thats okay?

Depends on how higher. Of course, but you have not shown that hat would be the effect. I am merely stating that consumption taxes are better than income taxes.

There are some who believe it would do so when costed, and indeed some within the Lib Dems themselves who strove to retain the high tax rate and and swung due to the consumption taxes.

I also believe consumption taxes to be faier, but I'm won't allow myself to be duped with a small cut in income tax and a hike in consumption tax from a party that, to be honest, doesn't need to do the sums because they will never achieve power Smiley

And yet, that does not change the fact that, with their current leaderships, the libdems are much more economically conservative than the tories.
Now if only they droped their anti-liberal europhilia...
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« Reply #18 on: October 26, 2006, 12:40:24 pm »
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And yet, that does not change the fact that, with their current leaderships, the libdems are much more economically conservative than the tories.
Now if only they droped their anti-liberal europhilia...

But a  party is much more than it's leader. You cannot say the Lib Dems are more economically conservative than the Conservative Party when most Lib Dems MP's including most of the 2005 intake and the party membership are supportive of more extensive tax rises than even the Labour Party. MP Phil Willis said the new tax plan was a "a slippery slope towards more right-wing draconian policies".
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« Reply #19 on: October 26, 2006, 12:51:55 pm »
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And yet, that does not change the fact that, with their current leaderships, the libdems are much more economically conservative than the tories.
Now if only they droped their anti-liberal europhilia...

But a  party is much more than it's leader. You cannot say the Lib Dems are more economically conservative than the Conservative Party when most Lib Dems MP's including most of the 2005 intake and the party membership are supportive of more extensive tax rises than even the Labour Party. MP Phil Willis said the new tax plan was a "a slippery slope towards more right-wing draconian policies".
Well, how mmany of the labour intake and MPs during these 3 cycles support collective ownership of the means of production?
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« Reply #20 on: October 26, 2006, 12:53:43 pm »

IMO the LibDems aren't far off being a coalition of about three parties (right wing liberals, social liberals (not a brilliant phrase, but the most accurate I can think of) and people that are perhaps best thought of as agrarians) held together by the FPTP electoral system. It happens that the right wing liberals are in the ascendancy at the moment, after being out in the cold for quite a long time.
If the electoral system ever gets round to changing, we'll probably see one of those groups splitting off from the main party.
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Richard Hoggart 1918-2014
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« Reply #21 on: October 26, 2006, 12:55:26 pm »

Well, how mmany of the labour intake and MPs during these 3 cycles support collective ownership of the means of production?

In theory quite a few, probably. More so (as a %) in the '05 intake, than '01 or '97.
The losses in '05 tended to be on the right of the party (not always o/c, but usually).
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Richard Hoggart 1918-2014
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« Reply #22 on: October 26, 2006, 01:04:34 pm »
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And I hate saying this, as someone who wishes the party all the best, but the Conservatie Party is composed of wolves and well...wolves in sheeps clothing
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« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2006, 03:36:45 pm »
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At the end of the day 'conservative' is a pretty meaningless term in politics.

Literally it means to keep things the same, but many 'conservatives' have of course been right wing radicals such as Margaret Thatcher, Newt Gingrich etc.

Equally many people on the left are deeply conservative in their own way - for example those on the left of the Labour Party here in Britain (the 'Reactionaries of the Left') whose response to any public sector reform initiative from the Blair Government is automatic knee-jerk opposition and defence of the status quo, normally in league with the trade unions and other producer interests (for example the Education Bill, or Foundation Hospitals).

I think the original poster is asking the wrong question. The question should be "are the Tories a right-wing party". Yes they are. However, I'm waiting to see whether Cameron is for real. Is he the Tony Blair of the Tories (a man who moved the Labour Party into the political mainstream and made it into a party I could vote for and join), or is he just a marketing man who will show his true-blue right-wing colours once he's hoodwinked the electorate?
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« Reply #24 on: October 26, 2006, 03:59:35 pm »
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or is he just a marketing man who will show his true-blue right-wing colours once he's hoodwinked the electorate?

That would be awesome, but it's not gonna happen.
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