The Blair Generation aim to take over the Tory Party locally

A member of the local Conservative Party has contacted me, writing “I am not keen on ‘leaks’ but as the foremost political commentator in the city …” (I like a bit of flattery – it impresses my four regular readers) “… I think it is important that you know that the young Conservative modernisers are cringing just like any rational observer does when Tory activists post comments on your blog claiming that the Greens’ are ‘Communists’ and the like. Such behaviour is in conflict with the ethos of the modernisers, who place the needs of our City and the need to make our city even greater for future generations above the temptations of divisive Party politics.”

It appears that the Conservatives are beginning a stage of renewal locally.  Conservative councillors from the Thatcher generation are, according to my correspondent, “finally yielding to the One Nationist Conservatives of the younger generation.  It might also surprise you to know that newly-elected leader Geoffrey Theobald is very aligned with the modernisers, in conflict to Mary Mears who in an enduring fit of hubris actively sough to obstruct the entrance of fresh new talent into Party affairs locally and thus became the main architect of the downfall of the previous administration, though there are also other reasons of course.”

Harsh words. I wouldn’t agree that Mary was the main architect – there are many, many reasons, not least government policy, EMA, student fees, etc. And then there is the continuing decline of Labour and the Caroline Effects and the impressive organisation of the Green Party. I understand that the organisation of the Green Party machine (with Pete West and Alex Phillips two of the main organisers) was as impressive as anything Labour was capable of in its heyday. And I wouldn’t blame Mary Mears for the Enigma that Is Christopher Hawtree who, singlehandedly, put the Tories in Central Hove to the sword.

One Nation Conservatives, perhaps. The Blair generation, even? I recall that Momma Grizzly (and she is not my informant) describing Blair as one of her political heroes.

But, my Conservative friend, your insight is fascinating, and I look forward to further such observations. (And I invite other party activists – even those in what remains of the Lib Dems – to email me their observations. I do respect anonymity). I would be particularly interested in the mood within the Lib Dems at this moment.

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47 Responses

  1. Describing the Greens as ‘communist’ is mild. They are simply Marxist.

    They beleive everything anyone creates belongs to the state and that the state should decide how that created wealth should be distributed/applied.

    The criticize ‘tax avoidance’ but then promote new taxes to manipulate peoples behaviour.

    It was sickening to hear the green convener justify extra, expensive food recycling collections because ‘the cost of landfill is going up by 8% a year’. But failing to mention that the cost rise of 8% is based on an arbitrary tax introduced to support EU policy, an EU policy that the Greens supported every step of the way.

    Landfill is cheap – EU driven tax on landfill is arbitrary and outrageously expensive – the Greens create problems and then present themselves as the solution to the very problems they have created.

    As the Greens claim to support proportional representation, and as they only received 33% of the vote across the city I presume 4 or 5 of their number will vote with Labour to make our non-PR result a bit more proportional? Or do the Greens only support PR where it benefits them?

    • Thanks Paul, your reply has given me a broad smile before bed. I’ve never been called Marxist or a Communist before! And who would have though anyone would call someone from a political party that holds public office in 2011 and hope to be taken seriously?

      And taking aside the cost issue for a moment on landfill, surely everybody could agree that we should ideally try to encourage people to conserve resources and live a little more sustainably? My parents and grandparents would be the first to agree that we should try to be a little less throwaway in our lives. It’s even rather conservative in the best sense, if I can be so bold. That’s the point, not a cheap anti-Green and EU potshot. 😉

    • Doesn’t it depend on what you mean by “cheap”?

      Burying all my household waste in my back garden might be cheap financially, but it wouldn’t be a good idea.

      Pretty soon nobody would want to buy or live in my house if it had a stinking pile of rubbish just outside. That is what we’re doing, on a (very slightly) larger scale.

      Collective solutions for cities, like food waste collections, are absolutely essential if we’re going to have any chance of ending up with a habitable planet.

      • This is just another one-size fits no one strategy that we should all expect when handed down from on high.

        Landfill isn’t a problem in the UK. Maybe it is elsewhere in the EU…

        The same broken thinking that sees the government supporting the “UN Decade of Action for Road Safety” — UK already has among the safest roads in the world — throwing more money at road safety in the UK gives almost no bang for your buck – the money could be better spent in the UK on other things, or spent abroad where it could save vast numbers of lives.

  2. Why do serious political discussion blogs allow this kind of insulting and pathetic crap?

    Rational discussion is something we all welcome but not this kind of rubbish with one liners about the greens all being Marxists..;-(.

    Grow up.

    We could easily describe some in UKIP as something very unpleasant at the other end of the political spectrum.

    Thankfully very few people listen to you in Brighton & Hove.

    • Hi Simon, I agree about the quality of some comments (rather lack of quality) but I tend not to censor anything other than completely over the top insulting, abusive in nature. Paul Perrin’s comments are what is expected from UKIP so don’t take it seriously. It does him and UKIP no credit. It lacks any decent argument. BPB

    • I would be genuinely be surprised if any Green supporter was genuinely offended – unless they haven’t read the Green manifesto…

      Do you disagree with the substance of anything I said?

  3. Of course, some Green activists are communists (as pointed out, some are openly Marxist) but it’s the language of another era. Politics has moved on from the capitalism/good v communism/bad dichotomy.

    You talk about the new generation as being the Blair generation and One Nation. The other day it was how they are small-state Tories. Make your mind up!

    For the record, I think they are small-state (“libertarian”?) Tories and not One Nation; the problem with this is that is is at odds with the views expressed by the Brighton population. Rachael Bates appears to idolise Sarah Palin, for instance, something which is not only anathema to the views of Brighton and Hove residents, but also to a lot of the Conservative Party! (And a lot of them are pretty mediocre individuals and politicians anyway.)

    Of course, the new generation will struggle to take over the party as, thankfully, they didn’t win any seats!

    Also, another mention of Christopher Hawtree? You do seem to want to appear to praise him.

    • I would agree that the language has moved on over recent years. However, I do think that the Green Party do potentially face some significant divisions between those who believe in the power of the State to deliver improvements to the environment, jobs, etc, and those who believe in the power of local action, community based politics. There are liberal elements within all parties now, who do not believe that the State alone has the ability to deliver the changes that are needed in society. These could be libertarian Tories, Blairite/modernising Labour people, or communitarian Greens. Its not just a left/right issue.

      At the moment the Green Party manifesto is largely based on supporting State intervention – and far too much of it for my liking – in all aspects of people’s lives – they wouldn’t even let you buy a lottery ticket! I believe this will be a temporary position for the Green Party, brought about by the influx of unreconstituted old Labour members, and particularly their work ethic in campaigns. Unfortunately for the Green Party such policies have been tried and failed miserably around the world – I believe that Caroline, amongst others, recognises this and will gradually shift the Green Party towards a greater focus on community and improving the quality of life, and the environment, through social enterprise and locally based solutions. They may not like the Localism Bill, but in many ways it represents the aspirations of a large number of Green Party supporters.

  4. didn’t the young conservatives lose some of the safest seats in the city………they were given a chance and blew it…you don’t see the young bright greens doing that

    you keep saying these new conservatives have talent but I have yet to see it……

    at least the old guard knew how to win an election

  5. Ok so slating of me as expected (I appreciate this is a lefty blog, and being a centrist libertarian I won’t be popular here).

    But no comments on the Greens creating and promoting a tax to influence behaviour on the one hand, and then criticising ‘tax avoidance’ on the other.

    Nor of their ‘its expensive’, with no mention of them directly making it so.

    Nor of their support for proportional representation and how they will wield their ‘excess votes’.

    Come on guys do try harder…

  6. Your informer, whoever they may be, does not speak for the entire younger generation within the local Conservative Party.

    I know some of his/her assertions to be inaccurate.

    This highlights the problem with hiding cowardly behind anonymity.

  7. I entirely agree with Rob Buckwell.

    Whoever your “informant” is should have the guts to come out from behind the veil of anonymity if they are to say such comments.

    They certainly do not speak for all of the younger Conservatives and I’m not impressed that this person who has chosen to remain anonymous has taken it upon themselves to say that they represent our views.

    And regarding calling the Greens “communists” – I have no problem referring to them in this manner, however, I do prefer Charlotte Vere’s term “eco

  8. *”eco-Marxist”.

  9. I’ve never posted on here before but it has been drawn to my attention that it may well be assumed that I am your cowardly friend. As I am neither cowardly nor your friend, I would very much like to distance myself from public attacks on colleagues. There is no real group of young Conservatives as such but, if there were and it did have a spokesman, that person would not be such a sneak. Hopefully it is nobody that I know. For the record, I am dead impressed by the Greens’ organisational skills. I doubt that they managed to get in such a position by sneaking around on blogs.

  10. I was shocked to see this post after having just cleaned my teeth this morning.

    Whilst the anonymous poster might have provided a fascinating observation for the blog, their comments, whilst ostensibly representing our group, are merely their own opinion.

    I would align myself with the blogger’s succinct estimation in that I am a small-state, socially liberal and fiscally conservative kind of guy.

  11. Am i to take “Enigma” as a combination of Elgar and Bletchley?

    Meanwhile, here, as in Patcham last spring, there was tea drinking in the kitchen at eleven pm with Pete West.

  12. Marxists don’t believe in the state – on the contrary – they only believe in creating an equitable society that is run in the interests of the working class.

    There is nothing wrong with being a Marxist or a Communist (you know, it means the same thing).

    There is nothing wrong with being against oppression, war, ignorance, hunger, homelessness and unemployment.

    Of course the right-wing extremists from the UKIP and Tory parties can only offer up scapegoats for society’s ills, migrant workers, ethnic minorities, Islam, women, gays et al, rather than deliver radical policies to confront these issues.

    The Greens, however, are neither Marxist, nor Communist, nor socialist and they do not have any policies to deal with the root causes of inequality. They are simply middle class liberals draped in the phraseology of 1940s social democracy.

    As for the Tory party, there is no such modernising strain within their ranks.

    As New Labour moved onto their ground in countless policy areas during their 13 years in power, the Tories were forced to lurch further and further to the right.

    They are much further to the right than Thatcher or Heath (see Tebbit’s latest denunciation of his NHS reforms). In fact, Cameron has sided with the very same fundemtanlist right-wing tendencies which Tebbit expelled from his party in the 1980s.

    Take for instance their forming of an alliance with what Clegg called “nutters, homophobes and anti-Semites”, their reforms to privatize the NHS and Cameron’s racist immigration speech.

    They are a million miles from Harold Macmillan’s One Nation Tories. They are despicable, vindictive, sociopathic reactionaries.

    And now all this talk of modernisers and the “Big Society” is simply a PR con to distract people from their lurch to the extreme neoliberal right.

    Let’s not buy into their propaganda.

    • Who said there was anything *wrong* with someone being a communist or marxist? Many people are proud of being so…

      You can make things up and claim it is UKIP policy, but you are only misleading yourself.

      The UK government should simply be putting the UK and its citizens first (regardless of race, creed colour, sexuality), that is what it is there for.

      Local councils should be providing the services that residents want as efficiently as possible.

      If Green voters are unaware of the contents of the Greens manifesto then they need to be educated to ensure they are getting what they think they are getting…

      Are Labour and the Greens planning on balloting council staff over this peculiar ‘meat free mondays’ indoctrination?

      • UKIP are right-wing extremists and, as with all so called “small state” Thatcherites, their only issue with the European Union is its redistributive and regulatory policies.

        I imagine that the UKIP’s millionaire backers hugely benefit from the EU’s competition legislation, which has condemned less developed nations of the EU to decades of slow growth, low wages and decaying public services.

        And I suspect their only objection is that they should pay a percentage of their profits in return to alleviate the harm that their selfish enterprise has inflicted on these people.

        It is fortunate for us that the UKIP are irrelevant, it is unfortunate that most Tories broadly agree with your self-interested politics.

        On the last point, “Meat Free Mondays” is absolutely bonkers. They are so out of touch with reality that it’s all rather sad. I wonder, will Catholics be exempt as they already have to undergo a day of vegetarianism every week?

        Oh, I forget, the Greens *are* anti-Catholic…

      • Alexander you seem to information about UKIP that I am not party to – do you want to share it?

        Or did you just make everything up yourself?

        The EU condemns countries *worldwide* to poverty with trade tariffs to protect lazy and ineffectual states within the EU – it doesn’t bother me that there are lazy states, it only bothers me that the UK are expected to finance them and that the ‘rest of the world’ are made to suffer because of it.

    • Spoken like a true working-class rabble-rouser.

  13. Alexander, why is it that 90% of those who I meet who claim to represent the working class are generally middle or upper middle class? Or do they all know what’s in the best interests of the working class?

    • Alexander Craven states that Greens are anti-Catholic. Is that a slur or if true I certainly wish I had used that argument to persuade my daughters and their partners not to vote for them.

    • I don’t know, perhaps the reason is that you don’t spend enough time in working class areas and haven’t participated in the labour movement?

      It is easily remedied. Come along to the ‘Hear Labour’s Socialist Alternative’ organised by the Labour left on 7th June:
      http://sussexlrc.wordpress.com/

      • Well I spent twelve years in the Labour Party, and grew up in an industrial town; but I do admit to the odd dinner party with socialists too.

  14. Alex keep it coming – you are talking good sense.
    My question on Green economic policy is how they plan to manage the £35 million of government imposed cuts ? That isn’t going to hit the middle classes as hard as the lesser well off.

    • The Greens can talk the talk over cuts but it remains to be seen whether they will resist the cuts now that they have some power.

      They must realise that their management of our council is now of more significance than their parliamentary breakthrough last year.

      If they implement the cuts, they will have irreversibly tarnished their leftist credentials and subsequently will make no real electoral gains anywhere else in the country.

      If they don’t implement the cuts, they will have proved themselves to be honest, having signed anti-cuts pledges, but may scare off their core support of middle class liberals.

      Will they prove their radicalism and resist the cuts?

      Or will Caroline Lucas be this year’s Nick Clegg?

      Questions, questions… but will we get real answers?

      • Bourgeois tosh! 😉

      • @Alexander

        I remember after the general elections you came on here and started talking absolute rubbish, if your a bad loser you should probably keep it to yourself.

        The Greens have not said that they will NOT set an illegal deficit budget as they believe that people elected them to make the decisions not to have them pass the decision on to civil servants to make the difficult decisions for them. So all your stuff about Greens being dishonest for having to work with the cuts is “utter tosh”.

        With the stuff about Catholic schools, I’m not sure about the policy but I think there might be something about all faith schools not getting state funding. So i don’t know why you’re trying to spin that into anti-Catholisism, I doubt there are more Catholic schools than CofE.

      • @Allie

        Green policy is to prevent religious organisations being involved in any ‘state funded’ education.

        As all ‘state funds’ comes from the *people*, I don’t know why the Greens won’t let those *people* to choose what kind of education their money is spent on for their kids.

        Ben Duncan (local green) was calling for private education to be abolished – even making parents pay twice for their childrens education (via tax for unused state school spaces and fees for private school places) does not restrict parents choice enough for him…

        So you are partially correct, calling the Greens ‘anti-catholic’ is far too narrow – they are anti many, many other groups of citizens/residents too.

  15. Catholic voters should certainly be aware of the potential threat to funding for their childrens education, should they vote Green. The diocesan bishop really has a duty in advance of an election to inform parishioners of this possibility, as is done when asking peoplke not to suport pro-abortion candidates.

    Then of course catholic voters must weigh up that against the whole package on offer, as all other voters do. It may seem a reactionary intervention should the church do it but faith is not incompatible with generally progressive politics despite friction over some issues. And the church does have a duty to its members.

  16. Catholics are a minority in the UK and have endured centuries of bloody persecution and discrimination. If there is any meaning to the terms “progressive” and socialist at all, then it’s someone who consistently stands up for the vulnerable and minorities without exception.

    As Zombie suggests, there is no contradiction whatsoever in being a person of faith and a progressive.

    Ireland’s greatest socialist, James Connolly, was a devout catholic.

    And the first socialist ever was Jesus Christ. He was the first person on the planet to say – care for the poor, the orphans, and the suffering. I’ve studied most of the religions, going all the way back to worshippers of Zoroaster. And almost all of them have the same main idea. Which is – love your neighbour as yourself. Otherwise we’ll perish. The human race realised that even back then.

    So the Greens are once again on the wrong side of the argument – campaigning hard to abolish faith schools on which Catholic communities depend shows no regard for other people’s right to govern their own lives.

    They are not progressives – they are bigoted opportunists.

    • LOL Greens are “bigoted opportunists” cos they want to get rid of faith schools!

      What sort of crazy world do you live in!

      Its not really the point of this argument but I was going to start making the argument about why Catholicism isn’t actually all that great but I can’t be bothered and I’m sure you’ve heard them all before. Have a look at this video for a start though; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AASspr178ZY

      • There we have it, the mask has slipped.

        Catholics are a minority and must be defended from discrimination. There are valid reasons to fund catholic schools, in Northern Ireland it is part of the difference between stability and war.

        Do you know how much anti-catholic discrimination exists within state schools? I’ve seen it first hand, and it is well documented.

        My advice, get out of your middle class bubble and experience the real world before you dictate to people what they should or should not believe.

      • @Allie

        You justify your stance on catholic schools based on your opinion of Catholicism.

        Do you think all the people of Brighton and Hove should have to clear all their opinions with you?

        The state have proven that they are pretty much the worst parents that you could imagine (see the outcomes for children in care to see how they are failed) – now you want the incompetent state to attack caring parents even more?

      • Not sure that the state is really ‘the worst parents that you could imagine’ – surely that title should go to the various Roman Catholic orders now in the dock for widespread and endemic child abuse?

        Sure, there is anti-Catholic prejudice and discrimination and that is worng, but this cuts the other way too. That church’s demonisation of gays, for example, makes me think that my taxes should not be subsidising its schools, enabling it to pour that kind of poison into the ears of children.

      • @clive

        I have more faith in people than that. Society is ‘open’ nowadays, as adults people can substantially choose their own way. How many people brought up in catholic families (or at catholic schools) in England even beleive in god, the bible as the word of god, that the pope is infallible etc, let alone follow catholic teaching on family planning etc… and you think having failed on all this other indoctrination they will succeed on homophobia?

        Parents are the best people to bring up their own children. And should be able to do so as they see fit. When those children become adults they can make their own choices.

        The states role is to ensure that adults *can* make their own choices with out coercion — unfortunately the left are very keen for the state to be the root of all coercion… (‘sin’ taxes, meat free mondays, cries of ‘blahblah-phobia’ etc).

      • @clive

        Parents are free to teach their children whatever religion they please at home, but I don’t see why taxes raised from the whole of society should be used to pay for children to be indoctrinated at school. I don’t think it’s a healthy thing to separate people based on their religion when they’re just starting out in life.

        In the town I’m from all the infant and primary schools are Church of England or Catholic. Why should kids who don’t follow a religion be forced to pray in assembly and before having lunch each day?

      • Whoops I meant @Paul

      • @juicy

        You say “Taxes raised from the whole of society” – that includes taxes taken from parents who want their kids to go to faith schools (and from people who are content for those parents to choose)..

        If the state don’t want to provide the services people want, it should simply not take the money from them in the first place. Or return the money to them to spend as they see fit.

        There is no ‘fairness’ argument against faith schools. It is simply one group (anti-faith schools) imposing their will on others – by refusing to provide a service, but also taking the money that could be used to get that service else where!

        LEA’s get over £10k per child per year – if they can’t provided an acceptable service (and Brighton and Hove doesn’t) they should pass the entire sum to the parents to spend on education as they see fit.

        20 years of careful saving for my kids ‘collage fund’ has all been blown on their secondary education because Brighton and Hove couldn’t provide an acceptable education for them. Now they have no collage fund and tuition fees are going through the roof – thanks Brighton and Hove council…

        My heart goes out to parents whos kids have been (and are being) failed but haven’t managed to work around it — the money is there, but the service is not.

        On top of this, your priority is not to improve education, but to faff around with social engineering… sheesh…

  17. Allie, thanks for the clarification.

    If what you say is right and the Greens are now in the cuts business, what was the point of the Green Party’s last conference voting to “support national and local campaigns against cuts in public services and to use everything in our power when in opposition or in office to oppose them”? (http://socialistresistance.org/1767/green-party-takes-stand-against-cuts)

    And what was the point in Green council candidates in this recent local election signing anti-cuts pledges? (http://newsfrombrighton.co.uk/brighton-hove-city-council/east-brighton/candidates-sign-stop-the-cuts-election-pledge/)

    Most important, has Caroline Lucas now changed her position on cuts and supports them because she believes that’s what people voted her in to do?

    You know, it’s really sad to see how quickly the Brighton Greens turned into Orange Book LibDems… I can’t say I didn’t see it coming though.

    • Pluralism means respecting and allowing alternative views to flourish and be listened to, yet there seems a fair amount of intolerance from some bloggers.
      Juicy Watermelon(who is not in that category) reports growing up in a town with only faith schools.Everyone should be pro-choice as to school availability but there are those on this blog spot who would restrict choice to state-only.
      If the state took sole responsibility, that part of funding now carried by Churches would pass to the taxpayer and be an extra burden cutting spending elsewhere.
      I have always been a socialist but am against stopping private education because it limits the choice people have to spend their money as they wish.

  18. ps I don’t think the Church demonises Gays-in fact it teaches respect for all. when I go to Mass I like very much that I am part of a multicultural body ,with many Indians, Phillipinos, Mexicans and British present. Gays are very nuch tolerated. What is not approved of is sex between any unmarried people, so it is a case of accept a person as they are but not necessarily their actions.

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