Tories

UKIP and the crisis of conservatism

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Strong votes for the United Kingdom Indepedence Party (UKIP) in recent by-elections has led to speculation that Britain may have shifted to the right. Jonathan Maunder argues that, although UKIP's vote is concerning, its root cause is a deep seated crisis in the base of the Tory party

The strong votes received by the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) in three by-elections in late November prompted speculation about the existence of a new right-wing mood in Britain. UKIP won 5.7 percent of the vote in Croydon, 11.8 percent in Middlesbrough and 21.8 percent to come second in Rotherham - the last result being its highest ever election vote. Opinion polling regularly puts UKIP on around 10 percent of the vote.

Eton Whine

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The other day I heard a recording of a Thatcher speech on the TV. It was one of those awful repetitive dogmatic dirges she was so fond of. Immediately the hairs on the back of my neck stood up and I felt my hackles rise.

It's amazing that after all this time she alone of politicians of my lifetime can produce such deep loathing and an urge to do something unspeakably violent.

There have been plenty of other politicians I have detested, yet none quite trigger the same feeling, and I'm aware it's not entirely logical. I mean there is so much to loathe about Cameron, Osborne and Clegg, smarmy sons of privilege, hiding truly vicious politics behind vague social liberalism.

The making of a cutters' coalition

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To their dismay, the Tories failed to win a majority in the election, leaving Britain with a hung parliament. Labour was not wiped out, and, despite losing seats, Nick Clegg led the Lib Dems into government with Cameron's Tories. Dan Mayer analyses the coalition that no one voted for.

The general election will be remembered as the election nobody won.

It was supposed to be the Conservative Party's triumphant return to power. Backed by Rupert Murdoch and the City of London, facing the tired and unpopular Gordon Brown, David Cameron was supposed to fulfil his Etonian destiny by effortlessly sweeping into Number 10.

Vandalise this!

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After the ridicule prompted by David Cameron's giant airbrushed face telling us, "I'll cut the deficit, not the NHS", and "ordinary voters" telling us, "I've never voted Tory before, but..." the Tories have rethought their election poster campaign - looking for something that Photoshop and spray paint won't tarnish so easily.

Lord Saatchi, responsible for the "Labour isn't working" posters of 1979, is back with the Tories. The new posters feature Gordon Brown's smiling face with statements like, "I increased the gap between rich and poor. Vote for me." The Conservative Party website address is written in a small typeface below.

Perhaps they realise that, while people might be persuaded not to vote Labour, encouraging people to vote Tory is easier said than done.

The return of the nasty party: Cameron, Thatcher and the Tories

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The prospect of a Tory government will chill all who remember the 1980s. Yet bad as David Cameron promises to be, a victory for him need not herald a rerun of the Thatcher years. Ian Taylor begins our pre-election coverage by analysing the prospect of a Cameron government and what it would mean

Barring an astonishing turnaround, 13 years of betrayal by New Labour appear about to end. We can hope for a strong showing by left candidates and a campaign on their behalf that draws activists together for the fights ahead. But the likelihood is of a Tory return and a government committed to savage cuts.

The prospect of a victory for David Cameron can lead to one of at least two unhelpful conclusions: either that the result does not matter, since New Labour has become indistinguishable from the Tories, or that Cameron is a new Margaret Thatcher.

Bluster and Bigotry

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"In today's Conservative Party, it seems that it is easier to 'come out' as a homosexual than to come out as a climate sceptic," grumbles Tory MEP and Freedom Association chair Roger Helmer on his "Straight Talking" blog.

Perhaps being homosexual is too easy? "It is outrageous that a bed and breakfast proprietor should be obliged to accommodate under his roof people whose behaviour he regards as offensive and sinful," he foams in another article, gritting his Anglican teeth to agree with Vatican criticism of Labour's equalities legislation. "It is a sad day when it takes a German Pope to correct the errors of an English government."

Cuts, war and MPs' expenses: Are we all in it together?

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A poll conducted after the Tory party conference last month showed that they were down one percentage point over the previous month, while Labour was up three points.

So they received none of the usual boost that the high media profile and set piece speeches give these parties after their conferences, in fact the opposite.

I'm not surprised. Telling everyone that they are going to have to work a year longer before they get a pension is hardly popular. Nor is the constant refrain that cuts in the public sector, of both jobs and services, are absolutely necessary to overcome the budget deficit.

Co-opting ideologies?

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Tory leader David Cameron has been to Manchester to launch a Conservative cooperative movement.

It's a fair bet that Mr Cameron did not learn a great deal about British labour history while he was at Eton - or since - but in his Manchester speech he did recognise that the cooperative movement in Britain has been something associated with the left.

Indeed the political expression of the movement, the Cooperative Party, is linked with the Labour Party, although Cameron didn't quite get around to mentioning that.

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