Tuesday, 13 November 2012

An apology to Steve Baker

This is my MP, Steve Baker:

His views are sound and he expresses them clearly.  So far as I have been able to tell, he is a proponent of free markets, sound money, small government, and reduced taxation and spending.  I therefore thought I couldn't approve of him more, but in the process of writing this post I discovered that he is a patron of the ABD as well.  So having just shredded my local Party subscription renewal notice, I do think an apology and explanation are due.

First the apology: Sorry Steve, it's not you, it's err, actually, it's not me, either.  It's him, and those around him.  I have been so thoroughly and comprehensively disappointed by Cameron that I simply cannot support an organisation that will keep him in power, even if the local representative of that organisation so wholeheartedly meets with my approval.

Why do I feel let down?  To be honest, I could go on and on, I think there are more instances of irritation with Cameron that I have forgotten than instances I can remember.  However, off the top of my head, where is our EU referendum?  Why was he resisting calls to cut EU spending?  Why is the UK public spending increasing?

Who thought it was a good idea to appoint Michael Heseltine to advise on economic policy?  Who could fail to foresee that his big idea would be to tax businesses, then give (politically-preferred ones of) them some of the money back and call it a growth fund?

Why are the Conservatives adopting and expanding Labour's database state?  Where did the Great Repeal Bill go?

Then there is the sheer political incompetence on display.  Why are they taking the flak for "austerity" and "cuts" when they're doing nothing of the sort?  Either accept the flak and take the chance to do some cutting, or stand up and point out that spending is not falling.  This is a massive political opportunity, missed.  The left are demonstrating their fiscal insanity - they cannot see the difference between a cut and a reduction in a rate of increase!  But Cameron is leaving them to make the argument.

There, in fact, lies the main complaint.  The arguments that characterise our public debate have continued to be of the type "How Socialist should we be?".  Cameron has not even tried to put forward a coherent statement of the politics of freedom, libertarianism, and fiscal rectitude.  Instead, he has allowed himself to be characterised as simply not quite as socialist as Labour; that will inevitably lead to 2015 being a vote for the Nice Party That Says Yes or the Nasty Party That Says No (or, of course, the Muddled Party That Changes Its Views All The Time).  It's easy to see which way that will go.

I know what the response would be from Cameron, it would be along the lines of "Ah, but my hands have been tied by the realities of Coalition politics".  Well Dave, you're in Coalition because you didn't beat this man in the election:

Not an argument you want to run, I think.  Of course, the reason you didn't win is that you didn't make the positive argument for Conservatism; you only argued that people shouldn't vote for Gordon and that you agreed with Nick.  I bet Clegg is grateful for that one.

So whilst I support Steve, I can't support Dave via Steve.  Sorry Steve.


  1. The Great Repeal Bill! Gah!

    I expect the Labour placepeople in Whitehall said "non" and Cameron lacks the balls to instruct them otherwise.

    The government has done a few good things. Free schools, convinced the markets not to call in the IMF, criminalised squatting.

    As for the cuts, well both coalition party promised them..! As you say they've accepted the political pain without actually implementing any. How stupid!

    I predict a Lib-Lab coalition next time. Which might be worse.

  2. Congratulations!

    I wondered how long it would take.

    Hate to say I told you so ... ;-)

  3. BE - I think you're probably right about the Repeal bill.

    Albert - I've already admitted that. Do try to keep up ;-)

  4. So why are you only now ripping up your membership?

    Personally, at the next election, I will be voting against the Conservatives not in spite of being a conservative, but because I am a conservative.

  5. Because I'm an optimist, Albert. A personal letter from Mr Baker after my membership renewal was late, setting out his views and what he wanted me to do, persuaded me to give it another year and see.

  6. Fair enough. Personally, I thought Cameron was pretty contentless from the moment he took charge of the party. I must admit that seven years later, I'm still unclear what the man stands for (apart from gay marriage - and even that looks like a gimmick he can't now climb down from). What has surprised me is his level of incompetence. He does not even appear to know his own polling figures:


    Meanwhile, I see the Government is planning a smash and grab raid on home owners.


    I suspect that Tory voters boil down to two types: social conservatives and those looking for economic competence. Since Cameron seems determined to alienate both groups, it's hard to see who will vote for him. If he can't even get his own house in order, how can he run the country?