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Wednesday, October 08, 2003

TORIES NEED TO BECOME MORE LIBERAL What of the Conservative party's future? They have their conference running at the moment. Some people think that the Liberal Democrats will and should take over as the main opposition party. The argument against it is simple: it's not going to happen. Additionally, it shouldn't happen. The LibDems contribute nothing to British democracy. They try by any number of means, including self-contradictory electioneering, to steal away voters from the Tories and Labour. Given that the LibDems today are to the left of Labour I admit that their strategy is highly efficient but my point is that Britain doesn't need another leftist party. The one thing Britain needs is a genuinly liberal party.
This is where the current thinking in the Conservative party makes the practical mistake to assume that the crucial swing voters would actually prefer a left-ward-shifting Tory party. They wouldn't. The critical swing voters are actually more economically liberal than the Conservatives' heartland supporters. One reason these people swung behind Blair (and note that it is Blair they supported, not the Labour party), is because they quite reasonable assumed that he would be economically harmless but socially more liberal than the Major Government. Gradually this is changing. For their own sake and the country's the Conservatives need to start reacting more to this. I don't deny that the Tories have been doing a lot of thinking and they have a number of policies that I broadly agree with. I also don't deny that they have been making some headway in the polls, I'm not the BBC after all ;). The Conservatives should take the risk and seriously push into a more liberal direction. For example they should change their otherwordly drug-prohibition policy and when discussing EU issues stop talking about national identity (who knows what that is these days anyway) and instead talk about the infringements on British freedoms and democracy. They should give it try. Who knows, it might just win them the next election.

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