“The dismal publicity — and the predictable alienation of a wide band of potential voters -provokes openly racist comments from an utterly undistinguished backbencher. In any well-ordered party, such comments would have occasioned immediate expulsion, isolating him as an odd lunatic amid those who hold predominantly sensible, moderate opinions. Instead, his comments add credence to the view that this is a nasty party wildly out of touch with anything other than a base of bigots”. (The Birmingham Post,October 5, 2006)
British conservatism is in crisis presently. Having dominated the political scene for the most part of the twentieth century, the Conservative Party finds itself out of favour with the general public as the first decade of the next century comes to a close. Some political analysts have pointed out how the continuing success of the New Labour is more a reflection of Conservatives’ decline as opposed to substantial progress made under the leadership of Tony Blair. Presently under the leadership of David Cameron, the Conservative party is nursing its wounds as it continues to serve in opposition benches in parliament. A significant contributing factor to this state of affairs is the constantly changing and evolving nature of the British psyche and the Tories’ inability to keep pace with it. With Britain’s immigrant population at its highest, whose constituents bring with them their unique cultural and ethnic sensibilities and values, the Conservative Party ideology of old is found obsolete (The Daily Mail,January 2, 2006). While some members of the Tory party are aware of this reality and are willing to ease restrictions on immigration and issues of cultural assimilation, most others are still stuck in the past and unwilling to break out of their conservative mindset, as the following passage suggests:
“Slowly but surely, a new type of Tory party member can be discerned, people more at home in modern, cosmopolitan, urban Britain. But any public gathering of the membership, most recently in Blackpool, still provides a preponderance of elderly people comfortable with their prejudices. The concerns and priorities of many of these people are directly contrary to those of the floating voter.” (The Daily Mail,January 2, 2006)
In many ways, its new leader David Cameron’s position on various recurrent issues is symptomatic of the Tory party’s lack of strong conviction. Contrary to the conventional stance of the Conservative Party, David Cameron, in an attempt to ape the successful strategy of Tony Blair had aired sympathetic views on global warming, income disparities, business regulation, leniency towards immigrants, and has even hinted that he would raising taxes if elected. These positions are further left to the Tony Blair agenda, mimicking the radical wing of the Labour party as opposed to representing the loyal party membership base. While such a radical re-alignment might fetch more votes for the Tories, it has taken the party further away from Conservatism. Not only is it such a break away from Thatcherism, but David Cameron might eventually confine to history books the very notion of British Conservatism (The Birmingham Post,October 5, 2006).
Bold, Refreshing – but What about Conservat-ISM? as the Tory Leader Claims He’s Opposed to All Ideological ‘Isms’. (2006, January 2). The Daily Mail (London, England), p. 14.
Cameron’s Tory Line with Traditional Twist; in His First Party Conference Speech as Tory Leader, David Cameron Unveiled His Vision of Modern Compassionate Conservatism – by Calling on Tradition, Says Political Editor Jonathan Walker. (2006, October 5). The Birmingham Post (England), p. 5.
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