By Tim Montgomerie
Follow Tim on Twitter
One of the most boring, inaccurate and simplistic things that emerges from the commentariat is the sort of thing Peter Oborne said about me and ConHome on Thursday. Apparently this website has a narrow, Right-wing agenda. Others, more generally, insist that the only alternative to Cameronism is a narrow, caveman Conservatism. In today's Sunday Telegraph Matthew d'Ancona writes:
"Anyone who thinks that the party will achieve an outright majority by fighting a campaign dominated by Europe, immigration and aggressive small-state conservatism hasn’t paid much attention to recent political history."
Who thinks this?
C'mon Matt, name names. Please!
Where are the influential Right-wingers who believe in this narrow Conservatism? This is all a caricature. A straw man. A misrepresentation that hinders rather than aids debate. Last Saturday I questioned the claim that any big Conservatives wanted to return to the narrow manifestos of 2001 or 2005 – and I also argued that it was very simplistic to say that the booming economy, the rise of the Left across Europe and, of course, Blair's political prowess weren't much bigger factors in those elections.
Let me try one more time. This website was founded on the basis that we needed to reject the narrowness of 2005. But we also reject the narrowness of today's Liberal Conservatism. As Boris tells today's Sunday Times (£) the Coalition isn't doing enough on immigration. There is almost no progress on the EU or ECHR. The Coalition is playing fast and loose with the Conservative Party's law and order credentials. It isn't about lurching to the Right but offering a balanced conservatism that occupies the whole political stage and is focused on the blue collar Britons who John Major rallied in 1992.
In other words, we don't want to just play the trumpet. We don't just want to play the drums. We don't just want to play the violin. A great political party is an orchestra, capable of many tunes and determined to occupy the whole stage. We need to walk and chew gum at the same time.