Bruce Anderson tells us that Labour is now the party focused on power, whilst the Conservative Party has degenerated into a debating society for intellectuals. But precisely the opposite is true: the Conservative Party has failed to win four General Elections in a row precisely by and because of ignoring its intellectuals.
In the mid-1990s Conservative intellectuals wanted to commit to not joining the euro, to embrace social liberalism, to reflect classical British constitutional ideals such as the eschewing of identity cards, and to extend market concepts into demand-side areas such as the state pension. The Conservative leadership rejected that in favour of pragmatic engagment on the euro, back-to-basics on social issues, favouring identity cards, and focusing public service reforms on the supply-side not demand-side.
In 1997 we were slaughtered.
In the late 1990s Conservative intellectuals wanted to extend market reforms of public services into areas such as health and education, to extend social liberalism into new areas such as drugs policy, and to keep public spending down. The Conservative leadership, saying it was focused upon power, rejected that in favour of an alleged "core vote" strategy focused upon asylum-seekers, gypsies, and claiming New Labour would adopt the euro if re-elected.
In 2001 we were slaughtered.
In the early 2000s Conservative intellectuals wanted to use market methods to try to address recidivism amongst criminals, the long-term unemployed and drug addicts, to reject and reverse Gordon Brown's spending rises, to introduce top-up options in health and education. The Conservative leadership rejected that in favour of asking "How hard can it be to keep a hospital clean?" and "How would you feel if a Ukranian asylum-seeker raped your daughter?"
In 2005 we were beaten very badly.
In the mid-2000s Conservative intellectuals wanted to argue that public spending was dangerously high, that public services were appallingly ineffecient, that bailing out banks was economically damaging, that urgent rengotiation of our position within the EU was imperative if we were to stay in it, that it would be better to focus upon microenvironmentalism and adaptation rather than futile attempts to prevent global warming. The Conservative leadership, saying it was focused upon power, rejected that in favour of saying that the economic debates were over, that politics had become socio-centric, that we would match Labour's spending on health and education, that bailing out banks was pragmatically necessary, that renegotiation of our position within the EU was a low priority, that we could and should enact widespread anti-global-warming measures even at considerable economic cost because we could afford to do so and could not afford not to do so.
In 2010 we failed to win against the most disastrously incompetent, divided and despised government of modern times.
Now Bruce, as voice and supporter of the Conservative leadership, wants to tell us that our problem as a party is that we're too focused on intellectual issues instead of power?? Bruce, Bruce, Bruce! How many times do you have to see the same morality play before you learn the lesson it offers? The Conservative Party has lost and lost and lost and lost by ignoring its intellectuals and instead listening to those that claimed they knew how to obtain power and that power was more important than principle. Perhaps the Party is indeed so blind and suicidal that it will, once again, ignore its intellectuals and instead listen to the failed advice of failed advisors – advisors whose beliefs are predicated on the notion that the public will not vote for Conservatism.
Well, I'm a Conservative. And I believe that Conservatism is true, that truth is your greatest ally in politics, and that if you argue, with a realistic consideration of how much can be delivered in each generation, for what is true then voters and the system will recognise the truth and choose it. Furthermore, those same voters will recognise lies and a lack of integrity and authenticity and punish it – as they have punished the inauthentically presented false mask the Conservative Party has worn these past twenty years.
If you want to lose again, try the same thing again. Knock yourself out.