Today’s newslinks give a taste of the doomed nature of Charles Kennedy’s leadership.
Discussing the future of the Liberal Democrats a leader in today’s FT says the following:
"There is a gap to be filled in British politics. A party is needed that is strong on individual liberty, distrustful of big government and in favour of local democracy. It should be low tax and pro-market – using market mechanisms to curb public spending while promoting welfare. The Tories could adopt such a platform, but their coalition includes cultural conservatives uncomfortable with such unbridled liberalism."
There are good reasons why ‘cultural’ or social conservatives are unhappy with "unbridled liberalism". Many of Britain’s biggest social problems are the result of family breakdown, drug abuse and indulgent approches to so-called minor crimes. A recent Centre for Policy Studies analysis found that a lone parent family costs the taxpayer about £100,000 in extra social support. Children with addiction problems underperform at school. Crime kills community cohesion and breeds the lonely, frightened neighbourhoods that disfigure modern Britain.
Strong societies are essential for capitalism. Strong families are not a big burden on the welfare state and they help to produce more educated, socially constructive young citizens. They look after the elderly. They knit communities together.
Family life is at the heart of Iain Duncan Smith’s social justice policy group and David Cameron has promised to support families – including through the tax system.
Last Sunday The Sunday Times carried an article about ‘Crunchy Conservatism’. It argued that the uber-liberalism of the past was no longer speaking to voter anxieties about the environment and society. The article’s author Rod Dreher is much closer to voters’ concerns than the FT. The LibDems are welcome to take the FT’s advice but I hope that cultural/ crunchy conservatives continue to prosper in David Cameron’s Conservative Party.
(This – by the way – will be the last of my ‘This blog would like to distance itself…’ editorials!).