The words of an enraged Tory youth

Monday, February 19, 2007

In Defence of the Cameroons

This was written as a response this outrageous article by One London leader Damian Hockney

David Cameron represents the best chance for a conservative government in the UK since Thatcher. He has given the Tories a consistent and not insignificant poll lead, broadened the general appeal of the party, and acted as an effective opposition leader, consistently challenging the government where he disagrees with them and working with the government when it behoves him to do so.

So why has he come under so much fire recently from right-wing activists who should be delighted?

To many so-called ‘traditional’ Tories, Cameron’s regime represents a step too far from the neo-liberalism of Thatcher. However, these fears are ill-conceived.

Cameron has not abandoned the key conservative values of individualism, small-government and responsibility, but has merely broadened the number of policies on which his party campaigns. In doing so he has taken a major political gamble. By embracing environmentalism Cameron has attracted new voters from the earnest Middle England set but alienated some core Tory voters.

But many of these alienated supporters actually believe that Cameron has shifted the conservative ideology significantly to the left. This is not true. Environmentalism need not be a left wing issue, indeed enterprise can be encouraged through reducing or eliminating taxes for ‘green business’ and alternative fuel sources. Cameron’s (or perhaps the media’s) emphasis on green taxes has, I believe, been damaging to the environmental cause. Much more could be achieved through market solutions.

On Europe, Cameron has taken the gamble of losing significant power in the European Parliament by quitting the Europhile EPP group. He has maintained an anti-Europe line, firmly rejecting the Euro and the EU constitution, as well as maintaining calls for reform of the CAP (an initiative that has failed under Blair). Despite all this Cameron has been attacked by Tories for being to pro-Europe. These criticisms come not as a result of true Europhilia in the party but because of the limited air time that Cameron has given to Euro-issues.

Indeed, one need only look at the names of the shadow cabinet members to find reassurance that a Cameron government will be truly conservative in its outlook. Hague, the great defender of the pound, Davis, the defender of civil liberties, leading the anti-ID card campaign, and Dr. Liam Fox, head of The Atlantic Bridge, an organisation dedicated to strengthening the “special relationship”.

To those truly angered at “hug a hoody” and Cameron’s other PR gaffes, I say wait and see. Big tent politics can be frustrating, but it wins elections. As Disraeli said, the Tories must represent “one nation”.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Cameron's confusion concerning CAP

Dave Cameron recently addressed a farmer's conference in Oxford and publicly praised "food patriotism" and buying British food. He apparently believes that buying local food can help end climate change by reducing the carbon emissions created by long distance transport. He also seems to think that "food security" is important and the preservation of British agriculture is an essential element of this. He even went so far as to praise France's protection of its rural heritage.

Very protectionist words from a confessed "free marketeer". Mr Cameron is pulling in two different directions with his embryonic agricultural policy. On the one hand, he appeals to farmers by supporting the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), but on the other hand he has professed his commitment to free trade. Can the two be reconciled?

Support for British farmers need not interfere with agricultural trade. The nations that Britain would want to import from, third world states in Africa and the Caribbean, produce mainly crops that cannot be grown in Britain (sugar cane, bananas etc.). The reason that Britain cannot currently pursue both support for domestic farmers and international trade agreements freely can be summed up in one word, France.

Ok, this is a huge generalisation, but French influence in the EU has a lot to do with some of the more objectionable aspects of the CAP. The ridiculous banana and sugar subsidies are one example. The EU subsidises these products and has erected tariffs against their import, but if this is so, where do Europe's bananas come from? These protectionist measures exist because of France's tropical territories such as Guiana and Guadeloupe. A large percentage of the EU's bananas come from these tiny and far flung regions. This policy disadvantages all the EU's potential third world trading partners as well as European consumers for the sake of a few thousand French banana farmers.

If the UK had its own agricultural policy, it could protect its farmers, who are the essential guardians of the countryside, while opening its borders to the import of more exotic products. However, the power of France in the EU prevents reform of the CAP. Cameron understands the need to scrap tariffs and export subsidies, but still praises France's agricultural stance.

Britain needs to make more noise in the EU and must press for further CAP reform. Cameron needs to strike a balanced stance that will appeal to both farmers and consumers. The EU needs a Common Agricultural Policy that will embrace the needs of farmers and the pressing need for increased world trade. With the right reforms, European agriculture can become a legitimate and competitive industry, but not if we Tories keep praising France.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Israel+Arab Nations=Solution???

So Israel continues to bomb Lebanon because the of the threat of Hezbollah. Good. Hezbollah needs to be disarmed and the Lebanese army needs to regain control of the south. However, Hezbollah is supported by almost a third of the Lebanese government as well as Syria and Iran. So the chances of Hezbollah disarming are low without the use of strong force by Israel.

What's interesting about this threat is that a new alignment of forces and opinions is beginning to emerge. Hezbollah is a mainly Shiite group, and is supported by Syria and the arch-Shiite nation, Iran. Iranians are not Arabs, Shiites are predominantly un-Arabic, but the majority of the Lebanese, those who oppose Hezbollah, are Sunni Arabs. In fact, Arab nations (Jordan, Saudi et al) are AFRAID of Iranian and Shiite expansionism, and oppose Hezbollah. The 'bad guys' in the extended Mid East conflict are becoming more defined, not as just Muslims or islamists, but as the iran-headed Shiite groups and states.

Israel and the Arabs are both afraid of Iran; could we see the most bizarre alliance in history emerging?

just a thought.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

What on Earth Does 'Islamist' Mean?

Michael Gove makes some good points in an article on the fight against terrorism in today's Times. However, one thing about this, and other articles and discussion of this type still perplexes me. What do we mean by ‘Islamist?' Gove goes on and on about the dangers of Islamists, while sympathising with moderate 'Muslims.' Surely an 'Islamist' is one who follows Islam, a Muslim. So why do we make the distinction?

There is no good way to condemn the beliefs of one group and praise the beliefs on another when they base their beliefs on the same text. So instead of attacking that text, that initial set of beliefs, we are forced by convention and taboo to make a distinction where there really is none and fill our lexicon with meaningless PC words.

The bombings in London were not the fault of any one group of people, be they 'Militants,' 'Extremists,' 'Fundamentalists,' or just plain old 'Islamists.' The Muslim faith itself was the inspiration and provided the rationale behind the attacks.

The same could be said of the Christian sects and the Irish troubles. Without religion, neither of these attacks would have taken place. So why do we insist on censoring any direct criticism of religion?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Doctrine of Dr. State

A recent Channel 4 documentary presented by Giles Coren seriously explored the idea of a 'fat tax.' This may seem bizarre, but a tax on fatty foods has been considered by the government in the past.

The government have correctly identified the problem; fatty food is delicious and cheap. Many parents who can't afford to dine on steamed asparagus at The Ivy often find that a cheap Burger King is the best, most affordable food that their kids will eat. There is not a lack of knowledge of healthy foods out there. Government campaigns will help encourage healthy choices but not significantly change the habits the country.

So on the surface a fat tax seems perfect. Unfortunately, there is no way I will let the government remove my right to slowly kill myself through bacon. Taxing a certain kind of food because eating it constantly can lead to health problems would be another grave infringement of civil rights on the part of Dr. Tony Blair.

New Labour's doctrine of 'Dr. State' is equally enfuriating and justified. The government provides healthcare through the NHS, and therefore they reason that are right in trying to save money by eliminating health problems before they develop, eg: taxing fatty foods, banning smoking in pubs. This is what I call Dr. State. Confusingly for Tony Blair and co, people like me who want the government to spend less on the NHS are equally angered when the idea of a money saving fat tax is floated. Let me help you Tone...

Interfering in the market and removing the right of an individual to choose which foods he or she can greedily devour is not something nice people do. We want you to save money but we don't want you to tell us what to do. I too would like to see a slightly less chunky Britain but authoritarian policies are not the way to achieve this.

Here's an Idea...

What if treatment for 'lifestyle-influenced' illnesses was not made free on the NHS? This would probably provide a strong deterrent for those who want to eat only fatty foods. It would encourage people to make healthy choices. We all, fat and thin alike, need money more than hamburgers. The same effect as the tax would be achieved, but rather that being prevented from eating fatty foods, we would have the option to have a cake or a burger once in a while and to pay only market price (plus VAT, but that's another matter).

Of course, this tax will probably never be implemented, but I feel this discourse would have applied equally to other laws such as the smoking ban. Personally, I do not like Dr. State. No matter how honourable his intentions, he seems less like Dr Smith my GP, and more like Dr. Goebbels.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

We Need Nukes

An underdressed Gordon Brown today gave a keynote speech on the Trident missile system, drawing criticism from, as usual, both right and left. What to do with Britain's independent nuclear deterrent has recently become the subject of a surprisingly lively debate. I say surprisingly because to me there is only one answer. Despite calls for disarmament from hardcore socialists, and dodgy promises to keep the current system from Brown, I am convinced that Trident needs to be replaced with a new nuclear system designed for the 21st Century.

Let's be honest, who are we deterring with out nuclear deterrent? The war we are currently waging around the world is not a war against an "evil empire" but against an abstract noun. However, the phrase war on "terror" is misleading. We, the British and Americans, are really involved in an ideological struggle against, yes I’m going to say it, Islam.

We are not fighting terror; we are fighting an ideology and a religion. This religion is not something abstract though, it is more concrete than even the term "Terror." Militant Islam is solidly personified by states such as our favourite new nuke club member, Iran. You may feel that I am building up to a defense of Mutually Assured Destruction between the west and Iran. Unfortunately for us, this is not possible.

How can we deter an enemy that isn't afraid of death? The Iranian government openly trains "Suicide Squads," and never misses an opportunity to encourage martyrs to lay down their life for Islam. Clearly, the deterrence that worked against the USSR is not going to work against states like Iran where death from an infidel's bomb is followed by eternity in paradise.

No, we may, in fact, have to use the bomb. We cannot keep sending troops to far flung corners of the globe. We cannot simply invade Iran; it would be a logistical impossibility. We can, however, develop a nuclear capability that can be deployed rapidly and pre-emptively. Tactical nuclear strikes may have to become the norm if we are to punch above our weight in the 21st century. Instead of deterrent weapons intended to reduce Tehran to rubble, we need weapons that can eliminate a threat (a nuclear facility, a terrorist camp) quickly and effectively. Trident's replacement will have to come soon and it will have to be radically different. But make no mistake, we need it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Spirit of the Young Pretender

The Young Pretender, or Bonnie Prince Charlie as you may know him, is in no way a hero of mine. In fact, I regard him as more of a villain. This blog is titled not in his memory, but in reference to myself, a schoolboy who thinks he can blog with the big boys.

Speaking of Bonnie Prince Charlie...

I am currently residing in Scotland, and I regret to announce it is as you have always feared. The majority of Scots no longer see themselves as part of the union. When you ask the man on the street where he comes from, his answer is Scotland, not Britain. The response to this Caledonian nationalism south of the border is to fly the flag of St. George. I believe that this is the worst thing any Englishman could do.

Following devolution nationalism in Scotland has not been abated, it has increased. This has inevitably caused reactionary English nationalism, especially in light of the ever present West Lothian Question. The fact is that the current constitutional arrangements are breaking the United Kingdom apart. As I see it we have two choices: repeal the Scotland act or give England its own parliament.

Controversially, I would opt for the former.

Oh, the Scottish parliament may not seem too problematic now, but has anyone considered what will happen when Labour governs Scotland, and the Conservative party wins Westminster? What a mess! Bear in mind the Scottish executive does not set taxes but receives an allowance from Westminster. Can you really see a Tory government funding the people’s republic of Scotland? I can't.

The Scottish parliament has not benefited the lives of Scots either. All it has done is implement Labour's authoritarian policies for testing before they are rolled out in England (see: the smoking ban). It is a hotbed of corruption mainly due to the lack of attention it receives in general news; It adds a whole level of unwanted civil service bureaucracy, and most disturbingly it has created a new English nationalism that threatens to tear this country apart.

And what is Labour going to do to save the union?

English votes for English laws?
An English parliament?
Admit devolution was wrong?


Have a Scottish chancellor watch the England game