Posts Tagged ‘Conservatives’

VAL 2016 | Säg den glädje som varar. När Labour valde Jeremy Corbyn till partiledare var det många konservativa som tackade högre makter.

New Statesman 8-14 April 2016

Inom partiet var näst intill säker på att regeringsmakten var näst intill säkrad för lång tid framöver när det största oppositionspartiet valt en partiledare långt ut på vänsterkanten.

Detta naturligtvis under förutsättning att man inte förflyttade partiet för långt ut åt höger. Detta var också premiärminister David Camerons strategi efter partiets överraskande valseger. Man ville säkra sin position i mitten.

Men det var innan de interna partistriderna inför folkomröstningen om medlemskapet i EU. Nu befinner sig Conservatives i ett inbördeskrig mellan ”Leavers” och ”Remain”.

Skiljelinjerna mellan anhängarna till Brexit respektive Bremain går rakt igenom regeringen. Sex ministrar har t.ex. valt att stödja ett utträde.

Och detta är bara de som öppet har tagit ställning för ett utträde. Hur stort mörkertalet är i realiteten är det ingen som vet.

Simon Heffer, kolumnist i The Daily Telegraph och The Sunday Telegraph, har skrivit i New Statesman om stridigheterna och David Camerons krishantering.

The Conservative Party is approaching not only a historic referendum, but a historic moment of crisis. It is deeply divided over whether or not to stay in the European Union, and the divisions are unequal. At the top, most want to stay in: not out of conviction, but because most ministers have found it politic to agree with David Cameron, even if they cannot support his view that he got a great deal from other EU countries after his supposed “renegotiations” with them. Among MPs generally the mood is far more hostile; and at the party’s grass roots it is predominantly in favour of leaving. Where this ranks in the history of Tory party crises is not easy to say.


The current division is open and is breeding hostility, luxuries afforded by one of the Tories’ few unifying beliefs: that Labour poses no threat at the moment, and they can have a quarrel that may even verge on civil war without fearing electoral consequences. Whatever the outcome, the present quarrel allows the opportunity for a major realignment of the party without it having to go out of office. A minister who is (just, and after much soul-searching) committed to our staying in the European Union told me frankly last week that the Tory party was “a mess” and that, whatever happened on 23 June, the referendum would be the beginning and not the end of a painful process for the Conservatives.


There is an idea on both sides that scores will have to be settled after 23 June, and, the way things are going with party discipline and out-of-control aides in Downing Street, such an outcome is inevitable. Should Remain prevail, a wise prime minister would understand that this was a time to heal wounds and not deepen them. It remains a matter of conjecture how wise Cameron, whose vindictive streak is more often than not on the surface rather than beneath it, is prepared to be.

Those who work for his party at the grass roots, and on whom MPs depend to get the vote out at elections, will be unimpressed by a purge of those who have not backed him over Europe. There isn’t much of a voluntary party left, and there will be even less of one if he acts rashly in victory. If it is a narrow victory – and it is, at this stage, hard to envisage any other sort – his party could become unmanageable unless he acts with restraint and decency.


Conservatives worried about the stability of their party believe that only Labour under a new, more effective and less factional leader could present the serious electoral challenge to them that would shake them out of these unprecedentedly acrimonious and self-indulgent divisions. We can only imagine how differently the In campaign would be conducted if Labour had a nationally popular and an obviously electable leader.

As it is, many more dogs are likely to be unleashed. Things promise to become far nastier, dirtier and ever more internecine for the Tories, not just before 23 June but for a long time afterwards: and with the party in power for at least four more years, one can only guess what that means for the governance of Britain.

Tidskriftsomslag: New Statesman, 8-14 april 2016.

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VARUMÄRKE | Problemen för Liberal Democrats  i Storbritannien påminner mycket om Jan Björklunds i Alliansen.

Båda Nick Cleggs Liberal Democrats och Jan Björklunds Folkpartiet ingår i regeringskoalitioner som domineras av ett betydligt större parti – Conservatives respektive Moderaterna.

I båda fallen har det påverkat opinionssiffrorna negativt. Liberaldemokraterna har t.ex. förlorat 4 miljoner väljare sedan valet 2010.

Båda partierna verkar idag sakna idéer för hur man skall lyckas omvandla sitt regeringsinnehav till ett valvinnande koncept.

Och både här och i Storbritannien har man nu dessutom kommit halvvägs in i mandatperioden. Skal man lyckas måste man göra det nu. Tiden håller på att rinna ut.

En stor skillnad är dock att det här knappast finns någon som tror att regeringen kommer att spricka innan valet. I London spekuleras det friskt om att liberalerna inte kommer att sitta kvar hela vägen till nästa val.

Peter Kellner, vid opinionsinstitutet YouGov, har för Prospect identifierat fyra relaterade problem partiets ideologi, politik, varumärke och ledarskap – som partiet måste hantera om inte nästa val skall sluta i katastrof för partiet.

The question is as tough as it is obvious: can the Liberal Democrats revive their flagging fortunes?


In 2010, the great majority of Labour and Conservative voters also identified with their party (the figures were 84 per cent and 76 per cent respectively.) With the Lib Dems the figure was much smaller: just 43 per cent. Of the 6.8m people who voted for them, just under 3m identified with the party, while almost 4m did not.

It has been like this for many years. The Lib Dem core vote has always been tiny. They add to their support at general elections and, even more spectacularly, by-elections by attracting the tactical votes of people who identify with other parties, and a large slice of the people who don’t identify with any party.

In 2010, the Lib Dems secured the votes of 1.6m Labour identifiers and 1.8m people with no party ID. The group identifying itself as Labour was more left-wing than Labour voters generally.


As for the 1.8m people with no party identity who voted Lib Dem last time, the Lib Dems have lost more than 1.5m.


The collapse of these two distinct sources of Lib Dem support explains most of their decline, from 24 per cent of the electorate in 2010 to around 10 per cent today. In contrast, support among Lib Dem identifiers has held up rather better, from 2.9m votes two years ago to 2.3m today.


YouGov research indicates that there are four related problems that the party must address.

1. Ideology. […] Most right-of-centre voters place the Lib Dems on the left and most left-of-centre voters place the party on the right. Few voters feel that the party’s ideological location is the same as their own. This is especially marked among voters who have switched from Lib Dem to Labour: they are overwhelmingly on the left themselves, but feel that the Lib Dems no longer are.


2. Policies. [I]t’s common for parties to embrace a range of policies, some of which the public like and some they don’t. But here’s the rub. With every policy position we tested, the people who turn out to be the keenest on the Lib Dem stance are those who describe themselves as “very left-wing.” This means that the party is sending out conflicting messages. Judged by its policies it is well to the left; judged by its continuing partnership with the Conservatives, it veers to the right.

Sadly for the party, it seems that right-of-centre voters look at the party through the prism of policies, and don’t like what they see, while left-of-centre voters look at its alliance with the Tories and are equally put off.


3. Brand. The confusion of ideology and policy has crippled the Lib Dem brand. Most people—and a huge majority of Lib Dem deserters—say they don’t know what the party stands for, and think it has broken its promises.

4. Leadership. Elections are not just about the message. They are also, increasingly, about the messenger. Is Clegg the right man to lead his party into the next election?


Separate analysis of one of YouGov’s tracker questions confirms Clegg’s poor standing, especially among the 4m Lib Dem deserters.

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är Prospect september 2012.

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LEDARSKAP | Koalitionen i Storbritannien har likande problem som den svenska alliansregeringen.

Trots att den engelska alliansen bara består av två partier – Conservatives och Liberal Democrats – har man liknande problem både internt och vad gäller opinionssiffrorna.

Inte minst det lilla liberala partiet har problem att hävda sig i skuggan av det stora konservativa partiet.

Och precis som i Sverige leder Labour över de konservativa i opinionsmätningar.

Trots sina problem har liberaldemokraternas partiledare Nick Clegg valt att satsa allt på ett kort. Hans strategi är att ett fördjupat samarbetet med premiärminister David Cameron kommer att leda till väljarframgångar längre fram.

Det spekuleras ständig om detta är en självmordsstrategi för Clegg och hans parti.

En som tror att detta innebär slutet för åtminstone Clegg själv är James Forsyth, politisk redaktör, på konservativa The Spectator.

Now, the Deputy Prime Minister has decided to double down on coalition. He has concluded that the Lib Dems, rather than blocking Conservative ideas, must help push through bold solutions to big problems. It is a brave path to take — but Clegg’s reward will not come in this political life. Whether he knows it or not, his fate is to become a martyr to the coalition.

Perhaps the key to understanding Clegg is that he never quite expected the dark side of being in power: he lacks the coping mechanisms of his Conservative colleagues. When the financial crisis hit, and spending cuts became essential, David Cameron and George Osborne steeled themselves to wear unpopularity as a badge of honour in the same way Margaret Thatcher had done.


This decision to revivify the coalition is motivated both by a desire to govern effectively and by a belief that public argument has only helped Labour, which leads by 15 points according to one survey this week.

Those around Clegg are unwilling to accept that he’ll be a martyr. The newly united government, they hope, will start not only to get things done but to get credit for doing them; and a recovering economy will restore their leader’s fortunes. The Lib Dems’ polling shows they are finally getting credit from the voters for the cut in the basic rate of income tax. This gives them hope that things are beginning to turn for the party.


Even so, Clegg is doomed. The problem was identified at the start of the year by Andrew Cooper, the Prime Minister’s director of strategy, in a private presentation to the trustees of Policy Exchange. Clegg’s brand is poisoned; his party’s isn’t. The compromises and broken promises of coalition have, according to Cooper’s exhaustive number-crunching, done irreparable damage to the Deputy Prime Minister’s reputation. Other polling makes the point even clearer. Ask people how they would vote if Vince Cable, not Clegg, was Liberal Democrat leader and the ratings jump three or four points. This might not seem much. But for a party struggling to break double digits in the polls, it is a transformation. This is why Clegg’s martyrdom is inevitable. However loyal his Commons army is, they will eventually have to sacrifice him for the good of the party.

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är The Spectator den 22 september 2012.

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REKLAM | Samtidigt som Labour skulle hålla sin partikonferens passade man på hos Conservatives att lansera en ny affisch. Klart lyckad.

Grant Shapps, Tories partiordförande, kommenterade kampanjen:

Labour isn’t learning. They still think we can borrow our way out of the debt crisis. Their plans would mean borrowing over £200 billion more. They would shackle every person in this country with £3,200 more debt – over and above the debt they already ran up when they were in government. More spending, more borrowing, more debt – Labour isn’t learning.

Mer: Påminner affischen om något? Se här den tidigare varianten ”Labour Isn’t Working”.

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VAL | Boris Johnsons seger i Londons borgmästarval var en av få ljuspunkter för premiärminister David Cameron och de konservativa i lokalvalen.

För koalitionspartnern Liberal Democrats blev valet en än större förlust. Daniel Boffey och Toby Helm i The Observer skriver:

Thursday’s local elections and a string of referendums in cities up and down the country, which saw Cameron’s flagship plan for elected mayors rejected, were shocking for both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. While the Tories lost 405 seats, the Liberal Democrats had an equally, if not more, disastrous night, shedding more than 300 seats and sinking under a national total of 3,000 for the first time in their history. Boris Johnson’s victory against Ken Livingstone in the race for mayor of London offered some relief to the Conservatives, but Tory celebrations were muted because the contest turned out to be far closer than had been expected.

It is not just the fact that Tories and Lib Dems fared badly themselves that is alarming activists and MPs of both parties – and raising doubts in the minds of many about the electoral effects of being in coalition. It is also that Labour – dismissed by the coalition as moribund and lacking in ideas under Ed Miliband – outperformed everyone’s expectations, most of all its own. ”Labour thrive on bad day for Tories” was yesterday’s front-page headline in the normally Cameron-supporting Times.

As well as the symbolic gain from a Tory-Lib Dem coalition of Birmingham, Britain’s second largest city, Labour made progress in many former Tory strongolds across the south, raising hopes that the ”southern discomfort” that prevented it from forming a government from 1979 until the arrival of Tony Blair is easing again. Exeter and coastal towns such as Great Yarmouth, Southampton and Plymouth were claimed by the supposedly ineffectual Miliband’s party.

In all, Labour added 823 seats, way beyond its most optimistic estimates. In Wales, Labour retook control of 10 councils, including Cardiff, Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil, Newport and Swansea, recording its best results since local government was reorganised in 1996. And in Scotland it did far better than it expected, holding on to Glasgow city council, where it saw off the SNP, and capturing Edinburgh. London was a blot, but one that Labour passed off on the candidate.

Bild: Grafik från The Observer den 6 maj 2012. (The Guardian publicerar allt material från The Observer på sin hemsida.)

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VÄGVAL: Koalitionen mellan Liberal Democrats och det konservativa partiet i Storbritannien förvånade många.

”Liberal Democrats and Conservatives sharing power in a coalition at Westminster is not something that many ever expected to see. […] How can a party that has recently been seen as ”left of Labour” on civil liberties, democratic reform, taxation and public services now be engaged so enthusiastically in reducing the size of the state?”

Richard Grayson, en av tre viceordförandena för Liberal Democrat Federal Policy Committee, försöker ge svaret på dessa frågor i New Statesman.  

Political culture helps to explain the party’s support for the coalition. The Liberal Democrats have become extremely leadership-loyal. The trauma of losing Charles Kennedy and Menzies Campbell in quick succession should not be underestimated. However narrowly [Nick] Clegg won, the party was always going to stick with him, and his brilliant personal performance during the election campaign consolidated support for him. The culture of the Liberal Democrats is also in­herently reasonable. There is a willingness to try to see all sides of an argument and a long-standing belief that coalitions are desirable.[…] 

What the party still does not seem to recognise, or at least accept as a problem, is that the coalition can be best understood as the preferred option of a leadership grouping that has consistently proposed policies designed to reduce the role of the state and so move a centre-left party steadily rightwards. [This] tendency has whittled away at broadly centre-left policies on, for example, public spending, income-tax rates and the role of local government in education. 

We have a leadership that tends to see the state as a problem, rather than the means of solving problems. Explicitly egalitarian arguments are seldom made, even when the party has a story to tell that includes a redistributive tax policy, as was the case in the 2010 manifesto. […] 

The coalition agreement has allowed the leadership to pursue its zeal for cutting public spending. It does this having explicitly ruled out major cuts in 2010-2011 during the election campaign, and having opposed the scale and timing of the cuts now introduced by the government. The case for that rests on the assumption that there is ”no alternative”, which is at odds with the views of many leading economists. Such matters always rest on judgement – we must all accept that. But judgements reflect values, and the decisions made by this government about Treasury policy throw its small-state, centre-right ideology into stark relief.

Läs mer: En längre version av denna artikel finns här på hemsidan för Compass som är en tankesmedja för ”the democratic left”.

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DET ÄR INTE speciellt ovanligt med läckor inom politiken. Och det är definitivt inte ovanligt i brittisk politik. Och ibland kan en läcka dessutom vara mer till gagn för den ”drabbade” än vad man först kan anta.   

Så när Sam Coates, politisk korrespondent vid The Times, publicerade ett osignerat dokument på bara en sida -men uppenbart hemmahörande hos Torypartiet – var det svårt att tro att detta skulle göra partiledaren David Cameron allt för upprörd. 

Vad dokumentet framhävde var snarare att partistrategerna inom Tory nu känner segervittring och att det är dags att driva en mer offensiv politik framöver. Bättre gratis reklam kan ett parti knappast tänka sig.

De konservativas strategi under David Cameron har hitintills varit att först och främst tvätta bort bilden av ett parti som är befläckat av skandaler och interna uppgörelser för att sedan sakta men säkert utforma en ny politik som har mjukare konturer och där de sociala frågorna prioriteras.

Partiet utmålade sig redan innan Gordon Browns maktövertagande som Tony Blairs sanna arvtagare.

Hela denna process visualiserades tydligast när partiet antog den nya logan med ett grönt träd istället för den tidigare blå frihetsfacklan. Att logotypen påminde många om Libanons flagga med cederträdet i mitten spelade inte så stor roll.

När David Cameron dessutom reste iväg för att studera smältande glaciärer var bilden som skulle signaleras till en tvivlande väljarkår tydlig; partiets hade förändrats både politiskt och mentalt, partiet var ungdomligare, partiets hade lärt sig av sina misstag och det gamla konservativa partiet hade dessutom annamat ett nytt miljömedvetande.

I dokumentet ”The Next Few Months” betonas att partiet inte kan nöja sig med höga opinionssiffror utan måste visa väljarna att man är ansvarstagande och har en seriös plan för att göra landet bättre.

Referenserna till Margaret Thatcher är tydliga;

Just as we needed then to realise that the state couldn´t run British businesses properly and shoulden´t try, today we need to realise that the state can´t run British society properly, and shoulden´t try.

Bristande ansvarstagande ses som den grundläggande anledningen till alla de sociala problem som landet idag lider av. Dokumentet utmålar därför en reformagenda inriktad på tre områden; skola, välfärd och stärkande av familjen.

Om man lyckas med detta anser dokumentets författare att partiet kan uppnå två saker. Först och främst kan Torypartiet etablera sig som det progressiva alternativet med idéer som kan tackla ”poverty, inequality and stalled social mobility”.

Och för det andra ser författaren att partiet kommer att kunna minska kraven på staten så att landet kan leva på sina resurser och därmed på sikt skapa en stark och konkurrenskraftig ekonomi.

Om det inte hade varit så cyniskt skulle man kunna tro att det var Torypartiets eget högkvarter som hade orkestrerat läckan.

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