The Apollo Project
Liberal Ideas for the 21st Century
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
So farewell, then, One Nation Tories
by Jabez Clegg

Let us pause for a minute and mourn the passing from influence of the last One Nation big beast in the Conservative Party. Ken Clarke had his critics (and many of them from within our party), but on issues such as the role of Britain in Europe, and the invasion of Iraq, he was right (and against the majority of his party). He is also socially liberal, and all the more welcome for that.

His elimination from the leadership election shows clearly the direction the Tories now wish to face: Atlanticist, authoritarian and socially conservative. We welcome this for, as we have already argued, a Conservative Party so orientated gives a clear choice to the electorate and sets up the Liberal Democrats as the undisputed party of liberalism.

Some weeks ago we opined that perhaps the last vestiges of the One Nation tradition, in the form of the TRG, should wake up and smell the coffee. Yesterday's leadership result ought to make them drain the dregs of their first cup, and start on the second.
posted by Apollo Project @ 9:55 am  
  • At 21 October, 2005 13:10, Blogger Bishop Hill said…

    I'm not sure you are right here. The elimination of Dr Fox suggests that the Cornerstone wing of the party is now sidelined. This would seem to suggest that your theory that the Tories are hamstrung by a socially conservative membership is incorrect too.

    While neither of the remaining candidates are out and out liberals, Cameron has at least espoused a liberal approach to drugs and has talked of having libertarian instincts. Davis seems (as your post on his meeting with Randy Barnett suggested) to have some strong libertarian leanings too. I was interested to see in a comments thread at Samizdata that some of the writers there have a suspicion that he might be one of them.

    Could this then turn in to a nightmare scenario for the Orange Book LibDems, with their socially liberal territory stolen from them by the Tories, but unable to move onto the Tories' economically liberal ground because of their membership's socialist tendencies? It's a thought.

  • At 21 October, 2005 17:19, Blogger Apollo Project said…

    Bish - Fox's support ammounts to a quarter of the party's MPs. This block is not going anywhere, and if Fox had been eliminated in round one might well have gone to Davis. On that basis we can surmise that around 50% of the party is broadly sympathetic to a rightist agenda.

    I agree that Cameron represents a potential threat to the Lib Dems, but only if he can carry his party with him. And we still have to see whether he gets elected (which looks likely now, but is not a given).

  • At 21 October, 2005 19:59, Blogger Bishop Hill said…

    Hold on, the suggestion that the Fox block might pick Davis rather than Cameron tells us only that they view DD as more right wing than DC. They could only choose between the two of them after all.

    Also, the Apollo Project was trying to tell us that DD was an out and out libertarian quite recently, hanging out with that Randy Barnett chap and so on.

    My reading of this is that the MPs have a socially liberal majority (I'm contradicting my first comment, I know - It's still not clear if the party are of a similar complexion). There is a risk that we end up with a liberal leadership, held back by a backward membership, in a similar way to Labour and LibDems.

    Depressing isn't it?

  • At 21 October, 2005 23:02, Blogger Apollo Project said…

    Sadly yes it is :-(

  • At 23 October, 2005 21:26, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Who supports who doesn't necessarily tell much about what kind of ideas people support. After all, Ann Widdecombe supported Ken Clarke, and she isn't known for her socially liberal thinking. It is more interesting to see how the Conservative MPs have voted in issues, which could be used as litmus tests of social liberalism, such as repealing of Section 28

  • At 24 October, 2005 10:12, Blogger Apollo Project said…

    There was a paper written in the last parliament which categorised the MPs three ways (socially liberal, socially conservative, and inbetween, based on their voting record. The number in the liberal group was far smaller than the conservative group (I wish I could find the reference).

  • At 24 October, 2005 17:23, Anonymous Lorcan said…

    I think the paper you're looking for is here:

  • At 25 October, 2005 09:53, Blogger Apollo Project said…

    Thanks Lorcan - I've added it to the links.

  • At 26 October, 2005 15:44, Blogger Apollo Project said…

    In the piece on DD and the libertarians I was making the point that - rather predictably - he was picking out the worst bits of libertarianism to support. On any issues he is very authorarian.


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"What is Liberalism?: I should say it means the acknowledgment in practical life of the truth that men are best governed who govern themselves; that the general sense of mankind, if left alone, will make for righteousness; that artificial privileges and restraints upon freedom, so far as they are not required in the interests of the community, are hurtful; and that the laws, while, of course, they cannot equalise conditions, can at least avoid aggravating inequalities, and ought to have for their object the securing to every man the best chance he can have of a good and useful life." C-B.


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