The Apollo Project
Liberal Ideas for the 21st Century
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
The Mask Slips
by Steve Travis

The more sharp-eyed and eared amongst you may have noticed that that nice Dave Cameron is rather keen to recruit Liberal Democrats because they will help him get elected. Sorry ... I mean, of course, because they share his liberal values (no, really). He even set up a website that, rather nicely, shows all the Lib Dem held seats turning from gold to blue. Well ... that's the subtle way to say you want to send us to oblivion.

Over on Conservative Home they don't hold with all thus wet shilly-shallying. They believe in calling a spade a spade. Things are looking up for the Tories, notes William Norton:

It’s a good time to be a Conservative, just now. We have a new leader and some momentum in the polls. Labour have suffered humiliating defeats.

[but not at the hands of the Conservatives. We move on].
This is not enough, however, to guarantee a Conservative Government. The 2005 General Election demonstrated that an unpopular Labour administration does not lead automatically to a Tory victory. What do we do for our next trick?

The options, finds Mr Norton, are two-fold:

(i)Pretend to be nice and cuddly - repeat this message often and get lots of no-Conservatives to be photographed with you to reinforce it.
(ii) Win the policy argument, but don't be too shrill or too wonkish.

Except they're not. He believes the Tories ought to do both. Luckily, he believes that the Great British Electorate isn't interested in policy, so sweet-talking should do the trick.

Now, however, comes the good bit. Understanably, some Tories might be unsettled by the voter-friendly mood music:

Some stalwart Tories may object to the company we will be keeping – but asylum-seekers always create resentment among their hosts.

What an astounding assertion - asylum-seekers always create resentment. Never mind that they might have suffered great hardship, abuse, death of loved ones, lost all their possessions and be barred from re-entering the country of their birth. It's not compassion for their plight, but resentment ...

It gets better:

When Liberals start flooding our constituency associations like latter-day Vietnamese boat people, we will just have to establish “reception centres” for them where they can adjust to life in a civilised party.

So, when we take the great leap into the welcoming arms of the Tories, we can expect to be patronised and treated like second-class citizens. That's useful to know.

Perhaps distinguished North Devon accountants would volunteer to give them re-education lectures?

This quote is bizarre - perhaps its an oblique reference to one of our ex leaders, famously from North Devon. But its also instructive to note that he assumes all accountants are Tories. I can assure him he's wrong on that count.

No doubt Mr Norton would argue that this was "just a bit of fun" and that we are being thin-skinned in reacting to it. Most Liberals would take it for what it is - patronising, insulting, and a useful reminder of why we're not members of the Conservative Party.

So, next time you hear the siren call of Cameron's liberal Conservatives, just remember what lies beneath the mask.
posted by Apollo Project @ 8:53 pm  
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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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