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The Tories need renewal not reshuffle

The Tories need renewal not reshuffle

By Simon Richards for the Daily Mail

Published: 16:01 BST, 22 August 2012 | Updated: 16:01 BST, 22 August 2012


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Rumours abound about who will come and go in the impending cabinet reshuffle. With the Coalition floundering, there’s no doubt that a reshuffle is long overdue, but, of course, the heads which ought to roll – those of the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Business Secretary – will emerge unscathed from the rearrangement of the deckchairs on the lower decks. As on the Titanic, it’s the men in steerage who will be left to drown.

David Cameron is known to be an admirer of Harold Macmillan, whose infamous ‘Night of the Long Knives’, fifty years ago, led Jeremy Thorpe to remark, ‘greater love hath no man than this, than to lay down his friends for his life’.

Were Cameron to be ruthless enough to sacrifice his friend, George Osborne, and replace him with Philip Hammond, who has a better understanding of economics than the Chancellor, the Coalition’s fortunes might be revived, but the woeful lack of direction, poor judgment and refusal to contemplate necessary tax cuts which have marked this Government suggest that far more wholesale change is required.

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The heads which ought to roll – those of the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Business Secretary – will emerge unscathed from the rearrangement

Staggering from u-turn to u-turn, the Conservatives need a complete renewal of what they stand for if they are to have any chance of winning the next General Election. With the right leadership, this is perfectly achievable. After Ted Heath led the Tories to three election defeats out of four, it was widely predicted that the party would never win another election, yet, within four years, Margaret Thatcher led them to the first of three landslide General Election victories.

Between 1975 and 1979, under a leader with firm beliefs and an interest in developing ideas and policies, the Conservatives put together a coherent approach to economics and government which enabled them to transform a country in near terminal decline.


More from Simon Richards for the Daily Mail…

  Freedom of choice goes up in smoke down under as Aussies take war on smokers to new lengths 15/08/12   Don’t praise Angela Merkel, but credit the German people for standing up against the Euro 31/07/12   An opening ceremony with style and substance 27/07/12   Dave should listen to the export experts. It’s time to follow our trade, and leave the failing EU behind 19/07/12   No wonder Cameron’s ‘more committed than ever’ to the Coalition: His political life depends on it 16/07/12   Of course we need an EU referendum, but is David Cameron the man to deliver it? 01/07/12   The Falklands can vote to stay British, so why can’t WE have an E.U. referendum? 19/06/12   The Greek election was a vote any sane party would have longed to lose 18/06/12   Will minimum alcohol pricing start a tartan invasion of England in search of cheap booze? 14/05/12   VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Thatcher – and her brilliant ‘guru’, Sir Keith Joseph had the courage, intelligence and respect for intellectual argument to reshape the Conservative Party from the failed corporatism favoured by Heath to the dynamic free market ideas championed by Hayek and Friedman.

It’s too much to expect the current Prime Minister to lead such a process of renewal, but that shouldn’t stop others from doing so – and that is precisely what a one-day conference in Windsor on 22 September is seeking to do. ‘A renewal of Conservatism – How to secure a Conservative Majority in 2015‘ is supported by The Freedom Association (of which I am Director) and the TaxPayers’ Alliance.

A cast of some of Britain’s brightest and most able conservatives, including James Delingpole, Matthew Elliott, Daniel Hannan MEP, Tim Montgomerie, Professor Roger Scruton and Toby Young will put their minds to how the Conservative Party can recover its self belief and start, once again, to represent the tens of millions of voters who long to have a genuinely conservative party to support.

Those attending the conference – and I do hope that many Daily Mail readers will be among them – will be encouraged to take an active part in all the discussions on the major issues of the day.

In this week’s Spectator, Toby Young writes, ‘A commitment to Britishness and British values still runs deep among the population at large – it just has to be mobilised by the right party’. He has demonstrated, by starting a Free School, just how individual citizens can help play their part in renewing the educational prospects of the next generation. By attending the Renewal of Conservatism conference in Windsor on 22 September, like Toby Young, you can play a part in renewing British conservatism. See you there!

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The Tories need renewal not reshuffle

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