Let me begin by saying I feel your pain. I was in Eastleigh yesterday and I understand why you're reluctant to cast your vote for the Conservative candidate. You think the party has been captured by a metropolitan, progressive elite who have no understanding of what it's like to be a basic rate taxpayer in an ordinary town in the South of England. On too many issues, the official Conservative position is indistinguishable from that of the centre left parties, a point made by Roger Scruton in the current issue of Prospect. (He complains of "a new kind of conservatism which conserves nothing, changes everything, and is guided by the very same rhetoric of equality and human rights that shapes the left-liberal agenda.") This was brought home to you by the formation of the Coalition. Until he was forced from office, the Lib Dem MP you voted against in 2010 was a member of the Cabinet.
However, I think there are still plenty of good reasons to stick with the Tories. On schools and welfare reform, this government is still pursuing vigorous, Conservative policies, largely free of Lib Dem interference. The income tax bills of more than 20 million people have been cut and over two million of our lowest earners have been taken out of tax altogether. Admittedly, progress on cutting the deficit has been slow, but Public Sector Net Borrowing was still 24 per cent lower in 2011/12 (£121.5 billion) than it was in 2009/10 (£159 billion). It's heading in the right direction.
But even if you regard the Coalition government as a huge disappointment, I would still urge you to vote for Maria Hutchings. Why? (To read more, click here.)
Re: An open letter to the ChIHUAHua
Posted by David Cockerham on 28-02-2013 17:31:
This is surely wrong. The ONLY reason Cameron is offering a referendum on the EU is because the surge in UKIP support scares him. If support for UKIP now falls away and he wins the next election all his energy and political acumen will be dedicated to securing, by fair means or foul, a yes vote to stay in the EU whatever the outcome of the EU negotiations, and the pressure on his EU counterparts to abandon the acquis communautaire principle will be reduced. Yes, Tory voters switching to UKIP could in theory bring us a Labour government, but if Labour then refuse to negotiate with the EU or hold a referendum, the build-up of pressure in future for the return of a government that will (Tory/UKIP coalition?), will be irreversible, and the chances of our exit from the EU resulting from it will be much greater.
Moreover, your assumption that UKIP support is all about the EU is almost certainly wrong. A lot of it is about the loss to them of the LibDem 3rd party protest vote, and a lot more of it is from people who are sick to the teeth of lefty/greeny political correctness and brand-marketing politics, with which Cameron has now infected the Tory party. Only by convincing both Cameron and Clegg that both their parties face marginalisation by a massive advance of UKIP can the lefty/greeny/marketing man genie be put back in its Labour bottle where it belongs. So let's all pray for a stunnung UKIP victory in Eastleigh.
@NickLinford I made an argument, namely, that free schools represent better value for money than BSF schools did. (43 minutes ago)