Should I care about the decline of the “Conservative” press?

When I gleefully point out the decline of the left press in Britain (Guardian and KGB “Independent” falling apart – Financial Times down to 50 thousand or so physical sales in this country….), the reply is sometimes give that the Conservative press is also in decline. But I sometimes wonder if I should care – I will give a couple of example to explain why I find it hard to care.

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The Daily Telegraph (supposedly the most high quality newspaper in Britain) ran a terrible obituary of Sir Rhodes Boyson  (a headmaster and Conservative party minister – who was proud to meet and listen to) – literally kicking a man when he is down (indeed dead).

Sir Rhodes had a Lancashire accent  – but the Daily Telegraph, absurdly, claimed he was “inarticulate” and even compared him to John Prescott  (a Labour party minister famous for his inablity to clearly express his thoughts), and it did not stop there. None of the books Sir Rhodes wrote was named – and the obitury had a vile sneering tone.

And over at the rival of the Daily Telegraph – the News International owned Times…..

Well the obituary of Sir Rhodes Boyson was better (I will give them that), but in the same issue (Thursday, August 30th), there was….

American coverage that claimed that Paul Ryan planned to “slash” American govenrment spending, destroy the “safety net” and leave people to the “vaguaries of the free market”.

In reality Paul Ryan just want to slow the growth  of American government spending – the coverage in the Times was fantasy.

And in British coverage?

The latest proposal by the leader of the Liberal Democratic party for higher taxes was opposed by the Times – but with their own proposal for higher taxes – an end to “loopholes” “taken advantage of by the rich” (and on and on).

If this is the “Conservative Press” I will not be too upset to see it go.

Cameron isn’t a Conservative and Never Will Be

There is a delusion among some Tories that eventually Cameron is going to magically become a Conservative and save both his Party and country from the abyss…

Bruce Anderson in a piece titled — Tory voters won’t stay with UKIP if Cameron delivers economic competence and strong leadership — writes…

At the next Election, economic competence and leadership are likely to be the two most important factors. Both should assist the Tories, as long as the government displays more grip and makes fewer mistakes. But that necessary tightening needs to be reinforced by the right rhetoric. There are no magic solutions. There is no easy way to generate more growth and relieve the pressure on living standards. That makes it even more important to find the right words.

At the next Election, David Cameron should be able to present himself as the pilot who weathered the storm: the PM who took the hard decisions to avert disaster and promote recovery; the leader of the government which introduced radical social reforms even in the midst of a crisis; the only realistic candidate for No.10. If he can evoke great national purposes in that way, UKIP would be where it ought to be: marginalised. All that is easily possible – as long as the government does not trip over its own feet.

Let’s be honest. This ain’t gunna happen. After two years Cameron, and Osborne, have displayed no Conservative, financial competence. And there is no evidence to suggest this will change.

So what does Conservative, financial competence look like? There are three signs…

  1. Taxes lowered across the board.
  2. A small surplus in Government spending.
  3. A State that makes up no more than 1/3 of GDP.

Now, before you all shout, “Crazy Libertarian!!”, let’s be clear. There is nothing remotely Libertarian about these points. A Libertarian Government would go far, far further — and for good reason.

On all three points our ‘Conservative’ dominated Government doesn’t even come close. And doesn’t even look like it is making any progress. Taxes have only been tinkered with. By 2015 we’ll still have a deficit. They wouldn’t use the term “Structural” otherwise. And the State will still make up over 45% of GDP. It currently sits somewhere around 50% — which is double ‘Communist’ China’s…

How can Cameron paint a picture of Conservative, financial competence when there is no evidence to support his case? And how can he convince wavering Tories and Libertarian outliers to stick with the Conservative Party when he displays no Conservative intentions? He can’t. And on this basis one can only assume that true Conservatives and Libertarians will continue to desert the Conservative Party.

In 2015 we’ll have another hung Parliament. And the only thing that will save Cameron from oblivion is the sheer incompetence of Clegg and Miliband.