Coffee House

The Tory timewarp

27 August 2012

11:06 AM

27 August 2012

11:06 AM

‘If we don’t like modern Britain, then it is very unlikely that modern Britain will like us’ says Damian Green, in a piece for the Daily Telegraph today. I’m not sure if this is a piece of pre-reshuffle positioning or a cri de coeur, but his analysis is about ten years out of date. Green is not a Notting Hill Tory, he’s part of the group whom Rachel Sylvester once described as the ‘Blueberry Hill’ Tories — a generation born about the same time as the Fats Domino hit, who got into parliament early enough to see their party spanked by Tony Blair in three general elections. This gave rise to the ‘modernisers’, whose analysis was right for the time. But now, this group seem to be focused on providing ever-better ways to win the 2001 election.  Very little of this is likely to help the Tories in 2015.

Green challenges the Tories to pass the ‘Danny Boyle’ test, which is an  new way of phrasing a new argument: that Britain is multi-racial, socially liberal, a quarter of kids are brought up by single mothers nowadays so the Tories ought to come to terms with this, and stop yearning for a better yesterday. I quite agree, but why does he have to raise the point? The Tory Party has moved on, as witnessed by a new generation of MPs who are utterly uninterested in all of this.  James Forsyth profiled the new Tory radicals, in a definitive cover piece. If you were to list the most prominent of the Free Enterprise Group of MPs you’d have Dominic Raab, Priti Patel, Liz Truss, Margot James, Kwasi Kwarteng, Jesse Norman and Sajid Javid . (Any time Coffee Housers get depressed about the state of the Tory party, I’d recommend looking these guys up: their speeches, their pamphlets, their arguments).


If I had to list the top ten Tories whom I most admire, I’d include many of the above MPs. Something tells me that they do not spend much time worrying about whether they would pass the Danny Boyle test — and more time worrying about the government’s rate of progress. The modernizing movement made very good and (at the time) necessary points, similar to those Angus Maude made in 1969. It was time to drop the economic stuff, and focus on social issues instead. At the time, it was to have a party whose MPs better reflected modern Britain. The 2010 intake are the most promising Tories in a generation, a fusion of meritocracy  and diversity. Recruiting these young MPs is one of David Cameron’s greatest achievements as party leader.  Most of all, they have not spent their adult lives around SW1 so are not hung up on past battles.

A good deal of Britons are concerned about immigration and are (unlike most politicians) quite capable of separating this from concerns about race or culture or Danny Boyle. As I argued last week, the number of foreign-born workers in employment is rising at 500 a day, twice as fast as the number of British-born workers in employment. You don’t have to be Enoch Powell to suspect that this indicates something not quite right in the labour market. And the old Labour voters concerned about immigration in Bradford and Dagenham simply ask how the schools, GPs clinics and council houses etc are going to cope with this influx of people. Such concerns are practical, not racial. In his article Green doesn’t mention how much progress he’s making in his given mission of reducing immigration to under 100,000. The answer is that net immigration has risen to 250,000 a year, with another lack-of-progress report due from the ONS later this week. The target was thoughtless and utterly unachievable, and Green would never have advocated it. But he’s lumbered with it nonetheless. And unfortunately for him, voters do tend to  judge ministers on their ability to do what they say they’ll do.

Green is amiable, thoughtful and the very opposite of a Blunkett-style ‘we’re getting swamped!’ minister. But in the article, he’s fighting the last war. The headline to Green’s piece said that ‘the Tories have to pass the Danny Boyle test’ (if they want to win an election). I’d say that certain Tories need to stop thinking about politics in terms of a kulturkampf, because the rest of the country stopped thinking in this way long ago. It simply won’t help the Tories doing the Time Warp now, no matter how much they enjoy reprising their old internal arguments. The real question that ‘modern Britain’ is likely to ask in 2015 is this: what are the Tories are good for, based on the evidence? If the party loses, it will be mainly due to a failure to provide convincing answers to that far more basic question.

UPDATE Gavin Barwell, a new MP who was in the trenches during the Tory wars, critiques the above in a spirited blog here. I’d say the regional problems of the Conservatives, in Scotland and the north of England, have more in common to the collapse of the party’s presence in these areas, not how ‘modern’ or otherwise it is. I’m also wary of any analysis which sees  Britain through columns which segregate people into boxes (ethnics, public sector workers etc). This risks blinding party strategists to a wider picture: that if a party is useful, people don’t give a monkey’s about the MPs’ race, creed, colour or sexual orientation or whether they like the Arctic Monkeys. Competence trumps all.

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Show comments
  • james102

    Modern Britain or modern Notting Hill/Islington/Hampstead?

    The problem is our political class and their associated
    groups live in their own version of our country. Why should they care about the
    sub-standard, in comparison to other rich counties’, health service? Why should
    they be concerned about open doors immigration causing crowded transport systems,
    and high housing costs? Why should they care about declining education
    standards designed to produce equal outcomes? Why should they care about high
    crime rates and disorder on our streets?

    Their wealth insulates them against all these concerns.

  • james102

    Modern Britain or modern Notting Hill/Islington/Hampstead?

    The problem is our political class and their associated
    groups live in their own version of our country. Why should they care about the
    sub-standard, in comparison to other rich counties’, health service? Why should
    they be concerned about open doors immigration causing crowded transport systems,
    and high housing costs? Why should they care about declining education
    standards designed to produce equal outcomes? Why should they care about high
    crime rates and disorder on our streets?

    Their wealth insulates them against all these concerns.

  • Mark Thompson

    Lets cut to the chase – this country, is FINISHED.

  • Marcus

    Oh dear Fraser, please explain this:

    a quarter of kids are brought up by single mothers nowadays so the Tories ought to come to terms with this, and stop yearning for a better yesterday. I quite agree, …

    You mean you don’t agree that while not victimising single parents and their children we should always promote the family as the best way for brining up children?
    That is not what the CSJ think, it is certainly not the evidence and not common sense.
    Did you actually write this?

  • Daniel Maris

    So this group (see below) are all tied to Osborne and no doubt desperate for preferment to the Treasury. They are his “outriders”! LOL. Osborne is completely discredited! When are you guys going to realise this? You aren’t talking about a bunch of fresh young folk with exciting ideas. You are talking about people grabbing hold of the grubby tailcoats of a failed Chancellor.

    According to the Guardian, Tim Montogomerie said this. “It’s a pretty depressing time for the Conservative party, but the thing that
    gives me hope is the [parliamentary] class of 2010, and all the groups they’ve
    formed. Of those groups, the Free Enterprise Group is the group. They’re quite
    spiky in their opinions, but well respected by the Conservative leadership. They
    are George Osborne’s favourites. He has spoken to them. In some ways, it helps
    him to have them, so he can say, ‘I’m not the [government’s rightwing]
    Quite sparky? Quite cheeky I think, since none of them have done a decent day’s work in their lives.

  • Asmodeus

    The last time the Conservative Party won an election with a working majority was under John Major in 1992 , twenty years ago.David Cameron did not win the 2010 election hence the coalition.Answers on a post card please as to how the Conservatives can win an election with a working majority in 2015.

    • Daniel Maris

      Stop representing the super-rich and start representing the working majority.
      That’s the first thing to do. Change the name would be a good idea. There are plenty of answers – essentially they come down to turning themselves into a populist party rather than an elite party for representation of the rich.

  • 2trueble

    The Danny Boyle test? I am way out because I am unsure what Danny Boyles test is? Frankly a lot of people who watched the opening ceremony thought it was great but stated that they did not understand the relevance. It was an opinion of what our culture was about, just that, an opinion. I thought the cauldron was a fantastic invention, what an invention, great modern engineering.
    Moving forward in any field is always tricky, knowing what to throw out and what to keep is always the key! The simple fact right now for the Conservative party is that they are not popular. Any party who comes in to clean up the mess gets all the negativity, and we have a very negative media so they are really struggling to get any message across so they need to be clear and say very little……… too many words from too many people.

    • David Ossitt

      “I thought the cauldron was a fantastic invention, what an invention, great modern engineering.”

      Designed and made in Harrogate Yorkshire.

    • David Ossitt

      “we have a very negative media”

      Plus a rabid socialist BBC.

  • Jonathan

    What’s that sound of marching feet I hear? Ah yes, another brigade of former Tory Party activists off to join UKIP.

  • David Ossitt

    Who changed the photograph and why?

    • Simon Fay

      It shows how shifty these bastards are that six of us now suspect that it has some sort of significance.

  • lucillalin

    Okay, I really don’t get this. European-wide economic disaster looming and everyone should pass some test on Soviet-style show and pop tunes to please the populace? For a history student all this “last days of Rome” stuff is fairly entertaining of course, but I’m very happy I’m not a politician of any party…

    • ChrisTavareIsMyIdol

      Let’s break Danny Boyle’s “wonderful” opening ceremony down into it’s parts. Rural idyll. Monsterous Victorians. NHS. Kids books. Pop music. And that somehow “defines” what being British is does it?

  • David Ossitt

    “Tories ought to come to terms with this, and stop yearning
    for a better yesterday.”

    We are not, we are yearning for an improved today and a
    better tomorrow.

  • Tim Williamson

    I strongly suspect that
    this line of reasoning was prompted by Green — along with other
    currently senior Tories — fretting over the haemorrhaging
    membership. The logic seems to be that we don’t appeal to the newer
    voters, so we’d better adapt ourselves and our style so that we do.
    It’s also a devious way of implying that things aren’t going our way
    in the polls — it isn’t our policies, it’s just the way we present
    them. This allows him — and the rest of them — to ignore and
    dismiss as irrelevant the grassroots rejection of their policies on
    Heathrow’s expansion, building on the green belt, making it easier
    for developers plans to overcome local objections etc. It is
    political suicide. Ignoring the party’s clear and consistent wishes
    for an EU referendum is the only reason for the rise of UKIP. Cameron
    pigheadedly refuses to acknowledge that, just as the government is
    dismissive of public opinion generally. Damien Green has the same

  • Kevin

    to see their party spanked by Tony Blair in three general elections

    That is not how I remember events. I recall Left-wingers inside and outside Parliament screaming “Tory b******” every day and to everyone for the entirety of the Thatcher and Major years. The public, however, were so deeply affected by Labour’s economic failures that they could not contemplate voting them back in no matter how traumatised they were at being hated by their supporters.

    Then Blair scrapped Clause IV and Stockholm Syndrome kicked in.

  • Barbara

    Just read Terry Leahy (ex Tesco CEO)’s book ‘Management’ and, along the way, he says that one of the best ways to wreck an enterprise is to ignore loyal customers and chase disloyal ones.
    Come in Mr Green …

    • David Ossitt

      Well said.

      A very sound argument.

    • Daniel Maris

      Loyalty cards are a great big “confuse the customer” scam. Tesco CEOs don’t know the meaning of the word loyalty. They know the price of everything and are determined their customers shouldn’t.

  • paul

    Well i just red the comments, and it was like a shooting gallery for poor Dan Glover, well good luck with your business venture.Your instincts are sound.

  • Simon Fay

    Dominic Raab, Priti Patel, Liz Truss… Kwasi Kwarteng, . (Any time Coffee Housers get depressed about the state of the Tory party, I’d recommend looking these guys up”

    Four of the five responsible for ‘Britannia Unchained’? The kite-flying exercise where a bunch of self-regarding creeps with no history outside professional politics tell the pop’n of the country that they, the electorate, are idle, useless rubbish?

  • paul

    yes I think your right, if the conservative party start articulating broad brush strokes from a platform such as too much immigration it will be out of touch and any suggestion of racism is not conservatism.

    What Danny Boyle did was to connect and to personalise in a way that resonated with the people. You must remember to the majority Empire was just a crate of bananas on the dock, most people went home and talked about what was happening three streets away.

    The hree streets away strand of conservatism, when people ask the question: what does it all mean to me?how does it affect me? are my values being respected? how will if affect my neighbours? my children? Every minister of state should have this pinned to their desk and if any legislation they draft doesnt match up :bin it.

    • Daniel Maris

      The three streets away idea is right. Imperialism was a kind of dreamworld for most people who, happily, didn’t get mixed up in it. Imperialism was most important for quite a narrow strand of upper middle class and middle class people who supplied the district commissioners, traders and so on.

      The problem now for the Tories is that the three streets are being changed for a lot of people but their current approach appears powerless in the face of these changes.

  • David Lindsay

    There was a huge turnover of MPs in 2010.

    On the Labour side, that brought in numerous of the sort of quietly
    impressive people who would normally have come second in the selection
    process, beaten by the Westminster Village golden boys and their
    girlfriends. But that lot decided to sit out this Parliament, since
    a term in Opposition would have been beneath them. Well, they are going to be sitting out for a
    very long time in Government, then.

    On the Conservative side, however, it brought in Kwasi Kwarteng, Priti
    Patel, Dominic Raab, Chris Skidmore and Elizabeth Truss, to name but a
    few. People who believe that rail fares could be cut by cutting benefits
    and by introducing third class tickets for standing only. That the
    British are unemployable idlers. And that Boris Johnson should be Prime
    Minister. Among so very much else besides. All in the same Blairite,
    Murdoch vein.

  • Jimmy R

    “Pass the Danny Boyle test”? I thought the idea was to end the dumbing down of tests not to dumb them down even further.

    • Daniel Maris

      The Danny Boyle test:

      “Have you got a mobile phone?”


      “Do you love the NHS?”


      “OK, you’re in.”

  • Kevin T

    As someone who voted Tory in 2010, I am not just disappointed but horrified and ashamed that I did. They’re a shower of weak cowards who make tough speeches and then fail to show the backbone to stand up to their coalition partners, who have 1/6 as many seats, the Opposition, the liberal media or even the unions. Ask yourselves why we’re cutting (non-unionised) frontline police and military to the bone instead of going through the legions of (Unite and Unison) seat warmers that infest the public sector with a combine harvester. Lives will be lost through the lack of police response units. You could sack every public sector worker with the word diversity in their job title with no real-world effect whatsoever, just a lot of screaming from the unions and the media. Grow a pair, Cameron. The liberal North London middle classes have held sway in this country now for at least 15 years. Does the country seem better to anyone? It’s time this smal minority of stupid and impossibly arrogant people stepped down and shut up.

    • Ron Todd

      You are right Cameron calls himself a Tory yet his public sector cuts are police army and immigration control.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    The Danny Boyle test is being able to pass of work produced by far leftists as being entirely apolitical.
    Damien Green passes it.

  • ChrisTavareIsMyIdol

    “The 2010 intake are the most promising Tories in a generation, a fusion of meritocracy and diversity.”

    The colour of someones skin now defines if they will be a good MP? What a racist comment.

    • Mutafe

      have you ever met any of the ones he lists? They are there due to their merit and they happen to be diverse which is what I feel he was getting at.

      • ChrisTavareIsMyIdol

        No, they go to the head of the queue because they tick a box and that calms the left wing press. See Baroness Warsi for further details

        • Fergus Pickering

          I think Baroness Warsi is lovely. Never heard of that other lot, except Raab. He’s a twit, isn’t he?

    • Dan Grover

      There’s a lot more to diversity than the colour of one’s skin. A lot of people here seem to rally against the London-centric, elite nature of Westminster politics whilst simultaneously decrying ‘diversity’ even when not externally enforced.

  • AuldCurmudgeon

    This is a good piece but fails to address the fundamental incompetency problem of this Tory-led government. One of Blair’s better innovations was evidence-based policy making – what works, works. Instead of this Cameron has presided over too much ideological bigotry-based social policy making – what feels right, is right – whatever the evidence to the contrary. Carried through with a demented haste and a buttock-clenching refusal to change, it’s this the current government will be remembered for. And the fruits will be harvested by the two Eds: such is the wasteland Cameron has left us.

    The better yesterday is one that is arrived at by the reversal of much of the idiocy this government has so far done. Nanny Nasty Party has had her day and should stop her maudlin slapstickery before she gets an electoral Asbo. Otherwise tomorrow belongs to them. I’m not holding my breath in expectation.

  • James

    If we don’t like modern Britain”

    If? If? Is there any evidence you do?

    Voted Conservative in every election since 1990. Not any more. Well hello, Mr Farage…

  • Nicholas

    I like the heading photograph. You must have some influence to be able to get a photo in a Lambeth Council meeting. I expect Percy was able to organise it.

  • david

    As I argued last week, the number of foreign-born workers in employment
    is rising at 500 a day, twice as fast as the number of British-born
    workers in employment. You
    don’t have to be Enoch Powell to suspect that
    this indicates something not quite right in the labour marke

    Pritia Patel, Kwasi Kwarteng, Sajid David, I seem to remember that Enoch Powell wasn’t exactly supportive when the Heath government let in Ms. Patel’s parents.

    • ChrisTavareIsMyIdol

      Powell didn’t have anything against the individual, but he saw the dangers of mass immigration. It’s a shame those who didn’t, who said it was nonsense that we’d have towns and cities where the majority were no longer white, don’t come forward now and apologise for their lies.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Can’t this new fangled software stop people from recommending their own posts?

  • Augustus

    ” Britain is multi-racial, socially liberal, a quarter of kids are brought up by single mothers nowadays so the Tories ought to come to terms with this, and stop yearning for a better yesterday…”
    Before Cameron the family was under threat, immigration was uncontrolled, the EU was a danger to the British way of life, and political correctness had gone made. Under Cameron all those things have got even worse. He has compromised far too much with his leftward ‘modernisation’ programme, and as a result has sacrificed the most basic principles of Toryism, abandoned its true believers, and pandered to a suppositional level of anxiety about the party on the part of the electorate.

    • james102

      I think he was thinking of London rather than Britain. Our
      political class often get them confused.

    • james102

      I think he was thinking of London rather than Britain. Our
      political class often get them confused.

  • Wilhelm

    This is the reality of ” modern ” Britain. Foul mouthed, anti white racist, Jamaican woman ranting on a London train.

  • Duncan

    The ‘TORY’ Party disappeared in 1834 replaced by CONSERVATIVE. 178yrs on and we are treated to both titles, most times in the same sentence. We know why the change took place – could be called ‘modernisation’. So when do we expect to see the end of the ‘Tory’ tag and even Conservative. In the spirit of ‘modernisation’ a new name perhaps?. Kick it off – United People’s Party, might attract many with the right ‘values’.

    • Michael990

      This is where one does wish for Guy Fawkes ease of nicknaming. Then I could post the following as ‘Nigel Farage’: ” Damned good idea, we’ll do it”.

      • Duncan

        Being positive seems always better than promoting negate attitudes through persistent whingeing about what you or I can do absolutely nothing about. I can’t ‘get rid of David Cameron’ – on that issue a] I don’t want to and b] I would not be so disloyal, like Yeo, to publicly attack the leader of my party. He is of the, not one I attend. Changing the name of the party may seem an irrelevant knee-jerker, by a wet in the face of difficulties causing difficulties. Not guilty on that one. Sir Robert Peel, as architect of the ‘from Tory to Conservative’ change could in any way be likened to a ‘wet’. He was a tough cookie who trod the path of reform in the interests of the nation, not his interests as we know, he lost his position as P.M. over one major reform, the Corn Law, with the alleged comment ” the people shall not starve”. If such a great leader as Peel could see the need for the name change why do we have any doubts about the same today ?. Conservatives do not, as a rule, talk politics. Conservatives do not, as a normal necessity, change the way their party is run. Conservative M.P’s have proved themselves disloyal to their leader more often than Labour’s mad, bad,incompetent bunch of trendy lefties ever did. A change of name which speaks it’s purpose, the political home of all the nation’s people, might, and I stress might, because there would need to be an opening of presently closed doors, a back turning on elitism and the old pals act which drives the cult of ‘advisers’. The Conservative Party once boasted a trade union section. Final word. Any doubters of the desperate need to ‘get on with change of name and the beginning of a new direction’ I suggest you read the “Verbatim Report of the proceedings of the 68th Annual Conference of the National Union of Conservative and Unionists Association – which contains the text of “Mr. Churchill’s speech”. History teaches if we care to listen and learn.
        I have suggested ‘United People’s Party’ for the name change – let’s start talking and acting politics. . . . .

    • BuBBleBus
  • John_Page

    Pre-shuffle positioning? Probably. If you’re an amiable duffer out of your depth who can’t deliver, general political waffle may look your best chance of saving your job.

    Apart from education it’s hard to think of any area where the Tories can say they are achieving anything now. Benefits reform is in the future and the Tories are scared of toughening up significantly for fear of being rebranded as the nasty party even though not everybody wants to work . Ordinary voters know this but politicians are scared to touch it. In Grant Shapps the Tories have a housing minister who can articulate policies and is beavering away at reforms, but he is in too low profile a job.

    Meanwhile the Tories are lumbered with a failed chancellor who the PM is scared to sack, while the same PM ties them to expensive energy based on increasingly discredited CO2 global warming theory. The science may be threadbare, but the higher energy prices will be real enough.

    Culture? Pff, it’s about lost chances and poor governing. And they don’t even seem to realise what a mess they’re making of it.

  • dugongs2

    Lib/lab/con – pretty much the same given all allow the EU to rule. No matter how right wing and/or free market any new MPs maybe they can make little impact given their ideas are not required. We are all socialists now.

  • Daniel Maris

    Well that’s a v. broad brush you’re wielding Fraser. In response:

    1. Yes, we are now moving into an era when honeyed words and fine sentiments have lost their value. Deeds and details are now important.

    2. Mass immigration now represents a national emergency as I think Frank Field stated a little while back – not for everyone (and, sorry, Dan Grover the question of elite experience is v. pertinent here) but for large numbers of our citizens in the inner city areas who are feeling the impact as a housing crisis,a jobs crisis, a primary school crisis, pressure on public transport and pressure on the health service.

    3. You don’t give any policy prescriptions for dealing with the problem of mass immigration and the impact on the labour market. One suspects it’s because you don’t really have any answers, as you are fully committed to human rights legislation, the EU and multi-culturalism.

    4. I find it very worrying that you blithely accept the spread of single parenthood. Anyone who knows anything about this subject, knows that it creates emotional insecurities for children, makes them vulnerable to predators, and is a sure fire way into poverty and welfare dependency. We should be teaching our children the virtues of joint parenthood and disincentivising single parenthood in every ethical way possible. That surely is the Conservative way. If Conservatives don’t stand up for normal stable family life, I don’t know what they are there for really.

    • Dan Grover

      I should probably have been clearly, Daniel – using those words isn’t the problem. It’s when you *exclusively* use those words. Suggesting that politicians are out of touch due to their lifestyle and thus come to the wrong conclusions is entirely legitimate.

      (And I’m a fan of your post here, btw!)

  • Michael990

    Green’s farcical attitude simply demonstrates how the Londonistanis are out of touch with the rest of the UK. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Grover.

  • Mirtha Tidville

    When the Tories, not if, lose the next election, do you not think it might be more to do with a PM that appears to be a lying, hapless halfwit rather than anything else..

    • George

      What a pointless, negative and childish comment. I am fed up with reading anonymous, carping comments from Coffee Housers who lacking the guts and brains to make any sensible arguments themselves, simply revert to abuse of politicians who have, at least, had the gumption to stand for public office. As my mother used to say to me, ‘if you don’t have anything sensible to say, best to say nothing at all.’

      • Jimmy R

        Oh dear, George, perhaps you should have learned to take heed of your mother’s advice.

        • George

          Really? It’s not sensible to suggest that making a constructive argument is better than mindless abuse?

          On a wider point – which, as so often with comments, bears no relation the article at hand (!) – we must be approaching a time where news websites like Coffee House begin to question whether having discussions below articles is really worth it. I’d love to know whether Fraser et al think that the pointless and often vicious drivel, on all sides of the political spectrum, that comes out on sites like this actually adds anything. It seems to me that the comments section is just a tool for nihilists to vent their spleen publicly.

          • Doppel

            Hilarious. So if people don’t agree with your views you think their views should be denied.

            • FrenchNews

              Well of course he (George) does, he probably supports Orwellian terminology such as ‘hate-crime’ as well.

      • Nicholas

        I always thought the expression was “If you have nothing nice to say”? Differentiating it from “better to remain silent and be thought of as a fool than to open your mouth and remove any doubt”.

        • Fergus Pickering

          The expression is ‘If you can’t say nothing nice, don’t say nothing at all.’ It belongs to Thumper in Bambi. Sometimes, however, a bit of mindless abuse is necessary. Like Shut up, Doppel, you useless prick.

          • Doppel

            I thought in the circumstances I was being nice.

      • David Ossitt

        Why do you not take her advise?

      • Doppel


        The Cameroons are a useless bunch. They really couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery. They reflect a narrow out of touch milieu. Some of us predicted they would be. Others refused to listen. They have actually turned out worse than even some of their worst critics feared.

    • Fergus Pickering

      No. It will be because the economic situation is bad. If, in fact, it is not bad, the Tories will win. It has fuck all to do with Cameron’s lying or halfwittedness. Actually I don’t think he lies much and I don’t think he is halfwitted. Balls is a liar. Red Ed is halfwitted. Nick Clegg is hapless – in spades. Cameron is not helped by thefact that his party is full ofdeeply stupid people like you, Mirtha Tidville.

  • Dan Grover

    Oh god, this article is going to get the Coffee House commentators going do-lalley.

    Let’s play Commentator Bingo – randomly assign 9 of the following phrases to a grid and the first to get a row or a full house, shout, ok?!

    – Diversity Police
    – Diversity-Fest
    – “I remember when the Spectator was a conservative magazine”
    – Bring Back Mel Phillips!
    – Westminster elites
    – … of which you are a part, Fraser!!
    – Enoch Powell was right
    – Slash sexual equality officers!
    – Swamped with immigrants
    – I don’t admire any of these thieving career politicians.
    – “The usual socialist trick…”
    – Scotch
    – Lawless immigrants
    – EU autocracy
    – Can you get some conservative writers, instead of all the luvvy, liberal socialists you have now?!

    • Dan Grover

      That’ll learn me for taking so long over a joke post. I think Russel just hit 3 of them whilst I was writing it. I’m on to a winner!!

      • Daniel Maris

        The time for tantrums is over Dan. Let’s hear what you say. Do you believe in unrestricted immigration to this country? If yes, fair enough, if you are happy to live with all the consequences, if not then you are no different from anyone else – you have concerns about immigraiton and want to limit it. And if so, what would you limit it to? and how would you do that? And don’t you care if people who come to this country hate the values with which we have been associated?

        • Dan Grover

          Daniel, I think they are all very useful and important questions, and discussing them is important. My point is simply that the vast, vast majority of *a certain group* of CH commentators *don’t* discuss the issue, they just bleat baseless and unsourced claims. I really enjoyed the Coffeehouse Wall, though I rarely got involved myself, because it was usually a dicussion. And when that happens on other posts, it’s great. The reality, though, is that it’s usually someone making a statement, to which anyone whom disagrees replies with “That’s because you’re a liberal lovey socialist”.

          • Liberal Lovey Socialist

            Stop taking my name in vain

          • Nicholas

            You are just as bad. Almost every single left-wing commentator does exactly the same.

            • Dan Grover

              I don’t really see what that has to do with me, Nicholas…

          • Daniel Maris

            Dan – Very useful and important questions to which you have no answer?

            There is a tide of history on the move. I’m afraid that someone has to come up with some answers or the outlook is not good. Whilst I disagree with most of the Coffeehouse Falange’s analysis, the sad truth is that there is often a lot more honest debate here than in the mainstream media.

            • Dan Grover

              Sorry, Daniel – I thought it was a rhetorical question.

              I think the answer is a very, very tricky one. Like I mentioned above, I think the real root problem isn’t that there is unfettered immigration from the EU, it’s that businesses clearly find immigrant workers a more attractive prospect than British workers. Fraser himself has written about this subject a number of times, and it doesn’t seem to be an anomaly, or a case of all those immigrants being employed are employed by their fellow immigrants.

              I work in the creative industries, for which London is absolutely a hub. For what I do, it’s one of, if not the biggest place in the world, the only other possible contender being California (a rather large place). There are a lot of great schools in Germany and France (and further East) teaching what I do, and they pump out a lot of incredibly talented graduates, though there is talent abound even amongst those without a degree. My company has more immigrants than it does British workers, and the reason for that is that they’re better than we are. I use that term generally, obviously, since I’m employed there.

              If, tomorrow, we had to get rid of all our immigrant workers, or cut down their numbers significantly, it would harm our ability to compete enormously. It would harm all our competitors in London’s ability to compete, too – but we compete on an international level, not a national one, and that’s the thing; If the British people in my industry were better than their international counterparts, it’d be fine – but they aren’t. So if we stopped immigrants coming from the EU (and further afield), they’d go elsewhere. They’d either go to California, or they’d set up companies in their own countries; All that talent that used to be in the UK, helping British businesses thrive and paying tax in the UK would now be elsewhere, and we’d be stuck with the workforce that couldn’t get a job before. It wouldn’t be long before the economic benefits to the local job market were wiped out when all the companies stopped winning jobs because all their talent has left. If British workers were capable of picking up the slack, they already would be. They aren’t.

              So I struggle to be totally against immigration. I acknowledge it comes with social costs. I acknowledge it comes with economic costs in the low-skilled sector, too – but the world’s changed. Globalisation is here, and it’s not going anywhere. My industry in the UK is huge, and it’s only huge because they sell to beyond just the UK (in the same way the UK’s architecture industry far outstrips our own needs for buildings – they’re all building hotels in Dubai or towers in Malaysia). About 40% of our workforce are British – but 40% of huge is far bigger than 100% of nothing.

              So I don’t think cutting immigration significantly is a valid option. What’s left, then? Well, trying to fix the associated problems of large scale immigration – ie ghettoisation and unemployment amongst white British people in the low-skilled end of the spectrum. As said, I think the solution to the latter is to make the native British population more competitive and I think the only real way to do this is to significantly lower the minimum wage. As it stands, it’s worth while for people to come across the seas, live here, work and still send money back to their families, in no small part due to the wage-inflating nature of the NMW. Of course, lowering the NMW will also affect British people – they’ll have less pay. Well, those on the minimum wage will, at least. But I think it’s people to have more people on less money, than less people on more money (and then more people on the dole). Not only is it better for morale, it also helps the native population by making the ‘send money home’ option less viable for immigrants, which lessens their incentive to come in the first place. It also lowers our welfare bill, whilst making our exports more competitive due to lowered labour costs (We all seem happy to diagnose Spain thusly – the same is true for us, unfortunately).

              I think this’ll significantly reduce the flow of immigrants into the UK. Once that’s done, I think ghettoisation will more or less take care of itself – enclaves of certain nationalities is more or less a self-reinforcing issue. Without more immigrants of that nationality coming to live there, they won’t last too long before gentrification begins to erode the hold that nationality has on the area – have you been to Brixton lately? It’s a very different place to 20 years ago, thanks to a combination of gentrification and a massive police presence.

              That’s my solution, anyway, and my reasoning for it.

    • Nicholas

      But you could do exactly the same with leftist commentators. You people have your litany of clichés too. And you look like an idiot.

      • Dan Grover

        “You people” ? Bloody racist.

        • Nicholas

          I didn’t realise left wing was a race but carry on digging yourself that stupid hole you idiot.

          • Dan Grover

            Yeah, that was a joke. Sorry, I forgot that the last 30 years of popular culture have gone unnoticed by some around here.

            My point was that I’m not left wing. You brand anything with which you disagree into a nice little label in lieu of actual discussion. I’m left wing – why? Because I don’t like slogans in place of discussion? Because I don’t like going onto my favourite political blog (odd, for a lefty) and seeing the same copy-and-pasted comments on every post?

            I believe that people should be left alone to do whatever they want, both economically and socially. I believe in a low tax economy with minimal public services, and expect the private sector to pick up the rest. I think the tax base should be moved from labour to land (which is different to property). I think the level of immigration we have has more to do with the size of our government and business regulation than an actual open border (that is, the problem is that businesses want to hire foreign workers, not simply that they are allowed to do so). I think we should have a strong military because freedom, even when attained, is not something that remains without constant vigilance. I think that the state should work around how people choose to structure their families, not the other way around. I think if there is a way to pay less tax, someone is not immoral for choosing to do so. I think that someone’s relationship status should have nothing to do with the government, and as such, if two men wish to refer to themselves as married, I couldn’t give a toss; Their relationship doesn’t detract from mine. I think it’s right that students pay for their own university education, so long as they have good access to non-punishing finance to enable anyone to do so. I think that the best way of stopping a criminal from reoffending is going to be different for every criminal, and that if we care more about stopping crime than the actual act of punishment we should accept that certain sentences may seem overly easy whilst acknowledging that it’s better for whoever will now not have a crime committed against them (a viewpoint that assumes a good understanding of criminology, I admit. The point is, I have no problem giving criminals playstations and TVs if it actually works.). I think schools should be allowed to make a profit. I think a lot of the financial crisis was caused not by a lack of regulation, but by the central bank actively giving banks a loaded gun. I think governments can’t generate growth or jobs, only businesses can; And that government can simply create an environment where businesses can thrive. I’m a firm believer in self employment – I’m starting my own business in a few months, and intend to make a lot of money. I have no wish to see this money go into George’s pocket.

            Go on, give me a label. WHAT AM I, NICHOLAS?

            • NIcholas

              I’ve already told you. An idiot.

              • Heathrow Runway Contractor

                Can I start digging now?

                • Nicholas

                  You can dig the hole but then you will have to put me in it. That might not be quite as easy as sniping whilst hiding behind a cowardly pseudonym that is not as clever as you think it is. Maybe you could whip up a hysterical Twitter mob of other sad losers to help you, eh?

                • Runaway Git Grinder

                  Careful, Nicholas, or I may just have to tell the world how you use The Guardian as a research tool.

            • DGStuart

              I got the reference – Anger Management wasn’t it?

              • Dan Grover

                I like that this post got thumbed down.

                Yes. Well, that’s one example – “you people” being used racially has become something of a joke in all manner of TV shows, books, films etc.

            • Wilhelm

              Dan Grover ”Go on, give me a label. WHAT AM I,?”

              A self loathing white liberal who denigrates his own people, culture and nation to boast to his cappuccino drinking chums how virtuous he is, in other words an ass.

              • Simon Fay

                NEVER self-loathing: those shrilly-individualistic whites engaged in Western forms of Maoist self-criticism (actually directed at parts of their native culture & their fellows) always come over as reserving their enmity for their competitors, whose values and history they denigrate to undermine them, bigging themselves up in the process.

                You’re right about the striking of poses of moral perfection though.

              • Dan Grover

                I denigrate my own people, culture and nation? Can you point out where I’ve done that?

                I am a citizen of the world, Wilhelm! I was born in the UK, and for that I’m tremendously glad. The UK is one of the most free and open societies in the world. To be born an Englishman is to win the lottery of life, truly! But I am also a person in my own right. I’m not the same as my next door neighbour (but, living in Islington, my next door neighbour is probably either a BBC news reader or a somali gangsta, of course). I’m not the same as the other people I went to school and university with. Some of them are die hard socialists, now. Some are in prison. Some are professional footballers (well, one is), some are successful businessmen, some like cricket, some like rugby.

                The problem with talking about ones “own people, culture, and nation” is that people tend to define their people, culture and nation by whatever they personally like, and if anyone identifies as something else, they are self-hating white liberals – who all happen to like Italian coffee, oddly – as opposed to simply the result of a slightly different upbringing. The problem of how to define our culture is age old – Do you identify more with Disraeli or Raoul Moat? They’re both British. Britain has a proud tradition of poetry, as well as a proud tradition of murdering children and burying them on moors. Would you rather watch the Last Night of the Proms, or X-Factor? Everyone seems to cheer when Rod Liddle rolls his eyes at British culture, such as it is today. We had a huge public project in the form of the Olympics that re-emphasised to much of the public that they loved a) huge public projects, b) the BBC and c) the NHS. This is British culture.

                Are you sure it’s me that hates it?

                I absolve myself from the need to love or hate it. I am me. I was born in the UK. I have no intention of leaving the UK. But anyone that forces themselves to defend or otherwise cheer on practices, people or actions that they’d otherwise not support on the grounds that the person in question is from the same bit of land as them, then I don’t know what to say. Bring me a cappuccino, I guess.

                • Matt Thompson

                  I was born in England and I am an Englishman. ‘The UK’ means nothing to me.

    • Hexhamgeezer

      So you win at bingo but fail to disprove anything on the list.

      • Dan Grover

        Again, perhaps I wasn’t clear. My problem isn’t with those things (or whether or not they’re problem), it’s with their baseless deployment as bleeted statements, tacked onto the comments of more or less any post with no attempt at a discussion or persuasive argument. If someone wants to write about why they think diversity is a problem in the UK, I’d love nothing more. What I dislike – and I’d like to think that most would agree here, since it’s useless – is when people post something akin to “Oh look, it’s another nu-lab diversity fest.”

        Well, the exception to my “I have no problem with the issues on this list” thing are the ones about the Spectator itself. It’s a private company and publication, and if anyone doesn’t like it, they know where the little cross in the corner of their browser is. It’s in the corner of their browser.

    • itdoesntaddup


    • Wilhelm

      Oh god, this article is going to get the Coffee House multicultural self righteous zealots going

      Let’s play Commentator Bingo – randomly assign 9 of the following phrases to a grid and the first to get a row or a full house, shout, ok?!

      1. Vibrancy
      2. Diversity
      3. Multiculturalism is a good thing, it benefits the country
      4. Curry
      5 . Rap music
      6. It stopped slavery
      7. Because of African immigrants, we now have a good basketball team !!
      8. Yasmin Ali Baba Brown is right.
      9. Nick Griffin is the Anti Christ, boo hiss.
      10. UAF are all angels
      11. Notting Hill Carnival
      12. Mo Farrr has a wonderful smile.
      13. They’re so musical, so much rhythm
      14. Carmen Miranda

      • VibrantCurryCarnival

        Carmen Miranda?

        What a fruitcake…

      • Just Bob

        Aye,once more with the “net immigration” meme – as if switching the 10
        oranges in my shopping basket with 10 turds leaves me with the same
        basket of goods. 300k educated, hardworking Brits OUT, 300k third world
        peasants IN, net immigration ZERO, Britain still Great in the crazy
        world of Tory politics.

        Fraser and his ilk obviously like basking in this multicultural cesspit but there’s a few million of us ex Tory voters who wanted the Conservatives to start unpicking Blair’s social revolution not exacerbating it and we loathe and despise them as a result.

        The Tories must be razed to the ground at the next GE and if they are to
        remain a force in future, swiftly purged of their left wing entryists.

      • David Ossitt

        Hi Wilhelm, you missed out the Mary Seacole fictitious myth.

        It is nice to see that you are back.

  • Nicholas

    Tories like Damien Green just help disseminate the propaganda of the left by using really stupid phrases like the “Danny Boyle test”. Why do they do this? Instead of defining a new narrative for Britain they cave in to the Left’s tediously clichéd narrative and then try to play catch up.

    Danny Boyle did not present a “test” but just a particularly pantomime socialist view of Britain and one distorted by its London-centricity. Tories like Green need to get the message that whatever the party tries to do to gain this fatuous socialist-cred the socialists will state hate them, still smear them and still do everything to undermine their policies – even the few good ones. At present the Tories seem not to be the “nasty party” (another own goal) but the “incredibly stupid party” as they dance clumsily along to the tune being played by the left. Despite Fraser’s reconstructed centre-left viewpoint there is a different conservative narrative out there, one being articulated with increasing frustration and anger. “Modern Britain” is a twee construct to serve the aspirations of the left not an achieved reality. The reality is a mess of competing ideas and agendas and a confusion of identity that are being driven more by propaganda than truth and in which a significant proportion of the population feels unrepresented.

    • Percy

      More far right trolling.

      • ScaryBiscuits

        And your point is…?

    • tele_machus

      Every now and a gain the revanchists show themselves perspicacious
      On the occasion about Mr Green.

      the immense furore over the police arrest of Damian Green and search of his parliamentary
      office and home? He was scrabbling around for figures that would allow him to
      attack the government for being soft on immigration.(see previous
      thread-Neathergate and all that).

      also brought int focus the Met-Stasi

      obvious difficulty is that, when confronted with a conflict between a
      Conservative MP and the Metropolitan Police, it’s hard to know which one to
      hate more. As author Dr Johnson put it, “there is little point in settling the
      precedence between a louse and a flea”.

      Met, having targeted Green, went to the authorities at the House of Commons
      who, once the words “national security” were mentioned, rolled over and allowed
      his office to be searched and papers and computers seized without a warrant.

      spineless behaviour on the part of the responsible official, Jill Pay, the
      absurdly entitled serjeant at arms, is particularly bizarre. Anyone who watches
      CSI or Law and Order knows that the first thing any self-respecting perp does
      when the cops show up is to demand to see their warrant.

      right of MPs to perform their duties without fear of arrest was enshrined after
      Charles I led an armed band onto the floor of the House in January 1642 in an
      unsuccessful attempt to arrest the five MPs leading the parliamentary struggle
      against royal absolutism. Parliamentary privilege was sealed with Charles’s

      the real issue in the Green affair is much broader. The behaviour of the police
      – entering the House of Commons without a warrant,

      claiming that “national security” was at stake in leaks of immigration figures
      and accusing Green of “grooming” the would-be Tory MP allegedly responsible –
      is symptomatic of a larger and far more serious assault of civil liberties.

      after wave of anti-terrorist legislation has hugely increased police powers of
      arrest, detention, and search.and have led the police to see themselves as
      above the law.

      arrogance of power has been reinforced by the enormous effort made by all
      sections of the establishment to prevent the police from being held to account
      when they abuse their powers. The climate of fear cultivated by the state since
      the bombings of 7 July 2005 has further encouraged the police to believe they
      can act with impunity.

      course Damian Green thinks he is on a safer wicket now

      • ButcombeMan

        Once Green had been arrested, his Office in the HoC was able to be searched and quite legally, under the provisions of the Police & Criminal Evidence Act 1984 on the say so of an Officer of Inspector or above. No Warrant required. Arrests & searches of premises under PACE take place all the time. This is absolutely normal procedure.

        MPs are not precluded from arrest on suspicion of criminal activity. There are however, restrictions on questioning under caution within the Palace of Westminster on which there is a stated case.

        With Green arrested away from Westminster, it was again standard practice to involve the sergeant at arms (or any other person) controlling the premises.

        I am not defending anything that passed, just stating the procedure.

        You should not assume that anything you see on TV crime fiction really represents the legal position.

  • Russell

    Just three cuts needed.
    Cut the public sector spending
    Cut immigration
    Cut loose from the EU

    And while they’re at it forget about the luvvies and their hypocritical overpaid luxurious lifestyle and constant bleating.

    • tele_machus

      Simplistic revanchism
      This is what Damien was on about
      “Damian Green, the immigration minister, says David Cameron must resist moving to the Right and the “seductive blind alley” of policies favoured by the party’s “most intense supporters”.”
      Hapily Russell your views will hold sway in the public mind and come 2015 the chickens will come home

      • Russell

        I had thought this new software would remove viruses, unfortunately there still remains one.

        • George_Arseborne

          Luv ya Tele_Machus. The truth hurts, that is why Russell got tooth ache.