Coffee House

Grant Shapps on the Tories and Thatcher

14 April 2013

1:09 PM

14 April 2013

1:09 PM

It is one of the paradoxes of modern British politics that in the post-war era the power and hold of political parties have declined and our system has become more presidential. But the two most electorally successful leaders of this era have both been deposed by their respective parties.

This has created problems for both parties, as today’s Sunday Politics with Andrew Neil demonstrated. After John Reid had been on to discuss Tony Blair’s comments on Ed Miliband, Grant Shapps was up to be questioned on Margaret Thatcher’s legacy for the Tories. Shapps was reluctant to declare that the Tories are a Thatcherite party. Trying to suggest that it is but only to the extent that it is also a John Major party.

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Strikingly, it was on Europe that Shapps tried to link Cameron and Thatcher. He compared the EU budget freeze to Thatcher’s EU rebate and declared Cameron’s promise of an EU referendum as an act of Thatcheresqueleadership.

It is testament to Thatcher’s influence that a Tory chairman who who was six years old when she became Tory leader, is still having to define the party in relation to her.

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  • CHRISTOPHER WHITE

    Clearly DC was forced to agree to referendum in response to pressure.

  • kyalami

    Shapps is a focus-group fathead. When she was PM, Thatcher would have classed him as “wet”.

  • Andy

    Lady Thatcher LEFT office well over 20 years ago. That is a generation ago. The world has changed quite radically since. The European Union has developed since then and is in a deep crisis, of its own making. The general populace have a different view to 20+ years ago, or even from 1975. It is time there was a better connection between the political class and the people on Europe.

    • 2trueblue

      But each time politicians of any party get up and talk about the EU they lie and the later lie again so the public have certainly got a different view, and none is the right one. We are always lied to.

      • Andy

        It is sad to have to agree with you. They lied to get us in to the damn thing in the first place, and have repeatedly lied every since. I think every politician just loves the endless meetings, the chance to be a peacock, even if merely in Brussels. But there is a huge disconnect between we the people and the political class. The problem is this wont wash any more.

        The European Union is in huge difficulties. It may very well be that the Euro might prove to be their Nemesis. The destruction it has wrought across Europe is a cause for dismay. And all to chase an impossible dream.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

      You mean the Soviet Union is no more so people are not penned in by the Cold war structures.

      • Andy

        Indeed. But they are penned in by Cold War mentality.

  • Radford_NG

    Thatcher first offended Torys by abandoning Ian Smith…..that’s the good Ian Smith,the spitfire pilot .They should make-up for it by an airlift to Britain of all the elderly white victims whose only help now is ZANE [a charity promoted by the Spectator].

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

      She knew that “Tory” had a plural “Tories”

  • thanksdellingpole

    This guy’s got the kind of face I’d like to punch, no way am I voting for any of these lot in May, I’m voting UKIP!

    • Hookeslaw

      Do you like Milibands face because thats who you will get as PM.
      But with such elegant logic we can see the erudite thought processes of the UKIPer

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

        You are obsessed with Miliband, but he will not get there. You are more likely to get Nick Clegg. It doesn’t really matter who becomes PM anyway, look at how ineffectual Cameron has been……..the world is headed for major upheaval and he still has not battened down the hatches in the financial system and cleaned the Augean Stables……he is on cruise-control

    • Chris Morriss

      He has a horrid weasel-like chav face hasn’t he?

      • 2trueblue

        Who cares what he looks like, he is not impressive and gives one no confidence that he could sort out the issues we are faced with. He came across as very weak today.

    • John Guest

      It is actually rather a disturbing image!

    • martinvickers

      Grant sadly gives off nothing so much as the aura of the second best trainee in a car sales room. There’s a modicum of talent there, to be sure, but only a modicum, and it’s not a talent for anything overly desirable.

      Or, attempting to be a little, but only a little, more constructive, Grant’s problem is his lack of poker face. All pol’s in the modern media age are expected to spin, on all sides and in all parties, especially if things go a bit wrong. Grant, sadly enough, has a ‘tell’ – a kind of hopeless smile as the thing goes pear-shaped – it’s the unmistakable Frank Spencer grin.

      Whereas Balls, for example, for all that he may talk rot, always does so with a fiery and intense belief in his own arguments, regardless. And much as you may hold Balls in contempt, that matters…

      “the most important thing is sincerity. One you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

  • John_Page

    It is testament to Thatcher’s influence that a Tory chairman who who was
    six years old when she became Tory leader, is still having to define
    the party in relation to her.

    No, it’s just a response to media pre-occupation since she died. How many people who will be old enough to vote in 2015 will be too young to remember her as PM?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

      Shapps is six years old ! I can well believe it !

  • Smithersjones2013

    Strikingly, it was on Europe that Shapps tried to link Cameron and
    Thatcher. He compared the EU budget freeze to Thatcher’s EU rebate and
    declared Cameron’s promise of an EU referendum as an act of
    Thatcheresqueleadership.

    Oh dear Shapps once again bolsters the Tories reputation for utter idiocy when it comes to politics.

    Amongst Thatcher’s greatest failures as premier were Maastricht and the ERM and those two issues became major causes of Thatcher and her party’s downfall in due course. I have little doubt the EU (or Cameron’s Walter Mitty style fantasist approach to it) will in large part be responsible for Cameron and his party’s downfall in 2015 as well.

    • Hookeslaw

      The EU budget has not been rejected. The EU parliament want conditions attached. One of the reasons is that the EU cannot run a deficit.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

        or cut spending

    • Andy

      I think Lady Thatcher’s biggest failing was to trust the Continental Europeans. She signed the Single European Act, but she did not mean nor think, and was assured it would not be used as it has. You just cannot reconcile the two radically different visions of Europe, so perhaps it is time we stopped trying and just left. Leave them to their grand delusions. After all that is what they actually want.

      • Hookeslaw

        And its this that Cameron is trying to undo. The EU is too political, but the invention of the Euro means that inevitably the Eurozone will be drawn closer together politically and financially.

        • Andy

          I wouldn’t be too sure if I was you. I think the Euro is likely to destroy the whole rotten thing. Lets hope it doesn’t lead to War.

          • Hookeslaw

            The Eurozone might break up, but I would have thought it would have done before now. It seems to me it will lead to a divide in the EU.
            War? Who is going to invade who?

            • Andy

              Never heard of Civil War ?
              And the Eurozone troubles go from bad to worse. The stupid Euro is destroying their economies. But what do Europhiles care.

              • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

                No he hasn’t. He thinks like Marx that the English would buy platform tickets first……civil war is a distinct possibility, Spain has form here

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

          The EU is “too political” ? Ha ! Ha ! Ha ! That is what Monnet and Salter intended a POLITICAL UNION based on Plato’s Republic with Guardians…….sorry if it never percolated through the Conservative Party…….

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

        Crap. She was a lawyer and could read……it was a sugar coated pill and she liked the sugar

  • http://twitter.com/Shinsei1967 Nick Reid

    Well, you could just as easily argue that it is lazy journalists who keep having to define current politics with references to the recent past.

    So, whilst today Cameron & Milliband keep being asked today how they compare to Thatcher or Blair, in twenty years time whoever is leader of the Tories will be being asked whether they are the new Cameron or Milliband.

    It’s the same with elections. “Will 2015 be a re-run of 1983 or 1974 ?”. Neither, it will be a unique event.

    • Russell

      I think any future leader of the Conservatives would be embarrassed and feel insulted to be asked whether they are the new Cameron or Miliband as both are so poor and insignificant to UK politics.

      • http://twitter.com/Shinsei1967 Nick Reid

        But that’s my point. Any feeble politician in years to come will be asked “Are you a non conviction PR man like Cameron, or a policy geek who couldn’t connect to real people like Milliband ?”

        Neither, he or she will be a feeble politician for entirely their own unique reasons.

        Journalists just can’t help making comparisons with the past. Rather than just writing up the story on its own merits.

        • Hookeslaw

          Reforms of health education and welfare and pensions against entrenched establishment opposition does not paint a picture of a non conviction politician. Setting out to reform the EU and legalising the need for a referendum just pass you by.
          Government policies will result in the loss of 1.2 million public sector jobs.

          Its not just journalist who are lazy.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

            Government simply reclassifies public sector jobs as it did with Further Education Colleges. All smoke and mirrors

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

    It has so much to do with Saatchi & Saatchi and the importation of US Advertising to sell soap-flake politicians. It was Bell that brought this superficiality into British political life and Blair-Mandelson simply copied the technique so we now have Soap opera politics and noone cares any more. One day a hard edge will emerge and a new kind of rough-edge political leader will take power and stay there

    • thanksdellingpole

      Well, that’s Farage isn’t it.

      • martinvickers

        Seriously? Farage is basically a blue David Owen – very right on a few matters, awfully wrong on many, and terribly, terribly convinced of his own messianic quality.

        • 2trueblue

          Beautifully put.

          • martinvickers

            Thanks very much. I’m here all week, try the veal…

        • thanksdellingpole

          So who is right on everything?

          • martinvickers

            Strawman. No-one is right on everything, and no-one sensible claims to be. But I’m afraid I hold the bar a little higher than occasionally right, even if it’s on important issues.

            Time and history proved Owen to be a very mixed blessing indeed, a talented man imprisoned within the shrine of his own self-regard; it’ll do the same for Farage, I’d warrant.

    • telemachus

      “One day a hard edge will emerge and a new kind of rough-edge political
      leader will take power and stay there”

      *

      Yes

      We have seen a taste of this new rough edged leader

      Only 2 days ago he was receiving plaudits here on this blog from a regular
      poster who described him as a thug

      Because of his charisma and economic genius he instils fear and awe in the
      right wing

      And not a little trepidation in his own side who wonder daily the right
      time to depose Miliband for the new era to start

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

        You are joking. I mean a leader that will be steeped in blood. Balls is a typical product of Nottingham High School like Geoff Hoon and Kenneth Clarke capped off with his time art St Pancras College in Oxford. He is a nonentity, complete irrelevance. You are so circumscribed in your provincialism Tel-Boy that you cannot see where things are headed…….WHEN the financial system implodes and Japan collapses – take a look at the JGB market and Tokyo’s budget figures – then it will be State of Emergency time and little boys like Ed Balls will be running to the airport

        • telemachus

          Unlike you I have a boyant faith in our and the world’s future
          I will be here grinning when Balls is presiding over the good times in 2020

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