Coffee House

Who’s united the Tories? Ed Miliband and Nigel Farage

2 October 2013

3:15 PM

2 October 2013

3:15 PM

The Tory party has been at peace with itself this week. Eurosceptic backbenchers have given Nigel Farage a verbal kicking on the fringe, Cabinet ministers have stuck resolutely to the ‘hard- working’ conference script, and even Boris Johnson has behaved himself. Gay marriage, which so divided the leadership from the grassroots, has barely been mentioned, and you’d never know that just a month ago David Cameron lost a Commons vote on Syria.

The new harmonious mood has come about in part because the leadership has moved towards the rest of the party. Tory conference was once decorated with posters extolling the benefits of ‘the big society’. Now, there is a simple Conservative message: ‘Welfare Capped: Immigration Down: Crime down’. Cameron’s own speech was a classically Tory defence of the need for enterprise and profit.

Lynton Crosby has also helped to bring the party together. He is a fierce disciplinarian who is both respected and feared: few wish to fall foul of his text-message temper. He is also close enough to Boris Johnson to ensure his good behaviour. When I asked a No. 10 source why the mayor had been so unusually helpful to Cameron at this conference, he replied, ‘It’s the Lynton effect.’

But the person doing the most to promote Tory unity is Ed Miliband. The Labour leader’s conference speech has reminded the Tory tribe of how high the stakes will be at the next election. The party has grasped that if Miliband becomes Prime Minister, he’ll unpick the Thatcherite consensus. A win for him would reverse many of the victories that the right in Britain holds most dear.

For the past three years, Conservatives have often talked as if the alternative to the current coalition is a radical, right-wing Tory government. Miliband has now delivered a reminder that, in reality, the alternative is a left-wing government. Suddenly, the com- promises that Cameron has made in coalition do not seem so bad.


Tory strategists talk of a ‘carrot and stick’ approach to dealing with the threat of Ukip on their right. The carrot is more robust Tory policies on welfare, immigration and human rights. The stick is the prospect of Ed Mili- band as Prime Minister.

Until this conference season, Miliband was ridiculed more than he was feared. Now,though, those on the Eurosceptic right of the Tory party feel more confident attacking Ukip for easing Miliband’s way to Downing Street. It was telling that Nigel Farage’s visit to the conference fringe was not the triumphant affair that the Tory leadership had feared. Instead, Farage was harangued by Bill Cash for ‘not acting in the national interest’ and for making it less likely that there would be a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union.

When one cabinet minister was told about the barracking of Farage, he struggled to believe it. At first, he assumed the tar- get of the Eurosceptics’ ire had been Cameron, not Farage. When it finally dawned on him what had happened, he expressed great relief. He said he had been worried that the Ukip leader would emerged from Man- chester as the true leader of the Conservative Eurosceptics. Instead, by picking a fight with them, Farage has made life easier for Cameron.

But the Tory party will still have to fight on multiple fronts at the next election, protecting its right flank from Ukip while trying to win votes off Labour. The only consolation is that some policies appeal to both sets of voters. For instance, the new Tory plan to make the long-term unemployed work for their benefits will go down well with Ukip voters — according to Lord Ashcroft’s latest poll, 20 per cent of such voters in Labour- Tory marginals think that cutting welfare dependency is one of the top three issues facing the country. At the same time, the policy commands support from more than two-thirds of the public. It is no coincidence that it was the brainchild of Osborne’s new adviser Neil O’Brien, whose political mis- sion is to fashion a grittier Toryism that can win votes in the cities of the north.

This is one of the reasons why the Tory leadership is so desperate to avoid mention- ing Ukip by name. They want to avoid the perception that they have been forced into adopting these policies by the rise of Farage. As one of Cameron’s oldest friends in poli- tics says, ‘The perception we’re pandering to Ukip is so dangerous because it makes these promises look inauthentic.’

The Cameroons are also acutely aware that they have to show that they remain inter- ested in the whole gamut of political issues. This is why the announcement that money would be provided for doctors’ surgeries to stay open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week has been given such prominence. The move is meant to show that Cameron and company still represent a new kind of Tory- ism, passionately committed to the health service.

Cameron has had an odd relationship with his party from the start. He won the leadership in 2005 on the transactional plat- form of ‘change to win’. The party never loved him, but believed that he could turn the political tide after three successive election defeats. When Cameron failed to deliver either a majority or the referendum on Europe he had seemed to promise, the relationship soured.

What Miliband has done by sharpening the political dividing lines is to excite both sides of the divide. He has energised the base of the Tory party in a way that Cameron in coalition has so far failed to do. But his own supporters on the newly reunited left of British politics are also more determined than ever. Given that Miliband could win in 2015 with only 35 per cent of the vote, that is no small consideration. The next election is already looking like a clear-cut ideological fight.

This is James Forsyth’s politics column from this week’s Spectator, available in print and online from tomorrow. Click here to subscribe.

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Show comments
  • Nick

    For the upcoming General election….Vote Labour,we lose.Vote Tory,we lose.Vote LibDem,we lose.
    So I’ll vote for UKIP.
    I used to only dread Labour or the LibDems winning the GE but the Tories are now just as bad.So what difference does it make which of those aforementioned parties win?…None.
    They all love mass immigration.They all bow and scrape to muslims like they’re something special.And they only care about their political careers.
    So having voted Tory in the past,I’m now not so scared of Labour winning as the Tories will do no better than them if they win the GE.

  • Colonel Mustard

    I always thought the phrase “carrot and stick” referred to promising something with no certainty of it being delivered. Derived from those old cartoons where a carrot was dangled from a stick in front of a donkey or horse pulling a cart. And not to mean a combination of reward and punishment.

    By the “old” meaning Cameron’s EU pledges are “carrot and stick”.

    This gentleman disagrees though:-

  • George_Arseborne

    Was he depressed. What a flat speech?

  • Agrippina

    UKIP will sort out the issues the electorate care about and no-one believes the lies of the 3 main parties. Cameron offered a referendum re:EU pre-2010 election. He could get on with dealing with the EU now, but he does nothing and in January 2014 when the romanians & bulgarians pour in, he doesn’t stand a chance of re-election.

    UKIP for a change, the others have let us down badly for the past 50yrs.

    • HookesLaw

      The referendum was on Lisbon if it had not been ratified by the election.
      It was ratified. There was no referendum pledge in 2010 manifesto.
      We have a pledge for one in 2017.

      You are plain ignorant. i suspect the Romanians will end up in Italy and Germany.
      The important issue is motivating our own unemployed to take up jobs.

    • milliboot

      The way ukip is losing their elected representatives they soon wont have anybody left to “sort out ” anything !

      • Wessex Man

        Hur, hur, hur, what a joker you’ll have to come up with better than that in 2014 when UKip clean up in the Euro elections!

  • albertcooper

    I just hope that UKIP will give the self serving political establishment a bloody nose at the next general election! Self satisfaction,vote catching hypocrites,who will do anything to stay in power,What is best for our country should be the credo! but no , all we hear is weasal words ,economical with the truth,with the desire of the average person to belive in the system ! but betrayed on a daily basis.

  • Two Bob

    Immigration down? Number of immigrants rising every single week.

  • allymax bruce

    The malicious political slurring has to stop; Michael Heseltine, (on today’s Daily Politics), called UKIP racist; thus, by default, calling all/everybody that is a member/voter/supporter of UKIP, racist. This is crazy, but it’s become a malicious way to slur your political/debating opponent. The fact UKIP are not racist, but have political beliefs, that Heseltine call racist, actually makes Heseltine racist himself; for aligning his slur/argument along racist lines; not political lines!

    Moreover, the press has got severely & maliciously out of decent control/order. Daily Mail slurring Ralph Miliband as a Marxist; so what if Ed’s Dad was a Marxist; it’s Ed that’s got to give his political credentials to the electorate, not his Dad! It doesn’t matter if Ed’s Dad was a Marxist; his Dad is not standing for political election. If Ed’s Dad was a politician, then it would matter; we, the electorate, would need to know his political beliefs, because it would determine how he would run our country. But, Ed’s Dad is not running for political office! The Daily Mail, just like The Times, (Farage pictured to look like Hitler), are nothing more than the immoral agents of ‘moralising the a-moral’; they are the lowest-of-low themselves, but they deem it their right to slander anyone they want. I’ve been saying this for ages now, the Press, journos, even tv political coverage, BBC Newsnight, daily Politics, Channel 4 news, STV Scotland tonight; it’s all indecent, malicious slurring, couched in rude and exacerbating haranguing interview ‘techniques’; it’s so irritating when the political tv host, asks a guest a question, then immediately interrupts their answer.

    Just one last moan; when David Cameron says he wants a ‘Classless society’, but then Michael Heseltine, in the same hour, calls UKIP people racist, then Heseltine has abrogated the fact his class, has determined his beliefs are more credible than those he slurs. Not a ‘classless society’ manner! Michael Heseltine, and all his Blairite gossip-gathering journo-ilk malice-mongers, need to realise we’re sick of it. Gonnae no’ dae that !

    • Wessex Man

      This will never do allymax, I find myself in agreement more and more often, Heseltine is one part of the reason that members are leaving the Tory Party and joining UKip in droves!

      Heseltine is too far up his **** to realise that they will never go back to a party with him in it. That doesn’t make them racists it makes him a blinkered fool!

      • Kennybhoy

        Wessex Man wrote:

        “… members are leaving the Tory Party and joining UKip in droves!”

        Aye but it’s no’ about party members its about the electorate.

        • Wessex Man

          Funny that, you mean Ukip members won’t be allowed a vote, Iain Dale asking EX- LABOUR voters in Mancherter yesterday and finding nearly all of them intending to vote Ukip explains Hooky’s and your? desperate attempts to slur UKip at every opportunity, we now have more members than the fast disappearing Lib/Dums and are polling better than them. We are not going away, Cleggy is!

      • milliboot

        I dont think the 80 + year old Michael Heseltine features much in peoples thoughts, what a strange person you must be !

        • Wessex Man

          Thank you, so kind, when papers like the admittedly fading Independent and Guardian fete the old blusterer and the Tory Party try to big up his comments you’ve got to sit up and notice their joint propaganda against my Party UKip!

          I suggest that you sit up and check out the usual suspects on shows like the Politics Show for the last three days, unless of course you are part of the rump Tory Party flaying left, right and centre to try and stay in power.

          The 80+ f*** was allowed to peddle his usual fictional slant on life again and this time it was my party he attacked and I responded.

          He’s dominated Tory Politics for thirty years and in that time it’s declined to a third of it’s membership, which says everything about him!

          I suggest you keep up you silly person.

    • HookesLaw

      I am happy to use the word Marxist as a slur but the Mail article was condemning Miliband Snr for his remarks attacking Britain and British society.

      UKIP activists and people who speak out for them are self evident racists. I was very sad when I realised this but their own words and actions condemn them. There was a disgusting remark on these pages only yesterday.
      They are a party with United Kingdom in their name and out of scores of faces could not put one black one on the front of their leaflet. They know their target audience.

      • Smithersjones2013

        There was a disgusting remark

        The most disgusting remark I have ever seen on these pages is the word ‘Hookeslaw’. It epitomises everything that is vile and unworthy in our establishment political underclasses. Its a pity that it has not been added to the Disqus censorship trap yet. One can only hope it will soon………

        • HookesLaw

          Ya boo sucks to you.
          You are an ignorant hysterical loon so I do not expect any sense from you. A racist remark is just that and if you support it then you are disgusting.

      • stickytape

        What a vile person you are, that is one of the worst posts I’ve ever seen. I think Labour are a party of bigots, because they disagree with me, and my dictionary describes a bigot as a person who is intolerant of any ideas other than their own.
        Prove me wrong.

        • HookesLaw

          If I could make sense out of what you say I would.
          I’m a conservative, a Tory. I despise socialists because they have regularly destroyed British society and the British economy. I do not trust them an inch.
          History proves me right.

          I despise people who attack and undermine the Tory Party and make it easier for Labour to get back into power.

          UKIP is full of racist bigots. Charged with representing the UK they could not bring themselves to put one black face on the front of their leaflet. people like Bloom are chhered on by the usual suspect and they now despise Farage for sacking him. Soon Farage will be too left wing for the nutjobs.

          • Wessex Man

            You are a Tory racist, ready to smear everybody who may cause you a problem. How do I know this, I was once a Tory myself the final straw for me was being told to go out canvassing and smear the Lib/Dem opponent in 2005. It’s just taken a while longer for other people to see through people like you and your like.

            • JAMES TINTO


          • stickytape

            You throw the bigot word around like confetti, you accuse everyone of bigotry, without realising you are a bigot yourself. You are full of your own self importance and you dislike anything that you disagree with……which is pretty much the definition of bigotry.
            People like you give Conservatives a bad name, you disgust me.

          • Nick

            ‘UKIP is full of racist bigots’.
            OOHHHHHH NOOOOO IT’S NOT!!….;-)

          • Hexhamgeezer

            UKIP are racist for forgetting some tick-box tokenism?

            There’s the essence of the milquetoast camerloon. Evidence free spittle flecked desperation. You’re a Tory? Funny how so few Tories realised that gay ‘marriage’ was a central tenet until the likes of you and dave unveiled it – or support for the euro, or unrestricted immigration, or guaranteed house deposits,

            Full of racist bigots? Gordon Brown your Hero of Lisbon and ideological cousin would back you up on that one.

            They say a man is judged by the company he keeps and you guys certainly have some strange bedfellows. Talking of which, you ready for another session with uncle nick?

    • albertcooper

      Mr Heseltine ! an assasin ! and always has been,in fact a hasbeen

    • Kennybhoy

      Jesus wept! Some of this actually made sense.

      • allymax bruce

        Kenny, it’s not my fault if yoos lot at Holyrood cannae keep up wi’ me; yoo-lot don’t know the half of it!
        I’ve decided not to partake in any ‘epistles’; everything is going swimmingly. Thus, I’m waiting for after the Referendum next year to disclose my series of essays. It’s what I been trying to tell everybody for the last 5 years, but nobody would believe me.

  • Smithersjones2013

    This conference was always going to be uninspiring and dull. That everyone is getting so excited about Miliband’s petty energy freeze that never will be (because energy companies will just front load and backload price rises) demonstrates how all three conferences were idea free zones.

    There again being the penultimate conferences before the election were they ever likely to be any different. next years conferences will show the real faces of the establishment parties and not just in what they say but also in what they are loathe to talk about because it will be what they omit that will relate to the bad news that is coming the electorate’s way and bad news there must be for George to me his commitment to return to surplus (particularly without tax rises either)..

  • Smithersjones2013

    Tory strategists talk of a ‘carrot and stick’ approach to dealing with
    the threat of Ukip on their right. The carrot is more robust Tory
    policies on welfare, immigration and human rights. The stick is the
    prospect of Ed Mili- band as Prime Minister.

    When are these numbskulls in the Tory party going to learn that treating voters with arrogant contempt will win them nothing. Anyone who knows the origin of the phrase ‘carrot and stick’ knows that it was used to describe the method that donkey herders sometimes adopted to bend more stubborn donkeys to their will. So now the Tories think voters who sympathise with UKIP are donkeys? Priceless….

    Perhaps if the Tories spent more time worrying about their obnoxious, outdated and toxic attitudes and less about manipulating others they might find they are more successful. Reading that once popular book ‘How To Win Friends And Influence People’ might be a (albeit rather basic ~ back to basics anyone?) worthwhile first step.

    • Tony_E

      The question should be : What difference would UKIP make to this country in the next generation if they were to get MPs elected in 2015 (and possibly beyond).

      I think i know the answer. Deep down, I think you do too.

      For UKIP to truly flourish in UK politics, you need another party, one in government, to do a lot of the heavy lifting first. Removing the client state is not something that can be done from opposition. While there is a client state, there will always be an inbuilt leftist/statist majority. (Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas). I don’t think you truly appreciate how far the 13 years of Labour reshaped the electorate.

      UKIP’s ideas might be sound, Farage might be a very popular man, and I might find him personally credible and likable, but UKIP will never find office until the current post war conscensus is totally broken down, both in he minds of the political classes and the population and at the treasury. Ed Miliband is proving by his popularity that the Post War conscensus (what can you give me with someone else’s money?) is still growing stronger, not weakening.

      That is the battle that all of us on the right of politics must pursue: the growth of self reliance and individual responsibility.

      • Smithersjones2013

        Ed Miliband is proving by his popularity that the Post War conscensus
        (what can you give me with someone else’s money?) is still growing
        stronger, not weakening.

        More nonsense. For the first time at this next election we might well realistically see the establishment parties polling less than 50% of the total electorate (they polled a total of only 58% at the last election). If that happens, for the first time the three establishment parties will arguably not have a true collective mandate in Parliament.The Post War Consensus as you call it will have been shattered!

        The point is the post war consensus has been struggling to survive since the turn of the century.

        For example an election result of Con 34% Lab 37% LD 12% on a 60% turnout (hardly an unlikely possibility) would give the three establishment parties approximately 49.9% of the total electorate’s vote. The post war consensus in such circumstances would be shattered.

        PS And the last time the Government and HM Opposition represented 50% of the electorate (Coalition disregarded) was prior to the 2001 election.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          I think you make a solid point there.

          If in 2015 the results come in:

          Lib —8%
          Lab -35%
          Con -30%

          Total 73% of a 60% turnout, that means the 3 main parties will have drawn only 44% of the electorate. That’s why you’ll likely see a Lab-Con coalition (of the doomed).

        • Tony_E

          Miliband should be unelectable, he’s more Foot than Kinnock – but he is turning in high thirties in the polls. The Conservatives are unlikely poll more than 35%.

          Labour at the GE, are likely to poll around 40%, giving them a large majority. If the Lib Dems stay in coalition to the end I suspect that the hatred of the left vote will leave them decimated, they were already in decline in 2010.

          And the consensus generally shared by that Labour voting 40% (of whatever turnout) is that wealth must be redistributed in order of need, that the welfare state is sacrasanct and cannot be touched, that the state should be enabler and mother.

          Belief in free markets has taken a dramatic knock since 2008 – New Labour’s (rather fake) foray into ‘free market’ politics is at an end. People want government to interfere in pricing. It’s popular. Potentially disastrous, but popular. It’s all the banks fault, nobody accepts that it was themselves who lived too well on borrowed money. Class and envy are back on the agenda. The Conservatives couldn’t win against Brown, because the population are largely socialist / Social Democrat in belief, and they are in the employ/on the teat of the state to a greater or lesser degree.

          I know you are desperate for change, so am I – but it isn’t coming any time soon. And UKIP is largely an irrelevence. The real truth is that Labour is the default party of the modern British People. The low turnout in some places is simply now a recognition the seat is safe, a product of strong regional voting patterns in a FPTP system. (Which Labour don’t want to change, and can’t be changed without them).

          Neither of us like it – but that’s how it is.

          • Kennybhoy

            Sweet reason.

            • Last Man Standing

              if 35% of the population suck off the teat of the state they will always vote for the biggest teat on offer. That is presently Milliband, with Cameron playing the same game however.

              UK politics at the moment is ALL about personal aggrandisement of politicians. They will say and do anything to achieve this. All that Milliband and Cameron have said over the last weeks is complete deceit. I think we all know that.

        • Abhay

          Great point.

          The three parties are converging in the direction of statism. Witness the Tory policies of ‘funding for lending’, support for home-buyers by way of under-writing lenders’ risk to 15% of exposure and now Boris’s suggestion for further tax-breaks for home-buyers.

          Meanwhile, nobody is willing to talk about how savers are being ripped off by near-zero base rate banking policy, effective transfer of wealth from saver to speculator.

      • HookesLaw

        UKIP do not have any sound ideas. Its central policy is a deceit.

        • Smithersjones2013

          Then why did your party in coalition copy one of their ideas (albeit diluting it). It had been UKIP policy since 2006 to increase the income tax allowance to in excess of £10,000.

          • HookesLaw

            The party did that be reducing allowances for higher rate payers.
            The Conservative Party have long campaigned on a policy of lower taxes. When they are affordable.

            UKIPs policy in 2010 was a flat tax but it could not decide on the rate (25% OR 31%) OR IF TO HAVE 2 RA

            • Wessex Man

              The Tory Party promise much in their manifestos but they are now read as works of fiction. Most people in this country now regard them as blockbuster to rival John Grisham, get to page two and give up!

        • Two Bob

          Yes Mr Hesaltine….(!)

      • Kennybhoy

        Tony_E wrote:

        “I don’t think you truly appreciate how far the 13 years of Labour reshaped the electorate.”

        Those thirteen years merely finalized a process that has been going on for much longer. They reshaped the institutions far more than the electorate.

      • Hexhamgeezer

        Agree with your last point.

        However ,imperfect UKIP are they are by far the best current political option and possibly (hopefully) the earliest incarnation of a Long March roll-back of the daveednick supra-national consensus and internal left-statist dirigism (apologies for that gobfull!).

        In other words, vote UKIP to establish base-camp.

      • milliboot

        Lets be honest, ukip have no MP`s in 17 months time at the election ,its unlikely they would get more than one or two. The quality of candidates simply isnt there, its all very their voters banging on about ordinary people and common sense candidates, but they wont last 5 minutes in parliament its as simple as that.

  • Ricky Strong

    “Immigration Down”

    I’m banging my head on this here table, the EU controls our boarders, not us.

    • HookesLaw

      If we were not in the EU and wanted access to theoir single market we would still have to abide by single market rules. This in cluded free movement of Labour. Norway is not in the EU but has free movement of Labour between it and the EU.
      This is what a ‘trade’ agree,ment means. Otherwise we would be the only country in Europe (apart from the vatican?) which does not have free movement of labour.
      Grow up.

      in 2010 the ONS said, “net migration to our country from EU nationals was just 27,000”
      The other thing to note is that in 2009 and 2010 – for the first time since 1994 – more British citizens returned to the UK from other EU countries than left to move to other EU states.

      Immigration figures include Britons returning and emigration figures include EU citizens returning.
      The UK is the fifth biggest sender of migrants to other EU countries, with about 1.4 million British people living in other EU countries in 2010. The four biggest senders of migrants to other EU countries are Romania (2.2m), Italy (2m), Poland (1.9m) and Germany (1.7m).

      • Wessex Man

        as usual Hooky you are being economical with the facts, think of your country for once man!

        • Denis_Cooper

          He is, it’s just that he sees “Europe” as his country.

          • HookesLaw

            No I don’t and to pretend so is ignorant.
            The EU exists and we have to have a relationship with it.
            Being out of the EU (which may be preferable) is in fact very little different from being in it.

            Again let me repeat what I have said before – I would not be particularly bothered if we were out of the EU – I just realise that it would not make much difference.
            I certainly think it is a marginal issue when compared to having Ed Miliband as PM.

            We are not in the Euro and will not be under a conservative govt and the EU is going to need a new treaty to cope with fiscal integration. There lies the basis of our new agreement with the EU and our referendum in 2017

        • HookesLaw

          Do not insult me with your fake patriotism.
          I am not being the least economical with the truth.
          Farage is.

          • Wessex Man

            There’s nothing Fake about my patriotism, you belong to a party that if it’s leader said the Moon was purple would come on here and argue that it was.

            I’ll take my chances with Farage rather than Call me Dave, who will even in the unlikely event is elected in 2015 will wiggle his way out of his promised referendum.

            He, you and the entire rump of what was a poltical force to be reckoned with are now just a laughing stock and the quicker you join the Lib/Dums the better.

          • Colonel Mustard

            “fake patriotism”? What an insulting premise. As insulting as referring to EU haters as “Little Englanders” – as though Britain was not a global trading nation and mighty Empire centuries before the EU was even thought of. England didn’t need your petty bureaucratic EU with its freedom smothering Napoleonic code and the likes of the oily Heseltine and waste of space Maude for that.

      • Smithersjones2013

        If we were not in the EU and wanted access to theoir single market we would still have to abide by single market rules. This in cluded free movement of Labour. Norway is not in the EU but has free movement of Labour between it and the EU.

        More lies. Switzerland has imposed immigration quotas on all EU nations this year. The EU was ‘disappointed’……..

        • HookesLaw

          The fact is that is what we would have to sign up to.

          Life outside the EU would be little different from life outside it. The EU will not go away and without us in it it will behave how it likes in relation to us.

          About 20 – 25% of the Swiss population ois from abroad.

          There are a nuumber of Swiss / EU treaties. A large share of EU law applicable to Switzerland. The treaties are:
          Free movement of people
          Air traffic
          Road traffic
          Technical trade barriers
          Public procurement
          Security and asylum/Schengen membership
          Cooperation in fraud pursuits
          Agriculture, environment,media, education, care of the elderly, statistics and services.

          In December 2012, the EU declared that there will be no further treaties on single market issues unless Switzerland and EU agree on a new legal framework similar to the EEA that, among others, would bind Switzerland more closely to the evolving EU legislation.

          The Swiss have rather queered our pitch.
          I repeat – Farage’s main objective is a crude deceit.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Boarders being the operative word and Cameron is doing nothing to repel them.

      Meanwhile our borders are not ours to control.

      • Ricky Strong

        The other issues we face are people entering this country illegally from outside the EU then using the ECHR to circumvent our own laws. It just seems that no matter what issue you chose to discuss the problem or solution can be found with our membership of the EU.

  • Austin Barry

    On immigration, I think Dave is hoping that the advance of the Bulgarian and Romanian armies beginning on 1 January 2014 will be somehow overlooked by the electorate.

    It won’t.

  • Hello

    One of the most fascinating things from today is the resurgence of “Tory” rather than “Conservative”. And now you’re saying “Toryism”. Fascinating.

    • Dan Grover

      Who is “you”, in this instance? I’ve been reading the Spectator for a number of years, and the Coffeehouse even longer – and I always remember the two being used largely interchangeably.

      • Hello

        Yes, it’s broadly used interchangeably, and maybe I’m wrong but I’ve always thought that Forsyth had a preference (statistically) for using “Conservative”, and he is well connected at the top of the party. “Toryism” isn’t something you see written very often. Then there was also what I’m quite sure was a pointed reference to “Tory” in Cameron’s speech today.

        It makes sense. In many ways it’s a much more malleable brand because it’s almost forgotten. At the same time, Ukippers are supposed to long for the past, so it’s a better brand there too. Then Farage always like to portray himself as a true “conservative”, so it gives better distance from that.

        People know what “Conservative” ideology is — it’s Thatcherism taken to an extreme, but what “Tory” ideology?

        • Smithersjones2013

          I think you might find many who oppose the Conservative Party use the word Tory as an epithet. It has derogatory connotations to many whereas conservative is a generic description of a political outlook and therefore harder to make into a negative that sticks.

          • HookesLaw

            We don’t need a history lesson. I am a tory and happy to be a tory; I use socialist in a derogatory way.

            A great many communists are ‘conservative’ whilst some would call themselves ‘liberal’. They are all socialists.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              We conservatives use socialist in a derogatory way, when speaking of you socialist Cameroons.

              • HookesLaw

                Anyone who is not an Aryan with a white sheet over his head is a socialist to you.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …and it’s your type of diseased thinking that will have your guy Dave’s socialist head mounted on a spike in 19 months time.

                • Smithersjones2013

                  See nothing but poison. No wonder Cameron thinks his supporters are toxic.

            • Smithersjones2013

              That you are a Tory has much to do with its negative connotations no doubt. Whenever someone says or writes ‘Nasty Party’ your name comes to mind………

          • Hello

            Tory had negative connotations from its inception. It has gone in and out of fashion for centuries. What “Tory” symbolises is so far from modern conservatism that it is a perfect rebrand vehicle for modern conservatism, to convince people of change, to adjust it for today would be a complete reinvention, even something entirely new.

  • rtj1211

    The ‘Thatcherite Concensus’ is an interesting concept. It is amenable to all kinds of interpretation.

    Let’s take privatisation: it is now apparent that it’s OK for foreign nationalised companies to bid for ‘privatised’ rail franchises. SNCF, the French State-owned railway owns 55% of Eurostar, which is thinking of bidding for East Coast Mainline, the jewel in the UK crown. So the Tories believe in selling off UK assets to foreign states. If that isn’t a full toss for Ed Milband to hit to the boundary, what is??!!

    Let’s take how you handle a recession. David Cameron’s approach has been to prioritise keeping people in work, even part time wherever possible, over long-term skills loss. The 1980s recession wiped out whole industries because of Thatcherite policies. I don’t think Mr Cameron is part of a Thatcherite consensus, more a 21st century concensus that Labour agrees with too on that one.

    I for one don’t want a ‘Thatcherite concensus’ other than over concepts like balancing the books. I don’t want civil war destroying yet more industry, I don’t want England trying things out on Scotland, I don’t want the creation of megalomaniacal prime ministers and I don’t want us fawning to the Americans like negro slaves. I don’t want us making out we’re still an imperial power and I don’t want us treating colleagues with contempt due to excessive whisky consumption.

    I do want us to build British owned businesses and to retain control over our new energy sources. I do want us to get rid of private cartels in energy, telecommunications and banking. I do want us to produce our food staples at home or, at the very least, have a balanced budget for food imports/exports. Having to beg Vladimir Putin to sell us grain sometime in the future isn’t a very sensible strategy to become Great again. I”m sure BP will attest to the fact that doing business with Russia is not without its surprises, challenges and excitements…..

    I did a consultancy project for AstraZeneca 13 years ago and I saw first hand how internal bickering allied to fear of fighting in the big bad worlds of Pfizer, GSK and the like was holding the company back.

    Internal co-ordination is the prelude to global competition was my conclusion at the time.

    The same holds true for Britain today.

    • Dan Grover

      In what way is a tender to run a train service an “asset”? The railway infrastructure and lines remain nationalised. All that is private is the ability to run a train on them. I’m primarily concerned with the best company doing that, be it by service, price or both, whilst paying their franchise fees. If they happen to be French and owned by the French government rather than First Great Western, East Midlands, Virgin etc, I won’t lose any sleep.

      • Wessex Man

        nor me after two returns to London with First Great Western, enough to turn you off for life!

    • HookesLaw

      I am more than happy for UK companies to buy overseas assets.
      Inward and outward investment varies. 2000 was a record year for acquisitions and investments – £156 billion; in 2012 it was £48 billion. In 2012 inward investment was 39 billion.
      The UK had a net liability position of £141.6 billion at the end of 2012. This also varies, it had a net asset position of 11 billion in 2011.
      (Pink Book)
      Vodaphone selling its American arm may affect this fiigure and then when it spends its money it will affect it again.

      In so far that any industries were wiped out under Thatcher they were lost because of gross mismanagement before she came to power. Inward investment in the car industry transformed it under Thatcher and such closures as there were were predominantly due to consolidation across the industry.
      BL (latterly Rover) was a disaster of Labour’s making.

  • Keith D

    It wont be enough.
    If the Tories want to landslide the next election heres a couple of tips.

    Immigration down? Yes,but cut off the immigration of our enemies and make our country less attractive to those who are here already.

    Calling our enemies by their name instead of hiding behind falsehoods that have long since been exposed.

    Benefits capped at 2 kids.
    Remind the British working family how Labour betrayed them for 13 years in terms of housing,jobs and marginalisation in favour of Islam.It wont be hard because its all true,so just go for it.
    Deal with the EU question.

    Its not rocket science,give us a reason to trust you.Give us a reason to hope we British mean something to the Tories.

    Just show a bit of courage.

    • Hellosnackbar

      That’s a statement of sagacity!
      Political correctness is the cause of sophistry within modern politics.
      Norman Tebbitt needs to voice his common sense more often and free television satire needs a revival!