The Tories' Divisions Are Cultural, Not Ideological ; on Policy, an Opposition Which Writes from the Hip Will Be Kicked in the Backside
Anderson, Bruce, The Independent (London, England)
John Major is right. Any opposition which rushes into policy commitments several years from the general election is volunteering for trouble. Inevitably, the details will not withstand scrutiny. Everything will fall apart.
The party then has two choices. It could try to stick to its position, in which case it would be battered like a boxer on the ropes. Or it could announce that it has thought again. In that case, general mockery would ensue. Every opposition spokesman would be taunted: which of his propositions was next for rethinking? On policy, an opposition which writes from the hip will be kicked in the backside.
Some of David Davis's senior supporters are aware of this. David Willetts has gently pointed out the unwisdom of trying to make tax policy now for the next decade. David Davis is not stupid. He must realise that this will do him damage among thoughtful Tories. Mr Davis is not interested in thoughtful Tories; that is the key to the Tory leadership campaign, and the true divisions. They are not about ideology or policy; they are cultural.
A lot of instinctive Tories are fed up with the direction that modern Britain has taken. Although it might seem easy to dismiss such characters as troglodytes, they have more of a case than their facile critics would concede. It is based on three policy areas: Europe, crime, and immigration. On each, these dissident Tories believe that they were right all along. They know that behind the reassuring propaganda about free trade, the foreigners " and the Foreign Office " were always plotting to create a federal Europe.
They knew that a more liberal treatment of criminals would merely encourage more crime. They predicted that the abolition of the death penalty would result in a great increase in gun crime, and murder. They also predicted that large-scale coloured immigration would change the character of our cities, while creating intractable social problems.
On the basis of the evidence, they are not about to admit that they have been proved wrong. Any intellectually honest liberal ought to concede that the troglodytic Tories did make a realistic assessment of the complexities of change.
David Cameron knows that some of the changes are irreversible. We can fight for Britain's rights in Europe and resist any further federalist encroachments, but we are not going to leave the EU, and we will remain net contributors. …