This Lady's Not For Ignoring

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More plagiarism than a Gerald Posner column

A few years ago, I suggested, with a healthy dollop of skepticism, that conservatives in this country might look to their Tory counterparts in the U.K. for an education in how one modernizes a political party. The more David Cameron speaks, though, the less convinced one becomes that his vacuous incantations about the need for "change" amount to the proper prescription for what ails Britain, much less this country. To be considered a loyal Republican, a true conservative, presidential material, one must demand that Ronald Reagan (peace be upon him) wasn't just a great president, but that he was perhaps the greatest American since Audie Murphy. And while Lady Thatcher is deeply admired by Conservative Party members and Tory grandees, the "Thatcher years"—invoked by every two-bit punk musician, every fool in bondage pants that ever wandered onstage during a Red Wedge concert, when asked what motivated their carefully crafted angst—haven't undergone the sort of revisionism that the Reagan administration has enjoyed. 

So while Cameron told an interviewer in 2008 that he would "be as radical a social reformer as Mrs Thatcher was an economic reformer," as he unveiled a bust of the Iron Lady at the "rather new, open-plan, modern" Conservative headquarters, calling her the "greatest peacetime prime minister" in British history, he has been careful to distance himself from the "nasty party" that ran Britain in the 1980s. And it enrages members of the Conservative old guard, the Thatcher partisans who fought—and temporarily buried—the previous generation's Tory "wets," to read in The Guardian that the new leader, who claims to be a Smiths fan and hired former Obama adviser Anita "Mao is my favorite philosopher" Dunn, has "buried the Conservative party's Thatcherite past [and]…promised to steer clear of a confrontational '1980s-style approach' in cutting public spending."

And now, with his lead over incumbent Gordon Brown shrinking, Cameron is again assuring voters that there will be no battles with flying pickets, no wars with Argentinian despots, and no thundering denunciations of socialism during Prime Minister's Questions.

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, the Conservative leader explicitly turns his back on the more "divisive" policies associated with Baroness Thatcher's government in the 1980s.

Instead he will use the unveiling of the Tory manifesto on Tuesday to urge the country to "join together, act decisively and move forward with optimism" to defeat Britain's economic, social and political problems.

Optimism, change, and more money for the health services. A vaguely familiar whiff to that strategy. So I recant my half-hearted advice to conservatives in this country. There is, after all, no sense in Republicans learning from the New Conservatives when the New Conservatives are stealing all their tricks from the Obama campaign.

NEXT: High Fructose Corn Syrup To Be Illegal in New York?

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  1. Cameron was, is and always will be a statist squish that makes John Major look like Winston Churchill, an empty suit filled with the day’s Fleet Street editorial positions. If this is the best the Tories can do, they deserve to get their asses kicked by Labour.

    1. Yeah, dude. I saw a few minutes of him giving a speech on one of the c-spans. He had all of Obama’s vacuity but none of his charm. He would boldly read these empty statements and the audience would give Pavlovian applause (reminded me of ’08 campaign). Does his platform have anything attractive to the libertarian-minded? Is it only that Labour is worse?

      And that campaign photo of him where he’s so photoshopped that he looks like a 3d video game character says that he will cut the deficit, not the NHS. Just like I’m gonna get in shape by continuing my current diet and exercise habits.

    2. No, they won’t get their asses kicked by Labour. They’ll get their asses kicked by the UKIP and the BNP, which is where disgusted Tory and Labour voters have been defecting to.

      1. You’re probably right, StE, and it disgusts me the BNP will be the beneficiary of the Tories’ craven positions. When the sane shun the issues, the insane will pick them up.

        1. UKIP pick up disaffected Tory voters, the BNP pick up disaffected Labour voters. BNP has almost no presence in Tory areas.

      2. Works for me!

    3. The UK doesn’t have a conservative party, they have a centre-right branch of Labour (the Tories) and a far-right branch of Labour (the BNP). Shit, even their Liberals had to merge with Social Democrats to survive as a party.

  2. This is enough to make me root for Gordon Brown.

  3. There is, after all, no sense in Republicans learning from the New Conservatives when the New Conservatives are stealing all their tricks from the Obama campaign.

    I thought the trick of Obama’s campaign was to say nothing solid, keep the message consigned to platitudes and let the opposing party hang themselves on their record.

    In fact I am pretty sure the conservatives in this county are following that very strategy.

  4. Instead he [David Cameron] will use the unveiling of the Tory manifesto on Tuesday to urge the country to “join together, act decisively and move forward with optimism” to defeat Britain’s economic, social and political problems.

    Seems clear to me that it really does not matter what their inclinations or desires, the British people only have two options when it comes to their political leaders: Vanilla and Plain Vanilla. At least with the US, you have the spectacle of Democrats seeing phantom racists everywhere and Republicans deluding themselves into believing they are the party of small government…

    1. Republicans deluding themselves into believing they are the party of small government…

      John responds in…

      3

      2

      1

    2. Hey, Great Britain has UKIP, after all. Nigel Farage is always good for a larf; a master of banter, he is.

  5. “I suggested… conservatives in this country might look to their Tory counterparts in the U.K. for an education in how one modernizes a political party.”

    Why, Michael, I had no idea you were such a boob.

    To that end, may I fondle you?

    1. Moynihan only lets Nick fondle him.

  6. The Tories have been further to the left of most American democrats on most issues for some time – when you are as far down the big government nanny state rabbit hole as Enguulund the Tories have to talk this way to get elected or have a chance to get elected.

  7. With respect to the “more money for health services”, I’d suggest Americans get used to it.

    Now that you are on track for a single payer system, (just give it time) no politician will dare suggest anything but spending more on medical care. You’ve just added another ‘third rail’ to US politics (or is that a fourth or fifth or sixth ‘rail’?)

    Time to start reading up on Sovereign Debt Defaults.
    http://www.voxeu.eu/index.php?q=node/1067

  8. Yeah buddy, you hit that nail square on the head! Wow.

    Lou
    http://www.whos-watching.es.tc

  9. Let’s remember that “Lady Thatcher” never won the support of a majority of UK voters, and that all her ground-breaking legislation was “rammed through” in banana republic fashion, as Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia would have it.

    1. all her ground-breaking legislation was “rammed through” in banana republic fashion

      Unh, excuse me.

      Just how the hell is the exercise of a parliamentary majority in a Westminister-style parliament “ramming something through in banana-republic fashion?”

    2. You! Yeah, you! I gotta bone to pick with you buddy!

    3. The issue with the Thatcher government wasn’t ideology, it was competence. While talking the talk on limited government they didn’t walk the walk and in fact increased government spending using tax income from the newly opened North Sea oil fields. Predictably, dumping that amount of cash into the economy caused mass inflation, unemployment and destruction of manufacturing industry on an unprecedented scale.

      Since then the left have portrayed Thatcher’s philosophy of cost cutting as being responsible for unemployment, which is why Cameron doesn’t promote that view now, but if you look at the policies (anti-bail out etc.) the Tories are actually in the right place, they just don’t seem to want to argue their corner. I think it’s a mistake, but they are going up against a lot of received wisdom and they obviously think it’s not a fight they can win until they’re in government.

  10. “…promised to steer clear of a confrontational ‘1980s-style approach’ in cutting public spending.”

    In other words the Tories have no intention of cutting spending. What use is representative democracy if the opposition does not argue for their own agenda?

  11. Pretty much the only person in British politics I respect is Daniel Hannan.
    He really, really, knows his shit.
    History, free market economists, William Shakespeare.

    Also, it’s cool to watch him to speak flawless French or Spanish while schooling people in the European Parliament.

  12. Was there any point to this column?

  13. I saw the ”Tory Will protect the NHS” poster … it blew my mind and I had a vision of the future : ”Republicans will protect the USCare/O-Care”

    The Tory are certainly victim of testicular cancer … or there must be a reasonable question to why they don’t have balls !

    Cameron is good at telling jokes, but only because Brown is such a coward and inept guy …

    What I see is that Conservatism is DEAD ! It was great when It existed in the 1800’s and when It resuscitated during 1980’s Reagan and Thatcher era … now it is time for a libertarian assault and sending all the ball-less to get some treatement

    1. “I had a vision of the future: ‘Republicans will protect the USCare/O-Care'”

      Dude, that’s the present.

      1. WTF Republicans have beaten the France record at surrendering then lol

  14. Oi! I never thought we’d see a bird in 10 Downing, but Maggie was a bit of all right, and any of you lot who says different will have to go through the Gene Genie! End of!

    1. Maybe balls are not the organ that guaranty Courage and Fighting spirit … I bet Maggie shadow alone can put all the idiot in parliament in the hospital for six months

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