An early summation of the David Cameron’s Premiership

As David Cameron travels to St Petersburg for the G20, normally a moment to appear Prime Ministerial and powerful, we will be beamed pictures of a deflated and wholly unimportant man. Cameron suffered, probably the biggest shock to his political career and certainly his premiership last Thursday. The vote in the House of Commons on Thursday, I believe, damaged him personally more than it did politically. What led him to this point was a grave misjudgement of his own abilities, the faith of others, and politics in general. It is therefore appropriate to look back at this juncture and assess where Cameron has perhaps gone wrong in his dealings with his staff, the party and the electorate.

Cameron has always conveyed a deep embarrassment about his background. Barack Obama once said his name was given to him by someone who never thought he’d run for President. Mr Cameron must feel the same way about his parents’ choice of schooling. He has failed to see the real reason people sight his privileged upbringing, being that the sense of entitlement has never left him. He has cultivated a small group of close and trusted friends and advisers who hail from similar backgrounds, mind sets and outlooks. He is not a snob, so much as he is an elitist. Flashman was such an easy pin to place on him, merely because he displays so many similarities. Unfortunately no-one liked the superstar in the classroom, nor did anyone go out of their way to help him. The chickens have come home to roost on this one, and all those middle of the road MPs who feel they were swept past without a glancing ‘Hi’ or ‘How are you’ are exacting revenge on a man who really never saw himself as a man of the people. It is reminiscent almost of Margaret Thatcher in the late 80’s. Only she had 10+ years of party leadership and two terms as Prime Minister under the belt, Cameron is only half way through his first term. His failure to win genuine support from his MPs and the party faithful has meant he has little control and few friends who feel by helping him out, they are doing a favour for the good guy. It may be his greatest flaw as PM… he does not have the authority of the party nor lead its membership.

I have always downplayed his failure to win a majority in 2010 as a fluke, a rare example of Britain’s skewed electoral system and frankly 308 seats is so close to 325, we shouldn’t really care. But the consequence has been substantial. Cameron has led a Government that is distinctly un-conservative. The mechanics of coalition are so that he was never going to see through an agenda conservative in nature. However once you look around, the state remains £700 billion in size and welfare state still aggravates the white working class man who is overtaxed and poorly paid. Businesses are not feeling any freer from the shackles of regulation, and uncontrollable immigration continues to inflame the problems of multiculturalism and social cohesion in our cities and suburbs. As a consequence you have seen the emergence of a new right wing party that has spoken on issues that remain important to middle England. David Cameron is right not to lurch either way on a policy level, but he should think about rebranding his big society ahead of 2015 on a political and personal level. Much like the free market conservatives hold dear, unless he appeals to his customers, competing products will take market share and assert their position. The UKIP problem remains a battle for hearts and not minds. People do not see Cameron as a Conservative, much as they don’t see him as one of them.

A man once dubbed ‘Flashman’ for his slick appearance and barbarous taunts seemed untouchable to many before 2010. Even in the first 3 years of his premiership he appeared to take the job in his stride. The opinion polls always maintained that the man they say was born to rule, looked sure footed and fit to rule. Now, it is a different story. His mismanagement of people around him has meant his support is dwindling, and his lack of direction and connection with the party core has meant his legacy is not a proud one. He can change, but the time is now.

Banking Reform 2.015

Conservative Idea espouses capitalism and pure free markets. Within those two theories of economic theory lie the belief that an equitable capital owning population is most likely to develop and progress. Secondly that free markets allow for the more efficient and equitable means of distributing capital and resources.
The banking industry sits at the foundation of this theory, it has a direct impact on the three most important components of economic life, the property market, interest rates (the cost of money) and the level of credit. A strong and stable banking sector is therefore essential for economic stability. The UK has for too long had a banking sector dominated by too few players, expensive (for both customers and taxpayers) with unnecessary exposure to single/multiple risk factors. The UK Government had to commit 82% of GDP to rescue the banks in 2008, there have been successive scandals involving PPI and LIBOR, and still RBS and Lloyds remain largely unprofitable.
A change needs to take place which would revolutionise banking in the UK. It would offer high street customers safe deposit accounts that promote long term savings. A new banking sector would support a growing SME market, thirsty for credit, some considerably risky. It would also provide an international investment banking sector that would offer multinational corporates complex banking services, such as hedging products, M&A advisory, FX execution and treasury services. Whilst so much has been written about casino banking, risky speculation and bonuses, we must recognise that major investment banks provide a valuable service to companies and economies. They add value to their customers and shareholders and we want British investment banks to be able to compete with the American giants like JP Morgan and Citi group.
The fact is that currently, our banking sector resembles none of these characteristics. A report from the New Economics Foundation found that the UK banking sector is one of the least diverse in the developed world – local banks make up just 3%, compared to 67% in Germany and 34% in the USA. 82% of deposits in the UK are with commercial banks, whereas in Germany it is 36%, with 40% of deposits with state financial institutions, and 24% with co-operatives and credit unions.
Credit Unions and Co-operative banks offer a suitable and commercial alternative to the mega-banks (RBS, Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC etc.). They offer an economic incentive to their shareholders, financial incentives to customers and social benefits form society. Credit Unions are often considered safer investments for investors due to their conservative balance sheets. Credit Unions lend money to members and play a consistent role in their members financial lives. They avoid global capital markets, and speculative trading operations, they rarely engage in structured products and their balance sheets reflect low leverage and safe levels of capital buffer. Co-operatives have a slightly different corporate structure, but operate in a similar way, and ultimately with their customers and members at the core. Both co-operatives and credit unions offer competitive deposit and mortgage rates.
A diverse and structurally sound banking system is achievable through supply side policies and purposeful Government intervention. The Labour party have proposed a British Investment Bank (BIB), however I struggle to see how this will operate in practice. The Governments ownership of RBS has been indicative of the pitfalls when a private sector institution is owned by the state. This Government backed bank would be mercy to political intervention on wages and employment policy. Their investment criteria would be politicized and hindered. We saw what happened when the Archbishop of Canterbury criticized Wonga. It materialized that the Church of England was an investor in that particular business, the Archbishop called for a wide spread review of their ethical investment policy only to discover that the Church was invested in several businesses considered unethical, including Vodafone (tax problems), BP (Oil spills) and HSBC (moneylaunfering). The BIB would be hindered from the outset in remaining a competitive, autonomous institution. Alternatively, the Government could not politically justify a tax hiatus for banks. Even if it was politically possible, I don’t think banks are sufficiently profitable or taxed efficiently on their profits when they are profitable. The Government should look to stimulate regional banking markets, further subsidize the SME credit and low income mortgage market. If low income banking becomes lucrative, it will attract investment and entrepreneurs looking to build new brands. The Government should also strike up deals with Virgin Money, Santander, Metro Bank, Aldemore and other new entrants into the market. They should offer tax incentives and easier regulations for newcomers. The FCA, and Treasury should also wage war on anti-competitive practices in the future. This is less of a worry now, however the engulfing of small players in the lead up to 2008 has seen the old names of Bradford and Bingley, Alliance and Leicester, HBOS disappear from our high street. Clydesdale and Yorkshire Building Society are owned by foreign firms. The regulators should clamp down on major corporations building dominant positions in the market. If regulators had done their job leading up to 2008, it is unlikely we would have seen RBS take over ABN Amro, and the disappearance of regional deposit taking banking businesses. It was to the detriment of the economy and society.
To conclude, public policy should now focus on blowing apart the banking system to create a more divers competitive market place. This will include building societies, high street banks, co-operatives and credit unions, even international investment banks. This should not be done through radical state intervention but through better regulation of anti-competitive practices, reduction in barriers to entry for newcomers and tax incentives for small regional players.

The Lost Voter…

Tim Montgomerie wrote for Conservative Home last week on the importance of right wing political parties embracing pro-working class economic policies and capturing disaffected left wing traditionalists. His article was striking on its own and exact in its analysis but also a part of the wider prevailing theme that many in the commentariat have picked up. Peter Kellner, James Bloodworth, David Skelton have all realised a shift is taking place, not necessarily between parties, but by loyalists and between loyalties.

Traditional left wing voters are now less likely to relate or even support left wing parties as they feel less and less confident in socialist (or even social democratic) policies. The Labour Party in the UK grew from a working class movement that hoped for greater protection of workers’ rights, greater state intervention in social and economic inequality, and democratic representation for the poor. The reality today is that the working class no longer feel that a) the Labour Party cares about them, b) that the state is capable of helping them and c) they are best aligned to socialist ideals of tax and spend. This has not been unique to the UK, nor is it a post-global recession crisis in confidence. The sentiment has continued to rot and corrode the left wing base across Europe. In France and Germany just 20% and 24% of people feel that left wing parties care for ‘people like me’. In the same country, 73% and 79% feel they are taxed unfairly (compared to 62% in the UK). Indeed the disconnect between social democratic parties across the continent is far worse than it is at home.

The reasons are multiple, and not a result of current economic woes. Left wing parties have departed from supporting their traditional roots. In the UK it has become fashionable for Labour party leaders to emphasise their immigrant background, and certainly their modernist credentials. Progressivism has crowded out traditional Labour values when it comes to welfare, immigration and national identity. No longer do the manual workers in Durham and Derby vote Labour on the grounds of mutual recognition. They fail to relate to a party who oversaw an explosion in immigration because they supported the EU, globalisation and multiculturalism, and were too afraid to tackle the growing race issue in our inner cities. They can’t understand a welfare system, so expensive and out of line with their values of hard work and graft. To poor salt on this wound, they are taxed on their income, petrol they drive to work on, the house they buy, the high street goods they consume and then finally when they die. This point alone goes a long way to explain why 31% of people in the UK think they are taxed fairly. The Labour party does not stand up for the white middle class anymore, as James Bloodworth puts it in the New Statesman, “the values of the traditional working class are increasingly at odds with those of the liberal or ‘progressive’ left”. The evidence exists across the Atlantic, not just in the Tea Party movement but in voting trends. Both McCain and Romney won more ‘middle class white’ votes than Obama, as did Bush against Gore and Kerry.

The answer is not necessarily that voters are ageing into traditional conservatives, sceptical of social security and state provision of public services. This is not the case, the British population are largely in favour of the NHS, state education system and principles behind social security. However they want these services at a less and less cost to themselves as taxpayers and with less beaureucratic political correctness attached. Either way the blue collar vote, is a homeless one. Traditional working class voters feel disassociated with the state of political parties. The one group benefiting in the UK is UKIP, who have superbly picked up on this dissent and projected it using their ‘common sense’ techniques. The conservatives must react, for the sole reason that to win an outright majority in 2015 they must appeal to and win support of these lost voters.

Boosting the housing Market is essential for this Government’s economic programme

Home ownership is a vital component of a prosperous society and stable economy. Many look back at Margaret Thatcher’s premiership with mixed views but most can appreciate that the 1980’s policy of selling of council homes (at sub-market social values) to tenants was a ‘real cracker’. Beware there are some who disagree… Owen Jones you know who you are!

Home ownership is the foundation for a strong middle class and strong economy. Homes form the basis for over 90% of peoples wealth and so are a catalyst for sensible savings. As an asset it is often likely to increase in value during periods of economic growth, over history property values have largely been appreciative on the aggregate. thos who own homes are likely to benefit from capital appreciation and therefore wealth creation. Those who own a home, are able to take out a second mortgage, borrowing against the value of their most valuable asset and invest. The Resolution Foundation have long held that three consistent determinants of an individual moving up the economic and social ladder are a degree, owning property, and savings (incidentally the three most prevalent determinants of a person falling down the economic/social ladder include unemployment, children and having to become a carer).

Not only does it make economic sense to become a home owner but it serves to instil a sense of responsibility and civic duty in the owner. Home owners rarely trash their own home, commit crime, use their bedroom for drug deals or even sulk around estates as part of the under-class that plight many of our suburban ghettos. Capital ownership is an economic and psychological practice that benefits individuals and societies as a whole.

The Government must work to increase home ownership in the UK. Two metrics they should work specifically on include (a) reducing the age of first time buyers, and (b) reducing the average length of time it takes to save for a mortgage. In 1979 it took on average 4 years to be able to afford a mortgage, in 2010 this was 22 years. The average age of a first time buyer in the 60’s was 28. Today first time buyers are on average 10 years older at 37 and second time buyers are around 45. The Chancellor’s efforts to reduce the cost of mortgages with the Help-to-Buy scheme have been so far successful. It extends to those who would otherwise consider buying too expensive, an affordable option. Traditional conservatives at this point cry that extending mortgages to those un-mortgageable was the reason for the US sub-prime crisis. And they would be correct that cheap financing and over leverage are dangerous stimuli, however the scheme is only set to run for several years, and it is being applied in a very low leveraged market. The Bank of England and Treasury officials have said that once leverage metrics verge into the ‘red zone’, the taps will be turned off. Traditional Tories must also remember Milton Friedman’s comments that if Governments want to stimulate a market, they must subsidise the consumer and not the producer. Labour’s plan to flood the market with new builds and constructions financing risks a Spanish like housing crisis. A growth in demand on the other hand will be met by corresponding growth in supply.

 

Further steps could also include a reduction in stamp duty, and reforms to the banking sector which would make it easier for banks to lend in the domestic mortgage market. The fact that construction firms remain undervalued and suffering from reduced revenues is cause for concern. The Government are relying on them picking up the slack in the housing market and building more homes. Barratt homes has announced it has increased projects, however better figures from the construction sector will make happy reading for those inside DCLG, the Treasury and Number 10. A reduction in corporation tax and perhaps some taxpayer financed intiatives to renovate both green space and some of the council estate brutalist architecture prevalent in the inner cities could provide a boost to construction companies balance sheets. The Government must remember however, it is not the solution to the problem but only the problem. If they want to get the housing market back on its feet, they must create the conditions for growth and step back. Increased ownership will have ripple effects across the economy and society, the Government would be doing well to work on this goal.

Why Ed Miliband has the right plan…

Ed Miliband is not a good leader of the Labour Party, he is not photogenic or naturally likeable, he didn’t win his leadership campaign by consensus and won few supporters from outside his clique of over educated neo-Champaign socialists. Since 2010, he has entrenched the view that he remains a political animal, with little experience outside Westminster and has proven inept at tackling divisions within the Labour party, suggesting he is unlikely to handle running the country.

However, as the economy starts to regain momentum (proving the new Labour borrow/spend is a redundant theory of economic policy) he has begun to choicely talk about living standards. This may be his saving grace and a lifeboat for this failed leadership. The crisis in living standards can be found at the root of our current economic turmoil, the reason for weak consumption, labour market inflexibility, real poverty levels and fiscal deficit. The living standards crisis is an umbrella term for most of what is wrong in Britain (economically speaking) today and what could go wrong tomorrow. It is also something that the Conservative party have failed to pick up on politically.

Real wages have stagnated since 2003. Despite growth rates of 0.5-1.5% between 2003 and the crash in 2008, economic growth did not translate into increased prosperity for average income earners. Low to middle income households could expect a median income of £20.5k in 1997, £24.7k in 2003, “20.7k in 2011 and (predicted) £20.0k in 2017.The number of people living within the ‘squeezed middle’ has increased, and long term unemployment levels have increased. Those remaining out of work for over a year reached a 17 year high in June 2016, reaching 915,000. The fact is, less people are earning, and those working are earning disproportionately less than they were the previous year, spending power is down approximately £280 between 2012/13. To compound supressed earnings rent, utility bills, mortgages, and basic staple costs have all increased. The Daily Mail publishes almost monthly a double whammy headline of increased cost of fuel figures with increased bonuses at major energy firms. The ONS released statistics in July showing the economy grew by 0.6% in the first half of the year (up from 0.3% in Q1) and is expected to grow 1% in 2013, and 2% in 2014. However, ask many on the high street, despite increased macroeconomic optimism and talk of a sustainable recovery, this has not translated into prosperity on the British high street and in individual’s pockets.

The macro effects of this low living standards phenomenon include lower domestic consumption, the increasing costs to the welfare state, and labour market turgidity. The Government have found that whilst they cut public spending like crazed tree fellers, the cost of Government remains the same and debt has increased. Reducing the deficit to 0% is not theoretically hard, it requires full blown dismantling of the automatic stabilizers, and significant reduction in central budgets. However because of the weak ‘high street’ economy, the Government have not benefited from an organic ‘home grown’ recovery. The deficit has fallen slower and debt/GDP levels are forecast to increase through 2015/16. Germany and the US have relied upon a flexible and a still relatively prosperous middle class, a flexible labour market and competitive domestic economic base (manufacturers, service companies, exports and financial services). The US current account deficit dropped from 5.1% in January 2008 to 2.7% in 2010. Germany has sustained a current account surplus since 2002 and cut its budget deficit from 4.1% in 2011to a 0.2% surplus in 2013 . Both economies have weathered the storm far better than Britain.

Policies to reduce personal tax and increase low wage employment (through the national insurance holiday) are the only two policies I know that may have made a direct impact on peoples cost of living and subsequent living standards. To really better the lives of millions though, I believe the Government must tackle both supressed incomes and the spiralling cost of living. They must place a cap on low wage migration; perfectly decent human beings from Romania and Bulgaria travel here for work, crowding out the local population in the labour market and causing a rise in unemployment while supressing incomes at the bottom end of the scale. They must cut tax credits which again only serve to supress wage packets at the bottom of the income scale. The bloated housing benefit bill also fuels the cost of renting, cut one and the other will fall pretty rapidly. I am also inclined to support Government financed house building, to keep the cost of property down. A living wage could be paid for by another cut in payroll taxes and cuts to business rates. I am intrinsically against economic coercion on the private sector but the living wage would increase worker productivity and long term satisfaction through better employment standards. The Government must cease any green levies on utility bills and through further taxes. The Department for Energy and Climate Change, with Treasury, BIS and the various QUANGO’s should all launch an offensive to break up monopolistic practices amongst utility providers, energy companies, banks and landlords. Efficient markets with competition will result in lower prices for consumers.

These are all distinctly Conservative economic policies. At their root is the belief in small Government and low economic intervention. Competitive markets lead to efficient and fair pricing. It was Thatcherism after all which sought to control the money supply and keep the cost of living low for millions of low income families. Successive Labour Governments in the 60’s and 70’s oversaw spiralling inflation and successive economic stagnation. The risk that sustained high prices, with low economic growth was found out in 1976 when the UK had to go cap in hand to the IMF asking for £2.3 billion to fund spending commitments.

Ed Miliband is right to talk of rebuilding an economy for the many and not the few. We cannot rely again on economic growth via debt, the housing market and financial services. A sustained growth in living standards will require a growth in the SME market, exports, regional economies and growth markets (science, tech and engineering). The political importance of this can be found in the poll that shows Miliband’s most favourable characteristic as ‘being in touch with the public’. If he continues to talk about the ‘living standards election’, people will realise that he offers an alternative to Cameron’s ‘global race’ agenda. It’s also a credible alternative that rings true with the man and woman on our high streets.

A radical plan for spending in 2015

The month of August is likely to be one of reflection and planning for the respective leaders of Britain’s political parties. The Prime Minister will be in an upbeat mood as his party seems united on issues previously considered flammable; the EU, immigration, same-sex marriage, and UKIP. Word from inside CCHQ is that all efforts are now focussed on winning the general election in 2015. The Conservative party would therefore be doing well to lend some serious thought towards its manifesto pledges. Contrary to what many say, Crosby will have influence over what goes into the manifesto, no themes such as the big society and  vacuous unfunded IOU politics. I would like to see clear and coherent policies which contribute towards a conservative programme of government. One springs to mind, combining themes of fiscal responsibility and welfare.

The Conservative Party should introduce the idea of an overall public spending cap on Annual Managed Expenditure (AME). AME is the part of the budget that contains ‘automatic stabilizers’ such as unemployment benefits and also long term social security liabilities such as incapacity benefits, and state pensions. Politically the Conservatives must remain the party for workers, taxpayers, and  against welfare. Conservative supporters are angry also at the weak approach to reducing welfare spending as part of the economic rescue. Ideologically there is an argument that AME remains too high and cuts imposed so far are irrelevant. To put things into context the Government have succeeded in forcing through an austerity agenda involving just a 3% spending cut. The Chancellor has revised debt to GDP forecasts up, expectations for reaching a balanced budget (0% current account) have been postponed almost indefinitely, and the target spending as % of GDP has been revised from 33% (a long held conservative ideal for Government) to 39%. Welfare is forecast to rise in real terms between 2010 and 2015. Due to ring fencing of budgets for Health, International Aid and Education Capital spending, Departmental Expenditure Limits (non-AME) in other departments is forecast to have been cut 33%by 2015. To achieve the ideal level of spending at 33% of GDP the Government needs to continue cutting, and do it from the AME budget.

Two major think tanks have proposed ways to do this. Reform have suggested the setting of % to GDP figure, three years in advance of a budget announcement that would represent the total budget. This % (for instance 35% of GDP for Total Managed Expenditure) would be converted into a nominal figure by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility over a year in advance. If a Government breached the figure, they would have to report to Parliament and explain why. Policy Exchange suggested a more detailed cap on components of AME. An affordable cap would be placed on long term liabilities (state pensions) and short term spending spikes (JSA) would be funded through this cap and scrapping of other payments (for example working tax credits, which have contributed to lower incomes).

Proposing major cuts to welfare in the name of fiscal austerity is a real vote winner and something for the party to take up in the lead up to the general election. The reasons go much further than winning votes… sustained fiscal deficits and debt levels have crippled this country’s public finances and economy. Nordic countries, Sweden, Finland and Norway all operate public expenditure caps, and they all saw strong growth periods immediately after the global recession. This blog recognises the importance of public spending in some areas of our country, maintaining infrastructure, providing a modern and adaptable health and education system, as well as an appropriately sized social safety net. Without the financial power to fund these programmes, our government is redundant and we all suffer because of it. David Cameron should go to the polls in 2015 with plans for a radical overhaul of public finances and the welfare state, a plan as radical as Thatcher’s privatisation policy and the Butler Education plans in the 40’s and 50’s.

Why 0.6% is meaningless… and what we can do about it

On Thursday the Office for National Statistics announced that the UK economy grew by a paltry 0.6% in the 2nd quarter of 2013. Coverage of the announcement and reaction was almost as jubilant and overtly hysterical as that of the royal baby’s arrival on Monday night. The reason being that this Government has staked its credibility in edging this economic metric, Gross Domestic Product, back into the black and into safe positive growth territory. The case for celebration must be muted, not because 0.6% is a disappointing figure, its meaning though is irrelevant.

The problem with this figure in particular is that only 40% of the information needed to make an accurate calculation for GDP was available and used. As a consequence it is likely to be revised as more information comes to light. This happened with the 2012 triple-dip recession ‘that never was’, and another revision is likely to show that not only was our original recession deeper, but our recent growth spurt has been shallower. Either way, GDP is difficult to calculate, liable for revision and highly likely to be inaccurate.

An alternative measurement for policy makers was suggested by new Bank of England Governor Dr Mark Carney. He suggested in a speech made last December that policy makers target economic output that has not been adjusted for inflation, Gross National Product (GNP). This would mean any economy suffering volatile performance would have to catch up with previous shortfalls to see any impact in its growth figures. This would be a good option if interest rates remained at zero.

Another recommendation would be to develop a new economic metric. Richard Lambert recommends blending together a calculation that takes into account median incomes, inflation, employment and gross national output. Lambert recognises that while employment rates remain quite high, median wages have stagnated. In fact real wages have remained at the same level since 2003. The number of working poor has increased as inflation has eroded real wages. Low interest rates are also obstructing thousands who remain over leveraged, a rate increase of just 2 points would sink a large portion of the mortgaged population into negative equity. Any new measurement that takes into account median wages (not the ‘mean average’ which is susceptible to high levels of income inequality), inflation would therefore reflect the prevailing state of people finances on the high street. Combined with a inflation stripped figure for national output would provide a decent indicator of our overall economic performance.

I would hesitate to say that the British economy is back to its best. Manufacturing remains 10% lower than pre-recession levels, construction is 16% lower, the economy as a whole is still 3.3% smaller than it was in 2008. TV newsreels were filled on Thursday evening of individuals from across the country who still complained that life remained hard on Main Street. Utility bills are still expensive, jobs hard to come by, and incomes have not risen. The ONS figures may be painting a portrait favourable within the heady world of macroeconomic analysis and political commentary, however it is not reflective of the real economic situation in our towns and cities. As George Osborne senses vindication for guiding the UK back into growth, his opposite number Ed Balls redirected the discussion to the depressed living standards experienced by so many across the country. He is right to note that GDP growth is not being felt across the country. It is as a metric of economic success ultimately redundant. As Richard Lambert said in the FT , “GDP fails to capture the economic well-being of most citizens”.

Welcome To Conservative Idea

An author said recently at the press release of his new economics book, that he must be mad to write another book analysing post-crisis global economics, considering the number of people who have gone before him. And so here we are, publishing another politics blog in a market over crowded and often irrelevant. Our economics author however did add a caveat… 

“If someone were to inflict another economics book on the public they have to have a very good excuse for doing it”

And so we feel there is an excuse for inflicting one more political blog on the public… the renewed desire for debate. We feel the need to inject new life into discussion on why we believe in our conservative, free-market, individualistic, nationalistic and communitarian idea. Conservatives continue to feel embarrassed of their political colours and there is no doubt that today the centre-right has struggled to reestablish its raison d’être. Even after the absolute failure of social democratic policies, the right has been left struggling for answers.

And so let me welcome you to Conservative Idea… a forum for discussion and debate on the foundational principles of conservatism, with the no commitment to the left or right of the ideology. We are solely committed to the principles of a small state, open society, free markets, and a strong national identity. We are united too in our simple belief that;

Unless conservatism means something to everyone, it does not mean anything to anyone.

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