Saturday, 10 October 2009

Whither the Torygraph?

While the Daily Telegraph is known for its conservative (big and small 'c') leanings, it does feature the odd left wing columnist, but its comment page generally features stuff from the right of the political spectrum.

Not necessarily sympathetic to the Tories, though, as is ably demonstrated by a couple of opinion pieces in this morning's edition.

Indeed, Simon Heffer's dislike of the current Conservative leadership seems surpassed only by his contempt for Gordon Brown and new Labour*, and his column today excoriates both for good measure. But of particular interest is his criticism of David Cameron and George Osborne:
My problem with him has always been the economy, and after this week it remains so. Only 18 months ago, when some of us had long seen an accident approaching with our public finances, Dave and his incredible shadow chancellor, George Osborne, were still talking about "sharing the proceeds of growth". This was not just because they were not astute enough to see there wouldn't be any growth: it was also because they thought it was good to increase the size of the state and public spending. Only an economic catastrophe has changed their minds on that. These are not people with a long-standing ideological commitment to low taxation, low spending and the small state, but opportunists of infinite flexibility. When deciding how far we can trust them, we should never forget this.[...]

A deep ignorance of economics within the party, and a fear of departing from gesture politics, cause a reluctance to take seriously the measure needed to revive our private sector: tax cuts.

Worth a read, if only to admire Heffer's sense of political balance: he seems to hate both Labour and the Tories, and also manages a passing dig at Nick Clegg as well!

Meanwhile, former Telegraph and Spectator editor Chic Moore's critical piece is perhaps less predictable, but he doesn't seem overly impressed by David Cameron's promise to appoint General Sir Richard Dannatt to a future Conservative administration, and considers this a "mistake" and "not an isolated error":
So why did Mr Cameron act as he did? The answer, I am afraid, was correctly and embarrassingly stated by the shadow home secretary, Chris Grayling, when he thought that Sir Richard had just been signed up by the other side. It is a gimmick.

The purpose of the gimmick is to show up the Government's unpopularity with the Armed Services. It is the sort of trick at which New Labour always excelled. It works, on the night. "We need people who understand war in Whitehall," Mr Cameron told the clapping throng in Manchester on Thursday. But after that, it is downhill all the way.

Poor Sir Richard is used to command. Like the centurion in the New Testament, he "saith 'come', and he cometh". If he tries that line out on anyone as a junior minister in the House of Lords, he will find that he just buggereth off.

Also well worth a read; clearly, government isn't going to be easy, either for the Tories or Sir Richard!

*Interestingly, Simon Heffer's Wikipedia page states that he was "generally supportive" of new Labour in the mid-1990s which, given his current pespective, perhaps adds a certain irony to his criticisms!

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