July 25, 2005


Tory Right rallies around faith, flag and the family: A new group of MPs has stepped into the leadership race with attack on liberals in the party ranks (Philip Webster, 7/25/05, Times of London)

CONSERVATIVE traditionalists make a ferocious counterblast against the party’s modernising wing today, arguing that “faith, the flag and family” must be central to Tory thinking if the party is to win again.

In a striking intervention in the party’s leadership race, a newly formed 25-strong group of MPs calls for the demolition of the foundations of the liberal establishment and says that the Tory party has deserted “conservative Britain”, prompting the voters to desert it.

The Cornerstone group of right-wing MPs, which recently grilled leadership hopefuls about their beliefs, is to use the contest to argue for “authentic conservatism”. Its critique of “rampant liberalism” is a barely concealed attack on some of the centre-left contenders. An obvious target is Alan Duncan, the openly gay MP, who last week quit the contest with a blast at “censorious judgmentalism from the moralising wing”. [...]

Supporters of Cornerstone include John Hayes, a former member of the Shadow Cabinet, Owen Paterson, formerly chief aide to Iain Duncan Smith, Brian Binley, Peter Bone, Julian Brazier, Douglas Carswell, William Cash, Christopher Chope, Robert Goodwill, Ian Liddell-Grainger, Andrew Rosindell, Lee Scott, Desmond Swayne and Angela Watkinson. Most of the group would be expected to support David Davis or Liam Fox in the leadership contest.

In a direct attack on the liberal modernisers, the pamphlet says: “It is unacceptable for people whose electoral success is dependent on carrying the Conservative badge to use it to conceal fundamentally unconservative attitudes. Such critics usually have little to offer as a clarion call beyond the shrill cry for ever more unbridled liberty.”

The group is also critical of the Tory election campaign, describing it as too timid about tax cuts, public service reform and family values. The leadership, the pamphlet says, framed a message barely distinguishable from Labour after relying too heavily on focus groups.

The further Right they run the better they'll do.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 25, 2005 8:09 PM

Perhaps I missed it, but where's the "no to Europe"?

Posted by: Matt Murphy at July 25, 2005 11:16 PM

Samizdata's got a posting on this.

The Tory Taliban.

Posted by: Sandy P at July 25, 2005 11:43 PM

the tories are beyond redemption, let us speak of them no more.

Posted by: cjm at July 26, 2005 12:32 AM

They'd be better off emigrating to North America. Hopefully they move to Canada, where that message strongly delivered would work, I think.

I like it -- Faith, Flag and Family.

Posted by: Randall Voth at July 26, 2005 5:30 AM

They are anti-free trade.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at July 26, 2005 6:20 AM

"Modern politicians fight shy of talking about religion. They fear they will be accused of moralising . . . of setting themselves up for a fall. Many even argue that politics should be morally neutral, and political debate is the poorer for it. Christianity is part of our history and culture.

Politics should never be morally neutral, just religously neutral.

I wonder how Winston Churchill would have fared under their grilling of his beliefs. He wasn't known for his religiosity.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at July 26, 2005 9:57 AM