So, this week, we find the new 'Cornerstone' group of Tory MPs coming out of the woodwork, proclaiming
'Faith, flag and family are at the heart of Tory thinking. Combined, tradition, the nation, the family and free enterprise represent the instincts and preoccupations of most Britons and so, unsurprisingly, they have the capacity to inspire. In the USA too, these core conservative issues excite voters. George Bush understands this and wins. Strangely, the Conservative Party has deserted conservative Britain, and so Britons have deserted us.'Ah - anyone else recognise the return of that old favourite, Back to Basics? Poor old John Major tried that a decade ago with a speech in 1993:
'It's time to return to those old values. Time to get back to basics, to self-discipline and respect for the law, to consideration for others, to accepting responsibility for yourself and your family and not shuffling it off onto other people and the state.'
We all know how well that worked, don't we? The speech was heavily spun at the time as being about personal morality, despite later attempts to distance Major from that interpretation. The effect was to allow the press to declare open season on Tory sexual misadventures and run around outing MPs who were knocking off their secretaries. As a policy, it was a disaster and any attempt to revive it borders on the insane.
Not that lunacy has ever stopped the Tories in the past. Perhaps they genuinely believe that the last election showed that the Tories need to tack ever further to the right. If that's the case, then they weren't in the same campaign that I was.