Speccie editor Fraser Nelson is giving the Keith Joseph Memorial Lecture to a Centre for Policy Studies audience tonight. The CPS was of course founded by Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher. His speech is titled “Winning Is Not Enough“.
Fraser is willing to tell it straight:
“The political fallacies of the 1970s are leaping out from their graves: the notion that you squeeze more out of the rich by increasing their marginal tax rate. The idea that one improves the health service by pouring money into it. The ideological demons that Keith Joseph had thought slain have come back again. And, just like last time, some of these demons are wearing a blue rosette.”
The critique he offers of the Tory willingness to accept Brown’s parameters of debate is not just the Tory right calling for the old Thatcherite tunes. He is squarely taking on what can be described as the Fink approach to politics:
… the Conservative Party is, to an extent, still in therapy; shell-shocked not just by three election defeats, but by the trauma of its own internal warfare. The temptation is to get rid of anything that anyone might criticise, and become politically neutral: provoking neither hatred nor enthusiasm. Here, the Conservatives are in danger of forgetting Keith Joseph’s most enduring lesson: the difference between the Middle Ground and the Common Ground.
Guido is off to hear the speech…