Saturday 16 January 2010

Douglas Carswell: Tories have had their 'clause 4 moment'

The Conservatives have had their 'clause 4' moment and the left ignores the real changes the party has made at its peril, says Douglas Carswell, the Conservative MP for Harwich and Clacton.

Speaking at a debate on David Cameron at the Fabians' New Year Conference, he said: "I think the Conservative Party had its clause 4 moment at the Totnes by-election in 2009 when 16,000 people, many not party members or even Conservative supporters, voted in an open primary to decide who was to be the Conservative candidate."

He continued: "Please carry on denying there has been a change, it suits me down to the ground. There are some very significant new ideas, although some of these ideas have taken a long time to come to fruition.

"If you want to be a party of the status quo, carry on doing that, you belittle your tradition of radicalism if you ignore it. This is a (Conservative) programme that is actually quite radical."

The Conservative MP and blogger said that although the centre right was naturally suspicious of excessive ideology that was "not an excuse for belief in nothing."

The key elements of the post-Thatcher agenda were a commitment to localism, user choice and the decentralisation of politics.

"It is not about ideology but recognising that the world has changed because of the internet and smashing the hierarchy and tearing down the barriers of entry. This presents a challenge to the left, they can carry on denying that the right has changed or they can accept that the terms of the debate have changed," he said.


Unknown said...

Hardly clause four material. He isn't changing anything, the only thing he can do is cut.

Jack Stone said...

If he has to cut it will be Labour`s fault for the way they have run the economy not David Cameron`s.

Johnny Norfolk said...


You are the perfect example of what Douglas is talking about.