Politics

The centre-right is failing worldwide, so what’s David Cameron’s secret?

His refugee policy has been both humane and politically sustainable. Angela Merkel’s has been neither

23 January 2016

9:00 AM

23 January 2016

9:00 AM

There are times when Westminster’s obsession with US politics is embarrassing for even the strongest believer in the Anglo-American relationship. Monday was one of those days: MPs debated banning Donald Trump, the reality TV star turned presidential hopeful, from entering Britain. Leaving aside the illiberal absurdity of this, Trump hadn’t even said he was planning a visit. It was a pathetic attempt by MPs to insert themselves into the US presidential race.

But what cannot be denied is the extent to which Trump is shaking up US politics. After the angry Republican primary and the failure of establishment candidates to gain traction, David Cameron’s achievement in winning a majority at the general election and holding his party together seems remarkable. He now has a good claim to be the most successful centre-right politician in the western world.

It is not only in America that the right is in crisis. In Canada, Stephen Harper’s government was defeated by Justin Trudeau. In Australia, the Tony Abbott experiment has been brought to an end by his own party. New Zealand’s John Key is the only other centre-right leader in the English-speaking world who can claim to be a success now.

The troubles of the centre-right aren’t limited to the Anglosphere. Angela Merkel has plunged her continent, her country and her chancellorship into crisis with her refugee policy. The tensions it has created within her party have the potential to do long-term structural damage to the German centre-right. In France, despite François Hollande’s unpopularity, polls suggest that Nicolas Sarkozy would be knocked out in the first round of the presidential election.

So, why is Cameron succeeding when other centre-right leaders are not? In part, it is because the British economy is continuing to grow and create jobs. The economic recovery means that there isn’t the same level of anti-establishment rage in Britain as there is in the United States.


But Cameron has also benefited from something that looked like a failure at the time, the split on the right. When senior Republicans visited London after their party’s 2012 defeat, the sense was that despite the loss, their long-term outlook — with the insurgent Tea Party wing still inside the party — was better than that of the Tories. It had seen members go off to join Ukip and the right was divided for the first time in British political history. Senior Tories feared that this analysis was right; that Cameron’s legacy would be a split that would leave the Tories struggling to ever again win a majority under the first-past-the-post system.

Ultimately, this split benefited Cameron. It helped the Tories become more attractive to centrist voters. On polling day, they gained more votes from those who supported Labour and the Liberal Democrats in 2010 than they lost to Ukip. It also meant that Cameron wasn’t trying to sound as angry and as frustrated with modern Britain as these defecting voters.

In contrast, all the Republican contenders in this primary season are trying to find ways to connect with the angry mood of their selectorate. Even Marco Rubio, the most mild-mannered of the candidates, has felt obliged to talk about how the gun he purchased on Christmas Eve is the ‘last line of defence between Isis and my family’.

In some ways, Britain’s centre-right is simply an election cycle ahead of other countries in terms of dealing with the challenge posed by insurgent parties. The current concern in Merkel’s CDU about the threat posed by the AfD — the Eurosceptic, anti-immigration party — in the forthcoming state elections mirrors the worries in Tory circles about Ukip in the middle of the last parliament.

But Cameron also deserves credit for keeping his head when others lost theirs. His refugee policy has been both humane — concentrating on those in the camps rather than those with the resources to get to Europe — and politically sustainable. Merkel’s has been neither. Given Cameron’s success, it is puzzling that more politicians aren’t seeking to emulate his model. In part, this is because he isn’t interested in going around the world selling his approach. There was no post-election victory lap of addresses to US think tanks and the like. George Osborne, by contrast, is far keener on the global political circuit.

Another reason is that Cameron has turned on its head Mario Cuomo’s dictum that you campaign in poetry and govern in prose. Cameron’s election campaign was well executed. But not even he would have called it exciting. Instead, he emphasised — and endlessly repeated — simple, clear arguments about economic competence, leadership and the need for a majority government. There was little talk of the social reform agenda which Cameron now hopes will be his legacy.

Watching him campaign in 2015, few would have imagined that his party conference speech five months later would concentrate on the need for ‘true equality’, an ‘all-out assault on poverty’ and the need to celebrate the ‘proudest multiracial democracy on earth’. Indeed, much of what makes the Tories so politically interesting wasn’t trailed in that campaign. Think, for instance, of George Osborne’s living wage, announced in his post-election Budget.

This new Tory agenda is designed to help the party appeal to new voting groups and to add a sense that the Tories share voters’ values. This might seem like common sense. But the Republicans are engaged in almost exactly the opposite exercise during this primary season. The candidates are indulging in ever more shrill rhetoric on the immigration question, to the despair of those concerned with the future of the party.

The dire state of the centre-right around the world should worry the Tories, even though they are the exception to it. Today, successful political parties rely on borrowing and adapting ideas from other countries. Many of the policies that the Tories are pursuing have their roots overseas — compassionate Conservatism comes out of the US, free schools from Sweden and prison reform from Texas. An international centre-right with a closed mind will not be much use to the Tories when they need to renew themselves, as every political party has to, at least once a generation.

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Show comments
  • Harryagain

    We’re all fed up of being lied to.
    It’s as simple as that.

    Camoron is as bad as Bliar in that respect.
    The truth and what other (real) people think can no longer be hidden due to the internet these days. Brain dead politicians haven’t realised this yet.

    Trump tells the truth.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHLcrfhwPtc

    We could do with this man as PM.

    • disruptivethoughts

      Keep taking the tablets.

      • Harryagain

        Ah. A lefty.
        Never like to face up to facts.
        The lying lefty world is falling down.
        As it always does.

        • disruptivethoughts

          Left of Trump, yes, but that’s not hard since, as has been pointed out above, he’s a loony. Otherwise I remain firmly on the right.

          God knows where you stand but, as I said, keep taking the tablets.

    • Todd Unctious

      Trump is a looney.

  • MrJones

    The “centre-right” is failing because they are owned by the banks.
    The Blairite “centre-left” is failing because they are owned by the banks also.

    Luckily for Cameron the Left are innumerate and thus can’t see the open goal right in front of them.

    • Todd Unctious

      To be fair it is not just the banks, it is thevevil eeb of tax havens too.

  • St Louis

    Cameron’s secret, not particularly well concealed, is that he’s not centre right. He’s centre left, the heir to Blair: the only true words he’s ever deliberately spoken.

    • jim

      Exactly and Trump is not extreme at all.The centre has moved so far to the left that even the most reasonable conservative position can be presented as being beyond the pale.

  • Damaris Tighe

    1) Create a huge section of the population dependent on the state for income – either as straight benefits or as tax credits or any of the other programs that the state is now involved with, such as child care.
    2) Create a huge bureaucracy to administer it.
    3) Reap the benefits as ‘middle ground conservatism’, harvesting ‘centrist’ votes from government employees & state clientele, as the middle ground continues its inexorable march to the left.

  • Malcolm Stevas

    Cameron’s refugee policy “..has been both humane and politically sustainable” – ? Refugees (a status hard to distinguish from asylum seeker, economic migrant, ISIL entryist, etc) continue to form a significant part of the very high levels of immigration to the UK: ONS figures show that in the year ending June 2015, net migration to the UK was 336,000. On this basis alone it is hard to see how James Forsyth can describe any aspect of migration policy as “humane” (it is very far from humane to treat the indigenous population so) or “sustainable”. As Migration Watch summarises,
    “Mass migration is the major cause of our rapid population increase.
    It is estimated that net migration plus births to foreign-born parents has accounted for 85% of UK population growth since 2000.
    The population is officially projected to rise by almost ten million over the next 25 years.
    68% of this increase will be down to future migrants and their children.
    However, if net migration continues at around the recent higher levels experienced, the UK’s population is expected to rise even faster, by 8 million over the next fifteen years and by over 12 million in next 25 years.”

    In any case, Cameron’s policy on these matters changes from one minute to the next. One can explain his hold on the Conservative Party only through supposing it is so enfeebled and lacking in confidence that it clings to any port in a storm.

    • Brian Jones

      You seem to deliberately ignore the fact that a large percentage of those 336,000 are EU nationals who we are unable to bar.

      • Malcolm Stevas

        Puzzled by your comment. Apart from your being being mistaken, that figure is merely a global statistic from the ONS, cited by Migration Watch. And I’d have thought the general tenor of my comment (plus many others over time) made it perfectly clear that I am concerned about all aspects of barely controlled mass immigration, from within and without the EU.

  • Mike De Souza

    Greatest Western Leader?? They have lied and cheated their way into power, with a complete lack of decency or integrity. And you call this great? What fools we are for electing such con artists, and what a fool you are for writing about them in such a way.

    David Cameron, and his party, have knowingly and consciously lied in the run up to both previous elections in order to CON PEOPLE INTO VOTING FOR THEM under complete misrepresentations. They made several big promises in 2010, including “No more top-down reorganisations of the NHS”, only to go and break them all. They promised no cuts to tax credits in the run up to the 2015 election, and attempted to break that promise only weeks after being elected. They break promises so often that most people are either angry or disinterested. How can a man who has spread so much anger, frustration, pain, and apathy be called great? If your opinion was true, you might as well advocate Stalin too.

    • kerouac50

      To clarify, “No more top-down reorganisations of the NHS” was in the Coalition agreement but didn’t feature in either the Conservatives’ nor the Liberal Democrats’ election manifestos.

    • paul

      Cameron is a disgrace !!!

      • Todd Unctious

        He is also an embarrassment for our once proud nation. Happy to say one thing and do another. He lies like a Russian.

      • RickDastardly

        Great comment, such insight. You should take up journalism, for the Beano.

        • edithgrove

          or the Spectator

  • jeffersonian

    ‘So, why is Cameron succeeding when other centre-right leaders are not?’

    He should thank his lucky star for first-past-the-post.

    He’s also ‘successful’ only by the criterion of ‘staying in office’. As for actual achievements….

  • quotes

    Too easy, James: he’s a lefty.

    But more seriously this column greatly overrates our indecisive and PR-focused PM.

    • Todd Unctious

      Well he is a Keynesian certainly. Hence the pumping of £750 billion of extra borrowing into the economy in 5 and half years.

  • Sir Johnny Foreigner

    First pass the post won it.

    • Brian Jones

      A system that the labour party happily endorsed when they won 3 elections on the trot but is suddenly all wrong now the Tories are winning.

  • paul

    The lying toe rag is getting away with it due to the right wing press who portray him as someone you could trust and they conversely savage anyone of a different political opinion just ask Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg, Nicola Sturgeon & Alex Salmond !!

    • Todd Unctious

      They are all at Davos conspiring to do the bidding of the CoLC as we write.Cameron and Gideon are the placemen of the CoLC.

    • Wee Mental Davie

      The people you mention are all highly incompetent but they are very good liars.

  • King Kibbutz

    His secret is that he knows full well and doesn’t much care.

    • Todd Unctious

      He is due to stand down in 2018 and take a sinecure at Morgan Stanley. £5 million a year for one day a week at work.

      • King Kibbutz

        And all objections will be filed under ‘Politics of Envy’.

        • Todd Unctious

          I prefer Politics of Revenge. I hope he can sleep at night.

  • Seedee Vee

    He’s succeeding in the Race to the Bottom.

  • ohforheavensake

    His secret? The British voting system.

  • davidofkent

    The Conservative Party may be Centre-right but David Cameron most certainly is not. I would say that he is just a tad to the left of centre.

    • Todd Unctious

      …..and an idiot. Don’t forget how the Tory voter loves an idiot.

  • Nuahs87

    You say it is interesting that Cameron never unveiled all his left wing policies before the election. Actually, it is more than interesting. Most of Cameron’s post-election policies were proposed by Miliband during the election campaign and were denounced by the Tories as dangerous to the future of our nation. It is almost as if the whole Tory v Labour campaign was a phony war (on both sides). Labour and the Tories are simply the establishment party, there is no difference and the Scots have sussed it. England and Wales are well on their way to the same conclusion. The main hope for the establishment is that they get enough dependent migrants in to prop them up when reality hits.

    • Todd Unctious

      They compete to do the bidding of the City of London Corporation and their web of tax havens.

    • Conway

      When people spoke of the liblabcon as being a single party they were derided.

  • victor67

    While the preoccupation with Trump is good entertainment value and is quite calculated by the corporate media. This is because he has no chance of being President and is no threat to big business.
    In contrast there is a concerted plan to ignore Bernie Saunders who is now leading Clinton in many polls.He is by far a bigger threat to the corporate elite in that he could stop the coronation of their woman Hillary becoming CIC

    . They are now alarmed that ignoring Saunders isn’t working as he is gainning support

  • Curmudgeon

    Cameron is not in any meaningful sense right-wing or even “centre-right”.

  • William Matthews

    Succeeding? He survives because in a room full of massive idiots, he stands out. He’s a safe-ish bet. Clegg was useless, Miliband was hopeless and possibly dangerous and certainly useless. And then there is Corbyn, who is also hopeless, quite useless and most definitely dangerous.

    • Malcolm Stevas

      I sometimes daydream about a debate conducted between Cameron and Enoch Powell, or even Denis Healey… Lamb to the slaughter.

  • Sean L

    Worldwide? But there’s no such thing as right or left in Africa, with the possible exception of South Africa, and much of Asia. And even here, in places like Tower Hamlets it’s being displaced by the rise of identity politics and bloc voting. Of course that’s one of the big problems in global politics, projecting Western political concepts as the norm rather than the exception. As if people will automatically renounce ancient allegiances once you impose a Western style system of voting. Although it was encouraging to see an election poster in Kampala recently with the obligatory candidate photograph accompanied by the simple slogan “Rule of Law and Accountability” – I was thinking we could do with some candidates like that here!

    • Alex

      The Tories talked a lot about that in 2010. Now six years later they have enacted two pieces of retrospective legislation and want to get rid of the human rights act and freedom of information.

      • ThatOneChap

        The European Human Rights Act is ridiculous. We have a perfectly good Bill of Rights that could be expanded upon merely by removing the word ‘Protestant’ from several clauses. Or we can just grab the American one as it’s just a refined version of our old Bill of Rights.

        • Alex

          Why are the European Convention on Human Rights and its associated Act ridiculous? It’s good enough for all the other countries in Europe and the UN one is good enough for everyone else.

          I suppose in the UK we are special, aren’t we? We need greater freedom for the rentier class to exploit the little people.

  • Itinerant

    Dave doesn’t have a secret- he merely signals right to the electorate while turning left or pro-EU with policies.

    They put up billboards to tell middle-England they’re tough on immigration, while the actual numbers reach record highs- an insider has said they have ‘given up’ trying to reduce numbers.

    Dave talks tough on all kinds of subjects but is a fully-paid up member of the cultural relativist EUrabian Express- currently bring anarchy to parts of Europe.

    One need only look to the estimated 300+ “battle-hardened and vengeful” jihadists, as Gilligan called them, allowed back into the country,

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/islamic-state/11457140/Battle-hardened-and-vengeful-300-jihadists-are-back-in-Britain.html

    which merely reiterates the position of Labour MEP’s who voted recently against,

    “any border controls… aimed at fighting terrorism” in the European Parliament, and in support of the “reintegration… of so-called ‘foreign’ fighters”

    http://www.breitbart.com/london/2015/11/28/labour-meps-vote-reintegration-islamic-state-terrorists-border-controls/

    • Alex

      That has nothing to do with right and left wing. If anything mass immigration is a right-wing (i.e. free market) position

    • Ken

      … and the electorate gets the government they deserve. it’s a shame so many people decide after listening, rather than after watching.

  • Conway

    Cameron’s secret (not actually so very secret in reality) is that he isn’t centre right!

    • Evan Thomas

      Or perhaps that he is of the mainstream modern “centre right” but that this would have been regarded as radical left only thirty years ago…

      • Malcolm Stevas

        I am contemptuous of this weaselly term “centre right”, which generally seems to be a euphemism for social democracy – something that’s neither social, nor democratic…

  • Conway

    It was a pathetic attempt by MPs to insert themselves into the US presidential race.” No, it was an attempt by the MPs to pretend that they actually listen to the people and respond to petitions.

    • Malcolm Stevas

      I wish they did, and about matters closer to home than Trump et al.

  • Cobbett

    there’s nothing remarkable about Camoron’s electoral ‘victory’…just remember who the opposition was.

  • liversedge

    telling lies and avoiding scrutiny.

  • sidor

    Centre-right/centre-left sequence is a normal electoral procedure in any stable democracy (continental-style police state). The electorate votes, the bureaucracy rules, and these two processes are completely decoupled. France and Germany are perfect examples.

  • Alex

    It’s all down to the compliant media. The Telegraph literally made up out of thin air an exchange between Nicola Sturgeon and a diplomat to suggest that a Labour government would be under the thumb of the SNP.

  • John Smith

    Although there are valid points in this article, I cringe at the brown-nosing to Cameron.

  • WFC

    I’m surprised not to see “I’m David Cameron and I approve this message” at the bottom.

    • edithgrove

      the Spectator is in full propaganda mode, yesterday “Osborne is a Hottie’ and now this.

  • Ipsedixit

    “Centre Right”!!! Would someone please point out any aspect of Cameron style politics that is rightist? Cameron hates people like me who are common sense pragmatists. He thinks we are far right goons.

  • sidor

    Let’s test this classification on a historical case: was Guy Fawkes left, right, centre-left or centre-right?

    • Ipsedixit

      Well it turns out he was right doesn’t it?

      • sidor

        Do you suggest that the europhiles are right?

        • Ipsedixit

          Absolutely not. And when I described Fawkes as “right”, I meant that he was correct!

          • sidor

            That was my question. Thanks for confirming your answer. Are you a europhile?

          • Ipsedixit

            I’m at the extreme opposite end of that. I actually voted against the original con when Wilson held his faux referendum.

          • Ipsedixit

            I’ll be voting to get out no matter what Cameron stitches up.

  • MC

    The magnetic poles have reversed: what was left is right and visa versa.
    1. JC supports homophobes and misogynists, whilst DC brings in gay marriage and more women in the cabinet than Labour.
    2. The ethnic minority vote is surging towards Tories, whilst abandoning Labour.
    3. JC supports ultra right wing terrorists, whilst DC goes to war on the same side as Putin; bombing the ultra right wing terrorists that JC supports.
    4. JC supports gagging orders and no platform at universities and elsewhere, whilst DC is for free speech and open debate.

    • Enri d’Aith

      Could you perhaps expand on your item 2? The impression that many (mostly anti-immigrant, anti-EU) posters give is that the immigrant vote goes very largely to Labour.

  • James

    corbyn!

  • Bluesman_1

    The centre-right is failing worldwide, so what’s David Cameron’s secret?

    Cameron is centre-left. Remember? “The heir to Blair”.

  • Pioneer

    Get with the times James, “illiberal absurdity” is considered normal these days.

  • JOhn Mackie

    His immigration policy has been humane and sustainable has it?

    Get back to me when there has been the inevitable epidemic of rape, sexual assault and theft. Then get back to me again when the european millionmalesmuslim invasion has turned into 3 million of them and they all get their passports and absolute right to walk across our borders.

    Watching European civilisatio9n commit suicide at the hands of these limp-wristed kumbaya liberals is so depressing.

    Jesus wept.

    • Sue Smith

      Those tremendously damaging Kumbaya liberals are one and the same generation bred from the parents who dropped; (a) acid, (b) their pants, (c) their conscription card down the toilet, (d) any modicum of civility or socialization, (e) their taste in music – or, so-called music and, finally, (f) their engagement with the real world at any level whatsoever.

      What would you expect given the generational background of many modern-day voters?

  • Wee Mental Davie

    Stone the crows. The Conservatives are in an early panic.

    Might as well face up to it, the Tories are washed out over Camerons commitment to the EU project. Flee while you can to UKIP, because come 2020, the public will demand blood from this lib/lab/con disaster.

    Some people will have to do some major sucking up to Trump and likely who ever runs UKIP. I can’t wait.

  • Three chords & the truth

    Cameron is not centre right and he appears to be a success only because he has no opposition.Sadly we now have an official opposition that is a joke.There is no one to hold him to account as he sells us down the river.How depressing.

  • UnionPacificRX

    The center right generally embraces conservative values and the center left generally embraces liberal values. By that I mean that multiculturalism, Open borders, anti Constitution, Anti Christian values, Pro Socialism, are failing and they are considered “center left” values.

    Trump represents the center right and his popularity is the highest among all the candidates.

    • Malcolm Stevas

      Puzzled: the characteristics you list are not liberal, they’re illiberal.

      • UnionPacificRX

        Those who are considered “liberal” by others support
        multiculturalism
        Open borders as in Amnesty care and the dream act
        Global warming
        Socialism in the sense that a government should and must take care of “her people”
        I am sure those people do not consider themselves “liberal”
        It is similar to a Dictatorship. they never call themselves despots or dictators but leaders.
        or
        that of Communism. Most Communist nations call themselves ‘the republic or the Democratic or a combination of both.

        • Malcolm Stevas

          You’re American? Different definition of “liberal”.

          • UnionPacificRX

            Yes I am. What is your definition of a liberal? I would really like to know.

          • Malcolm Stevas

            The English one.
            Collins English Dictionary: “Someone who has liberal views believes people should have a lot of freedom in deciding how to behave and think.”
            OED: “Willing to respect or accept behaviour or opinions different from one’s own; open to new ideasfavouring individual liberty, free trade, and moderate political and social reform:…. Favourable to or respectful of individual rights and freedoms…. ” etc

            Since I’m a sort of conservative-libertarian-nationalist, I am politically liberal according to the traditional English definition. Unfortunately Americans seem to use the term to mean Socialist, Leftist and so on.

          • UnionPacificRX

            Someone who has liberal views believes people should have a lot of freedom in deciding how to behave and think.”

            That is the textbook definition. The Free Speech movement of the US took place in Berkeley California, the very bastion of liberalism.

            Then when put into practice it changes. You are allowed that freedom to behave and think as long as it does not offend a liberal.

            then they go about listing what offends them. From the Rhodes statue in Oxford to the battle flag of the Confederacy. To the removal of any reference of God in any form in any public place to the idea that anyone should be welcome into a nation regardless if they do harm to that society’

            the last part is based on the general concept that all humans are equal in thought and deed. We are not

            the concept that making money by some is in some way, evil. So a general concept of equality of people based on economics. That was tried in Russia. It is called “collectivism”

            In order to make “equal” the wealth of a nation it is easier to bring down the rich and middle class than raise the living standard of the massive underclass. You end up with a nation of poor people. Textbook translated into life changes ideologies.

          • Malcolm Stevas

            It’s not “textbook”: it’s just what the word means in English. As to what it means in America, or the obscure reasons for the meaning having changed, I’m indifferent. But this is an English forum. You need to write English – not American.

          • UnionPacificRX

            not in practice

          • Malcolm Stevas

            A merican practice.

    • Andrew Finn

      Conservatism is dead in the UK. All we have is a party that bears the name.

      • UnionPacificRX

        Do you consider your views conservative? if you do then there is one in the UK who is and if there is one then there are many others
        If there are many who are conservative in a nation where the people should run the government, then conservatism is alive.

        • Andrew Finn

          Sadly, normally Conservative-minded people in this country fall for the Conservative Party’s spin (aka ‘lies’), which sustains the present-day party (along with taxpayer handouts running into the tens of millions). There’s also lots who simply don’t vote because they’ve been wise enough to ignore the spin, and there’s no credible alternative. UKIP comes close, but they divide opinion (not for me, I should add… I voted for them).

          • UnionPacificRX

            Remember in High School my Political Science teacher mentioning that the values that make a conservative or a liberal change with time and place. Many issues that were once “conservative’ later become liberal issues. This is just in the US. Thanks for explaining the British version of it. I will keep this in mind when I make comments on this forum.

      • slyblade

        A faux conservative party led by a wet liberal. Astonishingly 11 million held their noses and voted them back in

  • Ken

    His secret is governing as a centre-left government.

    • ButcombeMan

      And one of the reasons about the confusion in the Labour party is because of that.

      Cameron IS Blair, without the friendship with Murdoch’s wife.

      • Ken

        I expect Mrs Cameron is the reason that friendship is not progressing!

  • Chris

    Cameron was lucky to win at the last GE. Even he couldn’t believe it. He won only because people were that scared of Labour getting in they voted Tory to keep them out. Lots of those who voted Tory wanted to vote for UKIP but they wanted Labour kept out at all costs so bit the bullet, held their noses and voted Tory.

    Labour are finished now however,and won’t be a threat at the next GE so all those who wanted to vote UKIP will indeed do so. It was Labour who got trounced at the last GE. At the next one it will be the Tories as well.

    • slyblade

      Your absolutely spot on Chris, after the GE i spoke with a lot of people who said they were going to vote UKIP but the thought of Miliband with Mad Mc Sturgeon pulling the strings was just too much to contemplate. Cameron got in by default, not because people liked or trusted him. The erroneous waffle i have just read by James Forsyth shows these political hacks have their heads stuck in the same Westminster bubble and are clueless as to what is happening in the real world.

    • magi83

      Cameron is a centrist who has placed the Tories a smidgen to the right of Labour on the economy (right of centre in Britain) and social issues (left of centre in Britain). I think it’s disingenuous to say that he’s right of left wing. He clearly doesn’t define himself in terms of ideology. He’s of the ‘managerial’ world leader class, not interested in significant social change. He is truly the heir to Blair.

  • rtj1211

    I wish people in Britain would grow up about how leaders get elected by their own party and then how, if at all, they get elected by the people at large.

    Both the UK Labour Party and the US Republican Party have similar scenarios on the opposite ends of the political spectrum currently. Labour’s position is perhaps more temporary and the Republicans more permanent, but broadly the truth is this: to be selected as Party Leader/Presidential candidate, you must be MORE EXTREME, since the party members are more extreme than the general voter on the street.

    Once you have been selected, of course, if you wish to get elected as President/Prime Minister, you have to modify your message to attract more middle of the road voters. So if Trump were the Presidential candidate, he would undoubtedly tone down his more hellfire and brimstone equivalents and be more consensual. If Corbyn is to have a hope, he has to be considerably more right wing than he has traditionally been too.

    Both Trump and Corbyn therefore have the problem of alienating the machine that selected them in order to get elected.

    That depends on the maturity of the party members and whether they can understand and accept that.

    So if I were UK MPs, I really wouldn’t take things too seriously until the Republicans actually select a candidate to run with. Until then, their target audience is rather like a UK readership of the Spectator/DT. Far further to the right than the mainstream and not populated by sufficient voters to ever win a General Election/Presidential run-off.

    Perhaps that isn’t very newsworthy/topical, but unfortunately, it’s the truth.

    • Malcolm Stevas

      There is much in what you say, but do you think Corbyn is sufficiently in touch with the real world to moderate his pretty far Left message in the way you suggest he should?

    • Bob Gunter

      Trump has rode roughshod over the Republican structure who have been out to get him from day one. He doesn’t owe the GOP a thing. Furthermore, he has very high approval ratings from Democrats because people are waking up to this simple truth, both parties are the same, they just sing a different tune. Trump is telling people he will change things, well good look to him.

  • Andrew Finn

    Lots if money, lies, deceit and weak opposition.

  • JonBW

    “The centre-right is failing worldwide, so what’s David Cameron’s secret?”

    Not being a centre-right politician? Being a moderately skillful liberal/social democrat who has been extraordinarily lucky in the (abysmal) quality of his opponents?

    • Dominic Stockford

      Exactly. He’s centre-left at best.

  • LoveMeIamALiberal

    Cameron’s approval is not good, about net zero. But the other major party leaders have and have had net negative rating. He’s perceived as less bad than the alternatives, hardly a ringing endorsement.

  • Bob Gunter

    The centre-right, what part of Cameron is in anyway shape or form right? If a Trump came along in the UK and we didn’t have banana republic safeguards in place against voter fraud, you’d see how popular Cameron is.

  • SonOfaGun

    He was chosen as a Blue Blair, but he is starting to look so last decade.

  • WTF

    Its early days on Europes migrant issues, lets re-visit Camerons performance in 6 months time.

  • WTF

    We’re seeing exactly the same sort of rhetoric from the Tories as America is seeing from the Republicans, a lame claim that they are the party with ‘conservative’ values. In all honesty, both are clueless what the original conservative values were and certainly cant make a credible picture to either electorate today. Attempts to smear Trump have no effect or just boost his ratings whether from them or the Clinton campaign as neither of the tired old parties get it. People have had enough of the lies and spin and if UKIP had the sort of funds that Trump has at his disposal, Cameron would be toast just as Corbyn is already toast.

    Both countries have immigration at the top of the political agenda as far as the electorate is concerned despite Clinton & Saunders trying to play it down and its no different here, Cameron is weak on immigration and Corbyn wants to let in thousands of terrorists and rapists. Both countries see whats happening in Europe and don’t want it in their back yard as they’ve already had enough terrorist acts and gang rapes from un-vetted migrants let alone the home grown ones.

    Cameron hasn’t any secret, he’s just been lucky no major terrorist act has happened for a while and most of the migrant problems are 22 miles away, but for how long I wonder.

  • jim

    Cameron is not centre right.He is centre left…….Trump is not extreme at all.The centre has moved so far to the left that even the most reasonable conservative position can be presented as being beyond the pale.

    • mickey667

      The centre has moved to the Left?

      What? You missed the Thatcher and Blair years then……

    • Neil Saunders

      No, Cameron is a Blairite, neoliberal on economics, neoconservative on foreign policy and politically correct on social policy.

      In other words, a toxic fusion of the libertarian right and the libertine left.

  • Gerry Flower

    The centre-right is failing around the world? What a deluded comment that is.

    It’s the hard right that’s failing actually. Just look at Australia – a hard right leader (Abbott) has just been replaced by a centrist (Turnbull). The UK’s centrist leader (Cameron) has just been returned. NZ’s centrist Key is comfortably ensconced in leadership.

    The US is a mess – but it usually is at this stage of an election cycle as all the candidates run to the edges desperate to appeal to what they think is their party’s base, only to run equally hard back to the centre in an even greater desperate attempt to appeal to the middle ground.

    All in all a fantasy-land article. Disappointing.

  • Cyril Sneer

    This country is crying out for a proper right wing government. People have had their fill of weak liberals and their idiotic suicidal politics. Many of us have kids and we can see that the future does not bode well.

    • mickey667

      4 million people are, and they voted for UKIP. Not to be sniffed at, but not exactly the country crying out.

  • WFB56

    A simple question, he’s not centre right. Climate change, actual debt reduction – not just the PR version – tax policies, gay marriage, etc.

  • Chris

    The Tories won because of the SNP. Labour lost 50 seats to them in Scotland and former Lib-Dems in the south-west didn’t fancy the nation being run by them with Labour. To make out he has some sort of magical formula is ridiculous, vast numbers of former Tories no longer see any connection to the party. The base is being diminished in search of a small number of centrists. The Tories are very scarce on the ground in the cities and north of the midlands.

    If the Tory majority lasts until the next GE, I’d be very surprised indeed. The EU referendum will show that Cameron really doesn’t give a damn about those party members that actually do the leg work. Expect party membership to collapse.

  • Mode4

    Dave believes in mass immigration, importing terrorism, building on green fields and handing our sovereignty to a foreign power. Hardly centre right and certainly not a conservative leader. He has always been politically lucky and the rise of the SNP came just at the right time to instil fear into the electorate. Now he has Corbyn to do the same. He’s just lucky not centre right.

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