Thursday, October 23, 2008

One Nation Conservatism; Not So Much A Philosophy, More A Statement Of Foreign Policy

Last week's reference to my Labour colleagues on Cardiff Council gave me cause to consider my reticence to this point towards blogging on council matters. At one level, this blog was never going to become a repository for ward news because that sort of thing was never its purpose when it started two years and one major city ago and it still isn't. Sooner or later I'm sure there will be a Llandaff and Danescourt Focus Team blog, but that's for another day.

As for city-wide issues, I've always recognised that I'm a member of the ruling group and that I have responsibilities to my colleagues. Our executive team is one of the very best in the country and I would not want anything that might appear on these pages to make it harder for them to do their job. Keeping my own counsel is difficult at times; there's one ongoing story I'd really like to blog about because it has given us the winner of the 2008 Scunner Broon Award for Stupidest Political Quote Of The Year, but I'll save that for the appropriate juncture.

Nevertheless, one thing you do learn very quickly in this business is that the council is a reasonably decent microcosm of the world of electoral politics everywhere and the examples worthy of note abound. One such came last Tuesday at Environmental Scrutiny Committee, where we received a presentation from the leader of the Sustainable Development team as part of the Executive response to a scrutiny report on that subject.

What was remarkable was the questioning that followed from the two Conservative members of the committee. The first enquired about the scientific basis of the team's work, leading to a brief discussion between him and our chair about whether it was most or the vast majority of scientists who think climate change is real and anthropogenic. The second went even further, asking in all seriousness whether the council's 60% carbon emission reduction target had taken into account the actions of China, India and the USA...

And yet, the thing to note is that it's not remarkable at all. Beneath the flaky veneer of the Cameron revolution, these are the members the Conservative Party actually has; old white men for whom the one nation is Britain. Dave's thesis, of course, it that they aren't important in the grand scheme of things and that it is the Goves and Greenings and Warsis of this world that matter. But while in Cardiff we're lucky that they're only the official opposition, it is traditional conservatives like these who are running councils and Conservative Associations up and down England and will have a big say in the actions of any future Cameron government.

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