Liddington calls for local support for Tories

The following piece was first published in the Newsletter a few days ago. It’s from the Tories’ Northern Ireland spokesman and is unremarkable other than for its obvious sign off pitch for Northern Ireland residents to get involved and join the British Conservative party. Over to the Campaign for Labour Representation in Northern Ireland group, who seem to be fighting an uphill struggle. The only Labour party organising in Northern Ireland at the moment seems to be Irish Labour.By David Liddington

Throughout the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, there is a real desire for new ideas and new leadership.

In 1997, people were willing Tony Blair and Gordon Brown to succeed. They said they could deliver social justice and economic efficiency. These aims were right. And clearly, some good has been achieved: Bank of England independence, additional investment in the NHS and schools. But after nine years, people are disappointed.

We haven’t seen social justice in our country: whether in Belfast or Bradford, far too many people and families are still trapped in multiple deprivation.

Neither have we seen much sign of economic efficiency. Our country trails the Irish Republic for growth and competitiveness.

Labour have failed families struggling to find affordable childcare and good schools. And they’ve failed elderly people who want dignity and security in retirement.

There’s a fundamental reason for Labour’s failure. They think that spin can take the place of long-term thinking, and they believe that problems can be solved by new laws, regulations and targets. That approach isn’t working. Too often, more government just clogs up the works instead of solving long-term problems.

The challenge for Conservatives throughout the United Kingdom is to provide a serious alternative to Labour, so we can offer our country the change it needs.

That means three things. First, the Party itself has to change. We must be a modern, compassionate Conservative Party. We must be a voice for change, optimism and hope. Above all we must be an inclusive Party and that includes encouraging people from all backgrounds to play a full and active part in rebuilding the Conservative Party. People who before may not have considered joining the party are now doing so, in Northern Ireland as elsewhere.

Second, we have to develop new ideas to tackle the challenges facing the United Kingdom

Third, we have to show that the changes we would make are for the long term – that they’re built to last.

My Party’s aim is to improve the quality of life for everyone, through:

· a dynamic economy, where thriving businesses create jobs, wealth and opportunity;

· a strong society, where our families, our communities and our nation create secure foundations on which people can build their lives; and

· a sustainable environment, where we enhance the beauty of our surroundings and protect the future of our planet.

Our prosperity depends on the United Kingdom competing successfully with the best in the world. Conservatives will put economic stability and fiscal responsibility first, even ahead of tax cuts. Over time, we want to share the proceeds of growth between public services and lower taxes – instead of letting government spend an ever-increasing share of our national income.

The quality of life matters, as well as the quantity of money. We will seek a long-term cross-party consensus on sustainable development and climate change. We want to see government support the choices that families make about how to balance their work and home lives, not impose choices on them.

Well-run public services are an essential part of our national well-being. We need to improve education, not by destroying the most successful element of Northern Ireland’s schools system, but by driving up standards in those schools that are failing.

In education, health and policing, we should cut out the targets and bureaucracy that stifle initiative and destroy professional morale.

Security and freedom must go hand in hand. In fighting crime and terrorism, we will be hard-nosed defenders of freedom and security. We will ensure strong defence for our nation and the effective enforcement of laws that balance liberty and safety.

We’re working hard to rebuild people’s trust in the Conservative Party, and ensure that we are a credible, competent alternative Government when the next election comes. We still have a mountain to climb, but there is a sense of excitement and optimism among Conservative MPs and party members now that I have not seen for many years.

Moreover, our vision is as relevant for Northern Ireland as for anywhere else. We have a bright future and I hope people will grasp the opportunity to shape that future with us.

  • Ziznivy

    I would suspect that the Conservatives are far from willing to cuddle up to the DUP. What exactly is the Conservative Party NI proposing as the way forward for unionists? Ditch their own political parties and vote for those who deem unionism a sectarian concept? Ignore the reality of a large minority who wish to end the state’s existence and stop focusing on the link with the rest of the UK? And whose votes is it you’re after if it is not indeed unionists? Maybe you has better think how the patronising tone comes across to potential voters.

    Those who sympathise with Conservative values in Northern Ireland would be more likely to vote UUP to express this given an understanding than to ditch the unionist imperative entirely and vote for a party that appears to have no substantial base outside England at all.

  • Crataegus


    If the local Tories spent more time out in the community trying to get votes in practice and less time on Slugger discussing theory

    If they did you would probably loose your seat in Hollywood!!

    I would like to see Labour and the Conservatives try to properly organise here in whatever form. However don’t see it happening as their interests may not be well served and the necessary investment would be high and the likely reward low.

  • slug

    Well Cameron set out his values today in the following booklet.

    In terms of the NI Conservatives, he said:

    – he wanted to strengthen the UK with “a Unionist response” to the West Lothian question.

    – he wanted to bring “accountable” democracy to NI in which all parties are committed to democracy and the rule of law.

    These seem to be things the NI Conservatives could live with.

    I think though that if the Conservatives were to propose downgrading NI and Scottish MP’s role in Westminster, on English matters, which they have a power-incentive to do, then that could harm the interests of the Local Conservatives, depending on what the exact proposals are.

    For instance, the local conservatives don’t want to go into the next Westminster election saying “vote for me to get rid of my vote on English university fees”.

  • Local Conservative reaction to Cameron’s document is at

  • slug

    Bob – what did you make of Camerons press release today? Why release this in mid summer when lots of folks are on hols?

  • The experts reckon that having done alot of soft focus re-positioning/ rebranding he is now moving on to a more aggressive phase between now and Conference.