The recent rounds of debates between Nigel Farage and Nick Clegg have concluded at least one thing; the Conservative Party has been left out of the real ideological debate going on in Britain: liberalism vs conservatism.
Attempting to move to the left to attract liberal voters and then playing catch-up with UKIP on Europe and immigration has left the Conservative Party caught between two stools, pulled in two directions but without the space to define an ideology distinct from either.
If UKIP’s increasing popularity heralds nothing else, it is the dissatisfaction the public holds with the populism of the third way, of parties desperate to ape the centre ground, blind to the common ground.
It means that despite progress on the economy, genuine popular opinion and the sense of being the force behind a national movement has been lost by the Conservative Party, and at the current rate UKIP will overtake the Conservative Party as a membership organisation within 7 years.
At least to the country at large, it will be impossible to define our own ideology as a party whilst in coalition with the Liberal Democrats, and if we can’t do that before the next election, it will be impossible to win a clear and Conservative majority.
That is why in this edition of Crossbow we call for the dissolution of the Coalition Government, to allow the Conservative Party a year to set out its stall to the country as a party of solid conservative ideology. In essence, a return to being a party of competence and long-term vision as well as short-term pragmatism.
For younger Conservatives this is yet more important, as it will also demonstrate what the Conservative Party will be as a membership organisation and the nature of its values and relevance as a movement that a new generation will give their lives and labour to.
Conservatives can be proud of conservative values, to build a stronger, greater and more responsible nation; we have nothing to fear and everything to gain in showing those values to the nation once again.
Ben Harris-Quinney, Bow Group Chairman