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Power before ideology

Posted by Richard Wednesday, September 07, 2005

This, according to The Daily Telegraph is what Tory leadership challenger Ken Clarke is telling Party members. More specifically, he is warning them that the Tory party will not regain power unless it puts the will to win above its hostility to the European Union. Clarke says he lost the leadership contest in 2001 because activists, who voted against him, had put ideology above winning.

Strangely, three of the most electorally successful Western leaders of recent times have been Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and George W. Bush. The very antithesis of modern "wishy-washy" consensus politics, their names invoke strong passions – strong loyalties and almost frenzied hatred. And what made them winners was, in each case, that they had an identifiable ideology.

What Clarke fails to realise is that his is the dictum of "power before principles", which is what is turning people off politics. It is the reason why so many politicians are regarded with the utmost contempt. And it is exactly the reason why Clarke would make a disastrous leader of the Conservative Party.

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