Yesterday, Britons went to the polls to elect a new parliament. David Frum (a liberal who says that terrorists who are American citizens should retain their citizen status) claimed that the Conservative Party would triumph and that its “modernization programme” (i.e. Cameron’s transformation of the Conservative Party into a Blue Labor Party) should be adopted by the GOP.
But the “modernization programme” has proven itself to be a disaster for the British “Conservatives”, who have failed to win even a slim majority of seats. Consequently, the UK is facing a hung parliament and a constitutional crisis.
Why did this happen? Because the misnamed “modernization programme” has alienated millions of traditional conservative voters while failing to attract a significant number of voters of leftwing parties or indepenents. Because Cameron has refused to endorse traditional conservative policies (like reducing the parasite class and reducing personal taxes), millions of traditional rightwing voters have become disenfranchised and stayed home or voted for a small rightwing party like UKIP.
Not that I didn’t warn the GOP about this scenario. Last month, I wrote on TRC that
“In 2005, David Cameron, a wishy-washy moderate Tory from Witney, was elected leader of the Tory Party. He and his ”moderate” aides began a radical remolding of the Conservative Party into a clone of the Labor Party, based on the fallacious belief that the voters of that party and the Lib Dems could be swayed to vote for the Tories, even though the vast majority of such voters are hardline leftists who wouldn’t vote for the Tories under any circumstances. As for traditional Conservative voters, Cameron argued that ”they have nowhere else to go” and so, they would always remain loyal to the Tory Party.
Cameron was wrong. Traditional Tory voters do have somewhere to go. The far-right United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and similar parties welcome these voters with open arms. In fact, UKIP itself was established in 1993 by disenchanted Tories and almost all of the people who subsequently joined the party are also disenfranchised Conservative voters. But UKIP was a small fringe party – until Cameron initiated his ”modernization” program and began to scare Tory voters away from his party.”
The veteran British journalist Christopher Booker summed this up thus:
“The real tragedy of what has happened to Britain in the past 20 years is that we no longer have an opposition worthy of the name. It is almost impossible to measure the damage done by 13 years of rule by Blair and Brown. (…)
Yet, as the worst Government in our history has presided over this catastrophe, we have had an Opposition so hypnotised that in fundamental respects it has scarcely been an opposition at all. The Tory party has never really recovered its identity, leaving millions of voters in effect disfranchised. Three virtually indistinguishable parties squabble over trivia, leaving the electorate without any clear alternative – so that on May 6 almost half the voters may well stay apathetically or sullenly at home.”
So let’s sum up the scenario facing the UK right now: after 13 years spent under the worst British government since the Wilson government, after this incompetent government had done unimaginable harm to the UK, the “modernized Conservative Party” led by David Cameron – Frum’s hero – couldn’t win even a slim majority of seats in the House of Commons. Not only that, but it will probably guarantee the British people another 5 years under a socialist government (a coalition of the Labor Party and the Lib Dems). This is exactly the result of the “modernization” policy which Frum hailed, and this will also be the grim result if the GOP adopts Frum’s advice.
And this British lesson is valuable, because the GOP is nowadays considering what should it become: a liberal party slightly less liberal than the Dem party, or a conservative party loyal to the principles of Ronald Reagan and America’s founders?
The GOP is at crossroads, and it must choose one of the roads available.
The first road would be the David Frum Highway to Electoral Defeat – or what Frum calls a “modernization” policy a la the Tory Party.
The other option would be to re-commit individual Republican politicians – and the Party as an organization – to traditional conservative principles upon which the Party and the US were established: a strong defense, low taxes, limited government, private enterprise, a Federal Republic, a strict interpretation of the Constitution, and protection of personal liberties. Tens of millions of Americans profess these principles (vide the Tea Partiers) and will vote for Republicans who abide by them. These Americans constitute today’s “Great Silent Majority”.
Currently, the GOP is neither liberal nor conservative. It still hasn’t decided what to choose.
It’s time for conservatives to campaign against liberals like John McCain and Carly Fiorina and retake the GOP.