Will the UK Conservatives become like the Republican Party? – Simon Wren-Lewis – Mainly Macro

English: David Cameron at a Conservative Party...

English: David Cameron at a Conservative Party Reception (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is an excellent, thought-provoking blog from Oxford economist, Simon Wren-Lewis. I would recommend it as a MUST-READ, in my view. Check it out!

via mainly macro: Will the UK Conservatives become like the Republican Party?.

There are a number of important themes in this article but the pivotal issue is whether ideology has more influence than evidenced based policy. Wren-Lewis argues:

I would argue that attitudes to climate change represent an acid test of whether ideology has overtaken evidence in parties of the right.

As I digested the article, I focused on the policies of David Cameron’s government over the last three years, especially George Osborne‘s economic policies that have favored excessive austerity; for me, this has all been about ideology, rather than evidence based policy. Every respectable economist, including the IMF has called for fiscal stimulation in the UK but this has been ignored by George Osborne. We seem to be witnessing a recovery based upon inflationary property expectations because of the Government’s policy of guaranteeing property loans to first buyers. There still seems to be an absence of investment and focus on exports.

Another interesting theme is that David Cameron is basically playing to the right of the Conservative Party and that gay marriage and foreign aide are just a couple of sweeteners for the center.

Wren-Lewis’ conclusion is deeply worrying in my view:

The pessimistic conclusion for those who believe in evidence based policy may be that there is nothing that can stop the Republicanisation of the UK Conservative Party.

Any thoughts on the UK Conservatives becoming like the Republican Party?

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15 responses

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  14. Like Dr Alf who probably discovered the Simon Wren-Lewis article on Twitter, I eventually found it in a Socialist publication via a Google search.

    My reading of the article and my first hand knowledge of America and the politics there does not impel me to the same conclusions as Wren-Lewis or the idea that ideology is simply confined to one political party or that the IPCC and those who believe in Darwinian evolution have a monopoly of wisdom and that all this wisdom is concentrated in the brain of Simon Wren-Lewis, those who agree with him and people in socialist parties or parties which purport to be.

    The Conservative Party which I first started supporting at the age of 11 is nothing like the party of David Cameron.

    To be a real Conservative you believe in:

    –Strong law and order

    –Traditional marriage

    –Value for money

    –A strong economy

    –Low taxes

    –Strong defence

    –A strong military covenant with our fighting men and their loved ones looked after

    –Food and energy self sufficiency

    –People being allowed to get on with their lives without undue interference

    –The preservation of the Nation State

    –Alliances based on hard headed realpolitik

    –Security of our borders

    –Thrift and hard work

    –Economic competence

    –Free markets with sensible controls

    –The rule of law fairly applied and based on a tradition of Judeo Christian ethics going back 1000 years

    What we have under David Cameron and his fellow stooges is nothing like that:

    –Police numbers cut by 20%

    –Value per taxpayer pound 17th in the world

    –A bankrupt economy and £2 trillion in on and off balance sheet debt

    –A Tri Forces unable to guard our coastline,too few boots on the ground,no ability to defend our sea lanes and an over reliance on America,France and others to defend us

    –A broken military covenant

    –Massive food imports and 5000 farmers going bankrupt every year and just 4% spare generating capacity

    –An intrusive state which interferes and spies on people 24 hours a day

    –Parliament reduced to a cipher with our real masters being Angela Merkel and Germany in Europe

    –Alliances which are a one way street

    –35 million too many people and no border security whatsoever with the Census about to be abolished

    –Economic incompetence,no exports ,too little enterprise,too few jobs,too little inward investment,too few linguistically capable export salespeople

    –Unfree markets

    –Judeo Christian ethics traduced by “Gay Marriage”,attempts to permit Sharia Law and a failure to get certain immigrants to integrate fully.

    America is not like this,looks after its military forces and their families and has in most of its policies a different approach to the one adopted by David Cameron.

    So the comparison Simon Wren Lewis seeks to make is one of comparing apples with pears.

    This I know from living and working in that country and encountering people from across the political divide.

    The Republican Party resembles the Conservative Party under David Cameron in that they both represent the interests of Big Business and plutocrats but there the resemblance ends.

    Yes, it has people in it who imagine the earth was created in 7 days and is just 6,500 years old but we have people here who believe the earth can support only 1 billion people and that 6 billion people need to be culled as “useless eaters”.

    Clearly, there is no monopoly on derangement and lunacy either.

    Simon Wren-Lewis clearly believes in Global Warming and Climate Change but the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Chinese Government, the Indian Government and the world’s top oceanographer Professor Richard Lindzen do not.

    In 150 years, the earths temperature has supposedly risen by 0.8 degrees yet since 1996 there has been a cooling as evidenced by 1 million extra square miles of ice at the poles a flourishing Plar Bear population and harsh winters in the UK during 2002, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013.

    In fact, the Government has had 8 years of reports sitting on its desk produced by its scientists telling them that the climate is cooling.

    Then Wren-Lewis cites Darwinian evolution.

    The reality is that humans are the only creatures on the planet with brains far more developed than the rest of their bodies but Darwinian theory does not explain this adequately or at all.

    Second if we look at primitive people like Indonesian Dyaks, African Pygmies etc and then compare them to a Westernized C1 or C2 and then compare them to an Oxbridge graduate or to Professor Stephen Hawking or a Bill Gates are we really saying that all of them have evolved at the same speed from apes?

    During the California Gold Rush the miners found skeletons very much like modern mankind over 1 million years old which meant they must have coexisted with more primitive forms of humankind supposedly descended from apes at the same time.

    The skeletons were taken to the Chief Archaeologist for California who took them to Harvard for examination. Harvard University rejected the skeletons on the grounds that they did not fit in with the “prevailing view on Darwinian evolution.” So what we can gather from this is that whilst there has been Darwinian evolution, in some cases there have been additional factors at work which have created different types of human being which Darwinian theory cannot in its present form, explain.

    • John,

      With regard to Simon Wren-Lewis’s latest blog, I picked it up on his Twitter feed which I monitor on a daily basis. Wren-Lewis is a World renowned Oxford economist who is regularly cited by top financial journalists, like Martin Wolf in the FT, and Nobel Prize winning economist, Paul Krugman, in his op-ed column in the NYT.

      Wren-Lewis’ refereed research is a leading authority on the following:

      (1) damage done by excessive austerity policies of current UK Coalition Government; and
      (2) the integrity of the economic management of the previous Labour Government.

      I would definitely refer you Wren-Lewis’s blog, which can be found by opening the following link http://mainlymacro.blogspot.com/

      I would also recommend taking a good look at some of Simon Wren-Lewis’s earlier blogs. If you feel passionate about some issue or other, I would be delighted to republish your views, irrespective of whether I agree or disagree with you.

      Wren-Lewis writes his blog for three main audiences:

      1. Professional economists around the World;
      2. Financial journalists to help them with with evidence based commentary; and
      3. People like myself and others in “blogsphere” who are keen to get behind the news and understand it from multiple perspectives.

      If you read Wren-Lewis’ blog carefully, you will see he argues that he is apolitical. Anyway, enjoy checking it out!

      Returning to areas of agreement and disagreement, we clearly disagree on climate change. In this regard, I strongly disagree with your comments about evidence to support the damage from climate change. I refer you to my reblog of an FT article yesterday citing the latest UN evidence. Here’s the link to my blog:


      If you want to go straight to the UN report, here’s the link:

      Click to access WGIAR5-SPM_Approved27Sep2013.pdf

      For me, the UN report is full of scientific evidence.

      Finally, I would like to pick up your point citing:

      1. The Russian Academy of Sciences;
      2. The Chinese Government;
      3. The Indian Government; and
      4. the world’s top oceanographer Professor Richard Lindzen.

      Using Simon Wren-Lewis distinction between “ideology-based policy” and “evidenced based policy”, I tend to group these four sources as ideology-based policy, along with much of the policy of the US Republican Party and the the UK Conservative.

      Let me conclude that like you I have been a UK Conservative Party supporter all my life and whilst our views diverge (see above), we both take extreme exceptions to many of the policies of David Cameron’s Government. Let me conclude that in my view, David Cameron’s Government has been an omni-shambles in most areas of policy.

      I propose reblog our respective views and open up the debate.

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