If this is Conservatism, I am a Conservative

I blame myself.

As Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party, I was given a once-in-a-lifetime (or perhaps several lifetimes) chance to banish the repulsive gloom of a decade of electoral unpopularity.

How did I lose the election? I did not understand that Tory pragmatism had killed Tory idealism. I did not overturn the fiction of the focus groups, which some believe can tell you what to say and how to say it. And I did not persuade the Party that economics was ‘a first order issue’.

Conservatives have been sceptical of romanticism and idealism, leaving this ground to those on the left of politics.

We have been wrong. We need a noble purpose. We must fight injustice. We must have a clear direction. And a destination expressed in a simple iconic policy.

The noble purpose of Conservatism is the pursuit of the happiness of the people and the preservation of their independence.

The iconic policy? We should release the 6 million people who live below the poverty line from paying income tax. And do the same for 12 million pensioners as well.

A noble purpose. A fight against injustice. A sense of direction. A destination: the creation of the Good State that cherishes the independence, individuality and self-determination of its people.

If this is Conservatism, I am a Conservative

Maurice Saatchi - Tuesday, 27th December, 2005