So Tim Congdon has deserted the Tories for UKIP. This is deeply depressing. Its not that I totally agree with the academic 'purity' of his writing. Professor Congdon is too right-wing for me. But together with Patrick Minford and others he sets out a genuinely Conservative economic philosophy that has given me the luxury of something credible to be to the left of. I read his article in today's Telegraph with great disappointment. I think that he is wrong. I think he is misreading David Cameron.
It so happens that yesterday I was speaking to Brecon Business Club, where there was a fair sprinkling of Tories in the audience - and one of the questioners sought my view of David Cameron. I took a very different view from Tim Congdon, saying that I thought he was striving to make the Conservatives electable through talking about the issues that matter to young people - and by being openminded about what was right for Britain before deciding on policy. Now, we all know things will become a lot more difficult when all the policy discussion is over. Professor Congdon should have waited. I believe that David Cameron will develop a right-of-centre Eurosceptic party with a realistic view about what should be provided by the 'State' and what should not.
I too, believe that the 'State' has become too dominant. Taxation under Gordon Brown is too high. In Wales, I do not want the Assembly Election to become a competition in who will interfere more in people's lives by offering 'freebies' and undermining individual responsibility. I want to see a greater focus in Wales on harnessing the invention and innovation of the private sector. This is my philosophical base - but it is not one bit of use unless it is applied to the political reality of what the public will accept, and adapted to what is currently committed.
Pure philosophy guiding policy is to guarentee a place in opposition - at least until the country is in a state of near collapse and desperate measures are needed - as in 1979. Of course Tim Congdon does not agree with all that Cameron says. I wouldn't have expected him to. But he agrees with a lot more that he does with what Gordon Brown will do. He has left the field of play to become a bystander on the touchline shouting out "Listen to me". I think he is a big loss.