THIS IS CONSERVATIVE?….This is weird. Either that or it shows that I don’t understand anything about British politics.

Michael Howard is the odds-on favorite to become the new leader of the Conservative party, and today Ann Widdecombe ? who rather famously said “there is something of the night about him” the last time he ran for the leadership position ? discusses how Howard needs to clearly define the differences between themselves and the Labour party:

Any student or any parent financing a student knows there is a clear choice next time: tuition fees plus top-up fees with Labour or neither with the Conservatives. Any pensioner knows it is: struggle on with rocketing council taxes and inadequate pensions under Labour or vote for a party which will raise pensions in line with earnings….Having disciplined prisons is all well and good but it does only half the job if they are not also purposeful and rehabilitative. Having tough sentencing is useful only if it is matched by a real effort to make communities safer and pleasanter, and to break the treadmill of crime.

So the Conservative platform is supposed to be: free tuition for university students, higher pensions for seniors, an emphasis on rehabilitation of prisoners, and social programs to “break the treadmill of crime.”

This sure doesn’t very conservative (or very Conservative) to me. What am I missing here?

POSTSCRIPT: On the bright side, Widdecomb appears to be a cat lover. And there’s more here. Good for her!

On the other hand, the Guardian quotes Linda Reeves of the cats protection league telling this story:

When Ann came to the shelter, we did advise her that the two cats hadn’t been brought up together and might not get on. But, being Ann, she stuck to her guns and took them both home. It wasn’t long before she came back.

Whatever else you can say, I think British politicians are probably more interesting than ours….