When the British conservative philosopher (and friend of big tobacco) Roger Scruton was asked why he had named his journal The Salisbury Review, he mentioned the Earl of Salisbury, the Victorian-era UK prime minister. When did he govern? "Oh I couldn't exactly tell you ... and that's the point." Indeed. The earl liked long eight-course lunches and mid-afternoon naps. Conservatism, as a philosophy, has as its aim the governing of a society in which many autonomous institutions work organically and without direction; classical liberalism has as its aim a minimal government managing foreign affairs, the law, and letting the market get on with it.
Rundle: the world is too complex for Abbott’s dead conservatism
The failure to find a distinctive centre-right way to move Australia's political agenda is yet another failure of the Abbott government, and of Abbott himself.