Although to my mind th GOP enjoys one of the greatest traditions of conservative thought in global politics, what puzzles me now is the extent to which the GOP is out of step with conservatives in other countries. This might be great if the GOP were forging new paths and creating new ideas, but to me it seems to be the opposite - philosophically the GOP seems to be years behind Angela Merkel's CDU in Germany, David Cameron's Conservative Party in the UK, or other leading conservative parties in the likes of France, Finland, New Zealand or even Canada. Here are some areas where the GOP seems to have been left behind: 1) Climate change. All major conservative parties accept the need to protect the environment, and are promoting private enterprise as the way to crate alternatives to coal and oil, and to boost exports and create jobs. Subsequently, both Germany and the UK are major players in alternative energies, with Scotland now th leading exporter of tidal energy turbines. The GOP seems intent on sitting this one out. 2) Tax. Conservative governments in some 20 countries have implemented a VAT to target the shadow economy, and ensure even drug dealiers, illegal immigrants and hookers pay tax. Again, the GOP seems too afraid of the reaction to suggest this. 3) Ayn Rand. Cutting edge in 1950 she may have been, but for most of the world her thinking went into the trash can of history with 'trickle-down' and the privatisation of key state assets like railroads. Conservatives in most countries want to stimulate small businesses, but only within an environment which safeguards rights, the environment and provides sensible regulation. Business might come first for conservatives, but that doesn't mean business gets to write laws. It seems to me that the GOP has been moving steadily to the right for the past 30 years, and is now starting to leave classic conservatism behind. Not only would Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt find themselves called 'leftists' in today's GOP - so might Hoover and Ike.