by Dan McCurry
Their economic policy is from the 30s,
Their health policy is from the 40s,
Their education policy is from the 50s.
The electorate may be in the present, but the Tories are not.
They’re all old money, and no new blood,
More horse riding, than commuting,
More tractor, than hatchback,
More bone china, than chip wrapper,
The strange thing is that they could have been quite good. The most brilliantly targeted message to have emerged from politics in recent times, was George Osborne’s, “we’re all in this together”
In just five words it encapsulated teamwork, fairness and duty, in order to overcome our problems. But it was a slogan, rather than a strategy. If it were a strategy, then they wouldn’t have increased taxes for the poor and decreased them for the rich. If they had been fair to all, then this government would not be the architects of omnishambles, they would be the builders of Jerusalem.
It’s quite baffling that they came so close to being a successful government; that the strategy was right there in their hands, but somehow they just couldn’t follow it through. The problem is that they only have experience of their own narrow clique. They seem to have little or no experience of the world outside of Westminster and Bullingdon.
After working as a special adviser to chancellor Lamont, David Cameron must have been an expert on how the media can tear a government apart. With the fall of the Major government, he had ambitions for a parliamentary career, but needed to find a job in the meantime. So what work would enrich him as a future politician? Perhaps he should become a policeman, or work for the NHS, or get a job in the Foreign Office? No, he went into PR.
The mistake that David Cameron made was to believe that the problem of the Major government was weak presentation to the media, when in fact, their problems began with the collapse of the ERM. They lost credibility, and without credibility there is no respect.
The single best way to get the media on your side is to do the job well. The press respond less to media manipulation, than they do to a good or bad product. When George Osborne’s economic policy failed to deliver growth, it wasn’t the Guardian or the Mirror that told the Olympic audience to boo him, it was his failed policy that did that.
By making “we’re all in this together” a slogan rather than a strategy, the Tories have shown themselves to be hypocrites. They represent themselves but pretend to represent others.
It was all over the newspapers that Philip Green had diverted £1billion of profits to Monaco, in order to avoid tax. They responded by asking him to advise government on how to be more efficient. Today they jump on the bandwagon of tackling tax dodgers, because they see the electorate demand it.
They are torn between the their raison d’être of protecting privilege and democratic pressure. But it’s the democratic pressure no the sense of justice that motivates them to act.
The next generation of Tories should consider whether they want to represent just the elite, because this country is sick to the back teeth of them. The next time they pretend to be at one with the people, the people will see right through them.
Dan McCurry is a Labour activist whose photographic and film blog is here.