Posts Tagged ‘same old Tories’

David Cameron has made a massive mistake but Labour’s picked the wrong line of attack

24/03/2015, 08:50:59 AM

by Atul Hatwal

If the Conservatives win the next election, David Cameron has turned himself into a bystander in his next government.

By pre-announcing his resignation he’s dissolved his future authority with backbenchers, who will be more interested in winning the favour of the next leader, and shifted the media lens onto his potential successors. The question of when he will resign – because he surely won’t last a full term – will dog him each day and ultimately he will struggle for relevance. He’s condemned himself to a living political death.

In the wake of such an extraordinary unforced error, Labour’s chosen line of attack is that Cameron is taking the electorate for granted by assuming he will win the next election. It fits with Labour’s broader critique of him and in that sense is logical, but it’s also wrong.

Two of David Cameron’s greatest political assets are his double digit lead over Ed Miliband as the public’s preference for PM and the extent to which he personally outpolls his party.

David Cameron’s telegraphed resignation is the very antithesis of leadership; it’s the epitome of weakness and raises the likelihood that any one of a gaggle of unappealing Tories could be prime minister in the next Parliament. Suddenly, there might be some hope for Labour.

Instead of talking about arrogance, Labour should be recasting the leadership choice at this election as one between Ed Miliband and the dangerous unknown.

There are two aspects to this.

First, the message should be hammered home that David Cameron is about to quit on the British people in the next Parliament.


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It’s been a dreadful conference for the Tories but they will still leave Birmingham happy

10/10/2012, 07:59:31 AM

by Atul Hatwal

One wonders if the Tories can see how their conference has looked to the rest of Britain. Once upon a time in the mid-2000s they used it as a platform to speak to the country. It was an opportunity to demonstrate how they had changed. There was talk of voting blue to go green, civil liberties and hugging hoodies.

The rank and file might have been unhappy but the message to the general public couldn’t have been clearer: “we are not the same old Tories, we have changed, we live in the modern world.”

These last few days have been like looking at the photo negative of days gone by: cutting workers’ rights, slashing benefits and battering burglars.

The pre-briefing about this conference focused on the Tories new magic word “striver.” In itself it’s a good idea; aspiration and hard-work will never be out of political fashion.

But the Tories seem to have got confused.

Tough messages on law and order and benefits might be perennially popular but without some balance in other areas like civil liberties or the economy it all begins to look decidedly familiar. More red meat vicar?

It’s as if the Tory political managers have given up on ever returning to those halcyon days when the words “progressive” and “Conservative” were routinely used in the same sentence. They have meekly accepted their slide back into the comfortable embrace of the past.

For the Tories, uniquely of all of the parties, the only audience that matters at their conference is not out in the country, but sat in the hall.


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Social mobility – judge the government by its actions not its words

05/04/2011, 02:30:43 PM

by Richard Watts

Whoever decided that the government’s social mobility strategy should be published in the week that the budget cuts hit has a very twisted sense of humour.

Children and young people will be the ones hit hardest by the cumulative effect of the cuts announced over the last 9 months, which start to be implemented from Monday. While for many comfortably off people the cuts will, at worst, cause some inconvenience, for many young people they will be truly life changing.

Only a true cynic would suggest that Nick Clegg is not genuine in his desire for Britain to be a more meritocratic country. However, his Faustian deal to reduce the deficit with unnecessary haste will ensure that the country he leaves behind will surely be less “socially mobile” than that he inherited.

There is no doubt that social mobility slowed down towards the end of the twentieth century. The definitive study by the centre for economic performance concluded:

“On average, the life chances of a child born into a poor household in 1970 were worse than those of a child born into a similar household in 1958. In particular, we showed that the earnings of individuals born in 1970 were more strongly related to the income of their parents than those of the earlier cohort”. (more…)

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“Same old Tories” doesn’t tell me much

28/03/2011, 11:25:49 AM

by Ray Filar

“Same old taxes, same old Tories”. Ed Miliband’s response to the chancellor’s “budget for growth” last week was characterised by an aggressive, knowing ennui. It was as if Miliband had cast himself as an aging prima donna reclining on a (red) velvet chaise-longue, warning her child away from an only seemingly reformed no-good suitor. “I know what they’re like, you know what they’re like”, he seemed to be saying. Don’t be fooled by “friendly” George’s marriage proposal, also known as his budget for “growth”. He’s still the same man who stole your money to buy a dead puppy as a present for your sister.

The presumption Miliband and his speechwriters are making is that we do know what the Conservatives are like; that we will easily remember what they’re like if we cast our collective minds back to 1997 when they were last in government (or when they last proposed to us, depending on how long this analogy can be dragged out). This message was clearest during one of the speech’s defining moments, in which, against a supportive background of taunts and cheers from buoyed-up Labour ministers, Miliband described Osborne as embodying the “hubris and arrogance of the early 1990s, the same broken promises…he’s Norman Lamont with an iPod”. (more…)

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