Posts Tagged ‘recognisably rightwing’

Brand the Tories right wing? I Woodwouldn’t

29/08/2011, 09:33:48 AM

by Rob Marchant

Oh dear. To read the Observer report of Shaun Woodward’s leaked memo on how Labour should attack the Tories, the question which springs to mind is not so much, is this going to be genuine Labour strategy as, what on earth was he thinking?

The thrust of the piece is that Labour should attack the Tories for reverting from their “cuddly conservative” projection to a more traditional right-wing positioning, and to make this the Brown-style “dividing line” between us and them, on which we should base our attack.

There is much to be said for dividing lines; indeed their judicious use has been a great help to Labour over the last twenty years. And there is no doubt that Cameron is now pursuing a more right-wing strategy than was being projected in the run-up to the general election. However, for a whole raft of reasons, Woodward has badly miscalculated.

First, he has missed that, in the current environment, being seen as right wing is not necessarily a bad thing electorally. In the wake of the riots – unlike various politicians and commentators – voters are in the main looking for punishment over understanding (whether they are right to do so is another matter). They trust the Tories over Labour on the economy. And they are not alone in a more international sense (perhaps someone should point out to Woodward the prevailing conservative hegemony across Europe).


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