Posts Tagged ‘Tory spending plans’

Week 2 of the campaign: the good, the bad and the ugly

12/04/2015, 11:25:54 AM

In a new feature for the general election, Uncut will be looking back at the end of each week at the good, the bad and the plain ugly of the campaign.

The good

Labour’s non-dom policy roll-out

This had everything: the element of surprise, backing from almost all sections of the media and public and a clear dividing line that placed the Tories on the side of one of the most egregiously privileged groups while Labour was the champion of the mainstream.

The way in which the Conservatives issued three press releases in 12 hours on this one issue illustrated the level of panic it generated.

And the muddled response that the Tories ultimately settled upon – criticising the micro-detail of the announcement while hawking around a partially edited video of Ed Balls from January this year – demonstrated how they crack under pressure.

The obvious move would have been to co-opt the policy, pretend this was something that had long been under consideration and use it to illustrate how we are all “in it together.”

It would have been a deft act of political ju jitsu, but instead, the much delayed Conservative response demonstrated an aching lack of judgement.

Once a Labour campaigner, always a Labour campaigner

He might be 82, but Lord Alf Dubs (standing on the left) is still pounding the streets for the party. Labour’s former MP for Battersea (1979-87) was out canvassing for Lee Sheriff in Carlisle yesterday, fresh from a visit to Scotland knocking up for candidates like Gregg McClymont. An example to all.

Samantha Cameron’s interview with the Mail on Sunday

The purpose of these soft focus spousal features is to humanise the leader, to open a window onto their home life. Normally, they fall short. They are too stilted, too focused on the politician with the spouse never rising above adjunct, even in their own interview.

This piece in last week’s Mail on Sunday is different. The candid manner in which Samantha Cameron discusses her deceased son, Ivan, gives the piece emotional heft and lifts it above the standard fayre. Samantha Cameron comes across as her own woman, and by the end it is David Cameron who is the adjunct.

Paradoxically, this is why it works as a piece of propaganda – Samantha Cameron does in fact humanise David Cameron. His bloodless and cold prime ministerial pallor is invigorated (somewhat) through his association with a strong woman. (more…)

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It’s not the despair Ed, it’s the hope

12/06/2013, 10:20:06 AM

by Rob Marchant

So, a week in which, to the great surprise of practically everyone, last week the two Eds came up with a set of policy announcements – or at least, position statements – to “get their retaliation in first” in advance of the government’s spending review. U-turning on a range of issues which they previously stood up for since January 2010 when they first formed their leadership tag team. This could just have been the week when history will remember that it all changed.

Could, not necessarily will, as we shall see.

But good things: child benefit, for example, where Balls has finally accepted the self-evident reality that if he does grant it to rich people, he will have to find a couple of billion from somewhere else, something which will hurt much more. Or the pretty-much-confirmation, by Ed Balls to Andrew Neil, of adherence to Tory spending limits, something which, ahem, Labour Uncut suggested two years ago.

The thing is, we should all be delighted. At the very least, it looks like Labour are finally getting serious about winning, they have paid attention to the polls showing that it’s not where it needs to be, as well as the election results which backed them up. It would, really, be entirely churlish to be critical at this point.

So, as regards the rest of this piece, the nice people can go home and you others, this one’s for you: all you churls out there.

One criticism is that, although the symbolism of the change is hugely important, the change itself doesn’t necessarily go far enough and is flawed in places (such as the house-building programme, as John Rentoul argues here). There are plenty more areas where things need to change.

But, fair enough, it’s a start. As the veteran MP – and welfare specialist – Frank Field brilliantly put it: “Today Ed Miliband said ‘I’m in a hole and I’ve stopped digging’. He’s now got to get us out the hole.”

The second is simple: that this may just be too little, too late. If this is the turning point, it comes more than two-and-a-half years into a parliamentary term. In other words, we now have less time to spend changing people’s perceptions than the time we have already spent letting them form the wrong ones. It will be hard. But it is possible.

The third is: do they really believe in this stuff, or are they just saying it because they think it’s what people want to hear? If they don’t truly believe it, they’ll convince no-one in the long run. Hopi Sen generously extends his belief metaphor to include the coalition as well, but it’s clear who’s the least likely to be believed:

“…with the best will in the world…any British politician standing up and swearing fiscal responsibility is, at best, like a reformed alcoholic declaring teetotalism. Even if you believe their sincerity, you don’t want to give them the key to the drinks cabinet, just in case.”


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Labour must stop fighting the cuts

19/05/2011, 07:00:45 AM

by Peter Watt

We need to recognise, quickly, that the Labour party is being damaged by the cuts. For the last year the conventional wisdom has been that the cuts would politically damage the Tories and Lib Dems. Massive downturns of popularity would rattle the two parties’ collective nerves. Across the country, activists would be battered by a public baying for their blood.

But it hasn’t happened.

On the contrary, the Tories preformed strongly on May 5. They won seats, with their share of the vote holding up pretty well. Of course, the Lib Dems are different, they were wounded as some of their supporters punished them for breaking pre-election promises. But the uncomfortable truth is that the Labour party is also being badly damaged by the cuts.

How so? Because the Labour party is obsessed with the cuts. It is us, not the Tories, who are being defined by them. We talk about them all the time. We protest against them, predict the horrors that will unfold as their impact is felt and condemn the government for implementing them. We are so completely stuck in the cuts’ headlights, that we are virtually paralysed. And this paralysis is damaging our prospects for the next election.


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