« Home | Guardian-watch: Practicing what you preach. » | George Michael-watch: Predictably bad tabloids. » | Power to the People: naive, half-baked and vague, ... » | Livingstone suspended: Knowing when to say sorry. » | A dangerous imbalance. » | The destruction of everything is the beginning of ... » | Prince Charles: About as much of a dissident as a ... » | Jack Straw continues to lie through his teeth over... » | Torygraph-watch: Unmarried couples panic! » | Free David Irving. » 

Tuesday, February 28, 2006 

David Cameron: The new king of spin.

The media is still being incredibly soft on David Cameron, and exactly at the same time as he's stepping up a gear in his spin campaign to show that he and his party have really changed. Last night they managed to get top billing on both the 10 O'Clock News on BBC1 and on Newsnight half an hour later. How? Cameron and his associates have come up with a wicked wheeze purely designed to emulate Blair and his challenge to the constitution of the Labour party, which he decisively won. He's put forward an eight point plan to be voted on by the Tory party membership, all of which is designed to antagonise the right-wingers as little as possible. He therefore hopes that he will be accepted as prime minister in waiting, his party united and the country shown that the Tories are once again ready for power. Too bad that it's all smoke and mirrors.

Let's look at his eight point plan then. (Click on the image above to see it bigger, taken from the Tories' released PDF.) First point is about taxes, namely putting "economic stability and fiscal responsibility" ahead of cuts. The Tories pledge to share proceeds of growth between tax cuts and public services. Anything new here? No, not really. While the pledge at the general election was to lower taxes at some point, they also pledged to put stability and responsibility first then as well. It also mentions the same old rubbish about government swallowing ever more national income, when what they mean is that they think this government is still thinking up more and more "stealth" taxes, which they've been banging on about for years now. Next!

Ah, Cameron repudiates Thatcher's saying that there is no such thing as a society. Being a sharing, caring, compassionate Conservative, Cameron believes that there is, just that it isn't the same as the state. The test for their policies is how they will affect the disadvantaged, not the rich. Somehow that doesn't really sit properly with the claim just above it. Tax cuts affect the rich a hell of a lot more than they will the poor, unless the tax threshold is changed, such as the Lib Dems suggest, as the poorest in society often still pay more tax by percentage than the rich do. Nothing in this Tory statement suggests a similar move. The rest is yet another attack on the state - the only real mantra of this document and the Conservatives, who are intent on attacking Gordon Brown as being centralising and a "road-block to reform", despite that being utter tosh. Next!

The quality of life matters as much as the quantity of money, apparently. A statement of the bleeding obvious to the average man in the street, it's took this long for the Conservatives to work it out. What's the Tory view then on expanding airports, for instance? How about nuclear power? Would they be steps towards sustainable development? We need answers Mr Cameron, otherwise this is just empty sloganeering. Also the Tories will support the choices that women make, which will annoy the likes of the Daily Mail which thinks the woman's place is at home looking after the kids and making dinner. Another statement of the obvious which should have been adopted long ago.

The fourth point is one which marks how little difference there now is between Labour and the Tories. Both believe that choice is the new watchword - despite hardly anyone other than the politicians being enthusiastic about it and just wanting a good local hospital and school. These services also don't need to be run by the state - the private sector is just as good! Such fine examples of this are the railways, the private finance initiative which is locking hospitals into debt for decades and the specialist private surgery and check-up centres which aren't performing the work they were supposed to but are being paid for it anyway. We can't blame the Tories for this though - Labour hasn't looked back since gaining power.

The fifth point states that it's our moral obligation to make poverty history. They're only a year late with this one, but again, it shows no difference between Labour and the Tories. The argument has been won, and the right argument was the victor, but it still leaves a bad taste in the mouth that the Tories think they need to actually state this.

Security and freedom must go hand in hand. Really? To be fair to the Tories, they have opposed the most draconian measures of this government on terrorist legislation. Whether this is out of opportunism or genuine conviction is hard to tell. Ineffective authoritarianism - doesn't the Conservative party support anti-socal behaviour orders, naming and shaming and all the other manifestations of Labour's crackdown on "social ills"? ASBOs have been used on the most vulnerable, have become a badge of honour in certain places and are often unbacked up with other measures. Notice that nowhere in this document are asylum seekers mentioned, nor immigration. Are we meant to forget that the Tories still believe that the refugee and asylum system is in chaos? What happened to the fantasy island where all claimants would be processed? What do the Tories now really believe about the Iraq war? Again, that isn't mentioned here. Does Cameron really believe what the Lib Dems do, as he said in the leaflet in the Dunfermline by-election? This 8-point plan sure doesn't tell us.

The 7th point tell us absolutely nothing that the Tories haven't stood for since their very beginning. No changes, but it does give one thing away. Not limited in our aspirations for government - does this show that the party is now so desperate for power that it'll do anything to beat Labour, or is this whole document just empty showboating from a party that long ceased to have any major differences with the party opposite?

The final point then again shows the lack of a difference with Labour. Localism along with choice is the other great big new idea. Apparently they want to see more local democracy - so why didn't they support the northern assembly which was defeated in the referendum? That seems very odd. They also want the devolved institutions in Scotland and Wales to work, which is rather strange because I thought they were already working. Perhaps what the Tories really mean is that they'll only work when they are in power in the respective parliaments - something which there is little hope of them achieving. Communities should have more say over their own futures, again, a statement of the obvious and which no one will disagree with.

On the whole then, an absolutely worthless document with few changes on policy, statements of the obvious and few details on policies which would be actually really controversial with the grassroots. That this is being hyped both by the Tories and the media as a clause 4 moment shows how much the Tories have already achieved in seducing a pliant media which doesn't seem to be bothered with what is really happening. This is nothing like a Clause 4 moment - that was a genuine debate which still has not been conclusively answered. Both state ownership and private ownership of the public services have their own problems, and both have failed in the past. Blair won that argument, and Cameron will win this argument, but they can't be compared.

Cameron then continues on in the vein of his work for a PR firm; spinning and spinning away, given an extended honeymoon by the press while still not telling the full truth or not even being asked to. The document also shows that politics has reached an impasse - both the Tories and Labour agree on so much that there's so little to choose between them. What the Tories are fighting for is a lost cause. If nothing changes between now and the next election, then alienation and apathy will get worse. Politics is dead - long live politics.

Share |

Cool guestbook, interesting information... Keep it UP
» »

best regards, nice info

Post a Comment

Links to this post

Create a Link


  • This is septicisle


Powered by Blogger
and Blogger Templates