22 December 2005

Image and Opinion Polls.

Not a single new policy outlined and the Tories under Cameron have risen 4-5% in the opinion polls. Are there really people out there who change from Labour to Tory just on image? It is so silly I find it hard to believe.

Cameron is talking like a Social Democrat and apeing Blair in image but not action. Underneath this veneer his policies are right wing. Lets hear the policy changes Mr Cameron? There is an awful lot to change in the Conservative Party and you haven't even made a start. Blair didn't just change the image of the Labour Party, he changed the policies. Blair was the son of a Conservative and although he was a Social Democrat, he recognised where Labour needed to change. Cameron is a right winger through and through and you couldn't get a more Conservative background than his.

It is at least something that the Tories have been forced to ape Social Democrat language. The Tories and their press friends have threw everything and the kitchen sink at Labour in the last few years. They have distorted and sensationalised every negative aspect that they could find about Labour and been relentless in pushing the Tories' nasty rhetoric on immigration and cutting public services. They failed to do anything but solidify their core vote at around 18% of the electorate. For the first time more people rejected their racist, negative agenda.

The Tories have now finally realised they need to change image, but they are a long way away from changing their policies. Cameron could be their Kinnock but he certainly hasn't got the will to force real change on his party like Blair did.

It is worth reminding ourself just how nasty the last Tory election campaign was. Just remember the insiduously racist Tory posters 'Are you thinking what we are thinking?' and remember that Cameron wrote the manifesto and was an advisor in the campaign.

Even worse are the new Libertarians or anti-social bastards, as George Monbiot rightly describes them. These people talk about rights but all they are interested in is the freedom that money brings. If you have no money, tough shit! These people are dangerous because they state that their ideas are based on higher principles that cannot be questioned. Don't believe them or the Tories. If they can't justify their principles with evidence, they are talking rubbish.

6 comments:

  1. Are there really people out there who change from Labour to Tory just on image?

    I doubt it, but most of the poll movement seems to be from the Lib Dems to us. The Lib Dems have always had the problem that they have been a bolthole for disaffected Tories since the mid 90's, and as soon as an acceptable face of Conservatism turned up, they would lose a lot of that soft support. We're just returning to the good old days of two party politics again.

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  2. Cameron is a right winger through and through and you couldn't get a more Conservative background than his.

    I take it from this that you share Prescott's view that having been educated at Eton is somehow an impediment to good government, in a way that having been a ship's steward and union flunky somehow isn't.

    There's some scope for debate about the degree to which Labour's policies can reasonably be characterised as 'progressive'. Is Brown's program of confiscatory taxation some sort of philosophic mercury which transmutes unjustified wars of aggression, creeping privatisation and the withdrawal of basic civil liberties into a bold socialist agenda?

    They have distorted and sensationalised every negative aspect that they could find about Labour...

    heh, and I assume that the constant stream of "Charles Kennedy, lovely chap, shame about the *makes drinking gesture*" innuendo has nothing to do with Number 10.

    Even worse are the new Libertarians or anti-social bastards, as George Monbiot rightly describes them.

    It's odd to see him complaining about Clarkson's complaint about cyclists jumping red lights though; what could be more antisocial than that?

    More seriously, it's as easy to characterise people who believe in a smaller state as selfish as it is to characterise socialists as envious, and about as helpful. Many people honestly believe that having the government get the hell out of the way on non-core issues is the best way to deliver the best average quality of life, and that this can be accomplished without making life intolerable for the bottom 1%. In fact I've seen you argue in this direction in the past, albeit with a different definition of "core". These people can point to a number of countries which have experimented with medium-to-large and very large states to support their view. Unfortunately there's a paucity of good data on the other side; anarchic non-states of the sort we find in Africa aren't really helpful in this regard, merely emphasising the (obvious) point that the optimal size isn't zero.

    Anywho, to wrap up, what possible reactionary catastrophe do you feel Cameron will inflict on us, that is not already being contemplated by the Reverend.

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  3. Damn but you are articulate!

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  4. Sorry about the delay in responding, xmas and that.

    Andrew: "most of the poll movement seems to be from the Lib Dems to us."

    Not from the polls I've seen, the Lib Dem vote has dropped about 2% but the Labour vote around 4%. It seems more Labour voters have switched to the Tories, which I find unbelievable.

    "The Lib Dems have always had the problem that they have been a bolthole for disaffected Tories since the mid 90's"

    Speaking to grassroot Lib Dems, I find the vast majority are disaffected Labour.

    Eben: "having been educated at Eton is somehow an impediment to good government"

    Some of my favourite people went to public school; like George Orwell and John Peel.

    What I meant was that Cameron was advocating extreme right wing policies just a few months ago at the election. Can he be trusted now he is talking like a social democrat? I think not.

    "There's some scope for debate about the degree to which Labour's policies can reasonably be characterised as 'progressive'."

    I think there are plenty of policies that are progressive. Generally the poorest people have seen an increase in their benefits and a reduction in their tax burden. The massive increase in public spending also benefits the poorest who rely on public services the most. Maybe value for money can be questioned, but it is undeniable that the health service, education etc have moved from a worse (and deteriating) position under the Tories to a much improved and improving position under Labour. That has been progressive.

    "Is Brown's program of confiscatory taxation some sort of philosophic mercury which transmutes unjustified wars of aggression, creeping privatisation and the withdrawal of basic civil liberties into a bold socialist agenda?"

    Backing the US over Iraq was a mistake, no denying that. But lets remember the war would have happened no matter what the UK did. Perhaps UK involvement has moderated some of Bush's excesses - (bombing Al Jazeera springs immediately to mind as an example).

    As for creeping privatisation; on its own, privatisation is not necessarily a bad thing. I'm not happy about PFI, but maybe some private finance and organisation can improve some inefficiencies in public services, as long as it is still government financed and not reliant on individual wealth.

    What 'basic civil liberties' have been undermined? I can see a progessive agenda here as well. The new freedom of information act and transparancy in party funding is one example.

    "heh, and I assume that the constant stream of "Charles Kennedy, lovely chap, shame about the *makes drinking gesture*" innuendo has nothing to do with Number 10."

    Think of the personal abuse Labour politicians get. That is little by comparison.

    "what possible reactionary catastrophe do you feel Cameron will inflict on us"

    More roads, less public services, an accelerated fall in social mobility, the usual Conservative stuff really.

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  5. Eben Upton5/1/06 1:36 am

    What I meant was that Cameron was advocating extreme right wing policies just a few months ago at the election. Can he be trusted now he is talking like a social democrat? I think not.

    I think it's pretty clear from your original post, in which you mention Blair's family background, and say of Cameron that

    ...you couldn't get a more Conservative background than his

    that you're not talking about his recent history, but rather about his educational background.

    But lets remember the war would have happened no matter what the UK did.

    I'm speechless. You call yourself progressive, and then advocate bombing the proletariat of a sovereign country on the grounds that it would have happened anyway, so we might as well pitch in...

    As for creeping privatisation; on its own, privatisation is not necessarily a bad thing.

    Agreed.

    I'm not happy about PFI, but maybe some private finance and organisation can improve some inefficiencies in public services, as long as it is still government financed and not reliant on individual wealth.

    Again, agreed. The problem we have is that Brown can push through endless PFI schemes, possibly because Labour MPs are too dense to notice that the contracts are government debt by another name. On the other hand, every time Blair coughs in the direction of allowing private hospitals to bid for NHS work the awkward squad do their level best to sabotage it.

    Labour's program seems to consist of taking the worst Major-era Tory policies (City Technology Colleges, British Rail privatisation) and re-spinning them with exciting new names (City Academies) or victims (London Underground). Genuinely innovative privatisation isn't going to come from a party that's still in hock to the unions.

    What 'basic civil liberties' have been undermined? I can see a progessive agenda here as well. The new freedom of information act and transparancy in party funding is one example.

    How about the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, ID cards, extended detention without charge, the Religious Hatred Bill and the recent proposals to record all car journeys using numberplate recognition?

    Think of the personal abuse Labour politicians get. That is little by comparison.

    That would be the "two wrongs make a right" school of political morality then?

    More roads

    They'd need to get up pretty early to beat Prescott though, wouldn't they? Anyone remember the Integrated Transport Plan? Or this quote, from the great man himself in June 1997

    I will have failed, if in five years' time there are not many more people using public transport and far fewer journeys by car. It’s a tall order, but I urge you to hold me to it.

    Of course somehow 2002 didn't see either a fall in car journeys or the resignation of the Deputy Prime Minister. Funny how these things work out, no?

    an accelerated fall in social mobility

    Do you have a citation for this claim? When it comes to reducing social mobility, it's hard to beat university tuition fees which are low by middle class standards but beyond the reach of many students with working class parents. Or am I missing some respect in which this too is actually progressive?

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  6. I think it's pretty clear from your original post, in which you mention Blair's family background

    Well it's a combination of his recent rightwing statements and his past. Someone who went to Eton and has wealthy aristocratic parents and then goes into the Conservative party is hardly likely to truly understand what its like to live in poverty. It's possible but more unlikely in my opinion.

    You call yourself progressive, and then advocate bombing the proletariat of a sovereign country on the grounds that it would have happened anyway

    I argued that maybe our involvement has mollified the excesses of Bush in the war. It's possible that Al Jazeera would have been blown to bits, that is one positive Blair's decision has achieved.

    I must admit I am clutching at straws. I have pointed out in the past that I opposed the war and I thought our involvement has been a mistake but who knows what the future will reveal about Blair's decision when his memoirs come out.

    Even Charles Kennedy from the safety of being in a third party who's decisions have no effect on world affairs, said he 'agonised' over his decision to oppose the war.

    As far as I can see it's valid to point out that withdrawing our support for the US led war, would not have stopped the war and maybe would have made it worse.

    All the 3 main parties now have the same policies with regards to Iraq. None of them advocate immediate withdrawl.

    Genuinely innovative privatisation isn't going to come from a party that's still in hock to the unions.

    I don't think the unions have anywhere near the amount of influence they used to. I think the 'third way' idea of a trust is innovative and could prove amazingly successful. The railway network is now such a body, neither privatised or state owned.

    How about the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, ID cards, extended detention without charge, the Religious Hatred Bill and the recent proposals to record all car journeys using numberplate recognition?

    With the exception of 'detention without trial', I don't think any of these have had any real impact on our civil liberties. Give me specific examples of where people have been disadvantaged by these laws?

    Do you accept the new freedom of information act and the new transparency in party funding have been good things?

    That would be the "two wrongs make a right" school of political morality then?

    What was wrong about calling Kennedy an alcoholic? It was true, he finally admitted it today after lying about it for ages. Labour are smeared every day in the Tory press and most of it is not true.

    Anyone remember the Integrated Transport Plan?

    You are right. Prescott has failed with his Integrated Transport Plan. It is largely the road lobby backed by the press and the Tories that has defeated us. We are trying to get a sensible debate going on road pricing and congestion charging, but every time we are shouted down.

    Public transport has been improved. Unlike the Tory alternative we don't just shout 'more roads' as an answer.

    it's hard to beat university tuition fees which are low by middle class standards but beyond the reach of many students with working class parents. Or am I missing some respect in which this too is actually progressive?

    In conjunction with the tuition fees, Labour re-introduced the maintenance grant for the poorest students to cover their fees.

    Loans are not paid back until after graduation and people are earning.

    Scrapping tuition fees actually benefits the middle class the most, which is why the Lib Dems are for it.

    The vast majority of students are middle class. It has always been working class taxation that has paid for middle class children to go to university. Why shouldn't the middle class students have to contribute to their own education when they can afford it?

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