The new 'compassionate conservatives' now talk about social justice and the need to reduce inequality. This is a remarkable turnaround for a Tory party to be trying to win over liberal voters and it shows how far the electorate have moved since the dark days of Thatcherism. This is a significant victory for the Left and we should take full advantage by pressing the Tories for actual policies to back up their new image.
The 2005 election was a watershed moment for the Tories. Their manifesto was racist and nasty and it pushed the Thatcherite agenda as hard as they dare (their proposals on the NHS and education went further than even Thatcher would have dared), and it was fully supported by the press. They failed to win. The nasty policies just weren't enough.
Under Cameron, the Tories now talk of love and liberalism and concern for the environment and generally try to portray a nice image. It is the promise of liberal policies that is working for them. Labour cannot let this image overshadow the real Labour policies that have achieved results. Cameron is making it easier for Labour to highlight their liberal policies and success in reducing inequality. We should take that opportunity, indeed we have to take it if we are to head off this Tory deceipt.
Can the Tories win on image alone? It is possible but unlikely. The Tories will sooner or later have to unveil some concrete policies. There have been hints but everything is shrouded in mystery at the moment, with vague aspirations the order of the day.
My suspicion (sadly) is that when the Tories finally do unveil some policies they will be similar to the 2005 manifesto. They will put the emphasis on nice sounding fringe policies, but the bottom line will be the same - tax cuts. The Tory policies just won't do what their image is claiming. More roads and abolishing the climate change levy are not environmental policies.
As Thatcher proved, cutting taxes and reducing inequality are incompatible. Social justice costs money. Cameron talks a lot about the voluntary sector, but if all he wants to do is encourage charity, he can do that from the opposition benches.
Sadly, image is as important as policy in winning elections. The likeability of your leader allows you to get your policies across. Labour still has the best policies, but without a likeable leader we could lose the next general election.
To show we have been renewed we need a new face. Gordon Brown just won't do, he is too familiar. Whether he would make a good PM or not is irrelevant, his image is not to the electorate's liking and people want to see a new fresh approach. It is no good having a leader with great policies if we lose the election.
The polls show GB as a liability because too many right-wing Labour voters will defect to the Tories when Blair goes.
GB is not that popular amongst party members. In a 3 way fight, he would lose. Maybe with John McDonnell on the left and Alan Johnson on the right, Brown would be squeezed in the middle and Johnson would probably win.