13 July 2006

I hope David Cameron is sincere in what he says about addressing social justice.

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.


  1. Let's hope the Conservatives do offer tax cuts, at least the electorate will have a choice come the next General Election!

    If I was dead, I'd be spinning in my grave at all this Conservative social justice nonsense like "hug-a-hoodie" that 'Dave' is currently espousing...

    Social justice is not achieved by taking money from the wealthy and giving it to the poor, it's the same reason that Africa is penalised for receiving huge dollops of aid from the West.

    Social justice and wealth inequalities are minimised by ensuring that hard work is rewarded, sloth shouldn't be!

  2. snafu: Of course hard work needs to be rewarded, which is why I oppose a system that allows the children of those at the top to remain there despite their sloth.

    The Tories are coy about offering tax cuts, because it has lost them three elections. I too hope they are more honest about what they intend to do, because if they are, they will lose again.

  3. Bradfordlabourdude13/7/06 8:51 pm

    Smell the coffee Neil, Cameron is copying word for word what Bush did back in 2000, Just read Bushpigs wikipedia entry, Some of the right may be pissed at Dave at the moment but they will love the shit he pulls if he ever gets into office, The guy even has the completely corupt and slimy former leader of Bradford council (Eric Pickles) as a front bench spokesman and his good pal George Osbourne is a self confessed Bush lover! Brown (Or whoevers leader, I hope it's David Milliband) will have a field day with Dodgy Dave.

  4. I reckon Gordon will still win. He will have the backing of the big 4 unions. He has produced most of the good stuff that comes out of the labour party.

  5. bradfordlabour: I wouldn't trust Cameron as far as I can throw him because anybody who supported the 2005 Tory manifesto must be pretty right-wing and extreme.

    All I was saying is that whether he is sincere or not, when he talks of rducing inequality, he is talking up our policies and we should take advantage of the opportunities he is giving us.

  6. adele: Gordon is spent. It is sad but if he becomes Labour leader we will do worse. People want to see a new face, a new image, so they can trust us again. We need to do this or we won't stand a chance of getting our message across.

  7. Who would you suggest; but before you do . . .

    John McDonnell, no, the man is an apologist for the IRA

    Alan Johnson, also no, colluded with Charles Clarke to bring in top up fees and seems to have forgotton his trade union roots.

  8. Adele: Sorry about the delay in replying.

    I think Alan Johnson is the best of the Blairite candidates. Top up fees (with the maintanence grants restored) are actually a redistributive measure (it benefits the poor more than the rich - students who pay fees come from middle class families).

    I agree that McDonnell is someone I would find it hard to vote for. I couldn't vote for anyone who wants to nationalise everything.

    I hope that maybe JOHN DENHAM might stand - a sensible centrist candidate who opposed the Iraq War and supports electoral reform.

    Either way I think Labour needs someone other than Brown if it is going to persuade the electorate that they are not tired looking and that it is 'time for a change', that fearful phrase that dogs all long running governments. I think the electorate have decided it is time for a change, we have to persuade them that our new leader is the change they need.