Friday, May 25, 2007

Telegraph Column: Grammar Lessons for Cameron


This is my column in the Telegraph today...
Successful politicians can not only make a silk purse out of a pig's ear but can also take advantage of any unexpected opportunities which come their way. And so it has proved with the Great Grammar School Farrago, which has dominated the past week of Tory politics. The original handling of the David Willetts speech was a disaster, but better for it to happen now, at the beginning of the policy formation process, than near an election. Lessons need to be learnt to improve the media and party management of the controversial policies which will be announced over the rest of the year.

In these circumstances, political leaders usually deploy diversionary tactics to take the issue out of the headlines. Revealingly, David Cameron did the opposite. He has kept the story going for a week. By doing so he regained control of the agenda. It was an adept piece of political footwork.

The long-term effects of this row are few. David Cameron has pushed many Tories to the edge of withdrawing their support, but by doing so he has underlined his mission to modernise all aspects of Tory policy. The party grassroots know, and he knows, that it will be done his way or not at all.
The real lesson from the grammar schools issue is that it has given David Cameron yet another opportunity to emphasise the changing nature of the Tory party. I believe this will be the running theme of any policy announcements which emerge after the various policy commissions report their findings later in the year. In each policy area, Cameron will want to pick out one aspect that will reinforce his message of change. It was described to me as the "mouthwash" approach - a change in each area to eliminate the bad taste of the past.
We already know that on the economy the old Tory shibboleth of cutting taxes has been ruled out in favour of my most hated political mantra, "sharing the proceeds of growth". On the environment we're being encouraged to "Vote Blue Go Green" and will be taxed more on frequent flying. In foreign affairs there has been subtle distancing of the party from the special relationship with the US. Social mobility and social justice have overtaken economic reform in Conservative priorities.
In transport, Chris Grayling has already hinted at the joining together of the running of the tracks and trains. What better sign of change than a repudiation of this key aspect of rail privatisation?
Incredible though it may seem, health policy is an area in which the Conservatives are ahead in the polls for the first time since 1948, without actually having the benefit of any real policy. The last thing David Cameron should do is saddle himself with detailed policy in this area, two years in advance of an election. The antipathy towards Patricia Hewitt and the way the Conservative Party has supported the junior doctors recently has given Andrew Lansley a real chance to build support. For the first time in decades, many in the NHS truly believe that it can be safe in Conservative hands - a considerable achievement. This may be an area where no "mouthwash" is needed.
The only areas apparently impervious to Cameronisation - home affairs and defence - are coincidentally handled by the two most high-profile Right-wingers in the Shadow Cabinet:David Davis and Liam Fox. Davis has been given more or less a free hand to develop policy and so far Cameron's kids have kept their scooters off his lawn but, even so, he has written a pamphlet with his immigration spokesman Damian Green on the economic benefits of migration.
It is in defence where David Cameron could re-engage the supporters he has alienated in other areas. Clear commitments to increase the defence budget, to supply our troops with the equipment they need to do their jobs, to halt the decline of the Navy, Army and Air Force and to improve the quality of life of service personnel are eminently achievable. Liam Fox has already made a start with his work on the quality of housing - or lack of it - for our armed forces.
Pensions, local government and the machinery of government all provide excellent opportunities for David Cameron to demonstrate how the party has changed. But they are all equally opportunities for a row with the grassroots. The tremendous work being done by the policy commissions will present David Cameron with all sorts of policy nuggets to choose from; the lesson from the grammar schools speech is that their work must not be pre-empted.
There is no Clause 4 moment for David Cameron, but there are plenty of "mini clause 4s" which, added together, achieve the same thing.

65 comments:

PJ said...

Is it me, or is "modernise" a euphemism for "abandon your principles and loyal supporters and blatantly pander to whatever micro-sliver of the electorate in the marginals you guess you need to win a majority"? People use that word all the time, but I never understand how selective education is more, or less, modern than the alternative. Certainly I think the Germans, for instance, would be astonished to hear that their Gymnasien are somehow out of date.

Bliar "modernised" and we rightly attacked him for it. Now Cameron is doing it, albeit to a much lesser extent, and we are expected to applaud.

tachybaptus said...

'David Cameron has pushed many Tories to the edge of withdrawing their support ...'

And many more over that edge.

Anonymous said...

"The party grassroots know, and he knows, that it will be done his way or not at all."

Ouch - Tony Blair picked his fights, cameron seems to have gone for the scattergun approach.

Cameron please get better advice.

Anonymous said...

The party grassroots know, and he knows, that it will be done his way or not at all.

Of, right, going to elect himself is he?

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous, he had a 67% mandate. Frankly, that gives him the right to do it his way. The very people that are complaining now are the very ones that voted for him. Some might say that is poetic justice!

chatterbox said...

"PJ said...

Is it me, or is "modernise" a euphemism for "abandon your principles and loyal supporters and blatantly pander to whatever micro-sliver of the electorate in the marginals you guess you need to win a majority"?"
Nah, he is just taking a leaf out of the dictionary "path to power". Thatcher and Blair found it quite useful but I suppose 3 GE victories apiece means that they surrendered their principles and did what the members of their party wanted instead which was to win a GE.

Iain, are you saying that all the furore about grammar schools is coming from the people that voted for DC and that the DD voters are not in anyway involved?

Lerxst said...

"The very people that are complaining now are the very ones that voted for him."

Funny, I don't remember voting for him. Actually, I seem to recall thinking he came across as vapid and principleless. The thought 'I'd rather have Ken Clarke as leader than that Wet ponce" comes to mind.

All Cameron is concerned with is power. How he gets there is irrelevant to him. And for that reason alone I hope he gets stuffed at the next election.

"The public interest is not served by parties incapable of defining their driving principles and standing their ground. Politics is either about the competition of ideas or it is about nothing."

And that's from someone I never thought I'd quote in agreement... Alex Salmond.

leonjamespage said...

Mr. Dale writes, "We already know that on the economy the old Tory shibboleth of cutting taxes has been ruled out in favour of my most hated political mantra, "sharing the proceeds of growth".

I hate that mantra as well. After all, if the Tories won't support tax cuts, who will?

But the question must be asked: If this is Mr. Dale's most hated political mantra, one wonders when Mr. Dale plans to abandon Project Cameron. I mean, what will it take?

When, in other words, will there be mass defections from Project Cameron?

Maybe this blue blood Cameron isn't the saviour, after all.

Anonymous said...

Oh, It makes me laugh ! That people commenting here believe Cameron represents some extreme view in the country, and that their Telegraph reading squires-in-the-shires or crusty colonel old farts are the mainstream political opinion in this country. Get real, folks, this ain't the 1950s !

I'm sure some of you would like to live back there, before the dangers of the sexual revolution, before 'youth' culture and before the more cosmopolitan and diverse culture we have in Britain now. Well, you're going to have to get used to it.

Unless you manage to get hold of an old 'DeLorean' and head back there..

PT said...

Your article today is spot on. Someone said "Politics is the art of the possible".

Anonymous said...

What about copyright ?

Anonymous said...

and diverse SUB-culture we have in Britain now.

Anonymous said...

He may be doing it his way- but on his own methinks.
It's now so bad with my locals that conversation last night got round to forming a ABC group. Anybody But Cameron.

Anonymous said...

With hindsight I think I was wrong to have backed this fop against the very genuine but uncharismatic David Davies.
We are now subject to a policy to gain power at all costs. That will be followed by the Blairite policy to keep power at all costs.
I really do not see how we would be better off if Brown was defeated in the next election as we will have 10 years of me-too politics.
Nothing remains that distinguishes Cameron from Blair - and I hate Blair.
However, if we don't want the Liar Party or the Fops we are left only with the Wets. It is little wonder that the horrendous BNP makes progress.
Victor

Praguetory said...

I think I'm going to fisk this.

wonderfulforhisage said...

Iain you write above:

"Anonymous, he had a 67% mandate. Frankly, that gives him the right to do it his way. The very people that are complaining now are the very ones that voted for him. Some might say that is poetic justice!"

Adjust the percentage figure and you could be writing about TBliar. Luckily DC is showing his spots a bit earlier that TBliar and, with luck, the Country will be able to avoid being conned again.

By the way, my wife thinks that your article is the result of your having a bet with Guido that you could get into the obn section of Private Eye. I just think the piece is 'delusional'.

I think we should be told.

Anonymous said...

Anon.7.55 David Davies is the Member for Monmouth.

antifrank said...

Iain, I disagree with much of your analysis, but I agree with this article entirely. Many of those posting comments appear to prefer the luxury of purity in opposition to pragmatism in Government, usually by appealing to the history of Margaret Thatcher, who for the first 8 years (ie the successful ones) was commendably pragmatic.

Anonymous said...

You know, I think some people in the Tory part have to get to grips with the fact that just because you are to the left of Margaret Thatcher doesn't mean you aren't a Tory.
The level of delusion here is such that you have people going on about being 30/40 year old members now "disgusted with the direction their beloved party is being taken", when they clearly joined at a time the party was to the left of Thatcher perhaps to a greater extent.

I get the feeling Disraeli would now be kicked out of the party for being too much of a 'socialist'......

Anonymous said...

So, what is the purpose of the Conservative Party? Might as well stick with the real thing, Labour.

Iain Dale said...

PJ, 12.32 No, modernise means adapt your principles to the times you live in. It doesn;t mean abandoning them.

Chatterbox 1.32. No I am not saying that. DD was all in favour of more grammar schools and presumably still is. But much of the noise has come from people int he grassroots who voted for Cameron. What is ironic is that they voted for him despite him being quite clear about his attitude to grammar schools.

jilted john said...

not interested in a party that only wants the power to govern not the power to reform/correct and reverse the scandalous policies and actions of the past 10 years.

I want NHS reform, education reform, smaller government, restoration of the rule of law, more parliamentary accountability, troops out of Iraq, closing of our borders so we only allow in people we want not every tom,dick and harryski who have nothing to offer our country and I want parliamentary supremecy restored. Thats what I, as a Tory Party member, want from Cameron.

wonderfulforhisage said...

Jilted John 9:33

Amen.

Anonymous said...

What is there to convince me that Cameron would make any difference to the authoritarian bureaucracy we now live in? I had hopes of this party but no more. UKIP here I come.

barnacle_bill said...

Are you sure Iain that DC has not been using this "Grammar School" issue to cover up his failure on the MP's FOI exemption bill?

Ed said...

Iain, is DC going to shout Darling down over FoI?

Anonymous said...

One day Dave will start to say something sensible about schools, environment, EU, immigration, over-population, health service, taxation, waste, over-regulation,
.... surely?

Thor said...

Certainly right to point to the failure of CCHQ media management .

Heads should roll over this!

Harlsbottom said...

Well, thank God all this whining is taking place now and not in the run-up to a general election.
I shan't dispute that policy wise the party's got a bloody long way to go, but commenting on a blog, however good that blog may be, is hardly the way to go about changing things is it?

Newmania said...

I think many people who are not politically active will have been staggered that Grammar schools retained such an important place in the heart of the Conservative Party , just as I remember being amazed to discover there was such a thing as Clause Four. The idea that we might bring back Secondary Moderns is hardly worth discussing . It is however a shame that nothing of any interest has positively emerged from Messrs Johnson and Willets . As I have previously said David Willets is right that Grammars would not provide the social Ladder they once did now but he has not suggested anything that would . Iain says that the Conservative Party has boosted the issue of social mobility but he cannot tell me , I would guess, as single initiative that has even been floated that might begin to tackle this worsening problem.

This is all too typical of the frankly pusillanimous opposition that we are currently providing . My impression from the Willets back room for example is that they have neither clear objectives or any understanding off how to arrive at them if they did .
The continued absence of Mc Cavity Hague is another problem that David Cameron might do well to address . Iain reported that he has cut down on his Business Dinner engagements but I see no evidence of it and it is creating a vacuum where there should be a broadened message. In general the performance of the shadow cabinet and Conservative Politicians across the board is simply not good enough and the deeply worrying ICM poll shows us that “ assuming the position “ will not be good enough to win a general election . It also re emphasises the critical importance of David Cameron who is not , in my view , supported by others who have much to add to his undoubted talents . There are far too many passengers , far to many yes men and the climate of conformity that has dominated selection for years has produced a collection of invertebrates as it was bound to do . I gather , for example , that Iain himself has not yet been able to impress a selection committee of his qualities. I would love to hear that was not true and because any Party that does not want Iain on board does not deserve to win


( Incidentally I am not at all convinced that David Cameron is a adroit an operator as Iain suggests .There was hardly any choice in formulating a serious education policy but to drop creating Grammars as a stated aim and David Cameron had no choice but to support David Willets . Interpreting this political instinct is or a mini clause four moment in an article might be fun but language and reality have entirely parted company)

canvas said...

David Cameron is, I think, doing a brilliant job. He is modernising the Tory Party and he will drag it into the 21st century.

There is a reason that Labour have been in power for a decade - and that is simply that the majority of people would rather have Labour than the Tories of old. Cameron will change the Conservative Party and I hope the Tory Old Guard choke on their cornflakes when they read the Sunday newspapers.

Little Black Sambo said...

Cameron is a gesture politician like Blair, and just as repulsive to watch or listen to.
Newmania, must you write in bold type? You seem to be shouting in my ear.

Newmania said...

Sorry LBS having discovered how to do bold I may have been a little overly delighted in what for me is techinical wizardy.

Anonymous said...

Some of the attitudes being exhibited by certain sections of the Conservative Party reminds me why they have been out of power for a decade.

What they need to appreciate is this one unalterable fact - David Cameron - WIN. No David Cameron - LOSE and welcome to another another 5 years of indulgent navel gazing in the wilderness.

Anonymous said...

I'm puzzled, Iain.

Are you suggesting that it's ok for Cameron to drive away his right wing supporters because his left wing policies will create a sort of osmosis effect which will replace them with a flood of - more numerous - left wing supporters, far more than he loses on the right? So the Big Tent approach has been binned?

Or do you believe that Cameron's angry right wingers will put up with being treated with contempt while he chases the left?

Or is this new flood of support to come from the Lib Dems?

Because from where I'm sitting, the substantial drop in support for Cameron in this poll suggests that the right are not putting up with him and that the left wing osmosis effect is not happening.

Those of his Lib Dems I know are as fed up with Cameron and his refusal to listen as many of his Conservatives are. The FOI fiasco and cameron's late u turn has dented his support big time. Practically the whole country was disgusted by all of those with MPs who did not vote against the bill.

So where is this wave of support Cameron now needs coming from?

Anonymous said...

newmania said:

In general the performance of the shadow cabinet and Conservative Politicians across the board is simply not good enough

Are HQ maybe stifling shadow cabinet initiatives in a bid to keep Cameron alone in the public eye?

Praguetory said...

FISKED.

Anonymous said...

newmania said:

I am not at all convinced that David Cameron is a adroit an operator as Iain suggests...Interpreting this political instinct is or a mini clause four moment in an article might be fun but language and reality have entirely parted company.


Snap, newmania.

It's all too evocative of smoke and mirrors - and us lot out here have had a belly full of that for 10 years, we just don't buy it any longer.

If Joe and Jill Bloggs won't buy it - and they won't - the media certainly won't.

gary elsby stoke-on-trent said...

Very nice, Iain, very nice indeed but slightly deluded.

Let's get one thing straight from the start.

The Tory Party has been forced into change by the Labour Party and Tony in particular.

His third election victory (over the Tories) has forced you to drop Conservatism and go for the 'one Nation Tories' approach.A Ted Heath sort of thing.

We in the Labour Party have forced you to drop a couple of babies as Dave 'flails around'(thanks Tone) with a bit of semi-detached policy.

You now love the NHS (a communist monolith)and want education for all across the board with no selection and you are green (if you say so). Hmmmmm...

Your best bit of questioning(?) regards 'sharing the proceeds of growth' is your achilles heel.

Yes, you will,but with whom?
We know that if you gain power, you will indeed revert to type and do what none and one Nation Tories do best, share it among yourselves.

Our job is to convince the 30+ age group that have never seen a Tory Party misrule this Country of your secret intentions.

Iain, a nice column but it does not reflect your personal views that are apparent in your profile.

Tories have not learned the lesson of saying one thing and doing another.

Verdict? Fourth term for Labour and membership forms sent out to all Tory activists and sleepers.

Gary

Anonymous said...

Who's Steve Hilton and where does he sit in the Conservative party ?
I keep hearing this name but I can't figure out who he is ,is he the equiv of Mandelson (spits).

Anonymous said...

canvas said:

There is a reason that Labour have been in power for a decade - and that is simply that the majority of people would rather have Labour than the Tories of old.

Not so, canvas. It's pointless to invoke he spectre of nulabour's 10 years in power.

The electorate are now sick to the back teeth of nulabour's lies and spin and Brown will not change that. Cameron will not win an election by mimicking Blair, the electorate are too intelligent now to fall for that again.

Newmania said...

gary Said-The Tory Party has been forced into change by the Labour Party and Tony in particular.

To nothing like the extent the Labour Party was forced to change by Margaret Thatcher. Secret intentions is great territory for the Labour Party though .Gordon Brown is the man more responsible than anyone for the rise in state managed expenditure as a % of GDP up to 45% over the last ten years , from 38%.
You`ll laugh but the Labout Party promised in 1997

1 To reform benefits
2 To reform Public Services
3 Not to increase taxes


In fact they have raised taxes thrown the money at the inefficient Public sector and allowed benefits dependency to grow.

G Says

Tories have not learned the lesson of saying one thing and doing another.

Good . The same cannot be said of the labour Party

Ed said...

Newmania don't forget they promised to be open, accountable, honest and all we've ended up with is Parliament being stamped on by the executive, authoritarianism, the abolition of habeas corpus and trial by jury, lies, spin, corruption, need I go on?

Once DC has "decontaminated" the brand he can go on the attack but it might be too late if Darling and friends get their way.

Anonymous said...

Things must be getting deperate.Dave has two supporting articles today.Hague who is a tireless worker for the party and Deedes who for a man of 94 still appears to write some interesting pieces.
Willie says Dave has won the war on grammar schools.Bit like Germany winning at Stalingrad.

Anonymous said...

anon said:

the electorate are too intelligent now to fall for that again.


And might just give the lot of them a hung parliament. The electorate have lost so much faith in politicians now that this seems a distinct possiblity.

Anonymous said...

Mystery solved.The reason for all Dave's troubles are now clear!He's been in Powys where the magic mushrooms come from.

Newmania said...

Canvas
There is a reason that Labour have been in power for a decade - and that is simply that the majority of people would rather have Labour than the Tories

Not really canvas , the most important reason is the unprecedentedly clement world economy which have allowed successful growth and given the illusion that you can have a performing economy despite taking an ever increasing amount of resources from the Private sector into the Public sector . In fact our growth has been the worst in the Anglosphere but as everyone agrees the Chancellor was right to take interest rates out of his own hands. He also inherited a flexible work force and did not repeal the trade union legislation the Conservatives were responsible for He had a Healthy exchequer which is now catastrophically debt ridden which vast shadow debt kept of the balance sheet. They have also benefited from the break down of the UK so called Celtic antagonism to the English has decimated the Conservative fortunes in these areas but as the Nationalism works its way out in Scotland we can see the electoral bias is not sustainable with a devolved Scotland.

In short they have been lucky and they have used that time to create so many state employees or dependants that it is not possible to be an outright tax cutting Party on the right . Tax cuts mean jobs for the endless Bureaucrats and benefits cuts form another trenche of bought and paid for voters. In Scotland they have gone along way down the road of creating an entire client state.

This is the reality David Cameron has to face and this is why he is moderate in a way one might not have foreseen in his early career . He is not a Heathite though who was a paternalist , he is a localist and at heart a traditional Conservative in many ways .
Where you are quite wrong is to imagine that right wing thinking is outdated or old fashioned in some way . Its rather the other way round Neo Con anti state market ideas are the new intellectual leaders . When Tony Blair took on Socialsim he was kicking an intellectual dead carcass . The new right is very much alive and kicking

gary elsby said...

This Government has not raised taxation (a very loose term indeed) but has stuck to its manifesto.

True, that NI has increased by 1% (10% to the clever mind) but that is to meet the commitment to raise capital for EU average (I love the EU and you do too, or at least you soon will do. Ask Chris Hilton.)

The third election victory for Tony killed dead the old Tory Party.I think Hilton and Dave wised up to this about a year ago when Howard tried to outspend Lord Cashpoint, but failed.

One Nation Conservatism, Dave style, is your only saviour.

Colonel Diehard hates Dave for what he has done to his beloved party. The Colonel doesn't yet realise that his lot closed everything and therefore there is nothing left to close.

Dave realises there is therefore, everything to build, including his own party.

The Tories will be born again on June 27th (but not before) but Tony will have the last laugh at Dave as the Country goes into mourning at our loss.

gary

Anonymous said...

Would the last Tory to leave the Conservative Party, please switch out the lights: thank you.

canvas said...

neemania says: "The new right is very much alive and kicking"

I would say it's more like the 'new right' are flogging a dead horse.

It's perfectly clear that no right wing neo con party would ever win a general election.

Denial at its best.

Anonymous said...

newmania said:

Where you [canvas] are quite wrong is to imagine that right wing thinking is outdated or old fashioned in some way . Its rather the other way round Neo Con anti state market ideas are the new intellectual leaders . When Tony Blair took on Socialsim he was kicking an intellectual dead carcass . The new right is very much alive and kicking

Agree with you, newmania, in so far as there is huge potential for a new CENTRE right - and this is a growing trend across Europe, not just here. Labour are dead and we're simply awaiting the funeral.

But the centre right mood isn't neo con, it's a Liberal Conservative one. Cameron's problem is his spin doctors are behind the times and pulling him in the opposite direction.

Newmania said...

Gary the overall shift in state control of money is as I have stated .I am quoting from Cash Nexus but the figures are not broadly in dispute . No you are quite right that income tax has not increased the state now attacks the private individual in innumerable hidden ways like stamp duty, Insurance premium tax , Corporation Tax (rises) , Landfill tax and so on . Perhaps you live in a hole or another country but otherwise I imagine the concept of steal taxation may be one you are familiar with. “ Hidden taxes account for approximately the same amount of revenue as income tax so your remarks are misleading to the point of being an outright lie. Incidentally the revenue collected by income tax is about the same amount as the government distributes in “ Social Benefits “. Which makes for an arresting pie chart . The tax regime has become viciously regressive with huge marginal increases at low levels encouraging further dependency on benefits crime and social breakdown. Credits...lets not even mention that farce. It also distances the cost of Public Services from the individual thereby rendering political debate childish and has removed the honest engagement between Parliament and people .

The Labour Party has lied about tax and will lie again as Brown attempts to woo the South.


Canvas – I agree with you that a Neo Con Party could never win a general election alone not that I am one especially . However a Liberal Conservative Party on its own would be a far less significant force. The 800,000 or so swing voters that decide the election are clearly going to be given great importance which is one of the unfortunate effects of the ( excellent ) first past the posts system. I would not be under the impression that you are part of a vast army of sympathetic supporters . A significant minority about the size of a baby elephant set aside fully grown one in relation to the new and old right of the Conservative Party.

I support Cameron though and what you say is not wrong per se

Anonymous said...

Canvas.have a care.I suspect Aunty Flo is watching,

Scary Biscuits said...

What's missing from Iain's wishful thinking analysis of Cameron's wisdom in the Grammar Schools debate and other 'mini clause 4s'?

It's the lack of any unifying theme.

Thus, despite a leader who is supposed to be brilliant at PR, the Tory party is going to struggle to get its message across.

The theme that is missing is the new Right policy of localism. Cameron is stuck in the past, promising that he will do a better job of fixing education - from Whitehall - than Brown. Instead, he should be saying that he will devolve power to local councils. Assuming the Tories win the next election, why should they be telling the people of Liverpool, who presumably will still have voted Labour, what short of school they must have? This principle should also be extended to all other services and the slogan for the next election should be "Power to the People".

For once, high principle and political opportunism chime together as giving more power to local councils isn't something that Labour could easily copy, given their disasterous performance in the local elections.

Alas, Cameron shows no sign of understanding this new wave of thinking. Instead of criticising Tory activists in Scotland, for example, he should have been arguing for more power for the Scottish assembly. But he had simply nothing of substance to offer them (except reheated New Labour policies like Academy Schools) and the results in Scotland speak for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Canvas.have a care.I suspect Aunty Flo is watching,

Auntie Flo' is still here, despite the key logger etc sent to her yesterday evening at exactly the same time as the spin attack on her by 'anons' here. She's not been driven off Iain's site, simply remains anon until her system is protected against further such attacks.

gary elsby said...

Newmania, it is you, not I, that is being disingeneous on tax.

It is very possible to be fully employed and paying none of those taxes you mention. It is also very possible to be retired and receiving free health, travel heating, eye tests and everything else.

People have a choice to pay in a modern, progressive, Centre left country such as this.

Dave will attempt to sell progressive, centre right services with a reduction in tax, earnings or stealth(Hilton's baby).

A feat never before attempted due to the impossibility of it all, but hey!, this is Dave's windmill world we're talking here.

Dave can't fill up our prison's anymore than Tony has done. In fact, you are now against such spectacular results.I'm presuming you want them let loose!

Nope. progressive centre left beats progressive(?!?)centre right politics by the bucketload.

Dropping grammars and loving the NHS only gets you the silver medal in any race.

Gordon's ace in the hand is the Euro and Dave's ace is also the Euro.

There were not that many chipshops that were actually bombed in the war, but Dave will find every single one of them.

Still only siver medal position though.

Aaron said...

Afternoon Iain.

How very 'on-message;' your rehabilitation is nicely on track.

Your dear leader will not forget your loyalty.

chris marshall said...

On the basis that Gordon Brown is moderately eurosceptic (which Cameron clearly isn't) and the economy has been reasonably stable under his chancellorship (we kept out of the euro which I fear the conservatives would have taken us into), as there is no discernable difference on tax and social policies I am increasingly inclined to think Brown would be the better bet at the next election.

canvas said...

To 'Anon' - I don't know anything about 'key loggers' or 'attacks'. I don't care 'who' is watching me - even if it is Colleen from Old Harlow. I'm not paranoid.

Newmania - your comments are reasonable are interesting.

Newmania said...

Gary I think you must know that your idea that the thousands of hidden taxes might be avoided ..is..well it’s a bit silly really isn’t it . No pension…ok , no insurance of any kind , no house or flat. It might be an amusing game to see if it were possible by “ Choosing ” to live naked from wild berries on Hampstead heath but I expect there is a tax on berries I haven’t spotted. They are not avoidable if they were…..etc.They are designed to raise revenue with the minimum political notice . Look how long it took for everyone to work out what Brown had done to pension .People do not have a choice to pay and this is not a modern centre left progressive country. It is a rotting corrupt land of state lackeys and bureaucrats to whom large amounts of all our money go in the form of such things as gold plated pension kicking in years before the pension you used to have might have done in the private sector.

This country is not “Modern “ , it is a rotting inefficient land of snooping government cameras and commissar’s forms and “State “ crèches of a sort Kafka would have immediately recognised as would Orwell. This is very old sort of sickness indeed. It disgusts me
The problem with Prisons is that the Labour Party have cut the link between work and reward which has caused a moral breakdown in working-class areas , this and catastrophic failure to improve education have lead to a crime explosion that the politicised police are to busy filling in forms to do anything much about . Crime is a problem created by Labour Policy and then they compound the problem by not building enough prisons. Actually you are less likely to be tried and go to prison in this country than any other in Europe so Tone the law and order man is far off the mark.

The Labour Party is supported by its traditional vote and public sector professionals. It will not regain the trust of anyone else before the next election which is why it cannot win. Whether the Conservative Party can get a majority in the UK is another matter

Steve said...

Auntie Flo' is still here, despite the key logger etc sent to her yesterday evening at exactly the same time as the spin attack on her by 'anons' here.

is this implying that somebody commenting on this site has been attacked with a virus, sent by somebody else also commenting on this site? just curious, it seems a little paranoid to think anyone would go to such lengths

mutleythedog said...

I like Dave, I have started wearing a black suit with a nice shirt and no tie - who says it is just about superficial things ...this is important to me..

Philipa said...

Yes mutley, I noticed Peter Hitchens rarely wears a tie nowadays. Tuh, moral decline everywhere!

Personally I think there's nothing sexier than broad shoulders in a crip cotton shirt, so throw out the green gingham Mutley, you know it makes sense. These are the things that matter.

David Anthony said...

I'm not sure I understand the thrust of this article, seems to me just like a lot of old facts rehashed together to show that the Tories are trying to change their image. Doesn't the country know this already?

You say that the policy groups work should not be pre-empted, I disagree. It's the role of the party's grassroots to ensure that Cameron does not throw away too many core Tory principles in his search for power. It's easy to get elected by copying New Labour now that Tony Blair is leaving a void in his departing wake.

Cameron should be trying to reshape the void in a new right-of-centre image, rather than simply filling the hole that Blair has left.

forthurst said...

Iain said "...better for it to happen now, at the beginning of the policy formation process, than near an election"

Grammars my indeed not be the answer, but what exactly is the question?

Cameron set up six studies to assist in policy formation including 'economic competitiveness.'

So the question is, "how do we maintain and improve the effectiveness of our Human Resoures?"

Of course, it must be very demotivating to those sitting on the relevant policy group, as well as to the others by inference, to have Cameron foreclose on a potential outcome of their deliberations, a point which Iain conveniently leaves out of his otherwise thoughtful article.

So far we have not been offered anything credible by Cameron, since in order to provide effective streaming, it is necessary for schools to be able to attract, amongst others, good graduates in maths and numerate science and these people are simply not going to go to an inner city school where braindead thugs grossly outnumber brainy kids that want to learn, especially not in return for remuneration similar to that of other teachers whose degree does not attract a premium elsewhere.