In my Telegraph column today I suggest that Tory backbenchers need to get more aggressive in atttacking the government. We need a new band of Eric Forths, harrying the government to distraction in the Commons and irritating the hell out of them.
Since the sad death of Eric Forth and the cuddlification of John Bercow - who both tormented the Labour benches in the late 1990s - the Tories have lacked backbenchers who will sink their teeth into the Labour Party when the occasion calls for it - and sometimes when it doesn't.
Tory MPs have avoided attack dog politics for fear of being painted as the "nasty party". The post-2005 decontamination strategy has been so successful that even those with aggressive tendencies appear to have been injected with liquid valium.
David Cameron's bipartisan approach over the economic crisis was laudable but never destined to last long, opposite a Prime Minister who is the most tribal political leader this country has had since Margaret Thatcher. The rehabilitation of Peter Mandelson should signal to every Tory that bipartisanship is at an end. The gloves must now come off. The PM wants a fight and the Conservatives should now get up off the ropes and hit back. Hard.
Read the whole column HERE.
Gordon Brown is much more tribal than Margaret ever was. She at least had friends who were socialists, like Eric Heffer, and never thought that people were bad simply because she disagreed with their politics. Brown on the other hand is a simply awful person, who thinks that if you are a Tory you must be selfish and evil. I don't even think it works to his advantage as his blind hatred (no pun intended) means that he always underestimates us.
Accepting the "nasty party" tag was the biggest mistake we have made in opposition. There was nothing wrong with taking a principled and robust stand on issues that matter.
So much of what people felt denoted being "nasty" has since been shown to have been awareness of problems before they fully materialised. Our stance on immigration and law and order for example, was simply before its time.
It is time more of our MPs showed their indignation and anger at the way Labour has failed Britain, instead of holding back and appearing not to care.
Yes, Labour should be attacked at every opportunity.
The current economic slump and Gordon Brown's failure to stop Boom & Bust is the validation required for Tories to attack Labour.
The Government has failed the people - every stone should be overturned and publicised where the government has failed.
Labour are playing very nasty and dirty and the Tories should reply the compliment with malice.
Labour are the true nasty party, full of partisan hacks who have repugnant ideology dressed up with a sugar coating. Labour rule in self-interest not national interest.
Are you sure you're the best person to edit the "politically neutral" Total Politics?
Should it not be slip, not release? As in "Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war".
Martin, I don't edit it. I am the publisher.
Yes. Yes. Yes. About bloody time.
Labour declared war on the whole British population, and it is now time to fight back.
I refer you to a post I made on my blog recently
Not that I expect you to remember this Iain, especially as you seem to have gained a habit of banning my contributions.
I stated on this site and many others, and to my constituency party in no uncertain terms that minor shadow ministers at least should have unleashed the attack dogs years ago concerning the economy. Especially on Gordon Browns wholly dishonest claims to have abolished BOOM and BUST.
This is the political lie of the century. It never was possible and so never was going to happen. All the statement meant was that the Boom would be greater and go on far too long. Followed by a bust that would be greater and go on even longer.
Not doing so has now resulted in thinking people, now distrusting very understandably indeed, all 3 major political parties.
Cameron has made himself almost as responsible for our economic chaos as Brown. Which may not mean that he will not win the next election. Because he most likely will now whatever happens.
Real people are going to lose real jobs. Real people are going to go very bankrupt indeed. Real marriages are going to end in tears. Real children are going to lose their fathers.
If the Conservative Party ever do make good governments, ones things for absolute certain they make perfectly lousy opposition.
The Labour Party make perfectly wonderful opposition. It is only a crying shame they can not stay in it forever.
Such is the dangerous uselessness of democratic government. We dont need corrupted politicians or their bought and sold parties.
What we need is full PROPERTY RIGHTS supported by a cast in iron written constitution, a free media and a sound pound.
Or put another way TRUE CONSERVATISM.
Which is why I believe George Osborne needs replacing - not because of the yacht business which is a non story, but because he lacks the grit and toughness we need to fight Brown, Mandelson et al.
We need an old bruiser like Ken Clark (though Europhile)or a new one like Hague.
hahahaha I like your blog Iain but I think you are giving MPs too much credit.
Tory MPs are playing the 'keep quite, get in game' to voice an opinion normally means voicing a policy which appears to be a no no at the moment.
I want to vote Tory but I'm not voting for anyone at the moment.
You've just woken up to the fact that there really is going to be proper punch-up.
In a little over a fortnight Mandelson has ripped apart the fragile facade of the Conservative party.
I suggest you attend to Osborne. On PMQs the poor shell-shocked dear looked to be seeking protection from the battle.
"Daddy, Daddy. The Labour Party is being beastly to me. Stop them".
He's going to find that getting trashed and trashing a pub in Oxford dressed up like an exotic penquin is no preparation for hand-to-hand combat in a general election.
Who's got no bottle now?
A call for out-and-out tribal politics? Why? Why not just depend upon the natural strength and superiority of your intellectual argument? Oh, I see . . .
Well writ Iain...
I hope your words reach the ears of the Official Opposition because there's real anger out here on the streets of Britain.
The country is being wrecked and I fear if its not halted soon we might as well just give up - or emigrate!
Word Verification = TaxItem !!
I think the Tories should pay me to attack Labour online.
I like nothing better than a good fight. :-)
(Well other than a bj from Olga Kurylenko of course)
Thanks for bigging up David DaviEs MP.
He is a man to watch. Not only has he had a proper job in his family's firm, he is the only MP (human being?) who is fluent in both Hungarian in Welsh.
And being well to the fore of his near namesake's campaign for the leadership, so has not got much to lose by being serially off message.
"David Cameron's bipartisan approach over the economic crisis was laudable"
It was NOT.
How was forcing HBOS into being taken over by Lloyds TSB, relaxing the anti competition rules or applying terror laws to the people of Iceland Laudable ? Cameron just stood by and allowed this to happen without a murmer.
as another who has had the rough edge of Iain's anger. I too have been calling for Cameron to realise that he is now in a very dirty war and with the return on Mandleson a quite filthy war.
Whilst i agree that the backbenchers could be more troublesome, we have another problem, namely the Speaker. Martin. The most partial speaker I can recall. Once a Tory backbencher causes a problem he/she will find it difficult to 'catch his eye'
That is why Cameron has got to wake up. He has to bring back big beasts to the front bench. People who are good in a fight such as this. Ken Clarke, John Redwood. Malcolm Raffkind and especially David Davis. I would also promote younger MP's with the direct order to take no prisoners. Geoffrey Cox is one of the ablest and would knock a few off their perch.
Mr. Cameron. Please no more Mr Nice Guy. Show some steel and backbone. We do not want more years of this incompetent and shoddy government.
Mr Osborne has got to stand down also. Not as a victim of Labour lies. BUT because he has been disloyal to his colleagues.
Disloyalty is the biggest sin and he should be booted out.
Hague to replace Osborne and Davis to to take Hague's empty chair would be a good start.
Racist and Homophobic david Evans is now Iain Dale's role model.
A short time ago I expressed my sympathy for Iain when he published a post of, 'homophobic abuse.' A post which could have been written by David Evans. I realise now that sympathy was misplaced, Iain you deserve everything you get.
I should also remind you that as an. 'attack dog' Evans was 'very successful' Evans lost his own seat in the '97 landslide.
Yes Iain - and now that Alan Greenspan has been man enough to accept some of the responsibility for the crisis, I wonder if our "Saviour" will humble himself to admit his part in all of this, particularly the British side of things. I daresay, knowing Brown as we all do, he will take this opportunity of heaping all the blame on Greenspan, being the coward that he is. Maybe he should be shamed to learn some humility and apologise to the UK people for his personal and catastrophic handling of the British economy.
You win the prize for most idiotic post of the day. I'd love to you to point out where I said David Evans is my role model. And also to point out a homophobic post. That really is the most ridiculous assertion made on this blog in months. And believe me there is heavy competition.
You mean your front bench, with their return to Punch and Judy politics, aren't tribal enough! I have seen personal attacks on a Prime Minister from the Conservatives, in particular Osborne and one or two prominent journalists, which has been strong enough!
What we all need to ask is what the electorate expect and playground style politics is not something which serves any of us in the long-term
So George Osborne bad mouthed David Davis as Mandy dripped poison about Gordon.
Osborne in more trouble for Davis jibes to Mandy
Well, speaking of Tory Dogs of War - I saw Baroness Warsi on Question Time last night. She is truly awful - a right wing EXTREMIST on par with the awful Sarah Palin.
Warsi was shrill, rude and totally unreasonable. Why was she pointing her finger at other guests in such an aggressive manner?
Her views on sex education were ignorant and embarrassing. I'm sure David Cameron was cringing while Warsi ranted on national TV.
I really like David Cameron but the problem for me is the rest of his party. I'm sure David Cameron realises that loose cannons like Baroness Warsi could cost him too many votes. Just look what Palin did to McCain - she ruined his reputation and his political ambitions.
So, Iain, attack dogs could backfire bigtime. I'm sick of angry politicians who turn out to be hypocrites anyway.
I want reasonable and sensible politicians who listen thoughtfully to what the voters want. I'm not sure that is the Modern Conservative Party. DC should sack the lot of them.
PS> What's up with Warsi's bad hair? She needs an EXTREMIST Makeover.
Fully agree, lets go for the jugular against these Nu Lab hypocrites, but also let us not forget the other slime and liars, The Lib dems who have as much grace and charm as a Cobra on heat!!. Lets be honest, they are as bad if not worse than Labour. They will lie and cheat for any vote they can get. To be honest they compete with Mandelson for being low life.
Good piece, Iain. However, there's no need for dishonest robust attacks. There's so much that can really be attacked.
i thought the tory attack dog was osborne - it was him leaking private conversations to the press. and this absurd partisanship is the reason why so many of us are turned off by politics.
I have been saying for some time that Cameron needs the likes of Davis and Clarke in his shadow cabinet. I'm not sure who the attack dogs would be, I don't see many candidates.
It is certainly time that the Conservatives started acting like an opposition party, at the moment we don't have one.
Like most normal people i know I have had enough of this corrupt and inept government, so anyone who attacks them gets my vote! The country is in dire trouble and all i seem to read and hear about is George bloody Osborne on a boat. Where is the opposition to Labour?
A little bit of spine from Dave would help-it used to be called LEADERSHIP.Instead we have a "follow me i'm right behind you" approach from Bullingdon Dave.
Jeff Randall has it right in the DT.
Boy George please note!
i have seen more believable 'attack dogs' advertising toilet rolls !
Bring it on Iain. the harder they come the harder they fall. Look at the fool Osborne hoist by his own old school tie.
I am editing the Constituency wide In Touch at the moment, and will be going for Gordon's jugular on the economy
My family, our neighbours, ex colleagues are all suffering and are angry.
P.S. Thanks for listing all those "No more boom and bust" quotes the other day Iain.Most useful.
We need more Philip Davies's
What on earth are you on about Iain? Dogs of War?
Go and lie down in a dark room for a few days, switch of the TV, cancel the papers and take a reality check man!
You are lost in your own little world I think!
Ah!...we are talking the fighting chihuahuas ???
Unfortunately, there does not seem to be anyone of a higher pay grade available at present.
Shame really, as there is a modicum of common sense in your suggestion.
There are others, too. Nadine Dorries...
Ooh, yes please Iain - there's nothing we like more on our side than an 'attack dog' whose grasp on reality is somewhere south of David Icke's.
Is it true she's got shot of the godbotherer from the Channel 4 documentary and has now hired Chris Morris as her chief political advisor or did one of the historians on your own benches feed her the Stalin's Apemen story for a bet?
canvas said was obviously watching a different QT that myseelf. Baronness Warsi was excellent. It has been a long time since I saw Hattersley pleading to the Chair!! That was great.
On sex education, obviously canvas said, is one of those people who believe that our children should be controlled by the state. Parents are of no use anymore. Of course Baronness Warsi was right and the audience by a very large margin supported her - that parents MUST have a right to say yea or nay.
WHY should we all have our lives changed because of this governments inability to control ferral youths and poor parents?
the majority of people in this country white, black and brown are decent hard working people. BUT we appear that this incompetent government want to bring us all down to one level...gutter level!
Well said, Baronness Warsi, take the fight to the incompetent crowd. They cannot take it.
word verification PERMS!!
Yes ! Unleash Bonkers Dorris - I don't know what effect it will have on the enemy, but she certainly scares me...
Why do the negative commenters here always equate adversarial politics with brainless tribalism and gossiping? Is it because this is the only way Labour can behave?It doesn't take a genius to work out where this government is weak, nor, I imagine, would it take a genius to develop tactics that would both drive that message home, knocking the government's confidence and appealling to the voting public.
The biggest mountain will be getting the MSM to report stuff. Even if they are cowed, biased or whatever, the image of the PM and his cronies being thumped (metaphorically) at every turn will soon draw the Grownups' attention; a good story is still a good story, regardless of one's leanings.
I agree with Iain that Brown has scored a win in this round by bringing back Mandelson. But if Cameron is worthy of the title of leader he'll organise a counter attack. Fi he can't then forget George Osbourne, it's Dave Nice-But-Dim who should be fired.
Any attacks made on Brown need to be intelligent though. All too often in the past we would attack Blair with drivel - and still do it with Brown pretending the British are taxed to death, that Labour is Zanu PF, whatever. That sort of attack only alienates.
An IDS-esque line about how the financial crisis will impact on the POOREST might be a good place to start.
Everyone has to follow their own star, wheresoever it leads, but i find this kind of terminology offputting myself. To refer to "attack dog politics" is not much better than the references to "air war" and "ground war" seen elsewhere. Surely only a generation which hasn't paid the cost of war itself could throw such phrases around so casually.
But Tory backbenchers are aggressive .. trouble is that most of them are guileless, dim, lack perspective, nasty and totally useless. Nigel Evans, the chap from Keighley, Grant Shapps(God help us), the Wintertons, Graham Brady and on and on.
We want aggression without malice. Think Ken Clarke.
When I see what has happened to the party I've loved for more years than I care to remember, it makes me weep with shame.
Is there no one with any trace of backbone?
Is there no one who will stand up and say what needs to be said?
When I see what these lying swine have done to my beloved country it makes me weep with shame
Is there no one who's proud to be British/English/Welsh/Scottish anymore?
Have we become a people of no voice lest the bogeyman comes along and arrests us for daring to speak out loud?
Stand up for God's sake and say what needs to be said......please!!
Chris Paul said...
Bring it on Iain. the harder they come the harder they fall. Look at the fool Osborne hoist by his own old school tie.
I'll bet you wouldn't post that on Guido's blog.
Trouble is, Iain's too much of a gentleman with twats like you!
For heaven's sake - let your testicles descend or bring back Maggie to do the job of savaging the Government - the political mileage you could have made has been utterly squandered by the lack of killer instinct... get a grip and go straight for the jugular!!!
In the middle of a disater, cam eg al are letting the Evil Empire off the hook... or are they too scared of Pandora's Box to bring it on??
The view on the street is ttack dogs, please!!!!!!!
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