Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Unique Opportunity for the Tories

In today's Telegraph Simon Heffer writes...

"There has never been such an opportunity for the Tories to win the hearts and minds of the voters, and to do the right thing for Britain, since Mrs Thatcher's great campaign in 1979."

He is right. These times demand clear and courageous leadership. The Tories must avoid the temptation to be merchants of doom, but instead mix their critique of the government's parlous management of the economy with a sense of optimism about the future. "We can get through this, and this is how we are going to do it," should be the message. Cameron shouldn't use flowery language, but instead come across as the man with a plan. Above all, the country is seeking reassuarance that its rulers know what they are doing. They are not getting that from Labour, but they are seeking it from the Conservatives.

Today George Osborne should start his speech by exposing the flaws in Labour's approach and the effects of the measures announced in the PBR. But then we want to hear some positive stuff which will tell us more about the direction the Conservatives are going in. He needs to meld together the recent policy announcements into one coherent strategy.

PS It seems I was right and that Yvette Cooper will be opening for the Government. Will Darling and Brown be sitting beside her?

UPDATE: There seems to have been a change of heart. The Treasury is now saying Darling will open the debate at 1.15 and Cooper will wind up. She's good at that...


Letters From A Tory said...

I wonder if Brown will want to turn up at all.

He has a track record of hiding when the going got tough when he was Chancellor, and he's already dumped Darling in it once on Monday by getting him to read out his own financial press release.

Bond007 said...

Maybe they will organise for Brown, Balls and Badger to sit around Cooper wearing white suits in a final desperate attempt to put Osborne off?

not an economist said...

Was the source that said Mrs Balls would open the debate reliable? Its just it struck me that it was really odd - a major speach like this and the top man/politician in the Treasury hides in a broom cupboard. He'd have very little credibility afterward.

This is not to be sexist: I'd say exactly the same if Mrs Balls had been a Mr.

Man in a Shed said...

Darling didn't look to good on Monday, tired, haunted and emaciated.

I think he finds lying to the public difficult and doing what Gordon says, rather than what he knows the country needs to be an incredible strain. You had the fealing that at any time he would cross the floor screaming "he's a monster you don't know what he's like ! ".

Mrs Balls on the other hand looks chirpy.

maas101 said...

The Tories should propose raising the personal alwance to 12k. This could be done for not much more dosh than the 2.5% vat dodge. That could be found through ditching a few unpopular govt 'initiatives' such as ID cards and cutting a few quangos.

It would take quite a few ppl out of tax altogether and show that they really do care about the less well off.

They could also propose to dismantle the hugely complicated tax credits system and replace it with personal allowance adjustments. Huge swathes of bureaucracy and govt meddling removed at a stroke.

Mark Senior said...

As the Conservative lead in the polls sinks slowly into the setting sun , when will Cameron/Osborbne realise that there is more to being an opposition than simply to run down the government , insult the people who vote for them rubbish the British economy at every opportunity all in the hope that it may be a route back to power .
Attacking the government is easy at a time of financial crisis is easy for an opposition but putting forward a coherent set of policies to solve it is far more difficult and beyond the wit and intelligence of the Conservative Party .
The voters as a whole may not be happy with the state of the country's economy but will not vote for a party that finds words of criticism cheap but solutions to problems more up to date than the 1930's prudence and laissez-faire let the recession rip policy that is all they can offer .

Anonymous said...

If the Tories had any real policies now, they'd know what to say without your help surely? Until they re-find a true core, a real sense of conviction no-one will listen I'm afraid

Dad said...

They need to start by promising to cut the fat out of government spending. There could be some massive savings here, and we really should be getting some numbers.

Ideally they should follow the UKIP's lead, but I understand that this might frighten the europhiles:

Desperate Dan said...

Blair put us in physical danger by lying to justify his illegal crusade. Brown has put us in financial meltdown with his untried economic theories and his sticky back plastic solutions. Even if it all works out well I want to be rid of them all for putting us through this strain and anxiety.

Patrick said...


Cameron must now start performing a tricky double act - whacking Labour and emanating a sense of hope and release.

kenny murphy said...

The Tories have had a unique opportunity since Brown entered Number 10.

However, they've blown it. Despite Brown making a complete mess of the first 12 months of his Premiership we have a Tory party struggling to remain in the forties in the polls.

Regardless to what Brown does after nearly 12 years of Labour Government the Tories really ought to be running away with things towards Downing Street.

That they're not shows that the public just like Neil Kinnock 1983-1992 are not prepared to see Cameron as PM.

The political opportunism displayed by many Tories over this worldwide economic situation is quite distasteful. The public doesn't like it.

Yes Brown has made mistakes but just where is the Tory alternative?

The public have NO IDEA what the Tory alternative would have been to Monday. We don't know because they don't know!

Old BE said...

there is more to being an opposition than simply to run down the government , insult the people who vote for them rubbish the British economy at every opportunity all in the hope that it may be a route back to power

You mean like Blair did 1994-1997?

Anonymous said...

People criticizing the Tories should look at labour. So sure are they of their ground that they hide away a £37 billion cut in government spending rather than trumpet it out.

Any party pushing policies (no matter how much they are needed) that mean cuts in spending will be in danger. Just look at the history of the last few elections. Labour is cutting back but they keep it carefully tucked away.

Wyrdtimes said...

It's about time the Conservatives did something for the English.

A commitment to ban the Barnett Formula and to hold referenda on the EU and an English Parliament would do nicely for starters.

Patrick said...


You underestimate the scale of Labour's client state. In a rob Peter to pay Paul world Brown can rely on the electoral support of Paul.

If you were a benefit scrounger, a community outreach co-ordinator, an HIP inspector, a diversity and inclusiveness advisor, etc who would you vote for?

Rexel No 56 said...

I sense that Monday was the governments Black Wednesday.

The sheer awfulness of the state we are in hit home in the course of Darling's speech.

If you have to choose one moment, it was the revelation that, even after the tax hikes, it will be 2015 before government revenue and spending are back in balance.

That's right - by 2015 income will equal current expenditure. It will stop getting worse, but NONE of the £1 trillion debt will have been paid back at that point. Indeed, the debt will still grow to fund 'investment'.

The British public simply no longer believe that such a catastrophic loss of control over the public finance was somebody else fault.

Bravo to Osborne - when others were criticising him for being nowhere to be seen, he knew that the moment to strike would be when the PBR forced the Govt. to admit just how badly they have mismanaged the finances.

So how is the 'average' middle-England family, that put Blair into power in 1997, feeling today:

* having watched the FTSE crawl back up from the falls in 2002 to almost get back level - it's crashed again - my pension and endowments are wrecked again but now I'm much closer to retirement

* we knew we were going to have to cut back for a year or so until things get better - now we know that every green shoot of recovery is going to be greeted with a new tax rise

* the kids are going to University soon - how the f**k am I going to pay for that and fix the pension and fix the endowment and pay the extra tax

* you know what, I'm going to have to look after the family and, however much it might hurt my pride, I'm going to apply for one of these £100k public sector/quango jobs in the Sunday Times with their final salary pension scheme.

Middle England is hurting - it will extract its price at the General Election.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

mark senior @ 10.37: You say, 'As the Conservative lead in the polls sinks slowly into the setting sun ...'

Try telling that to the Labour benches. They are in shock. To a man they know the game is up and despair of re-election.

Anonymous said...

....she winds me up everytime her sanctimonious gob appears on my screen bleating newspeak!

Anonymous said...

Meantime Vince Cable is talking garbage in the PBR debate.

He thinks we can dream up money for a stimulus without dangerous borrowing. He says the borrowing by the govt is dangerous but their stimulus is not enough yet he implies that he can provide a stimulus thats funded but he complains about cuts by the govt.

The POINT IS the money is not there. We are already borrowed up to the hilt. To borrow more for whatever purpose is not sustainable. The claim by Labour and the LibDems that they are 'doing something' is a charade.