21 February 2009

“Who's up, who's down, who cares?” – exactly


Matthew Parris gives his penetrating take on the Labour turmoil.  He makes a number of points, firstly (the easy bit) dismissing the present Cabinet.  Then he gets to Moses:

It doesn't really matter what Gordon Brown says or does any more. People have stopped looking, stopped listening. Only news of his failures registers easily with the mob - fitting, as it does, that oh-so- Blairite concept: the “narrative” of current affairs.

Once this happens it is almost impossible to claw back the initiative: even economic recovery (John Major found) cannot regain for you the nation's attention. Nothing is impossible but in politics some things are most unlikely. A political rebirth for Mr Brown's crew is one of them.

On the national mood:

The dear old nation, which, on the whole, dips in and out of politics and takes only a fitful interest in policy, party and personality, is inclined to shrug its shoulders as a government dies. My sense of the national mood is of attention shifting steadily away from the Labour Party and from a generation that it regards as yesterday's men.

But these are the points that matter:

Who are these Conservatives? What are their plans? What are their instincts? What is their calibre? Are they ready?

……Do they even themselves really know, in their hearts as well as their heads, that just ahead lie the last summer holidays, and the last party conference, when they will not be in charge of the country? It's time we did what Tony Blair so regularly urged us to do: move on. It's time we started to find out.

How true.  This is now the challenge for Cameron.  He can’t rely on Labour tearing itself apart and the economy collapsing.  He has got to set out his stall, up his game, destroy Brown’s credibility and seal the deal with the electorate.

He is capable of doing this.  Now he has got to prove it.

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  1. Absolutely; Labour may be gasping its last, but its successors - which, through sheer lack of policies, I am inclined to believe are more of same - simply lean upon the barricades rather than storming them. They pronounce only upon economic matters, and then without the courage of conviction that could have saved the taxpayers from an average personal debt load of ca. £22k; are hellishly weak on civil liberties; ambivalent about Europe; quiet upon various atrocities carried out by the current government either directly or through complicity. They wish to revert to a Thatcherite governmental model rather than contriving their own. Weak, weak, weak.

  2. I am not sure that Cameron wants to revert to a Thatcherite model. Your general point is well made and shared by others.

  3. "He is capable of doing this."

    Hmmm... not in my book. At heart he's a PR man and instinctively avoids upsetting any section of the electorate. Pretty well any policy proposed by a politician will upset some section of the public. Ergo he substitutes vacuous abstraction for policy. He will be just as bad in no.10 when 'tough' decisions were called for.

    We need a Redwood or Davis at the helm.

  4. Hmmm. Not sure about that. Davis has bad judgment and Redwood has a public profile worse than most politicians I can think of.

    I will revise my opinion on Cameron if he can't close the deal with electorate soon.

  5. Redwood is gaining more respect, certainly in the blogosphere. Dave doesn't do it for me either, but then I support the SNP and wouldn't vote tory, unless I moved to England.

    He's too afraid to let his own personality show through. Too much of a PR company product.

    I say that in a positive way because I'd like to see the tories back in England.