The Dissenter's Voice

The ocassional comments, opinions, rambling and rants of a liberal dissenter in New Labour's Britain

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Watch the straw men fall

David Cameron, may have finally found his Clause 4 moment.

Having manufactured a row with the rightwing phantom, in the shape of John Redwood & Edward Leigh, over tax, he is now able to show himself bravely holding on to the centre ground.

Like Blair before him he has chosen the ground for his party's internal fight carefully. He knows he will win that fight, not because the party agrees with him but because the party is so desperate for power after 3 election losses that it6 will put up with virtually anything in order to win the nest election. He knows the Tories refusing to promise tax cuts is counter-intuitive enough for to stick in th public's subconscious.

Is this change of heart genuine, are the blue-green-yellow-red Rainbow Tories for real? Well, in a sense yes - just as pre-1997 Blair, Brown & Mandelson genuinely meant to drag Labour to the centre ground so Cameron, Osbourne & Letwin do with the Tories. However, the parrallel with Labour goes further, in that the rest of the Tory gang remain much the same gnarly bunch of rancuous reactionaries as they always were whatever liberal clothes their leaders don.

If there is a Tory majority after the election (unlikely but possible with effective targeting) then between 80-100 Tory MPs will be out & out headbangers, rightwing nutters bent on leaving the EU, ending all immingartion & asylum,privatising everything that isnt nailed down & slashing both taxes & public spending. They will be organised and out to get cameron. The Major Govts troubles & indeed Tony Blair's problems with his left, will look like a little kid's picnic compared to the antics that Redwood & co will get up to if they have the chance.

Cameron knows that he can only win the election by posing as a LibDem, but a Tory govt would be dependent on the votes of a phallanx of hard right MPs. I suspect that Cameron would genuinely like to govern from the centre and indeed, like Blair would confront his party in power. However, whatever liberal sentiments he may possess these are not strong enough to sustain a government. Like Labour, once in power the baser instincts of the party will come through. Cameron talks a good liberal game - but then he talked a good Tory game when he drafted the most rightwing election manifesto ever prioduced last year.

Left alone Tories will always be Tories, as their flip-flopping on ID cards & Iraq has shown they simply cannot be trusted with a Parliamentary majority. Desperate as I am to get rid of this wretched Govt, I am deeply concerned at the prospect of a return to power by the Tories. I think that's how the country feels as well.

If, as is likely, the next election results in a hung Parliament, then the LibDems will have a real opportunity to ensure that whoever occupies No 10, is forced to adhere to Liberal values & policies, not just empty liberal slogans.


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