In a sensational move today, the Conservative Party issued an obvious suggestion for voters to support somebody else. The new campaign strapline ‘Vote for Change’ (being in and of itself no change at all from the slogan Dave was using two Conferences ago) is a clear direction: ‘We have no plans for change, so people should cast their votes elsewhere’. Perhaps the leadership has fallen under the influence of play-it-safe Parris.
Playing it safe has seen the Cameroons’ lead halved during a fortnight in which New Labour has suffered one disaster after another: terrible economic data, a Leader accused of bullying, a Health Minister fingered for serious disaster, Mandelson branded a liar (again) and the BoE Governor Mervyn King as good as saying “Without printing money, we’re going back into recession”.
The Conservatives have not so much as dented a single one of the brass necks who have destroyed Britain’s present – and hocked its future.
Play it safe was the daftest idea any Establishment Party could have right now – because it tars them with the same brush as this waste of space trading as New Labour.
In the last three days, The Slog alone has given the Conservative press boys three serious allegations to ram home against the Government. They haven’t picked any of them.
This morning, Polly Curtis in the Guardian writes:
‘A major survey of political opinion by the Hansard Society will reveal next week that the way to secure a majority in the general election is to win back the disillusioned, uninterested and detached voters who have lost confidence in the democratic system..’
And the Tory answer is….Vote for Change. With no policies in place about changing anything from the Whips’ role and the power of the executive to Social Care or even the voting system.
The Slogger has insisted from the start that the Tories will win this election – in the sense of being the largest Party after it. But since I wrote about the reasons for their lead being understated, that lead has halved. I can’t go on rationalising failure forever.
David Cameron’s neck is on the block here. Had he been forthright, clear and harsher on the Big Facts about Labour’s economic, ethical, fiscal and social failure, he would be twenty points clear today. He should get tough, change tack, and nail the real outlook for Britain: Heaven knows, there are enough weighty commentators out there revealing it to anyone with a brain and an attention span beyond thirty seconds.
But I’m not holding my breath. A senior media figure who hired him as a trainee said to me two years ago of Cameron, “Nice enough bloke – but thick as a plank”. Harsh but fair? We shall see.
But the Tory Party is never fair with leaders who lose elections.
And for the record, no – I’m not voting Tory. I’m spoiling my ballot paper with ‘none of the above’. But if I lived in Buckingham, my spoiler would be ‘anyone but Bercow’.