Saturday Ramble: Cameron’s task at the Tory Conference
Politicians have a tendency to parade policy ideas carefully crafted to attract specific groups of voters. The end result usually resembles a chaotic jigsaw puzzle with little overall coherence.
Manifesto-itis is the bane of British politics. It confuses the electorate and switches off swathes of potential supporters who will probably not vote at all. The problem is exacerbated by party leaders deliberately pitching for coalition partners in the event of a hung parliament. Coalition represents defeat not victory.
The real need is to concentrate on a few popular big-hitting ideas beloved by the core vote, while also defining the way they will be implemented in office. Any fudge will lessen the impact and increase the doubt in voter’s minds.
David Cameron — a born fudge merchant — seems to have got the message. A few big ideas are coming across: a referendum on Europe; leaving the “human rights” courts in Strasbourg; bringing back British justice into law; holding the line on the economy; bearing down hard on immigration. These are popular policies right across the political spectrum, not only in the core vote.
Soft policy options designed to appeal to Liberal Democrats will not do. The Tories need a powerful message going into the next election. Labour has given them the space by openly espousing a New Marxism, a stroke of luck that deserves an emphatic response.
In the face of the retreat to Old Labour values which all but destroyed this country in the past, potential supporters will be turned off by soggy centrist waffle from the Conservatives.
It may not be in David Cameron’s nature, but he really needs to change the public’s image of him by serving up a sizzling, tasty dish at this week’s party conference.
Coming up: Mystology: A different way of looking at the world. Also a website, mystology.com.
Author of The Eternal Quest for Immortality: Is it staring you in the face? Available from Amazon and all good booksellers.