Monday, October 04, 2004

Visions of Tory Britain

Well, not quite.

With a general election probably less than ten months away, you'd expect the Tories to be using this week to roll out some policies - make the most of the media focus on Bournemouth.

So, what does Ollie Letwin hit us with? Does he promise tax cuts?

No. He promises that they will "set Britain on the path to a lower tax economy."

Excited yet? There's more.

"On the first day of the next Conservative Government I will freeze civil service recruitment. In the first week of that government I will lift the controls, those wretched best value performance assessment regimes, off local government"

Now, I may be wrong in this, but I don't believe that removing the Comprehensive Performance Assessment structure is a hot topic in the pubs up and down the country. I don't even believe that the CPA is that hot a topic to anyone but the most geeky of the policy wonks. Nevertheless, this is the exciting future that the Tories can offer us.

Now, I hold no brief for the Tory party and I don't want to intrude on private grief, but are these people so far out of touch that they can't understand their problems? Where's the excitement?Where's the vision? Until they can offer that, a manifesto based on reforming the local government performance measurement structure is set to be the shortest suicide note in history.

Despite changing their leader (again), their poll performance is dropping - down to 28% in the latest polls and a mere 3% ahead of the LibDems. Labour is clearly ahead on 35%. When IDS was ousted, the Tories were on 30-33%.

All the rhetoric in the Tory party seems directed at the membership, shoring up old emnities and prejudices. Let's face it, a front bench occupied by Nicholas Soames, John Redwood, Ollie Letwin and Michael Howard is not showing the new face of the Tory Party. Unless and until they can cut free of the 1980s and the 1990s, the party will continue in freefall.

Kilroy won't need to bury the Tory party, they'll do it all by themselves.

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