Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Sunshine Boys

Let sunshine win the day...

Bournemouth has a thriving club culture. Perhaps Ravey Davey had been over-indulging the night before his speech. That's either a high-concept statement or just complete bollocks brought on by watching one too many Teletubbies DVDs. I suspect the latter. Eh-oh.

He's been reading Tony, though. Guess which is which:

Our party's history tells us the ground on which political success is built. It is the centre ground. Not the bog of political compromise. Not the ideological wilderness, out of the fringes of debate. But the solid ground where people are.

...most of politics isn't about politics, in the sense of meetings, resolutions, speeches or even Parties. It starts with people. It's about friendship, art, culture, sport. It's about being a fully paid up member of the human race... The danger for us today is not reversion to the politics of the 1980s. It is retreat to the sidelines. To the comfort zone.

The second quote is Tony's.

We're still not seeing any sign of real policies behind all the spin - and even the natural Tory backers of the Telegraph are getting decidedly concerned at the lack of substance behind the image-making. ITN pointed out that David changed his clothing four or five times on Sunday morning alone - if only he could fill the vacuum that is the the Tory policy cupboard at the moment. A YouGov survey for the Telegraph showed that 58% of voters thought that it was hard to know what a Tory government would be like, with almost half of Tory voters supporting that statement. Overall, that poll only puts the Tories on a par with Labour at 36% support - 3 points up on the general election, but hardly a commanding lead. An ICM poll for the Mirror only gives them a 1% lead. After all the Cameroonie reinvention, is that all they've achieved? They should be cantering ahead of a third term government riven by internal strife over the leadership.

The YouGov poll details hold more interesting information. Despite the attempts to lead on Brand Cameron (TM), the results haven't been outstanding. While 55% reckon he's doing a good job, just 18% find him more attractive than the Tory party, with 20% preferring the party and 55% not really going for either. A fatally high 63% can't see any substance behind the weasel words and 54% don't know what the Tory Party stands for. That latter point might actually be a bonus, as it suggests that Cameron may have wiped the slate a little cleaner, so now has the chance to redraw the image of the party in greater depth. Cameron's reluctance to promise tax cuts is supported by this poll - 18% want them (a figure actually down 1% on February), while 51% want public services running as they are now, but with better management and less waste.

And that's not all the bad news. Gideon Osborne showed the level of tact we have come to expect from Tory MPs from Tatton, but using 'autistic' as a term of political abuse against Gordon. Rather than admit he made a mistake, he's tried to convince us that he was being asked if he was autistic and was trying to move the conversation on. I've heard the tape and that's not what it sounds like. Meanwhile, Francis Maude brings family values to the fore by investing in the porn industry... and questions are raised about soft money being funnelled to the Tories through Constituency Campaigning Services, which is or is not part of the Tory Party, depending on which day you ask their leader. Just to show that PC Plod is being evenhanded in his interviews, a Tory backer had a little chat with the cops a while back - the same backer who is part of the team running the secretive Midlands Industrial Council, which has been the subject of press interest lately itself.

The danger with the Brand Cameron (TM) approach is that it pins everything on the leader. They had better hope that there are no nasty skeletons in the cupboard that could dent his image, because that would be fatal. If he fails, the party fails. While Blair was undoubtedly the 'brand lead' for Labour in the mid 90s and has taken that role in government, that has meant that all the problems and failures have become firmly attached to him - great news for Gordon.

No comments: