Friday 6 October 2006

Cameron/Blair Merger

Having listened to Cameron's party conference speech it was obvious that the Conservative strategy in the run up to the next election is to present themselves as offering the potential for electors to vote for a smooth transition from Blair to Cameron. The Conservative Party has clearly decided to offer itself as a sort of New Labour plus.

The Prime Minister seems to take this as a compliment as though Cameron has been incorporated into New Labour. The reality is that New Labour has been shifted so far to the right that it is easy to see a sizeable proportion of Conservatives now accomodated into New Labour.

Cameron's strategy though even in the crudest electoral calculations seems to have missed the point of recent elections. The most significant feature of the recent period has been the electorate's increasingly angry disillusionment with New Labour, both its policies and its style of politics. People increasingly do not like the society that is being created by the policies pursued by New Labour and now advocated by the New Conservatives.

The disllusionment therefore isn't just with Tony Blair the individual but with the concrete results of his New Labour's policies and the consequent breakdown of trust in both him and politics more generally.

Although there was no policy content to Cameron's speech he was offering virtually the same political mood music as New Labour but with a fresher face.

There is a real world test for this coterie of political consensus of the right.

In a society which is visibly fraying at the edges as a result of the most prolonged period of widening inequality in the last century what will their policies do to redistribute wealth and power in Britain?

There is no point any politician wittering on in even the most flowery conference eloquence until they demonstrate that they are willing and are capable of tackling this issue.

How can we put up with a society in which the gross inequality of distribution of wealth determines so crudely and on such a scale not just the quality of the life of our children but even their very life expectancy?

Tony Blair has had his oppportunity to tackle this issue and simply avoided the question. David Cameron hasn't even acknowledged its existence.