Tuesday, 30 March 2010


The Conservatives are damned quite unequivocally by Steve Richards in the Independent today. He criticises the party as 'amateurish' and in particular condemns the making of policy on the hoof.

Richards notes: Policies quickly made are becoming Cameron's defining theme. He announced a bank tax the weekend before last to the surprise of the shadow Cabinet. Now he has to work out the details, along with the marriage tax allowance and the rest of the incoherent, contradictory package.

And then goes on: The inconsistency exposes the lack of principle. The Conservatives have changed their economic policies more often than under any opposition leadership I can recall. I do not mean that the policies have evolved in a recognisable direction. That would be constructive change. They have moved from one direction to another.

Richards sets out how various policies have been announced, only to be followed by apparently contradictory policies some months later. It would be unfair to the newspaper to set out the whole argument here but I would recommend it if you are considering giving your support to the Conservatives on May 6th.

In another comment I read today the Conservatives were compared to the Labour Party of 1992, which I would say is a pretty accurate analysis. This is a party up against an unpopular government with an admittedly popular leader (RIP John Smith, a politician of conviction and principle) but one in which most voters simply do not have confidence and which the great majority do not believe has changed.

I'd say they are right in that conclusion.

The greatest criticism I can offer of a possible Conservative government is not that its Cabinet would be dominated by the alumni of a single expensive private school, nor that it has no obvious principles beyond cutting tax and rewarding the better off in our society. It seems to me that the most damning criticism of a possible future Tory government is simply that it would not change anything because it does not have any ideas.

Finally let me apologise for the tone of this post. I want to promote the policies of the Liberal Democrats but it is difficult to avoid criticism of the Conservatives when too many people still see them as a credible alternative government.

They are not.

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