Tory Tax Triangulation (and why they need beating)

Cameron and Osborne have been doing the rounds in the first days of Tory Conference seemingly firefighting on the issue of tax.

It’s picked up a great deal of coverage and some commentators have even seen it as a tough spot for Cameron. Nothing, of course could be further from the truth. This is a very good issue for Cameron.

With the dynamics of Tory Party Conference, Cameron isn’t going to face an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the blue rinses.

He will be attacked Tebbit and a bunch of baby-eating bastards for being a crypto-socialist though. This, in the words of 1066 and all that, is a good thing for Cameron.

It’s a good thing for those Tories in two ways. Most obviously it means that Cameron gets to look a strong leader who is willing to take on the least electable parts of his party and not back down.

Secondly, it means that he very publicly gets to fight his party and win on an unpopular issue. Cutting taxes is just not an election winner. It was all very well against the weakened Labour Party of the 80s, but when there’s a strong defender of public spending, it gets very hard to defend NHS or education cuts for reckless tax cuts. The line of “we’ll cut taxes only when it’s responsible to do so” is a much better one for them.

It’s not quite the big set-piece show down of Clause 4 for Labour but it’s a step forward towards building trust with the electorate for Cameron. It’s passe to say that the Labour Party must take him seriously, as that’s blatently obvious now.

What it does show, however, is that every part of the Labour Party’s strategy must be in tip-top shape before the next election. We need the right policies and a party machine that can take on and beat the Tories.

More seats will be marginal next time around, which really brings the party into play a lot more than in the past. While the party manifesto has to be an election winning one, not just an activist pleasing one, the party has to start taking its members more seriously. It must trust their ability to listen to the public and help put in place a vote-winning mainstream set of policies for the next election.


5 Responses to Tory Tax Triangulation (and why they need beating)

  1. Hughes Views says:

    “not just an activist pleasing one” – hear hear. But in my experience most genuine activists have been pretty pleased with the last three Labour manifestos. It’s only the vocal theorists, the ones who’d rather sit on their bottoms discussing fantasy policies endlessly rather than canvass the electorate, deliver leaflets or provide any real help at election time, who want to change them…..

  2. Nick says:

    I always hear these claims from both the loyalist right wing and the oppositionalist left wing that only their people are the real activists who do all the work. Utter rubbish in my experience – most activists are somewhere in the middle while our meetings are full of people who want to mouth off for or against the govt, but have probably never knocked on a door in their life.

    I think it’s fair to say that I’ve done about as much work campaigning as anyone I know over the past couple of years and while the Govt has achieved much, especially in the first term, there are still plenty of things that have pissed me off, e.g. top up fees, the funding system for social housing. I feel that we’ve slightly lost our way in the latter years, even while good work quietly goes on in the background.

    I’m really hoping that the leadership/deputy contests can be reinvigorating and give us a sense of purpose and direction again.

  3. I’m amazed by how many people opposed most (or in some cases, virtually all) of Labour’s current policies positions while continuing to be committed party activists.

    As Nick says, many of those who remain in the party take the pragmatic – and for me correct position – that the current Labour government is better than a Tory one but could be improved in some areas.

  4. wozza says:

    “I’m amazed by how many people opposed most (or in some cases, virtually all) of Labour’s current policies positions while continuing to be committed party activists.”

    i didn’t, and none of my family did. Both parents used to be councillors and we used to run reading rooms, i’d run numbers from the polling stations and knock up.

    Parents just gave up after the screw job on Ken and so did i. That was when a LOT of activists in london realised how little their opinions actually mattered.

    To be honest – and i took stick for this – as a committed member of the hard(ish) left (and 2005 libdem voter, i know, i know) i blogged that a liberal tory party with figures and policies akin to Ken CLarke and Hesseltine would be preferable to a NEw Labour government privatising the NHS……… at least the Tories privatise because it’s what they do – what they were set up for – their conciences are clean when their members vote for it.

    It would be easier to watch the Tories destroying the values of the Public sector than Labour, it would honestly. And the Tories seem to have mellowed in their social views, they seem to be drifting back to the liberal one nation party that has been opposing ID cards (kind of) and the chunks of the anti-terror laws. More of their members seem to have recanted their Iraq votes (or at least mea-culpa) than the Labour lackies.

    Not that i advocate that state of affairs where the tories govern, i don’t want it to happen at all, but at the moment it’s a choice of being kicked in the nuts or punched in the head.


  5. Benjamin says:

    I agree about the triangulation aspects of the tax issue at the Tory conference, but when you say “cutting taxes is just not an election winner” don’t be so sure. Beware. Times have changed from even from the 2005 election.

    Labour should be permanently cutting taxes for the poor at least, not just simply using tax credits.

    And whilst there was very little I agreed with David Cameron on in his speech, one thing I did agree with him on 100% was ID cards which I am too totally opposed too.

    Tony Blair’s words on ID cards in his speech at Labour conference were nothing short of an embarrassment.

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