Cameron copies John Key

John Key’s play book is now being deployed by David Cameron.

Tom Harris at The Telegraph explains:

Nothing disconcerts politicians more than when their opponents intrude on their territory or, as a more recent political analogy puts it, when the other team parks its tanks on their lawn. By penning a column this week for the staunchest Labour-supporting newspaper in the country, the Daily Mirror, David Cameron has signaled his intention to set up a permanent settlement in Labourland.

To Labour voters more committed to the EU than their own leader seems to be, this is audacious stuff. In fact it’s simply another move lifted directly from the Tony Blair playbook. Remember when he and Gordon Brown, still in opposition at the time, flew to the other side of the world in order to court Rupert Murdoch? The tactic worked then, and Labour should worry that it’ll work now.

It is actually the John Key playbook.

David Cameron has never hidden his admiration for Blair. He has attempted to erect his predecessor’s one-nation big tent, making it as easy as possible for those who might consider themselves Labour voters to take a punt on him. The Conservatives’ surprise overall majority won at last year’s election is testimony to at least a degree of success in that project.

In the same way that Blair, a Labour Prime Minister, balanced social justice programmes (Sure Start, the Human Rights Act, the minimum wage) with policies more generally considered to be Conservative ones (tax cuts, renewing Trident, university tuition fees), so Cameron, a Conservative Prime Minister, has balanced traditional Conservative policies (tax cuts for the wealthy, benefit cuts for the poor, renewing Trident) with unexpectedly progressive policies (gay marriage, ring-fencing of foreign aid, pressing elite universities to admit more ethnic minority and working-class students). It’s an obvious way to govern successfully, which is why all successful governments do it. Opposition parties that sneer at such “compromises” tend to remain opposition parties.

This week, when Her Majesty, sitting on her gilded throne in the House of Lords, reads out her government’s programme for the next year, Cameron’s commitment to this course will be confirmed. Prison reform so liberal that it could make the denizens of the Garrick choke on their G&Ts, extra help for those leaving care, and tougher moves to increase the adoption rate: there will be a distinct New Labour feel to the State Opening of Parliament.

And why should there not be? Sensible types in Labour’s ranks will see in Cameron’s positioning the ultimate victory of their former leader. If the voters won’t trust Labour to implement Blairism, does it really matter that Cameron has stepped up instead?

No doubt it’s going a bit far to suggest that Cameron is the leader Labour should have had: while Blair’s annexation of policies previously claimed by the Right wing was motivated by a conviction that he was doing it for the right reasons, Cameron hasn’t yet convinced enough of us that his own motivations are much more than public relations with an eye on The Legacy.

We have the same thing here. Voters don’t need to risk getting the Greens by voting for Labour, they can get Labour’s policies with that nice Mr John Key fronting them.

Yet what is the counter-offer? How will Corbyn and his Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, make an appeal to those who voted Tory in 2015 and whose support may well be up for grabs next time round? Their room for manoeuvre is strictly limited by the belief among their quarter of a million supporters in the party membership that concessions to mere voters would be nothing more than class betrayal.

Which means Cameron is free to redraw the political map in his own image, encouraged by most on his own side, dismissed perhaps a little too quickly by most on the other. After this week, they shouldn’t be too surprised to find those Tory tanks that little bit harder to shift off Labour’s lawn.

Uh huh…and Labour still haven’t worked this out in NZ.


– The Telegraph


THANK YOU for being a subscriber. Because of you Whaleoil is going from strength to strength. It is a little known fact that Whaleoil subscribers are better in bed, good looking and highly intelligent. Sometimes all at once! Please Click Here Now to subscribe to an ad-free Whaleoil.

  • JC

    Excellent point that the public will swallow most policies left or right provided its perceived that the most competent political party is steering them.


  • Pluto

    The problem is with National moving to the centre it moves the whole political spectrum to the left.
    One day God forbid Labour will be back on the treasury benches, and will be there with a far leftist agenda than would otherwise have been the case.
    It’s all very well having JK doing what he needs to do to stay in, but there will be long term consequences.

    • Bartman

      The long term consequence will be status quo: until a leader with charisma and nouse appears on the left they will wallow in nostalgic mud.

    • shykiwibloke

      The irony is the left get their policies, for which they should be happy – in theory. In practice, it’s the being shut out of power that annoys, and the moaning only serves to make centre voters wonder what they are really planning to do in secret.

    • localnews

      thats right. If you vote for John Key and get Labours policies, who do you vote for to get Nationals policies?

      • jack50


  • OneTrack

    Hopefully Key doesn’t decide to follow the Cameron playbook – rampant third world immigration with the result that parts of London have been turned into the third world.

  • Keanne Lawrence

    Oh the other Cameron. Phew, for a minute there thought you must have got a Panama hat.

  • Observer

    The fact that Cameron and Blair are opposed to Brexit just makes me want to see them vote to leave even more.