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

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.