Dave in Darkest Tooting, Searching for Effective Rhetoric

The set for the Tooting speech made Dave look like he was in a jungle rather than sarf London. Spinmeisters and image-makers spend hours thinking about these things, so it is not accidental. What was their calculation here?

Dave was wearing his “true blue” dark tie and dark suit combination, designed to camouflage him as a traditional Tory in the foliage. “Not abandoning Conservative principles, but applying them in new ways to new challenges” a word formulation very much like Prezza’s “traditional values in a modern setting”. Prezza’s phrase was designed to reassure the Labour base and came to the fore in 1998 when the Labour party at large began to really worry about the direction of New Labour policy. Yesterday was designed to reassure the Tory base about the substance of Cameron’s New Direction – “social responsibility, not state control”. It seems to have played well with the intended audience – Tories. The underlying ideological dimensions of Project Cameron are becoming clearer and they are beginning to realise that his instincts are their instincts.

“Our society – Your life” is a curt slogan, it sounds a bit like a financial services advertising strap line, it is as meaningful as “New Labour, New Britain”. No doubt the thinking was that it is softly more individualistic and connected than Labour’s “party and state” slogan.

Guido feels sometimes that Tory policy and presentation is designed exclusively to win back upper-middle class Waitrose shoppers, when it needs to reach out to aspirational strivers as well. The former voted LibDem, the latter voted for New Labour, winning them back requires them to feel that the party will help them. Making the Notting Hill Waitrose shopper comfortable with voting Tory has been achieved. Now he needs to convince the lower-middle class Ikea shopper from Nottingham it is in their interest to vote for him…

The Revolution Starts in Tooting!

In Samaj Hall on Tooting High Street at this very moment, Cameron, Osborne and Maude are launching the Progressive Conservativism agenda.

“Power to the people!” was the slogan of the Tooting Popular Front. Dave is recycling it today.

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

“Gordon Brown looks like a character out of the Bash Street Kids who steals everyone’s pies. Nobody likes him and no one voted for him. We need an election.”

Laurence Llewelyn Bowen in the Observer.

Stand Up, Speak Up Progressives!

The Tories are taking their Policy Review recommendations on the road around the country because Dave says
“I want us to end the age of top-down, ‘we know best’ politics. Politics should be bottom-up and open – driven by the passions and priorities of the public. Many hundreds of experts have worked on our Policy Review, and I’m hugely grateful to them for the time and dedication they have brought to the task. But no experts have a monopoly on good ideas, and I want us to be the party that harnesses the ideas and enthusiasm of everyone in this country, not just the political elite.”

This will be fun. When CCHQ types meet the great unwashed and even their own members they are going to be in for a shock. There is also going to be “online discussions hosted at conservatives.com and moderated by the Policy Review team.” Moderated? As in censored? That seems a bit “top-down, shut-up, we know best” doesn’t it?

Dave is really going on-the-road to sell his policy shifts to the party. Team Cameron is positioning itself well to the left of Tory activists who are sick of hearing about windmill-powered huskie sleds and the like. Only Redwood’s recommendations on economic competitiveness are likely to provide red meat for those wanting to hear the old credo rather than tree hugging and fluffy bunny policies. The effort to reach out to the party faithful will have the slogan “Stand Up, Speak Up”. In the Observer this morning Dave is claiming to be a “progressive”. The activists will love that…

Benn Flops at Hustings

Jon Cruddas has accused deputy leadership rival Hazel Blears of colluding with the Tories by characterising his political vision as a “lurch to the left”nice to see the gloves coming off. Yesterday Amnesty polled attendees at a Deputy leader wannabee hustings they had organised before and after the debate:
After hearing them speak and answer questions opinion swung strongly, Cruddas once again impressed the crowd, Harman did surprisingly well. Benn flopped badly. After listening to him his rating plummeted. Johnson fared poorly as well, but this should have been Benn’s day, speaking to people with an international outlook. Having backed Benn on Betfair in the past, Guido is laying his position, going flat and “all green”.

Not So "Nice Guy" on the Sly

A co-conspirator emails after watching Question Time last night to point out there was a priceless moment towards the end when Hilary Benn “paid tribute to Alan Johnson for the skill he showed in taking top up fees through parliament”. The look that Johnson gave him was pure evil, as if to say, “thanks, pal, you’ll get yours”. Fantastically devious to remind Labour party activists who stuck them with the highly unpopular policy. Benn managed to make it sound like a compliment.

Punters moved firmly to Johnson to be the winner overnight on Betfair, some money shifted to Harman. Hain and Blears are no hopers at 70/1 and 100/1 respectively. Rumours are circluating that they are begging for votes to avoid humiliation. Blear’s people are warning it will be a slap in the face for Blairites if she comes last. Hain’s people are promising exactly the same thing as well…

UPDATE: Bit of a stewards inquiry in the comments. But after checking, Benn says it and gets the death stare from Alan Johnson 43:38 in, Cruddas brings it up right at the end, imitating Benn, a quarter of an hour later.

Obama Girl

Brown Dodges Answering for the Sithat Last Treasury Questions

Today was the last Treasury Questions ever for Gordon Brown, Stephen Timms, Treasury Chief Secretary, was also fielding questions. David Jones, the Shadow Welsh minister, took the opportunity to ask a question about the Smith Institute. He blogs that it is
“the registered charity that appears to have virtually set up headquarters in 11 Downing Street… Surprisingly – or not, whichever way you care to look at it – Gordon didn’t answer himself. He left it to his deputy, Stephen Timms, Financial Secretary to the Treasury. I suggested that it was odd that No. 11’s householder was apparently unwilling to answer to the House over his domestic arrangements. Timms is a nice, straightforward man and seemed uncomfortable to be asked the question, so he simply didn’t answer it. And so we say farewell to Chancellor Brown. Next time he is at the despatch box he will be Prime Minister. But I doubt that he has heard the last of the Smith affair.”

You can bet on that…

Later Mark Hoban demanded to know about the Treasury paying £11,000 to the Smith Institute before – two years later – it was noticed and “rectified”. “Will he confirm that all payments have been declared?” Timms evasively replied that “the Treasury paid for the Christmas tree at the children’s party this year at the Treasury”.

Classic stonewalling, but this is not going to go away just because the Sith refuse to answer questions. The Guido initiated Charity Commission investigation is a statutory process, subject to judicial review. It won’t be easy to sweep things under the carpet.

Ming’s Recipe for Local Council Corruption

Almost exactly a year ago Ming told his party spokesman to stop reaching for knee-jerk statist responses to problems:

“Whitehall and Westminster must regulate less, legislate less and tax less. Fewer ministers, fewer MPs, fewer special advisers, fewer civil servants,

[…]

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Innocent Drinks

Last night at the House, on the terrace, a co-conspirator spied John McTernan, drinking with Bridget Prentice. They moved on to the Strangers bar later that night. She is the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice with

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Thatcher v Brown : Rallying the Troops

Margaret Thatcher sent a message of support to British troops on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Falklands. Even though her voice betrays the effects of a stroke, her words still carry conviction. “

[…]

+ READ MORE +

See You Next Tuesday : Sleazy Levy’s £6,000 Leaving Party

Next Tuesday the Foreign Office will be hosting a party for the twice arrested, out-on-bail, under investigation for corruption, Sleazemaster General himself – Lord Levy. The SNP’s tenacious Mike Weir got Geoff Hoon to admit that the party is being

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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David Cameron tells MPs after voting:

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