A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Policy Go Down

A journalist called yesterday to ask what Guido thought about Cameron, is he a free-marketeer or a social democrat? Its all “mood music” Guido said, and the tune is from Mary Poppins. Cameron has said (before he became leader) that he is insinctively a libertarian in favour of campaigning for capitalism. He is just realistic about what is politically achieveable, since he can neither promise or achieve a 10% flat rate tax and get elected, Irwin Stelzer is never going to be satisfied.

Murdoch’s “vicar on earth” (never understood that title, shouldn’t he be his “neo-con rabbi”?) has been let loose to demand tax cuts and the rolling back of the state in The Sun and The Guardian. In the blogosphere the Thatcherite comments over at ConservativeHome.Com and from the libertarians over at Samizdata are full of talk of “sell out” and “blue Labour”. “We don’t want Blair’s heir” is the cry from people who just don’t get it, the voters do want that. Hence Cameron is ahead in the polls. The Conservative party’s right thinks the Tories are heading towards a Neo-Heathite government, but that is just a Hefferesque fantasy. Irwin was almost on to it in his article today:

After the disastrous defeat of the scary conservative Barry Goldwater in the 1964 elections, America’s conservatives realised that it takes a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down. So we found Reagan, whose geniality made the curative powers of conservative medicine – lower taxes, less regulation, unambiguous defence of the realm – go down.

Zac Goldsmith is not going to be in charge of the DTI in 2010, Bob Geldof is not going to be running the Department for International Development. They are there to sweeten the message. Cameron knows that in our dumbed down celeb-culture they set the mood music, showing in a very symbolic way, that the Tories are changing. So Tory activists – calm down dears, its only modern politics. Don’t you want to win?



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