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…




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