The Opposition Comfort Zone

In 1997, any Labour activist under 40 would not have had the experience of voting for a Labour government. The attitudes of opposition were deep-set and the party in the country was deeply unready for Government, however prepared Blair and Brown and the rest of the shower were.

In opposition, everything confirms your cognitive biases. Things that go wrong are your enemy’s fault. It’s easy to brush good news under the carpet. Focussing relentlessly on the negative that Government does, when your enemies are the government, feels good. Evidence, the easily available and memorable sort, confirms every prejudice you hold about the “wicked” Tories, and it’s easy to go looking for more.

This is why Blair, who for all his myriad faults, was detested by his party and the broader left. He was comfortable with the compromises of Government. He was unable to deliver the re-nationalisation of industry the Labour movement craved and yearned for. But he was, despite the wailings of the idiot left of his party, a creature who increased state control. The Blair Government increased taxes, increased state spending and increased the scale and reach of the state. State workers were generously remunerated, and headcount exploded. Regulations were poured onto business like glue. Blair was a lefty, leading a left-wing government. It was just not as left wing as the activists wanted.

Can you see where I am going with this?

For Labour in 1997, read Conservatives in 2010. For Blair read Cameron. For Idiot left, read UKIP.

If you’re on the right, ranting about how David Cameron is “no different to Tony Blair” and “it doesn’t matter, they’re all the same. We’re governed by the EUSSR anyway” you sound just like a Labour activist ranting about “capitalism” in 1983, and just as electable.

The morons of the Tory right/UKIP borg: the mirror image of why Labour was unelectable in the 1980s.

Cameron’s a good egg, cutting spending, taking on the Unions, standing up to Europe. Just not quite as much  nor with the relish demanded by, the kind of activist who’s gotten rather too comfortable with the idealogical certainties of opposition. Tories govern, practically and with the best long-term interests of the UK at heart. It’s what we do. It’s what Maggie Thatcher did (whatever the Tory right and Labour left say she did). We don’t govern according to some idealogical play-book nor should we. State spending is growing in nominal, but not in real terms. Stop lying with statistics, and get behind the only man who can keep Ed Miliband out of Downing Street.

If you think that “doesn’t matter”, because they’re “all the same”, my contempt for you is absolute. The enemy is to Cameron’s left, Gentlemen, not yours. Get back to your posts.

8 replies
  1. Luke
    Luke says:

    The problem for decent Tories is that right now Balls is right (whether not he was before). Depressed economy, borrowing negative in real terms, so, as Arsenal supporters say to Wenger " Spend some fucking money."

    Osborne has however , in very unTory style, penned himself into an ideological corner of non-spending. What's the point of voting Tory if they pen themselves into ideological corners? See Disraeli and the Second Reform Act. Get your act together, and get back to vote winning cynicism.

    Otherwise the party of pubs and the past (they have no other policies) will eat your lunch.

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    In the rush for the centre ground both Blair and Cameron have exposed themselves to a flanking manoeuvre from the more hard line ideologues in both parties. Now the centre ground may well have been the place to stand and fight for the hearts and minds of the country from the mid-nineties to the mid-noughties but that paradigm has gone. It vaporised in the economic crash because it was unsustainable and led us into debt and fiscal ruin. Once the 'progressive' paradigm of high tax and spend, benefits for all (tax credits etc.) and big statism shifts then everything is up for grabs. So far, the Tories have shown no evidence that they grasp this concept.
    Meanwhile, UKIP are rapidly positioning themselves as the party of the aspirational working classes / lower middle classes as evidenced by them taking votes from all sides. I think the time is now for a shift to the right and the party to lead the debate will be UKIP.
    I believe the electorate to be smart enough to realise that any return to growth will be brought about by the private sector at the expense of cutting back some of the state’s most excessive spending. The appeal of UKIP is that they offer a (comparatively) small state solution and are, therefore, heading in the right direction whilst the LibLabCon parties are stuck with Gordon Brown's paradigm – never a good place to be.

    Mr JudgeyPants.

  3. Malcolm Bracken
    Malcolm Bracken says:

    Mr Judgey Pants. My point is that Cameron's RHETORIC is centre, the policy is pretty standard right wing conservative. This is my point about UKIP. If you can't tell the difference between policy and rhetoric, you're thick and have no business commenting on politics.

    Luke, Balls isn't "right". The economy isn't flat because of a lack of Government spending. Nowhere in the data is there any evidence for this. State spending cuts have always been followed by a boom, a genuine one, not the brownian debt-financed idiocy.

  4. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    So he's cutting, then he's not cutting but just slowing down the increase in spending.

    But no, don't use statistics…………

    "the policy is pretty standard right wing conservative."

    Tax breaks for everyone but families, more nannying policies.


    Still the best you can offer is "vote Cameron or red ed gets in"

    Which is why we should have had PR

  5. Luke
    Luke says:

    Jackart, I don't agree with you about the crash/how to recover from it but I doubt we ever will. The good thing is that we will both be proved right to our own satisfaction in the end. When things get better, you will say "I told you so" and I will say "Yes, but it didn't have to be this bad or take this long." You haven't been daft enough to prophecy hyperinflation or have vapours about the bond market; and there's no chance of what I suggest being implemented.

    But I do think you're right about Cameron actually being pretty right wing, through choice or not. Partial privatisation of the NHS, unemployment benefits much lower in comparison to wages than under Mrs T, and not being raised in line with inflation. Socially liberal, yes, but pretty hardline economically. You and the Graun are in agreement, and I think correct on that.

  6. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Jackart, I don't think I'm being thick at all thank you very much. What I was trying to say was that just as it was the SDP which showed the way for Labour to follow whilst in government, it will be UKIP which sets the agenda for the Tories for the next decade or so.
    At the heart of the problem there is a growing discontentment across the country that politics IS out of touch. The general feeling seems to be that Britain is run by a small cadre of private school toffs (not that I personally have a problem with where someone was educated), Oxbridge PPE graduates and professional politicians with little or no experience of the real world outside of the Westminster bubble and that whomever we vote for we will simply get a facsimile where the only thing that changes is the colour of their rosettes. The major appeal of UKIP is that they appear to be outside of the metropolitan elite and are, therefore, more connected to the 'real' world. This is why they are striking such a chord with the wider aspirational classes. In a nutshell, UKIP are more of a Thatcherite party than the Tories are these days.
    You are right that the enemy is to Cameron’s left but the cavalry are on his right – he would be a fool to ignore them.

    Mr. Judgey Pants.

  7. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    >Cameron's a good egg, cutting spending, taking on the Unions, standing up to Europe

    Is this a joke? Standing up to Europe? What world are you living in? Cutting spending? He might be spending a bit less than Labour, but he is bankrupting us all the same, he has no plans at all as to how to stop deby ballooning.

    >If you think that "doesn't matter", because they're "all the same", my contempt for you is absolute.

    Well, that's the way to bring the disaffected right on side, isn't it? Abuse them. Worked really well last week, didn't it?

    >The morons of the Tory right/UKIP borg: the mirror image of why Labour was unelectable in the 1980s.

    Er, yes, except that they were pushing discredited nonsense, whereas the right are pushing for policies that are sensible and urgently required. You're not much of a Conservative if you think cutting spending more and leaving the EU is akin to Militant Tendency.

    >The enemy is to Cameron's left, Gentlemen, not yours.

    Cameron is a big-spending metro aquish who wants to stay in the EU. I'm sorry you didn't realize this and left your post as a result.

  8. Hail the Tripod
    Hail the Tripod says:

    The Labour and Conservative parties may get a lot of mileage out of their deep ideological objections to taxing Greggs pasties or a couple of thousand benefits claimants having a spare bedroom, but when it comes to the big stuff they do seem pretty indistinguishable. Foreign wars, socialising banking losses, huge deficit spending, headline tax rates, general "nanny statism" (the correct word is totalitarianism), and yes EU membership. I doubt many supporters expect (or would even want) UKIP to form a government, but they may smash the overton window of centrist politics.


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