This is a sometimes 'cheesey' blog about British and American politics and anything else which tickles my fancy!

Monday, 29 September 2008

Time to go after the Tories

It is time to take the fight to the Tories.

This is what Hazel Blears intends to do when she travels to the Conservative Party conference this week - the only Cabinet Minister, to my knowledge, who is doing so.

And this is what Gordon Brown started to do in his conference speech last week when he attacked Cameron and Osborne with some effective and cutting lines.

But Labour won’t win the next election unless we get off our back foot and go after them.

From a political perspective, the economic situation offers Labour a number of opportunities.

What, for example, is the Tories answer to it all?

Even greater laissez-fair economics? Looser regulation? Neither the public, nor the media, nor indeed the financial services industry could tolerate that.

When Irwin Stelzer, the grand-master of capitalism, says that the old capitalism is dead and government intervention and tighter regulation, in some areas, is permissible, you know things have fundamentally shifted.

But do the Tories have an answer to it?

No, they trail behind public opinion – still extolling the virtues of unregulated, unfettered capitalism when the past few weeks have shown that the free market doesn’t have the solution to everything.

Why do the Tories oppose the ban on short selling as well? Is it because their wealthy backers have made millions out of this scheme and they don’t want to lose their rich friends?

And do the Tories really think that one of the features of capitalism is that people get wealthy off the misery off others as George Osborne said? This is what the Tories think and Labour needs to remind every voter of it.

Their economic document masquerading as a plan for economic reconstruction has no proper commitments for social housing and promises tax cuts but with no commitment to maintain public services. Bad economics and bad policy.

And while we’re on the subject of rich people who pay tax, let’s have a debate about Michael Ashcroft’s role – the Tory donor who skulks away in Belize.

Is he on the electoral register? Where does he live? Does he pay tax? And is he channelling funds through his corporations into Conservative Central Office’s coffers?

When modest and low income families are suffering, does the man who is practically bankrolling the Tories pay any tax? It is a simple question.

There is room here for Labour to strike. Do it.


professor chucklebutty said...

Hello Alex, a very well wriiten blog, if I may say so. I think the difficulty you face in the rallying cry that it is time to go after the Tories lies in the fact that there is little to go after. They remain in the safe position of media ressurection where they can comment on Labours mistakes and misfortunes. Apart from that, there is harking back to Thatcher or Major which unfortunately counts for little 10 years on and is as easily dismissed as when Thatcher used to hark back to Callaghans Winter of discontent.

Cameron appears to be chosen by the most powerful lobby there is, the press. Economically, there is no good news on the horizon.People become tired of the government unless there is a Charismatic leader to keep them there. As intelligent and qualified as Brown is, he is not charismatic and there is no other suitable Labour person appearing to recreate a Blair Factor, who, I have to say i was delighted to see go. But Milliband being the from runner to take over from Brown does not inspire any confidene in me. You quote a "clever question" being asked at a fringe meeting for which he had no answer. I have seen this situation many times where faced with Paxman or even a questiontime audience, Milliband fumbles and blushes before resorting to Labour values. I never want to see the conservatives in office but I have been so deeply saddened by many of the directions new labour has taken us in, not just the alliance with US neo imperialsism but in the attacks and language used on some of the most marginalised groups, who may not be contributing much but are a leftover from the Benefits culture and scrapheap of Thatcher generations. But New labour has often labelled and been socially divisive. " On the side of the hard working families" as Gordon said. If we go into major recession with rising unemployment as we are cracking down on the not so " hardworking families" there is a grave risk of going back to the Thatcher type hatred of the poor because we have labelled a particular group as a burden who need kicking back to work.

The other disappointment is the treatment of Asylum as a political football. The enforced destitution of people and the brutality regularly exposed towards men women and children in the detention centres in the UK are a disgrace to our so-called civilised society. So I really am at a loss as to what i want to see now from labour and filled with gloom that the appalling twit Cameron will be in number 10 within the next couple of years and that this has more or less been decided by the media and by those who really call the shots.

TP said...

hey Al,
While I am reluctant to turn this into a mutual admiration society, i do hope that you realise how fortunate you are to have attracted the attention of the good professor, who has his own hysterically funny and extraordinarily surreal blog about Liverpool politics. You will love it.
Nice one, Prof - about time you posted again innit?

Alex Finnegan said...

Thanks very much for the comments. I think your analysis professor chucklebutty of the Labour Party is too pessimistic.

There is a lot to go after the Tories on, not least their cack-handed response to the current financial turmoil. What is their response exactly? - is the question They seem to think that de-regulation, rather than better regulation is the solution.

Also, on asylum, I sort of agree, when was the last time you heard any front bench Labour politician make a convincing,reasonable and Labour case for asylum and immigration. We let the Tories dominate the agenda all the time and I think this partly explains why we have lost so much white working class support.

I think my basic point though was that we need to be on the front foot. Where are the Labour frontbencher's who are any good at attacking the Tories? We just seem to be obessessed with our own internal debate rather than going after Cameron.

But thanks, I shall check out your blog too.