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

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Cameron's judgment is on the line

The row over Lord Ashcroft's tax status continues to rumble on.

The Tories point out that Labour is hypocritical on the issue because we have taken money from non-doms as well.

But this misses the point.

The issue isn't Ashcroft's tax status (although I dislike the idea that a non dom can become a peer) but rather the Conservative party's handling of it.

Back in 2000, William Hague gave very clear assurances to Tony Blair, the Appointments Committee, Parliament and the Palace that Ashcroft was committed to becoming permanently resident in the UK. We now know that this did not happen.

For ten years, the Tories and Ashcroft have refused to answer any questions on it.

Either Cameron did not know about it (which reveals an extraordinary weakness and lack of judgment on his part) of he knew about it and decided to do nothing (which means he deliberately lied to people and all his talk of a fresh start and a new type of politics can not be trusted).

Even Norman Tebbit now reckons Ashcroft should have revealed the truth earlier.

David Cameron acted shrewdly and in my view correctly during the expenses scandal but his sure touch seems to have deserted him on this occasion. Voters fear that for all their talk of change, the Conservatives are still the "Same Old Tories" they were in 1997. The Ashcroft affair only confirms that impression.

It also confirms voters' fears that Cameron's Conservatives are a rich, metropolitan, self centred elite. The Ashcroft affair can now be added to a long list: George Osborne (otherwise known as the 'Sun King') and his dealings with a certain Russian oligarch, Zac Goldsmith's non dom status, Nicholas Winterton's blatherings about 'standard class', the Notting Hill fraternity - they all suggests a party out of touch with ordinary voters.

Cameron should have acted on this much sooner. The fact that he didn't raises serious question marks over his judgment. And Labour would be foolish to let an opportunity like this pass by.

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