Thursday, December 31, 2009

Electing the Conservatives is a risk we must not take.

I feel quite sure that the Tories are going to walk away with the next election, despite the fact that Cameron is going to great lengths to avoid telling us what it is that he actually proposes doing once elected.

Today, Alastair Darling sets out why we should not elect the Tories by setting out the difference between what Labour has promised and what the Tories are hinting at:

And to demonstrate our determination to live within our means I will present legislation to the Commons next week which will set out how we'll halve the deficit over four years. It will not be easy, but to cut "further and faster" as the Tories have pledged would be reckless and dangerous. Even if they intend to halve the deficit one year earlier, they will have to find additional cuts or tax rises of £26bn. They owe it to every family and business to spell out what their plans are. This approach is foolish in the extreme. It would risk wrecking the recovery and would not be a platform from which this country can succeed.
It's worth remembering that the Tories wanted to "do nothing" during the recent economic crisis and were very happy to let the recession do it's worst.

Their theory was out of kilter with that of every other industrialised nation on Earth.

Jack Straw covered this subject in yesterday's Independent:
Now, as we start 2010, we face another big choice. Mr Darling has made clear that our first task for the new year must be to secure the recovery. We need to get the economy growing in order to get the deficit down. Mr Osborne, by contrast, threatens to choke off the recovery with cuts at the worst possible time. He and Mr Cameron promise an "age of austerity" – one in which ordinary families and the public services on which they depend would suffer.
For reasons best known to themselves, the Tories seem determined that the poorest members of society - those reliant on the very social programmes which Cameron is promising to devastate - should pay the price for an economic crisis brought about by the banking industry.

There is almost a Thatcherite glee in the way they are making these promises:
With Labour, Barack Obama, and most of the western world attempting to spend their way out of recession, the Tories have wasted no time in letting us all know that they intend to do things differently. They intend to get out of recession the way Tories always want to get out of recession: by cutting public services. Punishing the working class is simply what the Tories are best at; indeed, Philip Hammond, the shadow Treasury chief secretary, seems to almost be looking forward to the approbation which will be heading his way.
Hammond, destined to be the man to rein in public spending if the Tories gain power, also concedes he is "likely to become a great figure to pin up on the dartboard, and throw darts at. I am sure there will be short-term pain and brickbats."
It's the Margaret Thatcher complex which all Tories seek to emulate.
Both Straw and Darling are making valid arguments, but I think people have stopped listening to Labour over here.

That's how Cameron is leading in the polls, despite the fact that he is resolutely failing to tell us what he intends to do, other than vague Thatcherite notions that "this will hurt".

Quite why anyone would imagine a return to Thatcher's Britain would be a good thing is utterly beyond me.

And yet, that's what Cameron is hinting at and he remains ahead in the polls. The poorest members of society are about to pay the price for the mistakes of the world's banking community.

Why does Britain appear to be okay with that?


Geoffrey Woollard said...

I tend to agree, though I have many Conservative friends who would argue to the contrary. However, believing as I do that there are few visible difference between the major parties on economic and foreign affairs, voting now may be decided by social and moral issues: I believe that Labour has an edge in this respect. Under Tony Blair's leadership, the class warfare of old took a back seat. Also under Labour, civil partnerships were made lawful and have become accepted. Labour members, with notable help from some Conservatives such as Ann Widdecombe, ensured the passing of the anti-hunting Act, outlawing the awful and abominable 'sports' of fox hunting and hare coursing. If anything, that Act needs strengthening so that we can be sure that chasing and killing wild animals for fun is clearly and for ever unlawful and regarded by all with well-deserved revulsion. If they know what's good for them politically, Cameron & Co. should, at the very least, promise to let sleeping dogs lie.

Kel said...


I agree that Labour have the moral edge and that there are few differences between the main parties in many areas, however, I feel that the Conservative plans to tackle the deficit will have deplorable effects on some of our poorest citizens.

And I agree that the Tory pro-hunting policy also gives Labour a huge moral advantage over the Tories.

Geoffrey Woollard said...

Thanks, Kel!

Don't think that I am defending the Conservatives when I say that I doubt if they have any better or worse ideas than Labour of the Liberals regarding the deficit. We don't really know what the Cameron crowd plan to do but, like you, I am not confident that their priorities will be right.

Kel said...

Thanks, Geoffrey. I certainly didn't think that you were defending them!

And I agree that the vagueness of Cameron's proposals are enough to cause great concern.