Friday, June 02, 2006

Blairites for Dave?

'Dave' Cameron, that is. Stephen Pollard has come out as one - so no surprises there:
"Mr Blair himself may well have been the real deal, but we will never know. Even had his Government not been brought to near-collapse by serial incompetence, he has been stymied by his party from his first day in government. Yet the reform ideas, which many of us once looked to Tony Blair to implement, are more important than ever. So we have to turn instead to the only other possible champion: David Cameron. Call him the centre, call him the radical centre, call him right of centre; call him whatever you want. All that matters is that we must have a government both committed to and capable of implementing reforms."
Being the "real deal" and "championing reform" means, of course, being really neoliberal - which Cameron obviously is. This, or 'Thatcherite', is how I would respond to Pollard's invitation to call him what I will. It's surely more accurate than the nonsensical "radical centre"? Anyway, I think Pollard is more or less right when he says, "The only thing that now separates Blairites from the Conservative Party is a label." This is why I think, contrary to what I presume is the received wisdom amongst his opponents in the Labour party, the loss of Blair will make victory for Cameron at the next election more likely.

"Blairites for Dave" will do for the Labour party. They are a constituency that was always essentially Tory, whether they admit this to themselves or not, that only voted Labour because they believed Tony Blair was one of them. They may no longer believe this or they might think he still is but has been hamstrung by the Labour party. But in any event, Blair's going and most of NuLabour's conservative supporters will go with him. The return to their natural political home will be much easier now that dangerous Dave has given the 'nasty party' the Mandelson makeover.

That this is likely can be seen, not only with neocons like Pollard and old cons like Max Hastings, but in other 'natural' Tory constituences. The support that Cameron appears to be picking up from amongst female voters has a significance that should worry Labour because it would tend to indicate that party preference is returning to the historical pattern where Labour has always had less support from among women than men, except under Blair.

While I would sympathise with those who might say - who wants a bunch of Tories in the Labour party anyway? - there a problem: Blair's critics who yearn for a return to 'traditional Labour values' are rather forgetting that before 1997, it was a fairly well-established Labour tradition to lose elections on a regular basis.

Other than not paying any attention to people like Glenda Jackson and Frank Dobson, I've no constructive advice to offer because I'd have thought "Blairites for Dave" should serve as a good reason not to vote Conservative. But I suspect the constituency that disagrees with me will prove to be more significant in the next General Election.

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