...a blog by Richard Flowers

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day 3396: Mr Balloon admits his back is to the wall – will he turn and fight?


Conservatories are in a panic, the OBVIOUS contradictions in their message are starting to show and it's tearing their campaign to pieces.

The much-trailed "attack on the Liberal Democrats" has amounted to tired old right-wing lines on crime, immigration, and Europe, repudiating some of their own thinking.

And now they unveil their latest poster:

"Let's Cut Benefits for Those Who Refuse Work"

Forget "we're all in this together", forget "the big society", forget "liberal conservatory".

The country has barely recovered from the longest ever recession, and here are the same old Conservatories offering a kicking to the worst off.

And then the GHASTLY Hard Labour government pipes up with: "actually, that's our policy already ".

Same Old Labservatives.

The Liberal Democrats are WAY up in all the opinion polls, with even the lowest, the ComRes one, saying we're tying with Hard Labour with more than a quarter of the vote, and some even saying we're in the LEAD, but one thing they all agree on: Mr Balloon's Conservatories are nowhere near the 40% they need in order to get – under our unfair voting system – 50% of the seats in Parliament.

Mr Balloon is doing no better than Mr Vague did in the "save my job!" campaign of 2001.

Mr Balloon is doing no better than Mr Something-of-the-Night did in the "it's not racist but…" campaign of 2005.

And just as in 2001 and again in 2005, no sooner has the Conservatory election campaign run into trouble than they revert to type, lurching to the right with a desperate, despicable "core vote strategy".

"Are you thinking what they're thinking?"

Well if what you're thinking is "PANIC!!!!!" then yes, you are.

So Mr Balloon cancelled his planned election broadcast to appeal direct to the voters:

"Good evening, Britain – I agree with Nick…"

While his flying monkeys take to the airwaves, like Mr Liam "fantastic doctor" Fox appearance on the The Today Show, to say how they will mount an entirely positive campaign illustrated by entirely NEGATIVE attacks on Hard Labour, on Liberal Democrats and on the voters who might deign to exercise their democratic right to not pick a Conservatory majority after all thank you very much.

And Mr Balloon himself takes to the steps of his local Pizza Hut with his best "how very dare you" face on, to say: "when I invited everyone to join my government, I certainly did not mean I was going to accept the wishes of the voters; and when I said we're all in it together I certainly did not mean Lib Dems in the Cabinet! Smithers, release the hounds!"

Same Old Labservatives.

What seems increasingly clear is that the Tories just EXPECTED to win, thought it was their TURN to win, felt ENTITLED to win even, and as such their campaign has no serious, principled underpinning. Which is why it's tearing itself to pieces like this.

It's possible that there's a kernel of an idea somewhere inside Mr Balloon's "Big Society" – I say possible because it's just too soon to tell.

To really ESTABLISH a new political idea takes time, years of time, to explain and refine what the theme is about, why it's different, why people should think it might work. You CAN make a "big splash" with a shiny new POLICY announcement, which is just what they did with their rabbit-from-a-hat National Insurance tax not-rise, but a PHILOSOPHY needs to be presented to people over time so that they understand how it fits you and how all your policies are developed from it.

This is why the Liberal Democrats have been repeating the core themes of freedom and fairness over and over. People need to THINK "Liberal Democrats" when they think of policies for freedom (civil liberties, abolishing the surveillance state, no 2 i.d.iot cards) or fairness (fairer tax, pupil premium, abolishing tuition fees, clean politics).

And because all our policies stem from a sound philosophy, they all pull in the same direction and we don't get caught in silly contradictions. The Conservatories don't even know THEMSELVES what their principles are supposed to be so they end up:

It's inconsistent, it's hypocritical, and it looks just plain SLOPPY.

If Mr Balloon's "Big Society" idea sounds so vague and unreal, it's because we don't know how it's supposed to inform their policies: I mean how DOES a tax cut for dead millionaires tie in to "we're all in this together"?

Or it might just be a sound-bite that's supposed to be a little bit like Lord Blairimort's "Big Tent".

With the Labour Party seemingly happy to just drift into oblivion, it's the BLUE Labservatives who are putting up a fight, with Mr Balloon trying to repaint himself as changier than Captain Clegg, while issuing insulting threats to the electorate they'd jolly well better give him a majority or else the voting system is so corrupt that the Conservatories might not be able to stop anybody changing it. Er.

And their minions in the meeja force of hell on us, or at least a couple of devil's doggies, with the Scum waving about a practice dossier for one of the debates (shock news: serious politician takes national debate seriously) and the Daily Fail trys to say Liberal Democrats are among the "worst" MPs in the expenses scandal (presumably that should read "among the 650 worst" MPs. We know that not everyone was a SAINT, but there was no one in the Liberal Democrats as in-it-up-to-their-eyebrows as the House Flippers and Moat Dredgers on the Labservative benches).

This Liberal Democrat insurgency has really got them SCARED, hasn't it.

And THAT is typical of the Labservaties too.


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