The Tories are bent on self-harm

Many complain that most of our politicians have never had a job outside politics, which is why they don’t understand the real world.

Yet the same charge was never filed against the great statesmen of the past, many of whom boasted similarly limited CVs: Burke, Canning, Pitt, Gladstone and Disraeli spring to mind. 

The problem with our politicians isn’t that they haven’t done a stint at a bank or a factory before becoming MPs. It’s that they are, with the odd exception here and there, moral and intellectual nonentities.

Because of such failings they’re incompetent even in what’s supposed to be their sole area of expertise: winning elections.

Witness Dave who didn’t manage to score an outright victory against what was probably the worst government in British history, one that, among its other similar accomplishments, had plunged the country into economic disaster.

All the Tories had to do to form a government was separate themselves sharply from everything Tony-Gordon had done. Opportunities were there for the taking – and yet Dave, the self-proclaimed heir to Blair, didn’t take them.

As a result he had to form a coalition with the party sitting to the left of Labour, which effectively did to the Tory grassroots what our neighbourhood Great Dane does to the bus shelter across the street.

Now there’s every sign that Labour are planning to fight the 2015 elections in cahoots with the LibDems, a marriage so natural that it’s amazing it hasn’t already been made in heaven.

How would you counter the leftwing coalition threatening to sweep into power and stay there long enough to destroy this country? Correct. You’d appeal to your potential support: not just the knee-jerk Tories who’d never vote for anyone else, but also the vast, expanding and vacillating middle class.

This group occupies not only the economic but also political middle ground, the territory where elections are traditionally won or lost. Though naturally gravitating towards the Conservative end, many such people are in conflict.

Their heads, buried in ledger sheets, bank statements and occasionally books on history and economics, say Tory. But their hearts, sullied by a century of socialist propaganda, say Labour.

If the appeal to their heads isn’t strong enough, and the appeal to their hearts isn’t accompanied by too foul an insult to their heads, they’ll vote Labour every time.

You’d think that the Tory electoral strategy writes itself. Make the appeal to such voters’ heads so strong that their corrupted hearts won’t come into play.

At the same time, reassure the knee-jerk Tories that the party is committed, in deed, not just word, to everything they hold dear, from traditional family to the historical sovereignty of Parliament, from sound economic policies in general to those that favour the middle 80 percent specifically.

In parallel Dave could neutralise the threat of UKIP by entering into an alliance with it. Yes, Nigel Farage has said he’d never consider this for as long as Dave remains the Tory leader, and one can sympathise with his feelings.

But I bet he’d feel differently if offered to field UKIP candidates, unopposed by Tory rivals, in a few traditional Tory seats. This would make UKIP a parliamentary party allied to the Tories, a big enough prize for them to agree not to oppose Tory candidates in other seats, especially the touch-and-go ones.

At the same time, those soft, wet Tories who require a strong cerebral appeal to vote with their heads, not their hearts, must be reeled in by sound economic policies (knee-jerk Tories like those too).

This is a fancy way of describing something so simple that even Dave should be able to grasp it. First, the Tories must be able to show how they’re going to sustain economic growth, thereby enabling the middle classes to make more money. Second, they must come up with a taxation policy enabling the middle classes to keep more of the money they earn.

Simple, isn’t it? What I’ve outlined is a strategy that has both depth (reassuring the core market) and width (appealing to the vacillating market outside the core). So what do our narrowly specialised politicians do? Exactly the opposite.

First, Dave alienated the knee-jerk Tories by his fanatical support of same-sex marriage and other inversions of traditional moral and social mores.

Then, instead of committing the country to withdrawal from today’s version of the Third Reich, he promised an in-out referendum halfway through the next parliament.

One doesn’t have to be blessed with an acute olfactory sense to smell a rat. First, many voters will see this promise as a cynical bribery attempt, contingent as it is on Dave’s return to power. Second, it’s absolutely clear to anyone – and certainly UKIP supporters – that Dave and his clique are committed to staying in the EU.

That means that, come the referendum, they’ll add every propaganda resource at their disposal to the formidable resources the EU will bring to bear. The British people will be tricked, scared or coerced into voting to stay in.

And even should they by some miracle cast an ‘out’ vote, there’s no guarantee that Dave’s government will abide by it. In all likelihood they’ll ignore it the same way the EU itself has ignored every national vote that has gone against it.

As to their economic policies, rather than mollifying the middle classes, they’re punishing them, this time by pushing more of them into the 40-percent tax band.

When it was first introduced in 1988, only one in 15 people found themselves in this bracket. Since then, inflation and state extortion have combined to make it one in six – and the new Tory proposal will make the proportion even higher.

If I believed in conspiracies, I’d feel one is unfolding before our eyes: the Tories seem to be deliberately dragging Miliband and Balls [sic] into that Downing Street terrace.

But I believe not in conspiracies but in cock-ups. Trust our intellectually challenged spivs to produce them with metronomic regularity.

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