It’s Cameron: a compassionate Conservative?
I have written about Cameron earlier, and I think those words are worth repeating:
"The members voting for a new Tory leader would ideally want a David with Cameron’s public relations skills, and Davis’ experience and policy. When having to choose, they will go for the guy who looks good on TV. Is that necessarily bad for Labour, who might soon be challenged by a young, hungry opposition leader?
I would say no, the future of the Labour party will be decided by decisions within the party (and government). The Tories are still too irrelevant to do any harm, so Labour’s worst enemy would be a leader that does not understand to govern with his new, smaller majority, or a party that does not understand that it has a leader of incredible potential. Keep on going Blair, focus on reform instead of the Davids, but make sure to govern together with your MPs and your party."
But one further point that must be discussed is Cameron’s actual policy, also in relation to Gordon Brown (who most probably will lead the Labour party in the next general election). Today I read a very interesting analysis in The Guardian by Jonathan Freedland (who is a true republican, always questioning why Britain should be a monarcy). Freedland’s main arguments are the following (whole article here):
“The honeymoon's over - or at least it should be […] a "compassionate conservative", as Cameron styles himself, is not a new creation. We have seen one before - and his name was George Bush.
He too knew how to talk nice -"No child left behind" he promised in 2000, usually surrounded by plenty of telegenic black and female faces - but once he had installed himself in power, he was as ruthless a rightwinger as any Republican in history. […]
Europe hardly featured in the leadership contest, but one of Cameron's few specific promises was to pull his MEPs out of the European People's Party grouping in the European parliament - leaving them instead to rub along with a few ragtag nationalists and hardliners on the fringes.
But it is domestically where Cameron comes into clearest focus. […] In four years in the Commons he has voted against every extra investment in schools, hospitals and the police. […] Again and again, Cameron may talk left, but he remains a man of the right. […]
Labour will have to decide how to deal with this, and soon. The next hundred days will be crucial; it is now that the public perception of Cameron will be formed. […] Brown signalled it yesterday: it is that Cameron is a rightwing wolf in compassionate sheep's clothing. He is the same old Tory, just rebranded and with a full head of hair.
Will it work? That much is a test for the whole electorate. We will have to weigh Brown's record against Cameron's panache - and choose. What really matters most in politics, style or substance? We are about to find out.”
We might be entering a new phase in Brirish politics. If Labour will continue to really put politics and reforms first, Brown’s record will for sure beat Cameron’s panache. Needless to say, that's what I'm hoping for.