Thursday, January 03, 2013

How will the Tories react to confident forecasts of defeat?


The recent near-consensus (even among Conservative commentators) that the Tories are very very likely to be in opposition after the 2015 election makes this an interesting moment. This is the time that big moves are made.
I'm taking this opportunity to re-post something that I wrote elsewhere a few years ago on Slugger O'Toole about how the Tories made a move to make a coalition with the Lib-Dems possible after the 2005 poll results offered them a mountain that was too steep to climb by 2010. It draw heavily upon a prediction from a very good but now-defunct lefty blog.

I think that this move went almost un-commented upon at the time, but I think there are strong grounds to believe that it was the result of a deliberate strategy that paid off for the Conservatives.
Having shafted the Lib-Dems over PR and a few other things, the Tories behaved dishonourably since 2010. Having done so closes doors for them. Good. 
Read on....

"...the political right in the UK got a lot of things right in recent years without ever taking to the streets with placards – particularly in its understanding of the gamechanging potential of digital media.
Not being privy to their gameplan, I can only sketch it out the way I saw it. One bit of critical analysis I was recently reminded of came from a now-defunct Marxist blog called Socialism in an Age of Waiting. They noted that the Tories’ outlook was very bleak after the 2005, and that – barring an earthquake – it was unlikely that they’d be able to achieve the kind of swing needed to overturn the Labour majority in 2010. They went on to argue that the Tories needed to come up with a narrative that could make it possible for the centre-left populist Lib-Dems to get into bed with the Tories in the event of a hung parliament (pre-Lehmans and the spectacular personal car-crash of Brown’s leadership, this looked like the only foreseeable electoral scenario that could offer the Tories a glimpse of power). Even with the ‘earthquake’, it turns out that their analysis was accurate.
“…an intelligent and adaptable Tory leadership would give some serious thought to courting the LibDems, with a view to forming a grand anti-Labour alliance around policy positions that both parties could sign up to with only a few adjustments, and, crucially, with the enthusiastic support of much of the media for glib rhetoric about “consensus” and “freedom”:
  • a commitment to proportional representation, presented as a matter of fairness (which it would be), but in the sincere hope that it would prevent Labour from ever having a majority again (which it might well do);
  • wholesale privatisation of education, health care, pensions and social housing, to an extent that would make New Labour’s PFI programmes seem positively Bevanite;
  • a lot of earnest-sounding guff about human rights and civil liberties, coupled with little if any reduction in repressive measures, on the shrewd assumption that most people won’t notice the difference most of the time;
  • a commitment to overhaul the EU in an even more free-market direction, neatly balancing Tory Euroscepticism with LibDem populism, and probably in alignment with the trend in other major member states;
  • hostility both to increased immigration and to any further breaches of the “sovereignty” of nation states, thus combining (overt) right-wing little-Englandism with its (covert) liberal-left counterpart, and usefully blocking off any serious challenge from UKIP, Veritas, the BNP and the like; and,
  • given that New Labour will have been in power for 12 or 13 years by the time of the next election, the usual blether about the need for a new start, new faces, new this and that, of the kind that the media will dutifully lap up and regurgitate.
But of course the Tories are the stupid party, and their leaders are neither intelligent nor adaptable – or are they?” (hat-tip: Will Rubbish, who was impressed enough at the time to take a copy of this)
In fact, we have no idea if The Stupid Party ever did fully grasp the favours that were being done for it by it’s more intelligent and adaptable outriders in the blogosphere. They should be grateful though, because a number of important planks were laid between the Tories and the Lib-Dems online – not least in the way that civil liberties arguments were successfully conflated with free market ones. Labour’s managerialist inflexibility was successfully portrayed as authoritarianism (I argued this at length elsewhere at the time). The liberal-left fell for this one hook-line-and-sinker. That the cult of the methodological individualist was used to remind a Lib-Dem party of the L-word that was really only there as a reminder of the party’s bureaucratic heritage. It created the kind of weather that allowed the Orange Book authors to turf out the left-ish Charles Kennedy and Ming Campbell and rise to the top of a traditionally socially liberal party."

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Robert said...

Well of course labour attacked the Liberals when ever they could Brown did not think he could lose until the last year, but we all knew the day he took over, he was to be sure a Good leader for the poor, sadly it was more about trying to win, we accepted his Tax credits child credits, but did not take to him at all.

The Tories did not win out right because the people did not believe in them either , Clegg took his chance went with the one which offered PR but with Labour now more interested in trying to break up the opposition they decided not to back it.

Right now people think the Tories will not win the next election, I suspect like they often do the public will give the Tories another chance.

The public are sick and tired over the battles for the NHS I know I am we are either fighting the Tories or we are fighting labour, and I'm sick of it, if they want to sell it off go ahead, same with education Blair tried it Miliband does not mind it, so carry on.

Labour is not socialist and the Tories are not as we know, Blair Miliband whats the real difference