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Opposition matters and it just got better

I feel a sense of personal relief about David Cameron’s latest announcement, to the effect that all talk of the next Conservative government matching Labour spending plans will now be abandoned. Thank goodness. I am an earn-little-spend-little old geezer, and until today I was staring at some kind of Weimar Germany/Nazi Germany future in which my savings were all gone, along with any surviving shred of ability to earn any money to replace them. That still may be my future, and the future of many others. But things are now looking up, a bit.

Opposition matters. Oppositions matter. What a government knows will be attacked from across the Commons and in the TV studios is one kind of policy, which they still might do but which has political risks attached to it, as well as the less worrying problem, to a politician, of the policy failing and blowing up in all our faces in a year or two’s time. But what a government knows an opposition will keep quiet about is something else again. The opposition won’t oppose now, and can share the blame later. I still blame Mr Cameron and his party for the mess my country has got itself into, because for a few crucial years they failed to oppose Mr Brown’s spend-spend-spend regime where it mattered, in the form of promises to refrain from such profligacy when themselves elected. But at least they have now done their switch, and Labour wastefulness will now be scrutinised, moderated, and even perhaps significantly curtailed.

I have been reading The Spectator’s CoffeeHouse blog recently, and the cry recently arose there in the comments on such postings as this that the Conservatives have been getting an unfair shake from The Media. Well, yes. That’s what The Media does. But a clear and convincing message, as I recall an earlier Conservative opposition leader by the name of Thatcher proving quite eloquently in the late 1970s, can cut through such bias. The basic reason for Conservative media feebleness in recent weeks, and the consequent bizarre rise in the opinion polls of Mr Brown, who caused the crisis but at least seemed to know better than his opponents how to climb out of it, has been that the Conservatives have had nothing coherent to say. “We wouldn’t start from here – this is all their fault”, as I heard Conservative spokesman for something-or-other Alan Duncan saying only last night on Newsnight, is not a policy; it is a mere accident report. The question now is not: Who the hell did this? It is: What the hell do we do now? Until today, the Conservatives were offering no answer.

It may be wishful thinking on my part, something I often indulge in, but I still hope for a semi-intelligent Conservative government quite soon now, and a Labour electoral melt-down which they will recover from very slowly if at all. And I may yet get to die in my bed, rather than under Charing Cross Bridge.

7 comments to Opposition matters and it just got better

  • Derek Buxton

    I fear it may be wishful thinking. All I have heard from Cameron is divorced from reality, wind turbines, spend on the NHS, don’t be nasty to the government. He must first of all dump the green message, we cannot afford it, apart from the slight problem that if they do change any component in the climate they do not know what the result will be.

    I hope you are correct but have doubts, I suspect it is the wrong man in charge.

  • >But at least they have now done their switch, and Labour wastefulness will now be scrutinised, moderated, and even perhaps significantly curtailed.

    Sure it will.

    (Brian, you’re supposed to be level-headed old cynic, when did you suddenly go all naive on us?)

  • Of course whatever comes out of any politician’s mouth now, is merely to satisfy the demands of the moment and they shouldn’t be expected to live up to any promises in the future when circumstances are different. They have no message worth hearing, no policy worth enacting and no morals worth valuing. What they do have are soundbites, emotional blackmail and pure lies.

    Opposition or not, they’re in no way any better than those in power, and our current system simply allows them to take turns milking a subservient herd for every drop of value they can squeeze from us. Nothing will change until the system changes and the politicians are shown for the leeches that they are.

    The current political situation does not serve the individual, it serves the collective and I would expect this blog to be doing its damnedest to tear it down rather than posting “Oh it might be better under the other lot after all”. You’re deluding yourself, they’re all as bad as each other and until we do away with the whole rotten lot of them there will never be such things as “personal liberty and several property.”

  • mike

    Brian – I dislike your apparent fascination with your own death, please behave yourself! I recommend a liberal dose of The Rolling Stones..

    mandrill – quite so.

  • Gabriel

    Mandrill, first Libertarianism qua Libertarianism is not incompatible with multi-party parliamentary democracy. Your brand – whatever that is this week – may be, but that does not place an obligation – assuming you believe in obligations this week – on others to believe similarly. Further, even those who would basically like to overthrow the current constitutional system might have the foresight to see that, right now, more is to be lost than gained by it.

    Far more importantly, while we’ve been waiting for the grand conflagration, some of us have spent the meantime taking off the mouldy bits of bread in order to build up savings accounts and we’d quite like it if inflation stays at tolerable levels. I have no idea about your personal situation, but I am neither poor nor rich enough to stop caring about government fiscal policy and I’m damn pleased the Conservative and Unionist party is finally taking some steps to limit HMG’s insanity.

  • Pah! You’re just keeping your fingers crossed. There’s no opposition coming from this Opposition. When Thatcher became leader you knew her message from Day 1. There’s no message from this Opposition. Cameron could have been wiping the floor with Brown. Likewise Osbourne with Darling. Instead we just get this whinging about the media. The opportunity for a Labour melt-down was in Cameron’s hands and he muffed it. We’re back to the possibility of a hung parliament. Who needs that, when we need someone strong around to get the economy back on its feet?

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Cameron has had the chance to put a stake into the heart of Broon, and he has come consistently close to blowing it. I know I am a scratched record on this one, but it boggles my mind how Brown has been able to create some narrative of his being a sort of hero, despite his long list of disastrous policies.

    The Tories have to realise that a large chunk of the MSM is in the tank for Brown – as they say in the US – but they need a consistently strong message in favour of rolling back the state. That means Boy Dave has to change his style considerably. It might even mean showing the door to Osborne and putting William Hague back in the Treasury portfolio.