Feint left, hit right
But is this necessarily a bad thing? An examination of the achievements of the Labour Party under Blair, without focusing on the fact that he has won three consecutive elections, reveals the fact that tax has risen considerably in order to pay for greatly increased public spending. Fox hunting has been abolished pour epater les bourgeois and the privatised railways have been taken into a partially state-rub body regardless of the wishes of the legal owners.
All these policies are straight out of the old Labour handbook. Yet the primary resonance of Blairism is (apart from a wrinkled nostril at the stench of hypocrisy and the whiff of corruption) a somehow centrist party. Look at all the political surveys by Chris Lightfoot and the like. While Thatcher, Howard and the rest are portrayed as miles off in some right-wing hinterland, Blair squats right over the centrepoint. So, how has he managed simultaneously to follow policies that are largely left wing without sacrificing his image as a centrist? The answer is largely to do with his powers of presentation - the dreaded spin.
It is this that should give Conservatives some grounds for hope in the ascent of Cameron. Despite the sometimes painfully trendy nature of some of the mood music emanating from CCO (or whatever it's called now) a brief look at the men at the centre of the party reveals Hague, Osborne and Gove - none of them soggy and some of them positively dry. The reason is that mood music is important. If you want your policies to be followed and supported they first have to be heard. Where Blair has fallen down is that he has followed presentation as an end in itself. He has also never had the honest support of his party. If Cameron can avoid these pitfalls then the political future may be less Butskellite than many seem to think.