Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Blips and tipping-points

William Hague, in a long-forgotten speech to the Tory conference in 1999 presciently identified the three stages of the Labour Government.

When I spoke to you in this hall two years ago I said that New Labour would bring first fascination, then admiration, then disillusionment and finally contempt. At that stage the admiration was running high; now the disillusionment is beginning; and mark my words, they are not so far away from contempt. (hat tip to Mr Eugenides)

Well, the timing was perhaps a little optimistic, but there is no no doubt that contempt is the over-riding impression that this Government gives off. Both the Government's contempt for the people, and the peoples' contempt for the Government. How else to explain the appointment of Margeret Hodge as Children's Minister, or the retention of the biggest white elephant of the all, John Prescott, as a figure whose sole role is to prevent strife in the Labour Party, yet whose salary is paid by the taxpayer. How else to explain the five Scots in the cabinet, including the Home Secretary, who will have no authority on prisons in his own constituency, and the Transport Secretary, who will have no say on the roads in his.

It does finally begin to look as if the great wave of disgust that this Government has done so much to provoke has begun to register. Obviously one poll doesn't make a trend, but the suspicion grows that Labour has begun a slide that is irreversible. The death of the Tories in 1992 was disguised by the remaining five years the Government had to run. Yet the delay only made the final collapse worse. Brown is polling worse than Blair, and the well of talent, such as it ever was, on the Labour benches has now truly run dry. If the Conservatives fail to exploit this opportunity, they do not deserve the chance of power.

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