Friday, August 31, 2007

Lurch! Lurch!

It was always going to be Labour's primary response to any Conservative policy announcement. Tony Blair's greatest achievement was to marginalise the Tories altogether - anything they said could be ignored because they were, in some way, 'extreme'. Brown has followed this script carefully - anything said by the Conservatives will instantly be held up as a 'lurch to the right'. Look here, and here, and here, and here for proof of this.
Independent: Andy Burnham, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: "Increased taxes on motoring, holidays and household fuel bills will hit every person hard. It is the latest evidence of David Cameron's massive lurch to the right."
Guardian: Redwood's 'tax cut' plans reveal shift to the right, says Labour
Guardian: Beverley Hughes, the children's minister, claimed the speech [on youth crime] represented another "lurch to the right" by the Tory leader.
Anything - whether targeted tax cuts, targeted tax rises, immigration, crime, health - anything at all, will be met by this phrase. Apart from wishing they'd flip the record, what should the Tories do? The first thing to do is to call them on it. The aim of the 'lurch' strategy is to make the Tories look extreme and weird. So reverse that - challenge it by highlighting both its ubiquity and its irrelevance. 'Lurch to the right? Come off it, you've said that about everything since 1997, even ideas that you've subsequently stolen for yourselves. The public has a right to expect a bit more analysis than that surely?'

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