Wednesday, July 30, 2008


For all the excited comment that has been attracted by David Miliband's article in the Guardian, there's one point that has rather been missed. This is a piece about the (alleged) inherent weakness of Cameron's Conservatives - accusing them of defining themselves for what they are against, because they have no idea of what they are for. That's a pretty good narrative to try to impose on the Tories, not least because conservative ideology (such as it is) is never conducive to the simplistic 'pledge card' populism that has always been the hallmark of New Labour. When Miliband contrasts the Tories' lack of over-riding principle, he contrasts them with Labour's embracing of 'the many; not the few' - a 'principle' of such staggering vacuity that it boggles the mind.
Nevertheless, this is an article about the relative merits of Labour and Conservative as parties of Government; it makes several interesting arguments; and it could be used to form a cogent line of attack. And the entire reaction to it has been to view it solely in the light of Gordon Brown's leadership difficulties. This is the problem for Brown - his position is so weak that everything that happens will be seen as a manoeuvre for the succession. People are no longer listening.

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