Friday, November 18, 2005

Meet The New Boss


Those of us of a certain age still treasure the original 12" vinyl. And especially Side 2, Track 4, final crashing couplet:

"Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss."

And as I've posted elsewhere, that sums up perfectly the prospect of a Cameron led Tory Party.

Because after six months of leadership contest, I still can't tell the policy difference between Tone and Dave. Of course, DC sees a difference- an important difference- as he spelled out in last week's Sunday Telegraph. But tellingly, it's a difference of character, not of substance, with DC asserting that unlike Tone, he is neither "belligerent,... lacking in follow-through,... nor vain."

So does it matter? After all, most of DC's supporters, and many of our battle-weary members, just want to get back into office. They talk in terms of DC giving us at least say 75% of what we want.

Well, it may or may not get us re-elected (the opinion polls so far are not encouraging), but even if it does, where does that leave us in terms of real politics?

This really comes down to what you think political parties are for. If they really are mainly about getting politicians elected, then sure...one strategy is this "me-too" clustering on the centre ground. Followers not leaders.

But then what we get are two (or three) Super-Butskellite parties that to all intents and purposes are pretty well indistinguishable. The REAL politics still go on, but they are conducted well away from the public- in those smoke-filled rooms, on the PM's sofa, or, dare I say it, over an agreeable Clubland lunch. Well away from us in any event.

The inevitable result is that our politicos go on doing pretty well what they decide is best. And that ineviatably boils down to spending more, taxing more, interfering more....until one day we all hit another set of buffers. At which point- after Gawd knows how much unemployment and all-round anguish- we peasants finally rise up to demand change...maybe starting by burning a few cars.

What Davis offers is something different- a pre-announced RULE for limiting tax and spend, and a clear commitment to introduce real choice and competition in our failing public services.

All Cameron is offering is "trust me". Which to all intents and purposes means more of the same.

Yup. Meet the new boss: same as the old boss.
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