Why Nick Clegg is right about the Tory con trick

Nick Clegg will open the Lib Dem conference with a stinging attack on David Cameron and the Tories for trying to con the electorate in thinking that Tories offer a change that will be break from the politics of the last 30 years. He also will also say the Tories arrogantly believe it is "their turn".

The questions is, was it ever any different ?

In 1997 I remember friends of mine who were not interested in politics get swept along in the religious fervour of New Labour and that things were going to change. Aide from the fact that I was a Lib Dem back then, I felt rather down the day Labour were elected because I knew a massive opportunity to deliver real change had been missed by Tony Blair in an attempt to appear safe to Middle England voters. As a result reforms were small, change was merely window dressing and we kept most of the same old systems and institutions that needed radical reform. Unless you lived in Scotland or Wales, change passed you by.

Now what is different ? What are the Tories planning to do which they think earns them the title to be called progressive ? As I see it the only thing that people expect the Tories to do is make cuts. Now I know the Lib Dems (and Labour belatedly) pledge this too, but I hear nothing else which involves reform other than bland and rather idiotic statements about allowing people with no educational background to run schools. Where is the Tory big idea ?

The answer is that there is no big idea. The Tory plan is to play it safe, follow the Basic Fawlty line of "Don't mention the war" but change it to "Don't mention a policy". I have visions of Tory shadow ministers returning to Cameron's office saying "I mentioned a policy once but I think I got away with it !"

The truth is this country needs more than a rearranging of the deckchairs. We do need policy that will dramatically alter the directing we take if not we risk returning back to where we are now in 10 years time because nobody genuinely believes the Tories will properly regulate the City (after all, their fundraising efforts are co-ordinated by hedge fund managers) whilst genuine policy breakthroughs like those outlined by IDS the other day on welfare do not seem to have been welcomed with open arms.

So whilst the Tories might be better than Labour (come off it, anyone would be better than Labour), what we really want is a something that is more than "a bit better", because this country deserves so much more.


James Higham said...

Tories for trying to con the electorate in thinking that Tories offer a change that will be break from the politics of the last 30 years.

He only need offer a break from the last 12 years.

Norfolk Blogger said...

But Labour under Blair was hardly indistinguishable from the Tories so that's why it is 30 years.

Dan said...

I saw Nick Clegg's speech yesterday in the hall. It was excellent - shame so little coverage.