Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Nasty Tories

I can't help but feel that if this candidate had been standing anywhere other than Dorset South (the most marginal Labour constituency in the country), then this wouldn't have received anywhere near the attention it did.

What surprises me is that the Tories seem to be missing a trick with the original photo. Their focus on immigration being "out of control" gives them the image of the "nasty party", which, as Richard pointed out yesterday, is deeply ingrained in Britain's culture. Having a candidate in such a marginal seat campaigning for an asylum seeker to stay in the country shows that there is a human, pragmatic side to the policy.

Surely Ed Matts really doesn't believe that Michael Howard's pronouncements on immigration are ambiguous or vague? Yet by doctoring a photo he has allowed Labour to create a sideshow in his constituency that distracts from the broader Tory message - far worse than if the case in question was highlighted to demonstrate that Tories were offering a reasoned solution rather than a knee-jerk xenophobic policy. I have my doubts as to how far the former is the case. If the Tories do not take opportunities to show they are not demonising Johnny Foreigner, however, then it makes it more likely that the continued "Dibley Disease" will not be reversed.