Saturday, December 17, 2005

Who is David Cameron?

My objectivity and judgement on political issues are always called into question (not least by Ken), given my own involevement with the Lib Dems.

However, I do hope I raise a serious point in questioning the basis of David Cameron's political gamesmanship so far. He's focused, in the Commons, on emphasising how he agrees with Tony Blair, and will help Blair beat his own smelly, unwashed socialistic backbenchers. Meanwhile, he has exploited Charles Kennedy's woes to emphasise how he is a Lib Dem, and that we should all jump ship to- what would Boris calls - "the most, jiving, happening party on earth".

I do wonder if this is going to be a sustainable policy for Cameron. He emphasises how he matches Lib Dem policies, but I think that's a rather dangerous tack for him to take, given how much many existing Conservative voters dislike us. Equally, he emphasises how he's the new Blair, and agrees with almost all of Blair's policies. Again, is this actually an effective way of winning over voters?

If I have criticism of the Lib Dems' recent tactics, it is that we've made too much out of not being Labour or the Tories. I think there comes a time when you have to pitch in, take strong stances, and start selling your own unique vision as the core product. I hope we'll start doing that soon, but I'm a bit intrigued if emphasising his sameness with the unpopular Blair and the anti-conservative Lib Dems is actually going to be a net error for Cameron.

While Cameron may think his tactic could convert a few Lib Dem voters, it's hard to imagine much talent jumping ship. Lib Dems, as far as I have met them, tend to define themselves as anti-conservative, probably because so many were defined by Thatcherism as the great enemy.