Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Only bravery will save Labour now

DAVID Cameron took to the stage in Manchester, the first Tory Prime Minister in 19 years to address his party with a majority.

He left it an hour later having took the Tory tanks off the battleground, onto Labour's lawn, through the sitting room and kitchen and out the other side.

A devilishly bold speech sought to solidify his core vote and say to any moderates in the Labour Party "Come on in, we're open." Those same Labour moderates who have been told to 'go and join the Tories' now have an invitation. 

The speech was short on policy, based heavily on promises. But it was never designed to be policy rich, it simply is the next move in the Tory chess game.

Already proud of how they made the 'Labour crashed the economy' message stick and then the 'Vote Labour, get the SNP' follow up (ironically most in Scotland just bisected Labour and went straight to the Nationalists), the Tories now smell real blood.

The Labour corpse is still twitching after May but the election of Jeremy Corbyn has delivered a potentially fatal dose of 'leftitis'. The Tory wolves scent blood.

Cameron delivered a straight punch with the 'danger to our security' line, expect to hear that more in the months ahead. But there were the cursory jabs, the left of centre policies and the downright appeal to soft Labour voters to reject Corbyn's blast from the 70s.

Cameron gets it, to win power you need to win Middle England. Blair did it in 97 and he did it in May. He knows a Corbyn led Labour Party will never appeal to swing voters in areas such as Worcester so is looking to both toxify Labour and welcome new support at the same time.

Of course he will be judged on what he actually delivers. But when you compare the leaders speeches, one was full of desire, the other full of empty rhetoric and desire to be nicer on Twitter.

A very well respected journalist tweeted after the speech: "@janemerrick23: Labour's gigantic problem: why did I, from a Liverpool comp, who voted for Blair & never voted Tory, agree nearly every word of PM's speech?"

It's a problem a brave Labour Party need to solve. If not then 2020 is going to make 1997 look close. The answer? Alan Johnson, loved by the Blairites and a former union official.

Sometimes speeches change the politcal weather, well David Cameron made the rain fall eeven heavier on Labour. It's time to reach for the umbrellas!