Cameron’s posturing on the EPP and his posturing on Israel’s war strategy are both made without reference to notions of right and wrong.
It is all about repositioning the Cameron Conservative brand, so that consumers lift Cameron off the supermarket shelf and not Lib Dem, Green or SuKIP (s for sad – look at Nigel Farage’s face on learning he’d won SKIP leadership if you doubt me).
If the public believe the product will work better, that’s all that matters….the amazing thing is that this kind of repositioning works.
Israel might be doing very well by demonstrating through violence to her neighbouring populations that a drift towards total war is a waste of time, life and everything else. The Palestinians are looking anew at their options. The Lebanese too are determined not to allow Hizbullah to cause another Israeli assault. But Brand Cameron is not interested in that. If the British public prefer a kneejerk ‘disproportionate’ comment, they can have one.
With Conservatives outide the EPP, and in a new grouping, the balance of power could have swung in the Euro Parliament, and a fresh wind of independence and decentralisation might blown through Brussels. But the headlines describing us as ‘little englander’ Tories, would have pushed sales down for a month or two. So brand Cameron passed up the chance.
The anti-brand management camp like Constance Compton – or the brand-sceptics should bear in mind that the winning of power underpins all our aspirations. The Conservative Party only has value if it wins elections. If the branding works, and we win power, then real values-based politics will take over. Cheap branding exercises that undermine our security for real would not be forgiven. Right now we can draw childlike pictures of trees and fire off ill-thought out remarks because we are powerless. Once in power, the focus can sharpen and the people must be made to respect Conservative competence once more.
The Americans have been surprised and delighted by the loyalty of Tony Blair, but they must also be shocked by Britain’s inability to do very much to deliver. for example European cooperation, or even a few vehicles to move our troops around in in the Middle East. The days of playing games with words and image will pass, but while it is the order of the day, Conservatives must play the game, and Conservatives must win.