Iain dale knows a lot but does he know what really matters?
Blair has gone.
The whole Cameron gameplan to date was a play-Blair strategy, of which Maude was a major part. In essence, no content or detail was to be allowed to show its face where superficiality and image-play would do.
And, all credit to Cameron, against Blair, this strategy has worked – even if it has driven Conservative MPs and activists half mad with despair on occasions. Cameron made us look OK in a Blair-dominated era in the easygoing cultural environment, where nothing could be taken all that seriously without one’s ‘cool’ being diminished. Maude fitted in well.
Blair has gone, I repeat.
Brown is here now. And he’s another sport altogether. Intensity of effort, serious reciting of school mottos and almost religious adherence to a script is being demanded throughout the Labour Party machine. No longer will reality be redefined on a daily basis by Blair, rendering any effort to present policy an almost hopeless task. Blair lived by the day, shooting from the hip. Brown professes to live by principles – the exact opposite of what went before, and he’s digging into well prepared positions.
Whether Brown’s principles stand up to scrutiny is now the name of the game. Even ugly people can play now. The idea with Blair was that looking good and sounding good came higher than policy or anything else. Seducing the audience was quick and easy for Blair, and it required little effort from him.
Brown has now condemned the culture of celebrity – of easy pickings for good-looking and talented folk. No more froth will be tolerated on his watch. Poliics is now serious business once more, and only serious players are invited to participate.
The way to fight Brown is say goodbye to the image soundbite-skilled operators like Osborne and Maude, and replace them with equally serious as Brown policy folk, who can think through to the detail, and show that Brown’s entrenched positions are wrong.
If you play Blair-like frothy soundbites at Brown, he’ll bat them away with contempt. Solid detailed and well thought through policy statements that resonate with voters are now not only permissible but required. Brown, aware that Cameron is in danger of continuing with his anti-Blair strategies is inviting the forum of debate to be reconquered by common sense, claiming that his brand is best.
Cameron must now play Brown on his own terms as he played Blair on his. That means getting the Party’s feet back on the ground, healing the rifts which are in danger of dividing modernisers from traditionalists. Common sense and detail must become the only games in town…a little dull maybe after the dizzy flights and superficiality of the Blair years. Brown dullness has to be scuppered on its own terms.
We have in the Party people ideally suited to take on Gordon Brown – who operate on another level of determination and commitment to getting policy right, and less inclined to shoot off slightly preposterous slogans like ‘heir to Blair’ and the like.
I propose again John Hayes for Chairman. The Party needs to demonstrate it’s moved to meet the new challenge. There’s no point in rearranging the same mugs around the table in different chairs. Brown represents a totally diffeent cultural environment to Blair. Cameron must match his play.