There is much talk on the blogs of how David Cameron has made the Conservatives electable again. He has moved the Party’s image so far away from being seen as anything remotely ‘nasty’ that voters have no problem saying that they are Conservative supporters once more.
But he’s done more than that. He’s moved the Party so far away from its roots, by attacking grammar schools, refusing to promise tax cuts, refusing to mention Europe and playing around with PR campaigns such as the one which were characterised at the time by Labour as ‘Hug A Hoodie’, that Labour and Lib Dem campaigners have absolutely no ideas as to how to characterise him and the Party now. In addition to that he’s carefully crafted an image of youthfulness and charm which leaves Brown and Clegg for dust.
Labour’s efforts at Nantwich and Crewe to label Conservatives as Toffs are funereal and formal in image. They are nowhere the mark. Labour’s bankruptcy of ideas extends throughout its lack of a policy programme and into the realm of how on earth to attack the Conservatives now. It’s the measure of Cameron’s achievement that he has so totally outmanoeuvred his opponents.
At a similar moment of polling desperation in 1996, the Conservatives tried to characterise Blair as devil eyes with their ‘New Labour – New Danger’ posters. That at least had to its credit that it was ahead of its time. Portraying Tories as Toffs is a generation behind. Labour are in serious trouble, lost at sea, floating further and further away from land, with the Lib Dems not far behind them.