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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Foot in mouth syndrome strikes again

Oops, just as David Cameron is about to embark on a tour of marginal seats in north west England, his favourite think tank goes and inserts its foot firmly in his mouth. A report by the Policy Exchange concludes that key cities, such as Liverpool and Sunderland, have "failed" and people should be paid to move south.

It would be natural for the Tories to have written off their electoral prospects in many of the northern Cities. In places like Sheffield, Liverpool and Manchester they are an irrelevance, with little or no local representation. However, to dismiss their own chances of winning seats in these Cities so publicly and in this way takes a special talent. In fact I had to check that the report had not been written by Boris Johnson. No wonder David Cameron is working so hard to dissassociate himself from it.

So, as I am having the week off and feeling generous, I am happy to offer the Tory leader a tip: get yourself some policies and it will be easier to shrug off maverick reports such as this as nothing to do with your party. Whilst the Conservatives remain a policy-free zone in the area of social and economic policy then it seems that any old think tank can come along and derail their latest campaign.

It is time for the Tories to pin their own ideas and convictions to the mast for us all to see and comment on.
Carry on Tory

I think it is the silly season as far as news stories go, but there is a major flaw with Tory policies and the way they are derived.

If my understanding is right, wasn't it the Leader of the party that decides policies? I'm of an age to fully remember the tory party conference when Maggie was in charge, and Michael Howard was prancing up and down the stage doing his "Walking with Purpose" routine - Music Hall it was not, pathetic it was.
Aren't you going to mention AM expenses before you go off on your hols? Any comment on the mention of the cost of second home furnishings?
On the subject of Policies, or lack of them, does the Welsh Nationalists now have any policies? Seem to remember they pinched a few from the Lib Dems like Local Income Tax instead of the Community Charge, Bobby's on the Beat, No to the War, etc.

Does Plaid have any Policies?
But hang on one of the authors of the report Dr tim Leunig of the LSE is a Liberal Democrat.
Peter your comments regarding the Policy Exchange report shows the danger of relying on the press for a story. One of the co authors of the report Dr Tim Leunig is a member of the Liberal Democrats. Reading the summary on the Policy Exchange website it is clear that the main report has some interesting ideas particularly about the role of local government. It is also clear that the report isn't just arguing for a simplistic movement of population from the old northern industrial cities to the south east. This is a classic example where perhaps people should read the report,draw their own conclusions and just rely on the newspapers.
Shambo, I am not going off on holidays I am on stay-cation (I am taking a week out to holiday at home and around South Wales). I said all I need to say on AMs expenses here.

Jeff, you are right the report is greater than the story that was written about it which is why this post focussed on the difficulties that the reporting of it created for David Cameron. In other words I wrote about the political implications of the media coverage rather than the report itself.

Yes Tim Leunig is a Liberal Democrat but that fact just underlines my last point. The Policy Exchange is closely associated with the Conservative Party so it is they who will have problems with the way this study is reported not any other party.

The Liberal Democrats have clear policies on social and economic issues and are able to point to them to underline the fact that one person, who happens to be a member, does not speak for the party. The Tories are policy-lite and are therefore more vulnerable to having their agenda hi-jacked by such a report.
"Oops, just as David Cameron is about to embark on a tour of marginal seats in north west England ..."

Isn't Cameron off to Georgia?

What about the Lib-Dem leader - any news about him offing to Georgia?

Expect Hillary Clinton to be there too - to dodge those bullets.
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