Tuesday, February 22, 2005

What Have I Got in Common with John Major?

That much maligned ex-Prime Minister, John Major, wrote an article in today's Daily Telegraph deploring the spin culture of New Labour. His key point was that the voting public has become so disillusioned by politics because they know they have been fed a diet of distortion, half-truths and just plain lies that fewer and fewer even bother to vote. At the next election we are likely to be approaching the nadir of voter involvement in the democratic process. A lower turnout than the Iraq managed despite the violence and intimidation.
It is interesting that in 1992 John Major's Conservative Party polled the highest number of votes ever for a single party. That was despite the so-called ERM debacle and the high number of people that went into negative equity and a record level of house repossessions. He went out on his soap box (literally) and actually asked people to trust him. And they did.
Then the New Labour "project" was born with Blair/Mandelson spearheading the most sophisticated political fighting machine this side of the Atlantic with its rebuttal unit, the grid and the relentless spin. The rest is history but, of course, the Tories did not help themselves with stories of "sleaze" and the continual in-fighting over Europe. They were seen as disreputable and divided. A gift to New Labour which they rammed down their throats in 1997.
Strange then that New Labour sleaze (for there have been instances a lot more reprehensible than that self-styled buffoon, Neil Hamilton, taking a bung from Fayed) is not being dragged up again and again by the Tories. Or that the very clear divisions in New Labour over the single currency and the European Constitution are not used to highlight their weaknesses.
Actually, no, it's not strange because the Tories have not learnt how to spin. I think that's a good thing but if they are going to win they have to get out on their soap boxes and ask people to trust them because we can't trust New Labour.