In yesterday’s post, I suggested some evidence that the Tories have changed: the way the crowd reacted to Theodore Dalrymple’s suggestion that nothing was good about the UK anymore.  Maybe it was a Left-friendly crowd and unrepresentative – but my impression meeting the senior people (Tim Montgomerie, the CSJ crowd, etc) backed this up a bit. But the post before that suggests we have not changed as much in our attitudes towards them.  Still ashamed to be Tory  . .  .

Now Populus have a poll suggesting that most members of the public think they haven’t changed at all.  Dave Osler clearly thinks so, claiming that their welfare policies are cruel lunacy

The good jobs aren’t there any more; if claimants are forced into the labour market, it will be at the expense of existing badly paid workers, who will find their wages yet further undercut. So don’t be fooled by the ‘jobs and opportunity’ rhetoric. The ‘new’ Conservative Party will prove every bit as disastrous for the poor as the old one.  It’s in the Tories’ DNA.

Actually, what the Tories seem to be proposing is

(a) an extension of what the Purnell reforms suggest (that there needs to be more push into work as well as pull from a booming economy; why did will have this problem during a long boom?)

(b) forced upon all the parties: this is not politics, its maths. Benefits will suffer because of borrowing as much as ideology, sadly.

Welfare policy is probably an area where you could get a fair deal of cross-party agreement (despite a rather melodramatic take from LibCon that Purnell is ‘slamming‘ the welfare reforms – ‘quibbling’ more like).  But the grassroots can’t bear that thought: an instance of what Clive Crook in yesterday’s excellent column described as the rage that more commonly characterises American politics.  This rage is a pity: it prevents people talking to each other sensible pragmatists from working together (see previous blog on the fury of Right Wing blogs).  As CC writes, good policy requires trade-offs and stability.  No chance of that if the opposition are a daft characature of evil.

The conservatives are clearly doing everything they can to repudiate the idea that they’re so evil, including pictures of them against a cloudy blue sky – (or is this an attempt to capitalise on what Dillow has just pointed out– a propensity of voters to prefer good looking politicians?


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