Hopi hopes to woo me over to the Labour side (as a long term project*). His excellent blog may be the best chance of doing so, but that is still not saying much. Despite my support for much of what they have done – notably Keynesianism in a deflation-slump – Labour under Brown has been an unappetising dish for a while.
I actually remember what first pushed me away – in 2007, that conference season, and the sense of Labour’s Stalinesque Rallies, a party trying to capture All the Talents and therefore stifling parliamentary vibrancy. Brown’s complacency on that occasion ranks with the Sheffield Rally for annoying the neutrals. His overtures to the Blue Corner just appeared undemocratic and cynical – reinforced by the next few weeks’ stealing Conservative policies that he feared rather than admired.
But more than just policies, it was the atmosphere of tribalism that first made me question my vote. The launch of their manifesto reinforces this sense of an unquestioning, angry tribe (one that pervades the entire Tory blogosphere, except when they are debating whether they should be moving a little further right or a long way further right).
I can tell him. No it isn’t. Jeering rallies smack of reality-denial and tribalism to the floating voter. I know: I’ve actually been one.
UPDATE: Michael White has a different spin on the support from cabinet members:
Taking questions, Brown sounded more at ease than usual. The press pack help him here. Even canny Nick Robinson, who opened the batting for the BBC, erred in asking too long a series of questions in which the words “MPs’ expenses” triggered boos in the audience. “What about yours?” shouted someone. The Sun’s question was hissed. They have waited years for the freedom to do that.
*is Labour in its current form a long term project?