This week I’ve been to see the surrealists at the Tate Modern in London, and read about the surrealists at the Conservative party conference in Birmingham. God knows what Cameron was talking about, with his line about spreading privilege – Knighthoods for all? Everybody off to Eton and Oxbridge?
The Tories are in trouble. They’re behind in the polls, their plan to rejig electorate boundaries has come unstuck, and their own supporters don’t think they can win next election, due in two years. Cameron is desperate to get rid of the image of the “nasty party”, who only govern in the interests of the rich. “Spreading privilege” is not a line that’s likely to work; it is more a tribute to how much he has been thrown off balance by Ed Miliband’s speech at the Labour party conference.
But they are still the same old Tory Party. When in trouble, embrace Laura Naude. Earlier in the week the new Justice Secretary Grayling’s line was to promise that homeowners defending their property against burglars would not be prosecuted if they used unreasonable force. Prosecution would only happen if the force was egregiously unreasonable. Stabbing would be ok if they were conscious; stabbing while unconscious would not.
We should remember that the Tories around the world talk to each other and share ideas for campaigning and communications. So as National gets more desperate in New Zealand we might perhaps look to see “Stabber Collins” replace “Crusher Collins”. After all, Cameron borrowed his lines from Key; Tories are different because they are “aspirational”. Yeah right – for themselves.
More importantly, Tories on both sides of the world are wedded to austerity politics. Not for the top end though; Osborne and English have both cut the top rate of tax, and refused any kind of wealth tax. Spreading privilege doesn’t go that far.