April 10, 2008

AS BLAIR HAD TO BECOME THATCHER, SO CAMERON BECOMES BLAIR:

The impressionists: Why strife in the Labour Party may be disastrous for Gordon Brown (Bagehot, 4/10/08, The Economist)

Mr Cameron's predicament, when he became Tory leader in 2005, was eerily similar to Mr Blair's when he took control of Labour in 1994. Both had to revive parties demoralised by successive election defeats and recently threatened with oblivion. In both instances the parties were divided and introspective, determined not to compromise with the voters and cripplingly distrusted on their economic and fiscal policies.

Studiously emulating his mentor, Mr Cameron has reiterated and reiterated a message of reform and reassurance, long after the political class has tired of hearing it. He, too, has tried to build a winning coalition by running against his base: just as Mr Blair accepted the Thatcherite economic settlement, so Mr Cameron has swallowed the Blairite social one, despite the reactionary instincts of many in his party. Mr Blair's own departure from office has helped: whereas lots of top Tories only pretended to hate him, they are genuinely allergic to his successor, Gordon Brown. That has given them some of the steely discipline of the original New Labour cabal.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 10, 2008 7:58 PM
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