Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Melanie Phillips and why the Tories don't cut the mustard

While I have been away Melanie Phillips, a woman more likely to make me grimace than sit up and listen, has metaphorically thrown down a gauntlet for the Tories - "We want a new start, proper leadership, a fresh vision. We are unlikely to get these from yet another Labour leader. The big question, however, is: who will deliver them? " - but a gauntlet that could just as well have been thrown our way.

Now, the problem she has identified is that the Tories are not picking up what she sees as the key issues -

"What are the Tories saying, for example, about the fundamental onslaught upon the integrity and identity of the United Kingdom posed by both devolution and our membership of the EU, which aims to reduce nations to regions controlled from the centre by the super-state of Euroland? They are silent.

What are they saying about Labour's ruinous levels of public spending? Pledging to match them.

What are they saying about the obsession with global warming which has produced ruinous policies on land use which have pushed up the cost of food? They share it.

Far from providing a clear and principled alternative, the new model Tories still defer too much to fashionable opinion; are still terrified of offending that opinion - particularly in the BBC; and are still following rather than leading.

The problem is that, while people know what has fallen, they are not sure what if anything has risen in its place. It is a vacuum which spells danger, not just for the beleaguered Mr Brown but for us all."

Of course, I agree about the vacuum, I agree that the Tories are far from well placed to fill it, but for quite different reasons.

For an intelligent woman her tabloid shallow analysis of our role in Europe is not only pitiful it is wrong. Her concerns about public spending are not accompanied by any intelligent arguments about what she would cut and why. Her view on global warming is plain ostrich like and her ridiculous over inflation of the power of the BBC, a shrinking fish in the global media pool, is laughable.

But the valid point she makes is about the vacuum and the fact that the Tories are ill placed to fill it. That If the SNP can do it, so can we.

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