It was one of the lowest points of Theresa May’s ill-fated general election campaign – and there were plenty to choose from. The day she tried to argue black was white and white was black. The day she claimed that the new social care policy – a.k.a the dementia tax – was not a change in policy from the manifesto, released the day before.
Today, I had an overwhelming sense of de ja vu as the Tory high command’s strategy and approach to the next election became clear. Let’s call it the nothing has changed strategy – or the “let’s try the same misguided, failed approach that let us down so badly in June and hope for a different result’ strategy. Sigh.
It first appeared that Philip Hammond had printed the wrong speech by mistake – he had collected the 2016 vintage not 2017’s from the printer. Surely, that must be it. I couldn’t believe that Mr Hammond and others – they have all been at it – can really think that the right response to the election result and the current confidence amongst Labour activists was to to double down on the same old attacks on Mr Corbyn as a marxist, a threat to the economy, national security and the like. Unfunded ideas. Magic money tree and all that. We even had a few renditions of “we’re not harking back to he 1970’s but do you rendered the ‘winter of discontent’. Good grief. But yet, there it all was again today. The same old attacks. The same old negativity. The same old dull, boring rhetoric. The same old dull, boring jokes. The same old dull, boring performances. If I ha a pound for every time someone opened their speech saying how great it is to be back in Manchester………yawn. Incidentally, someone needs to tell Mr Hammond that Manchester is in the north west not the north east as he contended today at the start of his speech!
It is clear that those who currently lead the party just do not get it. They are not listening. They are sleepwalking – I know that feeling, I nearly feel asleep listening to the Chancellor’s sophorific speech today – into a Labour government. The combination of yesterday’s bulged and confused big announcements on student fees – I am still not sure what was announced – and the speeches today and attack lines being used on the media – suggests we are back in June; back in the chaos of the election campaign that broke all records for its hopelessness. Nothing has changed with messaging; nothing has changed with tone; nothing has changed with the arguments being made. The result: nothing will change at the next election. Another failure looms. The only thing that has the remotest chance of changing that result is to have a change at the top of the party – and quickly.
Photo taken from BBC news website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-41462577