Sunday, January 16, 2005

Labour's lost trust

A very good article by Tory MP and former minister Michael Portillo in today's Sunday Times highlights much of what is wrong with the current government, from the Blair/Brown feud to the war, plus highlights the major issue which needs to be raised in the run up to any General Election. It is well worth a look for those of us who would like to see Labour get a nasty shock:

"When Michael Howard replaced Iain Duncan Smith as leader, the Tories gave up saying “You can’t believe a word he (Blair) says”. It had been a good catchphrase that had pinpointed people’s growing disquiet. It reminded them of Blair’s shenanigans before the war in Iraq. Sadly, the Conservatives have still not mastered the art of catchphrase repetition. On Monday the party will announce its tax policy. But Blair has more votes to lose on trust than the Tories have to gain on tax.

"The Conservatives are frustrated that recent opinion polls show Labour’s lead firming up and Blair’s ratings on the rise. The main reason is that the trust issue is no longer prominent. In the past weeks Iraq has ceased to dominate British politics as it had continuously for the previous two years. Iraq is going badly. We are within days of the election there and important Iraqis are being murdered. The Americans have given up any pretence of winning hearts and minds...

"Critics of the Tories complain that they have not exploited the Blair-Brown schism. But that would be to bark up the wrong tree. There is no strong evidence that the row damages Labour’s popularity. The best hope for the Conservatives would be some new scandal about how Blair presented the case for war. Failing that they must find other ways to resurrect the issue of trust."

Let's see now... University tuition and top-up fees, hospital waiting lists, stealth taxes, failing schools, public transport, Private Finance Initiatives, "preferred bid" government contracts going to Labour donors, the raiding of pensions funds, the "45 minute" claim and "sexed up" reports, not to mention all those other broken promises - what's not to trust?

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