Saturday 30th November
The Tories have a master election strategist in Lynton Crosby, he is reckoned to be one of the best. So exactly how do you get the ‘nasty’ party re-elected. Well, by chucking out all your former policies, by bringing forward new policies that are actually what the opposition has been calling for for ages. We are truly in the silly season. It seems to me a sign of absolute panic to first of all ridicule Ed Milliband and then to try to copy him.
Ed had been criticized by the press for being ‘policy-lite’, so he unveils a couple of new policy ideas at his party’s conference. And especially his pledge to freeze electricity prices for twenty months if elected in 2015. Attacked from all sides, ridiculed by Cameron, pilloried in the press; and yet the idea struck a chord with the public. Suddenly the cost of living crisis, and especially huge energy price rises were making all the running. And nearly two months later it is still news.
Earlier in the year the Tories had backed away from the idea of plain packaging for cigarettes, saying it wouldn’t work, it was a step too far etc. etc. Then a couple of days ago they resurrected the idea. And this morning the BBC had the news that the Government was asking energy companies not to increase their prices at all until mid 2015, just after the election by the way. There have been denials and confusion and we still do not know if this might be actual policy. We still have the Chancellors Autumn Statement to come next week, with a heavily trailed leak that they will do something about the Green elements of power bills, where a small charge is added to bills to help the development of renewable and alternative electricity. There are now rumours that this will be paid not by electricity consumers but from general taxation. As if consumers are not tax payers anyway.
But I think that all of these ‘electioneering’ policy u-turns, and stealing the popular opposition’s policies will backfire on them. The public is often stupid. But not quite so stupid as to see why – all of a sudden they are doing something about the cost of living crisis that they have presided over for so long.