Sunday, 26 September 2010
Cameron. In the Shit. Already.
The sight of the Daily Mail already having a go at Ed Miliband's family (less that 12 hours after he was elected leader of the Labour party) suggests that the apparently serene blank windows of the right-wing establishment hide a greater insecurity than at any time since it became clear that Cameron was not going to win the general election. Yes, if you listen carefully outside Conservative Central Office and the citadels of the gutter press, you can hear the sound of soft furnishings being munched already. Apart from the boost this is going to give to Allied Carpets and other such retailers the reaction of this hard rightwing government to Miliband's election is already to be the passing of enough substantial turds to be used to fix the housing crisis.
Miliband's initial task will be to dispel the expected wave of crap from the Tory establishment that he is (yawn) "in the pocket of the unions", "Red Ed" and all those things. I suspect however that he also needs to come up with a decent left-of-centre narrative which is not just like what Laurie Penny described in her excellent article about the anti-Pope demo, an anti-everything movement which is also being drawn into the Tory discourse about cuts. Whilst he clearly realises that he cannot credibly position himself as being in opposition to all cuts, he needs to move more solidly towards a position in which investment and growth take the place of cuts.
This should not be difficult. The contrast between Ireland, which has already disastrously put in place the sort of cuts that Cameron is intending, and Spain, where public investment has already halved their deficit without creating large-scale unemployment, could not be more marked. Of course the Tory-controlled media and the sycophantic BBC have conveniently ignored these examples of the two divergent policies offered by the Tories and Labour. If anyone ever needed any more evidence that the Tory establishment's cuts were ideological rather than necessary this is it. One economist even stated yesterday that these represent almost laboratory-condition examples of how to get out of a recession and how not to get out of a recession.
In truth the Tories' lies and duplicity are already being exposed and when their cuts start to bite, throwing millions out of work or unnecessarily into poverty, they now know that there is an effective opposition ready to point the finger of blame and make them suffer electorally. Up to now Cameron has had it easy. Gordon Brown's inability to communicate was all his Christmasses come at once, and the opportunity to hide behind a man with a yellow tie (what was his name again?) as he makes the cuts enabled him to turn electoral defeat into a victory of sorts for his loony rightwing economic agenda. Since the election, the only hits Labour has landed on the Tories have been Ed Ball's attacks on Michael Gove's insane education policies which, of course represent a sitting duck for any politician worth their salary. Now the game has changed; Ed Miliband is the sort of politician with the media communicative ability to make Cameron's stage-managed informality look like the fake, insincere PR veneer that it is. The Labour leadership has also realised that there is no point in going for the LibDems, they are already a spent force that is likely to descend into infighting and disarray as their support collapses. No. Just as the solids of Tory economic incompetence hit the airconditioning, just as everyone (except the very rich) becomes less secure, less prosperous and less likely to continue to support Cameron's Cuts, Labour finds its voice again. Building a coherent alternative to the government's economic madness shouldn't be too difficult, and attacking their "achievements" will get easier by the day.
Time to look forward with some optimism. We just have to hope that we are not all too far up shit creek without a paddle by the time a sensible government can be elected.