Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Wrong Game

I'm posting this about ten minutes before the government vote on the Education and Inspections Bill, but actually I think the big issue about the bill is not the bill itself, but the party political circus surrounding it.

This is, of course, the bill that old Labour should hate, and the fact that it will likely only be passed because of Tory support hasn't escaped anyone. Especially not DC, who has obviously been playing this situation for all that it's worth. It is an intelligent game to play, and I'll admit to having a bit of a chuckle at the idea of a Labour bill being passed thanks to the opposition. I still don't think it's actually a good idea though.

Basically, I think Cameron is playing the wrong game. By supporting the bill, the Tories are doing a wonderful job of riling up the Labour backbenches, further strengthening the resolve against Blair within his own party. Fair enough. However what DC isn't doing is actually engaging in anything like the political issue that is the Education Bill. What I'm trying to say is in order to actually do anything productive as Tory leader, like win an election, Cameron is going to have to come up with some policies and put it to the electorate - for it is they who will eventually decide his fate. Arguing that Labour are just like the Tories is a pretty poor argument with which to win voters over; they all know that already, and the fact that the bill may only go through with Tory support will probably pass them by unnoticed. I mean, the important thing is that it's another victory for Blair - the finer issue of backbench rivalry and cross-party support probably don't mean a lot to J Random Voter.

What Cameron is doing by supporting Labour on the bill is keeping Blair in power. What we really need now is continued defeats in the commons for Blair in order to capitalise on the failures that Blair has already had and keep the pressure for him to go piled up as high as possible. Labour defeats are far more powerful than half-victories in the greater political picture; they carry more political weight and discredit Blair where it counts rather than just in his backbenches, many of who hate him anyway.

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