Sunday, April 09, 2006

A Cliche in the Hand

Watching David Cameron rallying the twinsets in Manchester was an unexpectedly amusing use of weekend time. "We must not put our foot on the brake", he said, "but the accelerator". A bit ho-hum as a line, but not as vacuous as "we must become the party of aspiration once again". "We must lead the debate on pensions". Well, looking round the conference hall, one could certainly see why the Tories would want to lead that debate. Exactly how, ah well, that was not on offer- this was a policy free zone. "Forward, not back". Oh wait a minute, that was a Labour cliche.

In fact, although it seemed that most of the conference was a rehash of CJ's lines from the Reggie Perrin scripts of the Seventies, it was hard not to feel a sense of amusement at the cascade of empty cliches: "a cliche to me is like a red rag to a bull, I avoid them like the plague...". Someone once said that over use of cliche was a sign of a befuddled mind, and to be honest it did look as though the Tory party had come out in their dressing gown and were urgently missing their appliance.

Ming Campbell's comment: "The Lib Dems campaign on principles, not on focus groups"- yeah, OK a cliche, but also true. The fact is that the Tories don't have two policies to rub together. They don't have too much time to fix this problem. Perhaps the new, shiny Tory Emperor...

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