Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Colour by Numbers

So David Cameron suggests that we could "Vote Blue and get Green". I am not really sure how this squares with any actual policies that the Conservatives have put forward. Indeed the only policy in the environmental field I have heard them offer at all is a proposal to release some green belt land for development. Even if it may be a sensible policy- a dubious prospect- it is not what is conventionally thought of as a green policy. The mention of colours does rather open the Conservatives to the accusation that they are just a bunch of political chameleons.

In the blogosphere, there has been much consideration of the prospects for the Conservatives. Many of the more partisan Tories put forward the view that they can sweep aside the Liberal Democrats and position themselves to seize power once more. Of course, we are still not very clear what the Conservatives would actually do in office- whether they intend to cut taxes or hold them, and exactly what their spending priorities would actually be.

As for the real prospects of the Conservatives on the ground- these too are rather vague. However the chances for the Conservatives in the Moray by-election look pretty awful. An inept campaign has dropped repeated clangers, despite the fact that the Scottish National organizer has been the agent. Indeed the Scottish Tories may well face a police investigation, so casual has been their approach to electoral law. Meanwhile it seems likely that, far from advancing, Conservative support may even fall, with the Liberal Democrats making enough running to knock the Conservatives into third place. Moray was once a reliably Conservative seat- not any more, it seems. If there is no come back for the Tories in Scotland, then they can only rely on certain areas of the country- and become, in effect, a regional party of the south east.

Even if the Conservatives make progress in London at the local elections next month, the fact is that this not enough. Unless the Conservatives can make large gains across the country, they can not claim any credibility in their aspirations to government. Perhaps instead of trying to close the credibility gap by saying that they are "green", they might best try telling us what "blue" actually means- when they know themselves, of course...

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