Tuesday, January 04, 2005

The Conservative strategy for the next election

Michael Howard seems to have outlined the Tory strategy:

From the Telegraph:
Michael Howard, the Conservative leader, has promised to govern Britain for the "forgotten majority" which he claimed had been let down by Tony Blair's Government...
And he said voters faced "a clear choice" at the next election:
"A Conservative Government that gives power to people - or ever greater centralisation under Mr Blair.
"A Conservative Government that will get a grip on crime, immigration and disorder - or an ever-growing rights culture under Mr Blair.
"A Conservative Government that offers value for money and lower taxes - or more waste and higher taxes under Mr Blair.
"A Conservative Government that will reduce the number of politicians and bring powers back from the European Union - or more regionalisation, more politicians and more powers to Brussels under Mr Blair."

The soundbite that particularly struck me was:
The decline of responsibility and the proliferation of so-called 'human rights' have left us in a moral quagmire, unable to get a grip on rising crime and disorder.
This is a good starting idea for a book or essay, but I am not sure it is simple enough to win votes.
Firstly, the proliferation of human rights has increased the resources of some groups at the expense of society as a whole, so Howard's argument is not going to be popular with these groups.
Secondly, he will also find it hard to link abstract jurisprudence to the ordinary voter's concerns, and if he manages to do so, it might be in such a way that it engenders inter-cultural / racial tension.
Finally, modern human rights of the UN variety are very much in fashion in the media. Most superficial political discussion operates from the assumption that these "rights" are untouchable - that everyone has a "right" to a job, decent living, happiness....etc - without any mention of the responsibilities necessitated by such "rights", if there is any link to responsibility at all. Howard will need a massive effort to change this trend, and as it seems to operate on a timescale longer than 4/5 year electoral cycles, I think he would be better off focusing on Europe, tax, law and order, and schools.


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