Saturday, 10 April 2010

Conservative campaign drivel

George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, has sent me an email (contents displayed below this rant). "Dear Valda" is the only phrase in it that doesn't offend me. Let me enumerate the main idiocies:

1) Conservatives think that government can make 'efficiency' savings - no it can't, no matter who runs it, if it is trying to do things that government has no business doing. The only way the Conservatives can cut Labour's waste is by cutting Labour's programmes and not starting any new ones of their own. Which brings me to...

2) David Cameron's idea of a big idea is 'The Big Society' - starting with a voluntary national citizen service for bored 16-year olds. Forget society: abolish the minimum wage, compulsory schooling and child labour laws; and let those listless boys aspire to real jobs, funded by the people who want the work done.

3) Conservatives think that a levy on banks to support marriage is another spiffing way to promote their Big Society. My family, or lack of it, is none of the government's damn business, and the nastily populist twist of making the banks pay for Moral Majority-style social engineering disgusts me.

4) Conservatives think that David Cameron is better than Gordon Brown because Mr Cameron has spent more time campaigning. However, Mr Brown does happen to have a country to run, even if he is determined to run it into the ground.

5) Conservatives think that I might want to fund a campaign of this calibre. If I were dumb enough to donate, I'd feel almost as embarrassed as the aged Michael Caine looks ("I'm here to represent young people") in the ghastly video.

6) Oh, and that logo - green may be the new blue, but if the Conservatives had any sense they'd sidle away from climate change alarmism and its discredited proponents.

Dear Valda,

The first few days of the campaign have been as fast-paced as I expect the next few weeks to be, so I thought I'd send you a quick update on how I think it's going.

We've had a strong start. We've been the ones showing energy and ideas, while Labour have spent the whole week on the back foot. I can't think of a single positive argument or new idea that Gordon Brown has come up with.

It's clear that the big story so far has been Labour's jobs tax that will kill the recovery. Go to our website to find out why more and more business leaders and small businesses are backing our plans to cut Labour's waste so that we can save more than 50,000 jobs.

It's been striking that Labour and the Lib Dems have nothing positive to say on the economy. They have shown that they're more interested in personal attacks on the people who create hundreds of thousands of jobs than engaging with the arguments. Alistair Darling has been forced to admit that his plans will lead to what he calls "manageable" job losses, but he refuses to publish the Treasury's analysis of how many people would lose their jobs.

As well as having the right argument on the economy, we've also got the big idea for the future of our country. We believe that Labour's big government has failed, and that it's time to build the Big Society.

A key part of that is going to be our plans for a National Citizen Service that we launched on Tuesday. Watch this video to see Michael Caine talking about the scheme.

And this weekend we have launched our plans to recognise marriage in the tax system, funded by a levy on banks. Making Britain the most family friendly country in Europe is an important part of our plans to build the Big Society. Yet again, the predictable response from our opponents has revealed they have nothing positive to offer and no new ideas.

It's increasingly clear that there's only one party offering real change in this election and that's the Conservatives. On issue after issue Labour and the Lib Dems are making the same old arguments that got Britain into this mess. Whether it's resisting action to cut waste and stop the jobs tax, or arguing against recognising marriage in the tax system to strengthen our society, Labour and the Lib Dems are the roadblock to change. They are relying on the fear of change and only the Conservatives are offering the hope of a better future. I know which side I'd rather be on.

So there's a lot to fight for in this election - and it's great to see people up and down the country getting the campaign off to a flying start. In the first few days alone volunteers in our target seats put up 25,000 campaign posters, rang 100,000 voters, and delivered an astonishing 5,000,000 leaflets.

This enthusiasm has been reflected right at the top of the party too. The Shadow Cabinet have been campaigning all around the country, and David Cameron has rolled up his sleeves and shown tremendous energy in travelling over 3000 miles in the first few days, visiting eight regions of the country in five days. What a contrast to Gordon Brown.

Not only that, but Samantha Cameron has been out and about with her visits to social action projects. Her blogs and videos are already proving to be a hit.

And let's not forget that there will also be local elections on the 6th of May. Our local government team have been working flat out. We have nominated candidates in 98% of contests - a record - and we are contesting more local government seats than any other Party.

I'm delighted that we've had such a great start. But there's still a long way to go - and it's absolutely vital that we keep this momentum going.

That's why we're asking today if you can give just one pound a day to our campaign until we get to polling day.

If you give now, you'll be giving just £25. Please click here to make your contribution.

That's it from me for now - we've got another big week ahead with the launch of our manifesto on Tuesday, and Britain's first ever party leaders' TV debate on Thursday.

Thank you for all you are doing. If we all keep up the hard work we really can bring the change Britain needs.

George Osborne
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer

If "Big Society" sounds familiar (as well as risible), it might be because it's an echo of the Great Society. From Wikipedia:
The Great Society was a set of domestic programs proposed or enacted in the United States on the initiative of President Lyndon B. Johnson. Two main goals of the Great Society social reforms were the elimination of poverty and racial injustice. New major spending programs that addressed education, medical care, urban problems, and transportation were launched during this period. The Great Society in scope and sweep resembled the New Deal domestic agenda of Franklin D. Roosevelt, but differed sharply in types of programs enacted.
Some Great Society proposals were stalled initiatives from John F. Kennedy's New Frontier. Johnson's success depended on his skills of persuasion, coupled with the Democratic landslide in the 1964 election that brought in many new liberals to Congress. Anti-war Democrats complained that spending on the Vietnam War choked off the Great Society. While some of the programs have been eliminated or had their funding reduced, many of them, including Medicare, Medicaid, and federal education funding, continue to the present. The Great Society's programs expanded under the administrations of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.[1]

No idea is so low that the Conservatives won't steal it. I Hope that will Change...

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