Saturday, May 08, 2010

Why British Tories can't be more "conservative"

In their situation, being more like American Conservatives is not an option:

Britain's Conservatives claim victory
[...] Winning power now in Britain could actually prove a double-edged sword. Scrubbing the red ink out of the country's finances will require potentially deep cuts in social services that could rouse public anger. The governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, was widely quoted recently as saying that whichever party came into power now risked being voted out for a generation at the next election because of the unpopular decisions it would have to take.

But Tony Travers, a political scientist at the London School of Economics, said a bitter pill for the public did not automatically have to be a suicide one for the government.

"The public in Britain knows rather more than the politicians have been willing to tell it, that the deficit has to be reduced," he said. "The question is … how they manage it, how they explain what they're doing, how they protect the vulnerable, how they spread the burden. If they can make it appear relatively fair, then they'll be credited for it. No one's going to blame them for the initial crisis."

Cameron tried to emphasize the same point, blaming 13 years of Labor rule for "the worst inheritance of any incoming government for at least 60 years." [...]

If you can't appeal to the electorate, then you can't make much of a difference. Just as a tree has to bend in the wind to keep from breaking, so do politicians. Sometimes they need to do more than bend; they need to be contortionists!

I feel sorry for the Tories, they have a real tough job ahead of them, trying to clean up Labor's mess. I hope Mr. Traver's is right about the public's understanding. I wouldn't count on it though; the unscrupulous Left is always relentlessly trying to tear down any opposition to their own power, and manipulating public opinion is usually their favorite weapon.

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