Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A bit strong, or striking the right chord?

Politicians are often quite measured in their language, particularly criticisms of opponents. However, the battle between Cameron and Brown is one that seems to be not simply political but also personal; or at least that seems to be the perception both leaders (Cameron in particular) want to offer. While it would appear that getting everyone, including single parents, back to work would work well with Conservative voters, it is Cameron that has emerged as the chief opponent to the plan. And interestingly he is defending the family in his attack on the 'macho... sick' Brown. Well that is the way much of the media report his quote, but in saying that "I think this is all some kind of macho positioning exercise, in which case I think it is pretty sick", in further questioning the thinking by saying "``I don't know whether James Purnell is just trying to be tough or if he genuinely thinks it is OK to force mothers of young children to go to work. Either way, I think this is a shameful proposal." and concluding his comments on the subject with a overall criticism that "These, I believe, are all signs of a Government that has been in power for too long", he is setting out his stall as against anything the government has to offer. This could be dangerous if they have to adopt government policy if they do win the next election, equally it could strike the wrong note among party loyalists; however the strategy is to be anything but Labour and make criticisms link with observations about being out of touch and 'in government for too long'. The time for a change (for the better) may well be the key message for the next election campaign, and Cameron is positioning himself as diametrically opposed to anything Brown's team can offer.

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