Thursday, October 19, 2006

Just what Cameron wanted

I saw the Telegraph headline yesterday about the Conservatives proposing the scrapping of stamp duty on share purchases. Today I have had the chance to read a bit more about what the Tory Tax Commission has come up with - 21 billion pounds of tax cuts but from what I gather no explanation as to how to pay for them. So the expectation is that public spending will have to be cut. A defeat for Cameron? Nothing of the sort. Indeed quite the reverse.

I over heard a conversation whilst at the Conservative conference in which a well know journalist was telling others that in the conversations he had had with people in Cameron's office they were positively gagging for a showdown with "Norman" (Tebbitt?) and the right. Being able to score a victory over them by forcing them to accept public spending over tax cuts is what they are after. And this tax report is therefore likely to be a battle that Cameron knows he will win anyway. Afterall, in the Conservative Party, there is no mechanism for forcing the leadership to accept policy. In effect the Leader decides. The vaccuousness of their recent conference is an indication of that.

So my belief is that Cameron will be seeking battles of precisely this nature in which he takes on the old right (the people who gave the Tories the nasty image) in an attempt to change public perceptions. That's what this is all about - realigning public perceptions. Just as Kinnock attempted in the late 80s and Blair did more successfully in the 90s.

In a sense our own tax debate was tackling for us a perception issue: high tax party.

So I can see the angle Cameron is coming from and I can see the neanderthals of the old right playing straight into his hands.

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