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CCHQ needs a plan to destroy Labour's brand

Tim Montgomerie

Less than twelve months ago Labour suffered one of its worst ever defeats and it was no more than it deserved. Gordon Brown proved again that every Labour government eventually runs out of our money. They spend too much, tax too much, waste too much and borrow too much. Every Labour government raises taxes, debt and unemployment.

WarningSince Labour's defeat we have had no apology for the reckless spending. No apology for the longest recession amongst the world’s biggest economies. No apology for the deepest economic contraction in Britain’s history. No apology for the biggest deficit in the developed world. No apology for the fact that it's the old, young and poor who suffer most from such failures.

Even now Labour won't play any constructive part in fixing the deficit. They offer no plan to cut spending but opportunistically attack every cut that the Coalition has been forced to make.

Ed Miliband's no-apologies-strategy might already be working. Some opinion polls have Labour 10% ahead and scoring more than 43% of the national vote. They won an easy victory in yesterday's Barnsley by-election. They expect big gains in May's local, Scottish and Welsh elections. It's as if the £175 billion deficit, one hundred extra stealth taxes, massive youth unemployment, uncontrolled immigration and defeat in Iraq had never happened.

How can the British people have forgiven Labour so quickly?

It is possible that they haven't, of course. Voters may be supporting Labour as a way of kicking the Coalition, rather than out of renewed conviction. The Tory leadership believes that when the British people face a choice between Ed Miliband and David Cameron and between a party that took tough choices and one that ducked them, that they will re-elect the Conservatives.

This is all possible but I can't help thinking that we haven't done enough to 'contaminate' Labour's brand. It should be toxic. The idea of another Labour government should frighten voters. People should think of Labour as poisonous to their tax bill and to their pension.
  • I regret we did not produce an authoritative Domesday Book, analysing Labour's record on the economy, education and national infrastructure. I wonder if there's still time? One year ofter becoming PM, Cameron could give a British equivalent of the State of the Union presentation - examining where we are in terms of national competitiveness and in social provision and where we need to be. Implicitly - perhaps explicitly - it will spell out the Labour legacy.
  • Every Tory leaflet should carry an attack on Labour as the party of debt, taxes and job destruction.
  • We need a Party Chairman who gets up every morning with the task of finding new ways of indicting Labour.
  • We need to press the BBC and every media organisation to demand that Labour spells out what it would cut.
  • And so on...

Ultimately we need a political strategy that turns British politics from a referendum on the Coalition into a choice between us and the party of debt, taxes and unemployment.



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