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A couple of thoughts:

Firstly, I agree that it’s good that we are seeing our ideas implemented, who could object to that. It’s interesting that Brown plays two different games here, to the traditional working class support he is the egalitarian fighting for ‘fairness’, but to the middle-class, predominantly English votes, he is the acceptable right, giving them just the right concessions in just the right places to keep them on-side. It’s admittedly a very effective strategy, and one we can do little about except build on the arguments here that (i) they are our ideas (ii) Labour rubbished them (iii) Labour used them, but not in a competent fashion.

My second thought is this, during the period 1995-97, New Labour struck on a very effective mode of opposition, and it was to behave as if they were in power even though they weren’t. I believe we should do the same, using these policy steals and arguing from a position of strength and defending our position as if we were in power. This, I think, is a far more effective way to counter the Brown strategy of split policy positioning.

Is that it? That's not much influence in practice. These "successes" are a mere fraction of the damaging measures brought in by this government in the last ten years. The Tory Commons ovation for Bliar, lead by his "Heir" Dave, turned my stomach.

What has happened to ConservativeHome? Where has all this positivity come from?

Umbrella Man: It's disconcering isn't it! But while the sun shines I'll make hay!

Having Labour knick our ideas is scarcely an achievement, and its nothing new.

Remember Liam Fox at Heath banging on about bringing back matron? So what did Alan Milburn do - he created 'modern matrons'.

But what have singularly failed to do is to tackle Labour on its constitutional cock-ups. Where are we are Lords reform and the West Lothian question to name but two?

we need to take early positions where Labour cannot be seen to u-turn. We need to put out good ideas slightly later in the day, when its too late for Labour to implement them.

Finally, for many people the tax burden is simply too high.

It's time we smelled the coffee. If people don't have a good reason to vote Conservative why should they?

One is reminded of the boast of a Communist Party stalwart (one of CH's more learned readers may be able in a trice to remind us which one) who once boasted, indiscreetly, that such was their influence and grip over the Labour Party of the 1960s -1970s that they could float a policy idea this week and by next week it would be Labour Party policy.

Now, such is the influence of the Conservative party over Labour that the same thing might be said of us! It tells you something of the capacity of Labour for original thought.

We must be doing something right....

A good reason why it wouldn't be wise for David Cameron to announce key Conservative policy prior to an election is that Labour has shown it is has no scruples about stealing an idea and then claiming the idea to be its own. Labour have clearly run out of fresh ideas as Gordon Browns revamped housing policy shows. When actually was Labour's last 'Big idea'? They are a stale burnt-out government who have become so sated by power they have lost the initiative to create policy.

Labour eventually created The Department for Constitutional Affairs - years after the 2001 General Election, William Hague had originally come up with the idea.

It wasn't all one way though - Labour originally brought in the Employment Schemes that became a fairly central piece of Conservative Employment policy in the 1980's - things such as the Yettie scheme.

Council House sales were originally the idea of Frank Field, PFI as I understand it was originally a Labour idea in the late 1980's - although I'm not saying all these idea's are good, but there has certainly been a 2 way exchange of ideas over many decades, in fact the 1929 Labour government implemented some policies that had originally been formulated during the previous Conservative administration.

I agree with Hmmmm.

When can we expect ConservativeHome to change name to "David Cameron's Home"?

Tony Makara | August 09, 10:38
"..A good reason why it wouldn't be wise for David Cameron to announce key Conservative policy prior to an election is that Labour has shown it is has no scruples about stealing an idea.."

A tactically sound idea but in the meantime a strategic brand image has to gel in voters' minds, into which the subsequent detailed policies will neatly fit.

A few memorable soundbite concepts are urgently needed for dimwits such as me.

Starter for 10: Reappraisal of EU (not solely the impending treatystution) and Home Rule for England!

"Another welcome policy steal was the decision to reverse the disastrous downgrading of cannabis."

This was a double! David Cameron first urged the Government to downgrade it then to upgrade it again.

This proves one thing at least that puts into question the Cameroon electoral calculus; Brown, contrary to what the Cameroons claimed in advance, has not lurched to the left (unlike Cameron who has) but instead has chosen to park his tanks on our lawn again. Quite how that is an achievement for Cameron is utterly beyond me. Clutching at straws again here Tim I'm afraid.

Ken, you make interesting points. It just goes to show what a tricky job David Cameron has. I suppose a side effect of centre ground politics, which I support, is that the Labour magpies feel quite comfortable about stealing Conservative ideas. I liked your point about soundbites. Some people might see that as patronizing voters but no one can deny the power of good slogans and catchphrases that stick in the mind. "New Labour-Stale Labour" and "Broken Promises-Broken Britain" are a couple I'd like to see.

Tony Makara | August 09, 11:25

Nowt patronising about soundbites. They're just aides memoire or, to keep with the branding theme, advertising jingles that inject the product into people's consciousness.

Ken, you're quite right. The parties have to sell themselves to the public, and slogans are a big part of that, both positive and negative campaigning. I read a book on advertising years ago and the head of an American bleach company wrote that as well as trying to emphasize the positive nature of his product he spend half his advertizing revenue in trying to scare young mothers into thinking their children could pick up stomach bugs through unclean kitchen surfaces. He said some people respond better if they are scared of the consequences of not buying into the product. Do you remember that American political ad from the 1960s showing a little girl picking the petals of a flower and an atomic bomb suddely goes off? Advertising to sell certainly works in politics.

Tony,
Absolutely.

I was about to suggest that all the clever minds on CH put up some ideas, before realising that if brilliant ones were flourished on a public forum, they'd be stolen or pre-empted!

Wonder what I'll have to eat today. All postings will be gratefully thought through.

Miss Tooty | August 09,12:17

Something distasteful and debilitating, perhaps? See menu on LabourHome.

It just goes to show what a tricky job David Cameron has.

It certainly does.

Ken, Visual impact is very important. Everyone still remembers the 'Labour isn't working' poster nearly thirty years later. I think the Conservative party should really work on the stale-Labour theme, portaying them as the out-of-date party, still locked into ideas for the 20th century. Something like "Conservatives...21st-century politics for 21st-century Britain" and posters showing colour pictures of Conservative leaders set against black and white or even sepia pictures of Labours tired burnt-out ministers. I'd push the youth theme too.

Tony,
"..Everyone still remembers the 'Labour isn't working' poster nearly thirty years later..."

Ye gods, was it 30 years ago? Wondered why policemen are looking positively new-born these days!

That was a good slogan, as it attacked the foe whilst implying a better alternative, i.e. a constructive balance of positive & negative.

I was less keen on the 'demon eyes' one on a later occasion, as it demonized without a positive element.

Tony @ 12.04: "...as well as trying to emphasize the positive nature of his product he spend half his advertizing revenue in trying to scare young mothers into thinking their children could pick up stomach bugs through unclean kitchen surfaces. He said some people respond better if they are scared of the consequences of not buying into the product."

No doubt with the unspoken postscript "even if they'd kick themselves later when they realised they'd wasted their money on something they didn't really need or was nowhere near what it was cracked up to be." Millennium Bug, anyone? Or (here we go) man made global warming?

Serious point in context: yes, there may be a useful role for soundbites, slogans and scares, but not to the detriment of plain truth and fair comment.

Ken, when I was a teenager and I saw that poster it certainly clicked with me because although I was lucky enough to have a job at the time a lot of my friends couldn't find work and the moment I saw that poster I thought of them, broke, fed up, and on the dole. A great poster, direct and thought provoking!

David, yes I agree that the balance has to be right, its just as important not to turn people off by going too far, each message has to appeal to different sections of our society and for different reasons.

I'm not sure how useful this is in practice. The border police proposed by Brown is not the same and likely if it is implemented to be much less effective than our own proposals.
Equally the reviews on cannabis and casinos are just that, reviews, nothing may change at all.In 1995-97 Nulabour promised teviews or Royal Commissions on all and sundry giving people the impresssion that their would be dramatic change.In fact very few of the proposals were ever acted upon.
Not wishing to give GB the benefits of any doubt I fear that this is all a spin operation which has been accepted readily by a gullible media.

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