Following Stephen Harper’s success in Monday’s elections Michael Howard rushed to the microphone to draw parallels between the British and Canadian political situations:
"We are seeing a recognition across the world of the failure of the centre-left to deliver… The defeated [Liberal] prime minister is someone who was finance minister for a very long time, wanted to take over the top job much earlier than he was allowed to and, when he got the top job, proved to be a long way short of a success in it."
Mr Howard would be unwise to draw too many lessons, however. The graphic below shows that David Cameron’s Conservative Party is increasingly out-of-step with its English-speaking world counterparts…
But: Harper, Bush and Howard (John) have shown that traditional conservative fare is acceptable in three very different countries. None of the three men are charismatic in the way that David Cameron is. In the absence of ‘stardust’ they’ve focused on bread-and-butter conservative issues that appeal to the embattled victims of left-wing failure – the strivers. For example…
- Stephen Harper emphasised modest tax cuts and increased defence spending in his attempt to unseat a corrupt Liberal establishment.
- George W Bush’s tax cuts have powered the US economy (and Gordon Brown’s) – his recent opinion poll rebound has reflected this and his unashamed defence of his administration’s wiretapping of possible terrorist suspects (see graphic on right). (Gordon Brown was emphasising homeland security in his criticisms of David Cameron yesterday).
- John Howard has consistently championed lower taxation and public sector reform and has emphasised opposition to uncontrolled immigration.
Newslinks to more analysis of the Canadian elections are on the frontpage.