David Cameron’s New Year’s message was published last night, ahead of Blair’s later today. He said that 2007 would be the year that Labour’s "dark side", in the shape of Brown, would initiate the politics of fear and negative campaigning.
Brown’s welfare policies were the main target of the speech, with Cameron framing the ideological battle as being between:
"Labour’s state control versus Conservative social responsibility."
In another welcome sign that DC is recognising the importance of strivers since his promise of a grittier second year, he went on to say the Party would side with "working people, not rich and powerful vested interests." [Related ConservativeHome link from August: It’s time for Dave to hug-a-striver].
"A free society allows everyone, whether their origins are humble or
mighty, to discover their personal best. For anyone with talent, it
means the chance to strive for the heights of human accomplishment in
any walk of life, from making scientific discoveries that vanquish
disease to using words, paint, stone or music to encapsulate truth and
But a letter to The Observer has a different take on the concept:
"Economic growth not only fails to deliver happiness but it encourages
us to be miserable. The capitalist system’s survival depends on us all
being discontented and permanently striving. If we are unhappy with the
way we look, we will buy cosmetics and clothes; if we think our homes
aren’t up to much, we will continually re-decorate and buy new furniture"
That’s materialism, not striving. Brown’s failed methods have done untold damage to what Green calls "private action for public good" – to the desire and potential to work hard for society rather than getting whatever you can out of it.
Cameron’s team have hit on the Dark Side’s biggest weakness.
11am postscript: The Sunday Telegraph is reporting that Gordon Brown is planning a humbler, more austere Downing Street. There’ll be fewer political advisers in the Alastair Campbell mould and power will be returned to civil servants. "You will not see the new prime minister holidaying at the home of a Bee Gee or Sir Cliff Richard," a senior MP told The Sunday Telegraph. [No ManBoobs then!] Brownites Ed Balls, Yvette Cooper and Ed Milliband are all tipped to join the Cabinet along with Blairites James Purnell and Liam Byrne. Armstrong, Falconer, Jowell, Hutton and Prescott will all depart the Cabinet table.