That is the pretty damning viewpoint of Liam Halligan in an article about Tory economic strategy in this morning’s Sunday Telegraph.
"For months, HM Opposition has remained tight-lipped about what it would actually do to escape this crisis, content just to throw darts at Labour and
score political points. The Tory High Command knows if they say nothing specific, and offend no-one, they’ll win the next election, so sick is the public of Labour and, in particular, Gordon Brown. As a political strategy, that’s difficult to fault. If their sole objective is to become Chancellor and become Prime Minister, that’s what Messrs Osborne and Cameron should do.
But they need to raise their sights and vow to enter office not by default, but having built a stock of genuine credibility with both financial markets and the public. At the moment, that’s not happening – which is a disaster, as the next Government will need credibility in spades to even begin the task of rescuing the UK economy."
In defence of the Tory frontbench, the extent of the economic mess which needs to be sorted out will not be clear until day one of a Cameron Government when George Osborne is given the key to 11 Downing Street and he gets to look at the books for himself. The Government’s predictions of where we’re at have been hugely optimistic and we can expect to see Alistair Darling having to revise all his forecasts in the Budget at the end of next month.
As such, with the Government position on the ownership of banks and
so changing by the month, the Conservatives can hardly be expected to
set out a full set of economic policies at this juncture.
However, where Liam Halligan’s piece will chime with many is his
frustration at the Conservative Party’s willingness to attack Labour
without even seeming to state whether they actually support or oppose
measures being implemented by the Government, never mind setting out an
Yesterday’s further bailout of Lloyds
was a case in point, with a two-sentence soundbite put out by George
Osborne for the first editions and a second four-sentence statement
from him being released later in the day.
Of course he is right to attack the Government and to point out that
the country is in the position it is because of failures by Gordon
Brown as Chancellor and Prime Minister.
But I do think that those statements from the Tories need to include
some more specific messages about what the party would be doing
differently in tackling the crisis.