That is essentially the question posed by Peter Oborne during a lecture he gave to the Centre for Policy Studies last night (PDF here).
"I want to bring my speech to an end by quoting Margaret Thatcher on the occasion of the first Sir Keith Joseph Memorial Lecture. This is one of the things she said:
“In politics, integrity really lies in the conviction that it’s only on the basis of truth that power should be won – or indeed can be worth winning.”
I think what Margaret Thatcher was saying here is that it does not pay to secure power through clever positioning or strategic alliances. That was the tragedy of New Labour – it was not honest about what it would do in office, which is why it failed as a government. David Cameron, I would guess, must be very straightforward with the British people. And that means putting out a much bleaker and tougher message of what he will do in power than he has tried to do so far."
My instinct is the more truth the better. I’ve commissioned an opinion poll that attempts to get to the truth of this. Not easy as you can’t simply ask voters if they want the truth. Results should be out very soon.
12.21pm: Just noticed that Jill Kirby has posted on this too.