Labour's painting of the Conservatives as "Tory Toffs" spectacularly backfired at the Crewe and Nantwich by-election last year.

Yet just last week – pre-"Smeargate" – there was speculation that Labour was planning a series of attacks for the general election campaign which would depict David Cameron and George Osborne as "rich toffs who haven’t a clue how ordinary voters live".

Such a strategy was questioned by The Spectator's Peter Hoskin on the grounds Labour ministers claiming tens of thousands of pounds in second home allowances (in some cases when they already enjoyed a third grace-and-favour home courtesy of the taxpayer) could just as easily be shown to be out of touch with "ordinary voters".

But in the light of the events of the last five days, Iain Martin at the Daily Telegraph reckons that such a line of attack on well-heeled Conservative politicians is "at least blunted, and possibly decommissioned" because the Tories (and the media for that matter) could claim that it was a return to the discredited McBride school of political strategy:

"Carefully handled, the 'aloof out of touch Tories' tag had serious potential and the Cameroons know it. Now every time a Labour person steers in that direction, the Conservatives can shake their heads and say to the public: 'look, same old Labour dirty tricks and personal attacks'."

He adds that, in his view, there is an irony, since claiming that the Conservatives don't understand voters' concerns could be "very powerful" if a Cameron Government were forced to make unpopular spending cuts.

Do you think that the public or the media would let Labour get away with deploying the "Tory Toff" attack in the future – and would they take notice even if they did?

Or will it just be Kevin Maguire and the class warriors at the Daily Mirror who desperately continue to pursue that line?

Jonathan Isaby

122 comments for: Has the the “Tory toff” attack line now been removed from Labour’s arsenal for good?

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