The Tories may be presenting a unified public face for the election campaign but in private there must be a great deal of teeth-gnashing and wailing and weeping (maybe some self-flagellation, who knows what they get up to behind closed doors?) among backbenchers. What an absolute fucking mess of an election campaign. I honestly can’t recall one like it.
The Tories’ election campaign began in earnest with the hiring of Lynton Crosby back in 2013 and since then, it’s been non-stop stream of slogans. It started with “hard-working families, who want to do the right thing and get ahead in life” and ended with “the chaos of a Labour government”. The latter is more of a psychological projection of their chaotic style of government and economic stewardship (coughs), while the former is simply meaningless PR drivel. And besides, hard work is over-rated. Do you think ‘wealth creators’ like Osborne’s daddy got where he is today by working hard?
Then there’s the attempt to insert into the public consciousness the idea of a “weird” Ed Miliband, who “stabbed his brother in the back”. Before that it was “Red Ed” and “Eds under the bed”. Look, if I were leading a political party, I wouldn’t hire Crosby. The man is a buffoon. “Are you thinking what we’re thinking”? You mean you actually think? That’s news to me. I thought you just throw stuff against the wall and if it sticks, it’s in.
A couple of weeks ago, we got this.
The Tories don’t seem to have caught up with last November’s news: Nicola Sturgeon replaced Alex Salmond as leader of the Scottish National Party. For that reason, it’s also subtly sexist.
There’s also something weirdly Stepfordian about the government ministers who have been doing the tours of the TV studios. When they open their mouths, they’re like Scientologists defending their cult from pointed questions. They’ll look into the camera and say with a blank stare, “Look, I was audited and it didn’t do me any harm”. Alternatively, they’re like Liz Truss on last night’s Question Time, whose tactic was to talk over the other panellists. This is a trick straight out of the Young Britons Foundation (YBF) training manual: “Shout at your opponents and call them names. It’s better than using reasoned arguments”. That’s how they’re trained in their self-styled ‘madrasahs’.
The Sontaran was in the studios talking about the Big Society. They haven’t mentioned the BigSoc for a while. Remind me, what was it all about? Oh yeah, it was a way of selling public spending cuts. Voters didn’t buy into it then and they’re not going to warm to it now. Save your breath.
Bizarrely and straight out of leftfield came the sudden announcement that the Tories would freeze regulated rail fares. Am I tripping? Next week, they’ll be promising to renationalize the railways. Steady on!
Then there’s the ‘free press’ or, at least, the Tory-supporting section of it, which is pretty much most of it. The stories. Oh, the stories! Yesterday, the Daily Mail ran with “Red Ed’s tangled love life” . Really! Ed Miliband dated before he got married. That’s the story. It’s like a Bizarro World version of an OK! magazine story. Cheap and toothless, it fails to deliver a blow against its intended target. It’s like being savaged by Geoffrey Howe’s legendary dead sheep!
The Tory campaign is a mess of their own (well, Crosby and possibly Gove’s) design. But it’s too late for their ship to change course, because they’re heading towards a huge iceberg that bears their name. The only way is down, baby…