Opinion by Michael Fabricant MP.
CAMERON POLICY TO GAIN RESPECT
It was sleaze they say ?wot done it for the Tories? back in 1997. I am not so sure about that.
The Conservatives were running out of steam by 1992 and in-fighting was rife. Had it not been for fear of electing Neil Kinnock as Prime Minister, they would have lost in 1992. The Party was divided over the future of Britain in Europe and that worsened still further between ?92 and ?97 as factions battled it out over the Maastricht Treaty.
But the fatal wedge which split the Party asunder predated all that. It was between those who had supported Margaret Thatcher and those who had succeeded in deposing her. ?Cash for Questions? was merely the final straw.
The parallels between the mid 90s and 2009 are obvious. Peter Mandelson mutters darkly about the Prime Minister. Cash for Questions has escalated into cash for a change in the law ? a far more serious matter. And, according to the International Monetary Fund, the recession bites far more deeply in the UK than in other developed countries. The message: ?This is a global crisis? trotted out by every Government minister on the media with the regularity and degree of sincerity that American waiters wish you to ?Have a nice day?, cuts little ice with an electorate weary of a decade of empty spin.
It should, therefore, be of no surprise that an Ipsos-Mori poll last week put the Conservatives at 48% support, Labour at 28% and the Liberal-Democrats at 17%. It is foolish to put too much weight behind the results of a single poll. It is the trend of polling that counts. But this will be of little comfort to West Midland Labour MPs where the anti-Labour swing is harsher than in other regions. They know that at that rate of attrition, barely a Labour MP would survive in our midland conurbations.
Yet the Conservatives cannot simply sit back and wait for a land-slide. Although Tony Blair said little on policy before 1997, his four pledges had succeeded in convincing the electorate that a New Labour Government would not mark a return to out-dated socialism. Voters felt it safe to switch allegiance.
So when Labour MPs find a gap after mentioning the ?global crisis?, they add the second mantra: ?The Tories are the do-nothing party?. That?s the desperate ?You think we?re bad? Well, the wicked Tories would be even worse? ploy. But has it a basis in truth?
David Cameron has already announced policies to help businesses in recession. HM Revenue & Customs is extremely aggressive with businesses that are late with VAT payments. The first late payment triggers a warning, and subsequent late payments trigger rising penalty charges if not action to declare the business bankrupt. Under Conservative proposals, small and medium sized firms would be able to defer their VAT bills for up to 6 months. This is a ?rolling? tax break so businesses will not be required to stump up VAT debts they have incurred during that period immediately before the 6 months has elapsed. Small businesses would also see their National Insurance and their Corporation Tax cut assisting cash flow. And more help would be available to assist with soaring business rates.
If future opinion polls continue to paint a bleak picture, the antics of the Labour Party in the coming months will provide a small distraction for those with an interest in politics from the deepening gloom of the recession. Hazel Blears telling the rest of the Cabinet to ?get a grip? and Harriet Harman vehemently protesting her undying support for Gordon certainly put a wry smile on MY face.
They used to say of Margaret Thatcher: ?You might not like her, you might not agree with her, but you can respect her?. Does Gordon Brown, who expended so much energy over 10 years undermining Tony Blair, enjoy either affection or respect?