Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Check Reinfeldt and Beware Cameron's Blairite Strategy
What has Reinfeldt done? A lot more than voters bargained for. Welfare reform has been radical: benefits are cut and so are taxes. Everyone in work gets new tax credits: in Britain tax credits are benefits aimed at the poorest, in Sweden they are tax cuts for all. National insurance contributions have been raised sharply, with the unplanned effect that nearly half a million of the lowest paid have walked away from the scheme, leaving them nothing if they lose their jobs.
This chimes in with a feeling I have long had that Cameron and co. have a definite strategy in mind and which explains why so many died in the wool Tory types are tolerating his heretical denial of all those Conservative shibboleths. I was watching an excellent programme recently on BBC4 on advertising in politics when Tim Bell was shown commenting on the 'Faustian Pact' political ad which Major pulled in 1997 as too tendentious. You may recall this entailed a Blair-alike character bleating that he must win the election.
A sinister voice-we are to assume its old Beelzebub- says he can help him; he must say he'll not increase taxes but once in power can forget what he promised. Brilliant! I don't think. But Bell reckons this is exactly what Blair went on to do and that the film should have been shown. My theory is that Dave is simply following Blair's template-as he has slavishly done to date- for shifting from leader of party rejected regularly by voters into Number 10. Whether or not Blair did fulfil this Faustian narrative is not the point- it's the one Cameron, like his Swedish ideological brother, I reckon is definitely following.