Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Dave deals with the Lord Snooty question

Dogs may not have votes but their owners do

I was listening to Dave Cameron on Radio 5 as I drove into work and I thought that he did pretty well. It is easy to be mesmerised by recent poll figures and to forget that we are not dealing with some old fogey but a very smart, modern politician.

He was particularly effective on the 'Lord Snooty' question. Asked if he now regretted going to Eton, he said that he was very grateful to his parents for the upbringing that they had given him, including going to a fantastic school. In relation to the argument that he and his advisers were 'out of touch' he pointed out that both William Hague and Warwick graduate David Davies went to state schools, one in South Yorkshire and one in Tooting. Indeed, many of us remember Hague being pictured at his 'A' level Politics textbooks after his appearance at the Conservative Party conference. Davies came from a particularly disadvantaged background, possibly even more impoverished than that of John Major.

I think the Labour Party should drop this line of attack. It's not very effective, particularly in the south of England where any election is likely to be won or lost, hence Dave's 'southern strategy' on issues like inheritance tax and stamp duty. Mind you, he wilted a bit under questioning on the details of these plans, in particular how the revenue would be recouped.

Above all, it's a return to old style inverted snobbery which is no better than the real thing.


Les Abbey said...

Wyn I think you are wrong on whether the Labour Party should use Cameron's Eton background against him. Remember that they certainly got good use out of "the ruling classes" when Douglas-Home was brought down from the Lords to be Tory leader.

While all the parties are using some sort of positive discrimination to bring in women, Asians and other minorities, the Tories should maybe throw a few minus points for Harrow and Eton.

With so much depending on the southern marginals, the more middle of the road, (middle-class), you look the better. Whereas nowadays the Labour cabinet looks like it could fit in easily at the local golf club, Cameron's shadow cabinet looks more suited to Henley.

I suspect Labour will use this "return of the ruling classes" to its advantage.

Wyn Grant said...

It's true that it was effectively used against Sir Alec, but British society has changed a lot since then. But that doesn't mean that class issues have disappeared altogether. Of course, what David Cameron tries very hard to do is to look 'modern', with some success. But it will be interesting to see how this issue plays out.