An ideological attack has to be met with an ideological response….
Ideology, it is assumed, is a bad thing that should be avoided at all costs and you can still see the echos of that in some of the Labour attacks on the Coalition. It is true that the actions of the government are ideological in nature but it is equally true that none of these attacks are profitable to Labour in the polls. New Labour despite its endless fancy phrases about triangulation and desperate attempt to appear totally ‘managerial’ often deployed ideological arguments; most notably in its bogus defence of the Iraqi intervention. I have a great faith in people, unlike Labour’s political strategists it seems, and their ability to see through the hypocritical attacks on ‘ideology’ which is a component of every parties politics (and usually a greater one of those who say it’s not than the others) and make sensible ideological choices, if they are given one.
Most people with eyes in their head and a corresponding brain can see this governments choices are ideological and they don’t care because that isn’t issue; the issue is whether it’s the right ideology or not. Sadly, Mr Miliband has yet to articulate a coherent and ideological response to this Coalition and he, having been so bold during the leadership election, has become something of a shrinking violet in these terms. It is in this regard that the frankly gutless and cowardly inability of the leadership to stand-up for the poor should be regarded. This also feeds into the growing chaos in people’s minds about how they view these cuts; when asked whether they support the individual measures they invariably say ‘yes’ but use questions around the timing to express their uncertainty. A perfect example of this is todays Ipsos-Mori poll on the CSR. Notice how people occupy broadly contradictory positions: thus more see the cuts as being needed but number who view them as being likely to be beneficial is dropping at the same time. Logically, the question follows, why support them if you see their effects as being detrimental? The simple answer that squares the circle is people see there being no alternative.
Because the opposition is weak and unable to present some clear-cut alternative arguments people are hesitant about expressing outright opposition but in their gut the vast majority of people know what is happening is wrong. Anybody who thinks that the current hesitancy and weakness of the Labour opposition will be enough to win a general election is very much mistaken indeed. People, when hesitant, tend to plump for the devil they know and in this case that will be good news for Mr Cameron (though not Mr Clegg who will be punished for an ideological mistake, his betrayal of his expressed principles). Relying on the spontaneity of people’s anger will only take us so far and not into government. Sleepwalking into government simply never happens and at this moment this Party is very much asleep.