Thursday, 16 July 2009

Chris Grayling - Ooops

Chris Grayling's decision to announce that a future Conservative Government would give Police summary powers to confiscate mobile phones from 'young people' seems to have rebounded badly.

Until this point, Labour were seen as the authoritarian, anti-civil-liberties, surveilance-society party. This was a position which David Davis's efforts over many years largely caused to happen. It took one of the pillars of distaste towards Conservatives (the view that Conservatives are uncaring and authoritarian) and delivered it as a disabling facet of the Labour party. It was a brilliant role-reversal.

Much as Cameron was pilloried for his 'hug a hoodie' sentiment, it marked out a difference in approach which underlined a neccesary change in the way in which Conservatives were viewed. No doubt Labour people took heart that it became a bit of a joke but in fact, the more they derided it, the more the 'change' was broadcast, and the more acceptable Conservatives became.

Chris Grayling's statement just undermined a lot of that effort and every Conservative politician who supports his position is now telling a large part of electorate that Davis's and Cameron's work was just a facade obscuring an authoritarian, dictatorial party...difficult

It's not true - but perception is reality. Personally, I get the impression that Chris Grayling is a good guy but I think he has it wrong here. I hope he will drop this idea fast.

There was a point in Questiontime tonight when the audience were literally hooting with laughter at the idea - not great for a future Home Secretary.

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