Hot on the heels of yesterday’s so called ‘withering’ attack (perhaps withered might be more apt) on Gordon Brown over MPs’ expenses (see my post yesterday : Cameron is losing it ) today the top Tory launches a poster campaign (OK these days poster campaigns tend to just get wheeled round on the side of a lorry for a while – but they get a lot of press coverage).
Just feast your eyes on this :
It’s difficult to count all the ways in which this so spectacularly fails to hit home. Let me try though :
1. Health Secretary Andy Burnham has categorically denied any plan to introduce such a tax :
“The Guardian’s story suggests a £20,000 flat levy and I am not currently considering that as a lead option for reform,” he said.
“That figure was used in the green paper last year, but I do not believe a flat levy of that kind would be the right way to go. So I can say to you very categorically today that is not what we are considering.”
(Source : Brown’s ‘death tax’ denied )
2. He denied it after the Guardian article which he refers to (Inheritance levy to fund social care being considered by ministers) but before the poster was unveiled – The Tories knew it was a lie before it even hit the streets – so they’ll be accused of lying, and also not knowing what the Government’s plans are.
3. The Conservatives are in no position to draw attention to plans on inheritance tax. My post in November Just who would benefit from Cameron’s Tax cuts ? drew attention to Labour’s position re. the Conservatives’ plans pointing out that only those with estates of more than £700,000 would benefit from those plans.
4. Not only does drawing attention to Inheritance Tax reveal the unfairness of their own plans, it also reminds the public of one of David Cameron’s more spectacular trashings in PMQ’s by Gordon Brown – when GB came out with the taunt that
‘Cameron and Osborne “will know by name” almost all of the people who will benefit from these measures – and adding “Is this what the Conservatives mean when they say ‘we’re all in this together?’
5. The poster comes on the back of the Tories’ previous disastrous own goal poster which showed an airbrushed David Cameron, and launched a whole cottage industry of edited versions of the poster – it’s hardly likely to suffer a better fate – replacing as it does, the smooth forehead of David Cameron with the smooth stone slab of a grave stone. Will it be a good swap we wonder ? – I’d imagine there’ll be alternative versions of this on the net before midnight – perhaps here : http://www.mydavidcameron.com/ . Expect Zombies !
6. The phrase “death tax” is lifted straight out of the vocabulary of right wing American politicians – and specifically conjures up the ‘Death Panels’ talked of by right wing American politician Sarah Palin – a figure of ridicule in the UK. The expression was used in attacks on President Barack Obama’s plans to introduce universal health care in the USA, and alongside criticism of the UK’s National Health Service – this serves to remind the UK public, not just of the opposition by some Tories to the very idea of the NHS – but specifically of the maverick extremist Daniel Hannan, who claimed that the NHS was a “60 Year Mistake” on American TV , who stands by his pronouncements, and who has not been reprimanded in any way by David Cameron, despite his claims to support the NHS. ( See my post Daniel Hannan’s outpourings on the NHS – Will Cameron slap him down ? ) – raising fears of both the Tories’ lack of commitment to the NHS, and David Cameron’s inability to control the lunatic fringe (or is it the mainstream ?) of his party.
The whole Daniel Hannan episode of course sparked the massive #WeLoveTheNHS Twitter campaign, massively embarassing for the Conservatives, and which perhaps can be seen as a turning point in the fortunes of Gordon Brown’s government.
7. And finally … It’s just not all that funny. Surely they can do better than this.
So once again I say that David Cameron is losing it – losing the plot, losing the argument – and increasingly he’s losing the election campaign.