Socialist Worker

Has David Cameron revived the Conservatives?

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2100

Many people across Britain are horrified at the apparent “resurgence” of the Tory party after last week’s elections.

The Tories won their best results in local elections since 1992, gaining around 300 council seats. Nationally they polled 44 percent – four points higher than last year.

It seems that now, for the first time since 1997, the Tories are benefiting from Labour’s falling vote.

Boris Johnson’s election as London mayor will have shocked many people, who will wonder how a bigoted, Eton-educated Tory can have won in such a diverse city.

But his election campaign was consciously moderate.

This mirrors David Cameron’s actions since he became leader of the Tories and embarked on a mission to rebrand the party as the “caring Conservatives”.

Cameron has seized upon every Labour attack on working class people.

So, recognising the huge anger Labour’s abolition of the 10p tax band created, the Tories claimed to be against it.

They say they want to defend hospitals and stop post office closures. New Labour should be ashamed of the way that the Tories are able to pose as champions of the poor.

In the wake of the election, Cameron was eager to claim that the vote was not just against Labour but “a vote of positive confidence in the Conservative Party”.

Last week’s results do not reflect a general shift to the right in Britain. Millions of people remain to the left of the government on a number of issues – such as the war, privatisation and multiculturalism.

The increased Tory vote is in part due to a reconsolidation of their core vote – as they won back voters they had lost to UKIP and the Liberal Democrats.

But it wouldn’t have had nearly the same impact if Labour had kept its support, instead of throwing it away by moving ever further to the right.

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.