Wednesday, January 14, 2009

If William Hague is the answer, what can possibly be the question?

David Cameron today promoted William Hague to be his "deputy in all but name". Labour responded by calling it a humiliation for George Osborne, who apparently has been "made to walk the plank for his do-nothing economic incoherence".

I get that people who follow Westminster politics very, very closely are fascinated with the question of whether George Osborne is in favour with his leader, and that this is a sign that he probably isn't.

But I am willing to bet that literally no one who is undecided about who to vote for cares about whether George is in Dave's good books. And in focusing on the soap opera about who the real Tory number two is, Labour is missing a brilliant opportunity to revive one of its most popular and effective lines of attack from the whole of the last decade - taking the piss out of William Hague.

For four solid years, Labour spin doctors, the Conservative Party and his own advisers worked hard to make sure that millions of people knew that William Hague was completely ridiculous. The original Tory boy with the weird voice who drank 14 pints of beer, looks like a foetus, wore a baseball cap with his name on it and led an extreme and unelectable bunch of weirdos...

...Unlike the rest of the Shadow Cabinet, people have heard of William Hague, and already come to the considered view that they don't want him to be anywhere where he could be in charge of anything.

Reminding people about the days when everyone knew that the Tories were weird and extreme seems like an excellent idea for Labour. You don't hear many people saying, 'If only William Hague were in charge, he's the man to sort out all these problems'. But more seriously, it says a lot about the current Tory Party that they are so short of talent that their leader relies heavily on a reject like William Hague, and it shows how little they've really changed since the glory days of banging on about Saving the Pound.

I wouldn't be surprised, the way they are going, if the next thing the Tories do is start bringing back throwbacks from the dying days of the John Major government. Now that really would be a sign of desperation.


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