I greatly admire Peter Oborne as I have said on here before. He has done some sterling work over the years, especially in exposing political hypocrisy but a piece he wrote for the Telegraph yesterday in which he claims that the right is winning the argument in every major area of policy is wrong-headed in my view.
Mehdi has already had a crack at fisking the article here so I won't go through all of it but I wanted to highlight a couple of things from the last 10 or 15 years that prove Oborne is wrong.
His central thesis is that it is "widely accepted" that the Labour government was an utter failure and therefore the political momentum is now with the right, that their ideas are in the ascendency and even many on the left are coming to accept this.
I don't buy it. Here are just two examples of things that the "liberal left" brought in that the Tories have accepted through gritted teeth:
- Equal rights for homosexuals. Labour did some good work in this area when they were in power. The equalised rights for age of consent were introduced on a free vote in Labour's early years despite bitter opposition led by Conservative Peer Baroness Young. And a few years back they introduced civil partnerships.
- The minimum wage. One of the first acts of Labour in 1997 was to introduce this. The Tories were deeply opposed to any such move and I vividly remember how convinced Conservative spokespeople were that it would damage the economy and raise unemployment. Of course in the event the economy was fine and a decent floor was put in to stop people, especially the young being exploited for derisory wages.
"[throughout the] post-war period...the liberal Left, as general election results show, has tended to be unpopular with voters. But its progressive ideas have enjoyed a disproportionate amount of traction among British governing elites."