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Is this a man who could cross sides?

November 11th, 2009


Guardian

What would be the impact of a defection?

One of the early signs of what was to come from Brown Central was the ferocious campaign to undermine and eventually secure the sacking of Frank Field at the start of the Labour government. He had been brought in by Blair to “think the unthinkable” about welfare reform until the Brownies got there way.

This is recounted at length in Tom Bower’s brilliant biography on Brown and the man who is now PM does not come out well.

So what are we to make of this morning’s piece in the Guardian by Field on Cameron’s speech yesterday in which, according to Field, “declares war on Labour’s reason for existence.”

He goes on: “If you read the speech without knowing who has given it, most people would conclude that it was a speech by Tony Blair, who had carefully blended in the best of Labour’s leftwing thinking. That is the size of the challenge we now face from David Cameron.

On one track he takes the argument back to the advent of new liberalism. The idea that people should simply be free is not for him. The conditions for freedom have to be created. And then the new Tory state “must actively help people to take advantage of this new freedom”.

Wibbler on the previous thread wonders whether Field is about to defect”,

I’m not so sure – and would Cameron welcome it? What message would it send to the traditional Tory right-wingers who only stick with their leader because he looks like an election winner?

Mike Smithson