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Sunday, January 23, 2005

I have strong doubts whether the Tories’ taking up immigration as an election issue is much of a good idea. While I may see that this isn’t just racist fearmongering, the Conservatives are easily going to be smeared as racist by their opponents for this. (Btw, I don’t agree with those who say there needs to be a limitation on immigration at the moment.) Immigration is of course a mightily popular theme which is why Michael Howard picked it I guess, but it’s the wrong approach in strategic terms. The Tories shouldn’t be trying desperately to win this election which they won’t anyway. What they should be doing is putting themselves in a position from which to win the election after that, presumeably in 2009. In order to do that they should be focused on straight policies and nothing potentially too controversial. It’s true that attitudes on race and immigration are changing dramatically, particularly in regards to the two issues diverging from one another. But it remains better that the Conservatives had waited until the next election when the differentiation between minorities and immigrants would have fully sunk in. Now this will unevitably lead to the left’s chanting “racists!” and some potential Conservative voters and new members may be deterred.
(This is of course a media problem as well, as the negative presentation at BBC Online, linked to above shows all too clearly.)

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