This poster will, I am sure, have the Lib Dems hopping about with fury. The Tories have hi-jacked a key Liberal Democrat policy: raising the personal allowance. Perhaps this is what lies in wait for the Lib Dems as 2015 approaches: the Tories steal all of their good ideas. If that happens, perhaps a merger of the two parties (or at least elements of the Lib Dems) will become more likely. Who knows?
Anyway, the blurb that accompanies the poster shows that an attempt is being made to fashion the Conservative Party into the party of work. The poster reflects that positive aim; a dramatic improvement on the divisive and crude rhetoric of ‘strivers’ and ‘shirkers’, which the Spectator’s latest leading column denigrates. The column also makes a point that the poster – and the Tories – choose to overlook:
‘The Conservatives are right to reform welfare, and right to want to become the new workers’ party. But this message would be more plausible if the Chancellor actually cut taxes for the poor. Raising the tax threshold is worth a mere £3.26 a week, a sum easily eaten up by the inflation he tolerates.’
The reforms will count for little if neither of these problems is addressed.