'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Monday 23 December 2013

This immigration row. Is it a Tory plot...?

George Eaton has written a post today in the Staggers pointing out that Vince cable did not compare David Cameron to Enoch Powell, and suggesting that the Tory outrage being expressed is all about getting Vince to resign/be sacked, essentially out of devilment more than anything else.

" ' I think there's a bigger picture here. We periodically get these immigration panics, I remember going back to Enoch Powell and 'rivers of blood' and all that, and if you go back a century there were panics over Jewish immigrants. The responsibility of politicians in this situation when people are getting anxious is to try to reassure them and give them facts and not panic and resort to populist measures that do harm'.
Read in context, it is clear that he was not comparing Cameron to Powell (any more than he was comparing him to 19th century anti-semites) but criticising his failure to respond effectively to the real Powells of today (Nigel Farage et al). The mention of "rivers of blood" was merely a reference to one of the defining examples of past tensions over immigration".

George makes a good case -  but I'm not so sure that's the sum of it. I think there is a bigger game afoot.

As I've written in the comments...

"Is there not a bigger game going on here? The Tories need the Lib Dems to come back in the polls and start retaking voters who have switched to Labour as a result of the Lib Dems going into government with the Tories. Staggers readers will argue that this won't happen, that voters who have switched are so angry with the Lib Dems that they will never come back, and polling backs this up to some extent - but it's the Tories only real chance of getting a majority.
For it to happen, the Tories reason, the left of the Lib Dems need to try and take control of the party from Clegg, as he is the biggest impediment to regaining voters from the left. Tim Farron is unlikely to force a leadership bid this side of the election - but Cable, if he is ever to lead the party, probably does.
So they argue, lets get Cable to resign, start stirring trouble, and wait for the European elections to panic the Lib Dems into changing leader.
Frankly, its a slightly desperate plan and isn't going to happen. But I wonder if that isn't what's in their minds anyway..."

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