Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Triangulating The CBI

There has been a massive amount written in the last few months about the triangulation tactics of David Cameron. His decision to miss the CBI conference and head to Iraq instead is the next move in his repositioning of the Conservative Party. James Harding, writing in The Times, states:

"The conservative leader has been an energetic advocate of the peripheral, if valuable, role of corporate social responsibility. He has been a champion of the climate change agenda, which may be a global good but is still a cost to business. He has talked more about work-life balance than the balance of payments; he has called on people to look beyond GDP to GWB, general well-being. He has not yet shown himself to be comfortable with capitalism, a champion of British companies committed to the grubby but essential business of wealth and job creation.

"The mistake will only add to the growing doubts about the Tory leader in British boardrooms, stoking the perception that he has an unreliable and ambivalent attitude to business."

He totally misses the point. There is no doubt in my mind that Cameron is as pro business as previous Conservative leaders. The difference here is that Cameron understands the value of symbolic gestures. It is entirely in his interest for the CBI to be up in arms about him missing the conference and the more public this spat becomes the better. The image that it plants in the mind of the electorate is that he's pro the little guy rather than big business. This is in sharp contrast to Tony Blair who was at the conference this week giving advice to British Airways on their religious obligations.

What surprises me is that there are many in the media who are sucked in by these blatant political tactics. I suppose it proves that you can still fool some of the people all of the time.

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