Ken Clarke - "New Labour is dead"
Ken Clarke has a superb newspaper column in the Mail this weekend here.
He argues convincingly that the Labour government's attempt to bring back the class war by attacking prominent tories not on the basis of our policies but on where they went to school demonstrates that they know they are losing the battle of ideas, that they are desperate, and that the ideas of New Labour are being abandoned.
As Ken puts it
"If you can hear the sound of scraping coming from within Downing Street this weekend, it is because the inhabitants of No 10 have now found the very bottom of the barrel.
"There is no surer sign that Gordon Brown has given up on governing and opted instead for base political mud-slinging than his decision to lurch to the Left with that old Labour attack on the Conservatives: the class war.
"The attack on David Cameron's background last week and Labour's assault on the Inheritance Tax package (even though they are implementing a version of it themselves) shows Gordon and his dwindling band of advisers have turned their backs on grown-up politics and settled on the politics of envy as a last resort.
... "this decision is a major strategic blunder which Gordon, Peter Mandelson and the others will soon come to regret. More importantly, it marks the definitive end of the New Labour project."
Ken also points out that Labour's own front bench is as vulnerable to such charges - Labour's Harriet Harman went to the sister school of the one George Osborne attended, Labour's Ed Balls went to the same school as Ken himself. In fact nearly half the Labour cabinet went to private schools - which should be neither a matter for praise or blame, but makes it total hypocrisy for them to criticise the Conservatives for something they share.
"Perhaps the single most important reason why Labour's lurch to the Left will fail is because modern electors aren't concerned about what school a politician went to, any more than they are bothered about what colour or what gender he or she might be. They are concerned about what would-be leaders will do about the state of the country.
"I would never have come back if I thought David Cameron had anything of the old-fashioned toff about him.
"I came back because he is a positive person, a highly intelligent, dynamic man who has the right ideas and is capable of leading a Government that will help people in every walk of life get out of the mess we are in."