Political cross-dressing is occasionally sensible from a tactical perspective but rarely does it make for an effective political strategy. Too many voters just don't see what the real differences are between the two main parties in Britain, we live in the age of fuzzy politics. Gordon Brown knows that if he and the Labour party is to regain the trust and confidence of the electorate he will need to articulate exactly what differentiates progressive Labour politics from those of the opposition.
In an attempt to stimulate debate and discussion can I suggest three main differences:
1. Conservative philosophy believes that inequality in society is inevitable and desirable and that government can play virtually no role in its eradication. Progressive, left of centre political parties have always argued that inequality is repugnant to a modern, civilised society and that governments can be operate some powerful levers that bring about change.
Modern example: Labour wants education up to 18 for all, the Tories want to keep it to a select few.
2. Conservative politics believes in that most government 'intervention' is futile, be it in the markets or in the realm social policy. Progressive Labour politics believes that there is both strength and virtue in collective endeavour, that government really can make a difference in helping improve the quality of life for all.
Modern example: Labour introduced the national minimum wage, the Tories opposed it.
3. Conservative politics is 'conservative' politics, it seeks to entrench privilege and limit opportunity to an elite few.Progressive Labour politics recognises that to live is to change, that reform is often necessary to help re-affirm or re-assess strongly held values and beliefs in fairness, justice and tolerance for a modern setting.
Modern example: Tories have fewer women MPs than Labour and (in contrast to Labour) the vast majority of the Tory front bench come from backgrounds of immense wealth and privilege.
Let's not forget who the real enemy is and let's also remember that, yes the centre ground is where elections are won and lost, but let's not forget that in politics the centre ground covers a very wide area.