What’s behind Cameron’s “love a yob” move?

What’s behind Cameron’s “love a yob” move?

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    Is raising “hug-a-hoodie” again good or bad politics?

Given the way that David Cameron’s “hug a hoodie” speech four months ago seemed to attract so much derision why is the Tory leader going back onto the same territory with his latest “tough love” for yobs speech?

He’s called for “a lot more love” to be shown to young offenders as part of an effort to encourage good behaviour and has suggested that there is a more understanding approach as to why youths committed crimes in the first place. The inevitable knee-jerk reaction from Labour came from Home Office minister Tony McNulty who accused Cameron of using “fluffy bunny language”.

Cameron went on to attack the way that Tony Blair had dealt with his original suggestion. According to the BBC report he noted: “I talked about hoodies – and Tony Blair made a joke about it in his party conference speech. With that cheap joke he gave up on one of the best things he ever said: ‘Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime’.”

    There’s some serious politics going on here. When Cameron says things like this it is deliberate and you can only assume that this liberal tone from the same party that brought us Michael Howard’s home secretaryship is not showing up as a negative in the research.

For the Tories to be taking such a liberal approach poses an interesting challenge for the Lib Dems. How is their home affairs spokesman and possible future leader, Nick Clegg going to respond? Trying to sound tougher than Cameron might not be the best move.

It will be noted that the Tory position in the polls, and Cameron’s personal ratings, are better than they were when “Hug a Hoodie” first came out in July although many other things have happened since. In July YouGov had a personal rating of 35-33% for the Tory leader. Last week the response to the same question from the same pollster was 42-28%.

The move also keeps Cameron on the front pages as much of the political focus now moves to Gordon Brown with the strong suggestions overnight that the Chancellor will not face a cabinet-level challenge.

Labour leadership betting. There’s been a very sharp move to Gordon Brown fueled by the BBC reports that he will not be facing a serious challenge when Tony Blair finally steps aside. At one stage the Brown price on Betfair tightened to 0.24/1 – levels it has not been at for more than a year. Certainly it’s is hard to argue against that price which will, surely, tighten even further when the departure time-table is finally announced.

Mike Smithson

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