The Tories have announced the latest populist gimmick to latch onto the public mood, with a campaign to save our pubs. The leftish Orange Party has signed up to all of them!
'Save The Great British Pub' is part of a whole raft of campaigns tapping into public issues. Scratch away the cynicism and these campaigns are a stroke of genius.
A campaign to Save the Great British Pub is just the latest mini campaign to feature on conservatives.com now with a round-up of campaigns in a convenient portal to sign up and have a rant about saving post offices, scrapping ID cards, honest food labelling. All the old favourites are there. Indeed the portal box even has space for a couple more.
Save the Great British Pub. What sensible person wouldn't agree with that? But joining a campaign and feeling part of a movement is one thing. Having hard realistic policies to back up the fine words is quite another.
Dig deeper and each campaign is linked to a reasoned background argument and more importantly with what the Tories would do about it.
That's the really clever bit. They are drawing attention to the problems. Bringing them all together in one campaign portal is a stroke of genius. This is the key - it's part of an election manifesto and of course your email address can be used for future political marketing. Remember it's all in the database.
There is a danger this could degenerate into a LibDem local government issues-style politics of cracked pavements and dog shit. But what and where is the alternative?
Only the death throes of a discredited New Labour government riddled with sleaze and in-fighting in what Oborne today acidly and accuracy describes as the fag-end of a government in collapse.
The crisis facing the British pub is indeed serious with pubs closing at a rate of knots. But the Tory campaign is dead in the water unless someone has the guts to tackle the real reason why pubs are falling by the wayside - the blanket smoking ban. Fat chance the Tories will raise their heads above the parapet on that issue so close to elections.
What's needed is a political heavyweight to champion the cause, someone with a penchant for the occasional cigar and Real Ale.
Whatever happened to the politically-correct misleading bleatings about a massive increase in the pub trade as a result of the smoking ban?
The smoking ban, supermarkets selling cheep beer and wine, high rents and price increase from suppliers, greedy shareholders in the breweries, 24 hour opening. It's all part of the pub shambles as the glorious vices of pint, a fag and packet of crisps are eroded away.
A hell of a lot of radial policies are needed if the Tories are serious about saving pubs.
The right way forward on any of the issues chosen by the Conservatives, from saving GPs' surgeries to pubs and Post Offices can be argued until you are blue or red in the face.
But isn't that what politics should be all about, rather than the arrogant top down diktat imposed without a popular mandate which voters have to suffer at the moment?
What the Tories are doing is singling out some of the national issues that capture a public mood and at one time would be chewed over in the pub.
How ironic then that the very place for a relaxing pint and a fag, to have a moan and put the world to right is now under threat. It's almost as if an Orwellian nanny knows best State has crept up by stealth to keep us all in our box. The Orange Party feels another issues campaign coming on.