Will Dave’s media blitz blow away the Omnishambles? Not unless he’s prepared to make big changes
written by: admin2
The media are likely to brand it a relaunch. After the "omnishambles" of the past few weeks, David Cameron will take to the airwaves this morning, including Radio 4's flagship Today programme, in a bid to get his floundering administration back on track.
The stakes are high and getting higher. With the latest opinion polls giving Labour its biggest lead since the general election two years ago, the Conservatives are heading for a drubbing in the May 3 local elections.
Ed Miliband is poised to pick up hundreds of seats. UKIP, increasingly the home of disaffected Tories, may not win many seats, but it will pull down the Conservative vote, boosting the Labour surge.
The betting is firmly that Boris will see off blubbing and bumbling Ken
("hypocrite") Livingstone, thereby doing his greatest political rival (Dave) an enormous favour. Defeat for Boris on May 3 in the London mayoral election would be a disaster for Cameron, triggering waves of mutiny and recrimination. But in the elections to the Greater London Assembly, the Tories are braced for another pasting.
As Dave enters the bull-ring of the Today programme studio for the prized
8.10 am slot, he is not short of advice.
From the Left of his party comes the cry for him to stick to the centre ground policies (no referendum on Europe, no confrontation with foreign courts, no significant tax cuts, no really painful spending cuts, no crackdown on immigration or crime, more money for foreign aid and the Eurozone bailouts) that failed to lift the Tory vote above 36 per cent in 2010.
The Right, meanwhile, is increasingly restive. Nick Clegg latest vote-losing idea, shaking up the House of Lords, is under fire from a string of Cabinet ministers and Tory MPs, all of whom are warning that to the electorate it will look like a self-indulgent distraction from the main tasks facing the Government.
It is likely to go the same way as the Lib Dem leader's first attempt at constitutional tinkering (AV or the alternative vote) crushed in a referendum a year ago - but not before fueling the impression that the Coalition's priorities are a million miles from those of most voters.
Tory MPs and Ministers are increasingly fed up with the faulty wiring of the Coalition. In particular, Ministers are complaining that No 10 lacks a political brain. The country wants decisive action to get the economy moving and curb the deficit. What it gets from the PM are piffling speeches on, for instance, how to be a good nurse or fringe-politics measures such as the Lords nonsense, gay marriage and nannying crackdowns on smokers.
For his relaunch to do any good, Dave must focus on the big picture:
measures to create growth and jobs, to balance the nation's books, to reassert Britain's right to govern itself, and deal with terrorists and criminals without foreign interference, to curb immigration, to reform welfare and education.
Most of all, he has to persuade the country that he knows how to ease the squeeze on Middle Britain's family budgets and show them the way to the combination of prosperity and opportunity that marked the Tory heyday under Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.
He still has time. No matter how grim the May 3 elections prove, Dave still has 2-3 years to demonstrate he is not a one-hit wonder.
But for that, he needs to get more political, not less. He needs to pick some fights with the Labour Left and win them.
He needs to capitalise on the sense of crisis surrounding the economy to push through radical ideas (such as far sharper deregulation of employment
laws) to encourage entrepreneurs and business expansion.
And he needs to hire some political streetfighters in No 10, not hand the whole show over to Sir Humphrey.
One of the most alarming rumours doing the rounds at Westminster is that Matthew Elliott, the Taxpayer's Alliance boss who led the campaign to destroy Clegg's AV dream, has been blackballed for a Downing Street job by his Lib Dem enemies.
Right now, no one is holding their breath that Dave's media blitz tomorrow will make a scrap of difference.