Jonathan Fryer

Cameron’s Conservatives All at Sea

Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 25th April, 2010

The British Conservatives have always considered themselves to be the natural party of government. Those years when the Tories have been out of power are seen as unfortunate interludes during which they have to hunker down and retrench. The 13 years of Blair-Brown rule have been something of an aberration (an assertion Socialists would agree with, for different reasons) and until recently it was almost as if David Cameron was just cruising along, waiting for the Good Ship Tory government to glide gently into dock. No longer. The extraordinary LibDem surge of the past 10 days (no 24-hour wonder this) has indeed provided a sea change in British politics, and the Conservatives are quite clearly ‘all at sea’ about what to do. On the one hand, they have unleashed their media attack-dogs, to try to bring Nick Clegg and his colleagues down. But on the other hand, Cameron (as reported in the Observer today) has not ruled out a possible working relationship with the LibDems, in the (highly likely) event of a hung parliament. He might (triple underlined ‘might’) even consider some sort of electoral reform, so desperate is he to woo Nick Clegg, while simultaneously kneeing him in the groin. The fascinating thing about all this is that electorate — far more savvy than many politicians give it credit for — can see through all this Cameron duplicity. If the Conservatives aren’t careful, they are going to be the biggest losers in this election, not just in seats, but in reputation. And far from being the government, they may not have a voice in government, for a long time to come.

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