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Thursday 21 May 2009

Why Dave’s in a Hurry

Just in case anyone hasn’t heard, Young Dave wants a General Election. And this time he may not be play acting. There is good reason for the urgency.

Looking beyond Duckislandgate, Capitalgaingate and Yetanothernonmortgagegate, there are more permanent issues for the Tories to address. The economy is one. And the threats from other parties another.

While Cameron and his cheerleaders have been shamelessly talking down the state of the country’s finances – something that, if they were in Government, would have them screaming blue murder at their opponents – those finances have not been deteriorating in turn. True, borrowing remains a worry, but the FTSE numbers have been rising steadily, and Sterling is right now near its highest level this year against both US Dollar and Euro.

Moreover, even the IMF have been less than totally condemnatory towards Pa Broon in the past week. Although they want to see a reduction in debt – who doesn’t? – they admit that the interventions by the Government have stabilised the banking sector and steadied markets. And when the IMF give merely grudging agreement, it is praise indeed.

Were the economic indicators to continue to show more favourable news, opinion may move swing voters back into the Broon camp. And then there are other parties ready to tempt the waverers. The Tories’ worst nightmare is a revived UKIP. So much conservative (note small “c”) opinion is anti-EU: worse, much of it is forthrightly Europhobic. And this is the Tories’ own doing: they’ve been demonising the European Project for so long that the idea has taken root. UKIP have addressed the issue by staking out a position of outright hostility and withdrawal. The Tory problem is keeping the Europhobes on side while knowing that leaving the EU is not a credible option. It’s a difficult one to finesse.

But, more seriously, there is an increased threat from the Lib Dems, with Corporal Clegg at last getting himself heard, and moreover demonstrating the leadership of which Young Dave talks, but does not provide. For the Lib Dems to gain traction with the electorate could seriously muddy the waters come a General Election. Hence Cameron wanting to get that Election done and dusted before Clegg can eat into his poll advantage.

So Dave would really like a General Election. He’s even got a petition on the go, which he calls a “petition for change”. Yes, Dave wants some of the Obama magic to rub off on him.

Fat chance.

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