Friday, May 08, 2015

Tory Triumphalism?

Comparisons are already being made between 2015 and 1992. Not just in terms of the shock overall Tory majority, but in terms of Tory triumphalism, followed by Tory right-wing rebellion, shambles and paralysis. I'm not so sure.

For certain, there is only a slim Tory majority. On paper, this renders David Cameron liable to every twist and turn of his capricious and loathsome right-wing.

But this is a Prime Minister who, after the omnishambles of 2012, has found his footing. Is more confident and relaxed about what he wants, how to get it, and how not to get too worried about setbacks.

He now knows how and when to listen, when not , how to manage his government, his Cabinet, his Party and his backbenchers. When to make a stand. And when to shrug off a Parliamentary loss and just move on.

Plus, we have the Fixed-terms Parliament Act 2011. Back in 1992, John Major had to pay minute attention to right-wing rebellion, because a bad vote could have spelt the downfall of his government.

Having been through five years of this new Act and coalition, when Parliamentary defeat, compromise and U-turn have become commonplace, Cameron will feel much less threatened by rebellion.

The right-wing threatens. Then rebels. Cameron shrugs. And moves on. He knows that not even right-wing Tories will push it to a vote of confidence he might lose.

Besides, he has other numbers to back him up. Contrary to what left-wing columnists are suggesting, in the bitterness of early morning hangover, Cameron is not about to launch on a triumphant, radically right-wing agenda.

So, on pretty much any agenda item where right-wing rebellion might be a serious threat, Cameron will know that he can count on the few remaining Liberal Democrat votes, along with some amongst the now-chastened Labour ranks.

I expect from Cameron an inclusive legislative program, much discussion with other Parliamentary parties (look for a strong candidate for Leader of the House, in this regard), and a relaxed but deft hand at the helm. All the while continuing to ignore the strident demands of his rumbunctious right-wing.