Thursday, 19 March 2009

Not in government, but half an eye on the second term? He should have.

Examining David Cameron’s latest speech (PDF) on the economic crisis, it is clear that the Conservative leader is acutely aware that he will almost certainly soon be in a position to put theory into practice. Cameron chose to dwell on ‘difficult choices’ which will face the next government and wisely declined to promise tax cuts if and when his party win the next election.

Tim Montgomerie offers another neat synopsis of the main points on Conservative Home. Importantly Cameron continues to emphasise that his commitment to social reform will not be compromised by the need to bring public debt under control. That is key. And it will test his communitarian sinews, so to speak, to implement an ambitious programme of social reform in the teeth of recession.

In order to bring public finances under control, Cameron insists that he can neither promise to match Labour’s spending plans, nor can he undertake not to raise taxes. A Conservative government will seek to deliver efficiencies and to bring spending under control.

With every announcement of new policy, or elucidation of underlying principle, the Conservatives are now attempting to enunciate a practical programme for government. If the party is to govern for more than one term, it is imperative that its policies are deliverable.

To rein in ballooning government indebtedness is fundamental to conservative economics and Cameron is quite right to state his aspiration in this regard. Whether he can deliver this without swingeing cuts remains to be seen. The best result is probably to arrest the exponential growth in Britain’s deficit without inflicting significant damage to frontline services or precipitating a serious spike in unemployment.

That much should be possible. And if a Cameron government can deliver it and prioritise its commitment to society, then a second term will become a probability.

1 comment:

Ignited said...

The last thing Cameron needs is a Bush Snr moment that could haunt him during a continued recession or the recovery from it.