Thursday, 3 October 2013
Opinion: The Conservative conference
Well that's the big four party conferences out of the way for another year. Only the Scottish Nationalists to go now and they don't really count.
I thought Cameron gave a polished performance yesterday and said all the right things to appeal to a wavering voter on election day. The question whether it will reach out beyond the party faithful in the conference hall to the dreaded floating voter.
He seemed to be striking a chord with the public on a lot of issues. Yes, we all want better education for our children, more jobs, controls on immigration, better law and order, higher living standards - but how do we achieve them at the end of the day without further cuts or higher taxes?
Cameron wants GPs to work more accessible hours. Labour have immediately latched onto that on as meaning longer hours,but it doesn't really. It just means working different hours.
His answer to the Labour idea of freezing energy process is to not increase fuel duty. More workable admittedly.
Theresa May made some good points on immigration. She wants to get out of the ECHR farce that terrorists use to stay in the UK. Her action on Abu Quatada certainly showed some sticking power and she now wants to deport first and appeal later. Laudable, but if the only way to do that is opt out of the ECHR then that means we might have to leave the EU as well - and I'm not convinced that Cameron will deliver that. I'm not convinced we'll ever see the reference he's promising either.
No pact with UKIP? Well, we'll see. A married person tax allowance? Maybe but I'm not convinced the Lib Dems will let that one through.
And what about their coalition partner. Cameron dropped a cracker earlier in the week when he said Farage shouldn't take part in the Leaders' Debate before the 2015 election because 'it should be restricted to those who have a credible chance of becoming Prime Minister'. Where does that leave Nick Clegg?
And yes, he's right that Labour left us in the shit and don't seem to have learnt anything from the experience. That should hit a chord with the Tory voters.
And there was a lot of other electioneering stuff said this week as well. The Tories know they have an up hill struggle because the last government frigged the constituency boundaries in their favour. They have to start fighting now - especially as there is every likelihood of them being slaughtered in next year's European Elections.
Have they done enough? Probably enough to start the ball rolling, but at the end of the day only time will tell if they will form the next government.