Conservative Diary

100 Days

18 Aug 2010 15:37:33

100 Days: The natural Prime Minister

By Tim Montgomerie

4799791148_727a071bfb_bHe doesn't describe pensioners as bigoted once their backs are turned.

He doesn't throw mobiles phones at Downing Street walls.

He doesn't browbeat interviewers.

He doesn't attempt to micro-manage every Whitehall department.

He meets foreign leaders without lecturing them.

He doesn't dither over big decisions.

But it's not just the welcome contrasts with his predecessor that has encouraged seasoned observers to believe that David Cameron is built for the biggest job in Britain.

He dominates the Commons at Prime Minister's Questions and speaks more like a Prime Minister than a party leader.

He processes his Red Box promptly each and every day, ensuring speed at the heart of the government machine.

He is able to rise to big occasions as he did in his landmark response to the Bloody Sunday inquiry.

He isn't, of course, perfect. His speeches tend to be flat. He appears on the national stage a little too often when interventions by him would be more of an 'event' if they were more scarce. He hasn't loved his own party in the way he has loved his new Coalition partners - although I am increasingly confident that that is being rectified. But there is something natural about Cameron's style-as-PM. From day two he didn't do the grand arrival at the front of Number 10 but arrived quietly to work, via the back door. There's a moderation to his manner and some good humour too.


17 Aug 2010 12:17:58

100 Days: The price of governing with the Liberal Democrats

By Tim Montgomerie

Throughout this week ConHome is reflecting on the Coalition's first 100 days in power. On Sunday we looked at the Coalition's popularity. Yesterday at its radicalism. Today we examine the price of failing to win a majority.

CleggasOliver According to Saturday's Telegraph Cameron 'prefers the Coalition to a Tory majority'. It's true that Mr Cameron gives every impression of enjoying the Coalition but given the parliamentary arithmetic it is in his interests (and the country's) to put heart and soul into making it work. Yesterday I applauded the Coalition's radicalism but on the eve of the new Government's 100th day, we should not forget the price of the Conservative Party's unsuccessful election campaign.

Continue reading "100 Days: The price of governing with the Liberal Democrats" »

16 Aug 2010 08:55:00

100 Days: The Breakneck Coalition's radicalism

By Tim Montgomerie

Throughout this week ConHome is reflecting on the Coalition's first 100 days in power. Yesterday we looked at the Coalition's popularity. Today we examine its radicalism.

Radicalism The Economist has likened Cameron to a radical punk. The New York Times reported that Britain's new Prime Minister could be more radical than Thatcher. Cabinet colleague Francis Maude agreed.

Good government is 90% perspiration and only 10% inspiration but the ambition of this government is striking. Tomorrow, in ConHome's look at the Coalition's first 100 days, we'll look at the costs of Cameron's failure to win a majority but nearly every Conservative should be able to welcome the government's ambition.

Here are the Coalition's most ambitious plans and a likely-to-be-implemented rating out of ten:


LIKELIHOOD RATING: 5/10: Osborne will struggle to achieve this goal because his Budget lacks a 10,000 Volt growth agenda and some departments will not be able to achieve the deeper cuts necessitated by protecting the NHS, overseas aid, Britain's EU contribution and pensioner benefits. Unless world growth is stronger than expected Osborne may miss his deficit targets and tax rises will form a larger part of the adjustment. As today's FT leader says, he has no Plan B.


PICKLES ERIC NW LIKELIHOOD RATING: 9/10: Huge strides have already been made in (a) ensuring taxpayers can see how local and national government is spending their money and (b) giving businesses the opportunity to inspect the contracts that their rivals are winning from the public sector. Transparent government - pursued most energetically by Eric Pickles so far - could become a massive ally of small government conservatives as waste and excess in the public sector is exposed.


LIKELIHOOD RATING: 6/10: Iain Duncan Smith's ambition to eliminate the disincentives for low income people to work has been given a big boost by the Treasury's (reported) agreement to a £3bn ringfenced pot of money for the introduction of a radical simplification of the benefits system. George Osborne is still understandably petrified, however, that this system could be introduced on the eve of the next election and losers will be much angrier than beneficiaries will be grateful.


Gove Union Flag LIKELIHOOD RATING: 7/10: Michael Gove has already made a speedy start to this goal by enabling many more schools to achieve enhanced Academy status. By the time of the next election he should be on the way to securing his great aim of a new parent, charity or business-led school acting as a beacon of innovation in every major town and city.

Continue reading "100 Days: The Breakneck Coalition's radicalism" »

15 Aug 2010 09:01:57

100 Days: The state of public opinion

By Tim Montgomerie

Throughout this week ConHome will be reflecting on the Coalition's first 100 days in power. Today we look at the Coalition's popularity.

The Tories have gained since the formation of the Coalition and stand at 42% in the latest YouGov poll. The LibDems have declined to 12% to 15% (although do a little better with other pollsters). Labour, without a leader, remain competitive in the mid-30s.

Approval of the Coalition has slowly declined since it was formed. The YouGov chart below starts near the end of June and misses the fact that - in its honeymoon - the Coalition had 48% approving and just 27% disapproving. It's now 41% approving and 39% disapproving.

Screen shot 2010-08-15 at 08.38.13

ComRes has found a similar turning away from the idea of coalition government. In May voters endorsed the idea that "Britain was better off with a coalition government than it would have been if either the Conservatives or Labour had won the election outright" by 45% to 43%. It's now rejected by 50% to 36%. That, as Janet Daley blogged, could be good for the anti-AV campaign.

Screen shot 2010-08-15 at 09.09.38 The Mail yesterday published a comprehensive poll that provided mixed results. 57% of voters thought the Coalition was "disappointing" but 52% thought it "effective". 68% said Cameron was performing better than expected or as they expected.

Tory members remain very supportive of the Coalition, however. 72% think the Coalition is a good thing for the nation and 62% think it is good for the party. Answering a different question Liberal Democrat members offered a similar approval rating for their own party leadership. 71% saying the Liberal Democrats were on the right track.

It's too early to make any sweeping judgments on these figures. The cuts haven't bitten yet and we haven't seen the impact of the new Labour leader (something Tory strategists think might help their cause). What is clear, however, is that a third of LibDem voters have deserted their former party. These are almost certainly left-leaners who are unlikely return to the yellow colours without very good reasons.

> TOMORROW: The radical 100 days