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The first assessment of Cameron's First 100 Days is in (a fortnight early)

By Jonathan Isaby

6a00d83451b31c69e2013485ff9a3f970c It's another fortnight before David Cameron will notch up his First 100 Days in Downing Street, yet for reasons unbeknownst to me the New Statesman has opted to use today's edition to mark the anniversary.

Tim Montgomerie of this parish has written this piece for the magazine highlighting the ten moments that define David Cameron's first three months in office.

Meanwhile, Mehdi Hasan, the magazine's Senior Editor (Politics), gives his take, accepting that he has presided over a "frenetic few months" involving "ambitious plans" for major reform of schools, welfare, the police and the political system.

Hasan agrees with Francis Maude's assessment that in his first 100 Days "Cameron has gone further than Thatcher - and much faster, too", although Hasan does not mean it as a compliment, concluding that the Government's programme has "potentially appalling economic and social consequences":

"Despite appearances to the contrary, Cameron is less a Whiggish pragmatist than a radical, in the Margaret Thatcher mould. His combination of market-oriented reforms to the public sector and savage cuts to public spending - hailed by the investment bank Seymour Pierce as heralding a "golden age of outsourcing" - suggests that he is intent on completing the neoliberal, state-shrinking revolution that Thatcher began and which Tony Blair and Gordon Brown did little to reverse.

"Cameron's right-wing instincts on the economy, however, have never been properly acknowledged by a press pack beguiled by his “rebranding" of the Conservative Party and distracted by his "progressive" stance on gender, sexuality and race issues, as well as his self-professed passion for civil liberties and the environment."

Hasan includes several observations from the author and academic Tim Bale, whose book The Conservative Party: from Thatcher to Cameron I highly recommend.

On the pace of the Government's activity, Bale notes:

“Shock and awe, we should remember, is Cameron's style. It's exactly what he did when he became leader of the party in late 2005. The aim was - and is - to show people he's hit the ground not just running, but sprinting, to symbolise a big shift and show he's there to make a difference."

He also makes an important point about personnel in comparing 2010 with 1979:

"Cameron has a huge advantage over Thatcher, in that, at least as far as the Conservative Party component of the coalition goes, he has for the most part got the people he wants in the posts he wants them in. She was much more constrained early on by the need to give jobs to big beasts she didn't agree with or thought were hopeless. There aren't too many of those in the cabinet now."

Needless to say, there will be more analysis from ConHome in a fortnight - in time for the actual 100th day!


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