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The Coalition will drift Leftwards unless the Right organises

By Tim Montgomerie

TUGLEFT470 In the Politics column for this week's New Statesman I've looked at the coming Leftwards drift of the Coalition:

"The Liberal Democrat MPs who stand to Clegg's left - and nearly all do - are already agitating. Vince Cable wants some sort of graduate tax. Menzies Campbell wants Trident downgraded. Simon Hughes wants council-house tenants to continue to enjoy security of tenure. Even Danny Alexander, Clegg's most loyal lieutenant and Chief Secretary to the Treasury, has called for a more redistributive tax system. All the pressures will be greater once a Labour leader is in place. Left-leaning Lib Dems will then have an alternative to being shacked up with the Tories. If the new Labour leadership is clever, it will be more woo-woo than shoo-shoo. It will be Aesop's sun, not Aesop's wind. It will present an attractive alternative home to Liberal Democrats, rather than pushing them further into the arms of the Tories by constantly breathing fire at them. Policies such as protecting universal benefits are going to appeal to many Lib Dem hearts."

I argue that the pressure for the Leftwards drift is simple:

"Two numbers say it all: 86% of Conservative supporters told YouGov that they are happy with the coalition; only 47% of Liberal Democrat voters said the same. All other polling is noise."

None of this is to say that Conservatives cannot be proud of where the Coalition starts and in the piece I list the government's great ambitions:

"Deficit reduction. School choice. Democratic control of the police. Welfare reform. Decentralisation of power. A cap on immigration. Restoration of historic liberties. A bonfire of quangos and bureaucracy."

But, I fear, this is the high water mark although there should still be possibility for policy innovation on subjects such as decentralisation and mutualisation which transcend right/ left divides.

TUGRIGHT470The Right needs to organise in ways I've described before. Graham Brady, in particular, has a responsibility with the 1922 Committee's policy committees to "show that an uncompromised Conservative manifesto is more electorally potent than any joint coalition ticket."

Keeping an eye on signs of Leftwards movement within the Coalition will be a regular ConHome feature.


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