TWO TERM DAVE.
It’s been another week where the political coinage has been debased. A ludicrous Dutch auction of promises over VAT and National Insurance was followed by a squalid last minute manoeuvre to try and undermine Speaker Bercow.
The there was David Cameron’s kitchen moment. Journalists call for honest answers from our politicians and when we get a straight answer, we hang them out to dry.
That could be said about the furore that surrounds David Cameron’s decision to only serve 5 more years if the voters let him. On the other hand it is surely not reasonable to expect journalists to analyse the consequences of such glimpses of honesty and there are plenty of them.
I wonder what Lynton Crosby, the strategist behind the Tory election campaign made of Cameron’s kitchen musings? He has ordered every Tory to stick to one message, the long term economic plan. Now the leader of the campaign has distracted attention from that. It was completely unnecessary because speculation about how long Cameron would serve if he was re-elected was well down the agenda. There’s plenty else for journalists to concentrate on like speculation about who forms the next government, candidates resigning and even the TV debates.
It clearly wasn’t thought through because what does Cameron mean when he says he will serve a full five years? Does he mean to fight the 2020 election as Prime Minister or have a leadership contest just before. The latter seems extremely unlikely as parties like to settle such issues well in advance. You surely couldn’t have a leader elect in place going into a General Election campaign.
If that is the case then one starts to look at what opportune moment the Prime Minister might decide to go. If he gets his way and holds the EU Referendum in 2017, then an obvious time to go is immediately after that. He will either have secured our membership or if we have voted to come out, he will have been repudiated on the biggest issue ever to have come before the British people. Either result would offer him the opportunity to go.
If he stayed on through 2018 and 2019 the Tory Party would be in the position of Labour after the 2005 General Election. Tony Blair had promised not to serve three full terms and this prompted debilitating speculation from Gordon brown’s supporters on when he would go. Incidentally Blair had made the promise to go under pressure from Brown. No such pressure has been forthcoming from potential Tory successors of David Cameron.
It was also unwise for the Prime Minister to identify George Osborne, Theresa May and Boris Johnson as potential leaders. Five years is a long time in politics and people like Philip Hammond, Sajid Javed and Liz Truss might be feeling a bit miffed with their leader.
Will it move the polls against Cameron? Probably not although some have pointed out there is a bit of Etonian arrogance at play here. After all the Tories haven’t won the 2015 election yet and the voters may determine that the Prime Minister gets a bare five years not ten.
CONSTITUENCY FOCUS: WIRRAL SOUTH.
It is very unlikely the Conservatives are going to win an overall majority on May 7th. But if they are they need to take seats like Wirral South.
Labour’s Ben Chapman took this seat from the Tories in a February 1997 by election that was a harbinger of Tony Blair’s General Election landslide months later. Alison McGovern narrowly held on last time with a majority of just 531.
The Tory candidate is John Bell who’s father worked at Cammell Lairds. He recently retired from Deeside College training staff at Airbus.
It could be close again with Tory support around Heswall and Labour’s strength in Bebbington and Bromborough.
UKIP support could be important here. They got 18% of the vote in last year’s local council elections.