100 days of a Conservative majority government: Success or failure?

18 Aug 2015

 

It would appear that while Labour stumble around in hapless fashion, and the Lib Dems attempt to regain their post-election dignity, Prime Minister David Cameron is moving at break-neck speed to push through his legislative agenda. Against a backdrop of political soul searching, Cameron effectively has no clear opposition, which has left his party relatively unshackled. 

 

The Chancellor has therefore proposed, without excessive acrimony, £12 billion worth of welfare savings. An inquiry has also been established to analyse the spending of the BBC, which will report on the corporation's long-term sustainability. Moreover, the Conservatives have been allowed to shape a clear narrative in relation to the European Union. Indeed, the European Union Referendum Bill has already received a second reading in the House of Commons. In recent months the Prime Minister has made sure to emphasise his productive discussions with European heads of state.  The Tories want to show that they can counter UKIP’s noisy blustering with meaningful, pragmatic reform.

 

In terms of political positioning, though the Tories appear more ruthless and dogmatically right wing than ever before, Cameron and his merry band have been trumpeting themselves as the champions of the working class. Even though it is hard to admit that David Cameron now wholeheartedly represents the interests of the blue-collar worker, it is palpably evident that the party is trying to move away from its aristocratic roots. The flagship policy of the Chancellor’s Summer Budget was his 'National Living Wage', which outflanked Labour on the issue of low-pay. This announcement has been touted as Osborne’s attempt to reform his image from austerity axe-wielder to progressive moderate.

 

However, the PM has not done everything that he set out to achieve on 7th May. His British Bill of Rights was absent from the Queen's Speech, and there has been no attempt to rejuvenate the debate surrounding the issue. We have also seen a vote on fox hunting reform postponed due to opposition from the SNP, and a vote on English votes for English laws, originally planned before the summer recess, postponed after a surprising amount of opposition from government MPs.

 

Finally, the PM has been forced to manage awkward overseas issues, particularly the African migrant crisis in Calais. The French authorities seem to be fighting a losing battle, and the PM's response has been widely condemned.

 

More than 100 days into this Parliament, it would seem that the Conservative Party has managed to keep the wheels moving on its One Nation agenda. However, is this speed sustainable? It must not be forgotten that Cameron’s Commons majority is an unconvincing one. Moreover, from September onwards, Parliament will not be such a benign setting for the Prime Minister, who will be forced to rebut the reinvigorated assaults of the Labour Party. Cameron will hope that the next 100 days will be as successful as his first 100.

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