The Tories know that if the next election is a referendum on the current government, it’ll be very difficult for them to win. But if it is a choice between them and a Labour government, then they are in with a good chance.
David Cameron’s speech to his party’s Spring Forum today ends with a list of what a Labour government would do in its first 100 days in office. It shows how keen the Tories are to frame the next election as a choice, not a referendum, that Cameron is prepared to publicly contemplate defeat to do this. Interestingly, there’s no mnetion of the Liberal Democrats or the coalition in the speech. He says:-
Anyone in this party who’s in any doubt who we should be fighting, what we should be debating, where our energies should be focused – I tell you: our battle is with Labour. This is a bunch of self-satisfied Labour socialists who think they can spend your money better than you can, make decisions better than you can and tell you what to do, and we should never, ever let that lot near government again.
The other striking thing about the speech is that it is a return to the ‘aspiration nation’ and ‘global race’ themes of Cameron’s conference speech. I understand that these will be the focuses of the Budget too. This suggests that the Tory leadership is now determined to make these their principal messages all the way to 2015.
UPDATE: Video extracts from Cameron’s speech can be found here.
More Spectator for less. Stay informed leading up to the EU referendum and in the aftermath. Subscribe and receive 15 issues delivered for just £15, with full web and app access. Join us.