By Gregory Taylor
It was not the best start for the Conservative Party Conference, but things have gone rather better than some would have thought. On Saturday night we had seen one MP joining UKIP and another minister standing down because of a sex scandal. For political geeks like me, it’s great political news.
The Tories came back fighting and managed to avoid just discussing the EU and immigration, although both are very important. Rather, welfare, economic policy, the NHS and education became focal subjects which are the issues that the Tories need to be talking about. Cameron’s views on the EU are becoming more ruthless after the local and European elections and he is starting to take the anti EU stance, but once again I feel he’s too late to the party with all these key Tory ideas. For far too long he was willing to please a small number of London-based liberal Tories rather than his party in general.
But I still feel that David Cameron is the best man for the job and his conference speech on Wednesday showed that he still has the energy and the polices to take the Tories into the next election. Having listened to many leaders’ speeches I would say that this has to be the Prime Minister’s best speech since he took the helm in 2010. He was not only trying to appeal to the grass-roots within the party but he was also appealing to the average voter with his tax policy in putting up the 40p income tax rate from £41,900 to £50,000 and moving the tax-free allowance from £10,500 to £12,500 – both of these are aimed at the hard working middle classes and those at the bottom of the pay scale.
In the next few months his economic policy will come under the microscope by the Westminster think tanks and political journalists and some will find fault, but he’s done enough for now to woo voters who are still unsure or are thinking of voting UKIP. Of course, some on the right of the party will still say that he not doing enough on immigration and that he should have said more on this issue and I agree, he should be saying more about immigration. We will only find out next May if the PM’s big ideas have worked with the voter.
Although I think Cameron will still be PM after next May, the threat from UKIP will still be around – I would even go as far to say that UKIP could gain one or two more MPs as well. A deal betweeen the two parties is unlikely, but the next few months will be very interesting