July 31 2014 Latest news:
Monday, June 25, 2012
After a period in which Westminster focussed on liberal issues, like Lords reform and gay marriage, and Tory backbenchers’ attempts to stymie them, things appear to have shifted the other way.
That is in part down to education secretary Michael Gove’s O-Level announcement/leak last week (see my previous post), but now we also have the prime minister’s speech focussing on welfare which plays directly to core Tory values.
He will say: “[Welfare culture] has sent out some incredibly damaging signals; that it pays not to work, that you are owed something for nothing. It gave us millions of working-age people sitting at home on benefits even before the recession hit. It created a culture of entitlement and it has led to huge resentment amongst those who pay into the system, because they feel that what they’re having to work hard for, others are getting without having to put in the effort.”
But rather than this being a concerted party effort to realign the Conservatives on a right-of-centre track, it feels more like a tit for tat competition amongst figures in the party to see who can be the biggest Tory champion.
After all, Gove acted unilaterally in bringing forward his O-Level proposal, George Osborne has recently been cheekily playing up talk of his support for an EU in/out referendum and then there is Boris Johnson; today reported saying that Lib Dem plans for Lords reform should be “liquidated, vaporised and generally terminated”.
Now with his welfare speech Cameron appears to be trying to remind everyone that he is leader not just of the coalition, but of the Conservatives too.