Will Dave’s ruthlessness keep the show on the road?

Will Dave’s ruthlessness keep the show on the road?

How long is the coalition going to last?

Under the headline – “David Cameron takes on Tory back-bench ‘awkward squad” the second story on the Telegraph’s front page is about what is described as an audacious attempt by Cameron “to stamp his authority on Conservative MPs and smother back-bench dissent.”

For while his partner in the coalition, Nick Clegg, has gone to great lengths to bring and keep the Lib Dems on board the Cameron style is much more ruthless and is based on using the brute power of his position to change the way his party operates to dampen down criticism.

They’ve waited thirteen long years to get back into power and Cameron is clearly determined that he’s not going to be undermined in the same way that John Major was in the 1992 – 1997 parliament.

The trouble is that this has its risks and the move to change the way the Tory backbench group, the 1922 committee, operates has simply magnified internal opposition to the whole deal with the Lib Dems.

Maybe Cameron is manufacturing a situation so he has this battle now rather than later.

In a perceptive column, also in the Telegraph, Ben Brogan, reports on the thinking before May 6th what went into the coalition plan. “….Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne may have spotted it before their party – namely, that the Conservatives had got as far as they could on their own. When the Tory leader woke up on Friday, ready not just to propose a full-blown coalition but to offer a deal on voting reform to get Mr Clegg’s attention, some say he concluded that like a company no longer able to grow unaided, the Tories needed to launch a takeover of a section of the electorate.

Those who sat around the negotiating table with Mr Osborne and the Tory team express disbelief at the extent of what the Conservatives were prepared to give away to secure an agreement. When we see the full detail of the deal today we will be able to begin the assessment: desperation or calculation? What is the plan for the next election?”

My view is that the glue that holds the coalition together is power – and Cameron is not constrained by any ideological baggage. Being in Number 10 is what it’s all about.

Mike Smithson

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