Thursday, October 16, 2008

The poisoned chalice

It seems as if most political commentators are convinced that we will have a new Prime Minister after the next General Election - and it's not going to be Nick Clegg!

Cameron is the chosen one of the ruling classes - the influencers in our society - not because their political opinion has swayed to the right, but simply because they believe Cameron offers the potential to do less harm to their cause. Cameron should be wary, because whoever wins the next election is going to be the next Ted Heath.

Like Heath, whoever wins the next election is going to be facing a whole heap of troubles not dissimilar from those faced by Heath. Rising inflation, collapsing industry and employment, power supply and fuel difficulties, increasing militancy, strikes and a mounting welfare bill with little way of paying for it.

Prior to the 1970 election, the Heath Tory party had embarked on a policy review culminating in a grand economic reform plan. Cameron has done much the same with the modern Tory party - but this time their grand plan is social reform. And just as Heath was forced to abandon his economic reforms once in office to deal with the more urgent and pressing problems, so will Cameron be forced to abandon his social reforms.

Heath could at least turn to the one thing he believed in as a potential saviour - membership of the EU (or Common Market as it was known back then). It failed, of course, as the EU was not the cure-all Heath imagined it to be, but at least it was an option.

With his economic reforms in tatters, membership of the EU failing to offer any answers and the problems of the times increasing ever faster, the Heath government collapsed. Heath was kicked out of government in 1974 and, soon after, was replaced as leader of the Tory party. Britain was condemned to another five years of Labour mismanagement until Thatcher was to win and finally introduce the economic reform which were so necessary.

I believe the same fate awaits Cameron - only this time there is no second chance. If Cameron wins the next election his administration will end in the same inglorious way that Heath's did - but this time it will not only be the end of Cameron's political career, but the end of the Tory party as we know it.

No comments: