HOC

New Term, New Tories?

TORY high command are privately buoyed by Treasury figures showing the economy is in a better state than many economists believe it to be.

David Cameron and George Osborne are cautiously optimistic that the green shoots of recovery may – just may – be visible in parts of the country.

They are not alone.

Serious business commentators in the media are also on the lookout for evidence that the end of the doldrums are in sight.

Government officials are careful to point out that even if there are positive signs it will take many years of spending pain for the nation to get back on its feet.

The PM and Chancellor are pleased with the success of last week’s reshuffle which has dramatically changed the Coalition’s approach to business.

New trade minister Michael Fallon has wasted no time in promising a bonfire of job-destroying red tape – and has not been slapped down by his nominal boss Vince Cable.

His activity sends a signal that the PM is determined to push for growth.

There’s a sense that the Premier and his top team have abandoned the safety first approach which has held the Tories back in the Coalition years.

Mr Cameron and his Cabinet lieutenants will leave the nation in no doubt about his true blue Conservative credentials at the party’s conference in Birmingham.

Timing in politics is crucial.

The faintest hope of recovery and turnaround comes as a group of committed hardliners in the Tory ranks plot an unlikely leadership coup.

It won’t go anywhere.

But it is true that a handful of MPs and worthies are actively considering their options.

The Chancellor’s main focus is on his debt target which could be abandoned in the run-up to his December 5 Autumn statement.

This will allow him to stick to “plan A” on his tax and spend plans but he will face criticism for dumping his promise to reduce the debt.

The operation has begun to prepare the ground for this move. The judgment call depends on the numbers produced by the Office of Budget Responsibility.

But the Tories have a mountain to climb to win an outright majority at the 2015 General Election.

Conservative Home boss Tim Mongtomerie told an audience at a Portland policy review event this week the “finishing line” for victory is 20 seats further away now the LibDems are refusing to back boundary change legislation.

Some estimates say the Conservatives need two million more votes at the next election than they won in 2010.

But a look at the polls is also fascinating as we head into party conference season.

Populus chief Rick Nye says there’s been more polling now that at any time in history.

Despite this year’s Budget disaster, omnishambles, Lords reform, Leveson inquiry and claims of a double dip recession, the Tories are effectively down two points and Labour up two points in the past year.

Written By

George Pascoe-Watson