It was the chancellor wot won it

Written by Peter Bingle on 9 May 2015 in Opinion
George Osborne not Lynton Crosby was architect of the Tory victory - and is now in pole position to be leader 2020

The prime minister is a politician in a hurry. The top four jobs in the Cabinet have already been confirmed. Continuity rules and yet the political landscape is now so very different. A tsunami has hit the Westminster Village and nothing will quite be the same.

David Cameron knows that he has to deal with the implications of the SNP triumph in Scotland. In time I believe that the rest of the country will grow to detest Alex Salmond and his Tartan cohort. For now, however, the PM should give the First Minister full fiscal autonomy. He can then scrap the dreaded Barnet Formula!

The Queen's Speech will be fascinating. It provides the PM with the opportunity to redraw and reshape the politics of Britain. The state will be reduced in size and individual freedom will be increased. Taxes will be cut. Free childcare will be doubled. The NHS will be given the extra funds it needs to deal with the huge additional demands it is facing.

The PM will need to deliver on English votes for English laws. There is a growing loathing across England about all things Scottish. It probably exists in many parts of Wales too. There is an understandable desire to tell the Scots where to shove it! The PM cannot ignore this sentiment.

On the political front there will be the Bill paving the way for an EU referendum in 2017. The five year Parliament Act will be scrapped. Most crucially of all the boundary changes will be enacted which will reduce the number of MPs (particularly in Scotland) and deliver an extra thirty or so Tory seats.

It was interesting that in his victory speech the PM returned to the Disraeli concept of One Nation, an idea already repeated by the Chancellor. Ed Miliband tried to hijack the idea but had no idea what it really meant in policy terms. The Chancellor must turn the concept into a reality by delivering prosperity and security for all.

The architect of the Tory victory was not Lynton Crosby who devised a poor campaign which was badly executed. It was the Chancellor who delivered the win. He persuaded the public that the years of austerity were worth the pain and that there genuinely is light at the end of the tunnel. If he delivers real tax cuts for all (including the middle classes) and takes an axe to the still bloated welfare budget a Tory triumph at the next election looks almost guaranteed.

It was never likely that ordinary voters would put such a left wing and strange looking Labour leader as Ed Miliband into Number 10. That said, the election showed that there are still parts of the electorate who viscerally hate the Tory Party. The PM needs to address this as a matter of urgency. His government must have genuine appeal to all sections of the community.

UKIP did much better than I expected. There may be only one MP but they represent a section of the electorate which feels unloved and angry. There is a nasty streak to UKIP but there is also something quaint about a party which looks back nostalgically to a time which never really existed. The PM must bring UKIP voters back to the Tory mothership.

The Lib Dems deserved their fate. I was sad to see Nick Harvey defeated but lost all respect for Danny Alexander. Nick Clegg's resignation speech showed that he is fundamentally a decent man. He was just massively over promoted.

So this is a famous and politically significant Tory win. It should ensure that the party gets the full political benefit of the economic recovery and full party advantage from the boundary changes.

Over the next few years the PM assisted by his Chancellor must show to every voter that the Tory Party is the party of real aspiration, something the modern Labour Party has no desire to be. It is not enough, however, to encourage people to aim for the stars. They need to be helped to get there.

This election result has also massively influenced who will be the PM's likely successor. I would suggest a very large wager on George rather than Boris!


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