by Atul Hatwal
Lucky David Cameron.
Lucky, because the global economic upturn has dealt him a kind hand on the economy, just as the crash dealt Labour a dud.
Lucky, because the lack of serious alternatives within the parliamentary Conservative party has assured his tenure as leader, no matter how jittery or demented his backbenchers have become (imagine how different the situation would have been had there been a Heseltine or Portillo lurking in the Commons’ corridors instead of Adam Afriye.)
And, most of all, lucky because David Cameron faces Ed Miliband’s Labour party.
A party so denuded of economic credibility that the Tories can increase the deficit by £75bn, miss all of their fiscal targets, and still maintain a double digit poll lead over Labour, on who is most trusted to manage the economy.
It’s why David Cameron could make the speech he did yesterday. A speech offering an unfunded £7bn+ tax cut just 48 hours after George Osborne talked up the need for an extra £25bn in cuts.
We have passed through the looking glass and entered a world of Wonderland economics: where tax cuts are all self-funding and public spending cuts have no consequence.
If Labour had done what it needed to four years ago; demonstrated that it understood the public’s anxieties over spending with the last Labour government, and moved to win back public trust, then David Cameron would now be in serious trouble.
The public would be listening as Labour spokespeople point out the political hypocrisy and economic insanity at the heart of David Cameron’s speech.
Years of Tory message discipline on the need for fiscal rectitude would be lying in ruins. Mistrust of the Tories on public spending would be taking off in the polls.
But none of that is happening.
Instead, as far as the public is concerned, Labour remains on mute. Whatever the party says on the economy is tuned out because of the deeply held belief that however bad the Tories are – and there’s lots of evidence that the public have little faith or confidence in Cameron and Osborne’s economic judgement – Labour will be worse.