The return of the nasty party? Forget it. Dave is moving Left with Lords reform
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So the nasty party is back?
That was the Lefty Independent's take on David Cameron's speech yesterday urging a less profligate approach to doling out benefit cheques.
To the dismay of the Hampstead set, Dave went so far as to suggest (no more than that) that the hard-pressed taxpayer might not have an everlasting obligation to pay the rent of Kevin the teenager fleeing the nest for a flat or to cover the staggering living costs of feckless families who have children with no thought of how to support them.
With over five million people of working age without a job and with a welfare bill of about £100 billion (up 50 per cent in real terms since Blair's election victory of 1997), many of us would welcome the return of a party that might inject some sense into our extravagant spending state.
Dave’s new right-wing mood music will be soon forgotten against the background of an end of term rebellion
After all, Wisconsin led the way in the States by time-limiting claims and reducing welfare rolls by 80 per cent.
And the one Lib Dem who talks any sense, David Laws, spent the weekend pointing out that we cannot afford our bloated public sector, who currently soaks up more than 40 per cent of national output and is hard-wired to seek an even bigger share.
But it was soon apparent that Dave was talking about what he might do if he were elected alone in three years time – without the Clegg albatross slung around his neck.
More from Nick Wood for the Daily Mail…
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- Man or mouse? Tim Yeo’s jibe at the PM exposes his loss of authority 28/08/12
- Osborne’s power base is crumbling. But Dave knows that ditching him would be a huge gamble 23/08/12
- Chancellors often die a slow death. Osborne should check his insurance policy 22/08/12
- Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare shake-up is working. Pity the BBC is too biased to see it 20/08/12
- The more Boris Johnson jokes, the more serious he is. Dave will have to stop pussyfooting around 16/08/12
- Dave's working holiday – figuring out his reshuffle and drafting the conference speech of his life 14/08/12
- A year on from the riots, we need more school league tables for sport, not just exams 07/08/12
- Double trouble for Dave as Clegg breaks his word and A-list Cameroon Louise Mensch walks out 06/08/12
- VIEW FULL ARCHIVE
The truth is that the PM's welfare speech yesterday was largely about political positioning.
He has feinted to the Right (a beyond the horizon welfare crackdown and Gove-levels in schools) because he is just about to swerve hard Left – House of Lords reform.
Dave has already yanked the steering wheel in the direction of Polly Toynbee and the Guardianistas with his condemnation of those such as Jimmy Carr, the comedian, who do not go out of their way to hand over to the Revenue as much of their income as possible.
But now he is moving across the central reservation into oncoming traffic.
Nick Clegg, the architect of so many wizard political schemes, (remember AV voting reform and his balsa wood rejection of tuition fees) wants to leave his pawprint in history. So he has come up with the barmy idea that the House of Lords, which still just about works, should be reformed – in other words wrecked.
Peers will become senators and be elected under PR for 15-year terms. All this will prove horrendously expensive and, worse, will tee up a deadlock between the Commons and the Lords over who exercises real political authority.
Safeguards enshrining the ancient superiority of MPs will be written into the Bill for Lords reform, but will no doubt fail to cut the mustard, creating yet another field day for lawyers and judges to decide our destiny.
Dozens of Tory MPs and scores of peers are lining up to savage this Bill to be published on Wednesday.
There are over five million people of working age without a job and our welfare bill is about £100 billion
Dave's new right-wing mood music will be soon forgotten against the background of an end of term rebellion, likely to come in mid-July when the Commons has to vote on whether to guillotine debate on this constitutional hotch-potch.
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Much depends on Labour as to how bloody this becomes. Ed Miliband, being a fully paid up "nice party" guy, will want to back Dave's Brave New Parliamentary World. But his hard-nosed inner circle will be reluctant to let the PM off the hook.
The smart money must be on a Labour strategy designed to draw Dave further into the swamp. Let the guillotine motion pass and then mount guerilla war in the autumn when the PM is even weaker and less able to command his troops.
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