2013 is a bad year for David Cameron and for Tories in the United Kingdom. So bad that he’s trying almost everything to impress his supporters and to win back the consensus. Just three years ago, the general election result was impressive:
The alliance between Tories and Liberal-Democrats, based on strong numbers like these, assured to the young Prime Minister a wonderful base to build “his” vision of UK. From a conservative point of view, everything looked fine. Plus, the incoming 2012 Olympic Games were the perfect time to boost the tourism industry and to show the might of his government.
It simply didn’t work. Lib-Dem were (and are) a failure, Nick Clegg more a nuisance than a business partner. Polls start early to show a decline, the promised reforms converted in a sad program of cutbacks. A number of small scandals surfaced thru the media, and the smile of the PM starts to fade. The only that really works were the Olympics, a triumph partially spoiled by the London Mayor.
The pressure from the economic crisis and the demand for a better tax justice drive EU to start a discussion about some form of a Tobin tax in the european markets, a measure already applied in France and in a different way in Italy. More than enough to scream blue murder for the City’s investors and for a good part of the top level of Tories to go mad about european rules.
Add the media pressure from Scotland, where SNP gained the high ground for a new referendum about indipendence. Add the mixed feelings of the people about war when it comes to the Lybian crisis, a costly adventure driven by Sarkozy’s concept of foreing politics. Then add the rumors about a possible new war with Argentina, once again about Falklands Islands and only for the need of the “presidenta” Kirchner to distract her own people from the economic failure of her government. Need more? OK, what about the turmoil in North Ireland? The whole place looks ready to go back to the ‘70s, no matter the efforts from the local government.The trouble list isn’t over yet, the major cuts to the balance of NHS alarmed many citizens and a few weeks ago a formal investigation in a handful of hospitals shows to the nation some serious nightmare.
In the meantime, UKIP and BNP gained more and more consensus, adding a lot of pressure from the right side to the Tories. With Lib-Dem in free fall Cameron needs to find a strong stance to reassure his party and the pubblic opinion about his leadership. What he can do? With no money left to develop new programs and no choices left to reform the State affairs Cameron find an easy target to strike: the European Union.
EU got no good press in England and a good part of the population share a strong degree of diffidence about any idea of a common political union with the likes of Germany or France. For Cameron showing a strong face against the bureocrats of Bruxelles is an easy to way to affirm the predominance of UK best interest, a good bone to toss to the right wing of Tories. But we are in 2013, not in 1987. And Cameron is not Margaret Thatcher. The PM got too much hurry and not enough diplomacy, his declarations about a possible way out for UK from EU (by the means of a national referendum to be indicted after 2017) got a really bad echo from european partners.
Fact is, UK got a lot more to lose leaving EU than EU from the exit of the UK. Everybody knows that in the European Parlament, in the European Commission and in all the governments of the 26 states that are part of the EU. The idea of a real separation from all the european investment and development programs is more than enough to put british economy back 20 to 30 years. What Cameron gets from that is a massive setback. Another idea was needed and this time the attention was directed to the civil rights.
A few days the first vote was cast about the same sex marriage, a strong theme in the public opinion. Cameron gains the upper hand in the Parlament but with a bitter price to pay. The law passed with many votes from the opposition, hardly a good way to show this as a victory of Tories. In the next few weeks the law will probably find a strong opposition from Lords, giving more and more media attention to the right wing movements. It looks like that Cameron is run out of ideas, ready to be caught between a rock and an hard place. With the general election of 2015 in sight his choices to win a second run as PM are smaller than ever. Miliband? Does anybody say Ed Miliband?