Sunday, February 18, 2007

Fox hunting, family values, has Cameron jumped the shark?

News in the Telegraph this morning that the David Cameron has been reassuring his MPs that the Tories would "overturn the Hunting Act as a matter of urgency".

Now on its own its not much, just a sliver of red meat to keep the headbangers on the backbenches and out in the shires happy. But throw it in with his musings on Friday on family values, legislating to force fathers to stay with their partners, pushing for further tax breaks for the married (and on this I will give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he was including civil partners in that), and you have the start of a pattern.

These kinds of pronouncements go down well with the core vote, but will alienate the younger more liberal voters he has been trying to attract. As one of my friends, young professional female who switched from Labour to the Lib Dems at the last election but had been leaning towards Dave's new model Torys put it at dinner on Friday night, "well I'm not going to vote for that sanctimonious wanker now am I".

The question is, is this a deliberate attempt by Dave to shore up his core vote? Have the defections to UKIP caused more damage than has been assumed? or just a blip? Probably the latter, but it is a reminder of the tightrope he is walking, one wobble too far to the right or left and its all over for Dave.

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