When Cameron was elected leader of the Conservatives he, and they, hardly seemed a threat. I don't mean to the incumbent government, I mean to the actual people. Labour were in the doldrums even before Brown took over and it didn't seem possible that they'd win another term. Cameron's Tory Wet, Compassionate Conservatism (sic), his hoodie-hugging and his tree logo seemed to want to take the same middle ground that Labour were standing on. He and his W11 buddies appeared to be merely career politicians, hardly possible they'd be the Thatcherites of yore. Obviously they were still risible for being Tories, for being posh, for having punchable faces, but it wasn't until the recession hit and they abandoned the caring facade and started their attacks on the public sector and promoting the "need" for swingeing cuts, that I realised that they were Thatcher and then some - that their intentions to dismantle the state have little to do with the recession, and more to do with their sincere political desire to end the state's role in providing safety nets and aid, it will be just there to collect taxes to spend on - what? Propping up more banks? Their big society concept is of a Victorian society where the poor rely on the random munificence of the rich to survive.
Labour's main failing wasn't the Iraq War, it wasn't detention of terror suspects without trial and asylum seekers in prison-camps, it wasn't allowing extraordinary rendition from British soil, or ID cards, or letting Gordon Brown become PM, or abandoning the 10p tax rate. It was, whilst admittedly upping the income of the poorest (as detailed in this well argued article), allowing the people at the top to stay there. For them to feel entitled to be there. To let them feel that they didn't need governments to impose financial regulations on them, that it was their right, their duty, to make more money and regulate themselves. And that not only caused the recession that the Tories have capitalised on, it has also established in our collective conciousness that it's OK for the filthy rich to become richer and filthier and thus the Tories will have no problem persuading us that it's the people at the bottom who a) are to blame with their pitiful demands for £65.45 a week b) must suffer to right the world to its natural state of dog eat dog, survival of the fittest etc etc.
The Tories flagship borough: the Horror of Hammersmith.
From London by Patrick Keiller:
"Robinson began to consider what the Conservative victory would mean for him. His flat would continue to deteriorate and its rent increase. He would be intimidated by vandalism and petty crime. The bus service would get worse. There would be more traffic and noise pollution and an increased risk of getting run down crossing the road. There would be more drunks pissing in the streets when he looked out of the window and more children taking drugs on the stairs when he came home at night. His job would be at risk and subject to more interference. His income would decrease. He would drink more and less well. He would be ill more often. He would die sooner. For the old or anyone with children, it would be much worse....
The public transport system would degenerate into chaos as it was deregulated and privatised. There would be more road schemes. Hospitals would close. As the social security system was dismantled, there would be increased homelessness and crime."