Cameron is now considered a “real Tory” amongst activists after Osborne provided some red-blooded Tory announcements. He has removed any questions about his leadership, for now, if he can steamroller the Lib Dems with a further £10bn of benefit cuts, the shelving of any taxes on wealth labelled as “resentful” and, their shares-for-rights resurrection of Beecroft’s proposals.
Will the Lib Dems lie down like good coalition partners and take their steamrollering? I hope not!
So the double act of Osborne and Cameron are back on the road. With Osborne firing broadsides at the Lib Dem ship and Cameron glorying in the role of Prime Minster, guiding the country back to Tory greatness during challenging times.
One thing is for sure: the coalition is under pressure after this Tory conference. The Tories have pointed a true blue laser at it.
Lib Dem activists will not take more humiliation and, in turn, another electoral beating at the county elections in 2013.
There are going to be some long weekends ahead for Clegg and company to work out our response. We need to be firing some broadsides back, with more differentiation on vision.
It is quite clever for Osborne and Cameron to use the phrase “aspiration nation”, with Cameron proclaiming he wants more people going to schools like him. This is an unrealistic Tory vision without fairness and social mobility being hard-wired into our society. The opportunity to fulfil those aspirations will pass many by who do not succeed in grammar school exams to get an education like Cameron. What about the rest of society who can’t go to grammar schools and Oxbridge? What about the disabled that have been tormented by ATOS who have botched assessments for those on disabled benefits?
Meanwhile, in the wings is Labour, with an Ed Miliband who has found his feet in the leadership stakes with his “One Nation” speech. They will be hoping the coalition continue to sail on stormy seas while taking lumps out of one and other.
After the conference season the man with most to do is Nick Clegg. It won’t be good enough to hope things get better and that the electorate thank us in 2015. We need to create some of our own distinctive positive weather. The winter months ahead are going to be interesting times.
* William Jones is the lead campaigner in Sale (Priory Ward) of the Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council, Chair of Trafford Lib Democrat Forum and Chair of Wythenshawe and Sale East Liberal Democrat Constituency Party