Today the hard work begins. After a few days where the Conservatives still seemed to be in full campaign mode, setting out their blue collar pitch for 2020, David Cameron’s speech in Scotland brings the hard decisions he faces in this Parliament back to the forefront.
Rightly so. This government has a once-in-a-generation chance to make politically difficult choices in Britain’s long-term interest.
Whatever Cameron does, Labour will spend the next four months dithering between a leader out of touch with economic reality and one out of touch with life beyond the M25. Ukip has descended into increasingly uncivil warfare. And given the Lib Dem remnant could almost settle their leadership contest with a quick game of rock, paper, scissors their choice seems no longer really relevant.
Now is the Prime Minister’s moment to get politically sticky issues unstuck. Scotland and Europe must be at the top of his list. But here are three more tough calls that he must make as soon as possible.
First, reform the bank levy. With HSBC and Standard Chartered considering moving their headquarters from the UK, after nine successive rises, it is time to rethink this increasingly punitive tax. The Conservatives must not put banker-bashing above the City’s global competitiveness.
Second, end the dawdling over airport expansion. Get a decision out of the Davies Commission and follow it, stat. If Davies calls for another runway at Heathrow, Cameron must face down party divisions in the public interest.
Third, defy the Nimby lobby. Establish pink planning zones as proposed by the Centre for Policy Studies, where the dilution of red tape can finally help relieve the housebuilding drought.
After an electoral bolt from the blue, it’s time to attempt the politically impossible.
Marc Sidwell is City A.M.’s executive editor