In the next year, it is inevitable that Gordon Brown is going to be looking to define himself and his Labour Party for a general election, probably in 2010, but possibly late in 2009.
I am not sure that there is much to the rumour that Gordon Brown is courting the Lib Dems for a coalition government. Although I would not be surprised at all to see Ming Campbell appointed as speaker before this Government leaves power. Only so it is that much longer before a Conservative Speaker can then be appointed.
It has got me thinking about what we might expect from the Government this year. Despite the possible admission to themselves that they can not win an overall majority, I do not expect this fact will get in the way of the Labour Machine. So if they are thinking that they will not win, I suspect that we will see a Labour Government that is setting itself up for opposition. I suspect that we will a lot of legislation passed through parliament, despite a policy-light Queens speech this year.
We will also see a lot of Gordon Brown travelling the world to meet world leaders and attend summits. It is of course the year of Obama, so there will already be summits for every conceivable world issue, and The PM will be there grinning as only he can and trying to look like a Statesman.
I think what we will see is a co-ordinated assault. We will see positive discrimination laws enacted, we will see a last ditched and hurried changes to the constitution process, probably Lords reforms, but possibly Jack Straws Bill of Rights. All designed in a manner that will best suit the Leftie parties. Possibly the promise of Proportional Representation in a wholly elected Lords. We will see un-affordable increases in the state promised to schools, hospitals and local government.
We will also likely see pressure applied on Ireland to ratify the EU Constitutional Treaty, the Conservatives will make overtures that they oppose this, and the fact that Ireland will vote twice when the UK has not had the chance to vote at all. But it will be a luke-warm protest. There will also be an increase in state dependency for income, both through increased unemployment, but also widening of the criteria on incapacity benefits.
After the eventual election, the Conservative Government will need to cut these additional spending splurges, repeal legislation and talk about the EU. They will need to get Parliament working and accountable again - and they should do so in a manner that it is fair and balanced; not as Labour has done to suit the party in power as the public will forever be subjected to uneven Government. They may need to also ask people that are able bodied to go to work.
My point is, that the Conservative Party right now, is not making a strong enough case for smaller Government. They are not explaining that it is possible to spend less on the NHS, whilst not increasing waiting times for operations. The Conservatives may be talking about this Government borrowing excessively, but they have not set out strongly enough what they would be doing differently. And of course, they dare not speak about the EU, just in case anybody is listening. And as such, they are potentially handing themselves some limitations when they do return to power. They will likely spend the first two years being attacked if class sizes increase or if they fail to cut, what could potentially be very high levels of unemployment right away.
The Labour Party and the PM and Peter Mandleson will be Bold in 2009, they need to be if they are to have any chance in winning an election. Nick Clegg will need to be smart and decisive to see that the Lib Dems don't get smashed in an election and absorbed into the Labour Party. So David Cameron will need to be bolder, determined and more dashing than ever. Right now, in my humble opinion, what the Conservative message lacks the most is the conviction of Hope that they can turn this country around and make things permanently better for families.