It has been a calamitous few weeks for the PM with his and his parties poll numbers falling through the floor. The only saving grace is that the other parties and their leaders are disliked just as much.
The debacle over jerry cans and the budget has been bad enough but it is the issue of civil liberties that has permanently damaged the PM.
One can only wonder as to why Tory strategists weren’t running around in panic when the crazy idea of ‘web and email monitoring was raised’. What where they thinking? How was the PM’s finger so off the political pulse? Cameron compounded the error by publicly coming out and defending the policy, a fatal misjudgement.
Has he been blind to Ron Paul movement in the US? Did he not see the response to SOPA? It was the NO2ID movement which did so much damage to the Labour party. And it was the brave actions of David Davis (who would now be home secretary had he not sacrificed his career) and the subsequent Conservative plan to abolish ID cards which brought so many over to the conservatives at the last election.
They should have learnt. YOU DO NOT PISS OFF THE INTERNET IF YOU WANT TO WIN ELECTIONS. No one understands this better than Obama and his strategists. This is why he ditched his support for SOPA. Already the government is facing a backlash from ‘Anonymous’ who have been launching attacks on the Home Office website, although it would be a mistake to think that theses extremists are the problem.
One can only conclude that Tory HQ thought this policy would further damage the Lib Dems. It has certainly achieved this. But this in itself doesn’t make a huge amount of sense as Cameron has tried so hard previously to placate his coalition partners.
But if they thought this was an issue which was only important to Lib Dems they have severely miscalculated. This is a policy which many conservatives feel is fundamentally un-conservative. A further unnecessary intrusion of the state in our lives. Cameron should know that these neo con policies have very little support on this side of the Atlantic.
As a result the Conservative party has only succeeded in splitting itself. Prominent members such as Mog, Raab, Davis and Goldsmith have come out in furious opposition.
Once again the Tories have been tarnished as the nasty party. The painstaking re branding has been ruined. This decision may well be the one which costs Cameron the next election.