Conservatives: still the nasty party?

Summer is usually a quiet period in terms of political news: indeed it’s normally the silly season, where the trivial becomes newsworthy. However, it seems a little different this summer.

Mr Cameron looks to have a few MPs and MEPs who are off-message on the issue of the NHS. The Labour government’s records are mixed, but the NHS is in a better shape than it was in the dying days of the Major government.

Subsequent to their huge defeat in 1997, the Tories lurched to the right and lost heavily in two successive elections (Mr Brown still has a very healthy majority). Mr Cameron changed that, but there was a suspicion that the right-wingers lurked underneath the veneer of the reformed Conservatives.

The theory was that such right-wingers would wait until the election, and then demand change in policy direction, but as the likelihood of a future Tory government with a healthy majority increases, they seem confident enough to speak out now to institute such policy changes.

Seen to be attacking the principles of the NHS would be a vote loser for Mr Cameron, and it will be interesting to see how much authority he wields within the party and how much discipline he can exercise against those who do not toe the line. Testing times for Mr Cameron.