The Prime Minister is back in business – and looking to Boris Johnson to drive the next stage of Tory fortunes.
Mr Cameron will dominate the airwaves today with a media blitz aimed at gaining the momentum.
Victory in the London Mayoral elections for Boris in a fortnight’s time will give the PM a chance to declare the Conservatives are doing well where it matters – the ballot box.
In all the noise of the last few weeks, it’s been easy to miss the fact that Labour have suffered another blow – this time in Scotland.
Labour has lost control of Glasgow City Council for the first time in history.
Not devastating, but on the back of the Bradford West by-election, it’s the kind of upset to cause real fear amongst party managers.
Forward momentum is key for Mr Cameron. People won’t forget a Budget which even the Chancellor admits could have been better handled.
There have been ups and downs but for two years David Cameron has had it relatively easy.
As he admitted on the BBC this morning, all governments see the end of a benign era, a honeymoon, and it’s only a question of “when”.
That “when” is now.
What is crucial is for a government to pull itself together and demonstrate competence.
The PM was crystal clear in reminding the nation that the core mission remains fixing Britain’s economy.
Anyone who thought this could be solved in a couple of years of belt-tightening has been sorely mistaken. This is a task which will take many years to complete.
At least two terms of government, people at the heart of government say privately.
Mr Cameron decided against dazzling voters with a glitzy relaunch, peppered with new announcements and razzmatazz.
Instead, the Premier told his team they must be seen to be getting on with the central mission of rescuing the economy. No frills, just sheer hard work.
Public service reform is an ongoing part of that battle. It doesn’t look shiny and new but it is essential work if Britain is to thrive in the coming years.
Tory strategists are determined to leave voters with the impression that Mr Cameron is on the side of people who work hard and do the right thing.
There will always be an awkward squad of Tory MPs but last week’s Finance Bill votes prove the unhappy squabblers can’t stop the government getting its business done.
Lords reform threatens to overshadow a programme to be announced in the Queen’s Speech next month. But I wouldn’t be surprised if this measure finds itself in long grass by the late autumn.
I’d also expect an end to the public fighting between LibDems and the Tories in government.
Coalition means both sides agree to chuck a few grenades at each other in the run-up to polling day and town hall elections have been the cause of recent mud-slinging.
The chemistry still works.
Claire Perry MP published her report on child protection on the internet this morning. It is the culmination of a bit of a one-woman crusade, but the cross-party backing for the report demonstrates the level of concern in Parliament about the issue.
The report calls on technology companies, particularly ISPs, to take measures to ensure children do not have access to inappropriate material like pornography or violent content online.
The headline measure she proposes is ‘active choice’ on all internet accounts – whereby consumer will have to wilfully declare they want access to all content online. There are also recommendations to improve parental controls and age verification.
The report puts the technology sector in a difficult position. No one wants children accessing potentially distressing content, but many in the sector are concerned any restrictions will have a chilling effect on the internet, with legitimate content like art or news blocked under the same banner as inappropriate content. There are also concerns about the precedent of Government intervention.
Many technology companies have worked hard to develop filters and other tools to help parents manage what content their children can access. The shift of responsibility for this management from the parent to industry doesn’t sit comfortably with everyone.
It also puts the Government in a tough spot. Number 10 is chasing the women’s and family vote – a raft of safer internet measures would certainly help this goal. They are also struggling with an unruly group of backbench MPs. Again, you’d think the Tory faithful would love some movement in this area.
But the Government is keen to support the technology industry in the UK and knows the importance of keeping the internet as free and open as possible.
How will it play out? The Coalition won’t be rushing into any decisions – any major moves will be absorbed into the forthcoming Communications Bill Green Paper. But if nothing else, Claire Perry has fired the starting gun on a potentially awkward debate for Government and industry.
Nick Carter is a Senior Account Manager in Portland’s Public Affairs practice, focusing on technology policy.