Public Affairs: Soap Box - John Lehal, managing director, Insight Public Affairs

The new political year began in earnest this week, with the Government declaring it to be the year that 'we go for it'.

At the top of David Cameron's wish list for 2012 is a rejuvenated strategy. Much to his frustration, all previous efforts at the 'vision thing' have been thwarted, with the sustained economic difficulties dashing all hopes of selling the Big Society, let alone creating it.

Cameron has since called on his closest lieutenants to develop a more tangible sequel. But if we see any further contractions in the economy, the PM will have little choice but to shelve all else but the challenge of growth.

The one thing we can be certain of is a more transactional relationship between the coalition partners. By his own admission, Nick Clegg doesn't want to be the 'last leader of the Liberal Democrats', so has to stick it out until 2015. But he will be actively distancing himself from Cameron, setting his party apart on the EU, education and marriage tax.

The next 12 months will bring several 'gift events' for Cameron, with London 2012 and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee promising a boost to growth and a bounce in the polls.

Cameron will do well to make the most of these peaks in the public mood because his to-do list remains lengthy and potentially troublesome, with the public service revolution and welfare reform looming particularly large.

With his backbenchers re-energised, Cameron goes into the year refreshed and refocused. His personal poll ratings have enjoyed a boost in recent weeks, and he has the potential to sustain them in 2012. It is just the small matter of jobs and the economy that stand in the way.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in