By Paul Goodman
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Downing Street is moving fast to pre-butt – as it were – today's seat loss results from yesterday's elections. It looks as I write as though UKIP, as expected, has done very well indeed. Remember: Harry Phibbs's success test for them is gains of over 100.
- OUT from the Queen's Speech go such Big State or Nanny State measures as a minimum alchohol price and plain cigarette packaging and access (though the former at least was actually junked earlier this year after a Cabinet revolt).
- IN come tough, no-nonense measures such as a crackdown on immigrants' access to the NHS and benefits (though it remains to be seen how these plans will work in practice, especially when faced with the dual challenge to all tough-minded proposals – judicial review and human rights laws).
Today's Daily Telegraph's Editorial attributes this new focus to Lynton Crosby, the Prime Minister's election strategist. "Call it the Crosby Effect," the paper declares. "In recent days, the Conservative Party has been
starting to sound – well, almost conservative."
It's certainly the case that Tory MPs have been happier since Miliband's implosion over welfare reform, the unifying effect on the Conservative Party of the Thatcher funeral, and Labour's failure to build a commanding lead in the polls. But Crosby's presence has clearly helped.
Whether that sunniness holds will depend a great deal not only on how bad today's results are for the Conservatives, but how good they are for Labour. I've peered briefly at the latter's progress so far in today's LeftWatch.