And before you ask “Does the Prime Minister need your advice, Helmer?”, let me say — he certainly needs advice from somewhere, so let’s start here.
Benedict Brogan in the Telegraph points to the short-lived surge in Tory fortunes when Cameron dramatically announced his EU veto — even if it was eventually overtaken by events. The Tory Troops are equally heartened by Cameron’s tough talking to Argentine President Kirchner. Let’s hope he delivers. To paraphrase a comment of Ronald Reagan, “I knew Margaret Thatcher, sonny, and you’re no Margaret Thatcher”.
Brogan writes “MPs wondering how to achieve a victory in today’s darkened circumstances want compelling measures that can be described in a few crisp words on the doorstep”. So my mind turned to the things that the Tory Party might do. And there are some ideas.
Growth strategy: Offer employers’ National Insurance holidays for young new hires. Have a bonfire of the regulations (as you promised). And scrap those Quangoes you promised to cull.
Personal tax: Raise thresholds for the low-paid. Tax breaks for families. End the death tax. Reduce the top rate of income tax. Meet the cost of tax reductions from the economic growth they stimulate.
Housing market: End stamp duty on house sales. End the death tax (it went down a storm at that Party Conference).
Immigration: Get real. And send foreign criminals home automatically, without recourse to the courts. And don’t pay them compensation. Ever.
Defence: Find the funding for proper armed forces. And don’t fire military personnel days before they qualify for their pension.
Policing: Make the police force a crime-fighting force, not a social service.
Welfare: Restrict payments to those in genuine need through no fault of their own.
University admissions: Base them on academic merit, not social engineering.
Energy and fuel bills: Scrap proposed increases in petrol duty. Make radical cuts in renewables subsidies. More generally, scrap the Climate Change Act, keep the coal fired-power stations open, and tell Brussels that its renewables targets are irrational and unsustainable.
And the elephant in the room? Give us an EU Referendum. And let it be an In/Out referendum. You are right to tell Alex Salmond not to muddy the water with a “Devo.Max” option — so why do you want a similar option in an EU referendum?