The next Conservative government will face an unprecedented level of scrutiny. The rise of the internet means that every statement made by David Cameron and the rest of the Shadow Cabinet is on-line; any back-sliding can be easily and instantly highlighted. By contrast, you can only find Tony Blair’s 1996 conference speech via subscription-only cutting services. Second, the internet has vastly reduced the barriers to entry for those groups that want to hold the government to account. This month’s Propsect reports that Will Straw intends to set up a blog called Left Foot Forward, modelled on the aggressively pro-Democrat Think Progress blog. The idea would be to keep constant pressure on the Conservatives, denying them any sort of honeymoon. I suspect that similar groups will be formed to fight pretty much every spending cut the Conservatives try and implement.
The Conservatives need to put an infrastructure in place to rebut these attacks before they get into government. Otherwise, they could easily find themselves being constantly forced to fight battles on ground of their opponent’s choosing.