Prime Minister Cameron or Miliband would confront some major budgetary tensions within months of taking office. David Cameron faces the challenge of negotiating both with his own party and with other European member states on the terms of European Union membership.
The formation of the coalition in 2010 took place with limited public dissent from within the Conservative parliamentary party. David Cameron, whilst sounding out Conservative backbenchers about the desirability of coalition informally, never held any vote.
A year ago Ed Miliband delivered a speech that attracted almost as much controversy within the labour movement as it did from the political Right. His speech robust declared that there were two models of capitalism – one that fostered predators and another that championed producers.
The fog is now clearing from the political battleground that faces Labour in the 2015 general election.
The Conservative’s original game plan was to eliminate the budget deficit by 2015 and pave the way for a significant tax cut.
Ed Miliband’s speech at the 2011 Labour Party conference majoring on the need for a more responsible form of capitalism attracted predictably sharp criticism from the right-wing media, but also met with a nervous reaction from sections of the Labour Party that have become allergic to radical economic ideas.
What we are seeing now is a revolt of voters on middle incomes against the cosseting of the very wealthy by the Conservatives.
However, we have a long way to go before we can assemble a broad electoral coalition of people on low and middle incomes in support of fairer rewards at work and expanded opportunities across the whole of society.
Just before the 2010 general election George Osborne, as chancellor-in-waiting, made a speech that outlined his forthcoming economic strategy. He argued that 1980s free market policies had been substantially correct and still provided the model for improving UK competitiveness.
The Britain that greeted an incoming Labour Government in 2015 would feel very different to the social landscape that New Labour sought to deal with in the 1990s. Labour’s policy agenda has to respond to the circumstances and aspirations of today’s low and middle income voters, not those of yesteryear.